51's Modified Madness  Presented by Advance Auto Parts  Compiled by Mike Twist
North, South, Dirt and Asphalt...All The Latest From the Mod-ern Racing World

It is not often that fans of short track racing can find a single event with as diverse and talented a line-up as that being presented by C&C Racing Promotions on Friday and Saturday, November 2 & 3, 2007. An incredible group of racing talent will be competing in this year's John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout at the ultra-fast tri-oval of Concord Motorsport Park in Concord , NC . The roster for the John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout featuring the East-West Supermodified Shootout is shaping up to be one of the most noted in short-track racing history.
distinctions for the 2007 season including the ASA Southern Modified Race Tour title and the Bowman Gray Stadium championship.
NASCAR's longest running weekly race track, Bowman Gray Stadium has produced some incredible racing talents. The facility is arguably the most grueling race track in the country. Its tight racing conditions make for exciting races and short fuses. The weekly competitors at this bull ring can hold their own. And several of the Stadium champions, including six-time Modified champion Tim Brown of Cana , VA , will look to use the tricks of the trade to finally score a Southern victory. Brown may have a decided advantage as he enjoys the services of championship crew chief Phil Moran, who helped propel Szegedy to his title in 2003. Other serious threats to win include Brian Loftin, Brian King, Jason Myers and former S.M.A.R.T. champion Jay Foley.

The Race of Champions Modified Tour will also be well represented. The 2007 champion, Pete Brittain of Oakhurst, NJ, will be joined by two former RoC title holders, M. Hirschman (overall), and Eric Beers (central region-2006), both of Northampton, PA. The 2004 series champion and newly crowned 2007 SST Champion, Tony Hanbury of Owego , NY , will be competing in the SK-Type portion of this year's Shootout.
On hand for the prestigious event will be the stars of the major Modifieds tours on the East Coast. They are being joined by the tenacious racers from Supermodified racing associations nationwide and from weekly race tracks in the northeast. The rosters for the Shootout's ‘big three' will include a collection of championship drivers and a host of rising stars.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Donny Lia of Jericho , NY has verbally expressed his intentions to compete on November 2&3 at Concord Motorsport Park . Lia is expected to drive his family-owned #18 when he searches for his second Shootout victory. Lia was the 2004 champion of the event.

The Modified roster also includes one of the Whelen Modified Tour's most decorated drivers, Tony Hirschman of Northampton , PA. This will be the first appearance of the five-time Tour champion in the North-South Shootout. For the last several years, Hirschman was at the Shootout lending a hand and moral support to his son Matt, who was crowned the 2006 North-South Shootout champion. This year, the elder Hirschman hopes to visit victory lane again in 2007, this time in his fire suit.

Other former Modified Tour champions filing entries include Jerry Marquis of Broad Brook , CT , and Jamie Tomaino of Howell , NJ . The 2003 Series king, Todd Szegedy, will be behind the wheel of the Hillbilly Racing #97 as a teammate to Woody Pitkat.

Currently, the Northern Modified competitors have combined to win all four of the previous North-South Shootout Modified 100 events; shutting out their Southern rivals. In 2007, the good old boys are poised to end the Northern reign. The Southern Modified contingent brings some championship-caliber contenders of their own for the 5 th Annual John Blewett III Memorial. One likely candidate to dethrone the northerners is Burt Myers of Walnut Cove, NC, who holds two
In an interview following the Race of Champions at Oswego , Brittain, who has been at the Shootout since the beginning, sounded like a classic television advertisement. Brittain was asked what he was going to do with the all the lap money he had won. He simply replied, “I'm going to the North-South Shootout”. Apparently, a trip to the Shootout is like a trip to Disney World.

The Who's Who of rosters will also include the likes of reigning ISMA Supermodified Champion, Chris Perley of Rowley , MA along with former club champions Joe Gosek of Oswego , NY , and Dave McKnight of Brampton , Ontario , Canada . The Midwest Supermodified Association's multi-time point champion Tim Jedrzejek will join the all-star cast of the first annual East-West Supermodified Shootout.

