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
NWMT: HOSSFELD SETTLES IN AS A HILLBILLY
Chuck Hossfeld is with his third Whelen Modified Tour team in the past three years. Hillbilly Racing has their third driver in three years. One might expect that would lead to growing pains and a slow start to the season, but that’s not the case.
“The All-Star Invitational has quickly become an event that rivals the popularity of the Race of Champions at Super Nationals,” IMCA Vice President of Operations Brett Root said. “While the Race of Champions showcases national, regional and track champions, as well as former Super Nationals and ROC winners, the All-Star Invitational also focuses on our state champions and special events program.”
“This race is also a way for IMCA to tie our special events together, with the best of the best in a single race,” he added. “The fact that the fans decide who is in the field makes it even more special for them and for the drivers.”
The defending race winner is Jay Noteboom of Orange City. David Murray Jr. of Oberlin, Kan., topped the inaugural race in 2004.
TVMRS: CATCHING UP WITH KUHN
while TVMRS teams prepared for the season opener at Monadnock Speedway, tour announcer John Spence caught up with Jimmy Kuhn, driver of the W.S.Shepard, Modern Auto Body, sponsored #72 modified during a break in the practice schedule. Kuhn, married, and the father of a son and daughter from W, Bridgewater Mass., is about to begin his second year with the tour after finishing fourth in the 2005 point standings. Spence talked to the 35 year old driver about his career, his decision to move to the TVMRS and what it will take to dethrone the current tour champion.
The Hossfeld, Hillbilly Racing combination started the 2006 WMT season with an impressive second place finish in the season opening Icebreaker at Thompson International Speedway on April 8th. That followed a second place finish in the WMT South opener at Caraway Speedway in March. The past two weeks they have had a fast car but no luck in the WMT South events. The fast start has the team optimistic about its potential for the 2006 season. “We’re looking to re-establish ourselves as one of the top teams on the Whelen Modified Tour,” says crew chief David Hill. “Two years ago we were winning races and competing for the championship, that’s what we believe we can do again with Chuck behind the wheel.”
For Hossfeld, being comfortable behind the wheel of the Hill Enterprises #79 has come quickly. “I’m extremely happy with how we’ve started, we’ve had a car capable of winning every time we’ve raced”, says Hossfeld. “Both of the crews (north and south) are great people to work with and have made the adjustment very easy.” Hossfeld is looking to improve an already impressive resume that includes finishing second in the WMT point standings in 2003 and third last year.
The next WMT event for Hossfeld and the Hillbilly Racing team will be Sunday, April 30th at Stafford Motor Speedway for the annual Spring Sizzler. Hossfeld, who has nine career top-five finishes at the historic half-mile speedway, will be looking for his first Stafford win.
The April 30th Spring Sizzler will also be an opportunity for fans to meet Chuck and the crew. Stafford will hold their annual on-track pit party at 11am preceding the days racing action.
DIRT: SEASON GETS ROLLING AT ROLLING WHEELS
All circuits are green as final preparations are being made for the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series showdown that headlines the 38th season-opener at Rolling Wheels Raceway. The 26th annual DIRT Challenge Cup program goes to the starting line at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 7 at the ultra-fast 5/8-mile Elbridge oval.
Joining the DIRT big-block Modifieds on the afternoon card will be the DIRT Sportsman in a 20-lap main event plus a 15-lap feature for Street Stocks. Adult general admission tickets are $20 each, Senior Citizens (60 yrs. + over) $18, Students (11-18 yrs) $10 and Children (10 yrs. + under) Free.
Fans and race teams can get a sneak preview of the fabled ‘Fast Track’ when Rolling Wheels opens for warm-ups for all divisions on Wed., May 3. Pit gates will open at 4 p.m. with practice slated to start at 5 o’clock. General admission is free to the public and the cost for pit entry is $10.
Kicking off the May 7 activities is a special Meet & Greet autograph session that has been scheduled for 12noon on Sunday behind the main grandstand. Fans are encouraged to arrive early as the customary driver’s meeting is slated for 12:45 p.m. with hot lapping following immediately at 1 o’clock. Among the headliners expected to participate are those 12 drivers signed up to follow the entire Advance Auto Parts SDS --- past Eckerd 200 champion Vic Coffey, four-time and defending Eckerd 200 titlist Billy Decker, third-generation big-block upstart Stewart Friesen, reigning overall Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRT champion Tim Fuller, '04 Rookie of the Year Justin Hears, all-time Advance Auto Parts SDS and round one (Hagerstown) race winner Brett Hearn, DIRT's winningest big-block Modified driver Alan Johnson, Canandaigua (NY) Speedway record-setter Steve Paine, second-year tour mainstay Jimmy Phelps, rising star Matt Sheppard, former Mr. DIRT champion Gary Tomkins and 30-year open-wheel veteran Pat Ward.
