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

On Saturday, June 9, the cars of the True Value Modified Racing Series will make their second appearance at the Waterford Speedbowl for a 100-lap tour-type Modified showdown.  Doug Coby will be joining the list of Speedbowl regulars who will be doing “double-duty” in both the SK Modified and True Value Modified events.  Currently 4th in the Speedbowl’s SK Modified point standings, Coby will be attempting to make his first TVMRS start and will be piloting the #63 owned by Mike Ryan of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Doug Coby  (51 Photo)
“Mike helps us on the SK every week and said to me early in the season, ‘If I had a car and put it together for the True Value race, would you drive it?’  I was thinking he was joking and said, ‘Yeah sure’.  Well a few weeks later he asked me if I was ready to go practice it, and sure enough, we went to the Speedbowl one Thursday to shake it down,” said Doug.

The black and white #63 is a Troyer chassis that last saw racing competition in 2002 at Twin State Speedway in New Hampshire.  Sponsorship for Coby’s entry comes from Shadow’s Candle Company and the Bolles Kart Racing Series presented by Wild Thing Karts.  After their test session, Doug is optimistic about his team’s chances to make the race and contend for the win.

“We had a few problems early on in the test session, but once we got going, the car handled pretty good.  I know there will be a ton of cars there on Saturday, so just making the race will be the first battle we’ll have to fight.  They’re expecting over 50 cars for only 24 starting spots, so it’s going to be tough.  It should be fun for me and fun for the crew though.  If we can stay out of trouble, I think we’ll have a pretty good shot at running really well,” said Doug.

Doug is no stranger to success in a tour-type modified at Waterford, having recorded some of his most impressive runs in a NASCAR Whelen Modified tour car there.  His best finish at Waterford was a second place run in August of 2005, and he led many laps in a race in 2004 before retiring with clutch problems.
“Running a tour-type Modified at Waterford is really fun,” said Doug, “It’s one of the best 1/3 mile tracks out there for Modifieds to race on.  It isn’t going to be easy to get into the show, and even if we do that, it isn’t going to be easy to survive all 100-laps.  The last race these guys had there was a disaster with caution after caution taking out a lot of good cars.  If we can stay out of trouble though, look out, because I’ll put the six-three in the outside groove to put on a show for the fans!”


One of the benefits to having THE ARCA RE/MAX Series at Pocono is it gives a chance for some of the local talent, which is so widespread throughout eastern Pennsylvania, an opportunity of racing with a big league organization and showcasing themselves in front of the hometown crowd.

This year’s ARCA Pocono 200 will be no different as 18-year old Kory Rabenold of nearby Slatington, will be one of several Keystone State drivers attempting to run the June 9 race.

In a short period of time Rabenold went from winning a Pro4 Late Model track championship when he was just 15 then exploded onto the scene with the modifieds at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway.
“We ended up hooking up with those guys and then I headed down to the Fast Track High Performance Driving School with Andy Hillenburg. After that we purchased two ARCA cars from him for the Pocono race.”

Pocono will actually be his second time of running with ARCA. He did attempt to make the grid for the May 20 Hantz Group 200 at Toledo Speedway. Although he showed enough speed to make the field, provisional’s for other drivers made it unable for him to race.

“It was a really good experience. We learned a lot about the program and how ARCA works and I also learned a lot about the cars, the reaction time and the handling of them. They’re so much different then a modified,” offered Rabenold on his Toledo test.

Mahoning Valley is a track like no other. A tight circular ¼-mile that is all about side-by-side racing. Running under such tight quarters teaches drivers all about accuracy in driving skills and Rabenold feels that the lessons learned there will be useful at Pocono.

“Racing at Mahoning, it’s all about patience. Everything there happens quickly and if you’re not on top of your game you can get caught up in a wreck and not even think that you would have been in it in the first place.

“I think I can take what I learned from Mahoning and apply it at Pocono.  We’ll be going a lot faster and things happen quickly like they do at Mahoning.”

