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
True Value Modified Racing Series: Monadnock Opener Straight Ahead

Hard to believe that five years have already gone by since series founder Jack Bateman rolled into Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, NH; with race teams in tow for the debut of his True Value Modified Racing Series. The Canaan, NH racer will again lead his New England based touring division back to the famed quarter mile speedway as the TVMRS  kicks off it’s sixth season Saturday night April 25, with the traditional running of the “Bond Auto Parts Spring Dash 100.”

The season opener always brings lots of new cars, new drivers, new challenges, and lots of optimism. They’ll be plenty of that for the 2009 season. Bateman has scheduled 16 races at speedways throughout New England.

The Monadnock lid-lifter always draws well and interest in the season opener is high. Expected entries include three-time champion, Kirk Alexander, W.Swanzey, NH; with the most series wins (31) to his credit. Alexander has 14 victories at his “home track” and has to be considered an early favorite. Windsor Locks, CT; veteran Les Hinckley, with 3 career Monadnock wins, and 2006 champion Dwight Jarvis, Ascutney, VT; with two series wins there, always run well at Monadnock..

Throw into the mix W.Swanzey veteran Rob Goodenough, whose first modified win came at Monadnock, and Todd Patnode, returning to the tour after a year layoff, and it will make for a crowd pleaser. Will it be a “homie” or an outsider in victory lane?

Mike Douglas Jr, Auburn, NH; 2008 Rookie Of The Year Kenny White, Weare,NH; Ed Dachenhausen, Danbury, CT; former Monadnock winner, Sean Bodreau, Claremont, NH; veteran Jimmy Kuhn, W.Bridgewater, MA; Rowan Pennink, Huntington Valley, PA; and 2008 Most Improved driver Shelly Perry, Westerly, RI; are all expected entries.

24 cars will start the main event with starting positions determined by qualifying heats.

Heat races begin at 6 PM. Monadnock Speedway is located on Rte 10, Winchester, NH

DIRT: Super DIRTcar Series Headed to Big Diamond Raceway

Big Diamond Raceway (BDR) in Minersville is known for drawing great crowds and strong car counts on a weekly basis for a regular Friday night show. When the national touring big block modifieds of the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series invades the 3/8-mile oval on Sunday, April 26, much of the same and then some can be expected for this high profile event.

Two previous Super DIRTcar races drew a packed house which is the norm wherever the series competes. In 2003 and 2004 the tour came to the track under the direction of Bob Miller, a widely known promoter best identified for his Thunder on the Hill Series at Grandview Speedway. Those two shows, won by Alan Johnson and Brett Hearn respectively, were a huge success.

Originated in 1980, the Super DIRTcar Series is sanctioned by the World Racing Group and headquartered in Concord, NC. Along with the modifieds World Racing Group also oversees the World of Outlaws Sprint and Late Model Series, UMP modifieds and also handles the promotion of several New York state dirt tracks. Super DIRTcar is based in Syracuse, NY.

Since their last visit BDR has changed hands and is now run by co-promoters Buddy Biever, Barry Bashore and Dave Dissinger. That trio has made vast improvements in all facets of the grounds which those affiliated with the tour will find very appealing from five years ago.

“We’ve been there before when Bob Miller promoted the show for us prior to this. In this case I spent a lot of time with Chris Budihas (PR) and I’ve also known Buddy Biever for a long time. It was about a year ago and I was at the track and telling Chris how well they made it look and looking at the numbers they were getting, crowd and team wise, they were obviously doing something right,” said Cory Reed the Northeast Competition Director.

“We had discussed it about a year ago and it was just tabled with the thought of maybe someday we can do something. I felt that a working relationship with them was going to be good so we sort of opened the door for us to having a tour show.”

What really will be adding to the hype of this $6000 to win 75-lap feature is that it will be the first Super DIRTcar race of the season. Last month’s scheduled opener at Hagerstown Speedway was rained out which bumped BDR to the top of the list.

“Now with the Hagerstown rainout this will actually be the first race of the 2009 Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar point series. They’re making out because of the unfortunate circumstance of Hagerstown so that’s the good for them,” said Reed.

The tour competes mostly throughout New York with a few stops in Canada. For fans of big-block dirt modified racing this will be the only chance to see them in Pennsylvania with the exception of a late season show at Lernerville Speedway in western PA.

“Our goal is to bring key shows to key markets. A hotbed of modified racing deserves something like this. This will be the only time that we are south of the New York line this year other than Lernerville at the end of the year so that should also make this a pretty popular show. We always strive to go to facilities that are the upper echelon,” said Reed.

