RPW Column: With Speedweeks In The Rear View, Time To Get Crankin’ On The 2023 Race Season

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – With New Smyrna and Daytona Speedweek in the rear view mirror its time to start thinking of Modified racing in the Carolinas.

The Southern Modified Auto Racing Tour (SMART) gets the green this coming Saturday, March 4 at the Florence Speedway in Florence, SC.

The SMART tour then moves to the Caraway Speedway in Sophia, NC on Sunday, March 12. From there the SMART tour heads to the Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coburn, Va. For an event on Saturday, March 18. All events will be live streamed by FloRacing.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series resumes on Friday, March 31 at the Richmond Va. International Speedway. Richmond is a fast, ¾ mile oval.

Troyer Race Cars/ TFR Manufacturing announced some big news for their customers last Thursday. Some BIG NEWS!!! Effective immediately, ALL UPSTATE NY customers will have access to their Rochester facility for parts pick up!!!

It gets better!! Because all sales will go through their Distribution facility in MA, the purchase will be TAX FREE!! They will also throw in an additional 10% discount for all sales over 1000.00!!😲 So it’s simple, call TFR Distribution in MA where they have over 750K in Asphalt inventory which will soon be on their webpage, place your order, and they will ship direct to Rochester for pick up, or have your order manufactured as a priority job and assign a pick up date!!

Preparation for the 51st running of the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® is in full swing at Stafford Speedway. To commemorate the history of “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring” Stafford will release season two of Sizzler Shorts, 2 minute videos highlighting each of the 27 different Spring Sizzler® winners. From Matt Hirschman to Fred DeSarro, Sizzler Shorts recaps the career of every driver to hoist the Spring Sizzler trophy.

“The NAPA Spring Sizzler is Modified racing, the history, the prestige, it’s the only Modified event that has lasted over half a century,” explained Stafford Speedway COO Paul Arute. “Last season, Bonssa [Tufa] and Kyle [Rickey] dug through the archives to recap every Spring Sizzler in the lead up to the 50th Anniversary of the Sizzler. Heading into the 51st Sizzler we thought it was time to document each of the drivers who have conquered the ‘Greatest Race in the History of Spring’. From Doug Coby to Brian Ross, Richie Evans to Donny Lia, the guys did their research and put together some great videos to document the history of the Sizzler.”

Narrated by Bonssa Tufa and Kyle Rickey, Sizzler Shorts will return Saturday, February 25th with the first episode featuring 2022 NAPA Spring Sizzler winner Matt Hirschman. Three of the 2 to 3 minute biographical videos will be released each week leading up to the 51st running of the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler April 29th and 30th. “When you look at the list of Spring Sizzler winners, it’s the who’s who of Modified racing history,” explained Stafford Content Manager Bonssa Tufa. “These legends had to start somewhere. So we’re excited to give a little history lesson on each of them.”

“In 2022 it was fun to explore the history of this prestigious event over its first 49 runnings,” noted Stafford announcer Kyle Rickey. “This year we focus on the 27 legends that have won the Sizzler, each have an amazing back story that we excited to share”. Videos will be released on Stafford Speedway’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram pages. Tickets and event information for the 51st NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® is available online at staffordspeedway.com/sizzler.

Pro All Stars Series (PASS) and American-Canadian Tour (ACT) officials have announced the full schedule of events for the ten-division 49th Icebreaker Weekend line-up at Thompson Speedway. Often recognized as New England’s unofficial Lid Lifter for the year’s racing activities, the Thompson Icebreaker is once again highlighted by the PASS Super Late Model 75 on Saturday, April 1st and the $10,000-to-win Icebreaker 125 for the Thompson Outlaw Open Modifieds on Sunday, April 2nd.

The NASCAR Cup series paid its final visit to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The track is expected to be torn up and replaced with a half mile track. Kyle Busch stormed up from the back after an early speeding penalty to earn his first victory for Richard Childress Racing, winning on this two-mile Southern California track for the fifth and final time. Busch held off Chase Elliott and Ross Chastain. It was not a good day for Ryan Preece who started 27th and finished 33rd as his car suffered a broken left rear toe link on his car’s chassis.

Bruce Cohen reminds us that last week marked the 54th anniversary of the passing of Don MacTavish, Many often ponder : “What if” His wit, charm, and friendship is still missed and revered after all these years. The former NASCAR Sportsman Champion lost his life after a horrific crash during the running of the Permatex 300.

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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