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
TVMRS: CREW MEMBER PASSES AWAY
True Value Modified Racing Series crew member Tim Mongeau passed away last weekend, just two days after his 24th birthday.
Mongeau worked on the #23 team of Mike Douglas, Jr., was well known throughout the pit area for his sense of humor. He also raced his own #61 car at tracks in Southern New Hampshire.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 249 Canal St., Manchester 03101.
ASA MODS: NEW TRACKS ADDED FOR ‘07
Don’t look now but the ASA Southern Modified Race Tour is beginning to look a lot like the old S.M.A.R.T. Modified Tour of several seasons ago. The second season for the ASA Southern Modifieds is adding some familiar tracks that used to be part of the solid tour the Southern Mods had in years past.
The ASA Modifieds are going to some new places in 2007. (ASA Modified / Sunset Graphics Photo)
The old S.M.A.R.T. schedule used to have several events at Caraway Speedway and those core events are now focused on Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin, NC , said SMRT Tour Director Randy Myers. I am also excited to announce the addition of Hickory Motor Speedway, Tri-County Motor Speedway and Dillon Motor Speedway to the ASA Southern Modified Race Tour Schedule. Hickory hosted the S.M.A.R.T. Modified Tour a couple of times in the 90 s and Tri-County Motor Speedway was a regular stop on the tour.
To add tracks with the tradition of HMS and TCMS to our tour adds a lot to the reputation of the series and I am looking forward to great races at both tracks. The Modifieds visited Hickory last season and had one of the most exciting Mod events of the year and Tri-County has always been known for side-by-side excitement for any division. Dillon Motor Speedway is located just off I-95 in Dillon, SC and will host the Modifieds in September. Former Craftsman Truck Series driver Ron Barfield has built a beautiful 4/10 mile track that promises action galore for Modified fans. The track has
compound banking in the turns that should promote quick lap times as well as great racing , Myers said.
“We are also in talks with other tracks that may make a return to the ASA Southern Modified schedule and additional dates should be announced very soon. I want to try to have 10 to 12 races on the schedule to make things interesting for everyone racing with us”, said Myers.
The ASA Southern Modified Race Tour kicks off on Sunday April 22nd at Friendship Motor Speedway.
DIRT: DIRT MODS HIT THE PAVEMENT
DIRT Big-Block Modifieds pounded the pavement at Oswego Speedway for their lone appearance in 1992. The last time the mighty DIRT Modifieds circled Airborne Speedway was in 1989 when the track was dirt.
Airborne and Oswego come full circle in 2007 as the two asphalt ovals host DIRT MotorSports NorthEast’s premier class of race car in a special two-race mini series. The Big-Block teams arrive at Airborne on Tuesday, July 24 and travel to Oswego on Wednesday, August 22 with $3,000 waiting the winner in each 40-lap main event.
current Airborne Promoter Perrotte, a four-time DIRT 358-Modified points champion at
Frogtown Int’l Speedway with 26 career DIRT Modified feature wins, who was also co-owner of the track in 1988. “As soon as we introduced the dirt-style Modifieds as our premier division it generated a lot of excitement and interest from the fans and racers. Bringing in some of the DIRT Big-Block stars will be a great challenge for the locals and hopefully create a base from which we can try to build on for the future.”
Home of the nationally recognized ‘International Classic’ for Supermodifieds, Oswego (NY) Speedway has been a continuously run weekly race track since it opened as a 3/8-mile dirt auto racing facility in August of 1951. The track was paved during 1952 and then enlarged to its current 5/8-mile size in 1961. The speedway was sold by members of the founding Caruso family in April of 2004 to Steve Gioia Jr. and Pat Furlong Sr.
“I’ve actually been talking to Cory about the DIRT teams coming back to Oswego for a few years, since the new management came on board,” said Gioia, himself a former Oswego Speedway Supermodified track points champion and Classic winner. “Mike brought in his small-block racers from Airborne last year and I thought the Big-Block DIRT drivers would be a great drawing card this time around. They were a lot of fun to watch here in the 90s and I always wanted to bring them back.”
Both events at Airborne and Oswego will be governed by the 2007 Official DIRT MotorSports NorthEast Rule Book for the Big-Block Modified division. Special consideration regarding minimum weight will be given to those Small-Block teams interested in participating. In addition, each race can be used toward the regional points championship that will be up for grabs this season in the DIRT Big-Block Modified ranks.
The list of past DIRT Big-Block Modified feature winners at Airborne includes Bob Savoie (9/1/84), Alan Johnson (7/13/88), C.D. Coville (7/27/88) and Robert Ranger (6/21/89) while Jimmy Horton (8/2/92) outdistanced Kevin Collins, Bob McCreadie, Mike Stefanik and Lenny Boyd to capture the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series show at Oswego that doubled as a DIRT/Asphalt Challenge Series Championship event.
PASS MODS: GETTING READY FOR 2007
As temperatures here in the frigid northeast hover in the single digits and snow continues to fall, work inside the area's countless race shops has reached a hectic pace as another season quickly approaches.
Teamed with car owner Ken Farley, these two have their sights set squarely on giving defending series champion Chris Staples a run for the championship.
Car owner Jeff Rhodes also has hopes of getting his modified completed and into competition for the 2007 season. His driver is anxious to get back on track and tackle the new experience of open-wheeled competition. New Hampshire-based chassis builder Sam Gooden has started construction of a new PASS modified series machine with plans to have his son, Ronald Gooden Jr., at the wheel. The team hopes for a speedy run through the learning curve in 2007.
