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
WMT: Consistent Szegedy Leads Tour To Stafford

As the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour moves on to Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway for the Town Fair Tire 150 on Friday, Aug. 7, someone other than Ted Christopher is atop the standings for the first time in a long time.

The 10th top-10 finish in a row for Todd Szegedy was enough to move past Christopher in the points standings following last Saturday's Riverhead 175.

While Szegedy has yet to reach Victory Lane in 2009, he is the only driver to have finished in the top-10 in each of the season's six races to-date. After battling back from being a lap down early on in last week's race at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway, his eighth-place effort, combined with misfortune for Christopher, changed the top of the season points standings.

Christopher, the defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, had been atop the standings for 12 consecutive races dating back to last year, and had a 10-race top-10 streak of his own entering Riverhead.

Through the first half of the Riverhead 175, Christopher battled eventual race winner Ryan Preece for the lead lap-after-lap, but trouble came on Lap 83 with a cut tire, and just after he crossed the line on Lap 84 contact was made with the wall entering Turn 1, which ended his day.

With two wins to start his title defense, and another pair of top-fives, Christopher seemed to be on cruise control. A 10th place effort at Spencer Speedway on July 12 combined with Szegedy's runner-up finish helped to close the gap and the DNF at Riverhead was enough to move Szegedy into the lead.

While Christopher was grabbing headlines through the first quarter of the season, Szegedy was quietly recording solid finishes. A fifth in the season-opener at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway was followed by second and third place efforts in consecutive outings at Stafford. The two tangled on the last lap at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the fourth race of the year, but miraculously Szegedy was able to skid across the finish line in eighth. Another runner-up at Spencer then got him within striking distance.

Szegedy is no stranger to consistency, and although he's yet to cross the line first this year, he's also no stranger to winning - a combination that can make him a viable contender for his second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title.

In 2003 Szegedy captured his first championship by leading the Tour with four wins. Although Chuck Hossfeld had one more top-10 that season, Szegedy's consistency through the 18-race schedule provided a 32-point spread in the final standings. In 116 career starts Szegedy has 13 wins and 73 top 10s.

As the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Stafford this week, Szegedy will have a little history on his side to keep his points position. While Christopher is the winningest driver in Stafford history, Szegedy has turned in three winning efforts at the half-mile, and has eight top-fives in his last 11 starts there.

SK Modifieds: Tight Point Races at Stafford

As the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour comes to Stafford Motor Speedway for its third of four visits during the 2009 season, there is a tight championship fight.  But the Whelen Modified Tour championship chase is not the only tight points battle that will be at Stafford this Friday night. 

All five of Stafford’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions have tight point battles as drivers look to put themselves in championship contention over the final month and a half of the 2009 season leading up to the season ending CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend, where the 2009 track champions will be crowned.

In addition to chasing the Whelen Modified Tour crown, Ted Christopher is also the Stafford SK Modified® points leader by 34 points over Jeff Malave. Keith Rocco has the most wins in the division with 4, but he sits third in the standings, 86 points behind Christopher. 

Two rookies occupy the top spots in Stafford’s SK Light Modified division.  Michael Gervais, Jr. leads Erica
Santos by 46 points, with Ted Cain in third, 50 points behind.  Andrew Durand holds the Limited Late Model points lead by 30 points over Carla Botticello with Dan Flannery in third, 48 points behind. 

Tickets for the 19th Annual Town Fair Tire 150 are now on sale at the Stafford Motor Speedway Box Office.  Tickets are priced at $30.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, free for children ages 5 & under, and $32.00 for reserved seats.  As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.

For more information on the 19th Annual Town Fair Tire 150, 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: Sheppard Earns 2nd Super DIRTcar Series Win Monday At Merrittville

Second-generation standout Matt Sheppard continued his torrid pace around the Northeast Big-Block Modified circuit, scoring his second Super DIRTcar Series victory of the season Monday night at Merrittville Speedway in the 17th Trevor Wilkens Memorial 100 presented by Toolneeds.

