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: CUP CHAMP TO WHEEL A MODIFIED
Tony Stewart will drive just about any type of racecar. The reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion fills in gaps of his schedule with feature events in midgets, sprint cars, dirt late models and just about anything with wheels.
Fuller maintained nearly a full straightaway lead at halfway,
although heavy traffic as the laps dwindled offered Decker a
longshot at reaching the leader. Despite getting a glimpse of the leader late in the race, but Fuller nipped Decker by four car-lengths at the wire. Tomkins, McCreadie and Coffey rounded out the top five.
“The car came on about halfway through but the way things went with no cautions we ran out of time,” said Tomkins. “We would’ve liked to see a yellow flag at the end just to see how good the car really was. We’re still happy as the guys had the car working good all day. After some problems at Hagerstown we’ll have to play catch up for awhile. If we can stick around the front the points should take care of themselves.” (DIRT PR)
In July, he’ll likely add racing a NASCAR Modified at the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway to that list.
For the July NHIS race, Stewart is planning to drive a second car out of the Chase Racing stables as a teammate to Doug Coby. It will be a new car with a fresh motor.
Although it will be Stewart’s first NHIS Modified race, he is not a stranger to this type of racecar. Among his hundreds of career victories are a win at New Smyrna Speedway for Florida Speedweeks in 1997 and an SK Modified victory at Thompson International Speedway (CT) in 2003.
TVMRS: EDDIE MAC IN A MOD?
Tony Stewart isn’t the only full-fendered NASCAR driver to have an itch to race a Modified. Reportedly, NASCAR Busch East driver Eddie MacDonald is close to landing a ride for the True Value Modified Racing Series event at Lee USA Speedway on May 21st.
TVMRS: DATE CHANGE FOR LEE RACE
Yes, you read that previous snippet correctly. The Lee TVMRS is slated for May 21st.
The event was scheduled for Friday night, May 19th, but has been moved back to being a Sunday show. The track is undergoing a major renovation project that included new lighting. However, a delay in shipping the light poles has delayed things a little bit. Therefore, the track will run the Mods, along with the ACT Late Models, during the daylight hours now instead.
DIRT: DECKER AND FULLER SPLIT ROLLING WHEELS VICTORIES
Defending Syracuse 200 winner Billy Decker and reigning overall Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRT champion Tim Fuller shared victory lane laurels as they each captured a leg of the 26th Annual DIRT Challenge Cup Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series event Sunday afternoon at Rolling Wheels Raceway. The twin 50-lap feature races awarded the winners $3,000
Decker was the best on the day, winning the first feature and securing runner-up honors in the second round of the card.
“We were just good all day,” stated Decker, 41, after emerging as the new Advance Auto Parts Series point leader through two events. “We were fortunate to pick the pole in the first race and everything fell into place after that. You don’t really know how the car will be until the race unfolds but we were confident with our set-up today. The points are certainly nice right now but hopefully we’ll like them a lot better at the end when they really count.”
Decker timed fourth fastest and won the fourth of five qualifying heats before drawing the pole-position to start the initial DIRT big-block AAP Modified main. In a race that was slowed for just two brief caution periods, Decker opened up a comfortable lead on each restart before scoring an eight car-length victory over runner-up Gary Tomkins.
“Starting out with a win is very important, Rolling Wheels has been pretty tough on us the last couple years,” said Decker. “We finished well last season and hoped to start out just as well. There was so little room for error out there today, you couldn’t afford any mistakes. Having the lead all race I couldn’t see where anybody else was running, I just moved to where the car felt best. Usually when a race is over a lot of guys figure something out and wish they had another chance. Today’s format gives everybody another shot so I have to be even a little better the second time around.”
While Decker charged out from the drop of the green, the battle waged on for the entire distance between second-generation star Tim McCreadie, Tomkins and Alan Johnson. Kyle Jacobs was the first to cut into Decker’s momentum as he slowed on the back chute aboard the no. 11 ride to force out the first yellow flag with 21 laps complete. The JIR Motorsports team cars of Danny Johnson and Tom Sears, Jr. tangled in turn one two laps later to bring out the last caution period.
Great three-wide racing juggled the order at the midway point with Johnson grabbing second from McCreadie while Tomkins waited his turn as the laps dwindled. McCreadie got the runner-up spot back under caution before Tomkins wrestled it away for good on lap 34. Johnson was the next to overtake McCreadie a half-dozen laps later as Tim Fuller made a late race bid after starting 10th on the 30-car grid. Tomkins ran out of time as the checkered flag waved over Decker with Johnson, Fuller and World of Outlaws Late Model Series point leader McCreadie completing the top-five.
