30 in each divisions. That’s about 90 full-blown Mods there. It’s going to be impressive.”
“Usually the only other type of Modified there would be an SK,” said Hirschman. “This is a neat deal. The fans might not be as familiar with the RoC cars and drivers, because they don’t race in the area, so it should be interesting. I expect there to be a packed house.”
As one tradition begins though, another one ends. Modified Mania replaces the legendary Sunoco 300 on the Thompson schedule. Instead of 300 laps of Mod Tour racing, this event will only feature 150 circuits around the track. Some drivers are mourning the death of a staple on their schedule.
THOMPSON WILL BE MANIC WITH MODS THIS WEEKEND by Mike Twist and Matt Kentfield
Beers, Hirschman and TC Plan to Log Some Miles in Sunoco 300 Replacement Races
As Thompson International Speedway (CT) gets ready for their first-ever Modified Mania event this weekend, fans are in for a treat.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, RoC Modifieds, True Value Modified Racing Series and Sunoco (SK) Modifieds will share the stage with practice and qualifying on Saturday and an afternoon of feature racing on Sunday.
But the fans are not the only people getting pumped up – several drivers are planning to take advantage of the schedule and race as much as possible this weekend.
Rules for the event do not allow a driver to qualify for the Tour feature and run the TVMRS race, but three drivers are planning to do double duty between the Tour and the RoC Modifieds. Eric Beers, Matt Hirschman and Ted Christopher will be racing for both checkered flags. In addition, Hirschman will also race a Sunoco Modified.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Hirschman. “I’ve never run three races in one day. I’m looking forward to it and we should have a good chance in each of the races. They’re all good cars that I’ll be driving. I’ve got as good of a chance in all of the cars and I’m confident in all of them.
“I’m looking forward to it, that’s a lot of seat time and a lot of laps. I love to race.”
“Getting more track time there might help out on the Tour car a little bit,” said Beers. “Plus, we’re leading the Central points of RoC and we need a good finish there to keep that. It’s the last point race, so we need to do well. Hopefully, we’ll get a good start, run up front during the whole race and maybe win it.”
“I haven’t run a RoC race in a while so I’m not really sure what I’m going to be racing against,” said Ted Christopher, who will drive Joe Brady’s #00 car in the RoC event. “You read it in the papers, it’s the same guys running it that have been running it for a few years. They’re a bunch of good guys in that series and hopefully I have a little bit of an advantage because I know Thompson so well.”
The drivers are mindful of what the race means to the fans as well.
“It should definitely be a real good show,” said Beers. “You’ll get to see a lot of different things with 40 something cars there for the Tour race and another 25-
Ted Christopher won the 2005 Sunoco 300 at Thompson. Was it the final running of the historic race?
Modified fans will get to see NASCAR Mods (Top - 51 Photo), RoC Mods (Second from Top - 51 Photo), True Value Mods (Third from Top - Jim DuPont Photo) and Sunoco Mods (Bottom - TIS Photo) this weekend at Thompson.
“I wish it was the 300 lapper again because that’s a fun race to run,” said Christopher. “A lot of strategy, a lot of stuff can happen. Now it’s basically just another 150 lap race going to Thompson. I hope they can get a real 300 again. The deal that they have with a 150-lapper and two 75-lappers, isn’t a 300. Three races with different laps? I’d rather have them go back to the 300 lap style. It had a lot of prestige. It was fun figuring out when you were going to pit for your first set, when you were going to pit for your others, then figuring out if you were going to have a set for the final 75 or so laps until the end. A lot of strategy takes place in that race. The 150 lap race is just a 150 lap race. They call it the 300, but that’s a bunch of b------t.
“I would have liked it to be the regular Thompson 300 and everyone knows it’s not,” said Modified Tour driver Donny Lia. “I’m sure that everyone has their own opinions on that and everyone has heard them. The Thompson 300
isn’t 300 laps and that’s what it is going to be. We’re racers and we’ll just go and race however many laps that they put us out there for. I really, really liked it when it was 300 laps though. You saw strategy involved and it was a good race, but either way I love racing at Thompson.”
But when it all comes down to it, most everyone just wants to race and will find a way to do as much of that as possible.
“The 300 was a tradition and it was a long race,” said Hirschman. “I’ll still be racing a lot on Sunday. I just will be doing it in a couple of cars rather than one. Hopefully, I’ll be in for more than 300 laps during the day.”
Speed51.com will be at Thompson this weekend and will bring you all of the stories from there. Stay tuned.