‘Super Matt’ forged the seventh and final lead change on lap 26, then circled the fast third-mile Thorold oval lapping up to the fourth-place car to collect a well-deserved $6,000 payday in the annual Canadian Civic Holiday special.

“First of all the the track was just awesome tonight, its about the raciest place we go all year,” remarked Sheppard, 27, after finishing with a 10 car-length advantage despite the sixth and final yellow flag bunching the field for the last restart with 14 laps to go. “Every time we come here the facility is great and the track is awesome, just can’t say enough about coming here.”

Almost as happy with the third straight Super DIRTcar Series show staged at Merrittville were runner-up Brett Hearn, third-place finisher Pat Ward and fourth-place Pete Bicknell, while Larry Lampman Jr. rounded out the top-five one lap down to the leaders. With Sheppard and Hearn each already posting a pair of tour triumphs this season, Ward locked up a guaranteed starting berth in the prestigious Rite Aid 200 Championship race on Oct. 11 of Super DIRT Week XXXVIII at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.

Fans knew they were in for a treat when Justin Haers kicked off qualifying with a new tour record of 15.044 seconds in Integra Shocks Time Trials. Haers, whose only other top time was recorded at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park in 2004, was clocked quickest ahead of heat winners Billy Decker and Sheppard, with two Integra Shocks awards already earned for each during the ’09 campaign.

When it came time for the customary pre-race draw for starting positions in the 100-lap Modified main, Larry Wight and Lampman grabbed front row starting positions while Sheppard secured the number nine slot with the JB Motorsports no. 9s Xtreme Lubricants-Seneca Auto Sales/Bicknell mount anxious to advance in the 30-car field.

At the drop of the initial green flag, ‘Lightning Larry’ Wight wasted little time bolting ahead while Haers and Hearn moved in to challenge after five laps were scored. Tour traveler Gary Tomkins looped his mount in turn four to incur the first caution period and on the ensuing restart Haers took his first lead blasting high out of turn two aboard his potent Phelps Cement Products no. 3 SMV Motorsports-Jeff Jolly Masonry/Bicknell. Just three laps later, local pilot Travis Braun suffered a flat right-rear tire in the same spot to send the yellow lights flashing around the track for a second time.

A back-and-forth battle among the leaders continued with Wight regaining the point on lap 14 and Haers stealing it back the following circuit. Carrying the momentum from a three-wide maneuver past Hearn and Wight on lap 17, rim-riding Dale Planck needed just two more times around to overtake Haers for the top spot and become the third driver of the night to lead his first laps of the season in Super DIRTcar Series competition.

While Hearn improved to second by lap 20, Sheppard was even faster as he buckled down on the low side to move into third ahead of early pace-setters Haers and Wight. The next time around another yellow flag unfurled, this time for reigning Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar champ Billy Decker, who limped pitside with a broken shock mount derailing the Gypsum Wholesalers no. 91 Stadium Int'l-Quality Hardwoods/Bicknell ride.

Quick slowdowns for the parked car of track regular Bill Bleich in turns three and four on lap 22 and Wight, as his mount slid high off turn four, kept the field in check before 56 laps were run off straight through under green with only the strongest able to survive. Sheppard took his first lead by a mere bumper on lap 24 while Planck regrouped to take it back the following circuit. But once ‘Super Matt’ charged to the point on lap 26, there would be no looking back as the Waterloo, New York warrior went unchallenged the rest of the way.

At the halfway mark lapped cars were easy prey for Sheppard as he out-distanced himself from Planck and Hearn using heavy traffic to his advantage. Just a dozen cars remained on the lead lap with 60 in the score book, although that number quickly diminished as the counter clicked off in the closing stages.