After a few strong runs during a limited schedule in 2006, Outlaw Late Model division race-winner Gary Norris will be piloting the Jeff Rich-owned modified full-time in 2007. The hard-charging Norris says he is excited about having the opportunity to make a run for the championship.
"We learned a lot about the car last year," said Norris. "We hope to pick up right where we left off in the car's performance in 2006. We had a fast car at a few events and now we can build upon those results."
With only a handful of starts among them both, Rob Herrick and Dennis Scribner have stated intentions of taking on the full schedule for 2007.
Herrick, of Old Orchard Beach, came from the back to score an impressive second place finish at his home track of Beech Ridge in just his second series start. Scribner, of Otisfield, who made two attempts in 2006, said recently that his schedule should permit him to race full-time with the series for the upcoming season.
“As a sanctioning group we are constantly looking at ways to expand our reaches to incorporate new tracks, fans and competitors,” said DIRT MotorSports NorthEast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed. “While replicating the old DIRT/Asphalt days is not in our plans, some specials on blacktop provide us the means to do just that. Both tracks have great racing histories and we hope to write another chapter when the DIRT Modifieds ride into town over the summer.”
Steve and Denise Fuller recently completed the purchase of Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y. from a Vermont corporation headed by American Canadian Tour (ACT) President Tom Curley. For the past two seasons, George and Julie Huttig and Mike Perrotte of Elizabethtown, NY had leased and managed the asphalt half-mile facility that first opened as a dirt track in 1954.
“I spoke with Cory last year at Oswego during a race that featured the dirt-style Modifieds and thought Airborne would be a great place for the DIRT cars to run,” said
DIRT big-blocks haven't raced at Airborne in a few years, but Modified racing isn't foreign to fans there. (Airborne Speedway / Dave Brown Photo)
A portion of that activity is fueling growth in the Pro All Stars Series(PASS) Modified division, as several new teams are busy preparing for what is expected to be a highly-competitive 2007 season for the open-wheeled touring series. As these teams gear up for the series’ third season, enthusiasm runs high as car counts rise while an influx of both experienced and young drivers brings new depth to the growing division.
Among the new faces is Maine short track veteran Tom Oliver. The Windham native joins the series with vast experience in both full-bodied and open-wheeled machines. Oliver's recent on-track exploits include a limited schedule in a division formerly known as Limited Sportsman at local tracks.
Much of Oliver's experience comes from years of competition at the famed Beech Ridge Motor Speedway piloting open-wheeled modifieds.
Also joining the modified series ranks for the upcoming season is multi-time Oxford Plains Speedway Limited Sportsman champion Kenny Harrison.
Former PASS Modified division champion Mark Lucas (2004) has stated his hopes of getting back behind the wheel in 2007. After competing weekly in the Super Late Model ranks, Lucas has expressed interest and is seeking options to return to the series for 2007.
Staples, of Brunswick, Maine, will be back to defend his title. Staples and the entire Dallas Oil-sponsored team are looking not only to defend their modified title, but are also planning to chase the Outlaw Late Model series championship. The multi-time race winner will be the odds-on favorite to repeat in the Mods, yet he'll face some tough competition in 2007.
Jason Taylor is one of those drivers hoping to contend for the crown this year. The Searsmont, Maine native has competed in every race since the series inception. In both 2004 and 2006, he came up just one spot shy in the final points standings. Hot off his victory in the season finale at Unity, Taylor looks to carry that momentum into the 2007 season.
Multi-time track champion Richie Morse of Waterford will be back to continue where he left off in 2006. Scoring wins at Beech Ridge and Canaan USA respectively, Morse looks to improve upon his fifth place finish in the points in the Wilson Excavation sponsored entry. Troy Morse, the 2006 PASS Modified Rookie of the Year, will return in 2007 with hopes of improving upon his impressive third-place effort in the final standings. Morse capped off his season-ending run with podium finishes in the final five events, which included both modified events on PASS 400 weekend. The sharp-looking No. 6 machine is a proven show winner.
Connecticut-based racer Glenn Boss has filed for his 2007 PASS competition license. Boss has been a regular competitor at Thompson (CT) in the weekly modified division. For 2007, he looks to bolster his resume with some touring series experience behind the wheel of his familiar No. 55 machine.
Series regulars Stephen Bennett Jr., Dana Reed, Greg Ellis and Jeremy McCormick are expected back in 2007 along with others too numerous to mention.
The 13-race 2007 schedule takes the series to tracks in Maine and New Hampshire. They appear as part of a full card of PASS racing which includes the Super Late Model North division, the Outlaw Late Models and the new PASS Sportsman division in combined events throughout the year.
TRACKS: SEEKONK GETS BACKERS FOR TVMRS EVENTS
Seekonk Speedway has announced that AAA of Southern New England has signed on as the title sponsor for the True Value Modified Racing Series 100-lap event on Saturday night, June 23. Throughout the United States and Canada, AAA offers its members a multitude of benefits and services including roadside assistance, insurance information, financial services, and vacation planning.
Airgas Inc., the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, specialty and medical gases, process chemicals, welding, safety and related products, has joined forces with the speedway to present the True Value Modified Racing Series 100 on Saturday night, August 18. The AAA 100 and the Airgas 100 are two of the four 100-lap feature events featuring the True Value Modified Racing Series at Seekonk Speedway in 2007.
Chris Staples had his championship-winning PASS Modified on display at the recent racin' Preview show in Portland, Maine. (Norm Marx Photo)
Mark Lucas is coming back to the PASS Modifieds in 2007. (Norm Marx Photo)