51's Modified Madness Presented by Advance Auto Parts
News From The Ground Pounders - Dirt, Asphalt, North and South
Compiled from Series, Team and Track PR Reports
TVMRS: True Value Modified Championship Comes Down To Lee Finale

Last October, three drivers headed into Lee USA Speedway, in Lee, NH., battling for the True Value Modified Racing Series championship. Three-time champion Kirk Alexander, eventual series champ Chris Pasteryak, and veteran Mike Holdridge, sat atop the standings. This weekend, its three new faces in search of the series title, Jonathan McKennedy, Rob Goodenough, and Stephen Masse.

The 3/8 mile seacoast facility will once again host the championship race. Last year Twin State Speedway, Claremont, NH., held that honor. This year, the 15 race schedule will conclude at Lee and track manager Bob Watson couldn't be happier.

Said Watson, “We are delighted to have the last race and the championship being decided
again at Lee, Like the 2006 Oktoberfest race between Dwight Jarvis and Jimmy Kuhn, this points race is going down to the last day here and it just adds to the excitement of our weekend. A new driver will become a champion for that series and he will always remember it happened here at Lee,” he concluded.

This weekend, the Lee oval plays host to its 24th annual “Oktoberfest,” a 14 race program that will kick off on Friday afternoon with an open practice session, but the TVMRS will
not see action until Saturday afternoon, for practice and qualifying, with the running of the “Oktoberfest 100” season finale on Sunday.

McKennedy, of East Chelmsford, MA., once a weekly competitor in the small block supermodified class at Lee, holds a slim 13 point lead over Goodenough, W.Swanzey,NH., going into the season finale. Masse, of Bellingham, MA., moved back into third, 22 points behind McKennedy, following the Twin State race two weeks ago. Masse held the point lead earlier this season after scoring his first series win at Thunder Road Speedbowl, Barre, VT.

Former winners of the Oktoberfest race include Jimmy Dolan, Bethel, CT., in 2005, Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, CT., in 2006, Andy Seuss, Hampstead, NH., in 2007 and McKennedy, last October.

A total of 70 drivers have received points for the 2009 season.

Wall: Evernham To Return to Mod Racing This Weekend

He began his multifaceted and nationally successful career at Wall Stadium, won his Modern Stock race and driving title here, ran his first Modified stock car race on the third mile oval and won the first ever Modified race on the new pavement on Opening Night 1991. Now Ray Evernham, who went on to become a championship NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chief and later to become a Sprint Cup team owner, will return to Wall Stadium this Saturday (October 24), to run his last ever Modified stock car race in the “Tommy Comerford Memorial.”

“I spoke with Ray by telephone this morning (October 17) and that was a real thrill,” promoter Jim Morton said. “Ray is really excited about returning to Wall Stadium to race in his last Modified event. We chatted about all his racing successes here at Wall and he is really looking forward to returning to the place where he got his career started.”

Evernham, a seven-time Wall Stadium Modified winner and the 1977 Modern Stock champion, will have top flight equipment at his command as he will be at the wheel of the Blewett Motorsports No. 1 tour type Modified.

The “Tommy Comerford Memorial” will feature two 66-lap main events for tour type Modified stock cars offering each winner a cool $6,600 payday. A total purse of $40,000 is up for grabs at present and that could climb as the event approaches. At present, over 30 tour type Modified entries have been received.

Also on the day’s agenda will be twin main events for the Calabreeze Pools Sportsman cars, the Street Stocks and the Flanagan Retail Development Factory Stocks. The I.N.E.X. Legend Cars are slated for a 25-lap main event.

Morton recently released the busy schedule for October 24. Pit area gates will open at 9:30 a.m. and practice will begin at 10:30 a.m. and run until 1:30 p.m. The grandstands will open at 11:00 a.m. to the general public, while fans that purchased during the September 26 presale will have the opportunity to enter the grandstands at 10:30 a.m.

The first events on the agenda will be the three rain postponed races from September 26. Those events, 25-lappers for the Sportsman and Street Stocks and a 20-lapper for the Factory Stocks, will begin promptly at 1:45 p.m. Next up, at approximately 2:30 p.m., will be qualifying for the day’s originally scheduled events.

Then, at 3:45 p.m., the first of a pair of tour type Modified 66-lap features will be contested before the Legend Cars, Sportsman and Street Stock racers return in 25-lap features. The tour type Modifieds will then run their second 66-lapper of the day before the Factory Stocks wrap up the action in a 20-lapper.

Morton also said that competitors planning to compete in October 24 “Tommy Comerford Memorial” events are eligible to participate in a paid practice session on Friday, October 23, starting at 3:00 p.m. Morton said that the practice session will continue into the evening so that competitors can get ample testing time.

