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
DIRT: Cozze is Latest Entry For Airborne Asphalt Show

Frank Cozze of Wind Gap, PA, who earned $50,000 when he won the Rite-Aid 200 at Syracuse Fairgrounds last October, has entered the Super DIRT Modified Series “Battle of Plattsburgh” 100 at Airborne Speedway.

Northline Utilities and Hynes Electric present the “Battle of Plattsburgh” 100 Sunday, June 7 at 6 p.m. The event has a posted purse of $30,000 and pays $6,000-to-win.

“I know that Mike Perrotte and Steve Fuller have turned Airborne into a really good facility,” Cozze said. “They tell me this will be the biggest race in Plattsburgh in years. Somebody’s going to win it and it might as well be me. I spent a long time chasing that Syracuse win. It was almost a relief, just to say I finally got it done.”

Cozze will drive Airborne Modified champion Patrick Dupree’s team car – the Outback Steakhouse No. 24 prepared by Wes Moody and powered by an AC Performance engine.

“Experience is key and a lot of the Super DIRT Series drivers have been doing well at this for a long time, but we hardly ever race on pavement,” Cozze said. “You know the Airborne guys are going to be sitting there waiting for us.”

Among the invaders expected for the Battle of Plattsburgh are 2008 Mr. DIRT champion Billy Decker, six-time Mr. DIRT champion Brett Hearn, Jimmy Phelps, Allen Johnson, Dale Planck, Danny Johnson, Ryan Phelps, and Matt Sheppard.

Haun Welding presents a five-division race card this Saturday, May 30, beginning at 6 p.m. - over 130 cars expected.

SK Modifieds: Extra Distance Feature at Stafford Set For This Week

Stafford Speedway's SK Modified® division will participate in their first of two extra distance events during the 2009 season next Friday night, June 5th with the 36th Annual Coors Light SK Modified® 100.

Heading into the Coors Light SK Modified® 100, variety has been the theme of the 2009 SK Modified® season at SMS with 4 different winners in the first 4 events of the 2009 season. Richie Pallai, Jr., Jeff Malave, Keith Rocco, and Ted Christopher have all driven to CARQUEST Victory Lane this season.

The points chase is also tight, with the top-10 drivers separated by 46 points. Ted Christopher currently leads the points standings by 14 points over Jeff Malave.

Ted Christopher (2008), Woody Pitkat (2007), and Todd Owen (2006) have won the past three SK Modified® 100's, and Christopher leads all drivers with 4 career victories in the 100-lap extravaganza.

TVMRS: Twin State is Set for Friday Night Show

The True Value Modified Racing Series returns to action this Friday night June 5, when New England's premier modified touring division visits Twin State Speedway, Claremont, NH., for the running of the “Granite State Harley- Davidson 100.” The feature race will be a 100 lap green flag shootout for the popular ground pounding modifieds.

The event, sponsored by the Lebanon, NH., motorcycle dealership, is the first of two TVMRS events at Twin State this year and the fourth race on the series 15 race schedule for 2009.

Expected entries include many former weekly competitors that raced at Twin State prior to the start of the TVMRS over 5 years ago.

Former track regulars and series 2006 champion Dwight Jarvis, Ascutney, VT., series founder Jack Bateman, Canaan, NH., and former series winner Sean Bodreau, Claremont, are all expected entries. Three-time champion Kirk Alexander, W.Swanzey, NH,  and cross town rivals, Todd Patnode, and Rob Goodenough, also of W.Swanzey, are expected as is Peter Jarvis, Ascutney,

From around New England series regulars including current point leader and recent Thunder Road Speedbowl winner Steven Masse, Bellingham, MA., defending series champion, Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, CT., Mike Holdridge,Madison, CT., veteran drivers Ed Dachenhausen, Danbury, CT., Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, CT., rookies Bryon Baker, Claremont,  and Jacob Dore, Sanford, ME; and second year driver  Kevin Ianarelli,Maynard, MA., are expected.