Pocono will no doubt be an eye-opener especially for someone coming from short tracks and onto a facility of such magnitude. His goal will be twofold. First get into the show and then do well from there.

“The main goal for me is to make the race and if I succeed in that I’m hoping that we can at least get a top-10 if I can get up that far. If not I’ll be happy with anything from first to twentieth.”

Rabenold will be using Chevrolets that came from Hillenburg and have motor power from another Pennsylvanian, Scott Ritter of RPM Racing Engines in Lehighton.

That same evening after the Pocono race, Rabenold has been offered a ride at Mahoning. It will be a 75-lap RoC race and one that he would like to not pass up given his past success.

The Pocono ARCA 200 will begin at 1:00 p.m., giving him plenty of time afterwards to head down to Mahoning for the RoC race which starts at 7:00.


Confirmation has been received that NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Johnny Benson Jr. will be at the wheel of an ISMA Super Modified for the All American Coach Fastest Short Track Show in the World Friday evening, June 15 at Toledo Speedway.
“It feels really great to have an opportunity like this to be able to race at Pocono. Making my way up through the ranks at Mahoning Valley has been a great steppingstone for me in trying to work into the big leagues,” said Rabenold who graduates this month from Northern Lehigh High School.

“Looking back at what I learned there and being able to race in my home state for the Pocono 200 will be special.”

The talented chauffer was on the road in 2006 when he traveled with the Race of Champions (RoC) Pavement Series and walked away with Rookie of the Year Honors.

With the way drivers are continually advancing up the career ladder, Rabenold felt the timing was right for him as well and choosing ARCA is perfect for those plans.

“It really came about from getting to know Dave Marcis, he really helped me out. Brian Kern too, who basically gave me the push being that I’m now 18 and he said it’s time to step it up if I wanted to make a career in racing,” explained Rabenold.
equation. Racing against competitors, time, mechanical attrition, the asphalt surface, and…mother nature!

Fans are welcome to camp over for the weekend event at WCIS and visit surrounding villages, Silver Lake or Letchworth State Park. Gates will open early for race teams. Competition will begin at 2:30 pm.


Dan Jivanelli of Hampton Bays made his 20th career visit to Riverhead Raceway victory lane Saturday evening when he won the 50-lap NASCAR Modified main event. His first win since midway through the 2005 campaign. Dan’s first win at the historic quarter mile oval dates back to August 2nd of 1975.
Howie Brode of East Islip was fastest among the 21-cars to take time with a lap of 11.886 but in the redraw among the top six in time Howie pulled the 4th starting spot. Jivanelli who timed 6th was the final driver to pull for position and was left with the pole joining Chris Young on the front row. At the drop of the green Dan Jivanelli asserted himself as the driver to beat as he quickly raced to the lead with Wayne Anderson making a nifty first lap move to come from 3rd to second under Young. Anderson seeking his 30th career win chased Jivanelli for the first 24 laps when the final double file restart worked against him. Tom Rogers Jr. was able to dip below Anderson and restarted second.
While several tested for second through fifth a flurry of position changes occurred during the laps surrounding the halfway mark. J.R. Bertuccio grabbed second on lap 29 after a heated three way slugfest with Rogers and Anderson. However, it did not matter to leader Dan Jivanelli who was running second as he had the field covered in one of his best performances in recent memory steering the Richard Nill Roofing Chevy.
After taking his victory lap after a comfortable win Dan Jivanelli exited his car, “I’m just thrilled and overwhelmed with this win tonight, I didn’t even realize it was my 20th” Dan admitted. “Our car owners from last year wanted to go kart racing with their son this season so Richard Fullam stepped in and bought this car. I’m telling you it was the best I recall ever having even though we have basically a new team this year”.
J.R. Bertuccio of Centereach would have to settle for second in the North Fork Sanitation Chevy tipping his hat to Jivanelli afterwards, “Danny had all of us covered tonight”. Wayne Anderson of Yaphank collected third place money in the Eastport Feeds entry with Bill Park of Manorville and John Fortin of Holtsville completed the top five.