Wall Stadium is located on Route 34 in Wall Township, N.J., just one mile north of Garden State Parkway exit 98 and Interstate 195 exit 35B. The speedway office is open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Information and Modified entry forms are available by calling 732-681-6400 and at www.wallspeedway.com.

DIRT: Clair Cops BOS Fall Nationals, 1st Mr. DIRT 358-Mod Crown To Planck

Sunday was a day of firsts on the DIRTcar Racing Northeast circuit as Dale Planck clinched his first-ever Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship following the inaugural DIRTcar Northeast Fall Nationals staged over the weekend at Brockville Ontario Speedway.

And in a fitting ending when the first time an overall Mr. DIRTcar champion was crowned on Canadian soil, Frenchman Mario Clair scored a victory in the 100-lap Small-Block finale to collect $4,000 for his initial tour triumph north of the border.

“Beating someone of Dale’s caliber is truly a great honor,” was Clair’s translation in victory lane made by Canadian Series Director Brian Mulligan following the St-Edmond, Quebec driver’s second career win on tour. A weekly runner at autodromes Granby and Drummond during the summer, 2007 Mr. DIRTcar titlist Clair scored his first series win in 2008 at Mohawk Int’l Raceway.

“We’ve been running so many tracks the last few years trying to improve. This is certainly a big win for us with such good drivers in competition. I like coming here and hopefully I can continue to do well following this exciting series,” Clair continued through an interpreter.

Overtaking race-long leader Clair just shy of the halfway mark before giving back the point 30 laps later, Planck held off Clair’s teammate David Hebert for the runner-up spot while the Canadian contingent of Pat O’Brien (Ontario) and Yan Bussiere (Quebec) filled out front-five positions in the Brockville season-finale.

With time trials and qualifying heat races run off the day before, a draw for the top-12 starting positions was held minutes before the first green flag dropped to begin the 100-lap 358-Modified main. Clair was the last man in line finishing third in the fourth heat and waiting for him was the #2 as he joined the youngest of three racing brothers, Tim O’Brien, on the front row to head the 32-car field.

Clair was up to the task from lap one, putting his Resist O no. 22 Batiments JDL-Motel Drummond/Bicknell mount far ahead in the early stages while a shift in second-place status carried through during the first half of the race. Fourth starting Stewart Friesen held down second before Planck used the low lane to take over on lap 21 and set his sights on the French favorite who was successfully navigating the high line around Brockville’s smooth 3/8-miler.

With six caution periods all for minor spins slowing the pace during the first third of the race, Planck kept the RezX Racing no. 77x Grow It Hydroseeding/TEO entry glued to the inside groove waiting patiently for his chance to overtake Clair. That opportunity finally arrived as the veteran open-wheel pilot from Cortland, N.Y. ducked low out of turn four to forge his first lead on lap 48.

At the halfway point Clair remained a solid second followed by Pat O’Brien, Bussiere and Hebert, while Tim O’Brien, Friesen, Planck’s closest contender in points Pete Bicknell, rookie Jeremy Wilder and Pierre Dagenais rounded out the top-10. Two-thirds of the way through, 13 cars remained on the lead lap with fellow Frenchmen Martin Gagne and Clement Therrien, along with popular Port Colborne, Ont. driver Larry Lampman Jr. able to keep the leaders in sight.

The yellow lights flashed for the 12th and final time on lap 74 when Dagenais looped his no. 124 Bicknell machine in turn three to tighten the field for the last restart. And that’s all that Clair needed as he blasted by as soon as the green flag reappeared and only needed to navigate lapped cars as the remaining laps clicked off.

And late race traffic was just what Planck was banking on to provide a final chance to pick up his first series win of the season. With just three laps to go, Clair closed in the quartet of Kyle Dingwall, Bobby Herrington, Dagenais and Therrien as Planck put himself in prime position to take advantage of any sudden miscue. Yet that opening never materialized and Clair actually crossed the finish line pushing Therrien under the checkers as Planck trailed by .25-second at the stripe.

“The fact that David finished third in my other car makes this even more special,” smiled Clair, who celebrated his 37th birthday in victory lane at Brockville after his first career victory at the ‘City of the 1000 Islands’ oval that closed out its own 40th Anniversary season of racing. “After Syracuse I heard he was all done for the season so I gave him my back-up. I only warned him not to pass me, that was good for me today.”

Planck settled for the runner-up position for the fourth time this season in 11 series stops, adding in eight more top-10 finishes to put him on top in the final Hoosier-VP Mr. DIRTcar point standings.

“Mario had a helluva run on the outside, I was just waiting for someone to go up top,” remarked Planck, 39, a winner of six 358-Modified features at Brockville, all in 2000. “I played it kind of safe down there on the bottom most of the way. Just wanted to finish this race in one piece so second is all good.”

