51's MODIFIED MADNESS Presented by Advance Auto PartsCompiled by Mike Twist
News From Throughout The Mod-ern World - North and South, Asphalt and Dirt
TRACKS – WATERFORD PLANS ON BUSINESS AS USUAL
Modified fans in the Northeast were surprised last week by an article that appeared in the New London (CT) Day stating that the management company of the Waterford Speedbowl was being sued by the bank the holds the mortgage on the property with the bank petitioning the courts for immediate foreclosure.
team, which is owned by Billy “Bear” Calicchio, has run a limited schedule races in the past few seasons. Past drivers have included Robbie Summers, Ted Christopher, Eric Beers and Chris Kopec.
TVMRS – SERIES WILL BE WELL REPRESENTED AT RACEARAMA
When one thinks of Foxboro, MA, immediately names like Brady, Brown, Belichick, and Bruschi come to mind. They are synonymous with the team and the Bay State town that plays host to professional football in the NFL. The New England Patriots spend weeks on end in the community preparing for and playing teams like the Jets, Dolphin’s, Bills, and Raiders.
With the football season over, the Patriots are far removed from their practicing “bubble” and this weekend the team of “Rolling Thunder” takes over that venue with veteran players like Dave Berube and Jimmy Kuhn Jr, ready to quarterback a squad of modified racers to include Jimmy Dolan, Bobby Grigas III, and Mike Keeler at the first ever appearance of Speedway Scene’s Race-A-Rama -N-Trade Show at the The Dana-Farber Field House adjacent to Gillette Stadium on Route 1, Foxboro Ma. This is show producer Val Lesieur’s 26th year presenting the annual off season racing extravaganza happening this Friday March 3rd, Saturday, March 4th, and Sunday March 5th.
Track promoter and owner Terry Eames has been busy this week reassuring competitors and fans that despite the legal issues, things will be business as usual at the 56-year-old paved oval track in 2006.
Monday night, Eames appeared on Gary Denko’s Speedway Line Report radio show in Connecticut to address the situation. Although Eames said that he can’t discuss many of the details of the pending legal case at this time, racing will go on as scheduled for 2006 and hopefully beyond. He said that it was a legal matter between the bank and the property ownership group, which is actually a landlord for the track. The track
Kuhn, a veteran racer with seat time in various divisions and a former NASCAR modified regular, jumped to the True Value Modified Racing Series in 2005 and quickly made his presence known as he drove his #72 modified to a fourth place finish in the point standings for the 2005 season. Steady performances put the W. Bridgewater, MA, driver in that position at season’s end. The Kuhn modified will be on display. Jimmy will be available to answer any questions from fans and media.
Berube, of Bristol Ct, is a veteran driver with pro stock and modified racing experience. He won rookie of the year honors in pro stock racing at the former Riverside Park Speedway, Agawam, Ma., and took down that tracks championship in the modified division in 1996. His
management has a valid lease for this year, so there won’t be any shut-down in the near future.
The Waterford season is scheduled to get underway with the Budweiser Modified Nationals, featuring a 150-lap SK Modified race, on April 1st-2nd.
# 04 modified will be on display all weekend as he readies for the TVMRS opener April 15 at Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H .
Bethel, CT’s Jimmy Dolan was voted the most improved driver for the 2005 season. Finishing 15th in the point standing’s, Dolan ended the campaign on a high note as he captured the season ending 100 lap race at the Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH Dolan’s win was popular with racers and fans alike.
New to the True Value Modified Racing Series this year will be Lee USA Speedway and Seekonk Speedway Late Model standout Bobby Grigas III, Marshfield, MA, Grigas III announced during the off season that he purchased a Troyer chassied modified racer with intentions of competing on the 3rd year tour. He ventured to Florida during Speed weeks at New Smyrna Beach Speedway only to be involved in a devastating crash that heavily damaged the all new Triple G Racing entry forcing the team to head back to New England with a badly bent race car and decisions to make. Because of their commitment to the series and this weekend’s show ,the Grigas operation dug in to repair their racer and have advised tour officials that it is “looking good” that they’ll be on hand with the #09 modified.
Danbury CT racer Mike Keeler looks to be more involved in the 2006 season with the TVMRS. Keeler, a former rookie of the year dirt racer at Lebanon Valley NY dabbled at asphalt modified racing last year at Seekonk and spent most of the season driving a midget racer with the NEMA tour. The 20 year old Keeler says he “mows lawns in the summer and plows snow in the winter” to pay for his racers. Keeler and his modified will be on hand through the weekend to meet and greet racing fans.
At the just concluded Racin Preview show in Portland ME, tour founder Jack Bateman and 2005 rookie of the year Luke Royea were award recipients. Bateman received best appearing for his asphalt modified display.
TRACKS – THOMPSON ALSO GEARED UP FOR RACEARAMA
The Thompson International Speedway will proudly display several of its ‘Super Six’ divisions at RACEARAMA 2006. The show, which will be held at the Dana Farber Field House at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA this year, will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 3, 4 and 5, 2006.
