RPW Column: The Champ Trail; Florida Speedweek, SMART Mod, NASCAR Mod Tour News & More…

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – As of this coming Friday, Jan 20, twenty days remain before the green flag drops for the 2023 Whelen Modified Tour Series and the World Series at the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida.

Modified entries totaled 30 as of last weekend.

There is nothing quite like it in motorsports, 9 straight night of heart pounding, intense racing action on the New Smyrna high banks! The 2023 World Series of Asphalt is set up to be one of the biggest ever! in total, 13 different divisions will hit the track over the course of the 9 nights! Plus, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and The ASA Southern Super Series kicking off their seasons this February as well!

It was recently announced that Ryan Newman will join Bobby Labonte as a team mate driving for Pace-O-Matic in select SMART Modified and Whelen Modified Tour events. Newman is no stranger to the open wheeled Modifieds and has always done quite well when in competition.

Newman will be spending more time behind the wheel in 2023, and he will be doing it driving for Sadler-Stanley Racing powered by Pace-O-Matic in selected SMART Tour and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races. Newman, who has 18 wins and 51 poles in his NASCAR Cup Series career, drove three races for SS Racing in 2022 at Richmond, North Wilkesboro, and Martinsville. Newman led laps at Richmond, won racing’s return to the famed North Wilkesboro Speedway, and finished third in the season finale at Martinsville.

Race fans can watch the entire World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, including the season-opener for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, live on FloRacing February 10-18.

As of last Friday, December 30, 2022, there were 23 tour type Modifieds and 23- 602 Modifieds entered. That does not include entries for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series event that will open the series on Friday, February 11.

A big shout-out to Jacob Perry who took part in the ARCA test session at the Daytona International Speedway last Friday. Those on hand said how impressive it was to watch groups of four running at 180 mph and learn the art of the draft at high speed, Drivers in each group took turns leading the draft.

At the end of the day Jacob Perry was 5th fastest out 34 ARCA cars. Hopefully there is someone out there who will give this deserving individual a break to advance his career to the next level.

Special Notice: The long awaited documentary on Fred DeSarro went up on 12/26/22 on Sid’s View which can be seen on u-Tube. A fantastic tribute to a fallen friend and champion.

Troyer Race Cars/Tfr has announced their 2023 Asphalt Dealer line up!! These dealers all have agreements in place which will allow us to continue to focus on manufacturing, while they provide authentic parts and services to our valued TR and LFR customers!! Among their parts and repair stations are TFR Distribution MAASS 508-835-2220, Parts, Service OVAL SPEED LI NY 516-541-7920, Keith Rocco Racing CT 203-314-9129, Parts, Service and Repairs Hirschman Garage and Speed PA 610-262-2450, Parts, Service and Repairs Buzze Racing / Hamke Racecars NC 704-664-8907, Parts, Service and Repairs Northeast Racecars RI 401-710-9992, Parts, Service and Repairs SSR Suspension CT 413-575-7644.

Congratulations to Mike Joy and Reggie Ruggerio on their induction to the National Motorsports Hall of Fame. Both are very deserving of the honor.

Announcer Matt Buckler has hit a bump in the road on his road to recovery from a recent foot amputation. He stated, “Although I was accepted as a patient at Mount Sinai rehab the insurance company rejected me and I lost all my Appeals. So, I am still at the Bone and Joint Institute waiting to go to a rehab facility. I’ll know in a couple days which one it is. Although I have had a setback I’m still determined to work hard and still make it to the speed bowl by opening day and maybe even Thompson for the Icebreaker and Stafford for the Sizzler I thank everybody for their support and for pulling for me and I am determined not to let anyone down once again I thank everybody and we will see you soon.”

With the cooperation of the Arute family a book has been published with pictures and biographies of the 50 Greatest Drivers at Stafford.

The Stafford Motor Speedway had become the epicenter of NASCAR Modified racing in the northeast by the late 1980’s. From its dirt beginnings to its lightning-fast asphalt, Stafford had become the toughest and most gratifying track to score a victory. The Arute family which has owned and guided the destiny of the facility commissioned their thousands of loyal fans to name their favorite drivers. In alphabetical order so as not to offend anyone:

Tom Baldwin, Gene Bergin, Brett Bodine, Geoff Bodine, Ken Bouchard, Ron Bouchard, Mario “Fats” Caruso, Rene Charland, Ted Christopher, Leo Cleary, Tim Connolly, Jerry Cook, Corky Cookman, Pete Corey, Fred DeSarro, Richie Evans, Mike Ewanitsko, Ed Flemke, Sr., Jeff Fuller, Rick Fuller, Ernie Gahan, Bill Greco, Bo Gunning, Ray Hendrick, George “Moose” Hewitt, Tony Hirschman, George Janoski, Charlie Jarzombek, George Kent, Buddy Krebs, Randy LaJoie, Jan Leaty, Jerry Marquis, Mike McLaughlin, Ray Miller, Steve Park, Bob Polverari, Bob Potter, Brian Ross, John “Reggie” Ruggiero, Greg Sacks, Ollie Silva, “Wild” Bill Slater, Jimmy Spencer, Mike Stefanik, Carl “Bugsy” Stevens, George Summers, Jamie “The Jet” Tomaino, Maynard Troyer and Satch Worley.

Books are priced at $17.95 each and be purchased at the track at the Novelty Booth or at the Stafford Motor Speedway on line store. Books are also available at Amazon.com and at Coastal181 (877-907-8181).

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