The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - April 5, 2016

  Just when things never looked better at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl the track’s outlook suffered yet another blow when track owner Bruce Bemer was arrested last week on human trafficking charges. What he did was wrong and hopefully the track and its future won’t be affected. Bemer saved the track from possible extinction after Terry Eames all but ran the shoreline oval into the ground. Hopefully the track will survive this latest calamity.

  Due to bad weather and poor track conditions the 43rd Annual Icebreaker scheduled for this past weekend was postponed, The event, which is highlighted by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s Icebreaker 150, will be run the this coming weekend: April 7-9.
  The Icebreaker 150 will practice Saturday, April 8, with qualifying and the second race of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season slated for Sunday, April 9. The weekend schedule also includes the opening races in Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program.
  The weather broke for the best on Sunday and the track allowed weekly divisions the opportunity to practice.
  This past January, within four days, the Northeast Modified racing community lost two pioneers. Photographer, Howie Hodge, and Modified legend, Leo “The Lion” Cleary, both passed away. At this weekend’s Icebreaker, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Officials have announced that they will honor the memory of both men, inviting their families’ as honored guests.
  Howie Hodge, who has been a photographer on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, as well as other NASCAR regional touring series, has also frequented the infields of short tracks throughout the country, but most consistently in his home state of Connecticut. For nearly 50 years, Howie shared his passion for motorsports photography with his wife, Mary. Mary, along with her son, Kevin, will be on hand to honor Howie’s late memory during pre-race ceremonies on Sunday afternoon, April 2. Also, Kevin Hodge will act as the Honorary Starter for the 150-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race.
  Three short days after Hodge’s passing, Leo Cleary passed away. Known for being an cagey and aggressive driver, Cleary earned the nickname of “The Lion.” He was fearless, and raced as often as he could, frequenting tracks throughout the northeast. Cleary etched his name indelibly into the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park record books in 1967, winning a Modified Championship.
  Cleary’s sons will be on hand on Sunday to honor their late father’s memory, and they will also give the command to start engines for the Sunoco Modified 30-lap main event.
  Ted Christopher is the all-time winner at Thompson with 98 wins. Rick Gentes has 74 wins and the late Fred DeSarro has 63 wins.

  In non-NASCAR Modified racing below the Mason-Dixon line, Brandon Ward made it two in a row as he won the $3,000 top prize Saturday at Concord Speedway in the Spring Explosion 125 Southern Modified Racing Series race.
  As was the case the previous week at Orange County, Ward established early in the day at Concord that he had a fast car by winning the Precision Spindle Pole award in qualifying. The draw for a starting spot found Ward third at the start. Ward maintained a solid spot inside the top-three as Bryan Dauzat, Bobby Measmer Jr. and Andy Seuss each took turns leading the race. On lap 90, Ward made his move past Seuss to the top spot. He survived a pair of late race restarts and a challenge from Measmer to get the victory.
  Measmer charged late in the race but came up short finishing in the second spot. Burt Myers and his brother Jason Myers rallied in the final 25 laps to finish third and fourth, with John Smith rounding out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Andy Seuss, Tyler Truex, Kyle Bonsignore, J.R. Bertuccio and Danny Bohn.

  In some sad news, Legendary NASCAR driver Sam Ard died. He was 78 years old. Ard was born in Pamplico, S.C., was a native of Asheboro, N.C. He was champion of what is now known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 1983 and ’84, earning most popular driver honors each season.
Ard, who retired after a serious injury in a crash at North Carolina Speedway in 1984, won 22 races and 24 poles in the XFINITY Series during his career.

  On the speedway stock market scene this week two of the three speedway stocks had positive week ending results. The International Speedway Corporation went up 1.35 to 36.95 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.10 to 2.20 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.27 to 18.84. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage dropped 0.77 to 46.17 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.06 to 36.00 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco “Energy Transfer” went up 0.69 to 36.52. The car manufacturers were positive except for Toyota, which dropped 2.74 to 108.62. Ford went up 0.02 to 11.64 and General Motors went up 0.80 to 35.36. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 1.88 to 146.83 while Lowes remained stagnant at 82.21. The big team sponsor’s stocks were all positive. McDonalds went up 0.27 to 129.61, Coca-Cola went up 8.74 to 206.02, Target Department Stores went up 2.07 to 55.19, Aarons Rentals went up 1.03 to 29.74 and Fedex went up 7.03 to 195.15.

  On the tube this week:

  Thursday, April 6

5:30 AM, How It's Made - Impact Wrenches, Marble Sinks, Plantain Chips, NASCAR Cars, SCI-FI
5:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
7:00 PM, NASCAR Masters of the Clock: The Legend of Martinsville, FS1

  Friday, April 7
12:00 PM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Texas practice, FS1
2:30 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Texas practice, FS1
5:00 PM, NXS Texas final practice, FS1
6:00 PM, MENCS Texas qualifying, FS1

  Saturday, April 8
5:30 AM, NXS Texas practice re-air, FS1
7:00 AM, NXS Texas final practice re-air, FS1
8:00 AM, MENCS Texas qualifying re-air, FS1
10:00 AM, MENCS Texas practice, FS1
10:30 AM, NXS Texas qualifying, FS1
11:30 AM, 1997 Daytona 500, FOX Sports 2
12:00 PM, MENCS Texas final practice, FS2
1:00 PM, NXS Pre Race Show, FOX
1:30 PM, NXS Texas race, FOX

  Sunday, April 9
7:00 AM, NXS Texas race re-air, FS1
11:30 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1:00 PM, MENCS Pre Race Show, FOX
1:30 PM, MENCS Texas race, FOX
6:30 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

  Monday, April 10
12:30 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
6:30 AM, MENCS Texas race re-air, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
7:00 PM, MENCS Texas race re-air, FS1

   That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.

Source: Phil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: April 5, 2017

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