Huntington Valley PA., driver Rowan Pennink is entered in a car owned and prepared by former Twin State driver/owner, Gary Casella. Jon McKennedy, E.Chelmsford, MA., is also expected to enter.

Last fall, the series competed at the Claremont race track for the first time with Pennsylvania hot shoe Matt Hirschman winning the first annual “Ricky Miller 100”

Gates to the famed speedway open at 5:00 PM with qualifying beginning at 7:00 PM.

Sunday, June 7, is the scheduled rain date. Twin State Speedway is located at 282 Thrasher Rd, Claremont, NH. For additional info log on to www.twinstatespeedway.net

Bowman Gray: Miller takes 71st win, Jonathan Brown takes 1st at Bowman Gray

Victory Lane saw a unique contrast on Saturday at Bowman Gray Stadium.

For the first 25-lapper for the Farm Bureau Insurance Modified Series, Stadium veteran Junior Miller of Danbury took the checkered. Miller holds the record for most all-time wins at the Stadium; Saturday's victory gives him a total of 71.

Then in the second 25-lap event, Jonathan Brown of Winston-Salem brought home the win. It was the young driver's first ever victory in the Modified Division, adding his name as the 114th driver to win a feature event race in the 61-year history of the legendary quarter-mile.

Lee Jeffreys of High Point started off on the pole after being the fastest qualifier. Jeffreys' lead was short-lived: as he battled with Jason Myers of Walnut Cove, Jeffreys ran onto the inner curb of the track. Jeffreys briefly lost control and relinquished the lead to Myers.

But right behind Myers was Junior Miller. The two drivers have had a few run-ins already this season, and Myers surely anticipated Miller would aggressively seek the lead.

Miller didn't take long - he gave a strong tap to the bumper of Myers' rear on lap six. The bump got Myers a little loose, giving Miller the lead and causing Myers to drop back to seventh.

The #69 car of Miller then held on to take the checkered - which came just in time. “I couldn't believe it - we forgot to put gas in it. It was running out of gas in the last five laps,” said Miller. “It was a good thing it wasn't 26 laps, because we were done. It stopped almost off of turn four on the last lap.”

Robert Jeffreys of Winston-Salem finished in second with Defending Champion Tim Brown of Cana, Va. taking third.

For the start of the second race, Alfred Hill of Jonesville was sent to the front of the pack by the “Madhouse Scramble.” After Hill was black-flagged for jumping the start, Brad Robbins of Winston-Salem took over the top spot. Right behind him was Burt Myers of Walnut Cove in second, with Jonathan Brown in third.

As the laps ticked by, Myers delivered several strong nudges to the bumper of Robbins. With a particularly good bump, Robbins slid to the outside and Myers grabbed the lead. “The 53 was hitting me as hard as he could every chance he got,” said Myers, referring to Jonathan Brown behind him in third. “So if I didn't hurry Brad up a little, I was going to get wrecked - and I bumped him in the middle of the corner,” said Myers.

“He spun me out. He didn't try to race me,” said Robbins, who decided to take retribution: Robbins slowed down and rammed the car of Myers as he passed by.

The on-track altercation between Myers and Robbins opened up the door for Jonathan Brown to assume the lead. “I hate it for Burt, I hate it for Brad - but at the same time it worked out good for me,” said Brown.

The #53 car of Brown led the rest of the way to take the checkered. “I've done everything and been so close. I just wasn't getting there. Tonight, luck was on our side - and I'll take luck over anything any day,” said an emotional Brown. “I was tearing up when the white flag came out - I was already tearing up. Now my name's on that list with all those great drivers.”

Chris Fleming of Mount Airy came in second. Michael Clifton of Walkertown finished third.

