51's MODIFIED MADNESS  Presented by Advance Auto Parts Compiled by Mike Twist
News From Throughout The Mod-ern World - North and South, Asphalt and Dirt

Speed51.com has some big plans when it comes to covering Modifieds this Memorial Day weekend.  On Friday night, we will be at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) for round three of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.  Will Mike Stefanik or Doug Coby add to their win totals for the year or will Ted Christopher, Tony Hirschman, Donny Lia, Jerry Marquis or Eric Beers break though for their first Tour win of the year? 

Canandaigua Speedway seemed to be the “place to race” last Saturday following a number of tracks losing their shows to wet weather. Some 33 DIRT Modifieds made their way to the famed “Land of Legends” to do battle. Local favorite Vic Coffey, from Leicester, NY, topped all of the invaders and held off Steve Paine to take his first 35-lap DIRT Modified feature win of the year at Canandaigua.

“I knew he (Steve Paine) was coming, but I just remained calm and kept my line,” stated a jubilant Coffey from victory lane. “When you don’t remain calm you make mistakes and mistakes here cost you in passes made against you.”


Stop by participating Winston-Salem area Advance Auto Parts stores to pick up your FREE limited-edition ”Legends of the 199”, Bowman Gray Stadium posters.  The six poster set will feature the all-time winners of the Advance Auto Parts 199, John Smith, Frank Fleming, Ralph Brinkley, Gary Myers, Burt Myers, and Junior Miller.
After Stafford, we’ll head up I-91 to the picturesque Monadnock Speedway in the Southwest corner of New Hampshire and we’ll take in 100 green flag laps of True Value Modified Racing Series action on Saturday night.  They’ll be are plenty of questions heading into that event as well.  Les Hinkley and Kirk Alexander have won already in 2006, but Andy Seuss, Bobby Grigas, Dwight Jarvis and a host of others have been right there in the mix. 

Stay tuned to Speed51.com next week for stories and photos from both New England Modified venues.

DIRT MotorSports™ has announced the resignation of Paul Kruger and the appointment of Tom Deery to the top spot in the company as acting CEO. Deery also serves as the President of the company, which includes the World of Outlaws Sprint Series, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and the Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series as well as the DIRT NorthEast regional series, the UMP late model and modified series and the MARS late model series.

In addition, the investment group that helped to launch DIRT MotorSports less than three years ago has demonstrated its confidence in the new management team, which also includes Chief Financial Officer Brian Carter, Chief Marketing Officer Rob Butcher and Executive VP of Operations Ben Geisler, by providing the company with the funds necessary to eliminate all company debt (other than mortgages on two of its seven racetracks) and the financial resources necessary to reach the company’s long- and short-term goals.

“We have an incredible company with the most recognized brands in dirt racing,” said Deery, who grew up helping his family operate short tracks before setting off on a long and respected career in motorsports. “This is a world-class racing and sports entertainment company. This transaction will allow us to advance our business plan, ultimately increasing the exposure, awareness and consistency of dirt racing across the country for our fans, promoters, team owners and drivers.”

“Through this series of transactions, the largest in the company’s history, we have been able to eliminate our outstanding debt, largely connected to the purchase of the World of Outlaws, UMP, the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series and our tracks in the northeast,” Carter said. “In short, we are only left with the mortgages on a couple of tracks which are no different than a mortgage on a home, we make payments just like everyone else. We have spent a lot of time over the past several months with our existing and new investors to
complete this transaction and are very pleased to have all of the pieces in place. We have a group of investors that each own a piece of the company, all of which are committed to DIRT and excited to be involved in dirt racing.”

While the spotlight often is on DIRT MotorSports’ national touring series, Deery is committed to supporting and growing the weekly and regional classes to create a strong backbone for the future of dirt track racing.

“The strength of dirt racing depends on the fans and drivers that compete all across the country every Friday and Saturday night,” Deery said. “We will continue to support those involved week in and week out while at the same time making certain the World of Outlaws Sprint Series, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series remain the premiere traveling series in dirt track racing.

“Keeping our series at such a high level nowadays means bringing a complete event experience, which will ensure that fans are receiving the full value of their ticket. Having our group of investors behind us 100 percent will allow us to go forward with a clean slate and do everything possible to deliver the best event to the fans.”

Having an experienced team gives Civali confidence as he looks ahead in the season.
“I’ll be racing at a lot of tracks I have not even seen later in the season,” said Civali. “Knowing this team has experience at those places will make my job easier.”
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Stafford Motor Speedway on May 26, for the annual Connecticut Classic 150. James Civali, a former competitor at Stafford in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series SK modified © ranks, will also return to Stafford sitting third in the series point standings.