“Mario is always fast so I can’t really ask for much more. The track was in great shape , good on the top, bottom and in the middle, so we got to put on a heckuva race. This is a great way to cap off a season, especially here in Canada,” Planck said.

Added Herbert after posting his third top-five finish in just five series events, “I wish I had a few more laps to get a little closer to Dale at the end. Mario gave me a great car, I think I could’ve done better with more time out there.”

Following Dale Planck (1262) in the final 2009 Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Championship point standings are Pete Bicknell (1180), Larry Lampman Jr. (1143), Danny O’Brien (1118), Mario Clair (1042), Carey Terrance (1028), Chad Brachmann (1023), Jeremy Wilder (983), Mat Williamson (938) and Lance Willix II (930).

Mahoning Modified 100 Poker Series to be Decided October 31

It’s time to show your hand at Mahoning Valley Speedway.

The fifth and final race in the Modified 100 Poker Series at Doug and Gena Hoffman’s Mahoning Valley Speedway is set for Saturday afternoon, October 31 beginning at 2:00 p.m. and not only will there be a first place prize of $3000 to win the 100-lap feature, it will also be the deciding event in the Series where three drivers will divvy up the $5000 ante.

Thanks to his most recent victory in the Modified 100 Poker Series, former Mahoning champ Eric Beers holds the best poker hand with a pair of Aces. Next are Chip Santee with a pair of 10’s and James Pritcard, Jr., with a pair of 8’s.

The driver with the best poker hand will receive $2500 with $1500 for second and $1000 for third.

Other drivers with possible winning hands include Brian DeFebo, Earl Paules, Matt Hirschman, John Bennett, Don Wagner and Lonnie Behler.

In order to be eligible for the jackpot a driver must have attended all five Poker Series races.

With no other asphalt tracks throughout the tri-state area running that day it is expected that a stellar field will be on hand for the 2009 season finale.

Also on the card will be a $1000 to win 100-lap Street Stock feature. Before that takes place, however, there will be a 25-lap make-up race from July 25 which will be the deciding outcome of this year’s class champion.

Heading into that Street Stock point climax, Shawn Sitarchyk and Randy Ahner, Jr., are tied while TJ Gursky is a mere 18 markers behind.

Both classes will run time trials in setting the grids for their respective 100 lappers.

Keeping in mind that night is Halloween, the track is planning special treats for the kids that day and after the races are over they are invited to bring their treat bags into the pits and meet the drivers.

Mahoning Valley Speedway is conveniently located just west of Lehighton on PA Route 443. For additional updates and information log onto www.mahoningspeedway.com or call the track office at 570-386-4900.

DIRT: Merrittville Inks 2010 Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified Date

Although the Big-Block engines have quieted down after seven months of high speed activity around the Northeast, wheels continue to spin at World Racing Group headquarters as the ground work is laid for the 2010 Super DIRTcar Series for Big-Block Modifieds.

Solidifying its stature as one of the premier events on the summer series schedule, Merrittville Speedway returns to the forefront with the newly named Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial that is slated for Monday, August 2.

“It has been know as the Trevor Wilkens Memorial for the past 17 years, and that being Trevor’s car number, the family thought this would be the best time to turn over the title,” remarked Merrittville General Manager Erica Bicknell. “Now we’re looking forward to the 1st St. Amand Memorial event, although the Wilkens name will always have a special place in our track heritage.”

Ranking among the biggest events on the annual schedule at the popular Thorold, Ontario oval, 10 Big-Block tour events have been staged since 1981 with ‘Super Matt’ Sheppard dominating the 100-lapper held in August. The inaugural Wilkens Memorial was christened in 1993 and was part of the Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Championship trail through 2005.

“The Big-Block tour stop is definitely the race most people call to inquire about,” said Bicknell, who’s father Pete Bicknell extended his Civic Holiday celebration at Merrittville with a Big-Block win in 1989 and repeated in the 2002 Small-Block showdown. “It’s certainly fitting to have the St. Amand name attached as Aug. 3 was Bob’s last race at the track before he passed away (Aug. 11) and his son Bobby remains our Race Director.”

A long-time pit steward at Merrittville, Bob St. Amand Sr. was the 1972 Modified points champion and a 2002 Inductee into the track’s prestigious Wall of Fame. Known to many as Bob Sr., he was involved in the sport of stock car racing since the age of 14, in 1958 getting his start in the former Jalopy division at 21.

Moving up the ranks, St. Amand won the Hobby Stock points title at Ransomville (NY) Speedway in 1964 and followed up with 6-Cylinder Sportsman titles at Humberstone Speedway in 1965, then back-to-back in 1967 and ‘68. After changing to the familiar #30, Bob was named Rookie of the Year at Merrittville, Humberstone and Ransomville before winning Merrittville’s ’72 Modified crown.

