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
DIRT: DECKER CELEBRATES A CHAMPIONSHIP

Ten years doesn't figure to be a very long time as one moves on in age and all the seasons seem to suddenly mesh together. For Billy Decker, the past decade chasing points on the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series rolled on at a snail's pace as that's exactly the amount of time its taken for the Unadilla, New York driver to climb back to the top of the DIRTcar Racing world in the no. 91 Gypsum Express.
some unlucky circumstances, it was just a frustrating time for everybody on the team. We certainly believe in Big-Block racing. The respect from everybody and the ability among all the competitors makes winning a championship like this so special. I feel blessed to be part of such a quality program,” Decker said.

TVMRS: PASTERYAK TAKES CENTER STAGE AT BANQUET

Chris Pasteryak was formally honored as the 2008 True Value Modified Racing Series champion and the 2009 TVMRS schedule was announced at the series banquet this past weekend.  For more on the banquet, click here for the full story.
For the second time in his career, Decker moved to the forefront in Big-Block Modified racing as he was honored Saturday night as the overall Advance Auto Parts Series Mr. DIRTcar Champion to officially bring the curtain down on the 2008 race season.

“Yes, it sure did seem like a very, very long time since the last (title),” remarked a charismatically low-key Decker, now 43, and firmly entrenched in the DIRTcar record book as one of the best ever to turn a wheel in the Northeastern Modified ranks. The seasoned open-wheel chauffeur finished his 23rd season of Big-Block competition atop the list with 22 feature wins after matching all-time Advance Series winner Brett Hearn's single-season tour mark of 10 victories. “Every year we always had some good portions, just couldn't put something together and keep it there for a whole season.”

“We were definitely better prepared this year. We focused more on the Big-Block program, I think the late model events we ran a year ago took away from what we wanted to accomplish. And combined with a lot of different mechanical failures and
OPEN SHOWS: TURKEY DERBY IS COMING UP

The Turkey Derby at Wall Township Stadium is back on track for this year.  To get a full entry list for the Thanksgiving weekend classic, please click here.

SNOWBALL DERBY: MODS PART OF DERBY WEEK

As of November 18th, there are already 25 entries for the Modified event that will be part of the 41st Annual Snowball Derby Week at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.  The Modified feature will take place on Friday night, December 5th.

DRIVERS: TC AND RUDOLPH ARE AMONG ATLANTIC CITY ENTRIES

The road to Victory Lane in the upcoming Gambler's Classic Indoor Auto Races at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall might go through the Asphalt Modified community.
The Turkey Derby is coming up!  (Jim DuPont Photo)
Ted Christopher, who clinched his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title in October, and Erick Rudolph, the Dunn Tire Raceway Park SST champion, submitted their respective entries for the seventh annual event, which will take place on January 16-17, 2009.

Christopher, 50, of Plainville, CT, ended this season with 11 victories to his credit. Most recently, he won the SK Modified feature at the North/South Shootout at Concord Motorsports Park in Concord, N.C.

However, that win wasn't the defining moment on Christopher's season as he claimed the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title at the Thompson International Speedway World Series on October 19.

This isn't Christopher's first foray in the Gambler's Classic. He's made three visits to the indoor event. He now co-owns his own car that he uses only at the annual January event. Last year he won a Roaring 20 preliminary race with the car and vows it will be even stronger this year.

Ted Christopher iwill be racing something other than a Modified in Atlantic City.  (Mary Hodge Photo)
Super DIRTcar Champion Billy Decker.  (DIRT Photo)
with a 25 lap feature event for the Three-Quarter Midgets. Saturday night's program is highlighted by feature events for all three divisions including the 40 lap Gambler's Classic main event for the Three-Quarter Midgets.

Tickets for Friday and Saturday night programs are on sale now by calling the Area Auto Racing News office at: 609-888-3618 (please have a MasterCard/Visa/American Express card ready).