Civali also currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Standings. After a couple Top-10 finishes in the first two events of the season Civali is hoping to continue his early season success in the Don King owned Ramar-Hall/Liberty Limousine Chevrolet. King and Civali teamed up in the off season after Civali mad a few starts in the family-owned modified last year.
“I’m not surprised we have run well,” said Civali.  “This team is very capable of running up front. They have a lot of experience in this series. We have just been fortunate to stay out of trouble. If we continue to do that we’ll have some more good finishes.”
Speed51.com will be covered Modifieds of all numbers this weekend.  (Jim DuPont Photo)
The first two events of 2006 have occurred at speedways Civali has experience on. The season opened at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway in early April and then headed to Stafford for the Tech-Net Spring Sizzler. The Meriden, Conn. driver felt comfortable at both tracks.

“It helps to know a racetrack, especially a place like Stafford,” said Civali. “It’s very difficult to learn to get around and I’m glad I had experience in an SK Modified.”

Civali has hope for a top-five finish before the year is out maybe even a win. “You never know,” said Civali. “If all the pieces fall together maybe we can visit victory lane.”
Civali is hoping that first victory just might occur at Stafford.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Stafford Motor Speedway is set for this Friday night with qualifying to start at 5:30pm and the feature at approximately 9:15pm.
Frank Fleming and John Smith are the first two issues of the Advance posters.
Civali's #28 ride.  (51 Photo)
Poster #1, available this week, spotlights one of the most popular young drivers with the Bowman Gray Stadium fans, John Smith. The driver known as the “Mayberry Bullet” has already collected two Advance Auto Parts 199 trophies in his short career.  To honor Smith’s 2001 and 2004 victories, Advance Auto Parts has created a limited edition poster in the classic style of the vintage racing posters of yesteryear.

The first of six posters will be available on Sunday, May 7th.   Race into the Winston-Salem and Mt. Airy area stores during the time periods below to collect all 6 posters.

Poster #1 - John Smith - Available May 7th.

Poster #2 - Frank Fleming - Available May 24th.

Poster #3 - Ralph Brinkley - Available June 14th.
Poster #4 - Gary Myers - Available July 5th.

Poster #5  - Burt Myers - Available July 19th

Poster #6 - Junior Miller - Available August 6th

Posters available while supplies last at all Advance Auto Parts stores in the Winston-Salem and Mt. Airy (NC) areas.


As the skies looked threatening for last week’s True Value Modified Racing Series event at Lee USA Speedway, the topic of conversation switched to the now-closed Riverside Park Speedway in Massachusetts.  Several TVMRS regulars were competitors at that tight quarter mile bullring and recalling their days there is a favorite topic of bench racing.

As far as the threat of rain at Lee, Les Hinkley expressed, “When we were racing at Riverside and 10 minutes from home it did not bother me, but now three hours from home, once you are here you want to race. You just hate to get rained out.”
Les Hinkley by his #06.  (Jim DuPont Photo)
Hinkley had raced for years at Riverside Speedway and expressed that he would still be racing there if the track was opened. “I like doing what we are doing now a lot. It is the same group of people but there is different place every week. I enjoy going to a new place every week. It is a lot of short track competitive racing like Riverside was so TVS racing has a lot of the same theme or characteristics as Riverside racing had. And yes there are a lot of familiar faces.”

Dave Berube another Riverside veteran says he enjoys his racing the True Value Series.

“It is affordable, there are a lot of good cars and there is good competition. We miss Riverside Park. It was a shame that it closed up. Riverside was the only place that we really raced, so I feel like a rookie when I come here. I have never even seen Lee Speedway before so we are optimistic going into the race. We had a pretty good run at Canaan and we had only seen that place once before.”

After Riverside Park Speedway closed Dave continued to race at another short track in his modified.
“We had been running at Monadnock because it is close to us and my crew chief, Rob Valero, ran a late model up there. We are trying to do the first six TVS races and see where we go from there. We will be going to Waterford to try that track. If we pick up speed and do well in the series, maybe we will do more.”

Chris Wenzel sat relaxing before qualifying heat races.

“We are doing pretty good in points. We are just hoping for a good starting spot and a good finish and then we will see what happens after that when they start handicapping us.”

Chris stated that he missed racing at Riverside, but, “I do like short track racing especially for the equipment that I have. I really do like racing on these small bullrings better then the big speedways.”   (Denise DuPont)


Tim Brown is back where he likes to be. Winner’s Circle.