PASS Modifieds: Friday Night Lee Race is On Tap

The Pro All Stars Series  (PASS)  Mods will be featured this Friday night at Lee (NH) USA Speedway , round one of the Twin State PASS Modified Series that will see the  fast economical open wheelers  at Lee USA on several occasions throughout the 2009 season.

The forty lap points paying event  for the PASS Mods joins Lee USA’s exciting weekly racing card that includes the E-Keys 4-Cars Late Models, Prime Storage Late Model Sportsman, Hobby Stocks, David's Race Cars & Components Roadrunners and American  Race Parts Iron-Man racers.

Freeport Maine’s Jerry Harrison holds a slim two point lead in the PASS Mod series point standings over Scott Grant, 143 to 141 for Grant. Center Conway NH’s Andy Shaw trails Grant by a single point in third. Shaw, Greg Ellis and Steve Bennett Jr. have each scored feature wins in the first three events of 2009.

Admission is only $10.00 for adults . Children are encouraged to play in the "Kid Zone" adjacent to the family seating section. Racing gets the green at 7:15 P.M. . More information is available at www.leeusaspeedway.com

DIRT: Super Matt Making Tracks On DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Circuit

What a difference a year can make, at least after just one race in the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series.

Yet when it comes down to chasing points on the DIRTcar Racing Northeast Big-Block Modified circuit, Matt Sheppard is once again locked into the same mud-slinging, bumper-banging season-long battle both at home and on the road.

“It’s a long year, anything happen but at least we didn’t have to build a team from scratch just a few weeks before the season started,” remarked Sheppard, 26, who joined up with team owner Jeff Brownell Sr. late last winter yet still opened the Advance Series with a thrilling victory at Virginia Motor Speedway. Any chance of repeating last year’s stellar effort was gone just three laps into the 2009 lid-lifter when the JB Motorsports no. 9s Xtreme Lubricants/Bicknell entry hit water and slammed the turn three wall to put him last (30th) in the April 26 finish at Big Diamond (Pa.) Raceway.

“We got off to a bad start, we’re just gonna have to work our butts off. Its really too early in the season to measure where you stand anyway. The series starts out with some oddball events so you really can’t gauge anything until July. That’s when things will start getting back to normal and we’ll be able to follow more of a regular routine,” figured Sheppard, citing that first series show staged at Big-Diamond since 2004, the first-ever tour trip to Lebanon Valley Speedway in June followed the next day by the Big-Block Modified series debut on the asphalt at Airborne Speedway.

With the tour taking off the entire month of May, the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series returns to action as a unique doubleheader hits New York State. Sheppard leads the top point chasers to the high banks of Lebanon Valley on June 6 before traveling north to Airborne on June 7 for ‘The Battle of Plattsbugh’ in the only pavement special of the year. Both 100-lap Modified main events pay $6,000 to win.

A year ago Sheppard sandwiched his VMS tour triumph with an opening day victory at Cayuga County Fair Speedway in April before closing out the month of May with a feature win at Brewerton. Then came a two-month drought until he swept the first weekend in August by taking first-place trophies at Brewerton, Cayuga County and Canandaigua Speedway which amounted to his final checkered flags of the year.

“Our cars and motors are really good this year so hopefully we can tack on a few more wins before the month ends,” said Sheppard, who ended last year with a half-dozen DIRTcar Big-Block wins, and including a Small-Block special at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway in March, has already cracked the winner’s circle five times in ’09. Currently topping the points chart at Canandaigua with three wins, ‘Super Matt’ also ranks third in the standings at Brewerton (1 win) and fourth at Cayuga County following Memorial Day weekend.

“Brewerton is always up and down from week to week with so many good cars, just one bad night is usually what determines who gets the points title there. Consistency will be a key at Canandaigua, right now we’re way out front because Gary (Tomkins) broke over the past weekend. Last Sunday was almost like a series show at Cayuga County with most of the tour guys in the field. I guess that makes you more comfortable seeing the same top drivers wherever you go, its just the tracks that change when you follow the series and the competition never gets any easier,” noted Sheppard, who was named DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Rookie of the Year in 2003.

