Friday February 23, 2007

By Phil Smith                                                         

Thirty-Five years ago in 1972, Richard Petty started third and took the Winston Cup win at Richmond.

Thirty Years ago in 1977, Cale Yarborough won the Winston Cup event at Richmond, VA.

Twenty-five years ago in 1982, Benny Parsons was the Winston Cup pole sitter at Rockingham. The event was rained out and rescheduled. NASCAR did not have a next clear day policy at the time.

Twenty years ago in 1987, Davey Allison was the Winston Cup pole sitter at Rockingham. Geoff Bodine was second fastest. The Saturday Busch Grandnational event was cancelled because of heavy rain and not rescheduled. Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the Winston Cup event with Ricky Rudd, second.

Fifteen years ago in 1992, Ward Burton won the 200 mile Busch Grandnational event at Rockingham. Bill Elliott in the Junior Johnson No.11 was the Winston Cup winner.

Ten years ago in 1997, Mark Martin was the pole sitter for both the Busch Grandnational and Winston Cup events at Rockingham. Martin won the BGN event while Jeff Gordon took advantage of Dale Jarrett's late slip and won the Winston Cup event. On a sad note, George "Moose" Hewitt, a former track champion at Waterford, passed away at the age of 62.

Five years ago in 2002, Minority shareholders of Speedway Motorsports sued NASCAR for breach of contract and anti-trust matters because the shareholders claimed that NASCAR re-neged on its promise for a second Winston Cup date at the Texas Speedway. The suit has yet to be settled. In Winston Cup action at Rockingham, Ricky Craven was the Busch Pole sitter. Jeff Green took the Busch Grandnational pole. Jason Keller was the Grandnational winner with Greg Biffle, second. Matt Kenseth passed Ricky Craven in the late stages of the Winston Cup event and went on to score the victory. The event finished under caution. Crew Chief Robbie Reiser was fined $30,000 after it was determined that the Kenseth car was ¼ inch too low.

Last year, 2006 The New London Day reported on February 23, that the bank that held the mortgage on the Waterford Speedbowl was threatening to take possession of the racetrack, claiming the owner had failed to make payments on his $1.7 million loan. The Washington Mutual Bank, which has headquarters in Seattle, Wash., filed a lawsuit in the Norwich Connecticut Superior Court stating that Speedbowl owner Terry H. Eames of Groton and various business entities that he manages had failed to make regular and accelerated payments on the mortgage taken out six years previous. Eames' first court appearance in the case was set for Tuesday, February 28. Eames said that the racetrack's financial problems wouldn’t affect the Speedbowl's upcoming season, which was set to run from April 1 to Sept. 24. According to the racetrack's Web site, open practice for drivers was scheduled to begin March 25.

According to the lawsuit, Eames' companies and he himself were liable for mortgage payments. As the main borrower, Eames was in default and, in addition, liable because he owed back taxes, the lawsuit says. Eames manages 1080 Hartford Road LLC, which holds title to three separate parcels totaling 20 acres; T.H.E. Motorsports LLC, which leases space from the Speedbowl; and Victuals Inc., which runs concessions. All were named as parties in the lawsuit. An LLC protects personal assets like houses, cars and boats from being attached. The bank also was suing the town of Waterford, which held liens totaling about $36,000 on the property; and Finkeldey Inc. of Old Saybrook, a waste-management firm. Finkeldey supplied portable toilets to the speedbowl and was owed thousands. Eames had made arrangements with the town to pay his back taxes, Town Attorney Rob Avena said. Eames' company, 1080 Hartford Road LLC, owns three contiguous pieces of property — 1080, 1084, and 1090 Hartford Road (also known as Route 85). The 20-acre piece where the racetrack is located has a fair market value of $2.4 million, according to records in the town assessor's office. The other two parcels are worth as much as $157,000 each or more.
The bank's lawyer, James R. Byrne of Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn LLP of Hartford, asked the court to allow the bank to foreclose and take immediate possession of personal property. The bank also was seeking monetary damages, lawyers' fees and other costs. Byrne had also asked the court to assume jurisdiction over the property.

Another one who evidently didn’t like to pay taxes was Busch East competitor Matt Kobyluck. Kobyluck, who is the owner and vice president of Kobyluck Sand and Gravel owed the town of Salem Conn. $7,914.52 in real estate and personal property tax on equipment. Kobyluck owns a rock quarry and had various equipment including rock crushers on the property. The town had a cease and desist order against Kobyluck’s operation.

In Nextel Cup action at the California Speedway Matt Kenseth took the win after early contenders Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart dropped out with engine trouble.

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail:

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various other publications
 for over 3 decades.

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