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
BALDWIN MEMORIAL SET FOR JUNE
The third annual Tom Baldwin Memorial Open will take place on Thursday June 7th, 2007. NASCAR celebrities will once again be on hand to participate in the golf tournament that raises money for several worthy charities. The spectator friendly event will be held in Baldwin’s hometown at the Bellport Country Club.
Stephen Halpin, the event’s coordinator, is excited about the results this fund raiser has produced and what the Open will provide this year. Halpin said, “We’ve been fortunate to give a lot of money to several organizations that were close to Tommy’s heart. This year we are going to send at least four deserving kids from the New England and Long Island areas to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.”
The Tom Baldwin Memorial Open raises money for four charities that were the favorites of “Tiger” Tom Baldwin. Those charities are the Autism Society of America, the Village of Bellport Summer Concert Series, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Tom Baldwin, Jr. said, “It’s really great that we have been able to put this together again. We’ve been able to help out a lot of people. Everyone who has participated has had a fantastic time and
it has been great to keep memories of my father alive as well.” The Open takes place on a private golf course that was a favorite of Tom Baldwin, Sr.
Celebrities that are scheduled to participate include Dale Jarrett, Michael Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Jimmy Spencer, Dave Blaney, Jeremy Mayfield, Larry McReynolds, Slugger Labbe, Bob Dillner, Matt Yocum, Mike Joy and Ed D’Hondt. A celebrity golfer will accompany each of the foursomes that participate.
Sponsorship opportunities are available for the Tom Baldwin Memorial Open for as little as $200 to sponsor a hole to $5000 Platinum Sponsorship to maximize your company’s exposure by hosting dinner with many options in between. Spectators will be welcome at $125 per person. Spectators will have the opportunity to get autographs from their favorite celebrities and participants but will be limited to ten spectators per hole.
This golf outing is one of the best values available. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Course Beverages, Green Fees, Golf Cart, a full open bar and Awards Ceremony are all inclusive at $400 per golfer. Participation is limited to 144 golfers. Send your reservation form in now to make sure that you are part of the action!
For further information about the Tom Baldwin Memorial Open 2007, contact Stephen Halpin by phone at 516-790-6178 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tom Baldwin Memorial is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization.
DIRT: FLORIDA SPEEDWEEKS RECAP
Nearly two straight weeks of hard-core dirt-track racing. The sport’s biggest stars in action before large, enthusiastic crowds. Huge fields of cars. Almost a half-million dollars in purses.
Divisional points champions of the Florida DIRTcar Nationals included Craig Dollansky of Elk River, Minn. (Sprint Cars), Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va. (Late Models), Danny Johnson of Rochester, N.Y. (DIRT Modifieds) and Steve Arpin of Fort Frances, Ont. (UMP Modifieds).
Class car counts, meanwhile, topped out at 102 for the Late Models, 60 for the Sprints, 55 for the UMP Modifieds and 40 for the DIRT Modifieds.
The thousands of avid spectators who walked through Volusia’s turnstiles during the Florida DIRTcar Nationals enjoyed an enhanced fan experience. There was, of course, a brightened lighting system around the half-mile oval and the entertaining exploits of Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series announcer Shane Andrews, who roamed the grandstands to interact with fans during breaks in the action. In addition, a repositioning of fencing created an expanded ‘midway’ area behind the stands, bringing all the t-shirt trailers inside the gates for the first time and providing room to offer fans more concession choices.
36th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop Feature Winners:
Feb. 6 – Joey Saldana (All-Star Sprints)/Kenny Wallace (UMP Modifieds)
Feb. 7 – Jason Solwold (All-Star Sprints)/Steve Arpin (UMP Mods)
Feb. 8 – Tim Kaeding (All-Star Sprints)/Steve Arpin (UMP Mods)
Feb. 9 – Donny Schatz (WoO Sprints)/Steve Arpin (UMP Mods)
Feb. 10 – Kerry Madsen (WoO Sprints)/Steve Arpin (UMP Mods)
Feb. 11 – Daryn Pittman (WoO Sprints)/Steve Arpin (UMP Mods)
Feb. 12 – Earl Pearson Jr. (UMP Late Models)/Joey Kramer (UMP Mods)
Feb. 13 – Rained Out
Feb. 14 – Shannon Babb (UMP Late Models)/Danny Johnson (DIRT Modifieds)
Feb. 15 – Rained Out
Feb. 16 – Darrell Lanigan (UMP Late Models)/Tim Fuller (DIRT Mods)
Feb. 17 – Josh Richards (WoO Late Models)/Danny Johnson (DIRT Mods)
TVMRS: HOLDRIDGE STEPS UP
The name Holdridge has been synonymous with Connecticut modified racing since the late 50’s when Madison, CT standout Dale Holdridge launched a successful career that saw him visit victory lane through the years at race tracks from New England to Florida.