2008 marked Sheppard’s sixth full season campaigning a Big-Block Modified and the second-generation standout from Waterloo, New York placed sixth in the final overall Hoosier Tire Mr. DIRTcar Modified Championship. He led three Series races for 74 laps, highlighted by a 49-lap stint to pace the Rite Aid 200 pack during Super DIRT Week at Syracuse.

“Its really tough to gauge a successful season until its actually over,” summed up Sheppard, who is already halfway to matching his career-best total of eight Big-Block wins registered in 2007. “But right now everything feels good getting around with the brand new Bicknell cars and the C.C. engines are really strong.”

“If you win 20 races and finish out of the Top-10 in Mr. DIRT it might seem like a mediocre season, yet being around the front every week then winning at Syracuse could turn it into one of the best year’s ever. Right now our goals are pretty much the same as always this time of year, win a lot of races and be Mr. DIRT. Its too early in the season to tell anything more or even worry about it. I just want to keep racing and take care of what I have control over,” Sheppard added.

Sheppard and teammate Jeff Brownell Jr. will be joined in the Lebanon Valley/Airborne twin-bill by defending Mr. DIRTcar Champion Billy Decker, along with series all-stars Brett Hearn, Gary Tomkins, Jimmy Phelps, Dale Planck, Danny Johnson, Frankie Caprara, Ryan Phelps, Justin Haers, Billy Dunn and ’08 Rookie of the Year Larry Wight plus upstart Michael Storms.

Wall Modifieds: Twin 50s Set for June 13th

The thunder and power of tour type open Modified stock cars will return to Wall Stadium on Saturday night, June 13, at 7:00 p.m. when the “Mod Squad” battles in “Twin 50” lap main events. Also on the June 13 agenda will be the Calabreeze Pools Sportsman and Street Stock racers in 25-lappers and the Legend Cars and the Flanagan Retail Development Factory Stocks in 20-lap main events. Qualifying will begin at approximately 5:00 p.m.

“After speaking with several of the tour type Modified drivers we decided to change from the previously announced 100-lapper to a pair of 50-lappers,” promoter Jim Morton said. “That gives the drivers two chances of grabbing a win and it gives the fans two opportunities to see a great race.”

Expected to lead an impressive field is Jimmy Blewett of Howell, the winner of the Tour Type Modified feature race at last November’s “Turkey Derby” as well as the one held here earlier this season. Blewett and his Partridge Racing No. 12 will see plenty of competition from some of the best drivers in the business when the green flag waves.

Among those who were impressive during the May 9 event and are expected to return June 13 is Keystone State favorite Earl Paules of Palmerton, Pa. Also making their intentions known are local standout Ken Woolley, Jr. of Howell in the famous Dick Barney owned No. 14, Long Island favorite Tony Ferrante, Jr. in his family owned No. 31, 1990 NASCAR Modified Tour champion Jamie Tomaino of Howell in the Howard Harvey No. 99 and former stadium champion Pete Brittain in the Ling Trucking No. 66.

Also expected to post strong showings are Freehold’s Steven Reed in his family’s famous No. 55, Brick’s Marc Rogers in the Blauvelt Racing No. 41, Dave Cranmer in his No. 59, fan favorite Tim Arre of Toms River and Rich Ely of Manasquan, among others.

Main event action on Saturday, June 13, is slated to start at 7:00 p.m. sharp, with qualifying beginning at approximately 5:00 p.m., depending on the number of entries in each division. Grandstand seating will open at 4:00 p.m.

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. Tuesday through Friday and all day Saturday during events. The speedway hotline number is 732-681-6400, while more information is also available at www.wallspeedway.com.

Mahoning Valley: Rabenold Makes Most of Return to Modifieds

A year ago Kory Rabenold was making inroads with the ARCA RE/MAX Series but when he lost his main sponsor things suddenly became bleak.