Decker rolled a pair of dice ---three and six turned up--- to invert the top-nine finishers for the start of the 50-lap finale. Although he still elected to start ninth, Decker was immediately offered a ‘Deal-No Deal’ proposition in victory lane that would award him a $1,000 bonus posted by Bicknell Racing Products if he could win from the last starting position. Regardless, Vic Coffey secured the pole and pulled out to an early advantage with 29 more ground-pounding open-wheelers in tow. Fuller began sixth yet after just five laps he already had his JL Motorsports no. 19 TEO mount running in the top-three. He slid past Pat Ward on the seventh circuit and chased down Coffey before bolting past high on the back straightaway on lap 11.
RoC MODIFIEDS: SHERWOOD TAKES CHECKERS AT OSWEGO
Last August Lee Sherwood of Hillcrest, NY was seven laps away from his first career Oswego Speedway (NY) feature win until he ran out of gas. This past Sunday in the Open Wheel Extravaganza. Sherwood finally had things go his way for once in the 75 lap Race of Champions ( RoC ) Asphalt Modified Central Region feature.
Tim Fuller and Bill Decker split victory lane honors at Rolling Wheels. (DIRT Photo)
“We didn’t do much after the first race, just changed the tires, filled up the tank and came back out,” said Fuller, 38, following his first Advance Auto Parts Series win of the season. “We pretty much did what we’ve done the last couple years and had more success today. We ran so long under green I didn’t really know where I was out there, let alone anybody else. I tried to judge how other fast cars were doing by who I passed, but figured Billy (Decker) had to be there somewhere. In the end that lapped traffic really woke me up.”
Bob McCreadie looped his no. 9 to bring out the lone yellow flag on lap 15. Fuller and Coffey still paced the field with Ward, Tim McCreadie and ninth-place starter Decker in hot pursuit. With the remaining 35 laps run straight through under green, Decker methodically picked off the opposition one by one; McCreadie on lap 17, teammate Ward on lap 20 and Coffey just two laps later.
The Chase Racing #77 of Doug Coby will have some company at NHIS.
PASS MODIFIEDS: DOW TAKES SEASON OPENER
Chad Dow and Chris Staples fought a spirited battle with each other in the first TAT-Link Belt PASS Modified race of the 2006 season. But, it was Dow who ended up coming out on top to take the victory at Speedway 95 near Bangor, Maine.
Dow drove his #72 to victory over Staples, Stephen Bennett Jr., Jeremy McLormick and Dana Grover. Defending PASS Modified champion Wayne Allard had a tough weekend. He had engine problems with his #15 and was not able to start the feature.
The next PASS Modified event will be on May 20th at Canaan Fair Speedway (NH).
The Sherwood clan in victory lane. (Oswego Speedway Photo)
Tim Fuller (DIRT Photo)
Sherwood took advantage of a bobble by leader Sege Fidanza entering turn one with four laps to go. That bobble was enough for Lee to take the lead while the top three cars raced in heavy lap traffic. On the final lap Sherwood split two lap cars coming out of turn two and that move was just enough for Sherwood to capture his first ever Oswego Speedway feature.
Eric Beers who pitted for two fresh rear tires on lap 41 chased Sherwood across the line in second with a disappointed Fidanza dropping back to third. Wilbur Hebing driving the Kenny Troyer owned car ended up fourth with Earl Paules making a last lap, last turn pass to capture fifth at the checkers.
“Yeah we got it ( a feature win at Oswego ) the car was great “ said the smiling Lee Sherwood. “ We’ve had a good car here for the last couple of years and we haven’t been able to put it all together. I knew we were capable of winning and I even thought we could win it from the back. There’s a lot of tough racecars out there as you can never really think you can get to the front immediately. The car was just great as it was getting into and through the middle of the turn so good, it made it very easy to drive. “
SK MODIFIEDS: BARAL AND JANOVIC WIN IN CONNECTICUT
As the Stafford Motor Speedway began their Friday night racing season for 2006 last weekend, it was Jeff Baral who bested a field of 26 SK Modifieds to take victory in the 40-lap feature. Willie Hardie, Ted Christopher, Eric Berndt and Frank Ruocco rounded out the top five finishers.
Over at Waterford Speedbowl, Robert Janovic Jr. drove his #51 (hey…cool number!) to victory over Tom Fox and Ron Yuhas, Jr. in the SK Modified feature on Saturday night.
Dow crosses the finish line at Speedway 95. (Norm Marx Photo)