Tenth-place runner Steve Paine fell victim to Sheppard’s stronghold on lap 64, eighth-place running Danny Johnson went down a half-dozen laps later while defending race winner Jimmy Phelps ran seventh before losing one with 74 circuits on the board. Charging all the way from 22nd on home soil, track owner Bicknell got past Planck on lap 76 and Sheppard followed to leave four cars on the lead lap after just two more circuits.

DIRTcar 358-Modified rookie Mark D’Ilario lost a wheel exiting turn three to give the field a quick breather, although rain drops began to fall when the green lights came back on lap 86. Sheppard and Hearn rolled out of sight over the final circuits while Bicknell’s last bid to overtake Ward was foiled as he slipped over the edge in turn one with less than 10 laps to go. When the checkers finally waved it was Sheppard posting his DIRTcar Northeast-high 12th Big-Block win of the season, his first-ever triumph at Merrittville that vaulted him into second-place in the series standings through 10 events.

“This car was just awesome tonight,” beamed Sheppard, following one of the most dominating performances of the season. “I found a little something on the bottom early and pretty much stuck with it and just kept plugging way. It may look fast down there but man, when you’re sitting in the cockpit it feels like you’re barely moving while you’re puttin’ around the bottom.”

“I had no idea how far ahead I was when that last caution (lap 80) came out but I looked at the scoreboard and said ‘man, I just lapped the 5th-place guy’ so I figured we were pretty good. I have to thank my car owner Jeff Brownell and Bicknell Racing Products for this great team, I only had one guy make the trip up here with me tonight so it’s pretty special,” added Sheppard, following his third win over the extended weekend including victories at Brewerton (Fri.) and Canandaigua (Sat.) speedways.

Despite settling for runner-up laurels for the second-time this season on tour, runner-up Hearn increased his series points lead to 150 over Sheppard after entering the show 143 markers ahead of Decker.

“At one time Matt got so far ahead of us I couldn’t believe we were hanging on to second at that point,” noted Hearn, 50, after setting a single-season record with his 10th straight top-five tally to begin the series steering the Madsen Motorsports no. 20 Wentworth Custom Homes-Kruger-WLR-BPG/TEO machine. “So I’m real pleased with this (finish), it wasn’t a win but we’ve been so consistent this year, just gotta knock down a couple more Ws now.”

“After that last yellow, sometimes they let you go up to the leader single-file on the outside so I was trying to get up to the leader’s back bumper. But on the RACEceiver they told me to get back behind a few of the lapped cars. I did that, yet by the time I broke free of all the lapped cars (Matt) was out there a little too far. At the end we had a good line going in, I think we were catching him a little bit but he was probably just taking it easy and being safe,” added Hearn, who already owns a series-best 102 wins and is in quest of an unmatched seventh overall Mr. DIRTcar Big-Block Championship.

Contending in just his third Super DIRTcar Series event of the season, Ward took third-place honors aboard the LJL Racing no. 42P Gypsum Express/Bicknell team entry.

“We’re pretty happy with third, we had to fight through a lot of good cars there,” said Ward, 52, who began 10th on the grid before navigating through the pack to salvage show position at the stripe. “We just stayed patient, tried not to spin the tires too much.”

“We were really good off turn four at the bottom and just kinda held our own in turns one and two. This car has been good all year so I’m pretty happy. Have to thank John, Laura and Larry Wight (owners), my pit crew, Scott Jeffery and all the guys, they all help me out. It was definitely a good run for us tonight,” Ward stated.

PASS Modifieds: McDaniel Takes First Victory at Unity

Scott McDaniel looked high and low for a way around race leader Gary Norris in Sundays’ 40 lap Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Mod feature at Unity (ME) Raceway, and when the white flag unfurled the young racer from Livermore Falls Maine found a way by Norris to capture his first PASS Mod series feature win. McDaniel looked like he had the car to beat from the get go and gave the fans plenty to watch as he tried the outside and inside lines on Norris. It was tight clean racing at its best for the full 40 laps as the pair battled for the win.

Norris hung on to second and Bill Dixon raced home third. Point leader Andy Shaw suffered damage on the first lap when the front of the field checked up and retired, finishing last.