Enter New York’s Terry Zacharias who offered Rabenold a ride in one of his Modified cars and a chance to compete at his home track Mahoning Valley Speedway.

Rabenold and company jumped at the opportunity and after an up and down start, he rewarded his new owner with his first victory of the season.

Rabenold hustled the lead from Stacey Brown and then had to fend off runner-up Tom Flanagan in gaining his first win since July 26, 2006.

“It feels real good. Terry Zacharias has put a good car under me and I can’t thank them enough for letting me run it. We lost our sponsorship for the ARCA Series and I just want to be in a car and he has such good equipment,” said Rabenold who earned his fifth career Modified win.

Brown, the pole sitter, took the opening lap lead but alongside him was Rabenold. As they ran wheel-to-wheel and entered the second circuit, Rabenold inched ahead. Brown still ran next to Rabenold until lap four when Flanagan took over second.

From there on they thrilled the crowd with some extreme nip and tuck racing. No matter how many times Flanagan tried to make a pass, Rabenold answered back. That was the tone all the way to the finish.

“I have to thank Stacey (Brown) for running a good race. With Tommy (Flanagan) and me that was fun. We were fighting it out and I can’t thank him enough for running me clean. It’s just so much fun to race here and it feels good to be back in the Winner’s Circle,” said Rabenold.

“I want dedicate this to my grandfather who passed away in 2007. I know if he was still with us he’d have been here cheering us on.

“I have to thank my dad, (Buzzy Rabenold) he’s always behind me. My crew, there always there and my sponsors Liquid Lightning Energy Drink, Buzzy’s Auto Body, Ma Ma’s Pizza, Dynamite Woodworking, there always there for me no matter if its uphill or downhill.”

Rookie Lonnie Behler was a solid third with point leader John Bennett and Matt Hirschman rounding out the top five.

The race also served as a tune-up to the upcoming $3000-to-win Hand Two Modified 100 Poker Series 100 lapper.

“I think we have a good car. We were fighting a tightness and struggled just a bit with that but as the tires wore it loosened up and it was fast. We should be in good shape for the 100-lapper,” said Rabenold.

Pro Four Modifieds: Wrenn Wins at Waterford

The Pro Four Modifieds of New England (PFMNE) took to the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday, May 30, for an evening of crowd-pleasing action. The night was kicked off with a pity party, where fans flooded the track to see the stars and cars of the PFMNE. Just as the sun began to set, the 4-cylinder mods rolled out for their main event before a packed grandstand. In the end it would be the #1m of “Stormin’ Norman” Wrenn who took home the victory, notching his third consecutive win.

Ten PFMNE racecars were signed into the paddock area for competition.  After an aborted start, the 25-lap feature got underway with #07 of Phil Lausier on the pole and the #12 of Rob Richardi, Jr. to his outside. Coming off of turn two, Richardi powered by on the high side, moving into the lead as the #4 of Cory Cleary and the #10 of Brian Vincent raced side-by-side for the third position. Meanwhile, Wrenn drove his Bot-L-Gas Inc. machine from his ninth starting position into the top five.

With only four laps completed, Vincent spun in between turns one and two, bringing out the first of three cautions. On the restart, Richardi, Jr. and Lausier were once again dancing partners, but this time it was Richardi, Jr. who had the top spot. The race was quickly slowed, though, as the drivers came to power before the startling line again. After a good second attempt, Lausier’s RF Logic machine drifted high in the outside groove, allowing Wrenn to advance into the second position. Then looking to the inside again, Wrenn peaked under Richardi.  His first attempt was no good, but going down the backstretch on lap 6, he was able to complete the pass.  Meanwhile, Vincent advanced from his restart position at the rear of the ten-car field back into the top five.

