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
Seekonk: Alexander Files First Modified Madness Entry

Three time True Value Modified Racing Series Champion Kirk Alexander of West Swanzey NH was the first to file his entry for Seekonk Speedway's 5th Annual $10,000 to win event. Kirk, winner of this event in 2006, has run strong in all four events held at the Action Track of the East.

Bobby Grigas III, a former winner on the TVMRS, and a future star of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has also filed an entry. Grigas began his racing career at Seekonk in the Late Model division before making the jump to the open wheel modifieds. Defending TVMRS Champion Chris Pasteryak, winner of the 2008 DAV Fall Classic has also filed an entry for this event. In 2008, Pasteryak had to call it a day earlier than expected after crashing out of his qualifier. Former DAV Fall Classic winner Dave Berghman has filed his entry for this event, as has Jimmy Kuhn, who is coming off his best race ever, finishing 3rd in the most recent TVMRS event at Seekonk. Reigning Modified Madness winner Matt Hirschman is ready to defend his title at Seekonk. John Bennett's entry has been received, as has 9 time NASCAR Champion, and Coventry RI native Mike Stefanik.

This event is shaping up to be one of the biggest modified events in New England, as competitors from throughout the North East are scheduling to converge on the Action Track of the East for one of the most competitive events. Donnie Lia and Vinnie Annarummo are the other two winners in this event.

Registration forms are available on the all new Seekonk Speedway website at seekonkspeedway.com. Tickets for this and all events are also available on the website. Adult admission for this event is only $20.00. The NEMA Midgets and Pro4 Modifieds will add excitement for this show. The first green flag drops at 7pm. Don't be late.

WMT: NASCAR Mods Head to Spencer

For the second year in a row, and just the sixth time overall, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will head to Spencer Speedway on Saturday, July 11 in Williamson, N.Y., for the Spencer Speedway 155.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour first ran at Spencer in the Tour's inaugural season of 1985, a race won by George Kent. Matt Hirschman reached Victory Lane at Spencer last year in the first race at the flat half-mile oval in more than a decade.

Hirschman will not be in Williamson on Saturday to defend his race win, but last year's runner-up - Ron Silk - looks forward to returning in 2009.

"We had a good run at Spencer last year," Silk said.  "The car was good the whole day, and hopefully we can improve one spot this year and see if we can get a win out of it."

Silk, who also competes part-time in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and sees a variety of race tracks down south, likes the challenge of a different venue like Spencer.

"It's a pretty cool little track. You can tell it's got some age on it, but it's a lot of fun," Silk said. "It is a little bit more challenging to drive than some of the other tracks because it is real flat."

In addition to Silk, drivers such as Eric Beers, Erick Rudolph and Chuck Hossfeld have logged many laps at Spencer in various series through the years and should be considered favorites to contend for the checkers. Hossfeld, who ran full-time in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour a year ago, is slated to make his 2009 debut in this race.

The Spencer Speedway 155 will be the first of three races in the Empire State in 2009 along with dates at Riverhead Raceway and Chemung Speedrome. All three will be qualifying-format races.

This year's race at Spencer will feature a slightly different format than that of 2008. Last year there were two 25-lap heat races and a 100-lap main while this year more emphasis will be given to the main as it has been extended to 125 circuits and the qualifiers will be 15 laps.

Action on the track will begin with practice at 5:30 p.m. and the main is set to go green at approximately 9 p.m.

