Short Pitting: What The Rock Is Cooking, DW Burned Toasted, Fried Ratings, Dirty Pool And Much More

Another edition of RaceDayCT.com’s semi-regular concoction, brewed of the meatiest newsworthy items, opinions and meaningless meanderings down some paths that might not have anything to do with racing. Strap in for the ride.

Just waiting for the Papal Conclave to call us and tell us it’s go time for Pope Giggity I ….

– A short video made the rounds on Facebook last week showing Woody Pitkat roaring his Hill Enterprises NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car around the 1-mile Rockingham Speedway in Rockingham, N.C.

Yes it was real, but the mystery is, why was he there?

Rockingham Speedway was set to host a NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event last year but in the end the race was quietly scrubbed off the division’s schedule.

For his part, Rockingham owner Andy Hillenburg was secretive about why Pitkat was rumbling around his track last week. Hillenburg said it was just part of a Hoosier tire test and nothing else is planned.

So could there a Modified event coming in the future at Rockingham? The rumbles of the rumor mill say Hillenburg would like it to happen, even if it’s not a NASCAR sanctioned event.

Could a second North-South Shootout type open Modified show in North Carolina be in the making? Stay tuned.

(Video courtesy of Brad Holt)

— Kind of weird when you think about it, but basically the scope of southern New England short track racing will see new leadership across the board this year.

Stafford Motor Speedway, Thompson International Speedway, the Waterford Speedbowl, the Valenti Modified Racing Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will all have new men in charge of competition in 2013.

— Oh Big East, we hardly knew ya.

— Not bad when you already have the most stacked SK Modified division field in the state and the reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion just falls into your lap.

That’s the case at Stafford Speedway, where Doug Coby will return to the SK Modified division fulltime in 2013, joining a slew of talent already in the divison, including numerous Whelen Modified Tour regulars.

Former track owner Jack Arute Sr. once said: “You know what the mystique is at Stafford? It’s playing the palace.” That still stands true today in so many ways.

— We’re only about three years late jumping on the Spose Bandwagon here at RaceDayCT, but here ya go, Maine’s answer to Eminem.

— Only in short track racing can you find a teen competitor who claimed to have been unfairly criticized for losing his cool on the track and who also claimed that his life could be permanently damaged by the fact that his behavior was so publicly chided who would then make the feature photo on his Facebook page one of himself flipping off race track officials on the day he was so widely criticized for.

Because nothing screams classy or feeling remorseful for doing something stupid than advertising yourself flipping the bird to race track management.

There’s not getting it and there’s really just not getting it. You stay gold Travis Jurcik, you stay gold.

— Speaking of Facebook, if you haven’t already, sign up to follow us there at RaceDayCT on Facebook. You don’t want to miss when Pony Boy, Sodapop  and the rest of the gang come knocking after this. Who knows, Cherry Valance may even make an appearance.

— Has Fox NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip just finally lost it altogether?

The hot story in NASCAR going into last week’s event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was about NASCAR fining driver Denny Hamlin $25,000 for making some very mildly critical comments about the new Gen 6 Sprint Cup Series car.

During Sunday’s prerace for the Kobalt Tools 500 from Las Vegas Waltrip’s take on the biggest story in the sport that week was to say that Hamlin should shut his mouth and just drive the car.

Really? Let’s look past the fact that Waltrip’s nickname in racing was Jaws for the fact that he was never afraid to share his opinion. Here we have an analyst for a NASCAR broadcast partner saying drivers shouldn’t share their opinions?

Hey Darrell, have you seen the attendance at races? Have you seen the TV ratings? You think sapping more of the personality out of the sport than has already been ripped from it is going to make things better?

Sometimes it seems that Waltrip’s blithering opinions are just talking him out of a job because he’ll singlehandedly put the sport in its grave if any of his advice is acted upon.

— And remember it was Waltrip, like some other talking heads, telling us for the past two years that Danica Patrick would change the sport and have the new fans NASCAR desperately needed flocking to tracks and turning on broadcasts.

Well, three races into her much ballyhooed entry to the Sprint Cup Series, we’re not seeing that Patrick impact.

Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 from Las Vegas saw its ratings drop four percent from last year and 17 percent from 2011. According to Sports Business Daily, Sunday’s broadcast was the second lowest ratings for an event from Las Vegas since 2001. The only race with lower ratings was in 2010 when the event aired opposite the Winter Olympics.

— If you grew up in Western Mass. like we did at RaceDayCT – Agawam Representin’ – then there’s no doubt you will appreciate the lyrical stylings of the man known simply as Doc Westchesterson.

We’re not pimpin’ the good doctor here just because he’s a former classmate, the fact is if you ever spent any time living in Western Mass. or just regularly around the area, you’ll appreciate every single bit of what’s going on here. And when you’re done with this, check out the Doctor’s earlier regional diddy, “413”.

— There’s no denying that in the world of head-to-head business, dirty pool takes place all the time and the racetrack business isn’t immune to it.

But there’s playing dirty pool and then there’s just getting downright nasty when it comes to attracting competitors to your track.

It’s an old tactic in big time college recruiting. The coach from Big Boy College sniffles during a press conference. The next day the coach from State University tries to swoop in on Big Boy College’s recruit by saying the coach’s sniffles are because he has cancer.

And it’s no different when a track is already strapped with issues and the management from another track in need of filling their divisions is trying to poach competition by telling them there’s talk of a possible foreclosure at the other facility.

We’ll refrain from naming names, we’ll just say, not a cool game to be playing at all.

— It was good to see Race-A-Rama come back from the dead recently at the Eastern States Exposition, though it’s going to definitely need some help for it to not return to being on life support

Show organizers need to find more ways to engage race fans than just a single pit crew competition. Let’s be honest, for the most part, the Race-A-Rama section of the Frank Maratta Auto Show at the Big E was essentially just a microscopic version of the pit parties most tracks put on at big events these days. It was a lot of cars on display, and not much else.

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Comments

  1. Where is this video from The Rock? I cannot find it.

  2. It’s been added to the text.

  3. RH2 Way says:

    something was running around Rockingham this past Sunday. you could hear it at the drag strip.

  4. Mods at The ROCK? HECK YES!

  5. Paul Rose says:

    Good Rant Shawn.

  6. Jerry C. says:

    Yeah, DW is pretty shot. Mods at Rockingham would be sweet and good for both Tours North and South. Let’s face it, in Cup racing, you have your racing tracks and your fuel mileage / pit strategy tracks. Either way a 400-500 mile race is going to be dull until the last run or last 10 laps. Good read and nice shout out to my pal Doc Westchesterson.

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