McDaniel is the second new PASS Mod winner in as many races. Sulo Burbank captured his first victory at Riverside Speedway on July 25th.Burbank recorded a fourth place finish at Unity, followed by Scott Grant in fifth.  Heat races went to Dan Somes and Andy Shaw.

The PASS Mods and Sportsman share the limelight at Groveton New Hampshire’s Riverside Speedway on Saturday August 16th.

Wall Modifieds: TC and Hirschman Enter Wall Race

Two auto racing’s most respected tour type Modified stock car drivers, Ted Christopher and Matt Hirschman, say that they will be in the field this Saturday night (August 8) for ROC Qualifier “Twin 50” lap main events at Wall Stadium. Neither driver was able to be on hand when the tour type Modifieds visited Wall for the first time this season back on May 9. Saturday night’s qualifying will start at 6:00 p.m., while feature race action is slated to take the green flag at 7:30 p.m.

Ted Christopher is arguably one of the hottest drivers in Modified racing at present. He is currently enjoying his title of 2008 NASCAR Modified Tour champion, while also savoring the fact that he won two indoor Three Quarter Midget championship races during the recent winter season. The Plainfield, Ct. resident will be at the wheel of one of the most successful race cars in Wall Stadium history as he will pilot the famous red Dick Barney owned No. 14 this Saturday evening.

Matt Hirschman is familiar to Jersey Shore race fans for several reasons. His father, Tony Hirschman, was a many time Wall Stadium winner during his career while also winning many races throughout the northeast. Like his father, the 27 year old Northampton, Pa. resident has won Modified stock car races in almost every major series and at nearly every track around. Just last November, Matt Hirschman was a star here at the shore speedway leading several laps at the wheel of the No. 59 in the famed “Turkey Derby.”

Expected to lead an impressive field of Garden State drivers 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 when the green flag waves.

Among those who were impressive during the May 9 event and are expected to return Saturday is 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, Flemington’s Andy Walko in the No. 27, 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. Justin Gumley of Colts Neck and recent Wall Modified winner Anthony Sesely of Matawan will also have their tour type Modifieds at the ready on Saturday.

Main event action on Saturday is slated to start at 7:30 p.m. sharp; with qualifying beginning at 6:00 p.m. 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.

Pro Four Modifieds: Wrenn Wins Again!

The Pro Four Modifieds of New England (PFMNE) completed their eighth race as part of the Four Cylinder Nationals, sponsored by Kraze Korlacki Speed Equipment, at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Sunday. It was the #1m of  “Stormin’ Norman” Wrenn that thundered his way from last to victory lane for the seventh time this year.

The series gridded a 15-car field for the 39-lap feature—in honor of the PFMNE’s 39th anniversary. In what was to be his first appearance of the season, the #00 of Dave Richardi was unable to complete his heat or return for the feature when his machine encountered mechanical difficulties. The same held true for the #83 of Franky Perry and the #68 of Eric Trask as well.

Taking the green flag was the #11a of Dan Meservey and the #13 of George Sherman in the front row. The #29 of Matt Sagar, who started in fifth, worked his way passed the #07x of Robin Berghman and the #12 of Rob Richardi, Jr. on the inside. On lap two, Sherman took the lead away from Meservey. Meanwhile, at the back of the pack, the #10 of Brian Vincent and Wrenn’s #1m worked their way through the traffic, passing under the #07 of Phil Lausier in the process. One lap later, Sagar drove his machine around Meservey and Sherman to become the new race leader. The #4 of Cory Cleary started in 10th and made his way through the field, passing Berghman on lap 4, with Wrenn close behind. Five laps into the event, Richardi Jr. saw an opportunity and took it—passing Sherman on the frontstretch for the bridesmaid position. Wrenn moved into third after racing side-by-side with Sherman.

