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His Monadnock win puts Ryan Preece atop the Triple Crown Standings with only Saturday’s Riverhead race remaining. Mike Jaworecki Photo

    July 24, 2012 Press Release

    RIVERHEAD, N.Y.- The 2012 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at the Riverhead Raceway this Saturday night will bring with it a different bonus payoff format. The more than $16,000 in combined added bonus money, paid and raised by avid Riverhead Modified fan Jim Schaefer, is expected to be a bit of a “Gamble” for some drivers.

    An amount of $300 in cash will be made available to each driver entering the 175-lap race, as it was in 2011, but this time drivers will be asked if they would like to give it back. Each driver who elects to do so will become a “Gambler”. For example, if six drivers do so, then the highest finisher among those six drivers will earn an extra $1,800.

    “I think the $300 gamblers idea is pretty cool,” stated Ryan Preece, who will wheel the Flamingo Motorsports 16 for the first time at Riverhead. “Jim Schaefer has taken this race and really turned it into something special, and if you walk through the pit area on Saturday you will find many more drivers and car owners who feel the same way.”

    Thousands in additional bonus money will be paid out as well. Every lap run will be worth at least an extra $20, with half going to the race leader, and half being paid to the highest running Riverhead regular driver. This lap money program supported by race fans will add more than $4,400 in cash to the overall purse.

    Also, there is something called the “Modified Maniac Triple Crown Bonus” to be decided on Saturday night as well. It’s a $1,500 winner-take-all bonus paid to the driver with the best average finish at the Monadnock WMT race on May 12, the Star (N.H.) Speedway Modified Open on June 16, and this Riverhead 175.

    Currently Ryan Preece leads the standings, and he can win the $1,500 bonus over Doug Coby, Todd Szegedy and Mike Stefanik by finishing seventh or better no matter where the other contenders finish.

    Additional bonuses include an extra $1,000 to the race winner, $500 for the “Mike Ewanitsko Hard Charger of the Race”, as voted on by contributors, $1,000 to the winner of the qualifying race.

    “The Riverhead Tour race is now not only my race of champions, but for all of Long Island and beyond,” Schaefer noted. “It has extra sentimental value, and this is our way of showing appreciation for the tour coming to Riverhead.

    “This is the first year where donations from other race fans have exceeded what I myself have put into the event. People like A.J. Hackert have really gone above and beyond what I ever expected to make this a true community supported special event.”

    Practice for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event begins Saturday at 2:00 PM, with the 175-lap event set to begin around 8:30 PM. For more information check out the Riverhead Race way facebook page or log onto the track web site at: http://www.riverheadraceway.com.

LOUDON, N.H. (July 24, 2012) – A record number of fans took advantage of New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s ultimate pre-race experience at the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on July 15. In September, “The Magic Mile” will set a new record as speedway officials announce that they have made another 1,000 “Pre-Race Pit Passes” available for the SYLVANIA 300, the second race in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

The speedway increased its pre-race infield pit-pass allowance by 300 percent for the LENOX 301 on July 15, and a similar number was anticipated for the SYLVANIA 300 on Sept. 23. But due to popular demand, the speedway ticket office is offering another 1,000 opportunities to get up close and personal with fans’ favorite Sprint Cup drivers.

“I walked down pit road and through the garages prior to the race on Sunday, and the emotion and passion from our fans was intoxicating,” said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “This truly is the ultimate fan experience and to be able to offer this to another 1,000 people is fantastic.”

The speedway accommodated the record-setting infield attendance on July 15 by adding additional crossover gates on the frontstretch. This provided fans with easier and faster access to the grandstands once it was time to drop the green flag. The speedway also changed the location of where Cup teams prepared for the races, as after nearly two decades of heading to the north end, drivers took center stage in the infield’s center garage, a change that made life easier for fans and teams alike.

The pre-race pit pass allows fans to experience pit road from a crew member’s perspective before the big race and stand in front of the stage for September’s featured concert. Pre-race pit passes are valid until one hour prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

For more details and ticket information on events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway or to purchase tickets to the upcoming SYLVANIA 300 NASCAR weekend, please stop by our Ticket Office, visit the speedway website at www.nhms.com, or call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931.

    LEE, NH- Wayne Helliwell Jr., of Dover, N.H., began what is a very big weekend for him by earning $4,400 in the “Moneybags 100″ for the Benson Lumber Small Block Modifieds at the Lee USA Speedway on Friday night.

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Wayne Helliwell (left), Mike Ordway Jr. (center) and Mike Netishen (right) each celebrated victories and top three overall finishes at Lee.

    Helliwell started the evening by timing fastest among the 18 entrants. He then won the first 35-lap segment by a wide margin after retaking the lead on lap eight from P.J. Stergios.

