Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – With Florida speedweek in the rear view mirror it’s time to look forward to the start of the 2019 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series which gets the green on March 16 at the Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina.
While Matt Hirschman, defending series champion Justin Bonsignore and former series champion Doug Coby are the odds on front runners Tommy Catalano hopes to build on his rookie season.
Catalano purchased a brand new Troyer TA3 chassis over the off-season and is looking forward to letting it hit the track in Whelen Modified Tour competition. However, that car won’t hit the pavement for the opener at Myrtle Beach Speedway on March 16. Instead, he will bring a car back to South Carolina that has already been to Victory Lane at the .538-mile oval last year, in November, as part of a Modified race at the Myrtle Beach 400.
In some big news from NASCAR, FansChoice.TV announced on Friday, Feb 22 that the streaming digital platform will air the entire NASCAR regional series schedule live in 2019.
They will air the complete NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West schedules, including the two summer combination races as well as the 17-race schedule for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
FansChoice.TV aired the season-opener for the K&N Pro Series East on Sunday, February 10 at New Smyrna Speedway. They also aired all nine nights of the 53rd annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna.
Fans will be able to watch K&N Pro Series West drivers open their season on Thursday, February 28 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, before watching Whelen Modified Tour teams kick-off 2019 at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway on March 16. The next time the K&N Pro Series East hits the track is at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 6.
With the entirety of each schedule airing, fans can watch champions be crowned in all three divisions. The K&N Pro Series East season ends at Dover International Speedway on October 4, while the Whelen Modified Tour crowns their champion at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on October 13. The K&N Pro Series West returns to Arizona and ISM Raceway on Saturday, November 9 to crown their new title holder.
Most important is now team owners can tell sponsors and potential sponsors that their advertising will be streamed world wide on the internet. This is indeed, a big deal! A tip of the hat to NASCAR.
Bob Finan sends word that a hefty $32,650 purse will be on the line Saturday June 15th, 2019 as Riverhead Raceway presents the 3rd annual Islip 300 with the winner netting a rich $7,000. So far Dillon Steuer and Ryan Preece have enjoyed the big payday, who will take the big prize in 2019? Second through tenth pay: $2,500, $2,250, $2,000, $1,750, $1,500, $1,400, $1,300, $1,200 & $1,100. The 11th and 12th place finishers earn $1,000 each and the race pays $600 to start.
Internet racing news site RaceDayCt announced that Norm Wrenn Jr. has partnered with Hudson (N.H.) Speedway owner Ben Bosowski to purchase Claremont (N.H.) Speedway. Wrenn purchased Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. in February 2018 and closed on the purchase of Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. in December 2018. Bosowski purchased Hudson Speedway in early 2018.
Wrenn and Bosowski agreed to purchase Claremont from co-owners Phil Hayes and James Ambrose. Hayes will stay on at Claremont as the track’s general manager.
Wrenn Jr. had been in talks to purchase the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in the spring of 2017, but his attempts to acquire the shoreline oval from current owner Bruce Bemer fell short.
Christopher Bell routed the field at Atlanta Motor Speedway and led all but 20 laps to win the Xfinity Series race Saturday. Ryan Preece finished seventh.
Brad Keselowski won the Monster Energy cup event at Atlanta. Martin Truex Jr. was second and Kurt Busch, third. Ryan Preece started 25th in the Fold of Honor Quiktrip 500 at Atlanta and had crawled his way through the field and was running toward the back end of the top-10.
He was seventh in the running order with 54 laps remaining when he went to pit road during a round of green flag stops. After getting his car serviced Preece was coming out of his pit box when he crashed hard into the car of BJ McLeod, who was multiple laps down from the leaders and slowing to come into his pit box. Preece ended up 35th.
It was the second week in a row that McLeod has been involved in a pit road crash that took out lead laps cars while he was laps down. In the Daytona 500 McLeod and Cody Ware set off a chain reaction crash coming onto pit road that collected Jimmie Johnson.
On the speedway stock market scene last week, all three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.55 to 17.83, the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.42 to 44.00 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.01 to 2.01. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage dropped 0.28 to 58.44 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.32 to 15.37 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.56 to 19.35. The auto makers had a positive week. Ford went up 0.17 to 8.71, Toyota went up 0.67 to 121.82 and General Motors went up 0.90 to 39.99. In the home improvement sector Lowes went up 2.03 to 106.27 while Home Depot remained stagnant at 192.39. In the area of big team sponsor’s stocks Target Department stores dropped 0.59 to 72.25 while McDonalds went up 3.20 to 183.17, Coca-Cola went up 1.66 to 226.84, Dow/Dupont went up 0.73 to 54.97, Fedex went up 1.19 to 180.49 and Porter Cable Stanley Works went up 2.53 to 138.92.