TVMRS: Friday Night Stop at Lee is Up Next

The True Value Modified Series rolls into the Lee USA Speedway this Friday night for a much anticipated event that is not only a bargain for race fans with admission set at $15 for adults, but the 24 teams that qualify will enjoy an increased purse in every finishing position.
The "Port City 100 Presented by LATICRETE" offers $2,500 to the race winner, and $500 to qualify. The higher purse race is courtesy of race sponsor LATICRETE, who in an agreement with Lee USA Speedway, have put a large sum of money into the event purse that will go directly to the drivers.
This July 10 race continues a tradition of Lee hosting a special event Modified race in July, which it has done for over 20 years.
For several seasons the track hosted the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in July. The race was then changed to an "Open Show" format for a time. With the formation of the TVMRS, this July race became an annual event for the tour in 2004.
There have been five different winners of this race since it became a TVMRS Sanctioned event. Jim Boniface, Kirk Alexander, Tony Ricci, Les Hinckley and Ed Dachenhausen have each been victorious once over the past five seasons.
There will be numerous drivers entering the infield with a realistic chance at becoming the sixth different winner in as many seasons at the one-third mile oval for this special event.
Among those looking to get their name in the history books are several drivers who have called Lee home at some point in their racing careers. Andy Seuss, who sits second in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Standings is among those.
Jon McKennedy, who is currently second in the True Value Series Standings also has experience at the track in both a Modified and a Supermodified, as does 2008 All-Star Speedway NASCAR Champion Louie Mechalides, who will be in the Bear Motorsports entry.
But possibly no driver feels that it is his time to win at Lee more than Jimmy Kuhn, of Bridgewater, Mass. Kuhn has had a great deal of success at New Hampshire's "Center of Speed". He was leading the Oktoberfest 2008 event with four laps to go before McKennedy slipped by him on a restart to steal the victory. Despite several top three finishes, Kuhn has yet to win at Lee, but he is optimistic that this will be the year.
Kuhn remarked, "We always seem to have a good car there. It just seems like we can't finish it off for one reason or another. Last year we thought we had it, but it didn't work out. I think we will have as good a shot as anybody there Friday."
Many other drivers will be confident for victory as well, including: Dachenhausen, Hinckley, David Pinkham, Dwight Jarvis, Steve Masse, Mike Douglas Jr., Rob Goodenough, Richard Savary, Rowan Pennink and Carl Pasteryak.
The True Value Modified Racing Series returns to the Lee USA Speedway this Friday night, and with ten or more drivers competing who were not at the previous TVMRS race at Monadnock, the $500 LATICRETE bonus money race winner is sure to become a memorable part of the July Modified racing history at Lee.
Race time is set for 7:15 PM, with the "Port City 100" taking the green flag before 9:30 PM, with other NASCAR Whelen Weekly Series events to follow its conclusion.

WMT: Hossfeld Set To Rejoin Tour At Spencer

A full-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitor in 2008, Upstate New York's Chuck Hossfeld is set to make his first Tour appearance this year in the Spencer Speedway 155.

Not only will this be the Ransomville, N.Y., native's 2009 debut, but it will also be his first foray as a car owner in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour as he will bring his own No. 22 Jerry Gradl Motors Chevrolet to the half-mile oval.

"I'm excited about racing against the best of the best in my own car," Hossfeld said. "That will be kind of cool."

Hossfeld, who will have Kenny Troyer on board as crew chief at Spencer, earned two wins and finished fourth in the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings in the No. 4 ‘Mystic Missile,' a ride that is now piloted by Donny Lia.

Hossfeld began 2009 by campaigning his No. 22 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway during Speedweeks and has run a limited schedule since. He's competed three times this year at Dunn Tire Raceway Park in Lancaster, N.Y., and has earned two wins.

Aside from his three outings at DTRP, Hossfeld's only other start since Speedweeks was at Spencer on June 19 when he finished second to Mike Leaty in the Race of Champions event. In that race he bested a host of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers - past and present - including Erick Rudolph, Matt Hirschman, Jan Leaty and Eric Beers.

That outing at Spencer, combined with  his upcoming NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season debut, has Hossfeld's anticipation level high.

"This being my first [NASCAR] race as an owner/driver is kind of exciting," Hossfeld said. "I've raced my car a lot, but the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is what I consider the best Modified racing in the country, and it is pretty exciting and challenging to take your own car and hope for good results."

Hossfeld has found plenty of good results throughout his career in a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car. In 111 starts, Hossfeld has compiled eight poles, seven wins and 64 top 10s.

Familiarity should also provide a level of comfort for Hossfeld in his owner/driver debut. He's turned many laps at Spencer throughout the years, and as the 1999 points champion there, he likes how the track races.

"Spencer is a cool track because its got long straight-aways and tight turns, and actually the straight-aways are tight there too, so you get side-by-side racing there," Hossfeld said. "Its challenging and exciting."

