RPW Column: The Champ Trail; Getting Ready For More Mod Tour Races, Seekonk, Speedbowl & More…

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Modified action gets the green in two weeks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 1 thru 3.

The Richmond International Raceway in Virginia will host the Whelen Modified Tour Series on Friday night.

On Saturday the action moves to the South Boston Speedway in Virginia for a SMART Tour event or to the Thompson Speedway in Connecticut for the Open Competition IceBreaker. From now until the end of October it will be non-stop action just about every weekend.

When the Whelen Modified Tour Series rolls into Richmond chances are that point leader Matt Hirschman won’t be there as he has stated as much. Defending series champion Justin Bonsignore finished dead last after dropping out of the season opener with engine issues at New Smyrna. Without Hirschman in the field Eric Goodale will be the point leader when the field takes the green.

The Thompson Speedway IceBreaker will consist of two full days of qualifying and feature event racing with separate tickets for each day. Saturday’s line-up includes Sunoco Modifieds (30 laps), NEMA Lites (25 laps), PASS Super Late Models (75 laps), Mini Stocks (20 laps), EXIT Realty Pro Truck Series (35 laps) followed by Outlaw Open Modified Practice.

Sunday’s venue includes qualifying and feature events including Limited Sportsman Heats (8 laps), Outlaw Open Modified Heats (10 laps), SK Lite Heats (8 laps), Late Model Heats (8 laps) Consolation Races – If needed, followed by feature events for Limited Sportsman (25 laps), SK Lites (25 laps) Late Models (35 laps) and the Outlaw Open Modified – Icebreaker 125 (125 laps)

The SMART event at South Boston will be a one day event.

The entry list for the up-coming Spring Sizzler Open Competition Tour type event is closing in to 40 cars.

The 36th entry for the 50th NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler has been received. Long Island’s Artie Pedersen III has entered his #01 Checkerwon Manufacturing Modified in the Greatest Race in the History of Spring. Matt Swanson and Boehler Racing parted ways after last year. When the 2022 season takes the green flag at Stafford Speedway, Matt Swanson will be a busy driver. The Harvard, MA native will drive the full SK Modified® season behind the wheel of Tom Bolles’ #78 Bolles Chrysler Dodge Jeep SK Modified® and also compete in all 5 Open Modified events driving Gary Casella’s #25 Ceravolo’s Auto car. Swanson likes his chances of reaching NAPA Victory Lane this season in both divisions.

Donnie Lia will make his first appearance in the mighty no.3 in the April 1 Whelen Modified Tour event at Richmond (Va) Raceway. It will be the first of six Whelen Modified Tour events for Lia with the team in 2022. Lia will also run the Whelen Modified Tour events for the team at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway (May 28), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 16), Thompson Speedway (Aug. 17 and Oct. 8) and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Oct. 27. Ryan Preece who was in the seat at New Smyrna is still scheduled to run the 50th NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford on April 24.

Jake Johnson, whose family owns Propane Plus, one of the sponsors of Ole Blu, will run all three events at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway (May 14, June 25, Sept. 17) and events at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. (May 21), Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. (June 18), Wall (N.J.) Stadium (July 9), Claremont (N.H.) Speedway (July 29), Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. (Aug. 27) and Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway on Sept. 3. Johnson is also planning to run all seven events on the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series with a family owned team.

It looks like the New London – Waterford Speedbowl is in for a full season of racing. The 71st year of the shoreline oval will feature a little something for everyone’s taste beginning with the Blast Off on May 7th. The year will feature the SK Modifieds®, SK Light Modifieds, Late Models, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and Legend Cars as our main offerings on Saturdays from May to October, with supporting roles from the Speedbowl Trucks and various touring divisions. Legend Cars, X-Cars, Super X-Cars and Bandoleros return from May to September for the Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday program.

A few open practice sessions will preface the season in April, leading up to the 2022 edition of the Speedbowl Blast Off headlined by a 71 lap SK Modified® race. All of our weekly Saturday night divisions are on the card to kick off their scheduled 20 point races over the 23 week season, except the Trucks who are on the card for 16 weeks.

