RPW Column: The Champ Trail: Northeast Classic At New Hampshire, News & Notes & More…
Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – On tap last weekend was the inaugural Northeast Classic at Loudon’s New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Rescheduled for Sunday, April 18, some of the biggest names known to motorsports fans in the region converged on “The Magic Mile” for a six-division card that offered something for everybody. The 50-lap, $5,000-to-win Tour-type Modified shootout was won by Bobby Santos III. Chase Dowling finished second with Ron Williams, third. Eric Goodale and Mike Christopher Jr rounded out the top five.
Reigning American-Canadian Tour (ACT) champion Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown, VT finally scored a long-awaited victory at Loudon’s New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) on Sunday, April 18 in the inaugural Northeast Classic. Hebert was awarded the win following post-race technical inspection, giving the veteran a triumph he’d been chasing for his entire decade-long Late Model career.
In the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model National Championship event, Hallowell, ME’s Johnny Clark got his first “Magic Mile” win after a 50-lap barnburner.
Emerson Cayer recovered from a stumble on a late-race restart to win the 20-lap North East Mini Stock Tour feature.
Jimmy Renfrew Jr. earned some redemption after his ACT Late Model misfortune by winning the 8-cylinder Street Stock Open. Renfrew utterly dominated the event, going wire-to-wire in the 25-lap feature.
Jason Ferreira dominated the 25-lap EXIT Realty Pro Truck Challenge feature to win the series’ first-ever NHMS visitThe ACT Late Model Tour and PASS Super Late Models also had 50-lap, $5,000-to-win Northeast Classic showdowns. The EXIT Realty Pro Truck Challenge, North East Mini Stock Tour, and 8-Cylinder Street Stock Open complete the card.
By the Grace of God and 600 horsepower the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series heads to the Stafford Motor Speedway this weekend. An annual event since 1972, the Sizzler showcases the best in the business in Modified Stock Car racing. Fred DeSarro was the initial winner when the event was promoted as an open competition event by Dick Berggren, Bruce Cohen and Lew Boyd. DeSarro who was a two time track champion and recorded 30 wins often said that one of the secrets to getting around Stafford was to brake with your left foot!
Fresh off of his Whelen Modified Tour season opening win at Martinsville Speedway on April 8, Eric Goodale finds himself in an unfamiliar position as the Tour prepares to invade Stafford for the NAPA Spring Sizzler® on April 25. For the first time in his career, Goodale sits at the top of the WMT points standings but that won’t change anything about how Goodale or his #58 GAF Roofing team prepares for the Sizzler®.
Goodale’s Martinsville victory gives his team some early season momentum heading to Stafford, which is a track that Goodale has won at in both Modified Tour and Open Modified competition.
While Goodale likes coming to race at Stafford, that wasn’t always the case for the Riverhead, NY native. A lot of testing and a good crew has helped him flip the switch for the positive.
As much as Goodale feels like he will be among the favorites to win the NAPA Spring Sizzler®, he points to the cars of Justin Bonsignore, Doug Coby, and Craig Lutz as strong contenders. Coby has 12 career Stafford wins and Lutz scored his first career WMT win at Stafford in the 2019 NAPA Fall Final. Past WMT Champion Bonsignore has yet to win at Stafford in 38 career starts, but Goodale says that it’s just a matter of time.
In addition to the NAPA Spring Sizzler®, Goodale is looking forward to returning to Stafford this season for the four Open Modified races, the the Call Before You Dig 81 on May 14, the Twisted Tea 80 on June 4, the Bud Light 80 on July 9, and the Lincoln Tech 80 on August 20.
The NAPA Spring Sizzler® takes the green flag on Sunday, April 25 but the 2021 Stafford season kicks off on Saturday, April 24 with NAPA Auto Parts Opening Day festivities. General Admission and Paddock Pass tickets for the April 24 NAPA Auto Parts Opening Day as well as Paddock Pass tickets for the April 25 NAPA Spring Sizzler® are now available online at StaffordSpeedway.com/tickets. General Admission tickets for the April 25 NAPA Spring Sizzler have sold to capacity limits but fans can sign up for ticket alerts if more tickets should become available. Stafford Speedway remains under reduced capacity per order of the State of CT due to Covid-19 restrictions. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets as soon as possible to ensure a ticket to the event.
Winning a weekly SK Modified event is a really big deal! Stafford’s weekly contingency program continues to grow. “We set up the weekly contingency program over 20 years ago to find more support for the weekly competitors,” explained Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute.
Following an earlier announced partnership to present the SRX Racing event and SK Modified® All-Star race, TickMike.com has also joined the 2021 Stafford Speedway contingency program with a $150 weekly bonus to the winner of the SK Modified® feature. With the additional bonus from TickMike.com the weekly winner’s share for the SK Modified® division moves to $1,825.
The ink wasn’t even dry on the latest purse payout sheet when the Stafford management announced Maybury Material Handling of East Longmeadow, MA had renewed their commitment to Stafford’s contingency program for the 2021 race season. For the sixth consecutive season, Maybury Material Handling will supply a first place bonus of $150 to each SK Modified® feature winner and a $125 bonus to each SK Light feature winner. With the bonus weekly payouts for the SK Modified® division move to $1,975 and weekly payouts for the SK Light Modified division to $500.
Sizzler weekend at Stafford will debut FloSports TV coverage of all weekly events. For a $150 yearly pass it’s the best deal in auto racing. The Fonda Speedway in upstate New York presents the finest in Big Block Modified Racing on dirt. They too have signed on for weekly television coverage.
Get well wishes to race announcer and reporter Matt Buckler who is currently being treated after testing positive for COVID-19. Buckler is part of the announcing team at the Thompson Speedway. Buckler, a longtime reporter at the Journal Inquirer of Manchester, is also an announcer at Stafford Speedway and the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. He will not be part of the announcing crew for Stafford Speedway’s opening weekend of events April 24-25.
Also on the sick list with Covid 19 is Scott Tapley, race director at Thompson, Stafford and Riverhead.
Fred DeSarro won the initial Spring Sizzler at Stafford in 1972
Read all about it in the all-new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, which is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it! Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!