51's Modified Madness
News From The Ground Pounders - Dirt, Asphalt, North and South
Compiled from Series, Team and Track PR Reports
MRS: Bob Valenti Automall to Sponsor Modified Racing Series

Jack Bateman, founder and president of the Modified Racing Series has announced, an agreement has been reached with Bob Valenti Automall.Com as the title sponsor for the 2010 racing season.  Bateman made the disclosure at the all-new Racers Expo, Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center, Marlborough, MA., Saturday, February 27.

“Bob Valenti Automall.Com has signed on for the new season. We look forward to working with the Valenti family. They are strong supporters of racing and have been for many years. We are pleased to have them as part our series,” Bateman concluded.

Bateman was joined by Bob Valenti Automall representatives including company Vice President Rob Valenti who eagerly looks forward to the new sponsorship.

“We have been involved in local racing for nearly 20 years sponsoring drivers and local tracks. The Modified Racing Series gives Bob Valenti AutoMall the opportunity to continue our sponsorship at the local level while expanding our reach to consumers throughout New England”.

Valenti added, “The Modified Racing Series and Bob Valenti AutoMall.com are the perfect fit as they both offer exciting vehicles at a great value to the customer. We are very excited about the 2010 season and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship”.

The family owned and operated business, based in Mystic, CT., and Westerly, R.I., specializes in new and pre-owned vehicle sales and service. The Valenti family has been in the automotive business for over 80 years. 

The popular Modified Racing Series, featuring open-wheel modified race cars, will compete in 19 races at speedways throughout the Northeast including first time appearances at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, NY., Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, NY., and Stafford Springs Motor Speedway, Stafford, CT. In 2009, 15 races were run with 12 different drivers victorious. Seven of those drivers were first time winners. 

Mark J. Hann, President and CEO of Victory MotorSports Marketing Services, LLC, the newly named marketing specialist for the Modified Racing Series, worked with Bateman, Rob Valenti, and Dennis Perry, Business Development Manager of Bob ValentiAutoMall to bring this exceptional sponsorship program to the series. Mr. Hann noted “to have Bob Valenti AutoMall become involved with the series as a marketing venue speaks volumes to what this sport and the series has to offer.”

Hann also disclosed something new this season for race fans to look forward too at each race. The Modified Racing Series sponsored by Bob Valenti AutoMall.Com” souvenir trailer and hauler will be on display so fans can purchase series related items and obtain information about Bob Valenti AutoMall. 

The 2010 season kicks off Saturday and Sunday, March 27 and 28, with the running of the “Budweiser Blastoff” 100 lap race at Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford. CT.

Veteran Bob Savoie plans Albany Saratoga, Airborne return

Veteran Bob Savoie of Broadalbin, NY, a multi-time track champion at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Airborne Speedway, Utica-Rome and Devil’s Bowl, is preparing a DIRTcar Modified for competition at various Airborne events and on the new asphalt at Albany-Saratoga. In 1985, Savoie won Airborne’s season opener – on dirt - and then went on to become the Modified track champion.

“I’m still active and I still have the desire to win,” Savoie said. “I think it’s a good idea for the Champlain Valley Racing Association (CVRA) tracks to switch over to asphalt. We’re doing a family deal with our own car. My son Jason and my son-in-law Steve are going to help me out. I’m 55. I’m tired of washing mud off my race car.”

“I know that the new surface made the racing really good at Airborne last year,” Savoie added. “I’ve raced a lot of laps alongside Mike Perrotte over the years. I’ve respected him for a long time. He’s a good 21st century promoter. He knows costs have to be kept under control, but he also understands things from the racer’s side.”

Savoie began his Modified career in 1978 at Albany-Saratoga and a year later won the Utica-Rome track title. He estimates his career win total to be “around 198 or 199.”

