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
TRACKS: STAFFORD BANQUET IS A HIT

The actual racing season ended for competitors and fans at Stafford Motor Speedway with the Fall Final in October. But that didn’t end the year.  One month later, race teams and track staff came together again to celebrate the end of another year at the 2007 Stafford Speedway Banquet with the presentation of the 38th Annual Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Champions Awards.
Late Model divisions, Chris Matthews from the SK Light division, Sean Foster from the Limited Late Model division, and Dan Flannery from the DARE Stock division. The Most Popular Driver Awards were voted on by the fans who filled out ballots found in the track's program.  (Denise DuPont)

DIRT: TOMKINS DIGS THE DIRT DOWN UNDER

Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series star Gary Tomkins’ looked set to commence his three-race Australian Modified tour in winning style on Saturday night (Nov 24) until brake problems forced the New York native to the infield with just nine laps to run.
With Stafford Motor Speedway broadcasters Matt Buckler and Tony Sutton as the Masters of Ceremony, the Awards Ceremony honored the five track champions: Ted Christopher (SK Modified), Corey Hutchings (Late Model), Chris Matthews (SK Light), Sean Foster (Limited Late Model), and Norm Sears (DARE Stock). Also honored were the top 20 point finishers from each track division along with the Most Popular Driver, Most Improved Driver, and the Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie of the Year awards.

The race for the SK Modified track championship came down in the end to a two man race between Ted Christopher and Woody Pitkat. Pitkat was this year’s big winner with eight SK Modified wins, but Christopher's consistent runs were good enough to offset Pitkat's wins. Christopher won his sixth Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified track championship by only a 34 point margin.

The race for the Late Model track championship also came down to a two-man race between a Stafford rookie Corey Hutchings and veteran Jim Peterson. Hutchings made his Stafford debut winning the Spring Sizzler race. Hutchings won the track championship by a narrow margin of twenty-eight points over Peterson. Woody Pitkat who tied Hutchings with two wins ended up third when the points were tallied.

Chris Matthews dominated the SK Light division winning the track championship with a margin of over one hundred and fifty points over second place finisher Josh Sylvester.

Norm Sears drove to win his second consecutive DARE Stock track championship at Stafford.
Receiving awards for Most Improved Driver were Brad Hietala (SK Modified), Dave Wray (Late Model), Raymond Grassetti (SK Light), and Joey Ferrigno (Limited Late Model).

The Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie of the Year awards were presented by Brad and Linda Hietala of Reliable Welding and Speed to Wade Mattesen (SK Modified), Corey Hutchings (Late Model), Josh Sylvester (SK Light), and David Capriati (Limited Late Model).

The winners of the Most Popular Driver Awards were Woody Pitkat in both the SK Modified and
Tomkins started the 25-lap main event from the pole and withstood considerable pressure from leading Australian driver Luke Oldfield before retiring from the event while leading.

“It was good right up to the end,” lamented Tomkins post-race. “We had brake problems all night long for some reason and ended up losing a brake rotor in the feature. Not knowing these guys I didn’t want to get in their way so I decided to pull it in.”

Despite the fact he was racing at an unfamiliar track half way round the world, it didn’t take Tomkins long to dial himself in to the quarter-mile Brisbane International Speedway, comfortably winning his second heat race.

“It was a nice track,” Tomkins remarked. “These guys drive it hard which I figured they would, but it was a nice track to race on, a little narrow, but you race tracks like that in the US too.”

’04 Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Champion Tomkins, who steers the Honeoye Auto Parts no. 84 Red Parker Excavating/Bicknell entry back home, is campaigning a
Gary Tomkins and his "foreign" car.  (DIRT / Ben Graham Photo)
Bicknell race car he sold to local driver Ray Klarich. Arriving on Australian shores in early November, the car has been fitted with a new body and houses a small-block engine to comply with the Australian specifications.

“This thing has good pretty good power for a small block compared to what I ran over home,” added Tomkins, who 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. “It’s not that big of an adjustment, especially on a small track like this one where you have to run a lot of gears so it really didn’t feel like a whole lot different”

But perhaps the biggest challenge faced by Tomkins, 41, will be the larger tires used in Australian Modified competition.

“That’s probably going to be the thing I am going to have to get used to, how to change the car to suit the tires. We did some stuff tonight that I don’t usually do to free it up a little bit and then we had to tighten it up a bit for the feature. This car is made for a smaller tire than what we ran here and talking to the car builder that’s what he wanted us to do; what he thought we should try and that’s the way we went.”

