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
NASCAR WMT: BEERS RECOVERING FROM SURGERY
Thankfully for Eric Beers, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season isn’t set to start until April 8th-9th with the Icebreaker at Thompson International Speedway (CT).
According to his website, BeersMotorsports.com, Beers underwent emergency surgery to remove his appendix earlier this week. The procedure went well and the Pennsylvania driver is currently recovering.
TVMRS: SEUSS LOOKING TO EXPAND HIS HORIZONS
Last month, Andy Seuss turned heads by winning the Florida Speedweeks Modified championship. The 18-year-old bested drivers from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, RoC Modified Tour and several local tracks to take the top crown. He will race in the True Value Modified Racing Series in 2006, but would love to try his luck on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour during non-conflicting dates.
DIRT – HALL OF FAMERS ANNOUNCED
Pennsylvania legend Kenny Brightbill, DIRT's all-time Most Popular Driver Bob McCreadie and Central New York Sportsman standout Glen Reiners will be inducted into the DIRT MotorSports™ NorthEast Hall of Fame on Memorial Day Weekend. These three driving greats add their names to a growing list of Modified legends that was started in 1992 when the building was officially christened the DIRT MotorSports™ Hall of Fame and Classic Car Museum in Weedsport, N.Y.
“I’d definitely like to do more racing,” said Seuss. “We are committed to running our car in the True Value Modified Racing Series and I don’t want to take anything away from that.”
Seuss and his team would like the opportunity to go Tour racing together, given the opportunity, but they currently lack the budget do to so.
“If a sponsor came along, we’d like to run our car on the Modified Tour because we are really confident in it, but right now the money is not there to do that. So I would like to step up and maybe get a competitive ride.”
The young driver wouldn’t rule out any other Modified rides either. He’d be happy running several nights a week in fact.
Racing against a strong field at Speedweeks has been quite a learning experience for Seuss.
“Anytime that you can race with the best, it makes you a better drive,” said Seuss. “At first, I struggled a little bit because they are the best Modified racers around. They race hard, but they race clean. You might get into somebody, but afterwards you are still probably both going to be going in the right direction.
“I’m not taking anything away from the True Value guys, because they are tough too and I’m looking forward to racing them. Tour racing is something that I would like to do more of in the future though and I’ve always learned better getting thrown into a situation and becoming prepared.”
“I’d love to drive anything,” said Seuss. “A SK Modified would be great, especially at Stafford because that place looks like a tough place to drive. Running there would make me a better driver. An RoC Modified would be fun, especially if I could run at Oswego. I grew up watching the Supermodifieds, so Oswego is a really special place to me. I’d even drive someone’s Southern Modified if there was an opportunity.”
TVMRS: FROM WRECK TO RICHES
Overcoming odds of huge proportion, the result of a devastating crash in New Smyrna, Florida last month that severely damaged their newly purchased modified race car, the Marshfield, MA based team of True Value Modified Racing Series newcomer Bobby Grigas III, was voted the Best Exhibitor Display Award Sponsorship for Best Touring Division Car Sunday afternoon at the 26th annual Race-A-Rama -N-Trade Show at the The Dana-Farber Field House at Gillette Stadium on Route 1, Foxboro MA.
Barefoot Bob McCreadie. (Fulton Speedway Photo)
The 2006 Induction Ceremonies will take place Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. in the Hall of Fame & Classic Car Museum. The 6 'clock racing program at Cayuga County Fair Speedway will be highlighted by the 100-lap Bill McNabb Hall of Fame Classic, the third scheduled points event in the Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series.
Still active today aboard his no. 19 big-block Modified machines, Sinking Spring, Pa. veteran Brightbill continues to be competitive in his fifth decade of open-wheel racing. Forever recognized as the all-time feature winner (135) at the now defunct Reading (Pa.)
in 1986, the annual Victoria 200 Weekend at Fulton
continues to be recognized as one of the premier short-track racing events in the Northeast.
Fielding an entry from the middle of the 20th century through the mid-80s, Gene DeWitt Outstanding Car Owner award recipient Piktavish from Brackenridge, Pa. teamed up with driver Blackie Watt in 1960 and for the next 25 years the combination clicked like few others along the Western Pennsylvania-Ohio circuit. The pair reached a pinnacle in 1974, copping 36 feature wins and laying claim to season point championships in the Keystone State at Lernerville, Motordrome and Schuckers (Latrobe) speedways. The most successful of the famous black & orange #1 machines registered 110 victories during the early 1970s, with numerous Syracuse Super DIRT Week qualifiers and a special 50-lap win at Penn Motor Speedway topping the list. Son Jim Piktavish filled in for Watt and won a pair of races in the late 1960s while grandson Jimmy is a current Late Model driver looking to match his father's feat. Joe Piktavish passed away in 2002 and today Lernerville holds an annual DIRT Modified race in his memory.
