When all the schedules came out, this Friday it was a date that we were excited for from the start. When the International Super Modified Association (ISMA) showed up on the schedule for a Friday night show at Stafford we knew that was going to be one that we would not want to miss. It has been a number of years since they have been on the schedule at the famed Stafford Motor Speedway, but it sounds like they have not missed a beat with practice this past week showing speeds of 140 mph plus!! There are a lot of names that some may know well and others that are not as common with us here in Connecticut asphalt short tracks scene. It will be sure to be a show that is worth coming to with names such as Joey Payne, David Shullick Jr, Jon McKennedy, Trent Stephens, Chris Perley, Mike McVetta and more. If you would like to check out the current standings of the ISMA tour click HERE look under ISMA.
These ISMA Super Modified big block cars are very impressive to watch not only because the drivers have amazing car handling abilities, but they are flying around that ½ mile track in a beast of a car at 140+ MPH. The car only weighs 1,850 pounds it runs 800-900 horse power Methanol alcohol burning American made, cast iron, fuel injected Chevrolet V-8 big block. The engines are completely off set to the left of the car, they are direct drive to the rear end. No transmissions, starters or clutches, they have to be pushed started to save weight. They have wings as well, and one very large one above that pivots and changes angle to increase down force in the corners and levels out to decrease resistance on the straights. ISMA supers can maintain cornering speed that rivals any race car in the world today.
They have different size tires with the right rear being roughly 2 feet wide! ISMA supermodifieds are the fastest short-track racecars in the world. An ISMA super mod reaches speeds in excess of 140 mph at asphalt ovals that are all less than one mile in length. The long and the short of that combination of weight and power is these machines are impressive to say the least. They are one of the fastest oval cars around. With an incredible power to weight ratio! If you have never seen a race or don’t know much about the background this is a very informative read about the history of the ISMA tour http://www.ismasupers.com/index.php/history
We expect that not only will the ISMA tour put on a show but all the weekly divisions will be itching to go after last weeks rain out at Stafford. We know that Ronnie Willams is hopeful for another win and Brett Gonyaw would love to pick up another SK lite win coming off of the Dunleavy’s big show last race. It was too bad that last weekend got rained out but hopefully that makes for an extra exciting show this week to make up for it! Current Stafford point standings can be found HERE.
Originally this year we thought everything would be ‘per usual’. Our weekly schedule would include Stafford, Waterford, Thompson when they run and the occasional touring series that may take us away from our ‘normal schedule’ but that has not been the case. We have seen some great racing both at Stafford and Thompson this year but it still has not felt right with the ‘Bowl not running. It is almost like the season has yet to start even though we know it is well underway. We have been able to catch some awesome dirt races so don’t get us wrong here, it has worked out in some ways just not that way we had originally thought it would. We have been waiting and hoping that something would come together so we could attend our ‘home track’ this year.
\Well this weekend we can say that we are GOING TO THE ‘BOWL!! And we are not going to Waterford for a practice or to meet up with some friends, but we are going for a RACE! We are VERY excited for the opening show to be taking place this Saturday. It has been a long road with a lot of people working very hard to get this done. Of these people, several of them are individuals that most people will ever know how hard they worked and are working for all of us to be able to go ‘home’ again. We wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all those both known and unknown that are making this happen! Make sure this weekend you stop and say thank you to any of them. There was some disappointing, but not really surprising news coming out this week from NASCAR about the Speedbowl. As many of us hoped they would return to the Bowl this year, NASCAR will not be. Any track Applying for a sanction once the race season and points have started is a very tough and unlikely row to hoe to start with. But the efforts were made and no one can be knocked for trying. Many, many tracks run without NASCAR, I would venture to say the majority of tracks across America do and do very well, Waterford ran many years without NASCAR. It is just that our local tracks in CT have all been NASCAR in recent years therefore a lot of people assume that is how it is everywhere....NASCAR definitely brings things to the table for tracks and fans, but like anything there is a trade off and pros and cons. Without NASCAR it forces some tracks to think outside the box and be creative, It also offers a lot more freedom for the tracks to run how they want and to do what they want as the buck stops with them. Many non sanctioned tracks tend to have good purses and are a little cheaper to get in, but this also has to do with location, demographics and local economy so it will be interesting on how this all plays out. I know the track hoped as well for NASCAR to be back this year, but they were realistic and had plans in place, insurance is ready and the track is ready to race I am told by the Speedbowl. They are not letting this rain on their parade on bit!