“In 1985, I had a good year at Airborne racing against Mike, Don Scarborough, Leon Gonyo, Wes Moody and Frank Keene,” Savoie said. “I remember Airborne as the place where they made their own french fries and had sacks of potatoes around. They used to throw potatoes at the car when we started winning too much. Perhaps we’ll make their opener, I’m not sure.”

Airborne’s 57th season opens Saturday, May 1 with the Econo Lodge 50 Syracuse qualifier for DIRTcar Modifieds. All weekly divisions will be in action.

DIRT: DIRTcar NE Showcased at Motorsports Expo 2010 on NYS Fairgrounds

The DIRTcar Racing Northeast circuit will once again take center stage with participation by many of its cars and stars headlining Motorsports Expo '10, March 13-14, in the Verizon Center of Progress Building at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.

An all-pro line-up of Super DIRTcar Series drivers has been assembled just in time for the 24th Annual Motorsports Expo '10 at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Headed by defending Rite Aid 200 Presented By Ferris & Snapper Mowers titlist Matt Sheppard, overall 2009 Hoosier Tire-VP Racing Fuels Mr. DIRTcar 358-Modified Champion Dale Planck and inaugural DIRTcar All-Star 100 winner at Cayuga County Fair Speedway, Ryan Phelps, the current list of open-wheel standouts also includes former Mr. DIRTcar champ and Gary Tomkins, north country stalwart Billy Dunn, 2008 Motorsports Safety Systems/G-Force Big-Block & 358-Modified Rookie of the Year Larry Wight and 2010 Big-Block rookie candidate Lance Willix II. Also joining the head table will be part-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series pilot Jessica Zemken.

All of these drivers are slated to be on site Saturday, March 13 at 3pm for a special autograph session that will also provide plenty of photo opportunities. They will be available to answer questions and reveal their race plans for the upcoming season, with  points champion Sheppard, Planck and Wight also discussing their recent trips south to Volusia Speedway Park for the Florida DIRTcar Nationals By University of Northwestern Ohio.

Along with the JB Motorsports no. 9S Xtreme Lubricants/Bicknell entry steered by 2009 Canandaigua Speedway and Brewerton Speedway points champion Sheppard, the Big Red Towing no. 99 Dave Miller Auto Body/Bicknell machine of Phelps, no. 5H Ernie Kreis & Son-Fastline Performance-P&M Fabrication/Bicknell mount chauffeured by brothers Rob (at Brewerton) and Chris Hile (Fulton), and the double-zero numbered Original Pizza Logs-Macedon Parts Plus- Mark’s Garage Chevrolet Impala stock car of Mike Welch will also be on display around the centrally located ‘DIRTcar Land’ throughout the weekend.

"We’ve got a nice mix of cars on display and drivers to meet up with our fans,” said DIRTcar Northeast Director of Competition & Track Sanctioning Joe Skotnicki, who will also be addressing member track personnel and race officials slated to convene on March 12 at the Cayuga Co. Fairgrounds for the annual pre-season promoters meeting.

“It’s one of the last times to rehash 2009 and gear up for another great season ahead, one that marks DIRTcar’s 35th consecutive year of operation in Central New York. This is always a big show as it comes right before the Super DIRTcar Series opener at Hagerstown (March 27), and that means only another month until the weekly action goes green closer to home.”

Helping to make the DIRTcar display a major attraction at Motorsports Expo ’10, charter members Canandaigua Speedway, Cayuga County Fair Speedway and Rolling Wheels Raceway Park will have information areas active during the two-day show as track representatives will be providing schedule cards as well as supplying important news about each facility.

Be sure to stop by and pick up one of the many DVDs for sale in the DIRTcar booth, where teammates can also fill out an official 2010 DIRTcar License application form, learn about any ‘10 rule book updates and pick up major series race schedules.

Crowning of Ms. DIRTcar 2010 highlights the first day of activity during the Exposition & Trade Show, with competition taking place Saturday, March 13 beginning at 7 p.m. Each entry in the 13th Ms. DIRTcar contest sponsored by Leaf Racewear will be judged in the customary rounds of clubwear & sportswear, plus an on-stage interview session.

