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
WMT: TITLE FIGHT HEADS TO MARTINSVILLE
For the second consecutive year Ted Christopher is headed to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in a heated points race for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.
Christopher, of Plainville, Conn., is sandwiched between two Tour legends in pursuit of his first championship. He trails Mike Stefanik, a six-time Whelen Modified Tour champion from Coventry R.I., by 71 points and is only 42 points ahead of two-time defending Whelen Modified Tour champion Tony Hirschman, of Northampton, Pa. Christopher has an edge however, as the defending race winner at Martinsville.
“This race is crucial to the championship,” said Christopher. “It’s a long race and with 43 cars starting you can’t afford to be out of the race early. If you do, it can ruin your chances for a championship.”
Despite changing teams at the beginning of the season, Christopher is the only three-time winner on the series in 2006. He is hoping to add another one of the famous Martinsville grandfather clocks to his trophy room.
“I’d sure like another one of those clocks,” Christopher said. “I think we’ll have a pretty good shot at Martinsville. Eddie Whelan has won a couple of times here as a car owner and my crew chief Brad LaFontaine has won here about five times. I’m looking forward to going back.”
The Made in America Whelen 300 is the only combination
race on the 2006 schedule. The teams from the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will join their northern counterparts for this prestigious event which includes a 50-lap qualifying race sponsored by Chatlee Boats & Sporting Goods on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 7:00 p.m., prior to the featured 250-lap race at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Bud Pole Qualifying for the event is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 1st at 8:30 p.m. and will be followed by an autograph session to allow fans a chance to meet their favorite drivers.
TRACKS: THOMPSON MOD MANIA IS COMING UP
Modified Mania is an exciting new concept that will be unveiled the weekend of September 9th and 10th at the Thompson International Speedway. The event, which is sponsored by Sunoco, is designed to showcase the most popular form of auto racing in the northeast in one action packed weekend. Six different styles of Modifieds will be on hand to compete in some 400 laps of competition.
TC in victory lane earlier this year at Riverhead Raceway. (Hodge Photo)
to second with Troy Morse of Bridgton, ME in the #6 following Grover through to third.
A little further back, the #2 of newcomer Gary Norris, Jr of W. Gardner, ME and the #8 of Searsmont’s Jason Taylor were making their way to the front. On lap 38, Norris was fourth and Taylor was right there as well.
The second yellow of the night fell on lap 45 for another spin in turn four, and Staples and Grover were drawn back to the field. On the restart, Grover was on the outside and was probably thinking about Cullivan’s problems on the earlier restart; Morse was third with Norris on the outside behind Grover.
Grover hung on the outside, but by the time they go to the backstretch Staples was pulling away and Dana settled into second, with Morse and Norris battling for third. At the line, it was Staples, Grover, Morse by a hair followed by Bennett, Taylor, Jeremy McCormick of Brooks, ME in the #73, Greg Ellis of Hermon in the #29, Cullivan, Dana Reed of Shapleigh, ME in the #60 who battled engine problems all night, the #1 of Larry Emerson of Durham, ME, the #05 of Dennis Scribner of Otisfield, Donnie Mehuren of Searsmont in the #76, and the #72 of Chad Dow of Fairfield, ME and Richie Morse of Waterville, ME in the #34, both of whom retired early with mechanicals woes.
Grover made it to the podium, but was one spot short of where he wanted to be and gave up a few more points to Staples who extended his slim point’s lead to 18. But Dana did jump over Taylor and regained second by four points over Taylor.
TRACKS: BIG DOG SLEEPS
Due to persistent showers across the state, Mountain Speedway officials were forced to postpone Sunday’s much anticipated, second annual “Big Dog 100” modified event. The event, in part, will be rescheduled during the annual King of the Mountain event weekend in October. Please stay tuned to www.mountainspeedway .com for further updates and details.
The next Mountain Speedway event is Saturday, September 2nd. It will be the final Saturday night event of the season, as the regular racing will switch back to Sunday afternoons to close out the racing season. On the card for the day are the modifieds, street stocks, thrillers and four cylinder thrillers, along with the 4C super modifieds. All the action begins with heat racing action at 6 PM. For all up to date information at Mountain Speedway, please visit www.mountainspeedway.com.
DIRT: SUPER DIRT WEEK NEWS
The qualifying trail leading up to the 358-Modified Championship on Oct. 7 of Super DIRT Week XXXV in Syracuse, N.Y. continues with 21 tracks currently staging 49 events in 2006. The present-day format guarantees that automatic starting berths for Syracuse will be earned by drivers at DIRT member tracks, along with DIRT associate Little Valley Speedway, while time trials will remain open to any driver issued a DIRT License.
The 2006 Syracuse 358-Modified Championship qualifying procedure includes time trials for all DIRT members as well as those already holding guaranteed
True Value Modified Series is also very top heavy in talent. Drivers like Jack Bateman, Dwight Jarvis, three-time winner in ’06, Kirk Alexander, Jimmy Kuhn and Dave Berghman are just a few of the names that make up the talent roster for this up and coming touring division of open wheel Modifieds. The third touring division to be featured on SUNOCO MODIFIED MANIA Weekend is the Race of Champions Modifieds. Drivers like Jan and Mike Leaty, Matt Hirschman, Eric Beers, Lee Sherwood, Earl Paules, Tommy Close, Lee Sherwood and many more will be on hand to thrill fans who may be seeing this incredible division for the first time.
