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1/10/2013 10:52:00 PM
Changes Coming to Cup Qualifying in 2013
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ACT Late Model Tour fans will have to wait until Oct. 6 at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY to see who wins this year’s championship. Wayne Helliwell Jr. (27NH) leads Brian Hoar (37VT), 820-812. They’ll square off three times before then in non-point races. Hoar won this battle at the Labor Day Classic 200 at Thunder Road, Sept. 2.


By Big Bigelow

The number of weekly provisionals will drop from the ridiculous number of 35 to seven in 2013. Last season the top 35 in owner points were guaranteed a starting spot every week.

The series is going to what they call a 36-6-1 format, where the fastest 36 cars will make the race on speed. The next six highest ranking cars in owner’s points will get in with the 43rd starting spot going to the most recent eligible past champion driver. If all past champions are in the seventh car will make the field based upon owners’ points. Provisional positions in the 36-6-1 format will be lined up by owner’s points, not speed.

Also new for 2013 is the qualifying order will return to a random draw. For the past year, maybe two, practice times set the qualifying order. If qualifying is cancelled due to rain, the field will be set by practice speeds.

Provisionals will be based upon the 2012 owner’s points for the first three races, as opposed to the first five races in previous years. There will be no limit to the number of provisionals a team can use.

NASCAR never considered going with the fastest 43 cars each week. Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said, “We felt like there always needed to be some sort of opportunity for a guy that has a bad day and points are worth something to make the field.”

The Daytona 500 will line up by qualifying speeds determining the front row, and then the 150-mile qualifying races will set the majority of the spots, with the remainder of the field falling back on speed followed by a few provisionals. Pemberton said, “The final details will come out with the entry blank.”


Last week, in my New Year Resolutions piece I wrote, “Man in charge of the XXX Series: I have concluded The Chase does work and in 2013 I plan on counting all 36 races in deciding the XXX champion. How dumb have I been for what, nine years?”

That should have read, “The Chase doesn’t work and …” I’ve reprimanded both of my proof readers.

Taking a Look at Some Cup Playoff Stats

The first thing that jumped out at me when I was looking over the figures was Kyle Busch has never won a playoff race. Really? I’m talking the five years he’s been in the playoffs, he is in fact, 0-for-49. And, before you ask why 49 and not 50, remember NASCAR requested he not show up for the Cup race in Texas. He was “parked” for both the Nationwide Series and the Cup race at Texas after intentionally wrecking Ron Hornaday in the Camping World Truck race Friday night.

Win a Free Strap In Shirt: I didn’t mention the year Busch missed the race because I want you to have to do a little research. For a shot at a T-shirt, name the driver who drove the No. 18 in the Cup race that day Busch was parked?

I’ll need your mailing address. And no, I will not sell it to some one who’ll mail you junk mail and I won’t use it to try to get you to go bowling. I’ll also need a size. I have, gray in S, L and XL and black in L, 2XL and 3XL. Send your answers to I’ll draw the winner out of a hat on the 16th and will tell you the winner in next week’s column.

• Where was I? Oh ya, playoff stats. I also found it hard to believe the daffy playoffs have been around for nine seasons. Other than knowing Jimmie Johnson won five straight I’d have guessed maybe seven. And not surprisingly to anyone I’m guessing, only Johnson has been in all nine playoffs. In those 90 races he’s won 22 of them. No one else has double digits wins. Tony Stewart in 80 starts and Carl Edwards in 60 starts each have won eight playoff races. Again, this only takes into account the years they were in the playoffs.

• Denny Hamlin has five wins in 70 starts, no one else has more than five wins

• Johnson has 49 top 5s, which figures out to nearly 55 percent of the time. He has 65 top 10s, which is nearly 73 percent of the time.

• Johnson’s average finish in a playoff race is 9.17. No one else’s average finish is in single digits. Edwards, in 60 starts, is 11.02, Kevin Harvick, also in 60 starts, is 11.03.

No DirecTV Hot Pass in 2013

DirecTV is doing away with its NASCAR Hot Pass programming. The decision brings an end to the five-year-old service that gave subscribers four channels of in-car-driver video and audio. The distributor opted to discontinue the service because of its cost. DirecTV also decided to end its sponsorship of NASCAR. It had been an official partner of the sport since 2007. It is looking for other ways to stay involved in the sport and plans to set up displays at some racetracks this season. DirecTV Senior VP/PR Darris Gringeri said, “We tried to charge for the (Hot Pass) product a few years ago, but the demand for it was low. We decided to switch to a free service. It’s been great and we’ve been happy with it. It’s been a differentiator. But in the end, the production cost became too much to bear.” The offering was expensive because DirecTV had to sublicense the video rights to in-car-camera footage from NASCAR rightsholders Fox, Turner and ESPN.

ACT Tracks by the Facts

ACT handicapper Nick Bigelow has put together some facts about the ACT Late Model Tour at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, NH. Riverside Speedway returns to the ACT schedule after an eight-season hiatus.

• Riverside hosted its first ACT event in the tour’s second season in 1993. There have been 10 ACT events at Riverside with the most recent in July of 2004. Brent Dragon and Dave Whitcomb have started all 10 ACT events at Riverside.

• Brian Hoar’s three wins tops that list. In fact, he’s the only guy to have multiple wins there. He won the first-ever ACT event held at Riverside in 1993 and also won in 1994 and 2000. Seven other guys have a win there. They are Jim Cilley, Jean-Paul Cyr, Dragon, Lance Ferno, Jamie Fisher, Hoar, Joey Laquerre and Dave Pembroke.

• Dragon holds the record for most top 5s (5) and most top 10s (7).

