Hossfeld and Haydt Settle Right In With New Teams, Shivers Finishes in Time and More

The marriage of Chuck Hossfeld and the Don Barker-owned #50 team is already perfect when it comes to qualifying on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.  The duo has entered one race and now has one pole, thanks to a quick lap of 18.750 seconds to lead time trials for the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway (CT).
“This team is a great team,” said Hossfeld.  “We are here to do well and we’re here to shine.  I’ll tell you that I’m excited.  I think that it’s great, I’m happy as hell.”

Hossfeld thinks that he could have runs an even faster lap based on what he was able to do in practice.

“We were practicing better than that a couple of times,” said Hossfeld.  “But this was quick enough for the pole.  We didn’t win by much, but a pole’s a pole so we’ll take it.”

The run came with a minimum of fine tuning.
“We were good when we unloaded, but obviously we kept trying to get it faster and faster,” said Hossfeld.  “We started tight and then crossed the line to loose before we found a happy medium.  We made changes, but we didn’t keep all of them.”


19-Year-Old Tyler Haydt was another driver entering his first race with a new team.  Haydt also had the added burden in the Icebreaker being his first ever NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race – if he was able to qualify.
Haydt passed that test with flying colors.  He qualified the #28 Don King-owned car in the eighth position.

“We were good all day,” said Haydt.  “I was a little worried coming out here after Thursday’s practice when we weren’t as good as some of the other guys.  Actually, I was really worried about making the race, I didn’t know what would happen.  But today we were right on pace with everyone else and put down a good lap.”

Being able to take part in a day of practice last week at Thompson may have made all the difference in the world for Haydt when it came to qualifying. 

“We needed that practice on Thursday just to get all the bugs out and it didn’t go that smoothly,” said Haydt. “But today everything was gravy.  We got along great, made good adjustments and the car just kept getting better and better. 


Last season, Ken Bouchard had a Icebreaker weekend that he’d probably like to forget.  He did not qualify for the event in his #55 Modified.
But what a difference a year makes.  For the 2005 running of the race, Bouchard qualified seventh and will start the race on the pole after redrawing the number one pill.

And even still, the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year thinks that he could have gone even faster.

“We got here today and made two little adjustments on the chassis.  That’s all,” said Bouchard.  “The driver actually left a little bit on the table there in turn three.  I haven’t told the guys that yet, but I will tell them.”

Bouchard’s car at Thompson was the same on that he ran last season.

“We’ve got the old car,” said Bouchard.  “There’s a new car in the shop that’s almost done, but not quite.  Hopefully when the new car comes
Chuck Hossfeld and his #50.  (51 Photos)
out it will be a little better.  On this one, we’ve made some changes car-wise and little by little, we’ve been gaining.”

Tyler Haydt fit right into his new ride.
“We had a little problem in the cockpit,” said Dupuis.  ““I was complaining that the clutch pedal was going further and further down and I thought that we were losing the clutch.  All of a sudden it got a little slippery down by my feet so I was trying to take my right foot and wipe it on my left foot, then take my left foot and wipe it on my right foot.  It was awfully slippery.”

With another day left at the track and no dry cleaner in sight, Dupuis will race on Sunday with a less than immaculate racesuit.

“It’s wearable tomorrow, but I was unsuccessful in my bid to try and clean it off here,” said Dupuis.

Time didn’t just matter to Gregg Shivers on his qualifying lap.  His #23 team already won a race before the pit gates even opened on Friday by just getting their new Troyer car to the track in time.
“We fired up the car for the first time at 10:30 on Thursday night,” said Shivers.  “We had it in the trailer at 2:00 Friday morning to leave to come up here [when gates opened at 9:00am].

The past two weeks, there hasn’t been much sleep.  You always think that you have a lot more time to finish things, but it’s the little details that get you.  You start fitting the hood and think, ‘this will be nothing, we’ll pop it right on and then two hours later you are still cutting and notching it to make it fit right.”
Since the Shivers team is pretty much a self contained operation, there are plenty of man hours that go into getting a race ready for its first event.

“We make the bodies ourselves, paint it ourselves and even do the lettering ourselves,” said Shivers.  “We could even build the chassis, but this one is a Troyer and we have Billy the Kid do our engines.”

But the pride of a job well done was enough for Shivers.

“It’s very rewarding know that just three months ago, this was a bare chassis and now we took it out on the track today and it’s all set to go racing,” said Shivers.


There was something missing on the first day of the Icebreaker weekend on Saturday and that was that Ted Christopher was only at the track with one entry – his #13 Tour Modified car.  His other ride for Thompson, a Sunoco (SK) Modified was nowhere to be found.  That broke a very long streak.

“It’s been twenty something years and I haven’t missed one yet.  But, it happens,” said Christopher.  “The crew didn’t want to bring it.  We have a couple of issues, we just aren’t ready to go on some stuff.  We’ll be at Stafford [in two weeks] for sure.”


After the way that his day turned out, Justin Gaydash probably wished that there hadn’t been a brief “scuff” session before qualifying to prepare tires for time trials.  Gaydash got into the wall in turn two during the session and that cost him a chance to get into the race.
“The car was just really loose,” said Gaydash.  “I had it saved and then just overcorrected it and hit the wall.  It was my mistake.”

The wreck might have a lasting impact beyond this weekend when it comes to Gaydash’s season.

“I was going to do the full-time Tour, but I’m disappointed on missing this race,” said Gaydash.  “Our other car isn’t done.  If it was, I would have had a back-up car.  Now, I’m going to miss one race and be a race behind.  So I’ll play it by year.  We’ll see.”
Gaydash parks against the wall at Thompson.

Another disappointed newcomer to the Modified Tour during qualifying was Kelly McDougall.  The former Sunoco Modified driver needed a little bit of practice before NASCAR would allow her to attempt to qualify.  When problems sidelined her car during Saturday morning’s practice session, her team was told that instead of taking part in time trials, they would have to load up and go home.
“The way that the oil tank in the back was baffled, it was shooting the oil up and out the breather,” said McDougall.  “We couldn’t figure out why it was doing that, so we took the tank apart and fixed it.  We missed a lot of practice.  We made two laps, but that wasn’t enough.  They said that I needed more practice time and that I wouldn’t be able to attempt to qualify.”

Although she was disappointed, McDougall understood the ruling and is already looking ahead to the future.

“There are rules for a reason,” said  McDougall.  “We’ll go to Stafford.  We were going to try and run the whole Tour.
This is going to hurt, so we’ll see how the first five races go. 

McDougall was entered in the #19 Motion Transport car that Eric Beers wheeled in 2004.  With Beers moving to the Boehler #3 this season, McDougall has aligned herself with his old team.

“We are actually friends with [Car Owner] George Bierce, so when the ride came open we were able to work a deal with him.  We tested for a few laps at New Smyrna and the car felt good, so we moved ahead from there.”

Kelly McDougall.
Whether they are known as Sunoco Modified (as they are at Thompson) or SK Modifieds (like at Stafford Motor Speedway or Waterford Speedbowl), limited Modifieds are the headlining weekly division at all three Connecticut oval tracks.  The division was scheduled for twin features during Icebreaker weekend with one taking place on Saturday evening and the other during the Sunday racing card.

Saturday’s show was a thrilling one.  The race featured a late three-car battle between Jeff Malave, James Civalli
and Bert Marvin.  As the white flag flew, all three cars were grouped together.  Civalli held back his two nearest challengers and took the victory.

This is how the Sunoco Mods came to the line.
Bouchard works under the hood of his #55.
Dupuis got her feet wet during qualifying.
Shivers has a new #23 at Thompson.