The New York State Fairgrounds is located on State Fair Blvd., off Route 690, only minutes west from downtown Syracuse. Show hours in the Center of Progress Bldg. are 10am-9pm Sat. and 11am-4pm Sun. For more information, please contact Joe Patrick at 315/457-0175 during normal business hours or log into www.gaternews.com.

Waterford: Speedbowl begins project to upgrade track walls

Waterford Speedbowl officials have announced that work on a construction project to upgrade the track’s retaining wall will begin Monday.   The Speedbowl was one of ten facilities selected this season to receive funds through NASCAR’s Capital Improvement Grant program.  The grant, coupled with a matching investment from the Speedbowl, will allow for installation of concrete walls lining the front and back chutes of the track.  It replaces the armco barrier retaining wall currently in place in those areas. 

“We’re entering our 60th season understanding that facility updates such as this help preserve the future of racing in southeastern Connecticut” stated Speedbowl owner Terry Eames.  “Financial assistance from NASCAR’s grant program was key in helping to make this happen.  It’s a much needed update and the Speedbowl community is appreciative that NASCAR thought so as well.”

Once the Speedbowl received word the grant had been awarded, project details were finalized with engineers to assure proper design, construction and that the work goes according to plan and schedule during a typical New England month of March.  The project will get off and running this upcoming week, beginning with the back chute.  Construction is scheduled to be completed and the walls ready for the track’s 60th season opener, March 26-28’s Budweiser Blastoff event.

Stay tuned to www.speedbowl.com for updates to the project, which marks the first major change to the wall structure since the armco was installed prior to the start of the 1988 season. That replaced an antiquated wooden beam wall system.

The next event for the Waterford Speedbowl is March 12-14’s annual season preview car show at the Crystal Mall in Waterford.  Fans can stop by to see just some of the cars and stars of the Speedbowl, and enter for a chance to win tickets to Budweiser Blastoff Weekend.

The Speedbowl opens its 60th anniversary season with Blastoff Weekend March 26-28, highlighted by 100-laps of Modified Racing Series action, a lightning-quick 25-lap race for the exciting NEMA Midgets and a special 60- lap race for the Speedbowl’s headline NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® division on Sunday, March 28.  Eleven other main events will take place over the blockbuster weekend, New England’s kick off to the 2010 racing season.  Detailed event information including pricing, gate times, divisions and race distances are available by visiting www.speedbowl.com.

Wall: Championship Banquet is Held

A large gathering of fans, crew members and competitors met at the Sheraton of Eatontown (N.J.) Saturday night (February 27) to honor the top drivers of the 2009 racing season, hear news and plans for the 2010 campaign and enjoy a buffet dinner with fellow enthusiasts.

Every driver in the top ten finishing point positions in the speedway’s five regular divisions were honored with awards, while several special awards were also presented to individuals who enjoyed special accomplishments or helped the speedway’s 2009 rebirth.

Leading the championship awards were Freehold’s Chas Okerson, who won the Red Bank Sleep Shoppe Modified crown for the first time. Colts Neck’s Kevin Eyres was the Calabreeze Pools Sportsman title winner, while Tinton Falls’ Carl Thomas was the top man in the Street Stock division. Mark Tischler of Martinsville celebrated his first INEX Legend Cars crown, while Mike Bilello of Neptune was the Flanagan Retail Development Factory Stock driving champ.
Attendees at the gathering also saluted a Rookie of the Year in each of the five divisions. In the Modifieds, Billy Cole of Farmingdale enjoyed the honor, while Andrew Krause of East Brunswick was the top Rookie in the Sportsman ranks. Mike Kennedy of Pt. Pleasant won the Rookie honor in the Street Stocks, Robert French of Wall was the top Rookie in the Legend Cars and John Meyer of Toms River took home Rookie of the Year honors in the Factory Stocks.