Hossfeld is taking a wait-and-see approach to the rest of the 2009 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule, but in addition to the Spencer Speedway 155, he also has plans to enter the fall race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a track where he has triumphed three times during his career.

Pro Four Modifieds: Wrenn Wins Again

The Pro Four Modifieds of New England (PFMNE) battled with mother nature but were able to complete their fifth race of the 2009 campaign as part of CarQuest Xtreme Tuesday at Stafford Motor Speedway. The #1m of “Stormin’ Norman” Wrenn continued his undefeated season, but not without a fight from the #10 of Brian Vincent—the heat race winner.

After a one-hour rain delay, the 25-lap feature event got under way with fifteen cars parading around the 1/2-mile oval. The #86 of Mark Charette was unable to make it out after qualifying due to mechanical failure. When the green flag waved, the #13 of George Sherman was on the pole with Vincent’s Sprague’s Auto-sponsored modified on the outside. As they rolled off of turn two, Vincent powered by Sherman on the outside.  Meanwhile, having started in the 14th position, Wrenn had begun making his way through the field, following the #83 of Franky Perry and the #29 of Matt Sagar. Progress was slowed, however, before two laps could be completed when the #34 of Mark Giordano went spinning in turns three and four.  

On the restart, the #4 of Cory Cleary moved his Tools 4 Hire 4-cylinder under Sherman for second. By lap 3, Wrenn had driven his Bot-L-Gas modified past four others to challenge the #12 of Rob Richardi, Jr. for the fourth position. Motoring off of the second corner, Wrenn moved to the inside of Richardi, Jr., eventually besting the N. Easton, MA-native one lap later. On lap 6, the #11a of Dan Meservey and Sagar were able to move their machines passed Perry to claim the seventh and eighth positions, respectively. Sagar and Meservey would race door-to-door until the Meservey Family Restaurant machine dove low and slowed considerably. When he was unable to make it to the pit area, the second yellow flag of the event was displayed. 

As the cars lined up for the restart, the top five running wereVincent, Cleary, Sherman, Wrenn, and Richardi Jr. At the drop of the green, Sagar drove his Kraze Korlacki Speed Equipment machine by Richardi Jr. for a spot in the top five and Wrenn took the opportunity to move into the third position. By the time the scoreboard showed 13, the racing began to heat up for the top three. Cleary challenged Vincent for the lead, with Wrenn not too far behind. Coming out of turn four, Cleary went high only to have his progress slowed by the third caution flag of the event for Billy Joerres, whose car came to rest sideways in the middle of turns of one and two. As the field began to assemble for the restart, Crawford and Sherman both brought their vehicles down pit road with mechanical difficulties. 

The restart was aborted when the cars came up to speed before the start cone.  After the dust settled, Cleary headed to the infield with a flat tire, ending a strong run for the family-owned mount.  The second restart stuck and Wrenn moved into the lead, with Vincent close behind him and Sagar also gaining ground. As the white flag came out, Vincent closed the distance between himself and Wrenn, but it was all-for-not as he was unable to complete the pass before the checkers. 

Wrenn took home his fifth consecutive win as Vincent and Sagar rounded out the top three. Positions six through ten went to Richardi Jr., Lausier, Perry, Berghman, Giordano, D'Amico, and Mertz. Joerres, Cleary, Sherman, Crawford, and Meservey rounded out the field.

The next race for the 4-cylinder modifieds will be the highly-acclaimed Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk Speedway on July 15, 2009.

Super Clean Mods: Get Ready for a Big Show at Orange Show

The elite teams of the SuperClean Modified Racing Series will return to action this Saturday night to take on the always challenging Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino. The R&L Carriers 75 will have this outstanding regional touring series running a full 75 green flag laps on the historic ASA sanctioned quarter mile paved oval located at the National Orange Show Fairgrounds.

Now in its third year, the SuperClean Modified Racing Series traditionally features very tight battles for their points championships. The 2009 season is no exception. The season will reach its half way point this Saturday night and there's only 16 points separating the top four positions.

