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
SKs: RUOCCO READY TO DEFEND SK NATIONALS TITLE

Frank Ruocco calls last year’s victory in the SK-150 at Waterford Speedbowl “one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve had in racing.” A second straight SK-150 win would be “incredible, unbelievable,” and he has “definite plans” to do just that.

The SK-150 tops the bill for the Speedbowl’s season opening March 31-April 1 Budweiser Modified Nationals. The granddaddy of the extra-distance, extra-money SK-Modified events, the 11th annual SK-150 is part of a menu that also includes extra-distance races for the Speedbowl’s other NASCAR Whelen All-America Series divisions – the Late Models (50 laps), Sportsman (30) and Mini Stocks (30).

Frank Ruocco took the top honors at last season's SK Nationals.  (Waterford Speedbowl / Racedog Photography Photo)
The Northeastern Midget Association, Legends, AllStar Trucks, Pro4 Modifieds and Allison Legacy Cars are on the schedule as well.

“We’re coming with plans to win it again,” continues Ruocco. “I’m just not sure Kenny Horton will let me do that.” Horton, who finished second last year after coming from the rear, remembers a bumping incident with Ruocco two laps from the checkered.

“I’m going to finish ahead of Frank whatever it takes,” says Horton who plans a full assault on the 2007 Speedbowl title. 

“Everybody knows we’re good friends and we’re both very competitive,” says Ruocco. “It was a great race last year. We were able to dice it up pretty good and I’m looking forward to doing it again. If it comes down to Kenny and me again I will be pleased.”

Last year the top seven cars were in the third and fourth turns at the checkered, a fact not lost on Ruocco. It will be, in fact, a much deeper field led by Speedbowl regulars like defending champion Dennis Gada, Tommy Fox, Rob Janovic Jr., Jeff Pearl, Shawn
and Diego Monahan, Jeffrey Paul and Frank Mucciacciaro Jr.  Ted Christopher, Dennis Charette, Rob Summers, Doug Coby and Jay Miller are other threats.

“You have to be conservative for 100 laps and then you have to go because there is no way you can plan the cautions,” offers Ruocco. He hopes to join Eric Berndt as the only two-time SK-150 winner, Berndt doing it back to back in 2001 and ’02.

A good time trial, he adds, is also vital. “That’s especially true at the Speedbowl,” he explains. “The winner usually starts near the front.”

SK time trials will be first on Saturday’s schedule followed by heats and consis for the other divisions. The Legends, Pro4, Legacy and AllStar Truck features will follow. The Midgets share Sunday with the SKs, Late Models, Sportsman and Minis. A Pit Party kicks off Sunday’s activity.

DIRT: INVERSION TO BE USED WITH BIG-BLOCK MODS

Qualifying procedures for the 2007 Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series have been finalized and an inversion after time trials is the biggest change implemented since Big-Block Modifieds first ran under the clocks regularly at the start of the new millennium.
the top-three heat race finishers will earn additional bonus points as follows: 1st-5 pts, 2nd-3 pts, 3rd-1 pt. With the new inversion format in place, a driver can now earn a maximum of 10 more points being the fast timer as well as a heat race winner.

The customary pre-race re-draw among top heat race qualifiers will continue to be in effect throughout the summer, with ‘Triple Crown’ events ---Lebanon Valley Coors National 200, Syracuse Super DIRT Week Eckerd 200 and Eastern States 200 at Orange County Fair Speedway--- the only Advance Auto Parts Series stops awarding fast timers with pole-position starts. Heat points will not be awarded at these shows.

For further questions regarding qualifying procedures for Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series events or the 2007 race schedule, please contact Cory Reed in the DIRTcar Northeast Office (315/834-6606) during normal business hours

TRACKS: ICEBREAKER GETS CLOSER

Thompson International Speedway will soon be ready to open the gates for a brand new season of NASCAR racing. The historic Connecticut speedway will host two open practice sessions before the official opening of the season. That opening will be the running of the ICEBREAKER on the weekend of April 14 and 15, 2007.
The 2007 Thompson racing schedule is available on the Thompson web page and is also available in both a flyer and card format. The flyers and cards will soon be available in hundreds of retail locations surrounding the speedway or may be obtained by calling the track office to receive one by mail. Schedule highlights include five appearances by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, a NEMA Midget special, the annual 100 lap race for the NASCAR Busch East Series, an entire day set aside for a Vintage Antique Car Extravaganza and Truck Show, Modified Mania, the incredible World Series of Speedway Racing, the annual Eve of Destruction and Don Hoenig’s Swap Meet and Flea Market. Add to these highlights, weekly Thursday Night Thompson Thunder racing and fans have yet another season of fun, excitement and unequaled
variety from which to choose.
          
Race fans are urged to keep up to date with all of the racing activities at Thompson with regular visits to the Thompson Speedway web site. www.thompsonspeedway.com  Schedules, special events, driver’s rosters, photos and drivers’ points along with all the news from the Thompson International Speedway are contained in this comprehensive, easy to browse web site.

TVMRS: TRUE VALUE REUPS AS SERIES SPONSOR

The Modified Racing Series announced that the True Value Company will return as the series title sponsor for the 2007 season. True Value has been the New England based modified series title sponsor since it’s inception in 2004. The True Value name has become synonymous with the modified racing series which as seen rapid growth in it’s first three seasons.
Drivers will continue to draw for their order in the 'Integra Shocks Time Trials’ at all Advance Auto Parts SDS events, however, this season the fast timer will select a second pill to determine how many cars (3, 4, 5 or 6) will be inverted to start each preliminary heat race.

