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
BRODIE TAKES TOM BALDWIN MEMORIAL
Howie Brode of East Islip could not have picked a finer night to score his 10th career NASCAR Modified victory than this past Saturday when he won the CARQUEST Auto parts Tom Baldwin Memorial 77. For Brode it was a very emotional victory in a race run in honor of his mentor “Tiger” Tom. The triumph was worth a handsome $2,584, which included $907 in lap money and a $77 bonus from James Vaccaro.
Bill Park set fast time, but when the top six redrew it would be Tom Rogers Jr. and John Fortin in the front row. At the throw of the green Fortin outran Rogers to the first corner for the lead and on lap 2 Howie Brode raced by Rogers for second. Brode pursued Fortin for 14 laps before he looped around the former two-time champion for the lead on lap 17. Fortin ran second to Brode until lap 24 when Chuck Steuer was able to make a pass for the position.
The race, which was dotted by numerous cautions for mostly minor spins, found Brode being chased by Steuer for nearly the remainder of the race. During some of the caution periods many car ducked to the pits for either a set of “sticker” tires or adjustments, among
them Tom Rogers Jr. subbing for Frank Vigliarolo Jr. in the #5. As the laps wore down to a precious few Brode was alerted by his crew that Rogers was coming and coming fast and worked his way by Steuer for second with just over a lap remaining. On the last lap Rogers was all over the race leader when the checker flag waved, but Howie Brode in the General Utilities Chevy prevailed in this special race run in honor of his friend and mentor.
After Rich Pallai of CARQUEST presented Howie with a trophy that included a picture of Tom, Tom Baldwin Jr, his sister Tammy and Jerry Cook of NASCAR then greeted Howie.
Chocking back tears Howie noted, “This one is for Tom, and I miss him everyday. He worked with me a lot when I started out in fact he told me he’d let me take his car out. Well I never got to do that but he was riding in mine tonight for sure”.
Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue was runner-up in the Nicolock Stones of Distinction Corvette, with Chuck Steuer of Bohemia third in the Savin Copiers Chevy with Steuer now sitting atop the point standings as well. John Fortin of Holtsville and Justin Bonsignore also of Holtsville completed the top five.
NWSMT: IT’S TIME FOR BOWMAN-GRAY
For the second year in a row, Bowman Gray Stadium hosts Advance Auto Parts Weekend – a three-day event centered around the Advance Auto Parts 199 for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
The weekend kicks off on Thursday, August 3 with a driver autograph session at Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem. Modified drivers from the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour as well as Bowman Gray’s own GMAC Insurance Personal Pit Crew Modified Series will be in attendance to sign autographs for fans.
The session will take place at Belk Court inside of Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem from 6:00 – 7:00 PM. Angie Ward from 104.1 WTQR will emcee the event.
The weekend continues with Advance Auto Parts night on Friday, August 4, presented by 104.1 WTQR. The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will qualify
for Saturday’s race, plus there will be races for the GMAC Insurance Personal Pit Crew Modified Series, Legends, Bandoleros, and Thunder Roadsters. Tickets are only $1.99 and available at area Advance Auto Parts locations.
Then on Saturday, August 5, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will race in the Advance Auto Parts 199. The ticket prices for the Tour race are still the same low prices that Bowman Gray Stadium is famous for - $10 for adults and $1 for children. The night will also feature races for the Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock divisions.
For ticket prices, directions, or other information, log on to www.bowmangrayracing.com.
DIRT: MIGHTY ELDORA AWAITS
Top teams contending in the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series have had the date circled on the calendar since its inception. That day finally arrives when DIRT MotorSports NorthEast’s mighty big-block Modifieds make their third-ever appearance at Tony Stewart’s Eldora (Oh.) Speedway on August 5th.
