Last Friday night we would be at Stafford Motor Speedway per our regular Friday schedule. It was a regular event night with A Wild Thing Cart race added to the night. The 15 lap DARE stocks would find Trace Beyer for the win Zack Robinson and Johnny Walker would conclude the podium. The limited late models would try to battle for 20 laps, but an early call for “over aggression” would set the tone. After that the field would run basically the same for half the race. In the end Robert Bloxsom, III would get his first win of the season followed by Duane Provost and Jeremy Lavoie.
The 14 car field of late models would set up to do battle, with an early caution that would send cars to the pits for repairs and assessments before any laps could get checked off. Once again and “over aggression call was made” though this would not phase some of the guys who were there to race and put on a show. After the restart Wray, Reen, Leary, Bennett, Vasser and Gambacorta would be battling up front. Reen and Bennett would be trading paint and racing hard as Wray and Bennette would go at it as well. During the show the fans were getting into it, more so then I have seen them all year for a fender division at Stafford. Reen would spin during this, he would work his way back up to fight in the front again. He would race hard with Bennett once again and Bennett would spin this time. Bennett would work his way back up front as well and by lap 25 him and Reen were putting on a great show both leaning and working on each other. The fans were really enjoying this race to this point, as it would appear the race control warnings were being ignored and these guys were concentrating on hard racing.
Leary would extend his lead while the cars behind battled. Bennett would get hard in to Reen with a bump and run to get by on lap 26. On lap 29 Reen would once again get the crowd excited as he returned the same move with a Bump and run down low to get by Bennett in the same fashion on the last lap. This time, unlike Bennett a few laps prior, Reen would get the black flag for the pass and would not get the 2nd place that he would cross the line at. Leary would take down his first Late Model win, congratulations too him! Bennett would inherit P2 with Wray P3.
This was the most exciting fender race to date at Stafford this season in my opinion, though many left disappointed with the “over aggression” calls during the night… This has been happening too often this year at the tracks in CT. The fans and drivers are unhappy with it as they come to see and drive hard races. We do not need a “Mad House” but most want to see good hard racing where things are on the edge and they let it hang out. There is a difference between “dirty racing” and “hard racing”. This may upset some, but the paying customers need to be listen too…The stands and car counts all over speak to this.. Pay attention to what tracks are full of fans and cars and you will see most of them are where they are "allowed" to race hard and put on shows. Never should safety be compromised, but it does not have to be to put on a good show. It is proven time and time again. However, this is a conversation for a whole other story.
The SK Lites would put on a good race, Brett Gonyaw would jump to the lead quick in a fast #81, but Marcello Rufrano would be right on his bumper with another very fast car pressuring Gonyaw lap after lap. These two would run side by side on a restart with Rurfrano coming out on top for the lead. Cory DiMatteo would mix it up as well with Prucker and Wesson in the top 5. Arute would get around Wesson for a P5. Rurfrano would go unchallenged and would take his first win of the season in an impressive car. Gonyaw P2, DiMatteo, Prucker, and Arute rounding out the top 5. On a side note, I think it was pretty cool of SK Lite competitor Geoff Nooney who did not run this race to sponsor Gonyaws fuel for the race. It is great to see such great sportsmanship still out there.
The crowd favorite SK Modifieds would close the night out for a 40 lap feature. Brendon Bock, Membrino with Austin Pickens along with Eric Berndt would spin and bring out the yellow before a lap could be completed. A lap 7 restart would have the top 3 rows run 2 by 2 for a little while. Once shuffled out it would be Galko in the lead on lap-9 with Owen second. McDermott would find himself in third with Hines in fourth, Rocco for fifth spot. Kopcik would fall in next with Chase Dowling in tow for seventh. Dowling would battle his way towards the front. On lap 35 Dowling would get by Galko and never look back getting his fourth SK win at Stafford on the year. Owen would cross third with Rocco then McDermott rounding out the top 5 For complete Stafford results and points click HERE
Saturday we would find ourselves heading north to Epping NH to Star Speedway for the Tri Track Modified series 125 lap race. With a large field of over 30 cars and some Big names like Pitkat, Penneink, Hirschman, Barrett and Jankowiak to just name a few. It was a beautiful day for a race, many improvements and cosmetic upgrades were noticeable to the facility. Bobby Webber Jr and his team have been doing a good job bringing Star back. It’s a great little racey track. If you have never been we suggest you check it out. Tri-Track will return to Star for their last visit of the year there Wednesday Aug. 23rd, be sure to check it out! Star is a fun place for us to shoot photos at. They are very accommodating and let the photographers just do their thing in and out of the track. It is very refreshing, it makes things easier and it shows in the photos everyone takes. The heats would provide some great racing and leave some top drivers left to battle in the consi.
