In all, 52 competitors have reserved numbers for this season. The True Value Modified Racing Series season will start on April 14th at Monadnock Speedway.
PASS MODIFIEDS: ALLARD COMES BACK
Wayne Allard recently appeared on the Mainely Motorsports televised show and told hosts John Crawford and Marco Thomas that he would be returning to the PASS Modified ranks to run the full schedule in 2007.
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
DIRT: JOHNSON VOTES EMPA DRIVER OF THE YEAR
2006 proved to be another banner racing season for Alan Johnson, DIRT MotorSports’ winningest Big-Block Modified driver and recently crowned overall Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRT Champion. Success for the Phelps, N.Y. phenom was rewarded once more as he was recently voted the Eastern Motorsport Press Association’s Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Driver of the Year by the EMPA membership for the second time (2003) in four years.
Founded in 1969, EMPA is one of the largest media organizations in the nation. The only working convention of the year for its members is scheduled for January 26-28, which includes seminars, workshops and press conferences in addition to the festive Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet.
“This will feel a little like the DIRT banquet a few years back,” said Johnson, 49, referring to the recognition of DIRT Big-Block Modified legend Bob McCreadie, 55, who will be inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame, and son Tim McCreadie, 32, winner of EMPA’s Al Holbert Memorial National Driver of the Year award following his championship in the 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series. All three DIRT stars will take center stage to receive their honors during the annual EMPA Hall of Fame Dinner at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, Pa. on Saturday, Jan. 27.
For the fifth time in his career, Johnson reached the pinnacle of Modified racing as he captured DIRT MotorSports NorthEast’s overall Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRT Championship to close out the 2006 race season. DIRT’s coveted Big-Block crown was the first-ever for ‘Rudalaughing’ Motorsports ---car owners Jeff Rudalavage and Tony Laughing--- as the familiar no. 14J NativePoker.Com-WPC Associates,Inc.-Pine Line Auto Sales/Bicknell ride carried Johnson to a personal best six Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series victories during DIRT MotorSports’ 31st season.
‘A.J. Slideways’ totaled 21 top-10 feature finishes in 25 Advance Auto Parts SDS starts with all but two of those marches to the front resulting in top-5 tallies. Johnson concluded his 34th season of open-wheel competition by capturing a division-best 15 DIRT big-block feature wins at eight different tracks to extend his career count to an all-time DIRT-high 344. He also garnered track point titles at Cayuga County Fair, Brewerton and Fulton speedways. To this day, Johnson holds a record that can never be touched as he remains the only driver to win at least one Big-Block feature every year of DIRT’s existence beginning in 1976.
Himself a 59-time DIRT Big-Block feature winner, Tim McCreadie claimed a pair of nationally recognized short-track racing prized jewels ---Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Okla. in January and the WoO LM Series title--- to attract instant attention while his invitation to participate in the General Motors Driver Development Program and opportunity to test a Busch Series car for famed NASCAR team owner Richard Childress helped solidify his vote for EMPA’s prestigious national award.
Bob McCreadie holds the DIRT organization's single-season mark with 43 Big-Block Modified victories posted in 1994. Twice earning Driver of the Year honors the repeat Mr. DIRT Champion and three-time Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series titlist was selected by fans as DIRT's Most Popular Driver four straight years. The 1986 Syracuse Eckerd 200 winner ranks third in both DIRT Big-Block Modified (307) and Advance Auto Parts Series (51) wins and is also listed third all-time with 19 DIRT Big-Block track point championships. “Barefoot” began the 2006 season with his induction into the DIRT MotorSports NorthEast Hall of Fame on May 28 at the Cayuga County Fairgrounds in Weedsport, N.Y.
and wanted to know if I wanted to race it. The guys did an awesome job of preparing the car. It’s a brand new car and it’s my first time here, so I’m very happy with it. A third-place finish is a testament to the racecar. Louie and his guys did a great job preparing it. All I had to do was steer it.”
Blewett might have been a rookie, but he wasn’t a fish out of water. After all, racing is racing.
“These guys are racecar drivers. They wouldn’t be out here if they weren’t. I’ve raced with a lot of guys at a lot of places, and tonight I earned a lot of respect for these guys. The only thing I could relate it too would be a modified race at Riverhead. This is hard nose 40 laps. It doesn’t get much harder than that. I might be back here next year.”
three point-getters from the 2006 edition, with Brett Hearn, Tim Fuller and Jimmy Horton also splitting the feature race gold one year ago.
“I think my crew is actually looking forward to the trip more than I am this year with all the work the guys have put in over the winter,” said Hearn, 48, the reigning DIRTcar Nationals Big-Block champion from Sussex, N.J. who has dominated the oval-track action like none other since DIRT’s return to the Sunshine State in 1998. The 'Corporate Jet' has racked up a total of 17 victories and secured the points crown six of the nine years running. “It’s still important to finish on a high note down south. When we return there’s only another week before the Hagerstown (Speedway, Md.) opener and that means our season officially starts.”
The traditional Florida Tour schedule for the ground-pounding Advance Auto Parts big-block Modifieds includes three 30-lap main events with a $5,000-to-win 50-lap finale closing out the '07 trip, February 14-17. An optional practice day has been saved for Tue., Feb. 13.