While still racing at Ransomville, Bob became pit steward at Merrittville until retiring from driving altogether in 1976. He remained a co-owner and operator of the family business L. St. Amand Enterprises in St. Catharines, Ont. with his brother Pat and son Bob Jr., who has served as Merrittville’s Race Director since 1987, while daughter Colleen is involved in timing and scoring in both Stock Cars and Karts.

“The August show at Merrittville remains one of our staple events,” noted Western New York native Joe Skotnicki, the newly appointed DIRTcar Racing Northeast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning with close connections to the Niagara Frontier Region. “We’re excited to be going back, and having the St. Amand surname associated just adds to this great Canadian holiday tradition.”

WMT: Weather Moves World Series Back to This Weekend

Due to an ominous forecast that includes the possibility of rain and snow in the area throughout the weekend, NASCAR officials and Thompson International Speedway have decided to postpone the World Series of Speedway Racing presented by Xtra Mart, the season finale for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Events for the World Series were scheduled for this weekend, Oct. 16-18, with the Whelen Modified Tour’s 150-lap race slated for Sunday, Oct. 18. The event has now been pushed back one week to Oct. 23-25. The same schedule for the race weekend will remain in tact, with the Whelen Modified Tour to now race on Sunday, Oct. 25.

The 2009 season finale for the Whelen Modified Tour will feature the closest championship race in eight years as Donny Lia leads Ryan Preece by just 26 points. Lia will be contending for his second championship in the last three years while Preece will look for his first. Defending champion Ted Christopher is 109 points back in third place.

The Whelen Modified Tour will practice and qualify at Thompson on Saturday, Oct. 24 and the final green flag of the season is set to drop on Sunday, Oct. 25 at approximately 3:30 p.m.

DIRT: Super DIRT Week Gets Plenty of Exposure

With team owners, racers and their fans, sponsors and officials converging on the New  York State Fairgrounds last week for the 38th Annual Super DIRT Week on the  Syracuse Mile, in-depth coverage of DIRTcar Racing Northeast’s biggest event was  also experienced by hundreds of thousands more unable to attend this truly  international event. 

Chronicled by a week’s worth of headlines that flooded the Syracuse market on  television, radio and in daily newspapers, numerous other mediums locally, nationally  and globally with the advent of internet, were in full force bringing attention to the  biggest Modified race of the season held annually in Central New York.

While news hit the stands as well as the airwaves and cyberspace for six straight days -  --and nights--- those 125,000 spectators drawn to the Salt City’s most famous oval were  first-hand witnesses to the ‘Super Bowl’ of Big-Block Modified racing with three more  DIRTcar divisions in competition and four area short tracks hosting satellite events  throughout the week.

“With 255 cars and drivers signing up for Syracuse and hundreds more in companion  events scheduled at Cayuga County Fair Speedway, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park,  Brewerton Speedway and Can-Am Motorsports Park, Super DIRT Week is alive and  very well,” beamed World Racing Group President Tom Deery, as he addressed the  jammed Fairgrounds’ Infield Conference Center on Thursday of SDW XXXVIII for the customary ‘Media Day’ kick-off luncheon. “Coming back here on 10-10-10 (Oct. 10,  2010) will be just as significant as word gets out that we’re here to stay.”

Helping get the word out through the week were nearly 20 daily/weekly newspapers, 17  local/regional television and radio stations, eight racing magazines/tradepapers and a  dozen websites that make Super DIRT Week part of their annual fare. In all, well over  200 members of the media were actively participating during the week, again resulting  in one of the most highly publicized motorsports events anywhere in the nation.

Additionally, a collection of links to news footage as well as print and Web coverage can  be found on the World Racing Group fan page in Facebook, which attracted more than  500 individuals outlining their plans to attend Super DIRT Week in 2009. Activated in  August to supplement www.superdirtcarseries.com, www.superdirtweekonline.com combined to experience over 136,700 page views with surfers seeking information that  included daily race reports, complete and official race results, photo galleries and
history of past winners in 37 years of Modified racing at the at the Moody Mile in autumn. Over 200 users also signed up for Twitter and were able to obtain timely  information by following Super DIRT Week at http://twitter.com/SuperDIRTWeek. 

SK Lights: Rookie Gervais Wins Stafford SK Lights Championship

When it comes to rookie drivers in the realm of motorsports, there is normally a learning curve that a driver faces before encountering a level of success.  This was not the case for Michael Gervais, Jr. at Stafford Motor Speedway this season.  Gervais, who had never sat behind the wheel of an open wheeled modified prior to the 2009 season, made the move from legends cars to Stafford’s SK Light Modified division and
proceeded to drive straight to the 2009 track title.