A caution came out on lap twelve, when Cleary, Meservey, and Lausier spun in turns three and four. On the restart, Sagar exploded into the lead with Wrenn following in the low groove from his third place restarting position. Within two laps, Vincent passed Berghman for seventh, and Bedard began closing in on the #07x also. It was on this same lap that Richardi Jr. slowed on the fronstretch, bringing his Richardi Automotive machine to the pits after it began billowing smoke.

The caution came out for the second time on lap twenty-one when Sagar spun. On the restart, Wrenn and Vincent held the first and third positions, but when the green flag unfurled, they roared passed Cleary, who had restarted in second. On the backstretch, Sagar—who had to start at the end of the lead lap cars—powered under Berghman for a spot in the top five. But that glory was short-lived when he was forced pit-side with mechanical failure. With fourteen laps to go, Bedard and Crawford kept up their battle in the middle of the pack, but Bedard continued to hold the advantage.

Wrenn, Vincent, and Cleary made up a close top three going into the final ten laps of the feature event. When the two-to-go signal was shown, Cleary made his move under Vincent for second. When the white flag unfurled, Crawford made his move around Bedard. In turns three and four, however, Cleary spun before he reached the checkered flag; he was able to get it going again and cross the line. Wrenn took home the win, followed closely by Vincent and Cleary to round out the top three. Berghman; Lausier; Crawford; Bedard; D’Amico; Mertz; Meservey; Sagar; Richardi, Jr.; Sherman; and Eric McGovern rounded out the top ten. Crawford was the first Limited driver to cross the finish line, and Bedard and Mertz rounded out the top three.

The PFMNE have a week off, but will return to racing on Saturday, August 15, at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH.

IMS: Debut Race is Planned for Hudson

On Sunday, October 4th, the Independent Modified Series will hit the high banks of Hudson Speedway. The Gate City Classic 100 will be the inaugural race for the Independent Modified Racing Series.

The “I-Modified” race will be promoted by Marshall Hurley.  Despite having many years in the sport, Hurley will be taking his first attempt at event promotion.  During the 80’s, 90’s Hurley had competed in American Canadian Tour, NASCAR North Tour, NASCAR Busch North Series, PRO Tour Truck Series and weekly at various local race tracks throughout the east coast.

“We’re doing this for fun”.  Hurley commented.  “We’re making this event for the average guy running at their weekly track with a modified.  Our rules find a way to include any car and make the playing field fairly even.  We want anyone with a modified to come and compete”.

If the race is successful, talks will peruse for creation of a series in 2010.

Hudson Speedway, “the original family fun track”, races every Sunday evening.  For more schedule information, divisions and directions, check out www.hudsonspeedway.info.

Created in July of 2009, the I-Modified Series will focus on providing quality racing events to fans and competitors.  As previously stated, the inaugural event will be held at Hudson International Speedway, on October 4th 2009.   Rules for the series can be found online at www.imodracing.com.   Starting August 3rd, entry blanks for the “Gate City Classic” 100 can be obtained at the same web site.  Please feel free to contact the I-Modified Series via phone or email with any questions you may have.

Bowman Gray: Jonathan Brown Shakes Up Points Ladder at Bowman Gray

t was only a few short weeks ago that Jonathan Brown of Kernersville claimed his first Modified win ever at Bowman Gray Stadium. But how quickly things change at the historic quarter-mile.

Brown claimed the checkered in last event’s 50-lapper for the Farm Bureau Insurance Modified Series – his third victory of the season. The feat also boosted Brown from fourth in the points up to second.

But Jonathan Brown’s night didn’t start off so strongly – he qualified a disappointing 11th. Things didn’t get better for Jonathan as he got mixed up in an incident between Lee Jeffreys of Wallburg and Bobby Hutchens of Lexington. The brief contact left him with a slowly leaking tire which required a mid-race pit stop.

The #53 team knew they had one factor in the favor: the Double-File “Choice” Restart Rule. Jonathan chose the outside again and again, working his way up to the front row to challenge Burt Myers of Walnut Cove for the lead.