A familiar name can be found on the roster of both the East-West Supermodified Shootout and the SK-Type Modified 50. The “Jersey Jet” Joey Payne of Fairlawn , NJ , will be a real threat to win both events. The open-wheel veteran, who has posted victories in the Supermodifieds, will be making his debut in an SK Modified ® from the TS Haulers Racing stables as a teammate to Jimmy Blewett. This is a powerful combination that could result in a bunch of hardware heading back to New Jersey .
Matt Hirschman won last year's North South Shootout.  He also visited victory lane a few weeks ago in the All-Star Nationals at New Hampshire's All-Star Speedway  - pictured here.  (Rick Ibsen Photo)
The weekly racing series drivers will be on hand in force for the SK-Type Modified and Crate SK Modified divisions. The track champions at all three Connecticut race tracks as well as the SST champion are entered into the annual SK-Modified thriller. Stafford Motor Speedway's Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT, is expected to drive the Doug DiPisa owned #81 while Thompson International Speedway champ Keith Rocco of Wallingford, CT, and the Waterford Speedbowl ace Rob Janovic, Jr. of Waterford, CT, will be aboard their usual potent mounts in search of victory. Janovic is among the most successful Shootout competitors posting top-ten finishes in both SK-Type Modified events held thus far.

In the Crate-SK Modified division, Wall Township Speedway's Danny Bohn of Freehold, NJ, will try to turn his track championship into his second-straight Shootout title. Stafford Speedway champion Chris Matthews of Stafford Springs , CT , is making the tow to North Carolina in search of his own Shootout victory.
Whether it is the first or fifth trip to the John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout, these competitors are hungry for a win. With The level of competition and the depth of the talent, that hunger will provide two solid days of thrilling racing action.
The format for the fifth annual event will include time trials, heat races, and consolation event(s) for the Modifieds, Supermodifieds, and SK-Type Modifieds. Heat races will be held for the Crate SK-Type Modifieds, Four-Cylinders, and Vintage Modifieds. The Modifieds will compete in a 100 green flag lap main event with the Supermodifieds and SK-Type Modifieds competing in 50-lappers.

On Friday, November 2, 2007 , the pit gates open at 8 AM with practice running from 11 AM to 4 PM . Grandstands will be open beginning at 2 PM . The racing action gets underway at 5 PM with time trials for the SK-Type Modifieds, Supermodifieds and Modifieds. Qualifying heats for all divisions will be held immediately following. On Saturday, November 3, 2007 , pit gates open at 8 AM with a happy hour practice scheduled from 9 AM – 11 AM . The grandstands will open at 10 AM in preparation for the traditional pit party from 11:30 PM – 1:00 PM and the “Little Shootout” pedal car races. The racing action gets underway at 1:15 PM with the Modified consolation event

followed by feature events for all divisions. The t entative order is as follows: 4-Cylinder, SK Light-Type, Vintage Modifieds, SK-Type Modifieds, Supermodifieds and Modifieds. (Schedule is subject to change).

The drivers entered in the 5 th Annual John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout presented by Town & Country Ford featuring the Wirtgen America East-West Supermodified Shootout have combined to amass a huge number of championships. The talent will be on display on Friday and Saturday, November 2&3, 2007 at Concord Motorsport Park in Concord , NC . The John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout™ will undeniably be the fastest, most exciting short track racing event of the year.


Trackside action is now over on the DIRTcar Racing NorthEast circuit, but that hasn’t stopped Gary Tomkins from seeking fame and fortune in the land downunder.

American DIRTcar Big-Block Modified gun Tomkins from Clifton Springs, N.Y. will be making his way to Australia in late November for a whistlestop tour organised by Queensland V8 Dirt Modified kingpin Ray Klarich. Tomkins will be piloting one of his own racecars (purchased by Klarich) and will use a Klarich power plant on his down under sojourn. 
Burt Myers wants to defend his home turg against the Northern invaders.
Gary Tomkins
“It’s definitely something I’m looking forward to, you always like to race the guys who are going to put pressure on you” said Oldfield. “Obviously he knows what he’s doing, he’d be racing 3 nights a week over there and he’s going to be in a car he knows so he’s going to be hard to beat”

