RPW Exclusive: The Champ Trail; North-South Shootout, New England Hall Of Fame, New Owner Of ‘RE’ & More

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The International Speedway Corporation was feeling quite frisky last week as they announced that they have entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Racing Electronics.

Racing Electronics is known worldwide as a leader in motorsports communications technology and equipment for motorsports drivers, teams, series, venues, and fans, as well as the exclusive provider of FanVision technology to NASCAR and NHRA. Racing Electronics is also the Official Two-Way Radio and Race Communications Provider of 14 major sanctioning bodies including ARCA, IndyCar, NHRA, World Racing Group and USAC.

That news was overshadowed last Friday when the International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: ISCA; OTC Bulletin Board: ISCB) (“ISC”) announced that its Board of Directors (the “Board”) has received a non-binding offer from NASCAR, to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Class A common stock and Class B common stock of the Company, other than the shares held by the controlling shareholders of ISC, for a cash purchase price of $42.00 per share. The intention is to combine ISC and NASCAR as one privately-held group of companies with the France family as primary owners. A copy of the proposal letter is attached as Exhibit Number 99.1 to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today.

“In a highly competitive sports and entertainment landscape, a more unified strategic approach is important to our future growth,” said Jim France, Chairman of ISC and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NASCAR. “We believe the industry requires structural changes to best position the sport for long term success and this offer represents a positive step forward in that direction.” NASCAR’s proposal letter indicates that the outcome of this prospective offer will not impact the France family’s long-term commitment to the sport, nor its interest in maintaining its current ownership in ISC, as the France family is not interested in selling its shares of ISC at this time.

The ISC Board has formed a special committee (the “Special Committee”) comprised of J. Hyatt Brown, Larry Aiello, Jr., Larree Renda and William Graves , each of whom is an independent director of the Company, to act on behalf of the Company to consider this proposal. Mr. Brown, the Company’s lead independent director, will serve as Chairman of the Special Committee. The Special Committee will be advised by independent legal and financial advisors. NASCAR’s offer will be reviewed by the Special Committee and will be subject to the approval of the holders of a majority of the Company’s outstanding common stock, other than the common stock held by the France family. In the interim, NASCAR and ISC will continue to operate as separate and independent entities.

The Company cautions shareholders and others considering trading in its securities that the Board just received the non-binding proposal letter from NASCAR and no decisions have been made with respect to the Company’s response to the proposal. There can be no assurance that any definitive offer will be made, that any agreement will be executed or that this or any other transaction will be approved or consummated.

International Speedway Corporation is a leading promoter of motorsports activities, currently promoting more than 100 racing events annually as well as numerous other motorsports-related activities. The Company owns and/or operates 13 of the nation’s major motorsports entertainment facilities, including Daytona International Speedway® in Florida (home of the DAYTONA 500®); Talladega Superspeedway® in Alabama; Michigan International Speedway® located outside Detroit; Richmond Raceway® in Virginia; Auto Club Speedway of Southern California near Los Angeles; Kansas Speedway® in Kansas City, Kansas; ISM Raceway near Phoenix, Arizona; Chicagoland Speedway® and Route 66 Raceway near Chicago, Illinois; Homestead-Miami SpeedwaySM in Florida; Martinsville Speedway® in Virginia; Darlington Raceway® in South Carolina; and Watkins Glen International® in New York.

The Company also owns and operates Motor Racing Network, the nation’s largest independent sports radio network and Americrown Service Corporation, a subsidiary that provides catering services, and food and beverage concessions. In addition, the Company owns ONE DAYTONA, the retail, dining and entertainment development across from Daytona International Speedway, and has a 50.0 percent interest in the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway.

Modified action moved south to Concord, NC for the 16th annual running of the John Blewett III Memorial North South Shootout in Memory of Charles Kepley. Twenty eight Modifieds and a real slim crowd were on hand.

Jon McKennedy finished his season just like he started it with a win at Myrtle Beach in March as he rallied back late in Saturday’s caution-filled 16th annual John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout and held off a final-lap charge from Matt Hirschman to take down the $10,000 victory at Concord Speedway. McKennedy, who started from the pole and led uncontested until his pit stop at lap 43, only ran outside the top five for 13 of the 125 laps in the tour-type modified event. However, it wasn’t until a restart with 21 to go that he truly retook command of the race.

Driving Tommy Baldwin’s No. 7ny, McKennedy charged around the outside of leader Andy Seuss when the green flag waved for the final time and never looked in his mirror again. He raced away from his closest pursuers and then kept Hirschman at bay in the final half-mile en route to the win.