Last season, Thompson Speedway had an stunning display at Racearama. This season, should be just as impressive. (51 Photo)
“It’s a brand new location and a new beginning for RACEARAMA, a northeast tradition, said Thompson owner and promoter, Don Hoenig. We feel that it’s important for all of the racing community to be a part of this new beginning. It is our hope that RACEARAMA will become a huge success once again in its new home,” he concluded.
Thompson’s display will feature racecars from its Sunoco Modified, Pro Stock, Late Model, Thompson Modified and Limited Sportsman divisions. Also joining in the Thompson display will be representation from the NEMA.
The 2006 racing schedule for Thompson will be available along with information on the season-opening
Mike Christopher will wheel the Bear #14 this season. (51 Photo)
The IMCA Modifieds at Skyline Raceway. (Skyline Raceway / Mark Schmidt Photo)
NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR: MIKE CHRISTOPHER TO RUN WITH THE BEAR IN ‘06
Mike Christopher will race full-time for the #14 Bear Motorsports team for the full 2006 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.
In 2005, Christopher drove the #79 Hillbilly Racing Modified to a ninth-place finish in the standings. He was replaced in that car by Chuck Hossfeld for the coming season.
Bear Motorsports has been around the Modified community for decades and joined the Tour in 2000. The
ICEBREAKER. This event, another great New England tradition, will be run the weekend of April 8 & 9, 2006. Highlighting the two-day ICEBREAKER will be the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour along with Thompson’s “Super Six” NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series divisions. The track will open, however, the two Saturdays preceding the ICEBREAKER with open practice sessions for any racecar that will be in competition at the historic speedway during the new season.
The show hours are Friday, March 3rd from 4:00 PM until 10:00 PM; Saturday, March 4th from 10 AM until 10 PM and Sunday, March 5th from 11 AM until 5 PM. Gillette Stadium is located on Route 1 about four miles north of Interstate 495’s exit 14A. #
DIRT – FRONT OFFICE CHANGES
DIRT MotorSports announces the addition of three new executive officers to the
Company. Tom Deery joins the Company as President; Rob Butcher joins the Company as Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer; and Ben Geisler joins the Company as Executive Vice-President of Operations.
The Waterford Speedbowl should open up for this season just like it has every season since the 1950's. (Waterford Speedbowl Photo)
Deery is currently Sr. VP Motorsports for Rand Sports and Entertainment Insurance and served as former VP of NASCAR weekly series and regional touring before joining Rand. Mr. Deery has a deep background in facility management and ownership.
Butcher comes to DIRT from International Speedway Corporation (ISC) where he served as Senior Director Marketing Partnership and Integrated Media. ISC, a publicly traded company majority owned by the France Family, which solely owns NASCAR, owns and/or operates 12-motorsports stadiums across the country including Daytona International Speedway. ISC sanctions more than 100-major Motorsports events each
year including the majority of all NASCAR and Indy Racing League events.
Geisler served as Senior Vice-President for Next Marketing Inc. (Next), a privately held sports and event marketing firm heavily focused on motorsports. Geisler joined Next in 1999 with the sole purpose of extending the firm's motorsports reach beyond its open-wheel background into the NASCAR arena. During his tenure at Next, Geisler as responsible for managing or placing over $100 MM in sponsorship and activation spending, while establishing Next as a leader in both the NASCAR and event marketing arenas.
"We've been searching extensively to find the right people to help execute our business plan and guide the company to new heights," said Paul Kruger, DIRT MotorSports Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
IMCA – NEW YORK TOUR IS SET
Nine dates make up the schedule for the 2006 version of IMCA’s Empire State Modified Series.
The fourth annual tour travels to eight different tracks in New York. In addition to the purse paid out at each sanctioned event, shares of an $1,800 point fund will go to drivers in the final top 10 point standings.
Along with special series points, IMCA national, Eastern Region and Smiley’s Racing Products state points will be awarded at the first six races. Opening night is April 15 at Fulton Speedway, with the tour at Skyline Raceway May 28, Utica-Rome Speedway June 25, Fonda Speedway July 18 and Sept. 23, and at Brewerton Speedway Aug. 30.
IMCA’s regular point season ends Sept. 24, so special series points only will be awarded for programs Oct. 4 at Caprara’s Can-Am Motorsports Park, Oct. 14 at Five Mile Point Speedway and Oct. 21 at Black Rock Speedway. The series finale also marks the first visit by the series to the Dundee track.
DIRT's Brian Carter (Vice President/Chief Financial Officer) appears with new hires Ben Geisler (Executive VP/Operations), Rob Butcher (Executive VP/Chief Marketing Officer) and Tom Deery (President). (DIRT Photo)
The driver of the #72, Jimmy Kuhn, will be at Racearama 2006. (51 Photo)