Touring division number four in the SUNOCO MODIFIED
MANIA weekend will be the Pro Four Modifieds. These
ultra-fast, four cylinder powered racecars have thrilled
Thompson fans for many years and a MODIFIED MANIA
weekend would not be complete without them. Drivers
such as George Sherman, Jeff Zuidema, Adam Norton,
Dan Meservey and J. R. Gorman will lead the Pro 4 lineup.
Each and every week, Thompson fans get to cheer on
their favorite Sunoco Modified and Thompson Modified
drivers. All of them will be part of this exciting weekend
of all-Modified racing. Jeff Malave, Woody Pitkat, Todd
Ceravolo, Bert Marvin, Jimmy Blewett and Tom Cravenho,
Jr will lead the field of Sunoco Modifieds. The Thompson Modifieds will showcase the talents of drives like Roger Larson, Jr., Chad Hancock, Tim Sullivan, Glenn Boss and Mike Viens.
It will be two big days of open wheel racing at the Thompson International Speedway. Qualifying will be done by time trials and qualifying races. All of this building up to six big feature events and one very exciting weekend on September 9th and 10th.
DIRT: SHEPPARD WINS AT CANANDAIGUA
Matt Sheppard, from nearby Waterloo, NY, picked up the DIRT Modified feature win at Canandaigua Speedway last Saturday evening. It was Sheppard’s first win of the season at the fast half mile oval. “It feels good to have finally made it here,” stated Sheppard referring to Victory Lane. We must have a “billion” seconds here and it just feels good.”
The 35-lap DIRT Modified feature opened with Butch Tittle taking the lead at the drop of the green. On lap three Todd Burley slowed with a flat tire in the fourth turn to bring out the first yellow of the race. But just two laps later Matt Sheppard blew by Chuck Bower using the high side of the back stretch. Sheppard then began to pull away from the competition, only to give up his advantage when the yellow flew on lap 12 for a multi-car accident in the first turn. Involved were Gary Tomkins, who lost a drive shaft in the accident, and Jeff Brownell Jr.
Sheppard maintained his lead pulling out to a 4.5 second led over second-place Charlie Donk, who was battling with Bower and eventually Steve Paine for the runner-up position. On lap 25 Paine worked his way into that second spot and then, in lap traffic, started to close the gap on Sheppard. By lap 32, Paine had cut Sheppard’s lead to just 1.5 seconds but laps ran out quickly. Sheppard held on for the victory followed by Paine, Donk, Bower and Chad Brachmann to round out the top-five finishers. “We had a good handling car here this week,” added Sheppard from Victory Lane. Thanks should also go to Finger Lakes motors and my crew for such a great handling machine.”
At the green flag, Dale Cullivan of Palermo, ME in the #25 took the point followed by Steve Bennett, Jr of Buckfield, ME in the #12. By lap 5, Staples had the Dallas Oil #5 up to fifth from his tenth-place start, and by lap 10 he was challenging Cullivan for the lead. Two laps later Staples went around Cullivan and took the lead.
Grover, in the E.J. Prescott sponsored #99, was coming as well, and on lap 14 was challenging Bennett for third. The two went side-by-side until lap 18 when Bennett was trapped behind lapped traffic and Grover went to the outside and into third.
A quick yellow for a spin in turn four helped Grover close up on Staples and Cullivan for the restart. Cullivan’s #25 didn’t like the outside and Grover slipped by on the inside
This Saturday will be the final track points event at Canandaigua Speedway this season. Double points will be on the line in all divisions. The DIRT Modifieds will be running a 50-lap event. Race time begins just before 7 p.m.
PASS MODS: STAPLES EXTENDS POINT LEAD WITH OXFORD WIN
Chris Staples came into Saturday night’s 50-lap feature at Oxford Plains Speedway hot off a win at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, NH with a 16 point lead over Jason Taylor and a 20 point margin over Dana Grover in the 2006 point’s race. Dana had a lousy night at Riverside and gave up second in points to Jason, but he came to Oxford and predicted a podium finish.
starter status through the summer qualifying races and three DIRT 358-Modified Regional Championships. The top-8 non-guaranteed drivers will make Friday's Twin 20s starting grids via time trials.
All full-sanctioned tracks at which DIRT MotorSports recognizes a 358-Modified points champion is afforded no less than (2) qualifying events, with at least (1) position awarded in a non-Mr. DIRT 358-Modified Series event. Every Mr. DIRT 358 Series race held prior to Super DIRT Week is a qualifier.
The summer-long qualifying trail culminates with tape-delayed (Oct. 29 on SPEED TV) coverage of the 150-lap 358-Modified Championship held Super DIRT Week. Activity begins Thursday, Oct. 5 with afternoon time trials locking in the front-three rows; the same times will be used to line up the Twin 20s on Friday with a last chance race run on Saturday.