The $6000 BDR top prize will be a great payday as well. All World Racing Group touring races award very respectable payouts. The tour also has a rewarding payout at the end of the season for those drivers who will be chasing points as they crown an overall champion.

“We try to provide enough high dollar shows. We have a $20,000 to win race at Weedsport, New York, a $17,000 to win at Lebanon Valley and Syracuse of course is $50,000. So we try to mix our purses with some really high dollar shows and we’re trying hard to keep all those going and make them as strong as we can,” said Reed.

The Syracuse race is the marquee event each year. Held on the 1-mile state fairgrounds track in October, it’s a 200-lap feature that brings together the best of the best in dirt modified racing. The winner at BDR will have a guaranteed starting spot for Syracuse.

The race at BDR is set to begin at 5:15pm with time trials and heats set for 6:30pm. If need be a Monday rain date will be used.

Along with the stars of Super DIRTcar look for a strong contingent of local racers as well who will attempt to make the 30-car starting grid.

The World Racing Group’s World of Outlaw late models will make a return visit to BDR on June 24. Their debut last season was another in big hit in what continues to be a string of crowd pleasing races that continues to make the track flourish, even in during hard economic times.

WMT: TC Is Ready For The Spring Sizzler

As the green flag drops on the 38th Annual Tech-Net Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway, Ted Christopher will be looking to add his name into another spot in the SMS record books.  Christopher won
his 4th career Spring Sizzler last April, a feat that tied him with Mike Stefanik for the most career Sizzler victories.

Christopher will certainly have momentum on his side when he arrives at Stafford.  Christopher won the first Whelen Modified Tour event of the 2009 season, and he has a grand total of 9 wins in 15 races that he has run thusfar during the 2009 season in a wide variety of cars, ranging from Indoor TQ Midget cars to Whelen Modified Tour cars.

“It’s been a good start to the year so far,” said Christopher.  “I always look forward to the Sizzler.  That is a race that I’ve always run well in with both the SK car and the Tour car.  But for me, it’s just another race.
What you did last week or last month is in the past, and you have to focus on the current race.”

The 200-lap Tech-Net Spring Sizzler is the second longest race on the 2009 Whelen Modified Tour schedule and requires a different approach to car setup than the usual 150-lap race distance at Stafford.  Christopher has over 100 career wins at the Connecticut half-mile, which he says gives him a slight advantage over the competition.

“You always do things a little different than usual for the Sizzler,” said Christopher.  “Last year, we did something different, and I’m sure we’ll do something a little different this year.  I think I have a little advantage over some guys with all the laps I have around Stafford, but there are a lot of guys who know how to go fast around Stafford.  You really just have to see how the race goes and make adjustments, you know what they always say about the best laid plans going to waste.  Brad LaFontaine, my crew chief, is real good at making adjustments.  I think we showed that at Thompson, so we will be ready for them at Stafford.”

The 2009 Tech-Net Spring Sizzler gets underway Friday, April 24 with a practice session for Stafford’s weekly divisions.  The practice session will be open to the public at no charge.  The paddock area opens to Stafford’s weekly teams at 9:00am with practice running from 12 noon to 7:00pm.

Action continues on Saturday, April 25 with spectator gates opening at 10:00am.  Racing begins at 1:30pm with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour cars.  Following time trials will be heat and
consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions, with feature events for Stafford’s SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions wrapping up the day’s events.  The SK Light and Limited Late Model feature events will each be 20-laps while the DARE Stock feature will be 15-laps.

The Sizzler continues on Sunday, April 26 with spectator gates opening at 10:00am.  Stafford’s famous CARQUEST Belts & Hose Pit Party will run from 11:00am to 12 noon with feature racing beginning at 1:00pm.  Stafford’s SK Modifieds® will take to the track first for a 40-lap feature event.  The Whelen Modified Tour 200-lap Tech-Net Spring Sizzler will take the green at approximately 2:30pm, and Stafford’s Late Models will conclude the weekend with a 30-lap feature event.

Wall Stadium: Jimmy Blewett Thundered By The Field

Jimmy Blewett of Howell pocketed $2,500 Saturday night by winning the “Thunder at the Shore” 100 lap main event for Red Bank Sleep Shoppe Modified stock cars at Wall Stadium. Although Blewett led the 24 car field through most of the 100 laps around the third mile paved oval, he endured challenges from several drivers plus an ill-handling race car.

"The car was great early in the race, but then something happened," Blewett said. "Something broke in the rear suspension and that slowed us up. I felt the pressure from the cars behind me all the way to the end of the race."