Masse would lead for the early part of the race with Annarummo, Pitkat, Savary with Pauls and Pasteryak in tow battling it out. Matt Galko in the Kluth #27 would bring the first yellow on lap 30. The restart would look much the same and Max Zachem would find his way into the top ten in the Cerrivello #16. There would be good racing going on throughout the field and at Star they have to work to pass but there is a workable top grove. Lap 50 would find Savary working on Masse for the top spot. Barrett who started scratch would find himself just outside the top ten. At halfway on lap 62 the top ten order was Masse, Savary, Annarummo, Pitkat, Pasteryak, Medeiros, Kievman, Pennink, Zachem, Hirschman, and Andy Jankowiak, who climbed from an 18th spot start.
Lap 73 would bring a yellow and it would prove not to be the last. By this point the racing was good, battles throughout and some impressive moves made as well as some drivers having some great runs. Some unexpected drivers were finding themselves battling in the top half of the field as some normally would struggle to be there in such a stacked field as this. All but two cars went into the pits on this yellow! It was wild to see everyone leave the track but two and one of the two was a lapped car. Galko who stayed out would start up front with Pasteryak. Hirschman would be third by the lap 75 yellow. Lap 78 would see Hirschman in the lead as well as another yellow. Lap 81 would find Masse and Pasteryak fighting and that would end with Pasteryak bringing out a yellow for a spin. On lap 82 the yellow would be out for the sixth time when Zachem got tangled in a situation. Annarummo, Medeiros, Paules, Savary, Pitkat, Pasteryak, , Jarvis, Gallup Kievman, Nocella and Zachem would be involved in this series of yellow for minor incidents. During all this Galko would fall back as the freight train would pass on the inside before he could get back in while Hirschman was still in the lead. Pennink and Cantara found themselves inside the top five looking very competitive. On lap 87, a unpopular single file restart was enforced. With this, most fans knew chances were no one would catch Hirschman now with single file starts. Pennink looked fast and that he might have had something for Hirschman if there was a double start.
The first ¾ of the race was good, entertaining with action, then the yellow fever came and there was frustration all around. I do not think anyone wanted or expected a single file restart on a top modified tour as this left fans and teams disappointed alike… To be fair there was rumor that there was a “curfew”…But It was not that late… I do not know the specifics or if this is a fact but we did want to note it. After the single file starts the race just lost what it had and baring any mechanical failure all money was on Hirschman for the win at this point. Lap 102 would see the last restart and it was single file as well. After this, Hirschman would pull away and lead the rest of the race unchallenged for the win. This is his second Tri-Track win this year in as many races. He also has won this event multiple times in the past. He is a force to reckon with on The Tri-Track Series. Pennink would have another strong Tri Track finish for second, Cantara a former Star regular would finish third after starting 24th. Nocella and Pitkat would round out the top five. A notable finish in sixth-place would be Tommy Barrett, Jr., who started scratch on the field. Masse 7th, Monadnock regular Brian Robie, Kievman and Zachem rounded out the top ten. We had a fun day seeing everyone, getting a chance to be back up to Star and watch another Tri Track show. For more info on Tri-Track click HERE. We do have to say we enjoyed stars weekly divisions including the 350 super mods. All the divisions put on great shows with hard racing, 3 and 4 wide. Leaning and bumping full contact, probably one of the best weekly division shows all season we have seen. No black flags here for racing. They let them race and the fans loved it.
To end the weekend we decided to take at ride up to Lebanon Valley Speedway for the Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions 410 winged Sprints and the King of Dirt Small Block Modified event. The schedule had both the 410 Sprint cars and the small block mods so we thought there was no way to lose on a trip up for some Sunday entertainment. We really do enjoy going to Lebanon Valley and were glad to see a non Saturday night show scheduled (MR. Dirt 100 Big Block is also Thursday Aug. 31st) show as most of our Saturdays are tied up from now to the end of the season.