“This will certainly create more action in the heat races with some of the faster cars starting further back,” said DIRTcar Racing Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed. “Fast time trialers were locked automatically into pole-position starts for their qualifying heats so this shakes up the order a little bit and makes getting into the main event more entertaining for the fans.”

The 'Integra Shocks Fast Time Award' winner will collect $100 and five (5) bonus points and
Even though snow and ice still cover much of the facility, Thompson’s staff is busy in preparation for the first open practice day scheduled for Saturday, March 31st. The pit area will open at 11 AM so that once 12 Noon arrives, the practice sessions can begin. Racecars will be allowed onto the speedway by division and practice will be run in a “round robin” format until 6 PM. The same procedure will be followed on the second day of open practice which is scheduled for Saturday, April 7th.
          
Each year competitors take full advantage of this valuable track time to prepare for the season-opening ICEBREAKER. The two-day Thompson ICEBREAKER will feature seven different racing divisions lead by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Joining the Whelen Tour will be all six of Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series (NWAAS) divisions. They include the Sunoco Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Late Models, Thompson Modifieds, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks.
          
Race teams continue to register with the speedway and secure car numbers before the season opens. Anyone looking to secure a car number is urged to check the track’s web page first. Click on ‘rosters’ to see what numbers are available in each of the six NWAAS divisions. Car numbers are being assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.
“We’ve been working hard on a program that would keep the True Value name with our series and everything has finally come together” said Modified Racing Series founder Jack Bateman. “Our series has seen so much growth in such a short time and we are happy to have True Value with us for another year.” “I want to really thank True Value store owner Mike Campbell for all his work to help keep this program going. He has been working hard with Corporate and the local stores to help keep True Value continue to grow with our series. Now that our title sponsor is in place things will now fall into place with our other series sponsors and we will be making those announcements soon.” said Bateman.

The True Value Company is a cooperative comprised of members who are entrepreneur-retailers, currently has 6,200 plus stores in 54 countries, 12 regional distribution centers, and
3,000 associates. True Value together with the Modified Racing Series are working to bring on as many of it’s 700 plus New England stores as they can to this racing program.

The Modified Racing Series is growing stronger each year and 2007 looks to be one of the biggest yet. The series will return with 18 events at venues in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and ME. A new addition to this years schedule is a trip to the Oxford Plains Speedway as part of the Oxford 250 weekend events. The number of registered series cars also continues to grow in 2007 as the series continues to be an affordable option for many open wheel modified team throughout the northeast.

TRACKS: NEW EGYPT TO RUN UNDER DIRT BANNER IN 2007

This year marks the start of a new era at New Egypt Speedway. When the 2007 season gets underway on Saturday, April 7, the Big-Block Modifieds will be competing as part of DIRT Motorsports for the first time on a weekly basis. This will allow NES Modified drivers to not only contend for the lucrative track title, but also vie for the overall title of Hoosier Tire-Sunoco Race Fuels Mr. DIRT Champion.
The track is still covered with snow, but Thompson Int'l Speedway had a racy display at last weekend's Speedway EXPO.  (51 Photo)
Jimmy Horton was the big winner at New Egypt last season - winning the Modified championship.  (New Egypt Photo)
"It is very exciting to be a part of such a great organization as DIRT," stated new owner and promoter Bill Miscocki, who along with partner Fred Vahlsing purchased the speedway in January. "The talent level of our weekly competitors is second to none. With DIRT's long standing reputation for producing top-notch Modified competition, I am proud that our drivers will have the chance to compete against the best."

In addition, New Egypt will now be a part of the new DIRTcar Regional Championship Series, with drivers competing in the East Region against competitors from Lebanon Valley and Orange County speedways.

This series will award points for the best 12 finishes at DIRTcar sanctioned events within the region. The top-15 drivers will share in the $6725 point fund, with $1800 going to the champion.

"New Egypt Speedway is a great track and the hotbed of Big-Block Modified racing in New Jersey,” said DIRT MotorSports NorthEast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed. “We’ve held a number of specials there over the years and we’re proud to have them come on board with DIRT Motorsports." 

New Egypt Speedway will also play host to several DIRT touring series events this season. The 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series makes it's first ever New Jersey appearance on Friday, April 13. The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series comes to town on Sunday, May 20. The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRT Series for Big-Block Modifieds invades NES on Wednesday, August 15. Then the New Egypt season finale on October 12 & 13 will showcase the Hoosier-Sunoco Mr. DIRT 358-Modified Series and the second appearance by the Advance Auto Parts Big-Block SDS as they run the much anticipated "Guitar Jammin Twin 60's".   

With the weekly purse and year end point fund also increased for 2007, a stellar field of Big-Blocks is expected to compete weekly for the $3000 top prize. 2006 champion Jimmy Horton will lead the charge as he looks to win his third NES title in the last four years. The Saturday night racing card will also feature the highly competitive NES Sportsman and Super Stocks, each racing for $1000 to win, weekly from April thru September. The 2007 NES Point fund will be the largest in track history, as $5 from every tire that is sold and $1 from every front gate admission ticket will go directly into the fund making the possibilities limitless.