• Phil Scott holds the record for the most positions gained in an event when he raced from 24th to 3rd in the 100-lap event in 2000.

To see more, check out

Thinking Out Loud

I was driving home from work the other night and the temp was around zero. For whatever reason, my mind wandered to Thunder Road. I just love the feeling of walking through the pit gates. I figure I’ve done it more than 550 times and was thinking I can’t wait until I can do it again.

Wayne Helliwell Will Not Chase Castrol Series Points in 2013

When ACT first announced the 2013 Castrol champion would receive $20,000, Bruce Bernhardt, owner of the 27NH, looked into running for both the Castrol Series and ACT championships. One of the things that needed to be addressed was whether or not Wayne was going to run at Lee (NH) USA Speedway on Friday nights.

TJ Ingerson from Vermont Motorsports Magazine ( recently wrote, Wayne Helliwell Jr. has announced that he will pilot the Witkum family owned 350 Supermodified at Lee USA Speedway in 2013.

“We finished the year strong and showed we could run in the top three every week,” Helliwell was quoted in the team-issued press release. “But at the same, we need to be better.”

Helliwell and Witkum claimed the track championship in their first season together in 2011, and claimed the runner-up spot last season. The Witkum brothers, Ed and Bobby, are preparing a new, self-designed chassis for the upcoming season.

“I’m a chassis guy, the whole process of building a new car is as exciting to me as racing one,” Helliwell said. “The new car looks great. I’m looking forward to it.”


Last week, when I ran points from some local tracks, I didn’t have Bear Ridge’s and only the top five from Riverside.

2012 Final Points

Riverside Speedway

Late Models – 1. Luke Shannon 640, 2. Jeff Marshall 627, 3. Matt Carbone 558, 4. Steve Patnaude 548, 5. Dean Weber 508, 6. Brian Greer 476, 7. Tom Estes 405, 8. Russ Clark 218, 9. Bob Ailes 216, 10. Randy Potter 203.

Angels – 1. Traci Nelson 604, 2. Vanessa Brown 596, 3. Jenna Randall 594, 4. Siera Sanschagrin 539, 5. Tina Leveille 535, 6. Nicole Ouellette 525, 7. Jaime Carbone 469, 8. Vickie Wyman 306, 9. Allison Barney 261, 10. Carrie Dunn 218.

Street Stocks – 1. Keith Normand 718, 2. Cole Kilby 676, 3. Jeremy Wyman 625, 4. Will Good 603, 5. Dana Graham 587, 6. Alex Kopp 581, 7. Josh Barney 548, 8. Jenna Randall 506, 9. Jeff Ainsworth 430, 10. Travis Moulton 420.

Outlaws – 1. Chandler Davis 693, 2. Doug Laleme 671, 3. Mike Paquette 642, 4. Aaron Smith 602, 5. Trever Roy 594, 6. Ron Watson 589, 7. Bill Stebbins Jr. 549, 8. Alex Rooney 490, 9. Chris Ouellette 485, 10. Jourdan Davis 406.

Bear Ridge:

Sportsman Modifieds – 1. Adam Pierson 1,268, 2. Kevin Chaffee 1,168, 3. Gary Siemons 1,071, 4. Justin Comes 1,067, 5. Josh Sunn 1,036, 6. Derek Graham and Jason Gray 1,034, 8. Bryan King 1,027, 9. Robert Tucker 985, 10. Bob Shepard 944.

Sportsman Coupes – 1. Josh Harrington 1,081, 2.Terry Williams 1,049, 3. Jason Horniak 1,046, 4. Tim Hodge and Jesse Smith 983, 6. Gene Pierson 975, 7. Jeremy Beckley 955, 8. Josh Constantine 928, 9. Steve Ellsworth 921, 10. Jason Colbeth 876.

USAC Midgets – 1. Scott Holcomb 560, 2. Joseph Krawiec 527. 3. Kevin Chaffee 526, 4. Ray Miller 479, 5. Dean Christensen 470, 6. Jeff Champagne 450, 7. Tim Gallant 428, 8. Adam Whitney 402, 9. Dana Shaw, 10. Dave Hotchkiss 375.

Limited Late Models – 1. Jordon Fornwalt 1,185, 2. Mike Greene 1,139, 3. Brian Chaffee 1,134, 4. Sam Comeau 1,035, 5. Travis King 975, 6. Matt Ellsworth 763, 7. Val Lund 345, 8. Jason Giguere 235, 9. Wade Prentice 209, 10. Jeremy Hodge 184.

Hornets – 1. Eric Lang 1,229, 2. Brandon Gray 1,139, 3. Don Reynolds 1,089, 4. Charlie Lakin 967, 5. Andy Mooney 907, 6. Mike Lique 855, 7. Mike Ryan 833, 8. Ryan Farnham 779, 9. James Fadden 733, 10. Mike Stender 716.

Fast Fours – 1. Danny Doyle 1,161, 2. Chuck Simmons 1,127, 3. Tim Martin 1,112, 4. Kevin Harran 1,104, 5. Steve Bell 1,071, 6. Bobby Bell 929, 7. Rob Gioia 684, 8. Billy Simmons, 670, 9. Dave Durkee 369, 10. Steve Sheldon 353.

Queens – 1. Dawn King 386, 2. Alicia Taylor 292, 3. Ashley Racine 190, 4. Rita Birch 130, 5. Becky Florio 92, 6. Laurie Royston 86, 7. Julie Stender 50, 8. Traci Nelson 48, 9. Connie Gioia 46, 10. Amy Bell 44.

Until Next Week

Every day find someone or something that makes you laugh.


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