Bristol, we came we saw and now we are back home with lots of pictures to go through and we are still way behind about 3 weeks worth…Its been a crazy few days but we are so glad we took the time to go down and visit North Wilkesboro and take in the Bristol experience again this year. 2,000 plus miles in 4 days. We will have a story and plenty of photos in the near future from our great visit to The Late Great North Wilkesboro Speedway..
The Whelen Modified Tour show at Bristol is something we have been looking forward to as there is nothing like the sound of the modifieds at Bristol. Its an experience in itself being there. Going into this race it is always so hard to know who is going to win. There are so many ‘wild cards’ if you will between the combination of teams, typically in the past north and south guys running together as well as the speed of the track. There tends to be at least one of two guys that you would pick to win that don’t get to finish the race due to wrecks. There were a few guys who ran this race that have not been tour ‘regulars’ this year such as Burt Myers, Jeremy Gerstner, Patrick Emerling, Austin Pickins, Bryan Dauzat and Stafford CT Speedway regular Ronnie Williams. There were also some missing that we are used to
seeing such as Max Zachem and Woody Pitkat. The field was not as large as in past years only 26 cars took the track to start the race. Emerling was fast all day in practice and was able to grab the pole. Burt Myers made the trip but unfortunately he hit the wall hard coming out of turn four during practice. His team worked hard to fix the car but was unable to get it done. He did take the green flag in Ryan Preece’s back up car for a start and park. There where a few other disappointments during the race as well. Timmy Solomito would end up coming in on the back end of the #77 of Santos spinning on lap 68 and it caused some serious damage to his car. They where able to come back out toward the end of the race to complete a few laps to finish 15th and hold on to the points lead. Eric Goodale lost his motor and in a separate event the #75 of Jeremy Gerchner would also find the wall and end up breaking open the sand barrels at the end of the pit road. The damage to the car from the wreck ended his night. Both the #63 and #64 would leave on wreckers as well.
At the end of the race Patrick Emerling found himself with what you could say was a flawless night. He started on the pole, led all the laps of the race and took the checkers. Congratulations to him and his whole team on winning at Bristol and holding off Doug Coby and the #2 team. Justin Bonsignore finished the night in third, Chase Dowling for fourth, Ryan Preece in fifth. Andy Seuss had a strong run in his #70 family owned car and finished the night sixth followed by Rowan Pennink, Ronnie Williams, Bobby Stantos and Matt Swanson. Ronnie Williams had a strong run and did very well, shout out to him on not only having an awesome run for his first time out at Bristol but also for bringing it home in one piece.
This race was a bit different than what we expecting. NASCAR has added the VHT (A traction enhancer) to the track in the lower groove. The intention of adding this grip is for the truck, Xfinity and cup cars and since they are running this weekend and the trucks ran the same night as the mods, they put it down for the modifieds as well. In the case of the mod tour it does not make for more exciting racing as they already could run the top and bottom grooves, it made the bottom groove so much faster it took the typical passing we are used to seeing away from them. It really is too bad that they have gone to this. The intention was good but the product that they ended up with, at least in the case of the modifieds, is not what they were going for.
It took great racing and made it less action packed. Very little passing compared to the past. It worked.. but did not, it made the bottom so fast that the top was basically useless. Now if they coated all the grooves they might be onto something. I think the truck drivers felt the same, but they did have a top groove to work if they were set up as Kyle Bush proved that in the truck race by putting on an incredible show after being penalized for pit speed, sent to the back and passed the whole feild one the outside like a man on a mission. By time the trucks got to run it had rained heavy and I am sure washed some of the VHT off as well as drying the track did. So it was not as prominent of a difference. To make a Bristol mod race a not so good race you really have to mess something up and they did. But none the less it was "Bristol Baby"
In true Bristol fashion we HAD to have a rain delay. We were just happy it was not mid way through the modified race, as they would have likely had to cut the race short to get the trucks on the track for the live television broadcast, you know the good old dollar running the show. Right before the truck race was scheduled to start the sky got dark, we check the radar and there is a dot of rain about the size of the track that managed to pass right OVER the track. Once they had got the track just about dry another storm cell passed over, although that one looked like it was not even in Bristol but all around BUT either way we ended up with a two hour rain delay. We should not be shocked; it seems to be the name of the game down there. The trucks put on a good show. At lot of the VHT seemed to be worn off between the modified race and the rain. Kyle Busch started on the pole and he had a fast truck all night. He was able to win both of the first segments of the race.
