MODIFIED AND BUSCH NORTH LEFTOVERS by Mike Twist
An Historic Event Sees a Few Major Changes, No BGNN Rain Date?
THOMPSON 300 TO SEE FORMAT CHANGES

During the NASCAR Modified Series driver’s meeting last week at the Thompson Speedway (CT), teams were informed of a change to the format for next month’s 300 lap event at the facility.
The September 12th race will be split into three 100-lap
segments with a different winner for each leg of the show. Any driver winning two of the legs in the same car will get a bonus of $5,000.  A driver who sweeps all three legs in the same car gets a $10,000 bonus.

The lineup will also be determined in a different way.  Time trials will be scrapped and a blind draw will set the stage for heat race lineups.  Eight cars from each heat race, to be held on Saturday afternoon, will the make it into the starting field of Sunday‘s main event.  Cars not making it into the feature that way will line up for a consi at Noon on Sunday.  Five provisionals will round out the 40-car starting grid.

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The drivers meeting at Thompson brought some interesting news.  (51 Photo)
The most interesting twist is that non qualifiers will get the chance to start the second and third races to replace cars that did not finish.  NASCAR points will only be awarded to the 40 starters of segment one, but each leg of the event could have a slightly different 40 car field depending on attrition..
The NASCAR Busch North Series race at the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway was also called off.  The word from NASCAR came down at 9:00am on Saturday, but despite a clear forecast for Sunday the race was not postponed a day.  In fact, whether or not it will be rescheduled at all is unclear at this
point.

Sunday races have not brought much of a crowd to Beech Ridge in the past, so track officials have been hesitant to rescheduled events for that day.   The next three weekends are open dates for the Busch North Series, but each one has a conflict with something at the Maine track.  Next weekend
is out, there is a sponsor commitment that the track has to honor during their weekly show.  The following week brings vintage racecars to the facility and that doesn’t seem to be an option.  September 11th in being discussed as a possibility, but with that date being the season finale for the track’s regular divisions, it might be a busy night also.

Since Beech Ridge closes down after Labor Day every year, a rescheduled date for later in the month won’t be an option.

If the race is cancelled, that will leave only three remaining events in the NASCAR Busch North Series schedule. An announcement as to the status of the race is expected to come later this week.



Ryan Moore might not get to race in his hometown of Scraborough, Maine this season  (NASCAR Touring/Tom Gallo Photo)
“I understand why they are doing this, but I’m a little disappointed,” said Doug Coby.  “I only got to run one 300 under the old format.  That was probably the race that I most anticipated so far in my career.  I didn’t know what the car would do over 300 laps.  That was a challenge.”

Coby understands the entertainment value of the change however.

“They are trying something different and I respect that,” Coby said.  “NASCAR is trying new things in Nextel Cup and it’s working.  Of course we are all going to hate change in the beginning, but if it works, it works.  Our initial reaction is that we are shocked, but we’ll see how it goes.”

RAIN WREAKS HAVOC ON NEW ENGLAND RACING

The New England region was blanketed by heavy storms for Friday and Saturday that brought downpours and heavy winds. Needless to say, racing was curtailed just about everywhere.  On Friday night, Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) and Lee Speedway (NH) were washed out and on Saturday the
list was filled with tracks from all over the area.
An overall winner will be determined by their finish in the
three 100-lap mini-races.

Reaction to the change was mixed among the drivers.  Many at Thompson did not have time to fully interpret the new format and choose not to talk about it.  Some drivers were a little confused by the changes and a few even wondered if the format would not change again before race time. However, Speed 51 found one brave young soul who would go on record.
Tony Hirschman won last year's old format running of the Thompson 300.  (NASCAR Touring/Howie Hodge Photo)
Touring series were not immune, but a very different approaches were used in how the rainouts unfolded.  PASS
made their call on Friday evening, postponing their 150-lap
event at the I-95 Speedway (ME) until Sunday afternoon and
saving teams travel costs to sit in the rain. 

ACT officials were slightly more optimistic and waited until Saturday morning to call move their event at the White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH) until Sunday.