RPW Exclusive: Rain, Rain Go Away; Still Lots To Talk About…

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The 48th edition of the NAPA Spring Sizzler® at Stafford Speedway has been rained out and re-scheduled for this coming Saturday and Sunday.

Shortly before NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams were scheduled to take to the track for group qualifying, officials decided that the weather forecast for the remainder of Saturday, and the duration of Sunday, wouldn’t allow the event to take place.

Instead, the Spring Sizzler will be run next weekend, May 4-5. The entire Spring Sizzler schedule will be announced at a later date. Stafford’s Friday night May 3 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program has been cancelled, and their divisions will run over the course of next weekend as well.

Prior to the rain, snow and sleet, teams did have two practice sessions, with defending series champion Justin Bonsignore pacing both of them. There were 30 cars on hand. Following Bonsignore on the speed charts were Doug Coby, Chase Dowling, Rob Summers, Ron Silk, Craig Lutz, Joey Cipriano III, Jeff Rocco who was pinch hitting for Burt Myers, Timmy Solomito and Tommy Catalano.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continues to be the best competition that NASCAR has to offer.

While it was raining in Connecticut close to 10,000 fans came out in North Carolina for opening night at the Bowman-Gray Stadium where Brian Loftin surprised many of the people who came to watch Saturday’s races after he won the scheduled 200-lap Modified race. The race went to 203 laps and Loftin defeated Tim Brown to win his first race at Bowman Gray since 2010. For the first 125 laps Burt Myers and Tim Brown traded the lead numerous times. Myers’ hope for victory went away on lap 125 when James Civali bulled his way into Brown and Myers in an attempt to take the lead. Civali did get the lead but lost it on lap 193 when Brian Loftin did to him what he did to Myers and Brown. As he headed to the pit area to change a flat tire Civali attempted to take Loftin out under caution but was unsuccessful. Finishing up with a green-white-checker situation Loftin held off Tim Brown for the win. Chris Fleming finished third followed by Lee Jeffreys and Randy Butner who rounded out the top five. Jason Myers finished eighth and Burt Myers finished tenth.

At a track where Ronnie Bouchard had his greatest moment Ryan Preece followed suit as he finished a fantastic third behind Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman in the NASCAR Monster Cup event at the Talledega Super-Speedway.

Riverhead Raceway on eastern Long Island comes alive for the 2019 season this coming weekend. Saturday evening will see the mighty NASCAR Modifieds going 50 laps on opening night and be joined by the Late Models (25), Crate Modifieds (25), Figure Eights (15), Blunderbusts (20), Super Pro Trucks (20) and INEX Legend Race Cars (20).

Word comes from noted author Mark “Bones” Bourcier that three-time NASCAR National Modified champion Bugs Stevens phoned to report that he’d fractured a couple of vertebrae (one thoracic, one lumbar) in a slow-speed Florida bike-riding crash. “That’s the fourth time I’ve busted my effin’ back,” Bugsy declared. True enough; the first was when he sailed the Boehler #3 coupe out of Thompson (CT) Speedway in the late ‘60s, and the second was in 1982 at Stafford Motor Speedway, also in Connecticut, when his left-rear tire deflated as he barrelled into turn one aboard the Garbarino #4. Like most champions, Bugs didn’t crash often, but when he did, it was usually a doozy. The third broken back, like this last one, was in another post-retirement fall. So Bugsy is in some pain (again), but his sense of humor remains intact, and he had me laughing at eight or ten lines that, sadly, cannot be repeated here. In just a few weeks he’ll hit his 85th birthday, but mentally he’s still 17 going on crazy. Anyway, keep our pal in your thoughts. He’s one of a kind, which is a good thing, and he’s also one of the greatest American short-track racers of his generation. Get well quick Champ.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI) has announced it has received a non-binding proposal from Sonic Financial Corp. to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock not already held by Sonic.

Sonic is owned and controlled by Bruton Smith and family. Smith being the founder of SMI. The offer is $18 per share. SMI operates eight racetracks on the NASCAR schedule: Charlotte, Atlanta, Bristol, Texas, Las Vegas, and New Hampshire Motor Speedway, as well as Sonoma Raceway and Kentucky Speedway.

In November it was announced NASCAR had made a non-binding bid to acquire all the outstanding shares of Class A and B common stock of International Speedway Corp. (ISC). The move would make the company private.

On the speedway stock market scene last week, all three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Speedway Motorsports went up 4.72 to 18.47, the International Speedway Corporation went up 1.03 to 44.19 and Dover Entertainment went up 0,11 to 2.15. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 4.45 to 59 65 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 1.27 to 19.24 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.08 to 15.20. Two of the three auto manufacturers were down for the week. Ford went up 0.86 to 16.41 while Toyota dropped 1.54 to 123.62 and General Motors dropped 0.62 to 39.68. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 2.05 to 203.61 and Lowes dropped 1.26 to 112.48. In the area of big team sponsor stocks, McDonalds went up 2.31 to 197.42, Coca-Cola went up 29,48 to 331.57 and Stanley Black and Decker went up 0.56 to 146.30 while Dow-Dupont dropped 1.00 to 38.00Target dropped 6.14 to 77.12and Fedex dropped 4.11 to 184.04.

On the tube this week:

Friday, May 3

3 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, Fox Sports 1/FOX Sports App
3:30 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Busch Pole Qualifying, Dover FS1/FOX Sports App
4:30 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay: Dover, FS1/FOX Sports App
5 p.m., NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series: JEGS 200, FS1/FOX Sports App

Saturday, May 4

6 a.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Busch Pole Qualifying (re-air), FS1/FOX Sports App
5 p.m., NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series: JEGS 200 (re-air), FS1/FOX Sports App
9 a.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, FS1/FOX Sports App
10 a.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series qualifying, FS1/FOX Sports App
11 a.m., NASCAR RaceHub: Weekend Edition, FS1/FOX Sports App
12 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice, FS1/FOX Sports App
1 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay: Xfinity, FS1/FOX Sports App
1:30 p.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series: Allied Steel Buildings 200, FS1/FOX Sports App

Sunday, May 5

12:30 p.m, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Stafford Springs live stream racefan.tv
12:30 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FS1/FOX Sports App
2 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander RV 400, FS1/FOX Sports App