Leading the series standings is Chris Gerchman. The Lake Havasu City-Arizona driver came out strong by winning the series' first race of the season, March 28th, at his home track the Havasu 95 Speedway. He backed that performance with two additional top five finishes and now leads the standings with 144 points.

If there's anyone within the SuperClean Modified Racing Series that is looking forward to a return to the Orange Show Speedway it may be Andrew Phipps. The Simi Valley-California driver won the second of his three races there last year and launched a very close title run that saw him finish second to eventual champion Jimmy Dickerson. Phipps is off to a flying start in 2009 and has already scored three top fives including his first win of the season, May 16th, at Las Vegas. He comes into Saturday night only six points away from first.

Third in the series' points standings is a name that Orange Show Speedway fans will immediately recognize. Riverside-California's "Baby Face"Jim Mardis is well known for his ASA Stock Pony victories and championship at the track. Late last year Mardis Racing purchased a modified and joined the SuperClean Series. So far in 2009 he has two top five finishes and one top ten and this hard charging driver is only 14 points away from the top of the standings.

Fourth in the standings is San Antonio-Texas native James Cole who racks up a lot of travel miles to compete in this series. Cole has two top fives and a top ten so far this year and is only 16 points away from the points leader. Many series observers have been saying that it's just a short matter of time before he parks his modified in victory lane.

Not to be overlooked Saturday night is the presence of Tim Morse. The Burbank-California driver began the 2009 season on top of the series' points standings. But a mechanical disaster of a night at the Las Vegas event last May only allowed him to collect 16 points. He goes into Saturday night fifth in the standings and 32 points away from the top. Last year, when the series visited the Orange Show Speedway, Morse scored a pair of third place finishes and won the Bud Pole Award following qualifying last August. Morse knows the fast way around this track and will be a driver to watch Saturday night.

The qualifying session for Saturday night's race is also expected to be its usual intense affair with the differential often being less than a second from first to last . The R&L Carriers 75 will start 22 cars. The first 16 will be based on qualifying speeds, the next four will enter the field via a 20 lap B main and the final two will be based on provisionals from the series' promoters.

The other intense aspect about making the starting grid for the R&L Carriers 75 is the fact that every driver is guaranteed at least $250 just for taking the initial green flag. At the top end the winner of the race receives $1,000. With the season hitting the halfway point this Saturday night, there's also the matter of collecting the points which could lead to a $3,500 championship at the end of the season.

There's also the matter of the fan entertainment level that comes with the competitive nature of a SuperClean Modified Racing Series main event. From the very front row to the final row the cars are wheel to wheel and the action often has the fans on their feet throughout much of the 75 laps. The R&L Carriers 75, at the Orange Show Speedway this Saturday night, is expected to be no exception.

Airbone: Dupree Works His Way Through The Field

Patrick Dupree gained 15 positions on two restarts during the first six laps, then passed Leon Gonyo for the lead on lap 16 and sped off to a convincing win in the Ernie’s Tools Modified 30-lap Mayor’s Cup event at Airborne Speedway. The win was Dupree’s second of the season and it brought him within four points of point leader Martin Roy, who started 17th and finished 7th. “You have to try and get it done early,” Dupree said. “I could put the car anywhere tonight and I was able to take advantage of a couple of openings on the outside. That was fantastic.”

Gonyo was able to hold off a charge from third-place George Foley. Chris Cayea of Mooers got around Maxime Viens in lapped traffic on the white flag lap for fourth – his best finish of the year. Viens of St Cesaire, Quebec, landed his first top-5 of the year. Positions 6-10 went to Matt Woodruff, Roy, Aaron Bartemy, Don Scarborough and Greg Atkins. Thirty-one Modifieds started the race.

The fireworks were literally on the speedway Saturday night (July 4) at Wall Stadium as Howell’s Jimmy Blewett in the Modified 40-lapper and Tinton Fall’s Carl Thomas in the “BT Memorial 50” lap Street Stock race took down emotional wins on the Independence Day weekend Able Ford Subaru Racing Series card.