Debris in turn one brought out another caution on lap 11.  Wrenn quickly jumped back into the lead with Richardi, Jr. falling in behind him. It was not long before “The Cub,” Cory Cleary, drove his Tools 4 Hire Pro-4 around Richardi, Jr., claiming the second position. By lap 15, Cleary had closed the distance between himself and Wrenn, and was looking to take the lead, as Vincent pulled into the infield, retiring from the race.
The final yellow of the event came out on lap 18 when Richardi spun coming out of turn two. When the green flag restarted the race, the #13 of George Sherman—who had a stranglehold on the fourth position for a majority of the laps—took the low groove and wrestled the second position away from Cleary. Cleary didn’t give up, reclaiming the position two laps later, moving inside of Sherman as they rolled off of turn two. Meanwhile, a littler further back in the field, Lausier threw his #07 mount to the outside of Joe Lemay, who was driving his #49 Bolton Road House Grill-sponsored  racecar, but was unable to complete the pass until the twin sticks were given to the field. With the ivory in the air, the veteran driver Sherman brought his modified to the infield with temperature problems. As the dust settled, Wrenn found himself in victory lane for the third week in a row, followed closely by Cleary and Richardi, Jr., who rounded out the podium. Lausier, Mark Giordano (#34), Lemay, Billy Joerres (#99), Stan Mertz (#16), Sherman, and Vincent round out the field.

The PFMNE now turn their attention to the “Cement Palace” of Seekonk Speedway next Saturday, June 6, for their fourth event of the 2009 season.

VSP: Modifieds Go For $1000 to Win this Saturday at Volusia Speedway Park

Saturday night at Volusia Speedway Park it is BUDWEISER NIGHT with the Modifieds going for $1,000 to win.  Also on the action packed night will be the Sportsman, Street Stocks, Thunder Stocks and Mini Stocks for $500 to win.

Last Saturday night saw several new winners in Victory Lane.  Matt Hartley took the Late Model win leading from green to checkered for his very first win.  Ronnie Chance took his #7s to Victory Lane in the Modified division And after points leader Tony Laporta had problems in the Thunder Stock division, Gilbert Espy took his second win of the season in that division.

Saturday night's BIG Modified race will see plenty of action and PLENTY of Modifieds in the field.  Dale Murray took the points lead by 6 over Rob Underwood last Saturday night.  Charlie Macnichol now stands third in points followed by Jimmy Carter in fourth.  Carter just had an off night last Saturday but you can be sure that this Saturday, he will do his best to be the one in Victory Lane.  Nick Kirkus holds fifth in points.  Completing the top ten are Randy Hecker, Jason Davis, Darron Smith, Rick Scott, and Jamie Carter.

All these guys and many, many more are expected this Saturday and unless you are there, you will never know how good that race is going to be.

After a few weeks off, Street Stocks return and it will be another battle to see if anyone can beat Grady Christian to Victory Lane.  Christian has been on a roll and has been hard to beat.  Will this Saturday be the night for a new winner??

Don't forget, rainy season is now upon us.  For up-to-date weather information on Volusia Speedway Park racing, sign up at www.rainedout.com.

Pit gate will open at 4:30 this Saturday with the grandstands opening at 5:30.  Racing starts at 7:30 pm.  Regular adult admission is only $10.00 with students 11 - 15 $5.00.  Kids 10 and under are FREE and drive-in parking is only $10.00 per car.

Volusia Speedway Park is located 15 miles west of Ormond Beach, FL on State Road 40.  Additional information available at www.volusiaspeedwaypark.com or you may call 386-985-4402. 

The SK Modifieds at Stafford  (Jim Dupont Photo)
Junior Miller (top) and Jonathan Brown (bottom) in victory lane at Bowman Gray.  (BGS Photos)
Airborne is usually known for fendered cars (top - Alan Ward Photo), but the DIRT Mods are coming.
The SuperClean Modified Racing Series. 
Last year's TVMRS action at Twin State