RPW Exclusive: The Champ Trail; Top Winners In ’18, NASCAR & More

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Happy New Year along with good health and prosperity for 2019. As of this Friday, January 4, five short weeks remain before the start of Speedweeks in Florida.

Area Auto Racing News, the nations leading weekly auto racing publication has compiled their list of the top northeast winners for 2018. The top Asphalt Modified winners were Matt Hirschman with 16 victories, Keith Rocco with 11 victories and a three-way tie with nine victories each by Jimmy Blewett, Justin Bonsignore and Todd Owen. Tom Fearn, with 12 victories is the top northeast Late Model winner. Dirt Trackers Matt Sheppard and Stewart Friesen are the top over-all winners. Sheppard has 26 victories and Friesen, 20.

Billionaire John Henry has shown interest in buying a stake in NASCAR, potentially adding to a sports empire that includes the Boston Red Sox and the Liverpool Football Club, people familiar with the situation said.

NASCAR has been seeking minority investors, and Henry is already involved with the stock-car racing organization. His company, Fenway Sports Group, formed a partnership in 2007 with Roush Racing, home to drivers such as Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Representatives for NASCAR and Fenway Sports declined to comment. The people familiar with the deliberations asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Henry bought the Red Sox in 2002 — just ahead of a run of championships, including one this year. The 69-year-old investor, who also owns the Boston Globe, has a net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes. He made his fortune in commodities trading.

On the speedway stock market scene last week most of the racing related stocks made a remarkable recovery from the previous weeks’ bloodbath. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.98 to 43.55 while Speedway Motorsports went up 0.58 to 15.97 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.05 to 2.02. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 0.81 to 49.04, NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.53 to 12.77 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.47 to 20.34. With the exception of Ford which dropped 0.24 to 7.81 the auto manufacturers had a good recovery as General Motors went up 0.94 to 33.92 and Toyota went up 2.38 to 116.34. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 9.74 to 170.22 and Lowes went up 4.23 to 91.87. In big team sponsor’s stocks Coca-Cola dropped 0.54 to 179.55 while McDonalds went up 1.41 to 175.56, Target went up 3.83 to 64.96, Dow-Dupont went up 2.43 to 53.02, Fedex went up 0.98 to 158.98 and Porter Cable-Stanley Works went up 5.14 to 118.33.