We DON’T Know The Unknowns Of The Schedule
With just a few months to go before the season begins, there are plenty of questions surrounding exactly what the schedule will be like. At this point, it isn’t even clear that Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park’s IceBreaker will be the season-opening race next year.
One would think that New London-Waterford Speedbowl will remain on the schedule for one race, but it’s unclear exactly when the race would take place. With Monadnock Speedway confirming that they will not hold a race next year, speculation has been that the Speedbowl will move into a July slot. There has also been some speculation that the Speedbowl may be fighting for a second Tour race.
One would think that New Hampshire Motor Speedway will return to the schedule with their two dates, but even the track themselves won’t confirm that. Their website does show that the NASCAR XFINITY Series race in July doesn’t start until 4 p.m., as it has in the past. Normally, the tour races begins early on in the day. The September schedule also shows that there is the 3:30 p.m. time slot empty, the time where the tour normally takes the green flag.
The real question that surrounds the schedule comes with the southern races that are possibly going to happen. Multiple questions have surrounded the possibility of the New Smyrna Speedway opening the season on Feb. 19, and the track website doesn’t completely down-play that option. They list a “TBA” during the Sunday slot, one that already includes the Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series, but no other divisions at this point.
South Boston Speedway has already released their 2017 schedule of events and it includes the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, not the Whelen Modified Tour. So they appear to be out.
What about places like Concord, Dominion and the quarter-mile Legends oval at Charlotte? Could they be possibilities?
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Mystic Missile’s Plans Are Not Clear
Much like the 2015 offseason, Bob Garbarino has not made it clear what his plans will be for the 2017 season. It has been confirmed that Jimmy Blewett will not be returning to the No. 4 Mystic Missile ride for next year, but other than that, nothing is certain for the multi-time championship-winning team.
It would appear as if Garbarino, much like many, is waiting to see a schedule before he makes a decision on what he is doing.
Ole’ Blue Is Equally Uncertain
Just as Bob Garbarino’s plans are unknown to this point, so too are the plans of Rowan Pennink and the historic Boehler Racing Enterprises No. 3 team, which has been a stalwart on the Tour virtually since its inception.
Pennink and BRE combined for two top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 2016, including a season-best runner-up finish at Monadnock in July, but also had five DNFs that knocked them down to a disappointing 11th in the final points tally.
Pennink has one career Tour victory, but that was back in 2013 and neither side of this pairing made much noise this year. At this point, it appears that both sides are waiting to see how the big picture shakes out before they make any sort of decisions on their own future.
The opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Race Chaser Online, Speed77 Radio, the Performance Motorsports Network, their sponsors or other contributors.
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer. Souza also writes press releases for the Granite State Pro Stock Series.
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