Kory Rabenold is trading in his Mod for an ARCA car on Saturday - well, for the afternoon at least.  (51 Photo)
Pearl also grabbed the second guaranteed spot in next Saturday’s True Value Modified Town Fair Tire 100.

“Whenever you have a Monahan around you have to be at the top of your game,” said Pearl, whose first win came in 1994. “Diego and Shawn lay it all down on every lap. I wanted to be clear coming out of two and both times I did it. Then it was a matter of hitting my marks.”

Pearl, who took the lead from pole sitter Frank Mucciacciaro Jr. seven laps in, said he couldn’t recall losing a race on a restart. He underplayed the milestone win, pointing out “I cherish every one because it is so difficult to do.”

Monahan held on for second with Dennis Charette, Rob Janovic Jr. and Frank Ruocco completing the top five.


Race number five on the “Tour” schedule will be run on Thursday, June 21st and will be presented by Charter Cable, Internet, Telephone. This will be the second appearance of the year for the NASCAR Whelen Modifieds at Thompson. The season began for NASCAR’s oldest division with the running of the ICEBREAKER back in April. That race was won by James Civali of Meriden, CT.  Civali beat Chuck Hossfeld, Ronnie Silk, Jimmy Blewett and Matt Hirschman to the finish line. It was a great victory for the sophomore driver who had to withstand a green-white-checkered finish in what turned out to be a 152 lap event.
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory lane has belonged to the young guns this season. Civali will be looking for his second win of the young ’07 campaign with the same being true for current points leader, Jimmy Blewett. However, Donny Lia has already scored two wins and will definitely be a threat when the Modifieds return to Thompson.  The ’07 season has not been kind to the veterans of this ultra-fast, open wheel division. Each one of those veterans will be looking to turn the tide in the 150 lap Thompson race.
Leading the points race heading into the Thompson Charter Cable, Internet, Telephone 150 is Jimmy Blewett. He is followed by Civali, Matt Hirschman, Lia and ICEBREAKER Bud Pole winner, Todd Szegedy. The drivers at the top of the points standings reflect that same invasion of the young hot shoes who have dominated the
Tour’s first four events this year.


In the Open Wheel Modifieds Bobby Dixon and Robert Douglas battled for the lead for the first half of the race.  While they were racing hard for the lead Roger Crouse was making his way through the field from the 12th starting spot. As the laps wound down Dixon suffered mechanical problems that ended his night.  Crouse drove to the front of the field and took the feature win. Douglas who started 2nd finished in the same position.  Jamie Burrows finished 3rd.  Tony Agin and pole sitter Chad Hadlick completed the top 5.  Raymond Rogers and Scotty Williams claimed victories in the heat races.  

All the cars and stars from the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series will be out in full force June 9 when Fulton Speedway hosts the fourth event on DIRTcar NorthEast’s premier tour for Big-Block Modifieds. The significance of the event lies in its Saturday slot prior to Labor Day, something that has only been tried out-of-state when Eldora Speedway staged a tour event last August.

“This is an experimental year for the Advance Auto Parts Series as far as Saturday shows are concerned,” said DIRTcar Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed. “Saturday night is made for racing and we want to see how the weekend works out for our fans and race teams during the regular season. We’re hoping for a strong turnout on both sides of the fence as this will certainly be a history-making event.”

Fulton Speedway hosts its Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series ‘Showdown at Sundown’ presented by Ferris Industries on Saturday with gates opening at 4:30 pm. Race time is 7 o’clock with Integra Shocks Time Trials scheduled to begin at 6:30.

A special “Meet and Greet” Autograph Session behind the turn four grandstands has been slated for 5 p.m. with the head table including Advance Auto Parts tour contract drivers Frank Cozze, Tim Fuller, Brett Hearn, Alan Johnson, Danny Johnson, Steve Paine, Jimmy Phelps, Dale Planck, Matt Sheppard and Gary Tomkins.