“The championship wasn’t in our list of goals at the start of the year,” said Gervais.  “Our main goal was to keep the car clean, learn about the car and the track, and win Rookie of the Year.  This is all kind of a shock to win the championship.  We expected to have highs and lows like any rookie season, but we were strong right from the start, I was comfortable in the car, and we never changed how we raced all year long.”

Gervais’ 2009 season got off to a slow start with a seventh in the season opening Spring Sizzler event and a 21st place finish in the second event of the year, which left him in 15th position in the points standings, nearly 50 points out of the lead.  But four consecutive top-5 finishes slowly erased that deficit and Gervais found himself atop the points standings for the first time following a second place finish on June 19th.  And it was all downhill from that point to the end of the 2009 season.

“It wasn’t until about halfway through the season that we figured we had a shot at winning the championship,” said Gervais.  “We had a good position in the point standings, but we never let that get in our way of racing.  We figured that what we were doing every week was working for us, so we just kept on doing what we had been doing every week for the rest of the season and we figured whatever would happen would happen.  We didn’t points race until the last two races and then at the Fall Final we had nothing to lose, so we went all out for the win.  We definitely had a lot of luck on our side this year, we didn’t get caught up in any wrecks this year.”

Gervais is the second consecutive SK Light Modified driver to win the track championship at Stafford without winning a feature race, following Joe Allegro, Jr. last year.

“If we hadn’t won the championship then we would have been a little disappointed that we didn’t win a race this year, but I’d rather have the championship over winning a race any day,” said Gervais.  “I still don’t
think it has totally set in yet that we won the championship this year. There’s a lot of great drivers who have won championships at Stafford and it feels pretty good and its an honor to be a champion at Stafford.”

And just as Allegro did this year, Gervais is looking to make the move up the Stafford ladder to the SK Modified® division for the 2010 season.

“Our plan for this year was to get our feet wet in the SK Lights and go for Rookie of the Year and then make the move up to the SK Modifieds®,” said Gervais.  “Right now, we’re looking to do that for next season.”

For the season, Gervais posted 9 top-5 and 15 top-10 finishes in 16 starts to take the championship by a 72-point margin over Jay Goff.   Gervais will officially be crowned the 2009 SK Light Modified track champion at the 40th Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 20, 2009 at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor. For more information about the Champions Awards Ceremony, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or
visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

Dirt: DIRTcar Western Region finale for SLMs and Modifieds Nov. 20-21 at the Dirt Track at LVMS

A groundbreaking 2009 season for the DIRTcar Racing Western Region will close with a flourish on Nov. 20-21 at the half-mile Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. DIRTcar Super Late Model and Modified stars from the West Coast will invade Las Vegas for the inaugural Silver State DIRTcar Championships.

The two-day extravaganza of speed features a unique twist. The weekend’s main attraction will be “topless” racing for the DIRTcar Super Late Model division with a 50-lap, $5,000-to-win feature on Nov. 21. This event will mark the first time in the history of LVMS that Super Late Models will compete without their fiberglass roofs, allowing fans a clear view of the drivers wrestling their 800-horsepower machines.

“Las Vegas Motor Speedway is pleased to welcome the DIRTcar Late Models and Modifieds for the Silver State DIRTcar Championships,” said Chris Blair, LVMS’ vice president of racing operations. “We’re especially excited about the first-ever topless Late Model race at the Dirt Track. Late Models have produced some excellent shows here over the years – with four- and five-wide racing – and taking off the roofs is going to increase the level of excitement even more. We’re looking forward to working with DIRTcar Racing and Chris Morgan (DIRTcar Racing’s Western Region director) to make the Silver State DIRTcar Championships a great season-ending event.”

Morgan is thrilled to have LVMS serve as the site of a grand finale for racers in the DIRTcar Racing Western Region, which saw significant growth during the 2009 campaign. Super Late Model series under the DIRTcar banner this season included the Western Allstars, Northwest I-5 Late Model Tour and Southwest Dirt Racing Association (SWDRA). Both Super Late Model and Modified competitors had enjoyed national and regional recognition as part of the UMP DIRTcar Racing divisional programs.

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with Las Vegas Motor Speedway to offer the West Coast’s fans and race teams a major event to cap the 2009 season,” said Morgan. “The Silver State DIRTcar Championships represent a huge opportunity for our Western Region Late Model and Modified racers to perform at one of the country’s top dirt tracks and begin a new end-of-the-year tradition for DIRTcar Racing. We’re excited about building signature events for the West Coast’s fans and racers, and there’s no doubt that a weekend at LVMS has the potential to grow into a can’t-miss show on the DIRTcar Racing calendar.”