Tim Arre of Toms River, one of those who haunted Blewett earlier, slipped into second in the closing laps, while Adam LaCicero of Lavallette, who challenged Blewett heavily late in the race, finished third. Dave Michael of Manahawkin and rookie Billy Cole of Farmingdale completed the top five.

The next event on the schedule is set for May 9 when the Tour Type Modifieds compete in a 100-lap main event. Sportsman, Street Stock, Legend Cars, Factory Stock racers will also be on the card.

SK Lights: Erica Santos Makes Stafford Plans

Erica Santos, who won her first career NEMA Midget feature at Stafford during CARQUEST Extreme Tuesday in 2007, will move into the SK Light Modified division and pilot Vern Porter's #21 during the 2009
season.  Santos' Stafford schedule will include the majority of the 2009 calendar, with the exception of two conflicting dates with the NEMA schedule, June 26th and July 31st.

Last season, John Walmsley posted 5 top-5 and 11 top-10 finishes driving Porter’s #21 car.  When the seat opened up in the off-season, Porter had one driver in mind that he wanted to fill the seat.

“Erica is a great driver and I told her that the ride was her’s if she wanted it,” said Porter.  “She has a couple conflicts with her NEMA schedule, so we will miss a couple races, but we’re looking to have fun and
better our performance from last year.  Joey Allegro proved that you didn’t have to win a race to have a good season.”

“Vern has known my family for a long time and we had talked a lot last season in the paddock area,” said Santos.  “When the ride became available, he asked me if I would like to drive the car.  It’s really tough to say no to someone when they are offering you a ride in their car.  I’m definitely excited about racing at Stafford this year, it’s one of my favorite tracks to race at.”

In three career NEMA Midget starts at Stafford, Santos boasts a stellar record with a fifth and sixth place finish to go along with her victory in 2007.  With the SK Light car both heavier and slower than her NEMA Midget car, Santos expects to face a challenge, but she expects to run well while
overcoming those challenges.

“The SK Light is a lot heavier car and little bit slower than what I’m used to with the midget, so it will be a challenge for me,” said Santos.  “I’m definitely going to have to learn how to keep the car wound up and not lose too much momentum.  I’ve always run well at Stafford in the midget, so I think knowing that plus I have experience at Stafford will definitely help out my confidence the first couple races.  I’m a pretty competitive person and I plan on racing up front and hopefully winning a race or two.  Since I’m not going to be running all of the races, I just want to be consistent with my performance and not wreck the car.”

Santos will take her first crack at navigating the Stafford half-mile layout in a modified when the track hosts open practice on Saturday, April 18th in preparation for the 38th Annual Tech-Net Spring Sizzler, scheduled for April 24th through April 26th.

TC To Invade Bowman Gray?

Records show that an outsider hasn't invaded the weekly ranks of Modified racing at Bowman Gray Stadium and won since Jerry Cook did so in May of 1980. Word around the pit area at Lanier National Speedway is that "TC" Ted Christopher is close to a deal to run an event at the legendary Carolina bull-ring. No word yet as to what car it would be in. TC admitted it is something he has always wanted to do.

Bowman-Gray: Budget Pricing at the Stadium

In these bleak economic times, families are looking for ways to stretch their dollars even further. Bowman Gray Stadium Racing hopes to help in this endeavor by once again bringing a season packed full of racing action – and all at budget-friendly prices.
In fact, ticket prices for races at Bowman Gray Stadium have not gone up in almost 15 years. “We’ve worked hard to keep our adult ticket prices the same for so long,” said Gray Garrison, promoter of Bowman Gray Stadium.
Adult tickets are $10, children’s tickets $1, and children under 6 are admitted for free. Parking at Bowman Gray Stadium is also free.
The Stadium boasts six “Ladies’ Nights” for the 2009 season. On these nights, all females are admitted for only $1, no escort required. “It’s hard to find a better deal,” said Garrison. “Where else can a family go and have a night of entertainment for those prices?” said Garrison.
“Money is especially tight for families now,” said Garrison. “We think we help them out by giving them exciting family entertainment right in their backyard for reasonable prices,” said Garrison. “I think our crowds speak for themselves. People come out because we’re economical, we’re local, and we’re always exciting,” said Garrison.
And the year will certainly prove to be exciting as many of the same fan attractions from previous years will be returning to the Stadium again this season. Four divisions of racing will compete each Saturday night with the new Double-File “Choice” Restart Rule being put into place for most of the long-distance races this season for the Modified and the Sportsman Divisions.
The annual East Coast Wings & Grill “Night of Destruction” on July 18 will feature a monster-truck car-crushing exhibition. Additionally, the Grave Digger Monster Truck will be making an appearance for the Advance Auto Parts weekend on July 31 and August 1. The Advance Auto Parts weekend will also include two nights of racing, culminating in the Advance Auto Parts 199 for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
Race fans will look forward to the four scheduled Demolition Derbies as well as the four scheduled Chain Races. Cheerwine Night on June 27 will give fans a chance to get $2 off admission with a Savage Energy Drink Bottle Cap – as well as the chance to see a jump by the Special Forces Parachute Team.
The season starts off with a bang this Saturday – with the Tucson 200. Qualifying for the season-opener will occur on Friday with the Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock Divisions competing on Saturday. Ticket gates open at 6:00 PM for practice, and the first race is at 8:00 PM. For more information, call (336) 723-1819 or visit www.bowmangrayracing.com.