Myers had started on the pole with Tim Brown of Cana, VA on the outside front row. Myers grabbed the lead as the green dropped – but knocked Tim Brown a little wide as they raced. The #83 of Tim Brown fell back to third.

Many would think that Tim Brown’s best bet would be to focus on the points race and just settle for second. But Tim Brown put it all on the line to challenge Myers again for the lead - even though he had to know in the back of his mind that Myers would be itching to do some rough racing with the #83 in the hopes that Brown would falter and lose ground.

Tim Brown was unable to take the lead and opted for the next few double-file restarts to settle into the inside lane.

Several laps later when Jonathan Brown challenged Burt Myers for the lead, Tim Brown would congratulate himself on the decision. Jonathan Brown and Myers got a little too close for comfort as they each tried to move into the lead spot. Both spun, and Myers saw his hopes at victory go up in smoke. What seemed like a chance for Myers to gain a few valuable points on Tim Brown turned into a potentially disastrous situation where Myers would lose serious ground in the points race.

But ironically, Jonathan Brown would end up helping out Myers in the points race. Charging through the field on the outside, Jonathan Brown was nudging the bumper of race leader Tim Brown. With just three laps to go, an especially strong tap turned Tim Brown almost sideways.

The crowd watched on breathlessly to see how Tim would recover. Fortunately for Tim Brown’s fans, the #83 managed to get back into the groove pretty quickly and fall into sixth.

Jonathan Brown went on to victory, boosting him from fourth in the points up to second. “It’s almost unbelievable,” said Jonathan Brown. “If we would’ve started this year and somebody would’ve said we’d win three races and be second in the points with two left to go - I’d say they were crazy. But look, here we are.”

Tim Brown finished sixth and Burt Myers finished eighth, giving Brown a four point gain on Myers as they head into the final two events. Burt Myers ties Jonathan Brown for second in the points rankings. Randy Butner of Pfafftown falls from third to fourth in the points after mechanical issues forced him to pit.

This weekend is the Winston-Salem Journal $1 Ladies’ Night, where all female fans can get in to see the racing action for only one dollar. Racing for all four divisions is on the agenda, as well as the season’s final Demolition Derby. Ticket prices, directions, and more information can be found online at www.bowmangrayracing.comor by calling (336) 723-1819.

TVMRS: Beech Ridge is Next

THIS Saturday August 8th -- The True Value Modified Series returns to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME). Northern New England's high-powered NASCAR-style Modifieds are back in open-wheeled battle through 100 laps of wide open racing!  Plus a full Beech Ridge race card! Local Modified favorite and former Mod Tour winner David Pinkham is primed to upset the touring regulars once more!  Just $20, kids 12 & under free!

WMT: NASCAR Tour Targets Thompson

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will roll into the Thompson International Speedway on Thursday, August 13th for the New England Dodge Dealers presentation of the Bud 150.  This will mark the second appearance of the WMT at Thompson this season and is one of the biggest events hosted by the track each year.

The season opened for the WMT back in April at Thompson’s Icebreaker and it will end with Thompson’s World Series in October. However, tucked in the middle is one of the very best races of the year, the Budweiser 150.  Fans have been waiting for the return of NASCAR’s oldest and fastest division and that wait is just about over.

The Thompson appearance of the storied Modified Tour comes as just as the season gets busy for these race teams. The Whelen Modified Tour has one race date after another beginning in August and Thompson’s traditional mid summer event is one of the best.

Ted Christopher, the defending series champ, had been the season-long points leader. He began the defense of his 2008 title with a win at Thompson’s Icebreaker and maintained the top spots in the points chase until the August 1st event at Riverhead. At the conclusion of that event, Todd Szegedy took over the top spot in the points chase. Ryan Preece claimed the victory on Long Island. Christopher won the first two events of the 2009 campaign but has since been shut our of victory lane by Jimmy Blewett, Donny Lia, Eric Rudolph and Preece.