McKennedy’s main threat in the closing laps was six-time event winner Hirschman, who made his final stop for fresh tires after a red-flag period with 38 to go. He came off pit road in 18th place, but methodically started picking off cars one by one and was in position to slip through a multi-car accident that sparked the final stoppage of the night on lap 104. Among those eliminated were Chuck Hossfeldt, Chase Dowling and Jason Myers.

Avoiding the mayhem that ultimately blocked the track on the frontstretch, Hirschman found himself lined up seventh for the 21-lap sprint to the finish and wasted no time moving into position to run for the win. He broke into the top five with 15 to go and took just eight more laps to crack the top three, passing Andy Seuss for third with seven laps remaining. Hirschman got held up trying to pass second-running Jimmy Blewett and couldn’t secure the runner-up spot until three to go.

By then, McKennedy was just far enough out in front to stay there, and though Hirschman carved a near one-second gap into shreds in the closing moments, he fell a car length short at the checkered flag.

Blewett hung on to finish third in the race named in honor of his brother, John Blewett III, with John Smith trailing close behind in fourth. After leading 41 laps during the middle portions of the race, Seuss faded back to fifth in the end.

The marathon race was slowed by a multitude of wrecks, including four red-flag periods. The 125-lap distance took three hours to complete and only 12 of the 28 starters finished on the lead lap.

The finish:Jon McKennedy, Matt Hirschman, Jimmy Blewett, John Smith, Andy Seuss, Bobby Measmer Jr., Anthony Nocella, Todd Owen, Patrick Emerling, James Civali, Burt Myers, George Brunnhoelzl III, Jimmy Zacharias, Daniel Yates, Sammy Rameau, Gary Putnam, Chase Dowling, Calvin Carroll, Chuck Hossfeld, Brandon Ward, Cameron Sontag, Mike Norman, Jeremy Gerstner, Jeff Fultz, Chris Finocchario, Ron Silk, Jason Myers and Brian Loftin.

On Sunday, Nov 11, The New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame inducted their class of 2019 at Manley’s Banquet Hall in South Windsor, Ct. The class includes the late Ted Christopher, Mike Stefanik, Jamie Aube, Ken Tremont Sr, John Buffum, Butch Elms, Dick Glines and Pete Silva. George Weaver and George Pendergast were also inducted into the hall. Mark “Bones” Bourcier was presented the Ron Bouchard Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award by Paula Flemke Bouchard.

Stefanik, a Rhode Island racer and one of asphalt Modified racing’s very best, is a seven-time champion of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the series’ all-time winner with 74 victories. He was an outstanding driver in full-fendered equipment as well, winning Busch North Series and Modified Tour titles in 1997 and 1998. He was the 1999 Rookie of the Year on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and has hundreds of victories in weekly short track competition.

Christopher, who was killed in an airplane crash while on his way to race at the Riverhead Raceway in the fall of 2017, owns more than 370 victories in his career in an almost immeasurable variety of race cars, from Modifieds to Midgets to Super Late Models and more. Christopher was the 2001 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion and the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion. He is the all-time winner at both Stafford Motor Speedway (131 victories) and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (99). Christopher was named one of the top 25 drivers in NASCAR’s weekly series in 2006, when the series celebrated its 25th anniversary. In 2008, Stafford named a section of its grandstand in his honor.

Six out of the eight have strong ties to Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine. Though his name may not be familiar to many stock car fans, Colchester’s John Buffum is the most high-profile inductee from the class. The driver, team owner and car builder is the most accomplished American in the history of rally racing, winning 118 events at the national level in the United States and Canada, three events internationally, and a pair of Pikes Peak Hill Climbs. Buffum was born and raised in Connecticut but has called Vermont home for more than 50 years. He can claim 23 national rally championships and one road racing title as a driver, and another 31 titles as a team owner and constructor.

All three active Vermont stock car tracks find representation in the newly announced class. North Ferrisburgh native Jamie Aube rose from humble beginnings at Barre’s Thunder Road and Milton’s Catamount Stadium to become a household name in the short track world. Aube won the nationally-respected Oxford 250 in 1987 and ’89 and also won three consecutive championships on the former NASCAR Busch North Series.

C.V. “Butch” Elms III is one of two dirt track stars to be named to the NEAR Hall of Fame. The North Haverhill, New Hampshire native is undeniably one of the most accomplished dirt drivers in the Northeast, taking 136 documented wins and 11 track championships. Elms is best known these days as the owner and promoter of Bradford’s Bear Ridge Speedway, where the bulk of his success came in his driving days — which he has owned since 1989.