Adam "Sonny" Dornberger will receive the Mechanic of the Year Award after building motors as well as many custom cars for legendary Modified drivers such as Rags Carter, Pee Wee Griffin, Jackie Hamilton, Stan Ploski, Billy Osmun, Meme DeSantis, Billy Pauch and his first Otto Harwi, using #999 which had been the number of the Ford car that record-setter Barney Oldfield used in 1902. From the outset in 1953 at South Jersey's old Alcyon Speedway (Pitman) and even into the late 1970s when production-type Modified cars were becoming the norm, Dornberger handcrafted his own machines and his unparalleled trackside success gave the opposition false impressions of a high-dollar team. His greatest satisfaction came from testing an untried method ---which many times emerged soon after as an industry standard--- and gaining an advantage when other teams used only what they knew had always worked. Sonny died in the fall of 1997 and his daughter Sherrie Dornberger will be accepting on his behalf.
Co-recipients of the fifth annual "Outstanding Woman in Racing" award are former racer and reporter Barb Anderson, Bicknell Race Products fixture Nancy Bicknell, and short-track competitor and photographer Kim Jennejohn.
Anderson, wife of the ageless stock car pilot Bill Anderson ---Brewerton Speedway's defending IMCA Modified points champion at the age of 71--- covered the Central New York dirt track action at Cayuga County Fair and Brewerton speedways for Gater Racing Photo News in the 1960s. As a Weedsport, N.Y. resident, she competed in powder puff derbies ---Weedsport Stockettes--- on the local circuit and most recently was stationed in the DIRT NE Hall of Fame in charge of merchandise. She remains car owner for her husband today and serves as crew chief and tire changer on race day.
A date with 'Mr. Small-Block' in the early 1970s turned into a motorsports career for Nancy Bicknell as she has become synonymous with Bicknell Racing Products and speedway activity throughout the country during the past quarter-century. With marriage to Canadian Hall of Famer Pete Bicknell finally becoming a reality in 1980 ---their wedding date was twice postponed due to business obligations--- Nancy became a driving force behind turning Pete’s Automotive from a Auto Service shop into a Race Shop in 1988 when BRP Canada was formed. In 1989, BRP USA was established and further expansion of corporate interests resulted in the creation of BRP South (Thomasville, NC) with products currently sold from coast to coast throughout the entire year. Along with partners Randy and Tracey Williamson, the Bicknell’s took control of Merrittville (Ont.) Speedway in 2003 and today daughter Erica serves as track general manager.
The selection of Jennejohn puts her name alongside late husband Bob Hunter, who earned the Sammons Outstanding Contributions Award in 1995 for his work in motorsports photography. Although Kim's own role as a track photographer began in high school, as a result of Bob's connections she got her first start behind the wheel of a race car in 1983 at Perry (NY) Speedway in the Ladies Pure Stock division. Around the same time, Jennejohn and Hunter formed J&H Photo and they were married in May, 1989. Over the years Kim competed in both full-fender and open-wheel classes on both dirt and asphalt tracks. Prior to ending her short-track racing career in 2004, she became the first female driver ever to qualify for the Modified 'Race of Champions,' finishing 30th in the 53rd edition staged at Oswego Speedway in '03. (DIRT PR)
TRACKS: STAFFORD SEASON TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE
Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) 2006 Season Ticket Packages are available and on sale, but time is running out to take advantage of Stafford's discounted pricing. After March 15, each Stafford Motor Speedway's season ticket package will increase in price.
There will be plenty of action at Stafford Motor Speedway this year.
Upon their return, the Triple G Scaffolding team had their work cut out for them as the entire front end of the racer was heavily destroyed in a head on crash into a safety barrier during a practice session for the just concluded 40th World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing for modified race cars. With the team making a commitment to the traveling modified tour and show producer Val Lesieur, they went to work to ready the car for the weekend show that featured race cars from all over the northeast. With less than two weeks to complete the project, the car was proudly placed on display for fans arriving on Friday night for the weekend exhibition.
Grigas expressed thanks to his parents, his crew members, Brad Sears, Jonathon Grigas, Jason Parsons, Colby Vining, Reggie Newcomb Sr., Robert Grigas Sr, Jeffrey Belyea, Dean Scarito, James Parsons, John Guevremont, Marc Bouvier for the effort to make sure the car was present as promised as well as Northeast Race Cars, Triple G Scaffold, and Demule Signs as without their support it would not have been possible.