In lieu of the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series special at Fulton, area track officials at Canandaigua (NY) Speedway and Can-Am Motorsports Park in LaFargeville, N.Y. have adjusted their schedules to encourage maximum participation on Saturday. The Modifieds will not be in competition at Can-Am while only show-up points will be awarded at Canandaigua, the same amount given to drivers that do sign in at Fulton. The 2007 Advance Auto Parts SDS reaches into six states and two Canadian provinces, with Lebanon Valley Speedway (Aug. 11) and Can-Am (Aug. 18) the only other tracks set to stage Big-Block Modified tour shows on Saturday during the summer months.


Surviving two restarts in the final 10 laps, Jeff Pearl captured the 35-lap SK-Modified feature Saturday night at Waterford Speedbowl. Pearl, who took the lead seven laps in, twice beat back late challenges from Diego Monahan en route to his 25th career victory.


In the GMAC Insurance Personal Pit Crew Modified Series AT Bowman-Gray Stadium (NC), Bobby Hutchens of Lexington dominated the night. A strong competitor last year, Hutchens always thought that his weak point was qualifying. “We were the outside pole four or five times last year – we were just that close. And we’ve worked real hard to improve that part of our program,” said Hutchens.

Hutchens hit on something after he changed his driving style during qualifying trials last event. He won the pole last week and decided to try his new approach again.
Hutchens went out and ran a time of 13.330 Saturday night, winning him the pole for the second week in a row. He was then able to retain the lead for the 25-lapper and take the win.

“All the cautions worried me,” said Hutchens. “I just wanted to run 25 laps and get it over with. With all the restarts, you just have to make sure you don’t make a mistake – and that’s what’s nerve-wracking.”
Randy Butner of Pfafftown finished behind Hutchens in second, and Lee Jeffreys of Winston-Salem finished in third.

In the second 25-lapper for the GMAC Insurance Personal Pit Crew Modified Series, Tim Brown took the checkered. It was the first 2007 win for “the Rocket.” Brian Pack of Walkertown finished second with Mike Adams of Winston-Salem taking third.


Both DIRTcar Racing NorthEast and Susquehanna Speedway Park officials reached a mutual agreement to postpone the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series event for Big-Block Modifieds scheduled on June 14 at the Newberrytown, Pa. oval.

Speedway owners Todd and Rhonda Fisher recently reorganized the remainder of the 2007 racing events schedule at Susquehanna and a new date for the Advance Auto Parts SDS show is pending at this time.

“On the heels of Susquehanna’s schedule being restructured, we’ve decided to put the event on hold until we can find a better suited date,” said DIRTcar Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Cory Reed. “We’re looking forward to working with Todd as he has supported DIRT 100% since day one and wants the Big-Blocks back at his track in the very near future.”

Racing will continue at the 54 year-old speedway, although it has been scaled back to one night of weekly racing along with special events throughout the season. Further details regarding Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series event will be released in the coming weeks.


OKAY DAD, finish up the ‘honey do’ list and get yourself ready for some open-wheel modified racing, Father’s Day (June 17th) at the Wyoming County International Speedway (NY) BullRing. Claimed as one of the best races on the ROC Tour, the WCIS 1/3rd mile asphalt oval provides continuous action from start to finish. Strategically teams calculate where to be the fastest. In the beginning of the race or after the tire changing pit stop…either way, it always comes down to the last few laps, as racing’s finest challenge for the win!

Traditionally at Perry’s short track oval, visiting drivers from NASCAR’s Whelen Tour join the ROC boys to make the competition first rate! Now…how about that 30+ year old asphalt surface? If you have been to Perry lately, you know that the old asphalt surface makes for multi-lane, side-by-side racing…but…with the sacrifice of those 15” wide, gumball mod tires pulling up the McAdam surface with their 700 horse power plants. Every team needs to calculate this track surface variable into the ‘race strategy’
Brett Hearn is among the big names coming to Fulton.  (51 Photo)
Pearl's winning SK Modified.  (Rick Ibsen Photo)
Hutchins in victory lane.  (BG Photo)
Earl Paules knows how to win in a RoC Modified at Wyoming County.  (Wyoming County Photo)