Whelen Tour Set To Do Hard Battle At Seekonk. Tri-Track Has Action, Bowman Gray Style Drama And Crowns A Champion.

August 25, 2017

 Wednesday night  we headed to Star Speedway in NH for the the Tri-Track Modified Series Flamingo 100 race.  It was a beautiful day for a race. Being a mid week race in NH there was a decent crowd and the car count was ok with 21 mods. It was a late race as heats were to start at 7PM. The weekly divisions always race hard at Star and they are allowed to. Lots of contact and 3 and 4 wide racing. There is really only one groove so there almost has to be contact to make passes, this makes for excitement and the mods run no different. As there was good action in all the heats and  a few incidents along the way. We knew the feature was going to be an exciting one and probably not without drama. Heat winners would be Ryan Preece, Max Zachem and Less Hinckley.



 Preece and Hirschman were starting up front after a redraw and to add a twist Tri-Track offered both of them a $1,000 if they wanted to try to come from the back instead and win. Preece took the challenge, Hirschman decided to take the safe play and start up front. Max Zachem  would move up to the first row. Richard  Savary and Les Hinckley would start row 2 Rowan Pennink and Blake Barney row 3. Woody Pitkat would start 8th, Barrett 10th and McKennedy would start  18th.  With Ryan Preece now starting 21st there would be some great battles throughout the whole field during the race. Pitkat and Savary would fight hard and twice Savary would end up spinning. Preece would work through and by lap 25 he was 10th. Hirschman would command. A lap 47  yellow would come and just like the last Star Tri-Track race all but 2 cars would come into the pits one being Tommy Barrett and the other staying out for the lucky dog. Unlike last time, the way they went in the pits would be the way they would line back up for safety reasons as Star does not have a true active pit row. The restart would come back to yellow right away as Zachem and Nocella get tangled up. Zachem would get penalized 2 laps for apparently bring out the yellow "intentionally", the officials would say. Lap 50  Hirschman would lead Pennink, Pitkat, Preece and Jankowiak. Barrett would get stuck on the outside on the restart and be in 17th by lap 56 and Hinckley would fade to 12th.

 A yellow would fly on lap 59 when Preece would spin Jankowiack while they were fighting for 4th.  Lap 80 the top five would be Matt Hirschman, Rowan Pennink, Les   Hinckley, Jon McKennedy and Tommy   Barrett. A yellow would come after Savary spins fighting with Pitkat for 6th. With three to go it would be Hirschman Pennink, Barrett, Hinckley and McKennedy. Barrett had a fast car and looked like he might have some thing for Hirschman but was running out of laps as Pennink stood between them. On the last lap coming out of turn four Barrett would get into Pennink and would send the 25 of Pennink spinning as Hirschman would take the checkers. Barret would come back around the track and Pennink would fire back up and slam into and partially over Barrett's rear end as victory lane was being set up. Barrett would pull into P2 for the Podium after only to be told a few minutes later he was being place to the last car on the lead lap for contact with the #25 of Pennink on the last lap. Pennink would be fined for contacted after the checkers. Pennink had some words after the race, here are just a few of them “Idiot move cost him a third, me a second, and probably close to seven grand in money between the two of us, just a dumb move." " But it ends up being a sh—- night and he’ll (Barrett) get his back, I’m not forgetting that one.” Pennink noted. Was it a "racing Deal" thats left for interpertation but Rowan and the offcials did not think so. The next time these two will race together again will be at the EXIT Reality Modified Touring Series race at The New London Waterford Speedbowl Sept. 9th. You will not want to miss that one for many reasons! Tri-Track has one more race left the last weekend in October at Seekonk Speedway and since the championship is wrapped up it will be game on no holding back. The Star Tri-Track Top 10  results are as follows; 1 Matt Hirschman, Les Hinckley, Jon   McKennedy, Woody Pitkat, 5 Jon Kievman, Anthony Nocella, Blake Barney, Kurt Vigeant, Andy  Jankowiak and 10th Matt Galko. It defiantly was a late night as we got home at 1:30AM but all and all a good race with action, excitement and drama. It would have been nice to see some challenges for the lead. Matt Hirschamn has won all three Tri-Track races this year without much challenge. By winning Wednesday he also already won the championship. Congratulations to the whole #60 team.


