Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – With the Christmas season close to hand all is quiet on the racing front.
Stafford has confirmed their weekly and special event schedule as has Seekonk, Riverhead and Star Speedways.
Thompson will be special events only without NASCAR. Waterford which recovered to somewhat solid ground has yet to announce a schedule. The Tri-Track series is set as is the New York based Race of Champions Series.
The Modified Racing Series is still looking to sign up a full schedule while the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series schedule is complete.
Hopefully the distribution of the Covid vaccine will cover everyone and we can somewhat return to normal.
The countdown to speedweeks in Florida begins this weekend as only seven weeks remain before action begins at the Daytona International Speedway and at the New Smyrna Speedway. Entries for Modified action at New Smyrna will be posted as they come in.
The overall point championship will pay $1,000. The Richie Evans 100 will pay $3,000 to win, The John Blewett III 76 pays $2,500 to win, the 50 lapper pays $2,000 to win and a 35 lapper pays $1,500 to win. It is anticipated that NASCAR Track Pass will provide coverage of the event.
The recently formed Superstar Racing Experience series and Stafford Motor Speedway management announced late last week that the SRX Series will be scheduling a 2021 event at the nutmeg oval. The SRX Series was founded by former NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and legendary NASCAR crew chief Ray Evernham.
As of last week the driver lineup announced for the series included Stewart, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte, Paul Tracy, Mark Webber and Willy T. Ribbs.
The series is expected to run six events in 2021. Stafford was the third track announced for the 2021 schedule. The series also announced it will run at Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio. The half-mile high banked dirt track is owned by Stewart.
The series also announced it will visit Lucas Oil Raceway. The .686-mile oval is located in Indianapolis. No date for the event was announced but it is expected to be on a Saturday night with CBS national TV coverage.
It sounds like the series will be similar to the former International Race of Champions (IROC) that ran as a prelim to NASCAR cup events. Without a doubt the series will provide national recognition to Stafford. To augment the program maybe Stafford will run a feature for its highly competitive SK Modifieds.
September 29, 1967 Stafford wrapped up its first season of asphalt Modified racing. Gene Bergin made it three in a row and locked up the first asphalt-modified championship by taking a hard-fought win over Dick Watson and Bob Melnick. Rounding out the top five in the final Modified event of the season were Fred Harbach and Jerry Wheeler. Trailing Bergin in the Modified point standings were Nathan “Smokey” Boutwell, Bob Santos, Ted Stack, Carl “Bugs” Stevens, Leo Cleary, Fred Harbach, Joe Trudeau, Eddie Flemke and Dick Watson.
Bill Slater was crowned the Sportsman Champion. Following Slater in the Sportsman standings were Fred DeSarro, Ray Miller, Maynard Forette, Hank Stevens, Pete Hamilton and Gene White The midgets also ran at Stafford that weekend with Lou Fray taking the win over George Monson. NASCAR discontinued the open wheeled Sportsman division at season’s end. Late Model bodied cars were becoming popular in the south and NASCAR made the decision to name these cars Late Model Sportsman. All open wheeled cars would be considered Modifieds
The all new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about! Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great Christmas gift!