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
NASCAR WMT: WALL SET FOR HISTORY-MAKING FIRST FLASH RACE
As one of the oldest tracks in America, operating for 57 years, Wall Township Speedway will hold the distinct honor of being the first track ever to host a "Flash Race" for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR’s oldest division, on Sunday, May 6th.
The Blewett Brothers will be racing at Wall - with John in his #66 and Jimmy in the #12. (Jim DuPont Photo)
The top drivers from the Whelen Modified Tour will be competing in 2 - 50 lap heat races, and a 50 lap feature in front of thousands of loyal fans. Drivers will have a blind draw for starting positions in the qualifying races, and then run the same tires in the feature, so tire management will be at a premium.
Among those competing at Wall, will be nine-time NASCAR Champ Mike Stefanik, John Blewett III, Jimmy Blewett, Reggie Ruggiero, Jamie Tomaino, Eric Beers, Ed Flemke Jr., Jerry Marquis, and current WMT point leader James Civali, along with many others.
Also running will be the Wall Township Speedway Whelen All American Series Street Stock division and the ATQMRA Three Quarter Midgets.
Wall Township Speedway will also run their regular Saturday night show on May 5th, and will be offering an Adult combination ticket, only $35 dollars for both Saturday night and Sunday afternoon events, May 5th and 6th.
OPEN SHOWS: ALL-STAR SPEEDWAY TO HOST USG MOD THUNDER 150
The time is drawing near for a pavement Modified race like no other. It is a race where the lead is the place to be, not just on the final lap, but on every lap.
The new All-Star Speedway, formerly Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire is the site of the 1st Annual USG Modified Thunder 150 on Saturday, May 12.
With no other Modified touring series race scheduled in New England on the weekend of this event, drivers are faced with a choice to race for a chance to win over $19,000, or to not race at all in New England.
Andy Seuss, Les Hinckley, Bobby Grigas, Charlie Pasteryak, Louie Mechalides, Ted Christopher, Tony Ricci and Robbie Summers are among the drivers who have chosen to race.
The race will also be a North-South Shootout Qualifier, and will pay $4000-to-win plus $15,000 in lap money available.
Adding to the excitement will be a full NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program, featuring the Super Late Model/Pro Stocks.
Gates will open at noon, with NASCAR qualifying tentatively scheduled for 5:00 PM, and Modified heats starting no earlier than 6:00 PM. The main event is slated to start around 8:30 PM. Admission is just $20. The rain date is June 16.
DIRT: TWO CONTRACT SPOTS UP FOR GRABS
For the third straight year tour officials have once again signed up the best Big-Block Modified teams in the Northeast to compete in every Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series show. The current list of contracted drivers is 10 strong with a ‘race in’ for the final two spots now in effect through June which encompasses the next five races at Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway (May 3), Cayuga County Fair Speedway (May 27), Orange County Fair Speedway (May 31), Fulton Speedway (June 9) and Susquehanna Speedway (June 14) in Pennsylvania.
New speedway owner Bobby MacArthur has been busy making improvements to the facility in preparation for the new season. Fans and competitors will quickly notice them.
MacArthur stated, "I could have had a Whelen Tour "Flash" race, or three True Value races for less purse money, but I wanted to have a race that stands out. A race that drivers and fans would look forward to, and remember for a long time. A race that is open to all modified drivers to compete in. And a race that will get bigger and better each year."
The prestigious event will be 150 laps in length, with a ten minute break at lap 75 for fuel, and adjustments. Caution laps will not count.
MacArthur reasoned, "If I'm going to be handing out $100 bills for each lap, they are going to have to race for the money, not ride around on a pace lap."
A minimum of 24 Modifieds will qualify through heat and consolation races.
Provisionals will be added to the field as well. The highest in points from the Whelen and True Value Series tours not already in the field of 24 will be added.
Tony Ricci won last year when the True Value Mods went to Star Speedway.
“The top-12 drivers in the final Mr. DIRT points from last year were offered contract extensions and 10 were returned signed,” said DIRTcar Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed. “That leaves two vacancies to fill in the coming weeks. After the Susquehanna race the top two drivers in points not yet signed up will be afforded the opportunity to join those already making a commitment to follow the remainder of the series. This should open the door for some new teams that otherwise wouldn’t make plans to follow as many of our big summer shows based on financial concerns.” Each of the contracted drivers owns provisional starting positions in the 2007 Advance Auto Parts SDS and are guaranteed to take home no less than $500 in winnings every time out.
Making shadows in the walkways are a dozen of the drivers that qualified for the Advance Auto Parts SDS opener at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway in March; those that also plan to be at Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway including Rick Laubach, Vic Coffey, Brian Weaver, Russ Hefti, Wallace Stacey and Jimmy Horton along with Justin Haers, Kevin Bates and Roger Chrysler plus series newcomers David VanHorn and Billy Dunn.
Already in the mix of contracted drivers are reigning Mr. DIRT points king and winningest Big-Block Modified driver Alan Johnson, ‘05 Mr. DIRT champion and World of Outlaws Late Model Series rookie contender Tim Fuller, all-time Advance Auto Parts SDS race winner Brett Hearn, ‘04 Mr. DIRT titlist and two-time Hagerstown winner Gary Tomkins, third-year tour follower Jimmy Phelps, rising star Matt Sheppard, early season threat to his older brother’s throne Danny Johnson, Canandaigua Speedway record-setter Steve Paine, full-time follower Dale Planck and Keystone State open-wheel veteran Frank Cozze.
