RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit: Third Week Of February

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Twenty years ago in 2001 Dale Earnhardt Sr. was buried in a private ceremony. Richard Childress announced that Kevin Harvick would drive the Goodwrench car that would be painted white and carry the number 29.

NASCAR announced that the lap belt had broken on the Childress No.3.  In Winston Cup qualifying at Rockingham; Jeff Gordon took the pole with Steve Park on the outside. Todd Bodine was the Busch Grandnational winner on Saturday.

It took two days to run the Winston Cup event as the red was displayed after 51 laps on Sunday because of rain. Steve Park, who had run in the lead pack all day, took the lead from Jeff Gordon on lap 338 and went on to take the win. Park did a polish victory lap and in doing so, ran out of gas and had to be pushed to victory lane.

Fifteen years ago in 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 did’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.

Last Year, 2020, Word has it that car owner Sully Tinio will return to the Whelen Modified Tour Series. As was before, Bobby Santos III will be his driver. Tinio will not commit to a schedule until he sees Santos’.

NASCAR plans to integrate the restart zone for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races in 2020, per Kyle Souza. Previously, teams had double red lines on the outside wall to start the race. This joins single car qualifying and 2 tires per stop at @StaffordSpeedwy as offseason changes.

Joey Logano won Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 NASCAR cup event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway under caution, beating Matt DiBenedetto after a wreck unfolded right as the field took the white flag. Logano came out on top in what was supposed to be a two-lap shootout after he stayed out of the pits under caution after not understanding his crew chief’s instructions to pit.

He assumed the lead from teammate Ryan Blaney, who was directed to pit by his new crew chief, Todd Gordon.

The top five was completed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson. Ryan Preece lost an engine and finished 37th. He was in the top five with a little over 40 laps to go.

The all new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it! Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!

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