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
BG MODS: ADAMS WINS BATTLE, THE KING WINS THE WAR
On Saturday morning, only three drivers could say that they were six-time champions in the 58-year history of the GMAC Insurance Personal Pit Crew Modified Series at Bowman Gray Stadium. On Saturday night, however, one more name was added to that list - Junior Miller.
Entering the LSB 150, Junior Miller of Pine Hall had what seemed to be a comfortable points lead. But the King of the Modifieds had to sweat a little when an unusually poor qualifying run had the number 69 starting 18th out of23 cars. But Miller was determined to stick to his game plan: stay out of trouble. “I wasn‘t nervous,” said Miller. “I knew there were going to be some cars that were knocked out. I almost got into a few of them there,” said Miller, referring to the two times that he narrowly avoided involvement with on-track incidents. The King was able to slip by the spinning cars of Kevin Powell and Chris Fleming on lap 13, and Miller slammed the brakes before colliding with the sideways car of Brad Robbins on lap 102.
Miller decided it was best to race conservatively for
points instead of pursuing a win and risking his championship. And for him, that was probably tougher than charging his way to the front. “This isn’t my style of racing – just running around. I had a good race car, but I just sat there and had to trail all night. I had a race car that could have gone to the front, but we needed this championship,” said Miller.
Points contender Michael Clifton of Walkertown gave it his all and finished fourth. Bobby Hutchens of Lexington, who was third in the points entering the event, finished second. But despite their best efforts, 2006 was destined to belong to Miller.
The night, however, was destined to belong to a rookie. Before the King was given his sixth crown, Mike Adams of Winston-Salem ran away with victory in the LSB 150. Just one week earlier, the rookie took his first career victory at Bowman Gray Stadium. Qualifying on the pole and leading the pack for all of the LSB 150 on Saturday, Adams cruised to his second career victory.
Rookie runner Mike Adams won the race at Bowman-Gray last weekend... (Bowman-Gray Stadium Photos)
With nine laps to go in the race, Christopher and John Blewett, III made contact battling for the lead. Blewett wrecked and Christopher went on to win.
Laotian provided a crew chief’s feedback on the incident.
“I really did not see the action part of it,” said Laotian. “What happened may have been a little bumping there. But there was definitely nothing intentional. It was just a hard racing accident at the end of the race when it was for the win. To me it was an accident and it was not meant to happen. That is part of racing. This was my opinion.
“Think about how they hit, they came off the corner and he may have gotten into his nerf bar. Get off the gas pedal or do something. Don’t blame it all on us.”
The #36 car was not damaged in the incident.
“There was hardly anything on our car, just a little mark on the nerf bar. It was not like our car was pushed in from the hit.”
The fact that Christopher was even stuck in the low groove was just a result of hard racing according to Laotian.
”Before when he made the pass on us we were up. That was OK. It was hard racing that is all it was. He put us up there, and then we put him up there and took over the lead again. Teddy is not going to just give up. “ (Denise DuPont)
TRUE VALUE MODS: SEEKONK SOAKED
With the True Value Modified Racing Series Airgas 100 waiting in the wings, rain forced Seekonk Speedway officials to postpone the remainder of Saturday night’s action with three feature races in the record books. It was the seventh Saturday night program at the 1/3-mile Bay State oval to be canceled or postponed due to inclement weather in 2006.
Twenty-six Modifieds turned out for the 100 green flag-lap event, which saw Jimmy Dolan, Richard Savary, and Louie Mechalides winning the 12-lap qualifying heats. Vinnie Annarummo won the 15-lap consolation race, setting the stage for the 24-car main, which has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 16.
SK MODS: PITKAT CONQUERS STAFFORD
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night, Woody Pitkat, of Stafford Springs, collected his second SK Modified® feature win of the 2006 season by holding off a determined challenge from Frank Ruocco.
John Blewett wasn't too happy with the #36 team at Thompson. (Jim DuPont Photo)
Lloyd Agor led the first lap with Kurt Lenahan taking the lead on lap-2. Lenahan held the lead until lap-5 when Pitkat moved out front. Ruocco took second from Lenahan on lap-7, and he spent the next 33 laps glued to Pitkat's bumper, looking for a weak point to use to his advantage and overtake Pitkat for the race lead. But that weak point was never exhibited to Ruocco as Pitkat was able to fend him off for the victory. Chris Jones finished third, with Jeff Malave, and Eric Berndt rounding out the top-5.
In the chase for the 2006 SK Modified® track championship, Jeff Malave maintains the points lead by 6 points over Frank Ruocco. Todd Owen is third, 14 points behind, Pitkat is fourth, 26 points behind, and Jeff Baral is fifth, 34 points behind.
WALL STADIUM: JBIII GETS IT DONE
Two nights after getting walled in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Thompson with nine laps to go, John Blewett, III returned to his home track of home track of Wall Township Speedway (NJ) and won the Modified feature. Blewett has been dominating the class this season and extended his point lead with the victory.
PASS MODS: RAIN AT THE RIDGE
For the third time in their last four schedules events, the PASS Modifieds have been rained out. The latest race that fell victim to the weather was Sunday’s race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway.