Two full nights of racing will comprise the Silver State DIRTcar Championships, beginning on Friday, Nov. 20, with complete preliminary programs for the DIRTcar Late Models and Modifieds. The top four finishers in both of Friday night’s feature events ($1,000-to-win for Late Models, $400-to-win for Modifieds) will transfer directly to Saturday night’s dashes, which will determine starting spots in the Championship A-Features.

Action on Saturday, Nov. 21, will include a slate of qualifying events leading up to the 50-lap Silver State DIRTcar Championship for the Super Late Models, which pays $500 to start, and the 40-lap, $2,500-to-win UMP DIRTcar Modified Western Shootout.

Super Late Model drivers representing all three of DIRTcar Racing’s western touring series plus some well-known national dirt Late Model names are expected to battle it out on the LVMS oval and a strong contingent of open-wheel Modified racers will invade the speedway to contest the division’s first-ever UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned event at LVMS.

Several drivers likely will pull double-duty and enter both the Super Late Model and Modified events, including Western Allstars DIRTcar Late Model Series points leader Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas, Calif. The 32-year-old standout has been entering dirt Late Model and Modified specials at LVMS for a decade and is anxious to end his successful season with a trip to the well-known facility.

“It’s definitely a race track that can hold an event like no other,” said Hogge, who is looking for his first career victory at LVMS. “I’m looking forward to going there and having a chance to race with guys from the Northwest and Southwest (DIRTcar tours) and some guys from out east as well. It’s going to be a fun weekend.”

The weekend of racing, which also includes INEX Legends Cars and the LVMS Bomber division, offers a two-day Super Saver adult general-admission ticket for $29. Two-day passes for senior citizens and military personnel with ID are $24. Kids 6-12 are $9 and children 5 and under will be admitted free.

Single-day general-admission tickets are available for $19 (adults), $15 (senior citizens and military personnel) and $5 (kids 6-12).

Racing is scheduled to begin each evening at 7 p.m.

Superclean Modifieds: Phipps Wins Finale and Championship

The SuperClean Modified Racing Series officially closed out its 2009 season with a championship night held October 17th at the Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway in Blythe-California. This series is well known for its hard charging, door to door, open wheel racing with very few on track incidents. Somehow that fell apart on this night in Blythe. There were a whopping nine yellow caution flags and four red flags. At one point series co promoters Greg Scheidecker and Bill Rozhon were actually seen examining the Blythe skyline checking for the presence of an unscheduled full moon.

There was drama long before the green flag fell on the series' 75 lap feature that night. There was a skin tight points battle for a rather lucrative points championship. Andrew Phipps came to town with a six point lead over James Cole and a 16 point lead over Chris Gerchman in third. It was a points race that was too close to call in a racing environment where literally anything could alter those points numbers without warning.

However Phipps came up with the right solution to the points race. In an effort to protect his points lead, he simply led the last 72 laps of the race for his third win of 2009 and his first championship worth $3,500 in post season cash bonuses and sponsor merchandise.

But this is not to imply that the new champion had an easy night of it. Far from it. This race was loaded with drama from Saturday afternoon qualifying all the way to the 75th lap of a wreck marred feature.
It all began Saturday afternoon with qualifying when 14 year old Austin Barnes made it very clear that his track time during the practice session held the night before paid off in a very big way. The Escondido-California driver toured the Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway's quarter mile paved oval in 14.617 seconds. But the pre race inversion ceremony turned up the number four. That put James Cole and Tim Morse on the front row of the 75 lap feature.

Prior to the start of the race, the field observed their recently established tradition of doing some parade laps while carrying small American flags. With patriotic music from the track's public address system, this really was an awesome sight and the fans in the packed grandstands stood and cheered loudly.

Unfortunately it would turn out to be the last positive thing that happened in this race prior to the crowning of a new champion.

Even starting this race was not going to be easy. Before the field could complete the first lap there was a caution flag due to a turn four spin out. That necessitated a complete restart. But once again the complete field failed to make a complete lap. This time the problem was a multi car crash on the frontstretch.
The third time was the charm and the SuperClean championship night was finally underway. James Cole jumped into the lead and paced the field for the first three circuits. After that Andrew Phipps made what would turn out to be the race winning move and took a lead that he never relinquished.

Throughout this race there were all those yellow flags with the causes running the gamut from single car spins to multi car crashes. Again, totally out of character for this series. There was even a yellow flag to remove a lapped car from the track because the driver refused to heed the move over flag and would not get out of the way of the leaders.

