The 2018 season for the Valenti Modified Racing Series is soon approaching, and the drivers, fans, and teams are starting to get excited. The season will kick the year off at the Icebreaker, at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Highlighting the VMRS schedule this year once again is the New England Short Track Showdown at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. They are not only excited for this year, but they are excited to show off the improvements they have made from last year. Our very own, Brandon Wilkinson caught up with the promoter of the event, Bob Guptill. “We are excited to be hosting the NESTS for a 2nd season. We learned a lot of the promotion side of things to improve the fan experience so it matches the great car counts and on track product that 2017 brought us in all 4 divisions. Giving the hometown drivers and fans of New England a chance to race on the region's biggest Oval is a gratifying experience for me and my family.” There are sponsorship opportunities available, if you have a business who wants to sponsor The NE Short Track Showdown contact Bob Guptill at 207-577-2681.
After the Speedweeks at New Smyrna, looking at the results you can’t help but notice Mike Willis Jr. Mod Squad Racing Media got to talking with him and about his expectations for the upcoming season. “I’d like to run strong all year and finish top three in points. I feel after having a good week at Speedweeks will help us be ready for Thompson.” One thing that has held down Mike Willis compared to others is the fact he has not found victory lane, besides dominating at his home track, Claremont Speedway. Willis has not yet found VMRS victory lane, but Willis and his 83 team are very confident going into this year. “I feel our best chances of winning are at Monadnock, Lee USA, or Beech Ridge.” Willis after coming off of a hot Speedweeks has regained his confidence that has dropped from the previous years of running in the MRS. He will be one to look out for come two weeks time at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. “I’d like to thank my sponsors Spirit of Alaska Wilderness Adventures, Legacy Landscaping, AB Gile Insurance, Mike Parks from Troyer Race Cars, and my whole 83 team.”
One of the biggest stories of the off season is a driver from Pawcatuck, CT. A driver who attends Stonington High School. A driver who spent a little over a month before notching his first ever stock car win, and has turned the heads of just about everyone in New England. Jacob Perry will be making a drive for the 2018 VMRS Rookie of the Year, and from talking to him, he sounds very excited to do so. “I don’t expect anything, because you should never assume. I hope to be fast, competitive and get a win or maybe a few this year. I would like to be top 5 in points and win the Rookie of the Year. The full plan this year is to have fun, run the full VMRS schedule and maybe some other select shows. Perry spent years racing on the mini oval at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. When asked about what track he feared, he gave a typical Perry answer. “I don’t truly have fears for any track. I am most concerned with Beech Ridge, and Speedway 51. I have never seen Speedway 51, but I have seen Beech Ridge. I am most excited for Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, my home track and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. I can’t wait to be on the big stage, racing with the absolute best.” The name Perry in New England is a legendary name, there is no doubt about that. If you are the Perry family, Jacob is the best person you could ask to carry that banner on, and off the track. “I can’t thank my family, my father, my mother, Norm, Shelly, and the APE crew enough for everything they do. All the crew and the Valenti Family of dealerships, Chris Merchant, Robbie Richards, Driven Racing Oils, Bilstien Shocks, and everyone who has supported my racing since day one.” Perry caught on to the Mini stocks fast, he notched a couple top 10’s in his first SK Modified races at the New-London Waterford Speedbowl. The trend will tell you Jacob Perry will not go down silently this year. Make sure to root him on for his debut race with the VMRS for the Icebreaker at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
It’s no question young drivers are the future of the sport. One in particular, Sam Rameau is geared up for another season. Sam and his 6MA team had a very good year for a rookie last season, with many top 10’s and top 5’s to add to his rookie resume. This year, though, Rameau looks to make more than a name for himself and was not afraid to make wholesale changes to do so. “This year, we have two brand new Troyer TA1 Chassis. We have a brand new crew chief, Jimmy Fuller, and a brand new spotter, Dan Fusaro. We have been working very hard over the off-season to get both of our race cars ready to hit the racetrack, and we are ready thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team.” Every driver has a personal goal to beat one other driver out on the track to consider it a good day. Rameau was no different in this trend. “This year we will be running the Tri Tack Series (too). The guy to beat is always Matt Hirschman, so our goal this year is to run out front with all of the top guys of both the MRS and the Tri Track Series.” Rameau has high hopes, but he thinks winning could become a reality in not only the VMRS, but the Tri Track series as well. “I think we are looking forward to the big Tri Track race at Claremont, and also Loudon.” Rameau and his family were very thankful of all of their supporters; “I have to thank my sponsors, Racechoice.com, Dennison Lubricants, Central Mass Tree, Oilzum, Powells Stone and Gravel, K1 Racegear, Troyer Racecars, Pettit Race Engines, Waddell Communications, and Rameau Family Motorsports.” Rameau has run at Claremont many times, and has proven to be the class of the field almost every time he hits the track. Rameau’s dedication to winning, and competing is a breath of fresh air to the youth movement in racing, but all or nothing, Rameau looks to be the top gun this year in the VMRS.
The average car count for the VMRS in 2017 was 21.4. The 2017 champion was Anthony Nocella and 2 drivers would notch their first win in the series. The 2018 season is looking to shape up to be one to remember. The VMRS is entering their 15th season of competition with starting and ending the season at the famed Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, CT. The series will return to the Monadnock Speedway, after time off in the 2017 season and the New-London Waterford Speedbowl for multiple dates. It all starts April 6th-7th at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park’s Icebreaker. BW