    The most significant incident of the night for the Supermodifieds occurred on lap 24, when points leader Tom Tombarello Jr., Joey Scanlon and Mike Murphy were involved in a backstretch incident that ripped the wing off of Scanlon’s car and sent Tombarello down pit road with steam coming from his engine. Tombarello was not able to fire his car for the second segment.

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Mike Ordway Jr., accepts some extra cash from race promoter Russ Conway (center) and the legendary Bentley Warren, who was the event Grand Marshall.

        The second segment was all Ordway. Starting fourth, the Fremont, N.H., driver took second after just two laps, and then after making numerous pass attempts under Leslie Keyser, Ordway took the lead on lap 11 of the second segment (lap 46 overall). He raced unchallenged to the flag at the end of an overall 70 laps to end segment two, which helped him pocket $2,100 at the end of the night.

    Both the second and third segments were restarted with a lineup invert of the lead lap cars, so eight cars were reset for the final 30 laps. Starting fifth, Auburn, N.H., driver Mike Netishen spent only six laps getting the lead, and staying there to cross the finish line ahead of Helliwell, earning $2,700 overall.

    With a total score of five, Helliwell was declared the overall winner over Netishen with seven and Ordway, who had 12. Their scores were determined by combined finishing positions in each segment. All three gained significant ground in the season standings because of Tombarello’s misfortune. Helliwell earned 41 points towards the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Standings as well.

    Final Overall “Moneybags 100″ Finish: 1. Wayne Helliwell Jr., 2. Mike Netishen, 3. Mike Ordway Jr., 4. Lou Cicconi, 5. Sparky MacIver, 6. PJ Stergios, 7. Ryan Gath, 8. Leslie Keyser, 9. Tony Carroll, 10. Mike Murphy, 11. Mike Spurling, 12. Matt Seavey, 13. Moe Lattime, 14. Ricky Wolf Jr., 15. Matt Riley, 16. Tom Tombarello Jr., 17. Joey Scanlon, 18. Jim Barker.

    Segment 1 top five: Helliwell, Netishen, Stergios, Cicconi, MacIver. Segment 2 top five: Ordway, Helliwell, Cicconi, Netishen, Keyser. Segment 3 top five: Netishen, Helliwell, Stergios, MacIver, Ordway. Time Trials top five: Helliwell (13.796), Stergios (13.830), Netishen (13.880), MacIver (14.061), Riley (14.068).

 

 

Right now its just a “feeling”, or a “vibe” if you will. But after walking through the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour pit area after qualifying at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday I saw faces that told me words I wouldn’t want to hear.

The “Spec” engine that seems to work well on the K&N Pro Series could bring drastic change to NASCAR’s oldest division, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

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Bryon Chew made the switch to this “Spec” motor after testing at NHMS with a built engine in June. He was fourth fastest in Friday practice.

NASCAR, through Robert Yates Racing Engines has re-introduced this motor to us this weekend in a big way.  The cars driven by Ron Silk and Bryon Chew both have them. Both seem pretty happy with the results so far.

So why could introducing a less expensive motor (depending on who you ask) into a division faced with economic hardships in a poor economy be a bad thing?

Because the teams who are the backbone of the tour don’t want it.

They enjoy the challenge of tuning an engine that might give them that extra tenth of a second that leads them to a memorable victory, or a NASCAR Championship. They liked things the way they were.

They don’t want to all have the same engines. They don’t want change. They don’t want to be forced into selling their current motors, or straight rear ends for that matter. A big part of this sport of Modified racing is the challenge to succeed in a competitive environment, both on and off the track.

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Crew Chief Tom Grasso made front end adjustments to the Ron Silk driven car following Friday’s practice session that helped them earn the pole for today’s race with a “Spec” motor.

So if today the expected happens, and Ron Silk dominates and wins the most prestigious event on the WMT…what next? Do these teams all go out and buy “Spec” motors? Probably not. Do non-tour drivers such as a Steve Masse, Max Zachem, Tommy Barrett or Kyle Ebersole buy one and start running the tour? Not likely.

Or do veterans with several racing years left, such as Les Hinckley, Matt Hirschman, Chris Pasteryak or Erick Rudolph buy the “Spec” and start running the tour because of affordability. Even less likely.

I understand that NASCAR is trying to come up with something to make it more affordable to run the WMT, but when and if that happens, who will be there to drive and work on these unique cars to make this a success story in the end?

I could be wrong. Maybe the current teams will make the switch. Maybe NASCAR will adjust the rules perfectly so that the “Spec” engine produces an equal playing field with the “built” motors, like the co-owner of the “Spec” program from North Carolina told me Wednesday in an extensive interview for an upcoming Area Auto Racing news article.

But the “vibe” I am  getting right now is spelled… T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

This isn’t the K&N Series. It’s not a pass through for the wealthy on the way to hopes of bigger and better things. This is, for the most part, a dedicated group of people who want to have fun racing in the division they grew up with, on the big stage that NASCAR can provide.