Also, tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling: 1-800-736-1420 or online at:www.ticketmaster.com.

Gambler's Classic information is available online at: www.aarn.com.The Gambler's Classic is run in conjunction with the huge Motorsports 2009 Race Car & Trade Show taking place at the Atlantic City Convention Center on January 16-17. The show offers close to 300,000 square feet of just about everything imaginable in motorsports along with many famous racers and personalities signing autographs.

The two events together make for a fantastic weekend of motorsports excitement in Atlantic City, NJ.

TRACKS: STAFFORD'S '09 SCHEDULE IS RELEASED

Stafford Motor Speedway has released its 2009 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event schedule which will showcase the track's SK Modified and Late Model divisions in two extra distance events as well as four Whelen Modified Tour events. SMS will host a total of 24 racing events, with the 2009 NASCAR season kicking off with the 38th Annual Tech-Net Spring Sizzler presented by CARQUEST April 24-26, and concluding with the 37th annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend on October 2-4.

Stafford's Friday night NASCAR Whelen All-American Series programs will once again consist of five divisions, the SK Modifieds, Late Models, SK Lights, Limited Late Models, and DARE Stocks. Headlining the weekly divisions are the four extra distance events. The 6th Annual CARQUEST SK 150 will be run on Friday night, July 25th, and the 36th Annual Coors Light SK Modified 100 will be run on Friday, June 5th. Stafford's Late Model division will also have two 100-lap extra distance events on the 2009 calendar with the 15th Annual Late Model 100 run on Friday, May 8th, and the 2nd Annual Late Model 100 run on Friday, August 21st.

Stafford Motor Speedway will once again play host to four Whelen Modified Tour events, the 38th annual Tech-Net Spring Sizzler on April 26, the 19th Connecticut Classic on May 22nd, the 19th Annual Stafford 150 on August 7th, and the CARQUEST Fall Final 150 on October 4th. The ISMA Supermodifeds will return to Stafford for a 50-lap feature event on Tuesday, July 7th as part of the 6th annual CARQUEST Extreme Tuesday program along with the NEMA Midgets and the Pro-4 Modifieds.
Rudolph, 16, of Ransomville, N.Y., will bring versatility to the Atlantic City race.

In addition to his success on the pavement in Modified action, Rudolph won the Town Mechanical DIRTcar Sportsman feature at the New York State Fairgrounds in early October. It was his first career Sportsman start on the mile oval.

And Rudolph has extensive experience in the TQ Midgets, Mini Modifieds and Go Kart classes. Last year he turned 16 just prior to the event and was very fast in the feature event before mechanical problems knocked him from the race.

"We're excited to have these two drivers entered for our event," said event organizer Danny Sammons. "Their presence will only add to the great tradition of the race. Teddy's experience at Atlantic City will make a viable contender, and Erick's indoor and Mini Modified success makes him a natural threat to become a first-time winner."

Mark Tidaback of Little Falls, N.J., is the defending champion. He left the event last year with more than $6,000 in his pocket after leading the final half of the 40- lap main event on Saturday evening.

For the first time in event history, time trials will be held on January 15 for all divisions. While the grandstand will not be open to the public, fans with tickets for Friday and/or Saturday (Jan. 16-17) can obtain a restricted Thursday-only pit pass, which will allow them access to catch all of the pole-night activities. Friday's nights event will include qualifying races along
Stafford Motor Speedway will host a total of four fireworks dates with CARQUEST Dealer Night on Friday, May 29th, the 9th annual Summer Blast-Off on Friday, June 19th, an Independence Day celebration on Friday, July 3rd, and an end of summer event on Friday, August 28th. For the June 19th Summer Blast-Off program, all children ages 14 & Under will be admitted free of charge to the general admission grandstands when accompanied by an adult.

