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
SUNOCO MODS: MALONE REDEDICATES TIME TO RACING – AND IT PAYS OFF
Kerry Malone decided to scale back his racing endeavors last year. In his free time, he figured he’d join his daughter – a competitive skier – in visiting the slopes in Chile and New Zealand.
Instead, he spent all his time working.
Kerry Malone in victory lane at Thompson (TIS /
So Malone made the choice to return to full-time racing this season, and the results have proven it to be a good decision. He picked up his first win of the year last Thursday at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. Despite a 12th-place the next night at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, Malone surged up to sixth in the national standings.
After more than 25 years of racing, though, the 47-year-old from Needham, Mass., isn’t getting too hung up on his progress just yet.
“We don’t think too much about points this time of year,” said Malone, who is fourth in points in the Sunoco Modified division at Thompson (5/8-mile) and second in the SK Modified division at Stafford (1/2-mile). “You just let the finishes take care of themselves. We just want to keep finishing up front and hope for the best.”
Malone’s 388 points allowed him to jump up from 11th last week. He was 20th the week before and 56th the first week.
Rodney Cook earned his second win of the season at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C., to further cement his overall points lead. Cook leads the nation with 444 points. Guy Jubinville and Jean Francois Bouvrette, both of Autodrome St. Eustache in Quebec, occupy second and third, respectively, with 420 and 404 points.
Jamey Caudill of Southern National Raceway Park in Kenly, N.C., is fourth with 398 points, followed by Andy Loden of Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton, N.C., with 390.
Malone’s team knows about winning championships. His teammate at Thompson is Woody Pitkat, who won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division IV championship last season. Pitkat is currently 13th in the nation.
And Malone was ready to get back in the car full-time after last season’s hiatus. The middle of Malone’s three children, 19-year-old daughter Hailey, was training with the U.S. Development ski team. Kerry Malone, who estimates he goes skiing about a 100 times a year, figured he’d use his free time to travel with her. It didn’t quite work out as planned.
“I took that time off last summer to do some other things,” Malone said. “She went all over the world. I didn’t do anything expect work. … I figured I’d might as well race.”
He’s replaced the rush of going downhill with the adrenaline of a race night.
“In a (Modified) race, it’s kind of like running a high-speed video game,” Malone said. “You’ve got 40 laps to do whatever you can to get it done.”
Also expected is Karl Fredrickson, Fremont, NH; now in his third season with the series. Fredrickson is a 22 year veteran racer competing at area speedways throughout his career. He is also an IMCA Super National modified winner at Boone, Iowa; in 2005.
Other entries familiar to local fans are Mike Douglas, Auburn, NH; a former hobby stock racer at Lee, and former Lee Pro Stock standout, Vinnie Annarummo, Swansea, MA.
They’ll be joined by present point leader, Kirk Alexander, Swanzey, NH; a two time Lee winner, Tony Ricci, Westbrook, ME; a winner at Lee last season, defending champion, Dwight Jarvis, Ascutney, VT; and a host of others. Seuss, Fredrickson, and Douglas will be available for autographs at the tour’s official souvenir stand. The series fell victim to a rainout last weekend at Waterford, CT; so a good turnout of cars is expected.
Qualifying races begin at 7:15 PM for all divisions. The NASCAR sanctioned late models compete in 12 lap races as do the TVMRS modifieds. The modified tour also stages a last chance race to round out the starting field for the 100 lap feature race.
DIRT:AJ SLIDEWAYS IS SUPREME IN SHOWDOWN AT SUNDOWN
Home turf was at stake in the Saturday night special and when it counted most defending Mr. DIRTcar Big-Modified Champion Alan Johnson rose to the occasion in defense to capture the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series ‘Showdown At Sundown 100’ at Fulton Speedway. ‘A.J. Slideways’ collected the $6,000 top prize for his first tour win of the season and also received an automatic starting berth in the prestigious Eckerd 200 Championship race on Oct. 7 Fairgrounds in Syracuse.
“I had home track advantage tonight but the car was just awesome,” beamed Johnson, 49, DIRTcar Racing NorthEast’s winningest Big-Block Modified driver now with 346 feature victories. His 46th career Advance Auto Parts SDS triumph was the first-ever at Fulton where he has taken a dozen checkered flags in Big-Block competition. “We’ve been struggling in the series and to finally run up front feels real good. The starting spot helped out a lot with this field of cars but the key was still the guys that worked on the car, they just had everything perfect.”
TVMRS: LEE UP NEXT
The True Value Modified Racing Series, one of the nations fastest growing open wheel touring divisions, featuring 600 horsepowered modified race cars, highlights the racing card Friday night, June 15, as the fourth year traveling series swings east for the first time this year to Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH.