Now with that said, down to business!! This weekend the New London Waterford Speed Bowl will be kicking off their season with the #BowlStrong Blast-Off 2017 with a full schedule of events. The normal weekly Saturday divisions will all be there. To headline the event the Valenti Modified Racing Series will be on hand with a 100 lap feature. The MRS puts on great shows and the best can be at the Bowl! There will be 25 lap features for Late Models, NLWS Trucks, Legends, Limited Sportsman, SK Lites as well as the Mini Stocks. The SK modifieds will round out the show with a 35 lap feature (hopefully someday we will see 50 lap SK features there). We all know it is still up for debate what the attendance and car counts will be, but we can say that we keep hearing more and more that people will be there to support the bowl. This past weekend over 60 cars and 600 people showed up for a practice on a short notice, with many competing tracks running big shows and with questionable weather.
We would venture a guess that the cars will be there and it will be the type of show we all expect from the ‘Bowl. Might even go out on a limb and say it will be better than normal because we have all been waiting so long to see it happen this year! Come out to support the drivers and teams, fellow fans, the new management and staff and the sustainability of the track. This is what you will be supporting.
In the reactionary world we live in today, with social media, conventional media and a world that sometimes seems to not only look for drama, but thrive off of it at times....We would hope people keep a few things in mind. First being, remember the people who are putting this together for all of us are doing it for the love of racing, some of them have never had any part or very little part in running and operating a race track. Some of the new employees have never worked at a track before reguardless if they are in a tower or parking cars, so be patient. Also as it may seem odd for almost being July it is their season opener and regardless of any situation things can be a little rusty for any opener. They are learning and growing as they go and expect road bumps and changes along the way. I think they are very open to ideas and constructive dialog. I say reach out with positive as well as constructive feedback as am sure they want to hear it, so they know what they are doing is working and what needs addressing. For those not going we all respect your choice and understand it and hopefully maybe you will give it a chance at some point, but at the very least be thankful you have the "option" not to go, as up until a few weeks ago none of us had any option here....We tend to be one big family in racing when it is all said and done, and family's do not always agree but at the end of the day it does not change who we are..
The other big show for the weekend will be that of the Buzz Chew 200 for the Whelen Modified tour to take place out at Riverhead. Ryan Preece is coming off his Modified Touring Series win from last weekend as well as his Whelen Modified Tour win at the Thompson 125. There will be no question that he will be looking for another win and will be the odds on to win. The Whelen Tour has been very exciting so far this year. There have been great battles and lots of drivers looking very strong. It will be a bit of a different race than Thompson as Riverhead is known for being a bullring and different drivers will excel there.
We would have to say not to count out the driving skills of Timmy Solomito, Justin Bonsignore, Eric Goodale and Max Zachem just to name a few as they are all very capable drivers in this setting. Hopefully the weather holds out, but if not we are told Sunday is the rain date. The Riverhead race is usually one that leaves people talking about it, there tends to be lots of action and drama at times. Currently the points are as follows, Timmy Solomito, Rowan Pennink, Eric Goodale, Max Zachem, and Justin Bonsignore. For all the current point standings click HERE.
Looks like it will be a good weekend of racing and hopefully the weather doesn’t hinder any of it but time will tell. We will be having a good time at Stafford camping out and will move our way down to Waterford Saturday morning very early as we have to meet up to pick up our order of #Bowlstrong and #ModOn shirts from Natural Designs who we want to thank for going above and beyond to make sure we have them for the Bowl opener. Please let us know if you would like a shirt. (shirt and sticker pictures below) we also have stickers and decals as well, thanks for the support! If you see us, stop us – introduce yourself we always like to meet new people. The Valley, Seekonk, Monadnock and Star are all running this weekend too. Get out and catch some of the great racing this weekend or all of it! As always, #BowlStrong #ModOn and we will see you at the track - MT and RG