The Thompson grandstands will open at 2 PM on the 13th with qualifying slated for 5:30 PM. The WMT will run in conjunction with Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series “Super 6” weekly divisions. It will be a features only night for the race teams of the “Super 6.”

Tickets for the New England Dodge Dealers presentation of the Bud 150 are available at the Thompson Speedway track office. Fans may obtain tickets by calling 860-923-2280. All major credit cards are accepted.

Complete details to this major racing event are available on the Thompson web site. www.thompsonspeedway.com

Mahoning Valley: Santee Slides to Victory

Chip Santee of Slatington has always been a championship caliber driver. The 2002 and 2007 Mahoning Valley Speedway title holder has regularly been in the thick of the point contenders until this year as he scaled back on his racing.

What that has done has allowed him to just go out and race for wins rather than points and in the matter of seven races Santee has now won twice including this past Saturday night.

“It’s a little easier this year since we aren’t running for points and we can put more of an emphasis on winning,” said Santee.

Lining up fifth for the 35-lap feature, Santee overtook Lou Strohl on a lap 20 restart and then late into the event had to fend off point leader John Bennett on his way to career win number 23.

“Johnny is a tough competitor here and it just goes to show you why he won the championship last year and is leading the points this year,” said Santee.

At the outset pole sitter Andy Szapacs darted into the lead and had Strohl on his tail. Szapacs was having one of his better runs of the year as he maintained the lead spot over the first seven tours.

On lap eight Strohl then took command of the race and in the process was steadily pulling away from the pack and looking very strong with each passing lap.

Unfortunately for Strohl the first caution of the race occurred with 20 laps complete which wiped out his ample lead. The yellow was for Bill Teel who spun in turn four.

On the restart Santee was alongside Strohl. When the race resumed, Santee had no trouble in snagging away the lead. Behind was a terrific battle for second spot between Don Wagner and Tom Flanagan.

Flanagan kept hounding relentlessly on Wagner. With four laps to go he made an attempt to get underneath Wagner in turn three, but it was a move that was a bit hasty as there just wasn’t enough room to pull off a pass.

Flanagan made contact with Wagner’s left rear and got him swirly. As he tried to save the car he slid into Flanagan who then slammed into the front stretch wall.

Directly behind them at the time was Bennett who wisely backed down and was able to avoid the wreck. 

“I seen those guys starting to get tangled up with each other so I just backed it off a little bit just in case something like that were going to happen,” said Bennett.

On the final restart which was from the incident, Bennett attempted to reel in Santee but to no avail. Lonnie Behler, James Pritchard, Jr., and Teel completed the top five.

“The car was real good on restarts. Early in the race I saw someone stick their nose inside me so I protected the bottom. Then on that last restart John (Bennett) and I locked bumpers and I knew he was going to try me underneath so I just did my best to hold my ground and we were able to come out the winner tonight. This is sweet,” said Santee who became only the second repeat winner this season along with Bennett.

“The first win we got lucky and this one I feel we deserved. My crew really busted their humps all week and I want to thank them. We’re getting it (car) better and I think in another week or two it will be perfect.”

Bennett’s runner-up was another feather in his cap to what has thus far been a season of weekly strong finishes.

“We were at the right spot at the right time. The car wasn’t really what I would have liked it to have been but we got a second out of it and we’ll take it,” said Bennett. “His (Santee) car was pretty strong tonight. I thought maybe we had a chance on the last restart but I just got the tires too hot to quick.”

Randy Thomas of Palmerton has gotten the knack for winning in the Dirt Modifieds. After scoring his career first victory two weeks ago, Thomas picked up two more triumphs and in the process the point lead as well.

In the make-up feature from June 13 Thomas made an outside back stretch pass on Steve Folk on lap 15 and then pulled away to his second win of the season.

In the regular feature Thomas had a little luck in gaining a return trip to Victory Lane. Folk had been the race leader, however, under a lap 13 caution race officials set him back two spots for rough riding in his bid to take the lead from Dave Thomas, Randy’s brother back on lap 11.