After a week enjoying some of the tourist spots throughout south-east Queensland, Tomkins heads north to Maryborough for Round Two of the Roosters Cup Series on December 1st, while his final Australian race will be on December 8 at Sydney’s Parramatta City Raceway for Round Two of the Summer Slam V8 Dirt Modified Series.

TVMRS: BANQUET TIME DRAWS NEAR

For the third time in four years, Swanzey, NH., modified racer Kirk Alexander will be crowned series champion when the True Value Modified Racing Series plays host to it’s  4th annual awards banquet honoring competitors for their achievements for the 2007 season . The gala event will be held Saturday Dec 1, 2007, at the Knights of Columbus Banquet Facility, 460 Granby Rd, Chicopee, MA..
In addition to Alexander picking up top honors, a series of achievement awards will be presented. Those recipients are chosen by tour officials. The categories include Rookie of the Year, Hard Charger, Most Improved, Tough Luck, and Sportsmanship awards.

Special sponsorship awards are also presented by series supporters, Black Mountain Painting, Sunoco Race Fuels, and Hoosier Tire East and True Value stores.

The 2007 “711” award, in honor of New England Racing Hall of Fame member Bob Polverari, will be presented. This year’s recipient will be chosen by previous winners Dwight Jarvis and Jack Bateman. The award goes to the driver that shows professionalism on and off the track, good sportsmanship, and is always willing to help fellow competitors when in need.

Alexander, a twenty six time feature winner, scored five feature wins in 2007. The 3 time champ also reached another milestone this season when he won the “Oxford 100” giving him a victory on each race track the TVMRS has competed on.

The 2008 schedule will be announced by series founder and President Jack Bateman. Included on that schedule will be the recently announced date planned for Memorial Day weekend  May 25 at Thunder Road International Speedbowl, Barre,VT. It will be the first ever appearance by the tour at the famed speedway.

Doors will open at 6:00 PM with a social hour taking place until 7:00 PM. Dinner will then be served followed by the awards presentation. Dancing will follow until 12AM.

For additional information contact the TVMRS office at 800-924-2594 or call Bonnie Jarvis at 802-674-2836.

DIRT: ADVANCE RE-UPS WITH DIRT BIG BLOCKS

For the 10th consecutive season, Advance Auto Parts will be title sponsor of the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds in 2008, continuing one of the longest-running annual partnerships in motorsports.
Kirk Alexander - the 2007 True Value Modified Racing Series Champion.  (Jim DuPont Photo)
“For 10 years we’ve seen how valuable it is to partner with the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series,” said Mike Paris, Advance Auto Parts Motorsports Marketing Supervisor. “It continues to be one of the most popular and financially rewarding championships in racing. With its tremendous competitors and devoted fans, the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series is a perfect platform to showcase our auto parts stores. We’re excited for our 10th season as title sponsor of the series and looking forward to dropping the green flag on 2008 at the Florida DIRTcar Nationals in February at Volusia Speedway Park.”

Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Advance Auto Parts is the second-largest retailer of automotive aftermarket parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items in the United
Ted Christopher shows off his hardware for winning the Stafford track title.  (Jim DuPont Photo)
States, based on store count and sales. As of October 6, 2007, the Company operated 3,228 stores in 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The Company serves both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets.

Advance Auto Parts has held title sponsorship of the world’s premier Modified tour since 1999.

“With the great relationship we’ve enjoyed, it’s exciting to have Advance Auto Parts back for its 10th season with the Super DIRTcar Series,” said Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed. “As such a highly regarded nationwide automotive company, Advance has been a great partner for us, our teams and our fans.”

The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series kicks off its 29th consecutive season at the 37th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. The mighty Big-Block Modifieds will compete Feb. 13-16 in non-points events before launching the championship battle March 22 at Hagerstown Speedway. Historic premier events such as Super DIRT Week and Eastern States Weekend will return with their traditional October dates.

IMRS: TRADE SHOW HELPS BUILD SUPPORT

After leaving the Indianapolis Convention center on Saturday the Indiana Modified Racing Series has an official member list that is growing fast.  Since the debut on October 18th, the series now has an official member  list of 12 teams and racers.

Bringing an east coast concept to Indiana has given racers and fans something to be excited about in 2008. The engine rule change that was made by the series on Saturday has proven to be the right move for the IMRS. Putting a horsepower cap on all series engines versus only allowing a crate engine has been the rule that drivers were looking for. The concept behind this rule will allow for racers to bring any 
engine into the series after the proper steps are taken.

IMRS officials will continue meeting with tracks in the next few weeks as well as releasing other exciting news that has came from the 
Thanksgiving weekend trade show. Stay in tune with all the news by checking out the indianamodifieds.com website.