There has been a lot of talk about tech, advantages, ”cheating” etc. "Tear downs needed" and so on about Tri-Track. What people have to remember is Tri-Track has its own rules; a very limited amount of basic rules, they fit onto one page and they are posted on their website and are very basic. Not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe they need to be be looked at again over the off season and then again maybe not... There is no transmission or gear rule posted currently on their website, what it states is “no traction control”, “quick change rears are allowed, must be locked” very little rules on engines. Their main rules are about weight, spoiler, tire and fuel related. Personally, I think tire and fuel rules should go away all over, besides the soaking and tire change rules. If any series is “open” then I feel the teams should be allowed to run what ever tire and fuel they want. Actually, I feel this way on the local level too. I understand money drives the tire and fuel rules… So if the #60 found something and made it work as far as gears/transmission/suspension or what ever it would seem he is within the “rules”. I have no dog in this fight at all and agree its not good for anyone, well almost anyone (besides the winner) to dominate or win all the time. But I think the series and rules may need to be addressed or pointed at more so than a team who may or may not have found a "legal" advantage. I mean this is what racers do and have done forever and they are good at toeing the line or bending it to make it work.. And yes some do cross that line. It is common knowledge that I think in most divisions and at most tracks there are "too many rules and calls." Tri-Track only runs 4 races a season and I think keeping it simple is their plan and may make sense. Less time, less staff and for four races is it reasonable to expect drive-train tear downs? I do not know  what the answer is, maybe having the winners add 50 lbs each win might help since there is only is 4 races. Maybe the last winner can not start any further up than tenth? Just some ideas; I am sure that come with pros and cons. The one thing I do know is no matter who or where, it is not good for fans, tracks, teams and series to have someone dominate races and or win the majority of races. But, there is a fine line to walk as fate, luck and skill need to still determine the race outcome and prevail. Just some food for thought for everyone and all the series. It will be a long winter and we all will have to to assess and address many things. It was a great race over all, no single file restarts BS, lots of action and it was better racing and execution than the last one. It is that time of year where all series and track divisions start racing harder, points are on the line, incidents are in memory banks and some times retribution is sought out. We are coming near the end of race season and I expect it only to get more intense all around. For more info on Tri Track click HERE.


 Saturday the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour comes to the “Concrete Palace” Seekonk Speedway. This year the Whelen Tour has been very exciting, No one has dominated wins or points. The racing has been hard and aggressive with lots of action. Not much of the follow the leader type races that can come with the tour. I have to say its been one of the better years in recent history from a fans perspective and I think the crowds and social media interactions would support this. Coming into the 1/3 mile 150 lap race the championship and race are both up for grabs. 


Timmy Solomito leads Pennink by 2 points at 380 after Solomito had a wreck last week in Bristol. (Patrick Emerling won the race). Solomitio won the first race back at Seekonk last year after the tour was away for 12 years. Solomito has 3 wins this year in 10 races, Ryan Preece  has 4 wins and sits 3rd in points 9 out. Two time champion Preece missed one race this year for his wedding. He will also miss the next visit the tour makes at Loudon as he will be driving an Xfinity car again for Joe Gibbs in KY. (Jon McKennedy is slated to drive the #6 in his place at NHMS) Preece has been on a roll with 7 top 5’s in eight races. This will be his first Whelen start at Seekonk. Defending 3 time champion Doug Coby is yet to win this year but has finished 2nd for the past 3 races and they have seemed to have gotten back what they needed to be back up front. Coby has had good luck at Seekonk in open Mod tour shows and was P3 last years exciting Whelen race at the 'Konk. After having a ruff start Coby is 4th in points with 363.  Justin Bonsignore sits 5th, nineteen points from the leader and also is looking for his first win this year. Being from Riverhead, Seekonk is also a bull ring and Justin should be right at home and proved it last year finishing p2.


 We can not forget about Rowan Pennink and “Ol Blue” as they sit in 2nd for points. Rowan has had a great and consistent year with a win as well and 9 top 10 finishes in the ten races so far. Max Zachem who now sits 9th in points, after missing the race in Bristol, is still looking for his first ever overdo tour win. Max has had a good season and performs well on the small tracks as well since he cut his teeth on the 3/8 mile Waterford Speedbowl in CT near his home.  Modified wheelman Jon McKennedy  is entered in the Brady #00 once again. Stafford Speedway SK threat Ronnie Williams will be in the #21 again after having a great showing at the infamous "Thunder Valley" for his first time last week, finishing P8. Open mod tour success Matt Hirschman will be in the Pee-Dee black #60 trying his hand with the big guns of the Whelen Tour again. Ted Christopher will be back in the #82, TC has gotten the #82 to show some promise and he can never be counted out to put a show on or to be a contender. This race is set up to be epic as there are many hungry drivers gunning for wins and points. Take the short ride out to Seekonk MA. It’s a cool little track and pretty neat faculties with  great hospitality. They also will have some great weekly division racing as well.


Waterford Speedbowl will also be running their weekly show Saturday with the Pro 4 mods and joint truck series race joining the regular SK Mod, Late Model, Limited Sportsmen and Mini Stocks. To be honest we are having Bowl withdraws since we were not there Sat. We will miss this Saturday as we will be at Seekonk and next week we have 5 races in 5 consecutive days and we will be in Oswego next Sat. and Sun. for the Whelen Tour as well as the Super Modifieds all weekend. But we will talk about next week,next week. Until the next green drops #ModOn RG







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