51's MODIFIED MADNESS Presented by Advance Auto Partsby Mike Twist
News From Throughout The Mod-ern World - North and South, Asphalt and Dirt
NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR: SILLY
SEASON IN FULL SWING
The teams of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour won’t take to the track until Thompson’s Icebreaker in April, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything going on. After all, “Silly Season” is now in full swing.
The new team will race Chassis Dynamics cars and Szegedy will be reunited with crew chief Phil Moran. The two worked together at the now disbanded championship-winning #50 Don Barker-owned team in the past.
First off, is a new team with some old roots. 2003 Modified Tour titlist Todd Szegedy will return to the series full-time this year running a Wisk/Snuggle sponsored entry for Michael Smeriglio, one of the owners of the #47 SK Modified that Donny Lia drove at Stafford in 2005.
Ted Christopher, last year’s Speedweeks champion, will be in attendance wheeling the #14 Modified of Bear Motorsports. The championship-winning team from 2005, Brady Bunch Racing, will have John Blewett, III in the seat of their #00 machine.
Donny Lia will be at New Smyrna with his #18 LMI team. Zach Sylvester will be racing there for the Hillbilly Racing #79 team, while the driver who will wheel that car on the Modified Tour in 2006, Chuck Hossfeld, will be racing his own #22 car. Eric Beers, Rob Summers and Mike Ewanitsko will also represent the Modified Tour.
The True Value Modified Racing Series torch will be carried by Andy Seuss for the third year at New Smyrna. He will be joined by series newcomer Jonathan McKennedy as well.
SPEEDWEEKS: BIG NAMES GETTING READY FOR FLORIDA
Before the racing season starts in the Northeast, many teams will be heading to New Smyrna Speedway for Florida Speedweeks on February 10th-18th. The roster for that event is starting to take shape.
The #28 will have a new driver in 2006. (51 Photo)
Todd Szegedy will be back on the Mod Tour in '06.
Waterford SK Modified standout Chris Pasteryak will wheel the #5 car that is well known at Speedweeks with his father Charlie as the longtime driver.
DIRT MODIFIEDS: IT’S OFF TO ELDORA
The 2006 Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series schedule will include a trip to Eldora Speedway (OH). The famed dirt track, owned by NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart, already boosts an impressive line-up of sprint car and dirt late model events. The DIRT Modifieds will race there on August 5th.
There will be 18 others tracks that also make up the schedule of events counting towards the Mr. DIRT title.
TRUE VALUE MODIFIEDS: ’06 TAKING SHAPE
As the True Value Modified Racing Series heads into its third season, the future looks very bright. The tour will head to Connecticut for the first time in 2006, with dates at Waterford and Thompson. The registration list of teams making their intentions for 2006 known is getting longer and longer as well.
Tony Ricci, who won the non-points Octoberfest race at Lee USA Speedway in 2004, has bought a former Bob Polverari car and will run as many events in 2006 as his budget allows.
Jonathan McKennedy (mentioned above for his Speedweeks plans) will take over the Marco Turcotte ride from Louie Mechalides. The car will now be numbered #29.
David Berghman has also filed an entry for the season. The son of Modified legend Bugsy Stevens has won twice in his career on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and will be very tough to beat when the TVMRS heads to his hometrack of Seekonk Speedway, a place where the Massachusetts driver has had more than his share of success in the past.
There has also been one adjustment to the 2006 schedule for the TVMRS. The previously announced race at Seekonk on July 15th has been replaced with a September 24th event at Lee USA Speedway (NH).
PASS MODIFIEDS: SERIES GETS AT TITLE SPONSOR
The PASS Modified Series continues to grow with the addition of their first ever title sponsor. TAT/Link-Belt Excavators of Casco, Maine will now sponsor the tour.
After the success of their sponsorship of the twin features by the PASS Modifieds at the PASS 400 Weekend at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) last September, TAT/Link-Belt decided to increase their involvement with the series.
The PASS Modifieds will run a 14-race schedule in 2006 starting with a May 10th event at Maine’s Speedway 95 and ending on October 12th at Canaan Fair Speedway (NH).
Last year, Ted Christopher was in the #00 at Speedweeks and won the championship. This year, he'll be running for another team and the Brady Bunch #00 will have John Blewett, III in the seat. (51 Photo)
Tony Ricci raced Pro Stocks mostly in 2005, he'll be back in a Mod this season. (51 Photo)
Meanwhile there has also been some ride swapping going on. Over at the #1 team of TG Racing, there have been some changes. Twenty-time Modified Tour racewinner Rick Fuller is out of the car and Robbie Summers is in.
Last year’s top Mod Tour rookie, Tyler Haydt, is out of the #28 car of King Racing and will be replaced by James Civali. There's no word where Haydt will land as of yet.
Former Pro Cup driver Danny Sammons is said to be headed to the #0 Ralph Solhem team as its new driver. The team has been idle since releasing Nevin George late in the 2004 season.
TRACKS: THOMPSON 300 UNDEGOES BIG CHANGES
The Sunoco 300 at Thompson International Speedway (CT) has been one of the crown jewels on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule for years. The race has typically run 300 straight laps and been a test of endurance. In 2004, the race was divided into three 100-lap features with combined scoring, but that experiment only lasted one season.
In 2006, the format for the race weekend will be very different however.
Now nicknamed the Modified Mania 400, the weekend will be headlined by a 150-lap Modified Tour race. Support events will include a 100-lap True Value Modified feature, a 100-lap Race of Champions Modified feature
and a 50-lap Sunoco (SK) Modified race. The track boasts that over $150,000 of prize money and awards will be posted over the weekend.
WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR: A PEAK AT THE ’06 SCHEDULE
The schedule for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour has yet to be released, but Speed51.com has learned that there will be events in 2006 at tracks that will include Caraway, Ace, Bowman Gray, Martinsville, Motor Mile, Concord and Hickory
The 2006 season for the Championship Modified Tour (CMT) drivers of the Open Wheel Modified ranks will swing into action in February when the circuit gets underway at Savannah, Georgia’s historic Oglethorpe Speedway Park on February 3rd and 4th in a pair of sanctioned CMT events. As part of the special season opening “Young Guns Shootout” week at Oglethorpe Speedway Park, the two 25-lap CMT races on Friday and Saturday nights will follow an open practice date on Thursday night, February 2nd.
While sanctioned under the National Dirt Racing Association (NDRA), the CMT circuit falls under the same governing organization as the CAROLINA CLASH Super Late Model Series (SLMS) and events sanctioned by the Southern Dirt Racing Association (SDRA). CMT plans a schedule of between sixteen and twenty events for the 2006 season with sixteen dates confirmed at this time.
Has Ted Christopher won the last Thompson 300 as we know it? (Howie Hodge Photo)