RPW Column: The Champ Trail: NASCAR’s Hall Of Fame, SMART Tour’s ’22 Sked & More…

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – As of this coming Friday, January 21, three weeks remain before the start of the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified tour season at the New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna, Fl on Saturday, February 12.

From New Smyrna the WMT will wind its way north for a total of 16 events and will end the season at the Martinsville Speedway on Thursday, October 27.

The World Series for the tour type modifieds at New Smyrna will begin on Monday, Feb 14 and wind up on Fri, Feb 18 with the Richie Evans Memorial 100. Included in the series is the John Blewett III Memorial 76 lapper on Wed, Feb 16. The Super Late Model Orange Blossom 100 closes out the World Series on Saturday night, Feb18, FloRacing will live stream all events.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame’s delayed Class of 2021 Induction Ceremony will take place this coming Friday, Jan. 21. Dale Earnhardt Jr. headlines the Hall’s 12th class, which also includes Red Farmer and Mike Stefanik. In addition, Ralph Seagraves will be honored as the recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

The Class of 2021 will be the 12th class inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame since its inception in 2010.

The first class with three members instead of five is comprised of:

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.: A third-generation NASCAR champion in a family synonymous with the sport, Earnhardt Jr. is among the most popular drivers in NASCAR history. In addition to his 26 Cup Series wins and two Xfinity Series championships, Earnhardt Jr. served as the face of NASCAR for many years with 15 consecutive Most Popular Driver awards.
  • Red Farmer (above): Part of the original Alabama Gang, Farmer’s exact win count is unknown — but it’s more than 700 and counting. Namedoneofthe50GreatestDriversinNASCAR’s first 50 years in 1998, Farmer’s immeasurable passion for the sport has kept him racing for decades, even as he approaches 90 years of age.
  • Mike Stefanik: Atop the list of all-time NASCAR championships with nine sit two men: NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans, and Mike Stefanik. In 2003, Stefanik was named one of the Modified Tour’s 10 Greatest Drivers, and he holds the all-time series record in wins, poles, top fives and top 10s.

In some good news Julie Stefanik will be allowed to speak on behalf of her late husband.

Induction of this class brings the Hall’s total number of racing legends to 58. Additionally, Ralph Seagraves will be honored with the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

Southern Modified Auto Racing Tour’s (SMART) plans for the 2022 season. Series officials released a 12-race schedule that will see the tour visit 11 different race tracks in three states. The 2022 schedule is the most robust the series has offered since Chris Williams established the Southeast-based series back in 2020 after an extended absence.

After hosting four races in 2020, the number increased to 12 races at 10 tracks last season. In 2022, the schedule becomes even more diverse with the addition of three new race tracks: Southern National Motorsports Park, Orange County Speedway and Tri-County Motor Speedway.

The season will once again get underway during the month of March, with Florence Motor Speedway hosting the season opener for the first time on March 5. Since the return of the tour in 2020, Florence has hosted three SMART events and become a traditional stop on the schedule.

Following the date at Florence the SMART Modified Tour will travel to Southern National Motorsports Park for the first Tour-type Modified race at the track since 2019. The high-banked bullring in Kenly, North Carolina last hosted a SMART Modified Tour event in 1994. One week later on March 26, the tour will head to Caraway Speedway for the first of two stops in 2022. Since the revival of the tour, Caraway has hosted five SMART events, including three this past season.

To kick off the month of April, the tour will make its first of four stops in the state of Virginia for a race at the historic South Boston Speedway (VA) on April 2. The tour will return to Virginia eight days later on April 10 for a rumble around the high banked Franklin County Speedway in Callaway.

Following the race at Franklin County Speedway, the tour will take its traditional summer break to allow Modified competitors to compete at the Bowman Gray Stadium and other events in the region.

A single event will be held during the month of June at Caraway Speedway on June 29 before another two month break prior to Labor Day Weekend. Action will get back underway in a big way during the month of September with a stop at Carteret County Speedway on September 3. From there, the series will make its debut at Orange County Speedway on September 10.

A return to the beautiful Dominion Raceway will take place on September 17 prior to a triple-header during the month of October. The October schedule begins on the first day of the month with a return trip Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia. One week later, the SMART Modified Tour will visit the “World’s Most Famous Short Track,” Hickory Motor Speedway on October 8. Tri County Motor Speedway will play host to the season finale and crown the 2022 SMART Modified Tour champion on October 15.

As announced earlier this offseason, every SMART Modified Tour race will be streamed live exclusively on FloRacing in 2022. Burt Myers was crowned the 2021 SMART champion after a tight battle with John Smith.

FloRacing and Oswego Speedway are proud to announce the extension of their live stream partnership for the 2022 season. The Home of Grassroots Racing, FloRacing will continue to broadcast every Speedway event exclusively in the coming season, with the help of the team at Thomas Video Productions, who will again be responsible for producing broadcasts.

All Speedway events from the Port City 150 Season Opener in May to Bud Classic Weekend 66 in September will be available for purchase LIVE on FloRacing, bringing Novelis Supermodified, Pathfinder Bank SBS, and J&S Paving 350 Super action back to global audiences in 2022.

The late Dale Earnhardt was a feature winner at Stafford in the Showdown of Champions Series that was run at Stafford.

Read all about it in the all-new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, which is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. The book documents Modified Racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway from 1967 to 1986. 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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