The USHRA Monster Trucks return to Stafford Motor Speedway in 2009 with two shows on Saturday, July 25th, and one show on Sunday, July 26th. SMS will host four different Connecticut Motorcycle Swap Meets on Sunday, March 29th, Sunday, June 28th, and Sunday, August 16; the date of the Fall Motorcycle Swap Meet is still to be determined and will be announced at a later date.

Stafford will host two Ty-Rods Automotive Swap Meets on Sunday, April 5th and Sunday, October 18th. Also returning to Stafford Speedway will be the 2nd Annual 24
Hours of LeMons, a two-day endurance event that will run Saturday, July 11th and Sunday, July 12th.

Stafford Motor Speedway has 2009 season ticket packages available now, which are good for all NASCAR Race events, as well as the CARQUEST Extreme Tuesday program, but do not include admission for Monster Truck shows, Swap Meets, or Wild Thing Kart events.

Stafford Motor Speedway's complete 2009 NASCAR schedule is available by visiting the SCHEDULE section of SMS Online located at www.staffordmotorspeedway.com. For more information about the 2009 Stafford Motor Speedway schedule of events, including season ticket applications, call the speedway office at (860) 684-2783, or visit the BOX OFFICE section of SMS Online.

TRACKS: CHANGES IN THE WIND AT WATERFORD

Terry Eames announced today that he has formed a partnership with former SK Modified driver and local businessman Shawn Monahan to take over control of track operations when the current operator's lease expires on November 30th.   The duo will host a kick-off meeting on December 1st at 7:00 PM at the Groton Inn and Suites to announce some of their plans for the upcoming season.

Eames of Groton, CT previously managed the track from 1995 through 2006 and is the majority owner of 1080 Hartford Road, LLC, the group that has owned the track since 2000.  Monahan, a Waterford native, is the owner of Critical Signs and Graphics.  He last raced at the Speedbowl in the 2008 Town Fair Tire Finale.

In an effort to get back to basics, the duo has started a Board of Directors to help carry out their new promotional vision.  This collaborative approach is not new to the Speedbowl - a Board of Directors advised track management from it's opening in 1951 through 1974.  In addition to Eames and Monahan, current members of the new board include Sid DiMaggio and Tom Fox, who will also serve as the track's Race Director.

“Over the past two years many members of the Speedbowl racing community have offered their help and advice concerning the future of racing in Waterford”, Eames said,  “Shawn and I feel that forming this board is a start towards getting them involved in seeing that racing continues here.”

“I'm excited to be getting involved”, said Monahan, “I think I bring a racer's perspective to the management team and I'm full of ideas about how to get more local fans out to the races.”  

Tom Fox was the track's Chief Tech Inspector in 2008.  He will now have full authority over all aspects of the race program.  Before retiring from weekly competition after the 2006 season, Fox was one of the more accomplished drivers in track history with over 60 feature wins.  He brings with him close to 30 years experience behind the wheel at the Speedbowl and is an experienced manager.

Track historian Sid DiMaggio will serve as a coordinator of multi-media and events.  DiMaggio has been involved in many things Speedbowl over the last few years, including compiling the track's statistical history, coordinating the Little League Night event, reviving the Most Popular Driver Award and publishing the track program.  He is also currently co-producing a documentary of this past season's Finale event.  In addition, DiMaggio will now be involved in more interactive ideas with both the competitors and fans as well as contribute to the track's website.

The partners expect to name additional Directors over the coming weeks.

The event on December 1st will combine the tracks annual toy drive with an informational meeting about all aspects of the upcoming season.  2009 driver and car number registration forms will be available.  Rules meetings and details about the Awards Banquet will also be announced that night.  "We want the race teams, fans, media - everyone - to know the Speedbowl is moving forward without delay towards a successful 2009 season" emphasized Eames.

The meeting is open to all and attendees are encouraged to bring an un-wrapped holiday present to be donated to area needy children through the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.







There is a full slate of racing set for Stafford in 2009.  (Ken Spring Photo)