RPW Column: The Champ Trail; SMART Mods In NC, Riverhead & Stafford News & More…

RPW 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.

In SMART tour action at the Southern National Speedway in North Carolina last Saturday it was Matt Hirschman scoring his 204th career win over Max McLaughlin. For Hirschman it was a Sunday drive except it took place on Saturday.

There were 28 cars on hand with 25 taking time. Jonathon (John Boy) Brown grabbed the pole with a time of 14.893 with Bobby Labonte, a close.041 behind Brown. After the re-draw Jeremy Gershner and Joey Coultier would start on the front row with Hirschman, third.

At the drop of the green Gershner would jump into the lead followed by Coultier who would quickly would grab that lead from Gershner A 30 lap break was planned. The top three ran away as the rest of the field ran side by side. At the 30 lap break few pitted as they were allowed only one tire.

Following a lap 59 caution most of the field pitted to bolt on their allotted tire. Hirschman’s crew replaced the right rear. Restarting third Hirschman turned up the aggression mode and within a lap was in the lead. Max Mclaughlin came alive and moved into the second spot with Burt Myers, third and Bobby Labonte, fourth.

Hirschman ruled the roost for the remaining laps as he cruised to his 204th career win. Try as he might, McLaughlin had nothing for Hirschman and had to settle for second. Myers finished third with Brandon Ward, fourth and Labonte, `fifth.

The SMART tour heads to Carraway in Sophia, NC third this coming Saturday night. This event will be live streamed by FloRacing.

Word comes from Bob Finan, Public Relations director of the Riverhead Raceway that Scott Tapley has resigned his position as Race Director at the eastern Long Island racing facility. GM John Ellwood will assume the Race Director role on top of his existing duties. Said Finan, “Scott did an amazing job at Riverhead Raceway and now he no longer faces the Long Island to Maine commute Sunday morning. Given the fuel prices these days his timing is perfect.”

Tapley will not be idle by any means. Along with continuing to lead race day operations at Vermont’s Thunder Road , Connecticut’s Stafford Speedway and Thompson Speedway as well as the 13-event ACT Late Model Tour, Tapley will also run operations at White Mountain in 2022.

The excitement continues to build at the Stafford Motor Speedway as 37 early entries have been received for the 50th NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler which is scheduled for April 23rd & 24th.

Doug Coby, Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat, Patrick Emerling, Bobby Santos III, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale, John McKennedy, Keith Rocco, Ronnie Williams, Michael Christopher, Chase Dowling and Jimmy Blewett have added their names to the ever growing list.

Third generation driver Jacob Perry won Modified Racing Series events at both Lee and Monadnock last year and was leading the Modified Racing Series event at Claremont last year before a flat tire ruined his day. Perry was also in contention to win a Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series event at Monadnock in 2020 before losing an alternator while leading with about 30 laps.

Internet racing news web site RaceDayCt announced last week that in 2022 the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will make a three-race short track swing in New Hampshire and Perry and his Jack Bateman owned team will be there for all of them. Perry will run the Granite State Derby at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. on May 21, the Duel at the Dog 200 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. on June 18 and the Clash at Claremont 150 at Claremont (N.H.) Speedway on July 29.

May 31, 1968 Bugsy Stevens in the mighty No.3 of Len Boehler took the win in the 75 lap Nutmeg Classic Memorial Day weekend special event over Fred DeSarro, Eddie Flemke, Fred Harbach and Tommy Borget. Stevens passed Eddie Flemke on lap 57. Flemke had led the event since lap 13.

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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