Guaranteed starters will be added from Super DIRT Week qualifiers at Brewerton Speedway (Oct. 5) and Rolling Wheels Raceway (Oct. 6) with the current top-12 in overall Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels 358-Modified Mr. DIRT point standings and provisionals filling out the field.
USA MODS: RODNEY WINS AGAIN
New Castle, Indiana’s Rodney Scott claimed his second Kalamazoo Speedway victory Saturday night and became the “Kalamazoo King” for 2006 as the USA Modified Series made their final appearance of the season.
Twenty seven Mods would show up under threatening skies to do battle at Gary Howe’s 3/8 mile facility located North West of Kalamazoo Michigan. It was the USA’s third appearance of the season that saw Bob Curry take the first win and Rodney Scott the second…..now both would race, along with twenty five other Mods to see who would be the “King”
Qualifying would find local driver Brent Hook on top with a time of 13.870 and a speed of 97.332 MPH. “Flyin” Brian Nester at 13.877, was second, followed by Bob Curry, Rodney Scott and Tim Burkett, rounding out the top five.
Nester would out dual Rodney Scott for the Dash win followed by Brad Springer, Bob Curry, Tim Burkett, and Brent Hook. Heat race action saw Chad Poorman take the win over Dan Frazier, Harry Foote, and Jason Dietsch.
The DIRT Mods kicking up some dust. (51 Photo)
Matt Sheppard (DIRT Photo)
Modified racecars have been the centerpiece of racing in the northeast and on SUNOCO MODIFIED MANIA weekend, fans will see virtually every type of Modified race car in competition today. Heading the list will be the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The appearances at Thompson is always exciting. Their edge-of-the-seat, wheel-to-wheel competition is the hallmark of their events at Thompson.
Joining the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be the extremely popular True Value Modified Tour, the R.O.C. Modifieds, Thompson’s Sunoco Modifieds, the recently formed and popular Thompson Modified division and the thrilling Pro Four Modifieds.
The Modified race car was the first racing division of NASCAR and has proven, over the years, to be the most popular type of racing for fans in the northeast. There have been many different kinds, shapes and sizes of Modifieds over the years, but the tradition of a high-speed, open wheel racing has never changed. This type of racecar has thrilled thousands of fans since it was first introduced shortly after the end of WW II.
The Modifieds of 2006 are sleek in design and are extremely fast. Many of the drivers of these cars have become racing legends. Richie Evans, Bugs Stevens, Fred DeSarro, Rene Charland, Ron Bouchard, Geoffrey and Brett Bodine Jimmy Spender and Greg Sacks are but a few drivers from the past that have become household names to long-time Modified fans. Current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers like Mike Stefanik, Reggie Ruggiero, Rick Fuller, Ted Christopher, Ed Flemke and Jerry Marquis are but a few of today’s drivers who are destined for similar legendary status.
Thompson will host the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (Top - Jim DuPont Photo), The True Value Modifieds (Middle - Jim DuPont Photo) and the RoC Modifieds (Bottom - 51 Photo) as part of Modified Mania.
“Young Gun” Scotty Tomasik would win the “B” Main over new racer Mike Zordan, Mike Hadley Jr., Tony Dager and ASA/CRA racer Michael Gaier. With the feature line up now set, racers would make last minute changes to prepare their racing machines for the 50 lap feature event.
Rodney Scott would start from the pole, with Tim Burkett outside. Bob Curry inside second row and Damon Breedlove outside. The Third row would find fast qualifier Brent Hook inside and Harry Foote outside. At the drop of the green Scott and Burkett would run side by side, see-sawing back and forth for the lead. Scott would finally win out over Burkett and take the lead.
The caution flag would fly as Breedlove spun coming off of turn two causing a pile up of cars that would eliminate Nyle Weiler, Mike Zordan, and Michael Gaier. Breedlove was able to continue and finish 9th place for the night. The green would fly again, and Rodney Scott would be able to hold off Tim Burkett and Bob Curry to be victorious for the second time, making him the “Kalamazoo King.” for 2006.
The USA Modified Series will travel to Angola Speedway this Sunday, September 3rd for more info go to www.usamodifieds.com.
SKs/SK LIGHTS: STAFFORD CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLES
Stafford Speedway is back in action this Friday night, August 25th with all five NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series divisions in action. All five divisions have a tight points battle as the 2006 season enters its final weeks.
In the chase for the 2006 SK Modified® track championship, Jeff Malave maintained the points lead last Friday night, but his leads is only 6 points over Frank Ruocco. Todd Owen is third, 14 points behind, Woody Pitkat is fourth, 26 points behind, and Jeff Baral is fifth, 34 points behind.
In the chase for the SK Light Modified track championship, Shelly Perry moved into the points lead after last Friday night, and she leads both Chris Matthews and Richie Pallai, Jr. by 12 points. Brit Andersen is fourth, 28 points behind, and Duke Place is fifth, 42 points behind.
The Sunoco/SK Modifieds will also be at Modified Mania. (Jim DuPont Photo)
Chris Staples in victory lane at Oxford. (PASS Photo)