Due to Folk’s penalty Randy Thomas, who had been second, was elevated to first place where he stayed the rest of the way. Folk came back to finish second.

DIRT: Banquet Season is Around The Corner

The racing season is in high gear, with the best yet to come, but it’s already time to plan for the season-ending banquet celebrations. Post-season festivities for all World Racing Group series and sanctioning bodies are set so teams can begin making their arrangements.

In the DIRTcar Racing Northeast Region, the banquet again will be an exciting and major event. The Super DIRTcar Series, Mr. DIRTcar championship contenders and DIRTcar Racing Northeast racers will celebrate their accomplishments on November 14 at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino at 5281 Patrick Road in Verona, NY 13478. To contact the resort, call 800-771-7711 or go to http://www.turningstone.com to see everything the resort has to offer.

Wall: Sesely Wins at Wall

Anthony Sesely of Matawan and Zack Alspach of Willingboro have a lot in common. Both up and coming Able Ford Subaru Racing Series drivers started their racing careers at a young age. Both have impressively climbed the ladder of success at Wall Stadium this season. On Saturday night, both added another common item to their racing resumes as each won his division’s 40-lap main event and posted their first ever feature race win at the third mile paved oval.

In the Red Bank Sleep Shoppe Modified 40-lapper, Sesely rocketed his black No. 77 to the front at the outset and never looked back. He did peak in his mirror from time to time, however, and saw that it was full of Little Falls’ Shaun Carrig who hounded him all the way to the finish. Eventual third place finisher Chas Okerson of Freehold was also in the thick of the race for the win most of the way. Tim Arre of Toms River and Farmingdale’s Billy Cole were fourth and fifth.

“They say that pole shots are easy,” Sesely said in reference to his pole starting position. “But this one wasn’t. That was the toughest 40-laps I’ve ever driven. I have to say that Shaun Carrig is a total gentleman on the track. He ran me as tough as you can for 40 straight laps, but he drove me clean on each of them.”

Like Sesely, Alspach started from the pole and paced the field every lap of the way. Also like Sesely, Alspach was hounded every lap by one of the best in the business, Steve Stull of Hamilton. Added to Stull’s pressure was the fact that Alspach led every lap of the previous week’s main event only to loose it due to a lapped car on the final circuit. Alspach didn’t let that happen again as he paced Stull, Brick’s Bryan Gardella, Mike Stull of Trenton and Derek Hopkinson of Toms River at the finish.

Wall Stadium races back into action this Saturday night, August 8, with the tour type open competition Modifieds scheduled to compete in “Twin 50” lap main events. The Sportsman cars, Street Stocks, Legend Cars and Factory Stocks will also compete in regular distance action.

The day will start at high noon when competitor gates open, while a two hour paid practice session will begin at 1:00 p.m. The day’s regularly scheduled practice will run from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., while spectator seating opens at 4:00 p.m. Qualifying for all divisions begins at 6:00 p.m. with main event racing starting at 7:30 p.m.

Wall Stadium presents professional motorsports events every Saturday night through Labor Day. Most Sunday afternoons feature the “Small Car Series” on the fifth mile paved “inner oval.” Legend Cars, Bandoleros, TQ Midgets, Open Karts, Champ Karts, Microstocks and World Formulas are on the card. For more information on the Sunday Series visit http://wtssundayseries.synthasite.com

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.

Todd Szegedy (Left) and Ted Christopher (Right) are the two main players in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title fight.   (Jim Dupont Photos)
The point race is tight in the SK Modifieds at Stafford and while Keith Rocco (#88) has won the most races, he still trails in the standings.  (Jim Dupont Photo) 
Matt Sheppard in victory lane  (DIRT Photo)
Ted Christopher (Top) and Matt Hirschman (Bottom) are both planning to race at Wall.
Scott McDaniel in victory lane at Unity  (Jamie Williams Photo)