Teams are hoping for a better forecast when they are scheduled to return to action this coming Sunday, August 26th, at Oxford Plains Speedway.
“We held on as long as we could and possibly have a chance to get the television program to air on time,” stated competition director Cory Reed. “We hate like heck to lose a television event for our fans and race teams.”
The Empire DIRT Series will resume next Sunday, August 27, starting at 7 p.m., with the fifth race. DIRT Sportsman, DIRT Street Stock and 4-Cylinder Enduro racers will join the DIRT big-block Modifieds in action that evening.
WMT: PLENTY TO SEE IN MARTINSVILLE
Racing is obviously the key ingredient of the Made In American Whelen 300 at Martinsville Speedway Labor Day weekend, but fans can find plenty of activities when they are away from the track.
The Made In America Whelen 300 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race is scheduled for it’s second running under the lights on Saturday, Sept. 2 at Martinsville Speedway.
“The Whelen 300 and the activities around it are a lot of fun for fans, but fans should plan on coming early and staying late that weekend,” said Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell. “So many race fans know Martinsville as a race town, but there’s so much more to do in Martinsville and Henry County. We’ve got rivers, lakes, a state park, campgrounds, hiking trails and museums. There’s enough inexpensive fun here to keep a family busy all weekend.”
Practice and qualifying for the Whelen 300 are set for late Friday, with Saturday’s action beginning at 7 p.m., leaving fans a lot of time to explore the area.
For camping and exploring the outdoors, fans could visit Philpott Lake or Fairystone State Park or take a guided kayak or canoe trip on the Smith River or take a day trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville offers a unique glimpse into the past while the Piedmont Arts Association always has an exhibit or two open to browse. The Stone Cross Museum displays many types of the unique Fairystones found in the area of Fairystone State Park.
More information on the area may be found online at www.visitmartinsville.com.
The first on-track action for the Made In America Whelen 300 will be a 90-minute practice session at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1. Time trials are scheduled for 8:30 p.m. followed by an autograph session in the infield.
Happy hour is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2. The 50-lap Chatlee Boats last chance race is scheduled for 7 p.m. with the Made In America Whelen 300 set to take the green at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets for the Made In American Whelen 300 are $20 and may be purchased in advance by calling 877.RACE.TIX or visiting www.racetickets.com online. Tickets for pole day are $5 and may be purchased the day of qualifying.
DIRT: CANANDAIGUA DRENCHED
Heavy rains swept through the Central and Western New York regions all day on Saturday, forcing DIRT MotorSports NorthEast officials to cancel racing for the night, August 19. This was Canandaigua Speedway’s fourth rainout of 2006.
DIRT: WEEDSPORT WET TOO
Heavy rains hit the Central New York region on Sunday around 5:45 pm forcing DIRT MotorSports NorthEast officials to cancel ‘live’ television coverage of the Empire DIRT Series event scheduled for the evening. Local radar showed that rain was around for at least two hours as it was coming off Lake Ontario.
The DIRT Modifieds didn't run much this past weekend because of Mother Nature (51 Photo)
Woody Pitkat in victory lane at Stafford. (SMS Photo)
“We’ve just tweaked our car set up a little for the qualifying. We’ve had a great car during the race, but we’ve just been off in qualifying. My crew got together, and we changed a little for qualifying and picked up a little bit,” said Adams about his newfound success.
But the rookie is quick to tell you the real secret to his success – his car owner, Bob Nelson. “If it wasn’t for Bob, I wouldn’t be here,” said Adams. “The car just stays at his house, and he works his tail off all day on this car. I’d rather see Bob smile about our win than anybody else. He’s the reason we’re here.”
SST MODS: HANBURY HANDLES CHEMUNG
Although racing action at the track was rained out this week, the SST Modifieds took to Chemung Speedrome in New York last Saturday night and put on a whale of a show.
It was the “Duke Show” early in the 75-lap event. Infamous Modified driver George “The Duke” Kent put on a dazzling show for the fans while moving from his 20-something starting spot to sixth in only 25-laps. Unfortunately for “The Duke,” a flat tire would put him on pit-road thereafter ruining his shot at the victory.
Tony Hanbury, who had finished third in the RoC Tour
show earlier in the evening, picked his way through the
field and had a ferocious battle with Rick Zacharias, who
had led from the drop of the green. Finally, with just a
handful of laps to go, Hanbury put the move on Zacharias
for the lead and the win. It was one of those moves that
would be talked about for some time to come.
“Ricky would stay down behind the lap cars until he got
to the straight-a-way, so I knew if I could get at least to
the point where he could see me on the outside, he
would not be able to squeeze me. I went for it and it
worked,” said Hanbury.
“It was a great night for us with this win and a third in the
RoC Tour race. Plus my teammate Pete won so I want to congratulate him too. (Bob Dillner)
WMT: A CREW CHIEF’S PERSPECTIVE ON THOMPSON
In last week’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Thompson, Brad Laotian took over as the new crew chief for Ted Christopher and the #36 Eddie Whelan-owned team. The combination had instant success, with TC winning the event, but not without a little controversy first.