The Seekonk Speedway announced early last week that the track will partner with growing industry powerhouse FloRacing to broadcast three major events at the Massachusetts third-mile oval in 2022.

The inaugural FloRacing and Seekonk broadcast will be on Wednesday, June 29, when the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series headlines the annual Open Wheel Wednesday with a 100-lap, $10,000 to win race. They will be joined the 350 SMAC Supermodifieds and the NEMA Lites.

The second annual Bay State Classic, headlined by the Pro All Star Series (PASS) Pro Stocks, also worth $10,000 to win with a 150-lap race, will continue the streaming deal on Wednesday, July 27. The final race as part of the deal will give fans of the winged Midgets and Supermodifieds a special treat, as Seekonk’s Boston Louie Classic, including both the NEMA Midgets and NEMA Lites, and the debut of the New England Big-Block Supermodified Series operated by PASS will race under the lights at Seekonk on August 24.

“Partnering with FloRacing will get Seekonk Speedway’s competitors and our track as a whole out to a fanbase that stretches across the country,” Ed St. Germain, Director of Business Development at Seekonk Speedway, said. “We have been watching what FloRacing has been able to accomplish over the last few years and it’s clear they have a deep commitment to grassroots, short-track racing. We look forward to working with them.”

FloRacing has grown over the last few years to a true powerhouse in streaming of short-track action. With growth over 100% per year, Flo continues to bring together long-fragmented grassroots racing media rights on to one platform, while also expanding into other motorsports categories. FloRacing streams thousands of live races per year and offers all of them on-demand as a replay shortly after each event. Flo also covers other types of motorsports including drag racing, motocross, super cross, snowmobile racing, and more. Not only does FloSports offer motorsports, but they also offer select Football, Hockey, Wrestling, Bikes and more.

At Seekonk, Flo will help to take the third-mile oval to continued new levels. These major events, offered each year at Seekonk, showcase some of the top talent from across the entire New England region right here at home. The track is happy to bring them to the Flo family.

“It goes without saying that when we entered short-track asphalt racing, Seekonk was at the very top of our priority list and we couldn’t be happier about this partnership,” Mike Levy, Vice Presidence, Global Rights Acquisition & Partnerships for FloRacing, said. “FloSports has long believed that grassroots racing in America has been underserved. While we’re committed to distributing the most robust live racing schedule the sport has ever seen, we also intend to drive new fans to the sport via contextual storytelling of the tracks, series, and drivers that make this sport so dynamic. We’re just getting started.”

FloSports is available by visiting floracing.com/signup, or by downloading the FloSports app on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and Chromecast. Fans can subscribe to Flo for $150 per year to enjoy thousands of live motorsports events and more.

Tickets for all of Seekonk Speedway’s 2022 racing events are now available online by visiting SeekonkSpeedway.com. The 2022 race season will begin with NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series action on Sunday, May 1, where the Pro Stocks, Late Models, Sportsman and Sport Trucks will compete in feature racing. The entire season will lead up to the inaugural Drive 4 For The Cup Playoff format, presented by Sunoco Race Fuels, in September.

Ronnie Bouchard was a three time track champion at the Seekonk Speedway when he came to Stafford for the first time in 1972 to race in the inaugural Spring Sizzler. Driving his own no.35 the young gun impressed many with his ability and never give up attitude to race the high groove. Although his day ended in the fence his performance caught the eye of car owner Richard Armstrong who had recently purchased the Jack Tant coupe that had been driven to many wins. At the Pocono Raceway Bouchard started dead last in the consolation for a 200 lapper and in the main event was headed for victory when the engine expired. Bouchard returned to Seekonk where he wrapped up his fourth title but his days at the track they called the cement palace were numbered. A young car owner from the Waterford Speedbowl convinced Bouchard to drive his car at Stafford where he became a consistent winner and eventual track champion.

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. The book documents Modified Racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway from 1967 to 1986. 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!

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