The modifieds will go the distance of 100 green flag laps in their feature race. Expected entries include drivers from all over the northeast including several racers that have experience competing at the Rte 125 speed plant.
Hampstead, NH’s Andy Seuss, a former weekly competitor at Lee in both late model and super modified competition, will be on hand driving the #70 Rockingham Boat/Manchester Urology race car, the same car that carried the former TVMRS rookie of the year to a major win in Nashville,TN; earlier this spring. Seuss is also a former New Smyrna FL; World Series Champion.
Jeremy Huntoon in second and Gary Siemons in third. Madness night also means double points and overall ties broken by the finish of the last segment. Brian Whittemore and Gary Siemons would be tired, but Whittemore’s win in the second segment would give him the overall win over Siemons with Jeremy Huntoon bringing home the final victory lane spot.
TVMRS: WATERFORD MAKE-UP DATE IS SET
The True Value Modified Series Town Fair Tire 100, rained out last Saturday, will be part of the Saturday Sept. 1 Mohegan Sun Double Down Shootout. The new date is the result of a meeting between TVMS President Jack Bateman and Speedbowl General Manager Bill Roth.
“We believe we will be offering an exciting and unique evening of racing action,” said Roth.
Additional details will be announced soon.
The Mohegan Sun Double Down Shootout presents twin 25 lap features for the SK-Modifieds and Late Models and twin 15 lap features for the Sportsman and Mini Stocks. The second feature will line up in the reverse order of the first feature finish.
TVMS heats and consolations, considered by many to be the best racing around, will be included.
NARA: KRAMER GOES FAST AT TAZEWELL
Joey Kramer loves to go fast. Saturday night, the Hanover, IN driver did just that, as he scored his second NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Modifieds Series victory of 2007 in the Series' inaugural event in the state of Tennessee at the bad-fast Tazewell Speedway.
"This is the fastest little racetrack I've ever seen!" said an elated Kramer in victory lane. "I love to go fast, and I love this
place! It's a shame we're 5 ½ hours away, but my hat's off to the guys that race here every week."
The 30 lap A-Main got underway with Wayne James and Ricky Boahn leading the 23-car field down to the green flag with James getting the lead in turn one followed by Boahn, Jerry Broyles, Kramer, and Dustin Linville. The man on the move in the early laps was Broyles, who quickly passed Boahn for 2nd and began to pressure James for the lead on lap 3. The lead duo raced side by side for the top spot for two laps before Broyles powered by on the inside coming down to complete lap 5.
As the action raged on up front, a number of drivers began to charge forward from the middle of the pack. By lap 6, Victor Lee had moved up to 4th from his 7th starting position, followed by Kevin Copher in 5th, who started 10th. As James and Kramer dueled for the 2nd position, caution fell on the speedway for a slowed Aaron Ogle.
On the ensuing double-file restart, Kramer would use the high groove to propelling himself into 2nd behind Broyles, then driving to the inside of Broyles on lap eight in a very exciting battle that would see the two drivers race side by side for several laps, bringing the capacity crowd to its feet. Kramer would eventually race into the lead on lap 10, and began to put distance on the heated battle for
second between Broyles, Lee, and Copher.
The second caution of the event for the slowing Jason Bowers came out on lap 17, once again bunching up the field. The complexion of the top 5 changed as both Victor Lee and Dustin Linville took their cars to the pits under yellow. Neither would return, as both drivers' retired from the race with mechanical failures.
When the green flag waved Kramer, Broyles, Copher, Boahn, and a 9th starting Russ Gabbert made up the top 5. Copher would get the jump as the field roared to life, powering into 2nd leaving Broyles to contend with Gabbert and a 12th starting Jimmy Payne. The trio put on a highly entertaining battle for the 3rd position for the next several laps, using every inch of the ultra-fast Tazewell Speedway. Caution would again come out on lap 23, leaving the field with a seven lap Shootout to the checkers. Kramer now led Copher, followed by Broyles, Gabbert, 8th starting Shon Flanary, and 17th starting Kelly Warren.
As the race went back to green, Kramer wasted little time putting distance between himself and the field, Gabbert began to put heat on Copher for 2nd followed closely by Broyles and Flanary.
As the balance of the top 5 battled for position, Kramer began to pull away, building as much as a full straightaway advantage over 2nd. Just when it appeared that the Hanover, IN driver would cruise to victory, disaster nearly struck. As Kramer quickly approached the lapped car of Jason Bowers on lap 27, Bowers started to drift up the track into the path of the much faster leader. With nowhere to go, Kramer slammed into the rear of Bowers' machine, hooking the two cars together. In an amazing display of driving, both competitors recovered from the contact and managed to keep their cars under control, allowing the race to stay green.