TVMRS: Pinkham Returns For Lee Race

David Pinkham, of Buxton, Maine has chosen the Lee USA Speedway to make his return to Tour-Type Modified racing. The popular Maine driver will compete in his first race of 2009 this Friday night July 10, as the True Value Modified Series invades New Hampshire’s “Center of Speed” for a special event paying bonus money to every driver in the starting field, including an extra $500 to the race winner courtesy of race sponsor LATICRETE.

“Lee extended an invite to me, and I decided that this was the place to make my return,” stated Pinkham. “I think it’s great how they are giving the LATICRETE sponsor money to the drivers to help everyone involved, and I hope the fans support it as well.
“We finished top five in both races we ran there last year, but I really want to win this one for track announcer John Spence. He has been a great friend, and I look forward to being a part of an event that means so much to him.”
Spence, who announces both at Lee and for the TVMRS, is recovering from quintuple (five) bypass heart surgery.
Pinkham will join an expected 30 entries for the “Port City 100 Presented By LATICRETE”, helping make this one of the most diversified fields ever for a New Hampshire TVMRS event. Half of the field will be made up of drivers making either their first or second TVMRS qualifying attempt of the season.
Pinkham, who previously raced Modifieds weekly back in the 1980’s, made a triumphant return to racing with a victory in his first-ever TVMRS event in 2006. He will no doubt be one of the favorites to give local standout and multi-time race winner Jon McKennedy of nearby Chelmsford, Mass., a run for the $2,500 top prize.

Wall: Jimmy Blewett Takes Down Another Win at Wall

In the Red Bank Sleep Shoppe Modified race, Anthony Sesely of Matawan was the early leader, but Blewett wasted little time in charging to the front. A major crashed stopped the race cold on lap five when several cars piled up on the back stretch. The cars of Freehold’s Steven Reed and North Haledon’s Chris Hamilton got the worse of the exchange, but no injuries were reported.

Once back to action Blewett needed just a few laps to charge to the front on the inside lane before racing to the convincing win over Sesely, Chas Okerson of Freehold, Brick’s Robert Geibel, who was running his first Modified race, and Manchester’s Scott Riggleman wrapped up the top five.

“I owe this win to my brother,” Blewett said referring to John Blewett III who lost his life in a Thompson, Conn. racing accident a few years ago. “He left me his (chassis) set-up book. Thanks to him, we were able to get this car handling and driving the way it should. Thanks to my brother and the crew on this car we won tonight.”

Bowman Gray: Racing Resumes This Week

Bowman Gray Stadium took a break from the racing action on July 4. The annual tradition honors our nation and gives the competitors a brief rest – but with one week away from the legendary quarter-mile, most have heightened adrenaline when they return to race.
When the competitors start back racing this Saturday, the Farm Bureau Insurance Modified Series will battle in the Farm Bureau Insurance 100: the starting lineup will be determined by random draw, and the infamous Double-File “Choice” Restart Rule will be in effect. Add to this the fact that this Saturday night is Double Points Night, and you have the recipe for the most important race yet in the points contest for the Modifieds.
In the last 100-lapper, current points leader Tim Brown of Cana, Va. drew the pole as his starting position. An unlucky draw for Brown on this Saturday could give points challengers an opportunity to move closer to overtaking Brown. And there’s the possibility that a collision or mechanical problems could take Brown out of the race – taking him out of the points lead as well.
With a track as competitive as Bowman Gray Stadium, Brown’s night could effectively be ended by something so simple as incorrect guesses on car setup. In fact, that was the case for several drivers in the June 27 event at the Stadium.
Brown qualified on the pole for the night, leading the entire way and taking the checkered for the first 25-lap race. However, points challenger Burt Myers of Walnut Cove made some mistakes on his car’s handling – giving him a 12th place qualifying lap and a 12th place finish.
The stumble for Myers left Brown with an opportunity to come back in the second race and increase his points lead. This time, Brown was the one with minor errors in his car setup, relegating him to a 12th place finish in the second race.
Brown stays in the points lead, and Myers stays third in the points – each earning 39 points and keeping the race between them unchanged.
Randy Butner of Pfafftown took advantage of the incorrect guesses of his competitors, finishing second and seventh to earn more points than any other Modified competitor. The feat keeps him in second on the points ladder, moving him closer to passing Brown.
This Saturday is the Farm Bureau Insurance 100 One Dollar Ladies Night, where all female fans are admitted for only one buck to see the racing action. The Farm Bureau Insurance 100 for the Modifieds will be on the schedule – with a full-field draw for position and the infamous Double File “Choice” Restart Rule in effect. Also on the agenda will be racing for the Sportsman, Street Stock, and Stadium Stock Divisions. And it will also be a Double Points Night – with each race worth double the normal points. Gates open at 6:00 for practice, qualifying begins at 7:20, and the first race begins at 8:00 PM – this Saturday night. Ticket prices, directions, and more information can be found online at www.bowmangrayracing.com or by calling (336) 723-1819.