Howie Brodie stands in victory lane at Riverhead with Tom Baldwin, Jr. (Riverhead Raceway Photo)
“We’re running mid-season this time around but I'm still expecting a solid turnout with all the positive feedback we've received lately,” said DIRT NE Director Cory Reed. Another quality field of ground-pounding open-wheel racers will converge on Stewart’s nationally recognized 1/2-miler Saturday evening for the third 'Advance Auto Parts Big-Block 100.' DIRT NorthEast’s premier division joins the World of Outlaws Sprint Series for practice on Friday before completing the 7:30 p.m. tripleheader alongside the UMP Modifieds and Eldora’s own Advance Auto Parts Stock Cars on Saturday.
The DIRT Modified pre-race entry list already boasts an all-star cast featuring a dozen of the best big-block teams in the Northeast signed up to compete in every
Advance Auto Parts SDS show. The current list of contracted drivers (in alphabetical order) includes popular Pennsylvanian Frank Cozze, four-time and defending Eckerd 200 titlist Billy Decker, reigning overall Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRT champion Tim Fuller, all-time Advance Auto Parts SDS race winner Brett Hearn, DIRT's winningest big-block Modified driver Alan Johnson, five-time DIRT MotorSports NE Driver of the Year Danny Johnson, Canandaigua (NY) Speedway record-setter Steve Paine, second-year tour mainstay Jimmy Phelps, first-year full-time Series follower Dale Planck, rising star Matt Sheppard, former Mr. DIRT champion Gary Tomkins and 30-year open-wheel veteran Pat Ward.
Also on the pre-race entry list from around the Northeast are a host of Pennsylvanians including teammates Butch Tittle and Rusty Smith, Gary Risch and Brian Swartzlander, Kevin Bolland, Del Rougeux Jr., Dave Murdick and Dave Schrader, plus New Jersey pilot David VanHorn and New Yorkers Justin Hears, Jeff Isabell, Tom Sears Jr., Joe Isabell, Ryan Jacobs, Sean Beardsley and Todd Town. More are expected to sign up during the coming week.
Four-time overall Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRT Champion Alan Johnson tops the current standings heading into August followed by past titlists Decker, Fuller, Hearn and Tomkins. Johnson and Decker both own three feature wins on the ’06 AAP tour while Hearn has reached victory lane twice and Fuller once.
TRACKS: BOWMAN-GRAY GETS NEW LEASE ON LIFE
The Saturday night racing will continue through 2027 at Winston-Salem’s Bowman Gray Stadium.
The DIRT Mods will be rolling into Eldora this weekend.
A new contract extension has been signed between the City of Winston-Salem through the Winston-Salem Public Assembly Facilities Commission and Winston-Salem Speedway, operators of the track. Bowman Gray Stadium is NASCAR’s longest running weekly race track, currently in their 58th racing season.
Promoter, Gray Garrison said, “We’re very pleased with our family’s long standing relationship with the City of Winston-Salem and NASCAR and excited about our family continuing these relationships for the next 20 years. We look forward to continuing to bring the Winston-Salem area the highest quality of reasonably priced family entertainment.”
NASCAR’s George Silbermann said, “Bowman Gray Stadium is a very important race track, both from a long-standing historical standpoint and as we look to the future of NASCAR-sanctioned racing on the east coast. Bowman Gray represents the core of what NASCAR racing is all about. We are proud of our association with the management team of Dale and Johnnie Pinilis and Gray and Pam Garrison. NASCAR recognizes and appreciates their knowledge, experience and expertise at successfully promoting professional motor racing.”
Bucky Dame, Director of the Winston-Salem Entertainment-Sports Complex reiterated, “On behalf of the Public Assembly Facilities Commission and the staff, we are very happy this great tradition will continue. Our long standing relationship with speedway management has breeded success for 58 years and we look forward to the next 20 years. While the track is legendary, the weekly racing is part of the fabric of our community and an integral ingredient of professional sports and entertainment in Winston-Salem and the Piedmont Triad. Bowman Gray Stadium is truly the birthplace of what is NASCAR today.”