Also chosen by a sealed panel, Most Improved drivers where honored led by Lavallette’s Adam LaCicero in the Modified division. Wall’s Mike Smith was the Most Improved in the Sportsman ranks, while Gregg Miranda of Hazlet took the Street Stock honor, Roger Coss of Lafayette grabbed the Legend Cars award and Roy Farfel of Wall was picked as the Most Improved Factory Stock racer.

Other awards went to Flanagan Retail Development and Red Bank Sleep Shoppe for their sponsorship of the speedway in 2009 and to Fred Hahn for his outstanding efforts as the webmaster for the speedway’s website.

Now that the awards’ gathering is complete, all attention is focused on the fast approaching 2010 campaign. After a swap meet this Saturday (March 6) morning, promoter Jim Morton says that he intends to host early season paid practice sessions on Saturdays March 13, 20 and 27 before the season opening event is presented on April 3. Several racing events will then be presented on selected Saturday nights during the spring and summer months before the annual Turkey Derby caps off the season in November. Morton also mentioned that news will be coming out soon about the return of the “Sunday Series” on the “inner oval” featuring go-karts and other small car divisions.
Morton also said that he plans on hosting the return of the “Formula Drift” event on June 4 and 5 as well as the second year of the popular Friday Night Cruise Nights for hot rod and custom cars on the second Friday of each month from April through October. In addition to the auto events, Morton is currently working with various promoters in an effort to bring other “family friendly” shows and events to the Wall Township stadium this season. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

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

DIRT: VP Spec Fuels Introduced In 2010

VP Racing Fuels, in conjunction with officials from the World Racing Group, DIRTcar Northeast Region and the Super DIRTcar Series, today announced the introduction of their exclusive “D” brand spec fuels for mandatory use by all Super DIRTcar teams effective April 1, 2010.

“We had great success implementing the C12, VP110 and Motorsport 109 spec fuels in the U.S. and Canada last year,” said Jim Kelly, Regional Manager for VP. “Yet in an effort to eliminate the use of mixed or non-compliant fuels and to better track sales which will continue to ensure spec fuel purchase and use, in addition to better managing the year-end track and series awards, together we developed this program for the new season.”

Effective April 1, Super DIRTCar will require the exclusive use of VP’s D12 fuel for the Big-Block Modifieds, the exclusive use of D12, D110 or D109 unleaded for the 358-Modifieds, and the exclusive use of D98 for Sportsman and Pro Stock teams. Mixing or blending of these or other products will not be permitted nor will use of pump gas.

“Mixing fuels, even if mixing VP spec fuels, creates an issue at inspection. Using pump gas can also complicate fuel inspection as the chemical composition and appearance of pump gas varies from county to county, state to state, and even between pump gas available in the U.S. vs Canada,” noted Joe Skotnicki, Competition Administrator for World Racing Group and Director of Series and Sanctions for DIRTcar Northeast. “The implementation of specified fuel products makes inspection efficient, easier to track and speeds up the process for the competitor.”

The “D” fuels are the exact same chemical composition of VP’s “C” or “Motorsport” formulas but to enhance pre-race inspection and post-race analysis, VP has added specific dye colors and chemical agents to ensure the exclusive use of the spec fuels.  For performance and tuning, D12 and D110 are exactly the same in chemical composition as C12 and VP110.  D109 is the same as Motorsport 109 unleaded, with D98 the same as Motorsport 98. These fuels are only produced by VP in Newark, Delaware.

“D98 was first introduced to Sportsman Modifieds and Pro Stocks at Super DIRT Week in Syracuse last Fall and was a tremendous success in performance and racer satisfaction,” remarked Bob Dini, Technical Director for DIRTcar Northeast and the Super DIRTCar Series. “We gave everyone in those divisions one fuel to use which put everyone on the same page as far as cost and fuel performance. The engines performed well and many racers thanked us for leveling the playing field. D98 will be mandatory at all tracks for Sportsman and Pro Stocks without exception.”