Past winners of the coveted DIRT Challenge Cup include many of the biggest names in the 31-year history of DIRT MotorSports. Hearn (2005, ’04, 02, 1998, '84) is the two-time defending titlist tied with eight-time Rolling Wheels big-block track champion Alan Johnson (2003, 1997, '96, '82, '81). Bob McCreadie (1993, '92, '90, '88), Paine (2001, 1995, '91) and Decker (2000, 1989) are the only multi-time winners of this event, accounting for 19 of the 26 races run to date. Active drivers Tomkins (2002), Danny Johnson (1999), Jack Johnson (1994), Kenny Brightbill (1987) and Kenny Tremont (1985) have posted single victories while retired veterans Charlie Rudolph (1986) and Merv Treichler (1983) own one each.
The 2006 edition will mirror the twin 50-lap feature format utilized in 2002, with two-time defending RWR points king Tomkins and Hearn splitting the $3,000-to-win main events. However, a twist has been added this year as the winner of the first 50 will roll a large pair of dice on the front straightaway to determine how many cars are inverted for the nightcap. To add further intrigue he may then still elect to start in the rear to earn additional money should he win, with the exact amount announced on race day.
IMCA: FANS TO HAVE THEIR VOICES HEARD
Fan voting begins next Monday, May 1, to determine the starting field of 10 for the All-Star Modified Invitational during the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals.
10 years old. Then he went pro stock racing and I went and did that with him. When I was 14 or 15 I was getting itchy to do something because I had been going with my Dad so much so I started in a charger car and one thing led to another and here I am.”
JS: After the chargers at Seekonk, how did your career progress?
JK: “ We ran the chargers till I was 19 and then stepped into a pro stock at Seekonk, we ran in the top ten in points and got rookie of the year that year, won a race, in fact we ran pro stocks for quite a while maybe 6 or 7 years there. We ran all over the northeast, Thompson, Lee, we learned a lot, I started building cars for a lot of guys, did a lot of R&D with a lot of people to help me gain the knowledge I needed to be competitive, I wanted to get going sooner then later, didn’t want to wait around 20 years learning, wanted to get going right then and there.”
JS: When was the decision to go modified racing?
JK: “At the end of 98 is when we decided. We ran Thompson and finished 2nd in points to Rick Martin for the championship going down to the last day. For the 1999 season we bought an older car, ran four or five shows to get our feet wet, and then in 2000 with a newer car, we ran a little more but not with enough money. We ended up running the Featherlite tour till we came here a couple of years ago.”
Tim Fuller will be part of the DIRT posse headed to Rolling Wheels. (DIRT Photo)
Fifty-five drivers representing 23 states will be listed on the ballot, posted on the IMCA website (www.imca.com). All voting for the third annual event will be conducted electronically and 10 different drivers must be indicated on each ballot.
Voting continues throughout the summer, with the starting field to be announced in August. The 10 lap race, to be held Friday, Sept. 8 at Boone Speedway, pays $1,000 to win and a minimum of $100 to start.
Candidates on the ballot include winners of sanctioned specials held since last May paying $1,000 or more, 2005 state and regional champions, and drivers winning three track championships last season.
Chuck Hossfeld and the #79 team have clicked right away together. (51 Photo)
JS/John Spence Sr.
JK/Jimmy Kuhn Jr.
JS: Jimmy, when did it all start for you?
JK: “I began with my Dad years ago at Seekonk in the charger division back then, I started going with him to help him at a young age, I was really young about 9 or
Kuhn shown last season at Lee USA Speedway. (NH) in his #72. (51 Photo)
Jay Noteboom won last year's big show. (JetMod.com Photo)
JS: I remember you coming here to practice last year and I interviewed you then about jumping to the TVMRS. You, as I recall, were confident that you had made the right decision. Here we are a year later. Still feel that way?
JK: “Well, we found running the other tour it was going to take a lot of money to be competitive, in any series you run you want to have a shot at winning no matter where you go, running that tour you were stuck behind the 8-ball, we stuck it out but you couldn’t test like you wanted too, like the teams that can afford it. We could not run the way they do with freshened motors as often as they do, you spend and spend and it’s never enough. You get beat by dollars. We were almost out
of business till this deal came along. We watched this that first year and decided to go for it, we figured we would end up here anyway so we did it last year, spent a lot less money, were competitive, that’s all you want to be is competitive.. We had some good runs over there but we could not afford to keep it up. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking that series. That is a good series, a very good series, but I just could not afford it anymore. There are some very talented drivers on that tour and there are some very talented drivers here that could be competitive with the right deal anywhere. This is a whole lot better, the expenses are down, and the maintenance is down, the travel is down, it pays less but the costs are less. We actually have fun coming here. It’s been great.”
JS: As this tour enters its 3rd year, are you surprised that a 21 race schedule has been created, 60 cars are registered, and the interest being what it is?
JK: “Not at all. We are glad it is taking off the way it has. It’s the reason we made the move. The guys coming here want to spend less, have fun, and go home at night.”
JS: Kirk Alexander had a dream season in 2005, what will it take for Jimmy Kuhn Jr. to have a dream season in 2006?
JK: (Smiles) “Step up and get the car a little bit better. He’s got a car that rocks and rolls. He is not beating you with motor, he just has that car working extremely well, He has a good team, everything works well there, and it clicks. It’s our job to do our homework and go out and beat him. We are trying a lot of different things we have not tried before because we know we have to find something, if we don’t we’ll be in the same boat as last year. Hopefully we’ll hit on something that will work for us to beat him.”