“We’ve pretty much followed the same program of preparation this time, but there’s been a lot more research done in the engine department. We’re still waiting for the new car to come in and ready to fall back on the one we ran last year at Volusia, which puts us in a nice comfort zone. Being able to pick up a win every February is a great position to be in heading down. Volusia has always been good to us so we hope to keep the streak going for another season,” added Hearn, who will be back aboard the potent Madsen Motorsports no. 20 Wentworth Custom Homes/TEO entry to kick off his 33rd consecutive season of open-wheel activity. Last February Hearn suffered a cracked engine block to finish 24th in the tour opener, placed third steering a back-up car in round two, then scored back-to-back triumphs to complete his dramatic climb up the points ladder.
Fellow Garden State veteran Horton was the victim of a blown
motor in the 50-lap finale to allow Hearn to overcome a
seemingly insurmountable 30-point deficit on the last night.
The Neshanic Station, N.J. pilot was the opening night victor
and was just 33 laps from registering his third Florida Tour title
before dropping to third in points amidst a cloud of smoke. “I just
hope to do as well as last year and be in position at the end to
have another chance,” said Horton, 50, who owns five feature
wins in gator country with his point championships garnered in
1986 and 1999. He will once again be recognized in a no. 42
Millennium Car Wash-Grosso Trucking entry, only this year
he has teamed up with chassis builder Bobby Hearn and will
debut a brand new TEO Pro Car at the popular Barberville oval.
Second night winner Fuller also took advantage of Horton’s
misfortune to claim runner-up honors in the final point standings,
despite crossing the line 19th in round three on Friday. Fuller will
once again be among the busiest drivers during the month as his
no. 19 JL Motorsports-Chiefs Tobacco & Gas-G&R Auto
Parts/TEO Big-Block Modified mount will share track time with John Wight’s full-fender no. 19 Gypsum Express-JL Motorsports/Rocket machine in 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series action. “We don’t have any concrete plans yet for the upcoming year, but we’re hoping to run more late model shows,” said Fuller, 39, from Edwards, N.Y. who will actually kick off his season with a LM run at Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Savannah, Georgia before heading toward the Gulf Coast for a stint at East Bay Raceway in the Tampa suburb of Gibsonton. “We’re just looking to do a little something different this time around. We like the thought of going to Florida right now, the weather’s warm there and that’s a great excuse to go racing.”
Looking to make their own tracks into the winner’s circle when the Northeastern Modifieds arrive for the DIRTcar Nationals at VSP are brothers Alan and Danny Johnson, teammates Billy Decker and Pat Ward, Billy Pauch, Dale Planck, David VanHorn, Wayne Jelley and two-time Mr. DIRT Sportsman Champion Russ Hefti.
Fans and race teams are reminded that reserved motorhome camping (up to 40 feet) is available at Volusia Speedway Park (386/985-4402) for only $20 per night. Super reserved ticket packages for the DIRTcar Nationals remain available for Sprints, Late Models and Big-Blocks, with each including a free gift when ordering. A six-race Sprint Week (Feb. 6-11) ticket and each six-race Late Model (Feb. 12-17) ticket costs $160 while a four-race Big-Block (Feb. 14-17) ticket goes for $120.
For those drivers seeking to add team information for the pre-race roster, please contact DIRT NorthEast PR Director Tom Skibinski (315/834-6606) at DIRT NE headquarters in Weedsport, N.Y. or through e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org correspondence. Volusia Speedway Park www.volusiaspeedwaypark.com is located 15 miles west of Daytona Beach on State Road 40 in Barberville, Fla. Mail is received at: 1500 E. Highway 40, DeLeon Springs, FL 32130.
The DIRT MotorSports™ Advance Auto Parts Modified Series is brought to fans across the Northeast by several sponsors and partners, including series sponsors Advance Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire and Sunoco Race Fuels. Promotional partners include AMB i.t., F.X. Caprara Car Companies and the University of Northwestern Ohio and the contingency sponsors are Bert Transmission, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, DART Machinery, Holley HP Carburetors, MSD Ignitions, Miller Electric Manufacturing Company and Wrisco Industries.
FLORIDA WINTER TOUR BIG-BLOCK MODIFIED POINT CHAMPIONS: 1978-2006
*2006Brett Hearn(2)Volusia Speedway Park
*2005Brett Hearn(1)/Andy Bachetti(1)Volusia Speedway Park
*2004Pat WardVolusia Speedway Park
*2003Tim Fuller(1)Volusia Speedway Park
*2002Brett Hearn(2)Putnam County, Volusia Park
*2001Brett Hearn(3)East Bay, Volusia Park
*2000Brett Hearn(3)Volusia Speedway Park
*1999Jimmy Horton(1)Volusia Speedway Park
*1998Brett Hearn(2)Volusia Speedway Park
1996-97 -no races-
*1995Doug Hoffman(1)St. Augustine
*1989Alan JohnsonVolusia County
1988Danny Johnson(1)Volusia County
*1987Danny Johnson(3)Volusia County
*1986Jimmy Horton(2)Volusia County
1985Billy Pauch(3)Volusia County
1984Kenny Brightbill(2)/Jack JohnsonVolusia County
*1983Alan JohnsonEast Bay, Volusia County
*1982Jeff Kappesser(2)/Billy PauchEast Bay, Volusia County
*1981Jack Johnson(1)Florida State Fairgrounds
*1980Kenny Brightbill(3)Florida State Fairgrounds
1978Walt Breeding(1)Volusia County
WMT: BLEWETT DOES SOME MOONLIGHTING
Also in Atlantic City were the Gambler’s Classic indoor TQ Midget races. The annual event is usually represented by the Modified Tour with Ted Christopher in the field. This year though, a second Modified driver showed up.