What happens today is so much more than who wins this race. It’s about how NASCAR adjusts the rules moving forward, and who will be winning in the years to come, at a crucial time in Modified racing. I sure do hope this tour rolls on, because without it life would never be the same for me, but there is reason for concern. I just hope those concerns prove to be only that.

    LOUDON, NH- Many of the competing drivers for tomorrow’s Town Fair Tire 100 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway were more concerned with getting their cars comfortable to race, rather than preparing for this afternoon’s time trial qualifying session.

    WMT points leader Doug Coby didn’t even put new tires on until the end of practice, instead focusing on how his car handled through the turns on used tires.

    “We’re decent,” Coby noted. “We were kind of hovering in the back half of the top ten speed-wise. We were working on handling in the corners. I think everybody’s probably on the snug side. We’re all kind of fighting the same thing in different ways.

    “We made a bunch of changes and made the car better. We did 45 laps and I think 43 of those laps were on tires that we tested with here two months ago. When we put the new tires on, the car felt pretty good.”

    There are many questions of how the race will play out on Saturday. Some feel that with the new gearing there is less power for drivers, and it will result in less passing and a race that is not as good as fans are accustomed to. Others, like Coby and Ryan Preece think it will be the same old Loudon.

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Ryan Preece can’t wait for Saturday’s 100-lap main to begin.

    “It’s going to be a fun race,” Preece commented following Friday morning practice. “It’s the normal Loudon. You don’t notice anything with the change in gear. I’m pretty excited for tomorrow.

     “The gearing is not that much of a change, not like it was at the test with a gear a lot lower. Now you feel the motor pull.”

    Preece added that he turned 7,700 RPM’s, which was slightly less than the 7,900 he was turning last year with vthe straight rear end setup, which is now illegal to run at the NHMS and Bristol, Tenn. events in 2012.

    Todd Szegedy was among the skeptics about the change, saying that he tried to make a pass in the draft as the third car in line and was unsuccessful. Most drivers in today’s practice shied away from drafting in packs, so much of the story will be played out in Saturday morning’s final practice, and then in the actual race at 1:00 PM on Saturday.

    “I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s going to be a very good race tomorrow,” Szegedy stated.

    “I completely disagree with Todd,” Doug Coby replied.

    Some driver faced limited practice time because of a variety of minor issues, but for Long Island driver Eric Goodale it was major. After only a few laps of practice an oil pressure not to his liking forced him to shut the car down.

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Eric Goodale watches as crew members change the motor in his car.

    “At least we had the test last month to go off of,” Goodale said, trying to remain optimistic during a very difficult season.

    Goodale only turned four laps around NHMS before pulling off. They changed the oil pump, but with no improvements from that, the motor was pulled on a very hot and sunny day.

    Bobby Santos missed some time making changes to the front of his car to fix a brake problem. They also changed front springs on the Tinio Motorsports 44. Santos made 19 laps, far less than many, but they remain confident in their chances in the race. Ron Yuhas turned 82 laps, while Andy Seuss, Jimmy Blewett, and Gary McDonald turned at least 60 laps. Eric Beers was next with 58.

 

LOUDON, NH- Two Lowell Sun area drivers are among 34 entrants in tomorrow’s Town Fair Tire 100 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. One was very pleased with the morning practice session, while the other was not.

“We tried a bunch of stuff,” stated Jon McKennedy after he ended practice with roughly 50 laps run and a seventh place on the speed charts. “Most of the practice session we fought a little throttle tight issue, but overall the car was pretty good.

“The thing I liked the most is that in the draft the car stayed consistent. Whether I was by myself or behind two cars, the car reacted the same. Usually here when you get behind cars you tend to get loose because you lose the air off the spoiler.

“Obviously whatever we have for an aero package, as crazy as it might sound, it’s working so I feel good about our chances for tomorrow and I’m looking forward to qualifying.”

In very limited starts at NHMS, McKennedy has never really had an opportunity to run among the lead pack at the ‘Magic Mile’. McKennedy is already planning his exit from the track after the race, as he hopes to make the final practice session up at the Canaan, N.H., VMRS Modified event later on Saturday.

On the flip side is Steve Dickey from Londonderry, N.H., who is in his first attempt to race at the Loudon, N.H. track. Dickey struggled for speed in practice, so they were changing gears, literally, with hopes that it will gain them more speed.

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Lowell native Steve Dickey readies to begin practice on Friday morning at NHMS.

Dickey was the slowest of 34 cars in Friday morning practice. He told The Sun that having his foot to the floor nearly all of the way around the track wasn’t enough to get him higher on the practice charts, so they were changing the gear ratio on the car to what other teams were running.

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