RPW Exclusive: The Champ Trail; Time To Go Racing In Florida & More

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The flatlands of central Florida come alive with the sounds of racing engines this Friday, February 8 as Speedweek officially begins with the drop of the green for the 2019 version of the World Series of Auto Racing at the New Smyrna Speedway and the Bronson Speedway Kickoff to Speedweeks Modified event, also on Feb 8.

New Smyrna will run nightly through Saturday, Feb 16. Action shifts to the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb 9 with the annual ARCA 200. The Advance Auto Parts Clash for Cup winners and past pole sitters and Daytona 500 qualifying follow on Sunday. All of New England and New York State will be watching and wishing well to Ryan Preece who will be making his debut in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

“Money” Matt Hirschman will be going for 2 in a row in the 4th annual Kick Off To Speedweek 50 Powered by Sunoco at Bronson Speedway. Matt and his Pee Dee Motorsports team will be gunning for the $2,000 to win victory that is accompanied by a set of Hoosier Racing Tires and 10 gallons of Sunoco 112 Race Fuel. Over the past two Kick Off events Matt has captured the Cathy & Keith Goodale Going The Distance $1,000 bonus for posting the highest finish in the annual Richie Evans Memorial 100 at New Smyrna Speedway after competing at Bronson in the Kick Off event. That very special award will again be part of the 2019 Kick Off classic.

Nightly action at New Smyrna continues with the first of five tour type Modified events beginning on Monday, Feb 11, winding up with the Richie Evans Memorial 100 on Friday night, Feb 15. New Smyrna Speedway’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing will have live stream on Fanschoice.tv all week…

Action at the Daytona Speedway continues on Monday, February 11 with practice and qualifying for the Daytona Duels for Cup cars on Thursday, the NASCAR truck Series on Friday and Xfinity Series on Saturday. The Annual Daytona 500 closes out the week on Sunday, February 17.

For those who can’t attend Daytona Speedweeks but want racing in February, come to the North East Motor Sports Museum at the New Hampshire Int. Speedway (922 Route 106, Loudon, NH) on Saturday, February 16 for their Daytona Party. It will take place from noon to the end of the day’s Xfinity Series Daytona 300 which will be shown on their televisions. The Daytona Party is free to museum members and kids under 12. Non-members can enjoy the party and museum with an $8 online ticket or $10 at the door.

The party will include free food, beverages and raffle prizes. Sit back, relax, talk racing and stay awhile. A New Hampshire Motor Speedway representative will be on site to answer your questions about the upcoming 2019 racing season as well.

After a successful 2018 debut at the Vineyards Golf Club of Riverhead the original Long Island Daytona 500 Party will return by popular demand to the scenic north shore country club Sunday February 17th, 2019 it was announced today by party organizers Stephen Halpin & Bob Finan along with Brian Slaga of the Vineyards Golf Club. For four decades the L.I. Daytona 500 party has provided race fans a venue to enjoy the “Great American Race” among fellow racers and friends with plenty of specials and giveaways along the way.

Last year party guests watched the 500 in the bar and banquet areas of the Vineyards Golf Club with the lavish setting accompanied by a tasty gourmet buffet rivaling the kind you’d find at a wedding. “Brian Slaga and his staff went out of their way to provide us with a first class affair last year” Stephen Halpin noted, “from the top shelf service, food, drink and atmosphere it was a big hit and why we are returning”. Brian Slaga aside from his involvement with the Vineyards Golf Club has been a fixture on the Riverhead Raceway scene sponsoring several race teams through East West Marine Supply.


The temperature soared to 32deg last Saturday in Waterford, Ct. Hopefully the warming trend will continue so as to allow for construction and assembly of the new grandstand for the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. The Speedbowl hosted their annual banquet last weekend and with that out of the way construction and assembly of the new grandstand can begin. When completed the transition will be complete as the once tired and run-down facility will be reborn with a like new look. The grandstand is gone.

Five of NASCAR’s legendary competitors, three drivers and two owners, were enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, this past Friday night during the Induction Ceremony held in the Crown Ball Room at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Davey Allison, Jeff Gordon, Alan Kulwicki, Roger Penske and Jack Roush comprise the 10th Class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, now home to 50 inductees. In addition to the five inductees enshrined, Jim Hunter was honored as the fifth recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Prior to the Induction Ceremony, journalist Steve Waid was presented the seventh Ken Squier- Barnie Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.

The Bullring Bash Quarter Mile Challenge and Thunder Road International Speedbowl have announced that the inaugural Rumble in the Quarry, the final event of the 2019 Bullring Bash season, will be moved to Sunday, September 1. The revised event date will see the Bullring Bash team up with the American Canadian Tour’s Late Model division for the first time for a spectacular doubleheader event. The new event date will avoid Modified conflicts in the region for racers and fans, and will enable all parties to deliver high-quality racing action that meets the Bullring Bash standards.

“When we developed the inaugural Bullring Bash calendar, we sought out event dates that would not cause a conflict with other New England racing promotions,” said Bullring Bash founder Josh Vanada. “For the benefit of the community, we thought it was in everybody’s best interests to take the initiative to move our Thunder Road season finale to a new date. Running on Labor Day weekend affords more quality competitors the opportunity to race, and also allows us to team up with the ACT Late Model Tour. The new arrangement enables us to put on a better show for the fans who have been waiting for years for these cars to return to Thunder Road.”

The inaugural season of the Bullring Bash Quarter Mile Challenge will now have even more on the line for Modified teams in the region. Bullring Bash and Race of Champions (RoC) officials announced that all 2019 Bullring Bash Modified events will be automatic qualifiers for the 69th annual Race of Champions 250 on Saturday, September 28.

The overall winner of each of the three-segment, 125-lap Modified races on the Bullring Bash schedule will receive a guaranteed starting spot should they attempt to qualify for the RoC event at North East, PA’s Lake Erie Speedway. With $12,500 guaranteed to the winner and a minimum of $1,000 to start, the event is one of the richest in asphalt modified racing. As such, drivers who carry the checkered flag in a Bullring Bash event will get a chance at both a career-defining win and a huge payday.

On the speedway stock market scene last week, there was very little movement by the speedway stocks. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.47 to 43.25 while Dover Entertainment went up 0.01 to 2.00. Speedway Motorsports showed no movement at 16.34. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 2.10 to 57.95, NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.70 to 15.04 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.49 to 21.02. Two of the three auto manufacturers were down for the week. Ford went down 0.14 to 8.72 and Toyota went down 1.72 to 122.00 while General Motors went up 0.14 to 38.78. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 3.97 to 184.37 and Lowes went up 3.29 to 97.11. In the area of big team sponsors stocks, Coca-Cola went up 5.37 to 216.99, Fedex went up 3.95 to 179.31 and Porter Cable Stanley Works went up 7.21 to 127.79 while McDonalds dropped 7.28 to 176.72, Target dropped 1.22 to 71.17 and Dow-Dupont dropped 4.29 to 53.47.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, February 6
3:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

Thursday, February 7
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

Friday, February 8
1:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

Saturday, February 9
10:30 AM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Clash practice, FS1
12:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub – Weekend Edition, FS1
1:00 PM, MENCS Daytona 500 practice, FS1
2:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub – Weekend Edition, FS1
3:00 PM, MENCS Daytona 500 final practice, FS1
4:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub – Weekend Edition, FS1
11:00 PM, NASCAR The Decades – the 1990s, NBC Sports Net
11:30 PM, Classic NASCAR – 1998 Daytona 500, FS1

Sunday, February 10
2:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
3:00 PM, MENCS Clash at Daytona, FS1