Going back out for the third and final segment of the 200 lap feature he was put to the back for speeding on pit road. It was a show to watch him move his truck all the way from the back to the front of the pack on the outside. There was lot of three wide moves in the field and as the track came in Kyle started running higher and higher in the turns till he was at the wall. Once he started to do this he was even faster and the other teams followed suite. It was a fun race to watch, Busch was able to fight his way back to the front and win the race. We also got to see him lay down an epic burn out at the end of the race one of the best burnouts for sure. The truck kept going once he jumped out and he actually had to reach in and shut it off.
Over all we wish that the VHT was either not on the track or minimally that NASCAR had put down all the grooves. If they did that it would have been some great racing. It just lacked the normal thrill of the modified races we are accustomed to seeing, specifically at Thunder Valley. It is too bad. If any of the fans that were there to watch the trucks caught the end of the modified race it normally would pull them in and get them interested in modified racing. We are not so sure that happened this week; it was a missed opportunity too because the modifieds only get so many shows in a year that they maybe exposing some new people who did not show up to watch the modified race to the type of racing we all chase down.
One thing Bristol DID do for the modifieds is make the points very close. Coming out of this race you now only have two points separating Timmy Solomito, currently first, from Rowan Pennink who is sitting in second. After them Ryan Preece is only seven points behind Pennink;
The top ten are:
1. T. Solomito (280)
2. Pennink (378)
3. Preece (363)
4. Coby (363)
5. Bonsignore (361)
6. E. Goodale (349)
7. Sapienza (313)
8. Swanson (308)
9. Zacham (301)
10. Summers (294)
With the Tour going into Seekonk at the end of the month, not so far away, with these close points it is going to make for some awesome racing. We think the tour has the potential to be exciting right down to the end this year; for the full results and points standing click HERE.
Coming off of Bristol we are anything but well rested and plan to keep that trend going. With Stafford canceling their Friday night show due to rain we are currently debating which way to go. There are a couple other Friday night shows that run and we never get to as we are always at Stafford weather permitting. We may head up to Albany-Saratoga or maybe Claremont but time will tell as the day goes on. We will keep you posted as we make up our minds on which way to go....
Then on Saturday we will be heading up to Monadnock for the EXIT Realty Modified Touring Series race! They are now on their second race in the chase format; the first was at Stafford Motor Speedway where John McKennedy won. There at twelve drivers that are in the Quest for the Cup and at the end the winning will be taking home the title along with $10,000. This will also be the first race with a new tire compound on the right side tire. The American Racer tires have been very consistent and don’t seem to fall off much. This new compound is meant to give them a little softer compound on the right side in hopes of making the racing even better. This is going to be awesome not only are there a group of guys fighting for the win among the field but everyone will be working on figuring out the new compound as well as after tomorrow there are only 2 races left to see what 5 drivers in points will have a shot at the Sunoco Quest For The Cup $10,000 at the final race at Waterford Speedbowl in October. So as of now we have 2 races left at Monadnock including tomorrow and 2 at the SpeedBowl,
Also, this past week Gary Knight (the owner of the series) announced that if there are any new teams that would like to run for the remainder of the season he will be waving the licensing fee. Small teams should consider this as Mad Dog is not a horsespower track. MTS has SK type mod rules as well so Sk teams can run. 16th place to 26th pays $660. We know we have seen this over and over with Gary and Alichia Knight in the short time they have been running the MTS are going out of their way to try to make this as racer friendly as possible. They also are trying to keep the fans in mind by delivering a quality show. They recently made some changes and are working on making the website better and more fan friendly so everyone can access any information they are looking for quickly. We know how much time and effort things such as setting up website takes so we do applaud them taking the time to keep improving things. It’s a process so bear with them as they keep updating and improving the new web page. We just have to say we are very happy and proud to be part of #TeamMTS .
We know that they are currently working on an entry list and we will update you, post and share it as soon as we see it released. Exspect the regular MTS Big names, Preece, Pitkat, Goodale, Pennink, Barrett as a few examples. Dylan Izzo will be in Andrew Molleurs #35 as Andrew wiill be racing at the Speedbowl to keep his points lead in the SK Lite. The schedule for Saturday will start with practice at 2pm. The MTS will be rotating in with the regular weekly divisions. There will be an additional two make up features, the Sportsman Modifieds and Thunder Stocks at 5pm. After those features they will be starting heats at 6pm. The features should start approximately at 7pm with six divisions of weekly racing along with the 125 lap MTS feature to end the night. Click HERE to find the NEW MTS site and more info.
If you can not make the short run to Winchester NH for the MTS. The New London Waterford Speedbowl is running Saturday night as well. They will be running SK Mods, SK Lite Mods, Late Models, Limited Sportsmen, Legends and Mini Stocks. Until the next Green drops #ModOn MT.