The Hanover, IN driver would maintain his lead over the final laps, and
become the first driver to score multiple victories in the NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Modified Series' 2007 season. Copher, Gabbert, Broyles, and Flanary rounded out the top 5.
"I'm not sure who that lapped car was, but I'm real sorry I hit him. You come up on traffic so fast here," said Kramer, regarding the incident in the final laps. "But it was a fun race. I love this track!"
Don Adams set fast time during time trials with a quick lap of 12.970
seconds around the 1/3 mile ultra-fast high banked oval. The night's three heat races went to Jerry Broyles, Wayne James, and Ricky Boahn.
After taking a week off, the next NARA Battle of the Bluegrass Modified Series event will take place at Jerry and Mona King's Florence Speedway on Saturday June 23rd after a one year absence at the Cincinnati-area track.
Tony Ricci won with the #4 Modified last season at Lee. (Jamie Williams Photo)
“The lineup for the second race is just based off of a good draw,” said Brown. “You qualify for the first race, so you earn that win.” Although Brown has said that winning the second race is like “kissing your sister,” Brown also said, “That win really helped motivate our crew. We always work hard, but it definitely helped the morale of the guys.”
The “Madhouse Scramble” sent Frank Fleming of Mt. Airy to the pole for the start of the second Modified race with Mike Adams of Winston-Salem on the outside front row. As the green flag was waving, Bobby Hutchens of Lexington passed Adams to take over second place.
Hutchens began applying the heat to Fleming, and a strong tap from Hutchens to the bumper of Fleming got the 07 car of Fleming a little loose coming out of turn four. Fleming was able to regain control down the straight-away, but mechanical problems struck and caused Fleming to spin going into turn one.
“The clip ring for the left-front upper ball joint broke,” said Fleming, who hit the guard rail and was taken out of the race.
Hutchens then claimed the lead with five laps to go, but he began to experience problems of his own. “I think I ran over what Frank broke off, so we got a flat right rear tire,” said Hutchens. While his tire slowly lost pressure, Hutchens hoped he could make it to the end of the race.
But with two laps to go, Hutchens himself was tapped on the rear by teammate Michael Adams. The contact caused Adams to spin, and Hutchens was able to maintain control. Unfortunately, the caution came out and added more time to the race – something that Bobby Hutchens and his leaking tire could not afford. “When we came back to the restart, we had one lap to go. I was pretty much on the rim of my tire. I was thinking that if I could stay on the inside of the race track, maybe I could hold them off,” said Hutchens.
As the green flag waved for the restart, Hutchens slowed tremendously. The second place car of Lee Jeffreys began pushing hard on the bumper of Hutchens. As they came around turn two, Lee Jeffreys of Winston-Salem became locked up with Bobby Hutchens. Brian Pack in third place and Burt Myers in fourth place became part of the incident, getting caught behind Hutchens.
DIRTcar veterans Pat Ward and Brett Hearn chased Johnson most of the way while tour regular Jimmy Phelps and Advance Auto Parts Series points leader Tim Fuller closed out the top-five. Local runner Chad Phelps finished 13th and was the last to be scored on the lead lap.
Fuller out-dragged Johnson to the initial green flag with Steve Paine falling in behind. Ward followed a high line to grab the third position on lap three and wasted little time overtaking Johnson for the number two slot the following circuit. Ward edged Fuller for the front spot on lap 10 yet Fuller regained the point the next time around while Johnson shadowed the lead duo as traffic became an early factor on lap 15.
Alan Johnson moved high around Fuller exiting turn four to take his first lead and Hearn went even higher two laps later to slingshot into first place. With three and four-wide racing the norm all around the track, A.J. forged what would result in the final change on lap 32 as he ducked under Hearn across the line.
Alan Johnson opened up some breathing room ahead of Hearn with 40 laps to go before Ward secured runner-up honors for good less than five laps later.
“I just have to thank all the guys, they worked on the tires, they worked on the shocks and got everything perfect,” said Johnson, who crossed the line a car-length ahead of Ward to become the fourth different winner in four Advance Auto Parts SDS events. “They worked their butts off on tires and adjusted the shocks and got them right where we needed them and everything was right. I didn’t know which way to go as I didn’t have anybody signaling me up there like I needed. I didn’t know where run so I just went where I felt comfortable. There seemed to be sweet spot in the middle of the banking so that’s just where I kept it.”