Ken Tremont Sr. also represents the dirt world, and is the only non-New Englander in the Class of 2018. The all-time greatest car owner and engine builder at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Tremont has 93 wins and 10 track titles (and counting) within the borders of New England, and he remains active with both his son, Ken Jr., and grandson, Montgomery, driving his cars. Tremont’s accomplishments in his native New York State, though they were not factored into his nomination by NEAR, bring his career totals to well above 350 race wins and nearly 50 championships.

As a driver, New Hampshire native Dick Glines won a championship in the highly-competitive Oxford Open Series and was a winner at several Maine tracks. As a crew chief, he was responsible for the rise and dominance of Robbie Crouch in the 1980s, winning 49 touring series races and five championships including three-straight on the American-Canadian Tour, and was Aube’s crew chief during his 1990 Busch North title run. As a fabricator, Glines built cars for eight additional Busch North championship teams, and his cars also won NASCAR Busch Series (now Xfinity) races.

Maine’s Pete Silva won more than 120 races on paved short tracks up and down the East Coast, and is considered to be one of the Southeast’s most legendary drivers. After winning Late Model Sportsman races in his native New England, Silva relocated to the Carolinas and won many races and track championships at places like Greenville-Pickens, Hickory and Asheville, racing against many drivers who went on to national prominence in NASCAR.

In NASCAR Xfinity Series racing in Phoenix Arizona, Christopher Bell finished 1.877 seconds ahead of Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet driver Daniel Hemric. Matt Tifft finished third with Austin Cindric and Ryan Preece rounding out the top five.

On a sad note, The great Frankie Schneider has passed away on Sunday evening, Nov.11 . A great race driver and true gentleman. He was the 1952 NASCAR National Modified Champion.

On the speedway stock market scene this week, two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on the positive side. The International Speedway Corporation went up 1.20 to 39.06 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.39 to 16.34 while Dover Entertainment dropped 0,02 to 2.11. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 1.74 to 56.84 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.43 to 21.99. NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went unchanged from last week and remained at 15.66. The car manufacturers had an up and down week. Toyota went up 1.78 to 117.24 while General Motors dropped 0.33 to 35.70. Ford remained stagnant at 9.38. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 6.66 to 185.99 while Lowes remained stagnant at 96.82. In big team sponsors stocks, McDonalds went up 9.19 to 185.94, Coca-Cola went up 7.92 to 192.40, Target Department Stores went up 2.55 to 86.96, Dow-Dupont went up 0.95 to 58.68, Fedex went up 2.80 to 224.46 and Porter Cable Stanley Works went up 1.50 to 125.74.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, November 14
4:30 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net

Thursday, November 15
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
5:30 PM, Dale Jr. Download, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

Friday, November 16
12:30 PM, Dale Jr. Download, NBCSN
1:00 PM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Homestead practice, NBCSN
2:30 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Homestead practice, NBCSN
3:30 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Homestead qualifying, FS1
5:00 PM, NXS Homestead final practice, NBCSN
6:00 PM, MENCS Homestead qualifying, NBCSN
7:30 PM, NASCAR RaceDay – NCWTS, FS1
8:00 PM, NCWTS Homestead race, FS1
10:00 PM, NCWTS Post Race, FS1

Saturday, November 17
6:30 AM, MENCS Homestead practice re-air, NBCSN
6:30 AM, NCWTS Homestead race re-air, FS1
8:00 AM, NXS Homestead practice re-air, NBCSN
9:00 AM, NXS Homestead final practice re-air, NBCSN
10:00 AM, MENCS Homestead qualifying re-air, NBCSN
11:30 AM, MENCS Homestead practice, NBCSN
12:30 PM, NXS Homestead qualifying, NBCSN
1:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
2:00 PM, MENCS Homestead final practice, NBCSN
3:00 PM, NXS Countdown to Green, NBCSN
3:30 PM, NXS Homestead race, NBCSN
6:30 PM, NXS Post Race, NBCSN

Sunday, November 18
9:00 AM, Classic NASCAR – 1994 Coke 600, FS1
9:30 AM, NCWTS Homestead race re-air, FS1
11:30 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
1:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBC
2:00 PM, MENCS Countdown to Green, NBC
3:00 PM, MENCS Hot Pass, NBCSN
3:00 PM, MENCS Homestead race, NBC
7:00 PM, MENCS Post Race, NBCSN
7:30 PM, NCWTS Homestead race re-air, FS2

Monday, November 19
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1