This was also Tony Stewart’s second start in the sprint car at Lebanon Valley as well. The crowd was very good and we got time in the pits to catch up with many people. On a quick side note, we wanted to take a second to thank everyone who stopped us to tell us that they enjoy what we are doing. It really is appreciated to know that we are doing something that people are appreciating and enjoying. We did not know we had so many fans in dirt country, as well all the asphalt people that we had seen there as well. We got to meet many friendly media personal and photographers from up that way as many came up to us and introduce themselves. It was a breath of fresh air and they all had the passion for the sport. Having our “#ModOn-Mod Squad Racing Media” shirts helped people ID us I guess. Speaking of Mod Squad shirts it was awesome seeing some being worn up there as well. We see them everywhere now and it is really cool (Let us know if you need one!) Also we got to talk to team members from Ted Marsh racing that came up to us along with many teams and drivers racing there along with a ton of fans. Just the amount of support and conversations was unexpected and awesome for our Sunday visit to the Valley! We just wanted to say a quick thank you everyone.
Being from down in asphalt country it’s a fun change to go see these guys fly thru the turns and kick up the dirt. There was a large field of small block modifieds, 31 took the
track for qualifying. It was a good race with lots of unexpected turns. Frank Harper started the race on the pole and was being tracked down hard by Brian Berger, driving Kenny Tremont Jr’s number 115 until the motor broke in that car. Also, at the same time the radiator cap blew off of Harper’s car taking him out of the competition as
well. There were a total of 5 cautions and in the end it would be J.R. Heffner who would
take home the win followed by Demetrios Drellos, Jason Herrington, Brian Paterson and
Brett Haas rounded out the top five place finishers. In the first ever King of Dirt Small
Block Modified Victory Heffner took home $1500 of the purse for his first place finish. The night before he had also won the weekly Big Block mod race at the Valley and took home $3,000 on Saturday as well.
To finish out the night the Sprint cars took to the half mile high banks for their 25 lap feature. Dirt sprints are wild if you have never seen them. They weigh roughly 1,400 lbs and run 410 cubic inch fuel injected methanol burning $50K+ engines turning up to 9,000 RPM on a short narrow winged chassis. They have absolutely no problem pulling wheelies if given enough throttle at once. There was a redraw on the front stretch prior to the start and on the pole would be Danny Dietrich. The pole was awarded to him by winning the J&E Pistons Dash race.
The race took a little bit to settle in and they had more caution laps than expected which lead to a ‘working red’ to fuel the cars. Though there were not too many yellows the fuel consumption is very high on these 900+ horsepower beasts, about a gallon a lap. They were allowed to make adjustments however they were not allowed to change any tires. At the end of the 25 laps #13 of Dietrich would prove to be the leader and take home the $7000 for winning the Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions feature. Following Dietrich in second was Armstrong and Swindell who would take a third finish that he worked through the field to get. Kemenah would bring home fourth place while Tony "Smoke" Stewart in his #14 rounded out the top 5 For more info on these Dirt Sprints click HERE.
Wednesday August 2nd we plan on heading to Fonda Speedway when the "third annual tribute race to the legendary Jack Johnson takes place at the “Track of Champions”. Johnson is not only the leader of the modified all time win list with 149 big block modified [track] victories, he is also the driver with the most track championships at Fonda with 11 and this event is a fitting tribute to the legendary driver from Duanesburg, NY.” Fonda is a fast “D” shape track right on the river (where cars sometimes end up) and right off the highway and is very easy to get to. We have been multiple times and Fonda was our first dirt track we ever went to. “This year’s Johnson Tribute event will be the “Jack 50”, a 50-lap feature event, all green flag laps, for $5,000 to win.” 24 cars will start the event. Also racing will be a 30 lap Sportsman feature along with the12th Annual Hondo Classic. 30 lap Pro-Stock event. Heats to start for the night at 7:15 on Wednesday.
History could be made, this could be Brett Hearn’s 900th win if he takes the checkers, yes 900th!!! It will probably be a once in a lifetime thing to witness someone win their 900th race. For those who do not know who Hearn is, I would say he is the Ted Christopher of the dirt world as far as accomplishments and talent go. He currently runs the number #20 Big Block Mod normally. Actually we talk and think how cool it would be to see Hearn jump in a tour type asphalt mod, the man can wheel and that would be awesome to see. Click HERE for more info on Fonda. We will be at Stafford for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race Friday. Saturday will find us at the Waterford Speedbowl as the Mr. Rooter trucks visit. We will have more on these events at the end of the week. Until the next green drops #Modon RG & MT