BG MODS: BROWN AND JEFFREYS SPILT FEATURES
In the GMAC Insurance Personal Pit Crew Modified Series at Bowman-Gray Stadium, Tim Brown of Cana, Va. took the pole with a time of 13.405 seconds. Brown then led all 25 laps to take victory in the first 25-lap race of the night, his second victory of the year. Brown had just won in the previous week, but said that he didn’t feel too proud of his previous victory since it came in the second 25-lap race of the night.
“The Mohegan Sun is a first class destination facility,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations. “It is an ideal place to host the season-end Awards Banquet for a first class series like the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.”
Series sponsor Whelen Engineering, based in nearby Chester, Conn., and NASCAR will present the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion with a new trophy this year that recognizes the history of the Modified Tour. The three-tiered trophy, which is just over 3 feet tall and is topped with a hand-blown cut crystal bowl, includes a chronological list of names of every Modified champion, dating back to Red Byron’s inaugural title in 1948.
Mohegan Sun, owned by the Mohegan Tribe, is one of the largest, most distinctive and spectacular entertainment, gaming, shopping and meeting destinations in the United States. What began with the Casino of the Earth in 1996 has evolved into a legendary destination that now includes over 300,000 square feet of total gaming space; the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena for world-class sporting events; and a 34-story luxury hotel, featuring 1,200 guest rooms and suites, and premier meeting and convention space.
BEAR RIDGE: DONNELLY AND WHITTEMORE SHARE WINS
Bradford Mini Mart & P&H Truck Stop hosted the KIXX Rock weekly racing series Saturday night June 9, 2007 at Bear Ridge with a full card on hand for the packed house including Modified Madness.
The A Notch Above Automobile Co IMCA Mods Chris Donnelly is on a role, and some are beginning to wonder if he can be knocked off of the rail. While he professes to continue to struggle with the car to the naked eye it would appear that it is just about perfect. Donnelly while no rookie to Bear Ridge Speedway is new in the IMCA division but you would be hard pressed to have anyone believe it. Donnelly is setting himself up for a no hitter with four of four victories ready to be recorded in his record book. Brian Piper last years champion in this division continues to struggle with his new machine as he watches his position in the points fall from the top last year to currently third this year.. Richie Simmons of Bradford VT would finally make his way to victory lane holding off Piper for the third place spot. At the checkers it would be once again Donnelly of Orford NH followed by Pierson in second and Simmons in third.
For the Mekkelsen RV Sportsman Mods it was Madness night at the Ridge with the drivers coming to the table with 56 laps sponsored for the night, which meant a $1,680 bonus to be split among all the drivers as they all came in with the minimum requirement to be eligible. Jeremy Huntoon would earn the honors of the pole in the first segment brining in the most laps sponsored with Gary Siemons in second and Adam Pierson in third. At the checkers of segment one it would be Gary Siemons of Orford NH for the win over Adam Pierson of Fairlee VT in second and Brian Whittemore of Florence VT in third.
Segment two of the night would see the starting line up an invert of the first segment finish with Dave Lacasse bringing the field to the green along with jack Cook and Jeremy Huntoon. The third segment would be brought to the green by the senior of the group Jack Cook, who kept the wolves at bay for several laps before falling victim to the pack. Cook would fall to fifth before settling in, and Brian Whittemore would go on for the win followed by Gary Siemons and Jeremy Huntoon. The finish would see Brian Whittemore in first followed by
Brett Hearn is among the big names coming to Fulton. (51 Photo)
Tim Brown's winning ride. (BG Photo)
Jeffreys in victory lane at Bowman Gray. (BG Photo)
Whittemore in victory lane at Bear Ridge. (April May Preston Photo)
The fifth place car of Robert Jeffreys of Winston-Salem saw his opportunity and darted to the outside, passing four cars to take the lead. Jeffreys then coasted the half-lap to claim the checkered.
“They all got bumper to bumper and couldn’t get away, so I just went to the outside and got by all of them. I was shocked it happened the way it did,” said Jeffreys. “You don’t go from being fifth to first in half a lap too often.”
RIVERHEAD: MOTHER NATURE WINS
A frontal system that stalled over the eastern end of Long Island leaving a wake of showers and drizzle in its wake forced Riverhead Raceway promoters Barbara and Jim Cromarty to postpone this Saturday evening’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program.
Monday morning it was announced that the 50-lap Late Model feature event along with the 25-lap Figure Eight feature would be run this Saturday evening June 16th. Both races carry double points.
Saturday evening will find the annual salute to law enforcement with the New York State Fraternal Order of Police taking place with over 20-law enforcement agencies expected to participate in on track presentation.
WMT: BANQUET RETURNS TO MOHEGAN SUN
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will once again hold its annual awards banquet at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. The season-ending ceremony will be Friday, Dec. 14.
The celebration will honor the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, in addition to other special award winners.