The flat, quarter-mile asphalt track is known for close racing action and a deep tradition that goes back to 1949. Fonty Flock won the first NASCAR event at the stadium on May 18, 1949. Bowman Gray Stadium has hosted NASCAR Grand National and Modified events throughout its long history. NASCAR staged 29 Grand National events at the stadium from 1958 to 1971. Winners during that period reads like a “Who’s Who” list of racing legends, including Richard Petty, Lee Petty, Junior Johnson, Glen Wood, David Pearson, Rex White and Bobby Allison.
Earlier this season, Modified driver Junior Miller broke the Bowman Gray Stadium record by posting his 65th win in a Modified. The record had belonged to Ralph Brinkley for 16 years. Miller is a five-time Bowman Gray Champion. The current record of eight belongs to Brinkley.
NWMT: MR. AUGUST LEADS LONG ISLAND CHARGE INTO RIVERHEAD
Donny Lia of Jericho undoubtedly comes to Saturday night’s Miller Lite 200 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Riverhead Raceway as the driver to beat after winning the past three August races at Barbara and Jim Cromarty’s historic oval. Twenty-seven other drivers will attempt to halt Lia’s August win streak in WMT races at Riverhead Saturday evening.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Mod Tour heads to Bowman Gray this weekend.
Vic Coffey (DIRT Photo)
Dubbed “Mr. August” on the merit of the Riverhead Raceway August win streak, the budding superstar always gets pumped-up about racing on the quarter mile where Lia began his NASCAR Modified efforts as the 2001 Rookie of the Year. Lia started his August hot streak in August of 2003, his first season in the Whelen Modified Tour when he also won Rookie of the Year. Lia then backed-up the 2003 Riverhead Raceway WMT victory with wins in the 2004 and 2005 races.
Aside from the usual motivation any racecar driver has going for him, Donny always looks forward to racing at Riverhead in front of family, friends and employees of the family owned auto dealership Huntington Honda who always turn out in numbers to root their driver on. Aside
from his three WMT triumphs Lia has also authored two NASCAR Modified wins at Riverhead.
“Mighty” Mike Stefanik comes to the Miller Lite 200 Saturday as the leading active driver as far as WMT wins go at the Long Island speed plant with 6 trips to victory lane with his first coming back to July of 1986 driving for car owner Clint Hanks. Stefanik in the Flamingo Racing #16 will be a threat to end Lia’s win streak.
The only other active WMT drivers entered for the Miller Lite 200 that have visited victory lane are Jerry Marquis and Ted Christopher who have both driven to two wins each and indeed could claim number three Saturday. Other WMT drivers to watch in the Miller Lite 200 are defending WMT champion Tony Hirschman, Eric Beers, Jamie Tomaino, Jimmy Blewett, Chuck Hossfeld, Eddie Flemke Jr. and Todd Szegedy.
The famed Long Island gang will be ready to try and grab their first win since 1995 when Ed Brunnhoelzl Jr. won the Miller Lite 200. Leading the list of Riverhead Raceway regulars will be defending track champion Bill Park and three time feature event winner in 2006 J.R. Bertuccio. Howie Brode, Ken Heagy and Joe Hartmann all of whom have raced at Riverhead in 2006 will also be gunning for the Miller Lite 200 gold.
DIRT: COFFEY FINALLY CAPTURES ONE
It took Vic Coffey a number of years, but he finally won his first DIRT big-block Modified race at the Cayuga County Fair Speedway on Sunday, July 30 in the third race of the year televised “live” on Time Warner Cable Sports. “My brother Paul and the rest of the crew deserve to be out here on television after all of the hard work they put into this car,” stated an elated Coffey from victory lane. “My mother and father also make this whole thing possible. To be able to show well on television is just great!!”
Donny Lia (51 Photo)
Coffey blasted into the lead at the drop of the green from his outside pole starting position. But as the last couple of cars cleared the second turn the yellow flew when a very unhappy Tim McCreadie found his father’s number 9 stuffed into the back stretch wall with Sean Beardsley on his tail. Beardsley limped around to the pits, but McCreadie’s race was finished as he was towed into the pits. On the ensuing restart Coffey remained in front with Dale Planck right on his rear bumper. Vince Vitale came next followed by a torrid battle for fourth between Pat Ward and Tom Sears Jr.
