RPW Exclusive: The Champ Trail; The Off-Season…Getting Ready For Florida

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – As of this Friday, February 1, one week remains before the start of Speedweeks in Florida. The New Smyrna World Series in Florida gets the green next Friday, February 8.

Opening night will consist of Super Late Models 35 laps, Pro Late Models 35 laps, Florida Modifieds 35 laps, American Auto Sportsman 30 laps and Bombers 20 laps. Night number 2, Saturday, Feb 9 will consist of Super Late Models 35 laps, Pro Late Model 35 laps, American Auto Sportsman 50 laps and Mod Minis 25 laps. The NASCAR K & N Pro Series East 175 is the headliner for Sunday night Number 3. They will be joined by the Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series which will go the 30 lap distance.

The Tour type Modifieds make their first appearance on Monday night Number 4. They will go the 50 lap distance. Also on the bill of fare are the Super Late Models 35 laps, Pro Late Models 35 laps and the Florida Modifieds 35 laps. Tuesday, night 5 will headline the Florida Modifieds which go 75 laps. The Tour type Modifieds go 35 laps, Super Late Models 50 laps and the Pro Late Models 35 laps. Wednesday night 6 will see the running of the annual John Blewett III Memorial Tour Modified 76 lapper. Support divisions include Super Late Models 35 laps, Pro Late Models 35 laps and Florida Modifieds 35 laps. Thursday, night 7, will consist of Tour Modifieds 35 laps, Super Late Models 35 laps, Pro Late Models 35 laps and Florida Modifieds 35 laps. Friday, night 8, will see the running of the Richie Evans Memorial Tour Modified 100. Also on tap will be the American Auto Sportsman 35 laps, the Zack Donatti Memorial Pro Late Model 100, the Florida Pro Truck Series 50 and the Ground Pounders 25 lapper. During the day on Friday will be the annual Modified Reunion at the track. The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing winds up on Saturday, Night 9. The Orange Blossom Super Late Model 100will be the min event. Support divisions include Pro Trucks 50 laps, Florida Modifieds 35 laps, American Auto Sportsman 35 laps and Super Stock (Open) 50 laps.

The Tour type Modified entry list has now swelled to 29 which will make this years edition on of the best.

Bob Finan, PR director at the Riverhead Raceway advises popular Tonawanda, N.Y. talent Andy Jankowiak has made Bronson Speedway officials aware he’ll be heading to the high banks Saturday February 9th for the 4th annual Kick Off To Speedweek Powered by Sunoco 50. Andy J hopes to leave Bronson with the $2,000 winner’s share of the purse plus a set of Hoosier Racing Tires and 10 gallons of Sunoco 112 Race Fuel. The Kick Off 50 victor will also garner the 5th starting berth for the February 15th Richie Evans Memorial 100 at New Smyrna Speedway. Last summer Andy scored an emotional win at Lancaster Speedway in the Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak 110 ROC event as his Mom Debby looked on in delight.

In some good news, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl which will begin their 2019 season on May 11-12 , will have a new aluminum grandstand in place to replace the wooden structure which has been in use since the track was constructed in 1951. The project, under the scrutiny of general manager Mike Serluca, has been given approval of the town of Waterford, CT.

Demolition began last weekend. The winter weather so far has been somewhat moderate along the Connecticut shoreline. With a little luck the new grandstand will be in place by mid-April.

A tip of the hat to Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) which has signed Mike Christopher Jr for the Open Modified 80 at Stafford Motor Speedway in May.

Long time partner, Mohawk Northeast, will be the primary sponsor on the No. 7NY Chevrolet.

Mike Christopher Jr, son of modified driver Mike Christopher and nephew of NASCAR Whelen Modified Champion Ted Christopher, has grown up at the race track. Competing full-time in an SK Modified, Christopher Jr is looking to continue the family legacy, especially at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Christopher has six wins to his credit at the nutmeg oval.

On the speedway stock market scene last week, two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on the negative side. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.07 to 16.34 while Dover Entertainment dropped 0.06 to 1.99 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.69 to 43.72. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 0.27 to 55.85. NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.23 to 14.34 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.05 to 20.53. Two of the three auto manufacturers ended the week on a positive note. General Motors went up 0.03 to 38.64 and Ford went up 0.28 to 8.86 while Toyota dropped 1.63 to 123.72. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.82 to 180.40 while Lowes dropped 1.06 to 93.82. In the area of big team sponsors stocks, McDonalds went up 1.43 to 184.00, Coca-Cola went up 4.17 to 211.61 and Target went up 1.71 to 72.39 while Dow-Dupont dropped 0.30 to 57.76, Fedex dropped 1.55 to 175.36 and Porter Cable-Stanley Works dropped 16.30 to 120.58.

On the tube this week:
Thursday, January 31
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub – Best of, FS1
Friday, February 1
8:00 PM, NASCAR Hall of Fame Ceremony: Class of 2019,NBCSN