When his son chose to drive race cars, the old adage applied “like father like son.” That’s because son Mike has traveled the same path, with victory lane visits from North to South and the 42 year old driver hopes to continue that journey when he joins with the True Value Modified Racing Series for the 2007 season.
“It was time for a change of pace,” Holdridge said this week while preparing for practice day at Monadnock and as he explained his team’s decision to travel throughout New England this summer with the TVMRS tour.
Holdridge has raced SK modifieds since 1997 at Waterford, Thompson, and Stafford Springs with a few seasons of full bodied race cars on his resume prior to campaigning the potent open wheelers. He was victorious last winter at New Smyrna, Florida. He felt it was time to move on in 2007.
Holdridge says he checked out a couple of TVMRS races last season and liked what he saw. “Granted where I come from I like time trials but I also like the heat races because at least you know you’ll be racing.” He added, “We like what the True Value Modified Racing Series has to offer, and we like the tire rule and competitors voting on things.” Holdridge stated the closeness of several tracks was a plus, “Most of these tracks are 2 or 3 hours from Madison, and that’s a good thing for us.”
The married father of two children is impressed with the competitiveness of the 4th year tour. “The competition last year was impressive and I know it’s going to be tough, qualifying will be tough, but we are prepared for that and we’ll do the best we can.” With the exception of Thompson and Waterford, most of the tracks on the tour he and his team have never seen.
Holdridge works for the State of Connecticut Bridge Department and races sponsor free. It’s truly a father/son deal. “This is my father’s golf,” he said chuckling. “Somehow we make it work.”
They’ll try to make it work when they haul their Chassis Dynamics Pontiac Sun Fire # 0 to practice day at Monadnock Speedway April 7, their first ever visit there. A guy by the name of Kuhn was in that position a couple of years ago. He too had never raced at the western NH speedway. Maybe a phone call is in order to get acquainted with “The Dog”
That was the 36th annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Mopar Speedshop, which completed another successful run at Volusia Speedway Park with Saturday night’s program that featured the 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series and the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series for Big-Block Modifieds.
Fifteen different drivers tasted victory in the 20 feature events completed during the Florida DIRTcar Nationals, which included action for the World of Outlaws Sprints and Late Models; DIRT big-block Modifieds; All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars; and UMP DIRTcar Racing Late Models and Modifieds. Two nights (Feb. 13 and 15) of the scheduled 12 consecutive evenings of high-speed competition fell victim to rain.
DIRT Modifieds are going to thunder into Virginia this year.
There were also more amenities at the track for VIPs and sponsors, including a plush new tower in turn one and a portable suite positioned in the pit area outside turn one that was accented by a tent housing the ‘Checkered Flag Club.’ The ‘Checkered Flag Club’ was the scene of a special night for racetrack promoters from across the country on Feb. 14, and following each night’s action music blared from inside the tent to draw in competitors for post-race camaraderie and refreshment.
Volusia Speedway Park was also a popular evening destination for some of NASCAR’s most popular personalities after they completed commitments at nearby Daytona International Speedway. Nextel Cup and Busch Series drivers Kenny Wallace and Clint Bowyer ‘moonlighted’ at Volusia, with Wallace campaigning a UMP Modified throughout the week and Bowyer making a single start in a UMP Late Model; Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne fielded Sprint Car teams in the events and took in several nights of action; Bobby Labonte watched from the pit area as Earl Pearson Jr. ran the dirt Late Model equipment he purchased during the off-season; Richard Childress helicoptered in to see his grandson, Austin Dillon, compete in Modified and Late Model competition; and Kenny Schrader visited to fill his need for some dirt-track racing.
Plans are already in the works for an ever bigger and better 2008 Florida DIRTcar Nationals, which will once again light up every evening during the two-week period leading to the Daytona 500.
GULF COAST MODS: 2007 SEASON BEGINS
To kick off the season at Desoto the track welcomes teams in for practice all day from 10am to 5pm on Saturday with free camping over nite for the racing on Sunday, February 25th. Get fired up for the LeRoy Porter IceBreaker: 125 Laps $3000 to Win!