The True Value Modified Racing Series starts their season on April 15th at Monadnock Speedway (NH). (TVMRS PR)
Fairgrounds, the "Shillington Slingshot" has amassed over 400 career victories with one of his biggest coming in the 1988 edition of the Eckerd 200 at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse during Super DIRT Week. From 1976-78 he captured 95 checkered flags at a dozen tracks including Rolling Wheels (NY) Raceway, Bridgeport (NJ) Speedway and Nazareth (PA) Raceway.
Climbing on the DIRT bandwagon in the early 1980s, McCreadie solidified his status over the next quarter-century by becoming the organization's first driver to reach the 300-win plateau (1981-2002). His short-track career began "barefooted" in 1971 and since first visiting victory lane in '75 more than 500 more trips have made him a household name far beyond his north country roots. DIRT's four-time 'Most Popular Driver' from Watertown, N.Y. owns title race victories in the Eckerd 200 at Syracuse (1986) and Eastern States 200 at Orange County Fair Speedway (1994), while a record that has carried into the new millennium remains his all-time mark of 43 DIRT big-block wins set in 1994. He continues to race today steering the famous no. 9 Kinney Drug Stores-Syracuse Frame Service mount in special events throughout the Northeast, more recently concentrating on those scheduled closer to home in the Empire State.
As the Pioneer Committee's selection for 2006, Reiners collected feature wins throughout the Central New York circuit and around the Finger Lakes region during the 1950s. Emerging from behind the scenes as a mechanic, he made his stock car racing debut at Bath Speedway in 1953. Soon after changing the car number from 193 to his signature 194, he became one of the most dominant Sportsman campaigners of his time. Running at tracks in Naples, Hornell, Chemung, Canandaigua and South Seneca, Reiners took center stage with season point championships at Maple Grove Speedway (1955-58) in Waterloo and Dundee Speedway (1957-58). He lost his bout with cancer in 1994 and is survived by his wife Edna from Penn Yan, N.Y.
Andy Seuss (#70) raced with Tour drivers like Chuck Hossfeld (#22) and Jimmy Blewett (#12) at Speedweeks. He'd like more chances to run with those guys in the future. (51 Photo)
Also receiving recognition during the induction ceremonies will be Joan and Harvey Fink, while the late Joe Piktavish and Sonny Dornberger will be honored posthumously on this special occasion.
The Finks enter the Hall of Fame sharing the Leonard J. Sammons, Jr. Award for Outstanding Contributions to Auto Racing. Gaining ownership and operating weekly Brewerton (since 1991) and Fulton (1998) speedways during the summer months, Joan and Harvey have found success with their Central New York twin-track circuit attracting many of the biggest Modified stars in DIRT racing today. Established by the founding Benway family
Stafford's Season Paddock Pass grants weekly admission to the paddock area, as well as the paddock area grandstands and the general admission seats in the main grandstand. The paddock pass is priced at $430 if purchased before March 15, and increases to $485 if purchased after March 15. Season Paddock Passes can be upgraded to include a reserved seat in the main grandstand for an additional charge of $70.00 before March 15. After March 15, the upgrade price will increase to $80.00. If purchased before March 15, Season Paddock Passes offer nearly 50% off the cost of buying a ticket each week, making the Season Paddock Pass the greatest deal among season ticket packages.
Stafford's Reserved Seat Season Pass offers a season long seat in the top row (Row 25) or the Gold Chair-Back section, and is priced at $375 if purchased before March 15. After March 15, the Reserved Seat Season Pass will increase to $400. If purchased before March 15, Reserved Seat Season Passes offers savings of $134 when compared to buying a reserved ticket each week at the admission gates.
Stafford's General Admission Seat Season Pass grants season long admission to the general admission seating in the main grandstand, and is priced at $325 if purchased before March 15. After March 15, the General Admission Season Pass will increase to $345. If purchased before March 15, General Admission Season Passes offers savings of $121.50 when compared to buying a general admission ticket each week at the admission gates.
For all children up to age 14, there is the Jack Arute's Kids Club option. Children can join the Jack Arute's Kids Club for $60.00 before March 15. After March 15, the price will increase to $75.00. Membership in the Kids Club offers admission to all 2006 SMS racing events ($110.00 value), a free Kids Club tee-shirt, access to Kids Club only meetings with SMS NASCAR drivers, and much more. Kids Club Applications can be picked up at the SMS track office, or on the web by clicking on the Kids Club logo found at www.staffordspeedway.com. Children must be accompanied by an adult to gain entrance to the track.
For more information on gift cards or season ticket packages, including pricing and a seating chart, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783 or visit the "BOX OFFICE" section on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com. (SMS PR)
Joan and Harvey Fink promote a pair of tracks including Brewerton Speedway. (Brewerton Speedway/Mike Johnson Photo)
Before and After: The #09 after Speedweeks (51 Photo) and this weekend at Racearama. (Howie Hodge Photo)