There was actually a very large reason for this unusually high level of intensity. The SuperClean Modified Racing Series awards post season bonuses to the top 15 drivers in the standings. Going into this final race the points spread among the top 15 were even closer than the championship contenders. For example there were three drivers tied for seventh with a fourth driver only eight points behind them. There were two drivers tied for 15th, the final post season bonus position with a driver in 17th only six points away from them. This was the final night for drivers to improve on their points status and the cash bonuses that came with that.

During the late stages of the race the yellow flags were being replaced by red ones bringing the field of cars to a complete stop. There were two reasons for this. First, it allowed the track safety crew to complete clean up duties unobstructed. Secondly, it prevented the element of fuel mileage from becoming a factor in this race. When the SuperClean Modified Racing Series promotes a 75 lap feature it means 75 laps of green flag racing. They do not count caution laps. But on this night there were so many caution laps there was a genuine concern by officials that some of the cars might actually run out of fuel before the race was over.
The final caution flag of the race came out on lap 69 and, once again, Phipps watched his lead over the field evaporate. By now 2008 champion Jimmy Dickerson was in second and a late race showdown for highly anticipated. But on that final restart the rear of Dickerson's modified wiggled to the right. It only took a fraction of a second to straighten out the situation but that's all the time Phipps needed to open up a three car length lead as he came across the start finish line.

Dickerson quickly closed that gap and did everything he could to steal the win on the final laps but Phipps wasn't going to have anything to do with that. Tim Morse, Doug Carpenter and James Cole followed them under the checkers to complete the top five.

After parking his Spartan Trucking-Ron's Rear Ends modified in the Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway's victory lane. It had been a long race. He was very tired but very happy.

After the race the very happy winner said "our goal was to come out here and win the race. We said from day one that we wanted to win races and the points will fall where they will. It's been a tough year. This series is so competitive and the guys here are really tough. The roll of the dice on the pre race invert and how that falls can be huge. There's so many guys driving at the same speed that sometimes it's really hard to pass them. I got lucky tonight and had a good starting spot. I was able to get into the lead and I took care of my tires while everyone else had to race their butts off to try and get to me. It worked out. I can't believe that we finally won one here at Blythe. It's a tough little track. I've just got to thank all of my guys who worked really hard. It was really a lot of fun."

This championship is sweet redemption for Phipps. This time last year he arrived in Blythe poised to take the title home. But a late in the race mechanical failure sent him home empty handed. Commenting on his reversal of fortune he said "I was sitting in the car thinking this is deja vu all over again. I was in the lead and it was about lap 20 and I was thinking man I hope this car doesn't break. Around lap five I came over the radio to ask if I had a problem with the right front tire because it didn't feel right. I think it was just in my head but I was afraid it was going to go away again. I was happy to be able to bring it home in one piece."
Commenting on the unusually high number of caution flags in the race the new champion said "I thought it was getting ridiculous at the end. It took about 15 minutes to run the final ten laps. It was getting frustrating. But this is a hard track. It destroys the tires. The cars don't drive that good when the tires are cooked. It's a tough situation. I was really hoping they would call the race around lap 65. I saw Dickerson coming like crazy there at the end and I thought man they need to end this race."

Despite having to settle for second Dickerson was all smiles after the race. "We were just hanging out," he said adding "our car was a little loose and all we could do was just pick them off one at a time. I want to congratulate Andrew Phipps and thank my sponsors: Arce Engines, Applied Decorative Concrete, the Brucker family for giving me the opportunity to drive the car, Competitive Metals and of course the crew who were just awesome tonight."

When asked for an opinion on the unusually high number of caution flags in the race Dickerson said "it's the end of the season, everyrone's hungry and wants to win one. They just weren't giving an inch out there. Tough night, everybody wants to win."

Burbank-California's Tim Morse had a solid third place finish in his #10 modified sponsored by Sunoco Fuel, CMJ Racing Inc, Ron's Rear Ends, Burbank Speed and Machine and Lee's Power Steering. "This was one great race. I felt like I was in the thick of things. At the beginning of the race the car just didn't feel right. It had no bite, it wouldn't turn right and it was really loose in the center of the corners. But with tonight being the wreck fest that it was, all of a sudden the car came back to me. I think it may have had something to do with the heat cycle in the tires. But it was a great night, I was in the thick of things and to get a third place out of this what a battle." Morse said.

Doug Carpenter made everyone smile with his fourth place finish a series personal best for him. "It was a really good run. We tried to run on old tires and backed it into the wall during the first two laps of practice so we didn't get much practice at all. We had to straighten up the back quarter panels, take the bumper off and basically repair it completely. It was a lot of work to do before we could get back out there," he said.
Carpenter made it point to thank his sponsors during the 2009 season which included: Ball Renegade, Pro Gear, crew chief Doug Kirstie who puts a lot of money into the car along with Napa Auto Parts.
Carpenter said it's been a long time since he's seen a series race with that many caution flags adding "It's never been this bad in years. It was pretty bad out there tonight."