The Gulf Coast Modified Series runs 50 Laps, Pit Gate Opens at 9am, Tech opens at 9:30am , Practice At 10:30am to 12:15pm, Drivers Meeting at 12:30pm, Qualifying @ 1:00 pm, Racing @ 2:00pm and Grand Stand gates open at 12:00pm
DIRT: STOP, DROP AND ROLL
There are no corporate sponsors that adorn the side panels of Don Shelley’s DIRT Modified, just a handful of simple reminders to all those who stop by to cast a glimpse … “Stop, Drop & Roll,” “Smoke Detectors Save Lives and Sprinklers Save Buildings” and
“Support Fire Fighters.” Shelley doesn’t race this pristine red machine at any tracks yet his message continues to spread fast from speedway to school throughout the season.
“Fire prevention is what this is all about and taking the car around certainly generates a lot of interest when it ties together fire safety with DIRT car racing,” said Shelley, 61, a retired fireman from the Endicott Fire Department in New York State’s Southern Tier while a lifetime member of the Hillcrest Volunteer Fire Dept. for over 40 years. “This is a great way to reach the kids as it’s a hands-on experience that I hope most will remember the rest of their lives.”
During the past season Shelley buckled into his street-legal ‘Fire Mod’ and made nearly 30 appearances across the Empire State participating in safety seminars, car shows, parades and special race track promotions. His wife, Deb, even dressed up on occasion as “Sparky” the fire dog ---replacing the fire helmet with a more traditional red stocking cap--- and rode on the back of the car in a holiday parade.
Through all his travels classroom activity ranks among Shelley’s favorites. Dressed in full fire-fighting gear, he reads fire safety books to the children and emphasizes the importance of team work required when putting out fires and keeping a winning race car on the track as well as in school. Then it’s outside to offer students a close-up look at his mighty DIRT Modified, most fittingly boasting only the numbers 9-1-1 on its rear quarter-panel.
“Its fun to read and talk about team work to the kids, how it translates from racing to fire service and throughout life in whatever they may choose to do,” Shelley added. “One time we had a contest where every child picked out fire safety messages that were on the car and wrote about what each meant. The names of students with the best answers were drawn from a hat and each grade winner took home prizes like free speedway passes, autographed driver pictures and track posters. It was a great way to have fun while showing the significance of fire prevention and the satisfaction found in working as a team.”
Among the tracks visited in 2006, the ‘Fire Mod’ was a popular fixture seen parked outside the gates at Cayuga County Fair Speedway, Fulton Speedway, Black Rock Speedway and Can-Am Motorsports Park. In the past Shelley has participated in the Bill McNabb Clam Bake Benefit at Rolling Wheels Raceway, Orange County Fair Speedway Car Show and Super DIRT Week festivities at the NYS Fairgrounds. Look for both car and driver to be at a track or school near you in 2007 with early season appearances already lined up at the Southern Tier Speedworld at Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, N.Y. (March 2-4) and a return to Middletown, N.Y. for the Orange County Car Show (March 16-18).
TRACKS: ONE MORE WEEK OF THAW FOR HAGERSTOWN
Hopes were high that Hagerstown Speedway would open on schedule this Saturday, February 24th but the decision has been made to delay the Northeast opener for late models and Syracuse qualifier for big block modifieds a week to Saturday March 3rd.
“Temperatures have let up some this week, but the ice that we received last week along with the freezing temperatures have just made conditions unfavorable to try and open this weekend, “ Promoter Frank Plessinger said. “We’ll step back and try again next weekend.”
Next Saturday, March 3rd, Hagerstown will again attempt to open with the Octoberfest
Qualifier program for late models along with the Northeast big block modifieds on hand for
the 30-lap double feature program. Not only will the late model winner get a guaranteed
starting spot for the Octoberfest but the modified winner gets a bonus for the victory as it
will also provide a guaranteed spot in the Syracuse mile event set for mid October.
Hagerstown’s Octoberfest is scheduled for October 27-28. .
As a reminder, ALL shows are scheduled on Saturday with Sunday being used as a back
up date for any weather related issues. This will be in effect for the next three programs on
the schedule where modifieds are part of the program.
Warm-ups begin at 1 p.m. with race time approximately 1:30 p.m. Gates open at 11 A.M.
For additional information, contact the speedway office at 301-582-0640 or visit the speedway’s website at: www.hagerstownspeedway.com.
Danny Johnson (DIRT Photo)
The Gulf Coast Modified season is set to begin. (Bronson Motor Speedway Photo)
Hagerstown Speedway (Hagerstown Speedway Photo)