To further enhance the tech inspection process and management of the fuel program, the new “D” fuels will be available only from VP designated trackside vendors and specified VP dealers, or direct from VP’s facility in Newark, Del.  Proof of purchase from one of these specified outlets, along with display of VP 5x7” decals on all race cars and the 3x4” VP Racing Fuels logo on driver uniforms will be required during 2010 as specified in the DIRTcar rulebook.

“We handed out a significant amount of fuel certificates at the banquet last year,” Kelly added. “The participating tracks’ 1st, 10th and 12th-place points finishers who qualified for their posted VP awards will be receiving their certificates by mail just in time to acquire the new ‘D’ fuels for the upcoming season.”

Questions about the spec fuel program can be directed to VP’s Jim Kelly at 302/368.1500; VP Tech’s Fred Turza at 302/521.1767; World Racing Group’s Joe Skotnicki at 704/796-4566; or DIRTcar NE’s Bob Dini at 845/358.5049.

TVMRS: More Sponsors Sign On

With the recent announcement of a new title sponsor, Bob Valenti AutoMall.com for the 2010 racing season, Modified Racing Series officials have disclosed two new companies will also be involved with the Northeast's premier racing series.

Connecticut Trailers Inc, and Basement Systems, have come on board in support of the
series contingency program for the new campaign.

Connecticut Trailers Inc. has been in the business of selling trailers since 1997. Located in Bolton, the company has grown to become the largest supplier in the northeast shipping trailers across the nation. They offer the highest quality trailers on the market at fair prices backed by knowledge and personalized service both before and after the sale. Connecticut Trailer is a large supplier to the racing industry and will provide the official trailer of the Modified Racing Series.

Seymour, CT., based Basement Systems, is the world leader in developing and providing products that result in dry, below-grade space. Basement Systems, innovators in wet basement and crawl space repair, has a network of more than 300 dealers throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. The company will contribute to this years point fund.

Back for 2010 but in a bigger way is long time series sponsor New England Racing Fuels, suppliers of Sunoco Race Fuels. John Holland will now provide fuel for the series competitors at each event. Holland will again sponsor the Sunoco Hard Charger award.

DART Machine Company returns to present a weekly bonus award to the highest finishing drivers running under the DART program guidelines as well as the DART Steel Head Engine Builder of the Year Award at seasons end.

Koszela Speed of Coventry, R.I., returns to sponsor the 2010 Rookie of the Year program. SPAFCO Race Cars, Preston, CT., will again provide a weekly bonus to the most improved driver, Sherwood Wheels, Owego, NY, is back with their weekly certificate program, Racing Electronics will again outfit series officials with communications equipment, and Hoosier Tire East, Manchester, CT., returns as the official tire supplier for 2010.

Series officials are busily preparing for the season opening “Budweiser Blastoff” at the Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford, CT., Friday, Mar 26, Saturday, March 27, and Sunday, March 28. Friday will be utilized as a practice day with qualifying races on Saturday and the 100 lap green flag feature race on Sunday. 

Pro Fours: Pro Four Modifieds of New England Racing Series Announces Title Sponsors

After being in an associate sponsorship position for the past two years, two New Hampshire based companies have teamed up to take on the role of Title Sponsor of the Pro Four Modifieds of New England Racing Series. The RF Logic / Bot-L-Gas Pro Four Modifieds of New England racing series has set a 16 race schedule for 2010 that begins on march 27 at the Waterford Speedbowl and ends at Thompson Speedway for the World Series of Racing weekend.

Based in Hudson, NH, RF Logic is a leading supplier of high quality coaxial cable assemblies, custom test equipment and related components to the RF/Microwave and high-speed digital markets. At RF Logic, the management and technical teams have been organized to provide customer-focused solutions for a wide variety of satellite, commercial, military and telecommunication requirements.

Bot-L-Gas is the leading supplier of propane in southern New Hampshire, providing 24-hour customer service by trained service technicians to both commercial and residential customers.