James Cole described his night as a roller coaster ride after bringing his Mission Auto Parts-Swenson Racing-Screen Pro Graphics-Fly Navy modified to a fifth place finish. "We knew coming into this race that we had to do something a little bit special to be able to catch Andrew. He had a couple of points on us, we knew we had to take a baseball bat and take a big swing at it and hoped that it all turned out. So we got really aggressive from the time we rolled off the trailer. We had a really fast car but we struggled a little bit and just had some bad luck. We got sent to the back and then came back up. To finish fifth tonight with the car we had is just awesome. We still have a lot to learn and this car is still very new but we're learning every time we come out with it. All these people here who are involved in this team are the ones who really deserve the credit. We've improved so much over last year and I think we'll have something really strong for them in the future and have a chance to win every time. Andrew really deserves this. This is a tough group of guys to run with and he deserves this," the Texas based driver said.

Series co promoter Greg Scheidecker, after reflecting on the race, said "I really don't want to say I expected it but I just had a feeling. When you've got 17 positions that can change in the points, and did, then every body's fighting to move up one position and that's exactly what we saw tonight. This was probably one of the more difficult nights we had trying to put on our show. There was a lot of pushing, a lot of shoving and not a lot of patience."

The complexion of this race may likely implement a location change for next year according to Scheidecker who said "I was talking to (head tech inspector Allan Brown) Brownie and Bill, (Rozhon series co promoter), and we agree that Blythe is not your typical race track. This is a very tight bullring. Next year we do not want the championship race held at a place that doesn't allow that extra two inches where the Havasu 95 Speedway does. So next year we're going to finish our season at a race track that is probably more favorable for our type of racing. All in all my God what a night. There was even racing in the pits tonight I mean it was all over the place."

But Scheidecker was very happy for his new series champion and said "it really makes me feel good to see all of these competitors come over to congratulate him. That's what this is all about. The man has paid his dues. Last year he was leading in points and suffered a part failure. Then this year he comes back leading the points but this time he finished it off. The man earned it, he really put it to them."

Scheidecker was also happy to see his good friend Doug Carpenter have such a good run and said "Doug's last race was really terrible. I was talking to him tonight before the main event and said every time you have a bad run the next race is a good run. Just go do it and he did. He started somewhere around 18th I think and finished fourth. That's a drive to the front and the man should be congratulated."

Three weeks ago head tech inspector Allan Brown said that his crew would be taking a stronger look at the cars prior to the championship race.

"The tech process went really good tonight," Brown said adding "we did check the cars for unlocked rear ends and everyone of our cars didn't have one. They were locked up solid."
Commenting on the aggressive nature of the race itself Brown said "these guys, from first to 15th, were running for points and they were just running hard. You make a little mistake and with a split second blink of an eye cars start spinning and it becomes a mess."

Offering his assessment of the evening was series co promoter Bill Rozhon who said "I've got to congratulate Andrew Phipps. They unloaded and worked hard on their car last night as well as today. Andrew whipped them tonight. He had to endure a part failure that cost him the title last year but he won his championship tonight. I'm very proud of Andrew."

Commenting on the hard racing Rozhon said "the guys were just racing hard. The first impression might be that we had a horrible race but there was so much tight racing. This is the toughest race track that we race on. The guys just raced hard. There was a lot of stuff tonight and some tempers flared but it's understandable. They worked hard all year and a lot of their cars got tore up tonight. But I'm really proud of our guys. They really do get along with each other and they help each other and I feel like that's always going to be a part of our racing atmosphere. They're really a good group of people and I respect each and every one of them."

In addition to its title sponsor the SuperClean Modified Racing Series is supported by a highly potent marketing concept known as "Team Lucas." Team members include: Lucas Oil Products, E3 Spark Plugs, R&L Carriers, Dixie Chopper, General Tire and K&N Performance Filters.

There is also the strong support from the official series sponsors which includes SuperClean Products, Hoosier Tire West, Budweiser, Blue Water Resort and Casino, Sunoco Fuel, Frank's Radio, DJ Safety, Steve Teets of STR-Short Track Race Cars, Poly Dome Plastic Products, Racing Plus and Mac Tools. .

Ray Evernham  (NASCAR Photo)
Mario Clair in victory lane at Brockville Ontario Speedway.  (DIRT Photo)
Andrew Pipps in victory lane.  (SC Mod Photo)
A new champion will be crowned in True Value Modifieds this weekend - Jon McKennedy (Top) and Stephen Masse (Bottom) are two of the hopefuls.  (Jim Dupont Photos)