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Friday November 16, 2007

By Phil Smith                                             Click on Photos for Full Size                                

Fifteen years ago, in 1992, NASCARís Winston Cup division saw the end of one era and the beginning of another. Richard Petty drove his last race at Atlanta and officially retired from driving. Rick Wilson was named as his replacement. It was also at Atlanta that Jeff Gordon made his Winston Cup debut.

Five years ago in 2002, The Busch North Series got some good news at their awards banquet when NASCAR Touring Series Director Chris Boals announced that the successful television package with the Speed Channel had been renewed, with expanded national television coverage for the BNS in 2003 and beyond. This was a definite shot in the arm for competitors who were in the process of securing sponsorship for their race teams. The Speed Channel had also announced that they would cover USAC events in 2003. The Stafford Speedway announced plans for a special invitational event for SK-Modifieds and Late Models. Tentatively scheduled for October 11, 2003 , with a possible format of twin features for each division plus a grand finale for each, should make for an exciting day of racing.

Last year, it looked like the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series had gone by the wayside as NASCAR and Whelen Engineering announced a multi-year agreement for Whelen to become the new title sponsor of NASCARís weekly racing program. The series was re-named the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for 2007.

The leasing of the Waterford Speedbowl continued to a hot topic of conversation. Jerry Robinson, a virtually unknown in racing circles, leased the shoreline oval. Robinson owns the Legends Cars Series. It was hoped that Robinson could breathe new life into the track that had all but run into the ground by property owner Terry Eames. Things got so bad in 2006 at Waterford the track was running unadvertised races as too much money had been owed for too long of a period to area radio stations and newspapers. It was amazing that the track did as well as it did. Priorities included re-opening and modernizing the restrooms and repairing sections of grandstand that have been closed for repair.

In Whelen Modified Tour Series news Mike Stefanik indicated that he would pursue his tenth championship with Flamingo Motorsports for 2007. Barry Kuhnel who played a key role as his crew chief in years past would be a consultant. Stefanik would be driving a 2007 model Troyer chassis, which was Ford powered. Word was being tossed around about a Whelen Modified Tour Series event in Mansfield , Ohio.

Word came from Lew Boyd that two legends were under the weather and could use a card of cheer. Four time NASCAR Sportsman Champion Rene Charland was recuperating from a recent car crash and. Bill Wimble had developed tongue cancer and would have a rough few weeks with radiation and chemo.

The Daytona Beach Journal reported that NASCAR President Brian France drove into a parked car and hit a tree with his Lexus. NASCAR issued a statement that he spilled a soft drink which evidently caused him to lose control of the vehicle. Evidently he wasnít drinking Pepsi and evidently his Lexus wasnít shod with Goodyear Tires. Police said the Lexus had $1,500 damage.

Kevin Harvick led 252 of the 312 circuits and captured the Checker Auto Parts "500" presented by Pennzoil at Phoenix International Raceway by a quarter of a second today over Johnson. Harvick also won the Busch Series event.

Thatís about it for this week from 40 Clark St. , Westerly R.I.02891.Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.E-Mail smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com

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

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