The Pro-Four Modifieds of New England Inc. (PFMNE) is an exciting competitive division that tours many top tracks throughout New England. In 1978 the division was created and began its career at Seekonk Speedway. The immediate success of the Pro-Four Modified's with the fans allowed this division to begin touring New England race tracks. In 1979 the division became know as a limited touring division.

This division is an open-wheel modified series, it is a division with many veterans and young drivers who take advantage of the learning environment to someday progress to a V8 modified touring series. Our engine sizes are limited to 2330cc's capable of 300 hp with spec chassis. The weight to horse power ratio allows extraordinary speed and handling.

Como Modifieds: Fueling more Thunder in 2010: Como Modified Series Adds a Race

In 2009, the Como Modified Series raised the bar on open wheel modified racing in the upper Midwest with a generous $10,000-to-win year end purse, rewards and bonuses, fan contests, and unparalleled multimedia web production.  In 2010, the series will follow that established path by adding an additional race in 2010 and increasing show payouts at many of the events.

"Every year I survey a lot of the drivers that race the Como Modified Series and try to base my improvements on those discussions,” stated Sr. Vice President & CFO of Como Oil and Propane and Series Director Joe Stariha. “One constant request was to increase the first four races' $1,000 to win purses. This year I went back to the tracks and we were able to put together a deal to add $3,000 to the purse to make it a $1,500 to win purse for three races, keep the Governors Cup at $2,000 to win purse, and also add Ogilvie for a $2,000 to win purse which is $5,000 more than last year's $1,000 to win purse."

Ogilvie Raceway will be a new stop for the Como Modified Series, bringing the grand total to nine series events. Now in its second year of operation, the Central Minnesota speedplant will host the modified warriors of the Como Modified Series on July 21, 2010, paying $2,000-to-win. "Adding Ogilvie Raceway to our series was a no-brainer for me. This is a state of the art, brand new racing facility and we can’t wait for our first race there in July. This hopefully will draw a few more southern cars up north for a couple races," commented Stariha.

Continuing with the Como Modified Series, the tracks that have been a staple of the series return in their prospective dates for another year of high-paying, high-flying, open wheel action.  Proctor Speedway in Proctor, MN, opens the season on May 30th and welcomes the series back on September 2nd for the Silver 1000. Hibbing Raceway in Hibbing, MN, brings the series in for a double dip on June 18 and 19 and then back in for the Labor Day Shootout on September 4th.  Superior Speedway in Superior, WI, welcomes the series on August 4th and then a return date on September 11th for the Northern Nationals.  ABC Raceway in Ashland, WI, invites the series for an August 7th date and will close out the season at the Red Clay Classic on October 1 and 2, 2010.

“We are always striving to provide opportunity for the open wheel modified stars of this area,” stated Stariha. “Adding a race, increasing purses, and working on more incentive based programs for these drivers and fun-filled events for our fans is our goal and it seems we have a solid growth pattern moving into our fifth year in 2010.”

In addition to the already burgeoning schedule and support that the Como Modified Series provides, a working agreement was established with the newly formed Race Minnesota Modified Series (RACEMN) to align organizations and work together on schedules and opportunities for the drivers that follow both series.  More information will be released soon on incentive based programs for the 2010 season.

The 2010 Como Modified Series Schedule:

Proctor – Sunday May 30th
Hibbing – Friday & Saturday June 18th & 19th
Ogilvie – Wednesday July 21st
Superior – Wednesday August 4th
Ashland – Saturday August 7th
Proctor – Thursday September 2nd  (Silver 1000)
Hibbing – Saturday September 4th (Labor Day Shootout)
Superior – Saturday September 11th (Northern Nationals)
Ashland – Friday & Saturday October 1st and 2nd (Red Clay Classic)

There are improvements underway at Waterford Speedbowl (CT).  (Rick Ibsen Photo)
The announcement of a new series sponsor for the Modified Racing Series.  (Jim Dupont Photo)
The New York State Faigrounds.  (NY State Fair Photo)