“Hopefully we will see more of this kind of deal in the future” said Klarich. “Pete (Bicknell) and Randy (Williamson) from Bicknell Racing Products in the US have been a huge help in putting this deal together and David Knight from Ian Boettcher Race Parts has been invaluable in getting the car here. This is going to be huge for V8 Dirt Modifieds in Queensland”.
Gaston Salvas  (DIRT Photo)
“This man is going to turn it on when he gets here, I can guarantee you that” said an excited Klarich this week. “We have confirmed dates at Maryborough (Dec 1 Roosters Cup) and Parramatta (Dec 8 Summer Slam) and we are waiting to hear back from John Kelly about the possibility of a Brisbane date on November 24. It’s going to be huge”

Tomkins is one of the mainstays on the ultra-competitive Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series in the USA, taking out the overall Mr. DIRTcar Championship in 2004 after amassing some 14 wins during that season. Steering the Honeoye Auto Parts no. 84 Red Parker Excavating/Bicknell entry in 2007, Tomkins finished ninth in the final 2007 Overall Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRTcar Modified Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series Point Standings with three tour wins and eight top-5s to his credit.

“The mere fact that we will have an American driver out here has stirred up so much interest” said Klarich. “Tim Morse has phoned me up and he will be racing up here, Mark Robinson and Stuart Herne the same. All these guys want to have a go at the yank to gauge themselves and I think that will turn on some great racing”

One driver chomping at the bit is leading Queensland contender Luke Oldfield.

While youth might be spoken at every other level of NASCAR stock car racing it was the voice of experience that spoke loudest at Riverhead Raceway when the six NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champions won their titles. All the 2007 Riverhead Raceway champions will be honored by track owners Barbara and Jim Cromarty Saturday November 3rd at the Polish Hall.
The old adage is life begins at 60 and for 2007 NASCAR Modified champion Bill Park of Manorville no truer words have been spoken. It is the second time in three years that Park has won the NASCAR Modified title at the demanding quarter mile facility.

In his championship interview September 8th in victory lane Park noted, “I feel as though I’m more competitive now than ever. My reflexes are good and Oscar Rubio of
“If competing teams have any doubt about a specific item they are encouraged to contact me immediately as it would be preferable to correct it sooner than later. We want the excitement to be on the track with the racers, but if we have to react to any rules which would have been transgressed before, during or after an event, it will be done firmly for the best interest of our sport,” Salvas added.


There will be plenty of action at New Smyrna Speedway on November 3 when the Ed Meridith Memorial Modified 100 and the Advance Auto Parts Pro Truck 50 take center stage for the night.  Plus on the schedule are the Late Models, Sportsman, Super Stock, Mini Stock and Strictly Stock.

With only a few short weeks left to the 2007 season, racing will be hot as Championships are on the line.

Pit gate will open at 2 pm with practice for the Modifieds and Pro Trucks ALONE from 3 to 4 pm with division practice to follow.

Qualifying for the Ed Meridith Memorial Modified 100 and Advance Auto Parts Pro Truck 50 will begin at 6 pm with racing action at 7:30 pm.

Donny Lia is one of the entrants for this weekend's North South Shootout.  He's also a previous winner of the event.
Smithtown Nissan gives us nothing but the best equipment to race and I’m going to keep on going as long as the performance is there.” Park won twice in 2007, his second victory putting him at 25-career wins at Riverhead and had an average finish of 5.1 in 16 feature events.


Highly respected motorsports official Gaston Salvas has been appointed head of the DIRTcar Racing 358-Modified class for the entire NorthEast Region. Salvas  will continue to supervise this division while working in conjunction with an experienced team of technicians and reporting directly to DIRTcar Racing Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed .
"I have the utmost respect for Gaston and his abilities,” stated Reed, as he prepared for the annual DIRTcar NE Promoters’ Meeting scheduled for November 16 in downtown Syracuse, New York. “He has been a great asset to DIRTcar for a long time and his love of the 358 class makes him the perfect fit for this role. The Small-Block division is one of our largest and most competitive but needs to reach steady ground, something that has been lacking for some time."

A technical advisor for the past four decades on both sides of the border, Salvas from Boucherville, Quebec has spearheaded Series operations since the early 1990s and for the past two Octobers has headed the tech team during Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. His newest post is effective immediately.

“Our main concern is still safety and our guideline for any legal issue will continue to be the official DIRTcar rule book,” said Salvas, who continues to direct the Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series and is joined on site by his wife and Series handicapper Rachel Salvas. He currently owns and operates his own high speed driving school in Montreal.
Park's #20  (Rick Ibsen Photo)