John Blewett, III hopped into a spare car and gave it a whirl. It wasn’t just any car either – it was the back-up car for former race winner Lou Ciconni. Blewett adapted quickly to the ride and finished a strong third in the A-Main – right behind Ciconni.
Blewett had a blast.
“I’ve got to thank Lou Ciconni to giving me this opportunity,” said Blewett. “He said he had an extra car
Blewett wheeled the #59 in Atlantic City. (Rick Ibsen Photo)
Goodenough will wheel a former Russ Hersey/Bruce Batchelder car this year. Seekonk ace Vinnie Annarummo has said that he plans to running the whole schedule. Monadnock Pr Stock standout Bryan Shumway plans to become a regular on the tour. Defending champion Dwight Jarvis will have a new Troyer car, while his brother Peter Jarvis will run the full schedule for veteran car owner Wally Albro and the Over-The-Hill Racing team.
Tony Dias Jr. has acquired Mike Stefanik’s championship winning Modified and will join the True Value Series. Dan Douville, a former Canaan and Bear Ridge competitor will run the schedule with his own #7x.
The #01 will have a new driver this year. (Jim DuPont Photo)
Blewett (#59) keeps ahead of the action here. (Rick Ibsen Photo)
The deal to put Blewett into a car came about after a little bit of recreational racing that involved his younger brother, NASCAR Whelen Modified race winner Jimmy Blewett. Originally though, Jimmy had different ideas on who would fill the seat.
“My brother had gone and did some indoor karting with Louie. Lou said I have an extra car if you want and Jimmy was like “yeah, I’ll do it.” We went over to Louie’s place and Jimmy sat in the car and didn’t quite fit. 250 pounds in a TQ just won’t make it. Jimmy is 6-4, 250. So Louie asked me, “Do you want to drive it?” I said “sure, I’ll give it a shot.”
TVMRS: SILLY SEASON IN FULL SWING
There’s been so much silly season news during the off-season of the True Value Modified Racing Series season that Jayski himself might start following the tour.
After three seasons in the car, Rob Goodenough has left the #01 team. His replacement will be Todd Patnode, who brings to the team fifteen years of racing experience and the ability to win races and championships. Patnode has won four championships in the last six years at two different tracks. The 01 team is also hard at work building their own chassis, which will be ready mid-way through the season. They’ll start the year with their proven car.
As the entries grow for Super Late Models, Late Models, Crate Late Models, NASCAR Tour/SK Mods, and Florida/IMCA Mods, excitement fills the air.
"This new surface will make the track even faster so better hold on to your hats this year," said an excited fan. "We have been here every year and would not miss a second of the World Series. We can't wait."
Along with the Super Late Models, Late Models, Crate Late Models, NASCAR Tour/SK Mods and Florida/IMCA Mods, the fans will see plenty of action as the Tampa Bay Area Racing Association Outlaw Winged Sprints run for Sunday and Monday nights, February 10th and 11th. Joining in the fun on Thursday night, February 15th, will be the Pro Trucks and there will be plenty of them.
McCreadie (L) and Johnson (R). (DIRT Photo)
The 2005 PASS Modified champion did not defend his title last year because of commitments to a family business.
SPEEDWEEKS: EXCITEMENT BUILDS
Fans and drivers are counting the days until February 9th when the 41st Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing begins it's nine nights of nothing but hardcore short track racing. Drivers from all ends of the country will be on hand to try their luck at the "newly" repaved, high banked New Smyrna Speedway.
New Smyrna Speedway will have new asphalt for the World Series which will make for some very fast racing. Not only will the drivers go faster but also see less dust in the pits with new asphalt there also.
There will be plenty of Modifieds at Florida Speedweeks.
Brett Hearn (DIRT Photo)
The World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing has seen many NASCAR stars begin their careers trying to win the Championship of this nine night series. Steve Park, Tony Stewart and Scott Wimmer were just a few who wet their feet at New Smyrna Speedway with some of the "best of the best." This year's entries promise to be just as exciting as entries come in every day.
DIRT: BIG NAMES SIGN ON FOR FLORIDA
The 36th Annual DIRTcar Nationals presented by Mopar Speed Shop at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. are less than a month away and another stellar roster of Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series competitors continues to grow as the popular winter bash approaches. Topping the pre-race entry list are the top-
Wayne Allard sure knows how to win a PASS Modified race. (Norm Marx Photo)