them, they don’t give a sh-t. Tony pulled out of line at the end to win the race. He wasn’t going to stay in line to finish fourth. Our regulars have to pay the bills too, so they aren’t going to pull out of line and take a chance to get wrecked.”
The incident Blewett referred to involved Stewart and former Mod Tour champ Jerry Marquis. With just a handful of laps to go, Stewart had come out of nowhere to challenge Marquis for the lead. Going down the backstretch the two bumped and that sent Stewart’s number-94 machine through the infield at 160-mph. After hitting a bump and having all four wheels off the ground, Stewart “dirt-tracked” it back onto the asphalt in turn three. Unbelievably, Stewart only lost six spots.
MOD-WHACKERS HAVE TOUR REGULARS TICKED OFF by Bob Dillner & Mike Twist
Stewart & Edwards Cause a Ruckus in Mod Tour Community
The phrase “Busch-Whackers” has become one of the most used terms in “big-league” NASCAR racing. It refers to Nextel Cup Series regulars racing in the Busch Series. And this year it has been a source of controversy in NASCAR. Currently, “Busch-Whackers” own seven of the top-ten spots in the Busch Series standings and that raises questions about the fairness of allowing them steal the spotlight and money from some of the division’s less famous boys.
At New Hampshire International Speedway this past weekend, a new phrase was born – “Mod-Whackers.” Defending Cup champ Tony Stewart and fellow series superstar Carl Edwards donned their firesuits and climbed behind the wheel of a couple Mods for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at the “Magic Mile.” And just like their predecessors in the Busch Series, these “Whackers” stole the spotlight, some of the money and also caught the ire of several of the Modified Tour regulars.
“Those guys are racing to win; they aren’t there to make any friends,” said race winner John Blewett III. “For
Tony Stewart argues with Jerry Marquis about the on-track incident at NHIS (51 Photos)
Tony Stewart was fast in a Mod at NHIS, but was he too aggressive? (51 Photo)
Asked whether he hit him on purpose, the normally calm Marquis replied, “I turned left because he hit me. Enough’s enough. I gave him some respect, he should respect me too.”
Much to everyone’s surprise, Stewart, who was raising money for charity (Racing Against Cancer) by racing the Foxwoods car, and five-time Mod Tour champ Tony Hirschman also exchanged heated words on pit road after the contest.
After the race, the cars of Stewart and Marquis were parked near each other on pit road. Stewart proceeded to approach Marquis to talk to him about the incident and a shouting match ensued.
“He told me, ‘Hey, nice left turn.’ Well, we’re on a racetrack that turns left, so I guess I have to turn left, right?” said Marquis, still simmering off inside the cockpit of his number-4 Modified. “Coming off of two he bumped me and I thought we were going to bump draft and he got me completely sideways. I corrected it; we hit again, then he comes up and he banged me again. So I said, ‘Well here ya go,’ and banged him back."
Stewart argues with Tony Hirschman after the race as well. (51 Photos)
“He said I drew first blood,” explained Hirschman of what Tony Stewart told him. “He got on the outside of me and I put him up in the sh-t, he said. We never touched. Then he ran me in the back. Later he’s coming up through and he said he pushed me to the front. Then when he ran underneath me, he ran right into the side of me and knocked the wheel right out of my hand. He had Jerry wrecked in those last couple laps I don’t know how many times. Not too many guys appreciate it.”
Stewart appeared to not have lifted when he took his “Dukes of Hazzard” style ride through the infield and when he came back out on the track sideways, he did so in front of Hirschman.
“He went through the infield, Joie Chitwood, Dukes of Hazzard, through the infield and he came right out in front of me,” continued Hirschman. “If I wouldn’t have lifted then he would’ve wrecked me in that turn again. He never even slowed down. That’s just being an idiot driving over your head.”
Stewart was all smiles initially as he sat in his Curt Chase-prepared car on pit-road, but the emotion brewed as he began exchanging words with both drivers.
“I learned real quick they start leaning on you, but they sure as hell don’t like it when you lean back on them,” said Stewart.
Ironically, Tony Hirschman wasn’t the only Hirschman affected by “Mod-Whackers.” As we mentioned earlier, Carl Edwards was in this race too and he had a run-in with Tony’s son, Matt Hirschman.
“I was next to Eric Beers, side-by-side for a couple laps, and Carl was behind me,” Matt explained. “He made a late pull to try and go underneath me down the frontstretch and he just climbed up on the back (of my car). He kinda rode me all the way into one and in the middle of (turn) two until he finally fell off. The sheet metal is smashed so bad in the back that we had to pit to get the spoiler down so I could drive it. We ended up losing a lap in the pits.
The spotlight of the cameras swirled around "Mod-Whacker" Carl Edwards before the race. (51 Photos)
Edwards, who is the perennial “nice guy” in the Cup Series, said the incident was a blur to him.
“I was having fun and I just caught that guy’s left rear,” said Edwards. “I pulled out to pass him into the corner and jumped his left rear a little bit. I don’t think that he turned or anything. I just barely got him. I don’t know what happened there, but it went bad real quick.”
If the post-race comments are any indication of what might happen in the future, Edwards may want to beware of another racing family, this one from New Jersey.
“I had an issue with the #50 (the car Edwards drove). Twice, I almost got wrecked with him,” said Blewett, who pulled alongside of Edwards during one caution period to express his displeasure with the Cup regular.
The Blewetts and Hirschmans are hard-working guys who fix their own stuff and use their own money to go racing. Same can be said for the less-known Kevin Goodale, who is still trying to make a name for himself in quite possibly NASCAR’s toughest divisions. He too was taking about a specific “Mod-Whacker” after the race, Tony Stewart.
“He hooked my rear bumper going down the frontstretch. I slid to the inside and slapped the wall. A little rough driving from Tony Stewart today, that’s all I can say,” stated Goodale.
Tony Stewart passes Tony Hirschman (#48) with a little help from Reggie Ruggiero (#41). (51 Photos)
“I don’t know if he was trying to put on a show for everybody or what, but after he wrecked me I heard that he was in the infield getting airborne and what not. I don’t know, but he was just driving rough out there today. It’s one thing to drive rough, but it’s another thing to wreck a lot of cars.”
And that is the issue at hand. Goodale puts his own money into his ride. Tony Hirschman and Jerry Marquis race for a living and Blewett is a scrappy-type who doesn’t take anything off of anybody. The Modified Tour is their life. There was a lot at-hand in that race, points and money being the main thing. To have a “Mod-Whacker” ruin your day or disrupt your run can be a big aggravating.
“I can say that when they come in here to race with us, they should be no better than us,” said Matt Hirschman. “This is our series. Obviously, we just can’t go into their series and do the same thing because that’s a level or two above us. But they wouldn’t like it if someone went out and took them out while they are racing for the Chase.”
“There’s only so much shit you’re going to take, whether it’s them or any of the guys on this series,” said Marquis. “As far as I’m concerned, those guys wreck their cars just fine in their series. They can stay there.”
But this may not be over. The Mods compete again on the Nextel Cup weekend in September at NHIS and there are already rumblings that at least Stewart will be back.
“He told me if I want to take it up, we’ll take it up in the fall race,” stated Tony Hirschman.
“If Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief of Stewart’s Cup car) okay’s it, I’m back.”