New England's longest running traditional oval-track racing event, the "Classic" for Super Modifieds, is now officially sanctioned and scheduled for the green flag on Saturday night, Sept. 11th, here at Lee USA Speedway.
The 45th annual "Classic" already has drawn a long entry list as the grand-daddy event of New England motorsports returns to Lee for the first time since 1967, sanctioned by International Super Modified Association (ISMA).
This year's championship program has a new site and a special new format making up the 100-lap "Classic" with two 50-lap feature events. Points will be awarded in each 50-lap portion, along with $20,000 in each main event. The field will be inverted from the finish of the first 50-lapper to the start of the second 50 laps. Up to 24 Super Modifieds will start each race.
The overall best finisher in the twin races for the 100-lap distance will win the 2010 "Classic" championship plus bonus prize money. In case of a tie in points, the tie-breaker will be determined by the best finish in 12-lap qualifying heats, giving each heat race extra incentive for drivers.
Fans will be treated to green-flag racing only, meaning caution-flag laps will not count in this special all-out "Classic" championship clash.
Six-time ISMA Champion Chris Perley, of Rowley, MA, is among the
top entries. Perley is a four-time Classic champion (1996, 2005, 2008, 2009) and is attempting to become only the third driver ever to win three consecutive Classics. Legendary Ollie Silva won three straight between 1969 and 1971 and Russ Wood scored a Classic hat trick (2002-2004).
Wood, of Pelham, NH, is a five-time Classic champion and will be driving the sleek Brian Allegresso·-prepared winged No. 29 equipped with a 9000horsepower motor.
Bobby Santos III, the current 2010 NASCAR Modified Division National Championship point leader, will be making a rare Super Modified start in this "Classic" race. Santos is a late entry driving Clyde Booth's low-slung special design No. 61 from Mooresville, N.C.
Santos is no stranger to the Lee Oval, having the 2006 Ollie Silva Memorial Championship. In 2007, Santos finished second after starting 22nd in the Silva 75-lap Super Modified event at Lee.
The winner of numerous United States Auto Club (USAC) events from California to the Mid-west and Northeast, Santos is looking to add the "Classic" championship to his list of career achievements.
Justin Belfiore, the 2007 "Classic" champ from Ipswich, MA, has a beautiful winged Super Modified ready to roll which he has driven to top finishes in California, Nevada and Vermont.
Canada also is represented with four top cars headed to the Classic from north of the border.
Mark Sammut, of London, Ontario, won this July's 100-Lap "High Mile Championship" at Sandusky, Ohio. Sammut is no stranger to the Lee 3/8-mile banked oval. Sammut won the 2009 Ollie Silva Memorial 75-lap Super Modified event with a spectacular late race charge.
Mike Licty, of Toronto, finished fourth after leading some of the 2009 Classic and will return for another try. Craig Rayvals, of Brockville, Ontario, took a nasty flip at Lee in 2009, but will return for a bid at the 2010 title. Gary Morton, of Oshawa, Ontario, also is expected.
Ray Graham, of Ankeny, Iowa, won this year's "Mr. Super Modified" Championship at Oswego, NY, and is entered for the Classic at Lee. So is the four-time Northeast Midget Racing Association Champion Ben Seitz, driving a new highly sophisticated winged Super Modified.
Also scheduled on the Classic night program is a special 40-lap small block Super Modified feature event plus a full card of stock car racing.
The pit area on Classic Saturday will open at noon with the grandstand box office opening at 4:00, for practice warm-up sessions. Stock car heats start at 6:00. Super Modified Classic qualifying heats begin
at 6:30, the 100-lap "Classic" starts at 7:30, with the first 50-lap main event .
Back in 1966, the old Lee Raceway tri-oval hosted the first Classic, which was the only other time the championship was decided by points earned in race segments. Racing Hall-of- Famers, Eddie West,
Don MacLaren and Bob Cloutier shared the inaugural Classic title. Bud Crotty won the 1967 Classic at Lee before the race venue shifted to Star Speedway, in Epping, NH.