"It's great to have these high caliber teams back this season supporting the Advance Auto Parts Series, they're certainly among the best in the business and we’re proud to showcase them among the biggest stars on the entire DIRTcar Racing circuit,” Reed added. “We’ve assembled a fine group of veterans and we’re looking forward to adding some newcomers as we continue to build toward the future.”
BOWMAN GRAY: MYERS WINS ON SEVEAN CYLINDERS
Burt Myers is glad that Bowman Gray Stadium held the Tucson 200 on Saturday and not the Tucson 210. Although the Walnut Cove resident took the checkered in the first race of the season for the GMAC Insurance Personal Pit Crew Modified Series, he might not have had the opportunity had the race lasted just a few more laps.
“At about lap 100, we broke a rocker arm and were running on only seven cylinders,” said Myers. “Somebody was looking after us tonight, because that motor should’ve have let go and it didn’t.” The timing was so close that Myers was unable to crank his car up for his victory lap – instead relying on a Stadium vehicle to push the #1 car around the track while Myers triumphantly waved the checkered flag from the window.
Myers qualified on the pole with a time of 13.251 and was able to jump out to a strong lead when the green flag dropped on Saturday night. Starting on the outside front row, Tim Brown of Cana, Va. settled in behind Myers and prepared to make his bid for the lead.
Danny Johnson is one of the DIRT drivers already contracted,
Burt Myers won on Bowman Gray's opening night of the season (BG Photo)
When an oil leak made the track slick on lap 25, Brown saw his chance.
“Burt had let off - I guess thinking the caution was coming. I just jumped to the outside and got by him there,” said Brown. The #83 car of Brown flew to the outside and easily jetted past Myers to claim the lead. “In my position, I had everything to lose and Tim didn’t have anything to lose. So he could take a chance on going. Tim went to the outside of me, and I was trying to hit the gas - and trying not to wreck the both of us,” said Myers.
Tim Brown’s lead was short-lived. On lap 40, Myers gunned it going into turn three and slipped inside of Brown. “He didn’t want to run as hard as I did. He gave me the room I needed and I passed him,” said Myers.
“I guess he wanted the lead,” said Brown. “Burt got under me, and then the 25 car came in and rammed me into the fence. It killed the wheel and the spindle and everything,” said Brown. The collision with the guard rail may not have looked like much due to Brown’s quick recovery – he jumped back into the line fast enough to claim seventh place. But running over 100 laps with a damaged wheel took its toll on Brown’s engine, causing him to park it. “We couldn’t win the race the way our car was,” said Brown. “It’s not worth cooking a motor over seventh place.”
Myers immediately had to contend with another challenger for the lead: Michael Clifton of Walkertown. The #50 car was clearly in better racing condition and rearing to take the lead, but the patience of Clifton did not pay off in this case. “I was shaking the car around trying to work my car up under Burt, and I think I just used my tires up a little too much,” said Clifton. “Burt’s always run me clean. I race people like they race me. Last year a couple times when Burt was behind me, he gave me some good shots – I gave him some good shots tonight. But he didn’t dirty me up. It all comes around,” said Clifton.
Ironically, Myers may have actually been helped by his mechanical problems.
“At that point in the race your tires are worn down enough that motor’s not really a factor. So I can actually run harder, because I was down on motor and it wouldn’t spin the tires,” said Myers.
The older of the Myers brothers claimed his 24th victory in a Modified at the Stadium. Clifton held on for second. John Smith of Mount Airy finished third and Frank Fleming of Mount Airy fourth.
SUPER-7 SERIES: READY FOR A SPRING FLING?
The Spring Fling Modified 100 is set for Saturday night, May 5, at Mahoning Valley Speedway and will be race number two of the
2007 Super-7 Series.
Opening Night marked the initial event of the Super-7 Series and if that is an indication of how this series is going to pan out then there leaves little doubt to it being a hit right off the bat.
New York's Rusty Smith scored his career first Mahoning Valley Speedway win in that race which also netted the ace modified star $3000. Heading into the second event he not only holds down the point lead for the Super-7 Series but is also atop the standings in the regular Modified division points as well.
Going into the second of seven high-paying extra distance races, Smith knows it won't come easy in trying to duplicate his victory from April 14. There will be a strong contingent of drivers who will be vying for the $3000-to-win payday as was evident from round one.
Some of those heavy hitters include defending track champion Don Wagner as well as previous champs, Chip Santee, Rodger Heffelfinger, Jr., Rod Snyder, Jr., Troy Bollinger, Kevin Graver, Jr., John Markovic and Eric Beers.
Not to mention the many other hot shoes that will be on hand with the likes of Zane Zeiner, Earl Paules, Bobby Jones, Lee Sherwood, Brian DeFebo, John Bennett, Lou Strohl and many more, you can see why there is so much interest and excitement centered around the whole intent of the Super-7 Series.
Modified teams running the entire seven race series are all in on the well-paid purse that is currently set at $100,000 in prize money. Each of the seven race winners will earn no less then $3000 with $200 to take the green.
A separate point tally is being kept as the top seven place getters will each take with them an additional $1000 at the end of the series. Bonus points will be awarded to any driver who races in any Mahoning Valley regular show which they can then apply to their Super-7 Series point tally. Two (2) points will be the bonus that a driver can earn.
All Super-7 events will utilize time trials to determine the starting grids. The 12 quickest timers will be locked into the main. Last month saw Zeiner set fast time.
Thereafter heats will be run with those line-ups determined by the original draw from time trials.
Pit gates will open at 11:30 a.m. The track will have a paid practice session from noon until 3:30. Regular practice will be conducted at 4:00 which is the same time the main grandstands open to the public. Time trials for the Modifieds followed by heats for all other classes begin at 6:00.