The six-time champion from Cana, VA got off to a rough start
in 2006, finishing 22nd in the season-opening Tucson 200 after
engine problems took him out of the race. But the difficulty only
made Brown work harder. On May 20, he reaped the fruits of
his labors by winning the 50-lap event for the GMAC Insurance
Personal Pit Crew Modified Series, his first victory of 2006.

After qualifying on the pole for the 50-lapper, Tim Brown shot
out to a comfortable lead in no time. In second place behind
Brown was Junior Miller of Pine Hall, who looked to be
conserving his tires and just waiting for the right time to
pounce. Miller was receiving a few hard bumps from Rookie
Mike Adams of Winston-Salem in third place, a definite role
reversal from what the King of the Modifieds is used to.

But Miller claims he wasn’t conserving his tires. “I ran every
lap as hard as I could have,” said Miller, who adds that his
tires just didn’t catch until about lap 30. That’s when Miller
began to gain on Brown. Within 10 laps, Miller had reduced
Brown’s four car-length lead down to only one. As the checkered
was waving, Miller was right behind Brown.

“Junior didn’t get faster on me – I slowed down on purpose,” said Brown.

Feeling comfortable with his lead, Brown decided to play it safe when passing lapped cars in order to avoid an entanglement. “That’s the only time Junior ever gained on me,” said Brown. “I could’ve run away and hid,” said Brown about his dominance in the race.
Miller had to settle for second place. Rookie Mike Adams finished third and Michael Clifton of Walnut Cove finished fourth.

Bowman Gray Stadium fans and competitors were pleased to see Alfred Hill behind the wheel again Saturday in the Modified Division. Hill suffered a heart attack three weeks ago, but his eighth place finish on Saturday proved that he is ready to get back to the action.


Jason Taylor of Searsmont, ME made the trip over the mountains worthwhile as he drove his #8 to the win in the TAT Link-Belt PASS Modified feature at Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, NH on Turn Back the Clock Night Saturday night May 20th.
James Civali  (51 Photo)
The fans who braved the afternoon showers and the threat of more rain all night got their $5.00 worth and saw some great old-time racing at old time prices. General Admission for adults was $5.00, with juniors, $3.00, and kids were $2.00 on Turn Back the Clock Night.

Taylor started up front for the 40-lap tussle, but he had a tough time shaking Troy Morse of Bridgton, ME in the #6 for the first 15 laps, but he finally was able to pull out to a three car-length lead, only to get hauled back to the pack with a couple of cautions.
Chris Staples of Brunswick in the #5 Dallas Oil Machine was quietly making his way to the front from back in the pack. At lap 30, he had disposed of Dana Grover in the E. J. Prescott #99 and then passed Richie Morse in the great looking #34. By lap 33, he was by Richie's brother Troy in the #6, and the hunt was on. With two to go, he was on Taylor's bumper, but he ran out of laps as Taylor took the win. Staples settled for second, with Troy Morse third, Dana Grover fourth, and Richie Morse fifth.

On Saturday night May 27th, the TAT Link-Belt PASS Modifieds return to the friendly confines of Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, ME for the Cole-Man’s Concrete sponsored feature.


Cold and damp weather conditions forced officials to “pull the plug” on the planned show Sunday at Cayuga County Fair Speedway. On tap was a complete program of DIRT Modified, Sportsman and Street Stock action plus a special appearance for the ASCS Patriot Sprints.
This week will see the 15th Annual DIRT MotorSports Northeast Hall of Fame Inductions in the afternoon at 2 p.m., along with a display of Vintage Race Cars. Three drivers will be inducted this year; Bob McCreadie, Kenny Brightbill and pioneer Glenn Reiners. Also being honored are Harvey and Joan Fink with the Lenny Sammons Outstanding Contribution to Auto Racing Award. Joe Pitkavish will be honored with the Gene DeWitt Car Owner Award. Sonny Dornberger will be honored with the Mechanic of the Year Award. Three women will receive the Gater Photo News Woman in Racing Award; Kim Jennejohn, Barb Anderson and Nancy Bicknell.

Following the ceremonies will be the running of the Annual Bill McNabb Hall of Fame Classic, featuring a 100-lap Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series for DIRT Modifieds. Time trials will begin around 5:45 p.m., followed by a complete program of Sportsman, Street Stock and Vintage racing. The 4-Cylinder Enduros will return to action at Cayuga County the following week.

Tim Borwn and his team celebrate their victory.  (Bowman Gray Photo)
Jason Taylor in victory lane at Canaan.  (PASS)