On lap four the yellow flew for a second time when Matt Sheppard suffered a flat tire and drifted uncontrollably into the inside cement wall on the back stretch also ending his race early. Coffey now began to stretch out his advantage over Planck, making a gap of 1.3 seconds before the yellow flew for the third time in the race on lap 10 when Todd Town looped his number 17T in the first turn.
Pat Ward had worked his way up to third, following Planck at a distance. On lap 14 another pre-race favorite, Gary Tomkins,
suffered a flat tire and spun in between the third and fourth turns. This mishap brought out the final yellow of the race and set up a long green flag run of 21 laps. On the last restart Ward ducked low in the second turn and powered by Planck for second.
Coffey was not to be denied, stretching out his lead to a full two seconds as he hit traffic on lap 25. Ward, too, held a strong advantage in front of the battle for third between Jimmy Phelps and Planck. These two dueled back and forth for most of the green flag run for third position. As the checkers flew Coffey claimed the win followed by Ward who closed to within .525 seconds at the line. Phelps took third followed by Planck and Tim Fuller, all in a tight pack of three cars.
PASS MODS: RIVERSIDE RACE PICKS UP PRACTICE DAY
There will be an open practice at Riverside Speedway, Groveton, NH on Friday August 4th from 11am to 3 pm for PASS Outlaw Late Models and PASS Mods participating in the Saturday August 5th PASS Riverside races. In addition, all other divisions, except Enduro cars, will also be able to attend this practice, especially the cars coming from Thunder Road and White Mountain for Friday's $500 to win Street Stock 100.
Admission is $25 for the car and driver, additional team members are $10 each. Please note that the cars must be removed from the pits at the end of practice because we have a monster truck show that night. Your practice admission is not valid after 3pm. If you are going to race on Friday night, you have to sign in again at the pit gate for the Friday night show. There is plenty of space in the camping area outside the pit gate along the Connecticut River to park your hauler overnight if you are racing on Saturday night.
BG MODS: JUNIOR MILLER ADVANCE POSTER NOW AVAILABLE
Stop by participating Winston-Salem and Mt. Airy 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.
The sixth and final poster of the set, available this week, spotlights the all-time winner of the Advance Auto Parts 199, Junior Miller. No other driver in the 58-year history of Bowman Gray Stadium has won the 199-lap race more than twice. But Miller, who is known for his dominance in long distance races has won the race an unprecedented six times. Advance Auto Parts has created a limited edition poster in the classic style of the vintage racing posters of yesteryear to honor Junior Miller and his domination of the 199-lap classic.
The sixth and final poster of the set will be available on Sunday, August 6th. Race into the Winston-Salem and Mt. Airy area stores during the time periods below to collect all 6 posters.
DIRT: MORE RAIN FOR CANANDAIGUA
It seems to be the same old story; rain, rain and still more rain on the weekends this summer. Canandaigua Speedway lost its annual Ontario County Fair Championship races on Saturday, July 29, to good old Mother Nature. It was the second week in a row that Canandaigua Speedway has been rained out.
Fans should save their rain checks (or wrist bands) for another great night of racing this weekend.
This Saturday, August 5, a full program of DIRT Modified/358-Modified, Sportsman and two divisions of Street Stock racing will take to the half-mile oval. The DIRT Modifieds will be running for show up points only as many top teams head to the famed Eldora Speedway to compete in the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series. That will leave a number of teams to do battle at Canandaigua. The first 358-Modified across the finish line will also be earning a guaranteed starting spot for the Super DIRT Week 358-Modified Championship to be run on Saturday, October 7 at the famed Syracuse Mile oval.
Junior Miller is next up when it comes to releasing the Advance Auto Parts Bowman-Gray posters.
Fans will be cheering and booing at Bowman-Gray for a long time to come.