Mahoning Valley: Santee Sails to Victory

Palmerton’s Chip Santee was in the right place at the right time as he went from sixth to first on final lap. Santee was able to sidestep a wild last lap crash of the front runners and drive to his first win of the season. Likewise with Bill Teel and Rick Reichenbach who took second and third.

Lonnie Behler took the white flag as the race leader but hot on his heels was Tom Flanagan and John Bennett. As the trio headed into turn three Flanagan tried to get a run underneath Behler but the rookie, who had led from lap seven, was holding his line when suddenly Flanagan clipped him on his left rear.

That sent Behler spinning. With nowhere to go Bennett veered hard into the outside wall. Also collected in the mayhem were Mike Quinn and Kory Rabenold. Flanagan and Behler were sent to the rear while Santee emerged as the new leader.

For Santee the win was very emotional as he stood in Victory Lane with tears of joy. Prior to the start of the season he had lost close friends Kieth Kocher, owner/driver and car owner Dale Beers.

“I really don’t know what to say. Someone up there (heaven) was watching over me and I love them and I miss them,” said Santee who was making just his fourth start of the year. His first two were in Beers owned mounts while the past two weeks came in a newly purchased car from Troy Bollinger.

“All week long my wife (Melanie) said I was going to win and I was thinking to myself as I came across the finish line, ‘How did she know?’ It’s just amazing and I love it,” said Santee who picked up his 22nd career win.

At the start pole sitter Lou Strohl jumped into the early lead with Behler second. Behler then eyed up Strohl and made his pass for the lead after completing lap six.

On lap nine Flanagan moved to second and immediately went to work on Behler. Not soon after Bennett joined the fray and the race become one very hotly contested three car battle.

While Behler held the point Flanagan and Bennett ran side-by-side and at times were able to pull alongside the leader. It was torrid Mahoning action at its finest. Flanagan was able to shake free of Bennett two laps from the end then went for broke on Behler.

Unfortunately Flanagan’s inside attempt went for naught as Behler steadfastly held his line. Flanagan’s contact sent Behler into a 360 spin and sent the front pack scattering.

“All I could see is that they were getting all out of shape. I came across the line and I didn’t know what happen. They put me in the lead and like I said, my friends upstairs are watching,” added Santee.

“I feel bad for those guys and how this all panned out but I’ve been there too. I’d like to thank my dad and my crew who busted their humps all week to get the car ready and also John Bennett. Before we went out in warm-ups my (front) rack went out and he loaned us one.”

Teel earned his best finish in four starts. His car was the same one Earl Paules drove to second on Opening Night.

“Like Chip said I’ve had it go the other way a time or two also. I didn’t see any of the wreck. That’s racing here, always has been and always will be,” said the Teel.

Reichenbach equaled his best finish to date while New Jersey drivers James Pritchard, Jr., and Don Wagner rounded out the top five.

Chuck Hossfeld has put his #22 out front in many races - can the Spencer WMT show be the next one?
Kirk Alexander (Top) and Bobby Grigas (Bottom) have both filed Modified Madness entries.   (Jim Dupont Photos)
Ronnie Silk is aiming for Spencer's victory lane.  (Jim Dupont Photo)
Ed Dauchenhausen (Top) and Kirk Alexander (Bottom) have both won the summer race at Lee.  (Jim Dupont Photos)