Airborne: Repaving Begins In Prepration for Battle of Plattsburgh

The reconfiguration and repaving of the turns at both ends of Airborne Speedway has begun. The new surface will have progressively-banked corners designed to increase competitive side-by-side (multiple grooves) racing.

The redesign of the half-mile track is the latest and biggest preparation for Airborne’s 56th season opener Saturday, May 2. The Econo Lodge 50 for DIRTcar Modifieds headlines the opening day event, which is presented by Valcour Imaging. Airborne’s 2009 renovation project includes new safety fencing along the front stretch and a new lighting system.

Currently, the existing pavement is being removed. The material will be recycled and reconstituted and applied over the redesigned base before the final racing layer is put down. The present layout has been in use since 1990. Airborne Speedway had been a 5/8-mile track with both dirt and asphalt surfaces since 1954.

Airborne hosts the 33rd American Canadian Tour (ACT) Furniture World of VT Spring Green 100 Saturday, May 9. The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series “Battle of Plattsburgh” 100, a points race for touring big-block DIRTcar Modifieds, is set for Saturday, June 7th.

hursday Night Thompson Thunder (TNTT), the extremely popular Thursday night racing series, is next on the Thompson racing schedule. The May through September weekly events feature the NASCAR Whelen All American Series “Super 6” racing divisions in a fun filled, fast paced night of racing excitement. Typically attracting more than 150 race teams, The TNTT weekly series begins on May 21st.

The driver’s roster for Thompson’s premier division, the Sunoco Modifieds, looks like a who’s who list of New England open wheel racers. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champ, Ted Christopher will be returning to weekly competition at Thompson and will try to unseat the 2008 title holder, Kerry Malone. The track’s Super Late Models, Thompson Modifieds, Late Models, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks also draw the very best drivers in their respective divisions.

Thompson: Thursday Night Racing is Up Ahead

Thompson International Speedway works hard to be sure that a Thursday night race program is a great destination for family fun. Admission prices are more than reasonable, parking is free and the food is great. Qualifying races begin at 6 PM and the final race is over by 9:30 PM.

“We strive to present a family program and keep family schedules in mind each and every week. All of our competitors and officials know how important it is to keep the show moving so that we can give our fans a full night of exciting races and still be sure that they can be headed home early,” said track owner, Don Hoenig.

The Thursday night schedule is packed with special events. Extra distance races for the “Super 6”, a special 75-lap event for the True Value Modified series, a visit from the mighty midgets of NEMA and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour are all included in the 2009 Thursday night line up.

Thompson International Speedway also offers a season-long opportunity for race teams to gain additional exposure for their sponsors. Companies supporting weekly racers are being offered free display space on huge Thompson midway. Details on this program are available on the track’s web page at www.thompsonspeedway.com  Competitors are urged to work with the track and their sponsors to secure a date for their display.

In addition to the Thursday night schedule, the annual Memorial Day weekend Eve of Destruction will return on Sunday, May 24th. The Demolition Derby part of the holiday weekend extravaganza is always a big hit and rules for that event are available on the track’s web site or may be obtained by calling the speedway office at 860-923-2280.

The True Value Modifieds are headed to Monadnock to start another season.   (Jim Dupont Photo)
Can Pat Ward continue his hot streak in DIRT Modifeds?  (Gypsum Motorsports Photo)
Ted Christopher won the recent WMT opener at Thompson....can he double up with a victory at Stafford too?   (Rick Ibsen Photo)
Erica Santos (Left) is going to be busy at Stafford this season.  (Jamie WIlliams Photo)