Sunday, March 24, 2013

The ROC Cabin Fever 60 at New Egypt Speedway

Its been almost six months since we have hit the road to photograph  a race..  When New Egypt Speedway published their schedule the ROC Modified and Sportsman tours were first up opening the season March 23rd.While dirt racing is not on my schedule too many times a year how can you pass up a 60 lap modified race about 2 hours from home with so many big names.

As you can expect the 3rd weekend in March the weather can be less than perfect but other than unusually cold temperatures and a 20 mile wind it was a pretty good day.

Modifieds and sportsmen were filling the pits from several states as the track personnel worked hard to prepare the track surface.  It was good to see many of the big names pit side, Horton, Shepard, Johnson, Ward, Godown, Paunch, Friesen, Blewett and others.

Unfortunately the track surface would be the top story most of the day as huge ruts developed in many spots throughout the turns. The track surface was only applied a couple of weeks ago with unseasonably cold and wet weather it hindered the track preparation. I spoke to Fred who owns the track and he was upset with what the track became on Sat. and promised they will get it right.
Walking up the pit ramp to head to the infield I could notice changes to the track since the last time I was there last year. The biggest change was the large billboards that ring the track from turn 2 all the was down the backstretch.It gives a whole new feel to the track. One change that is not so noticeable is the irrigation system they are building so they will not have to water the track during race nights. Its a novel idea that should speed along races.

The qualifying races went pretty quickly with about 30 cars in each divisions turning their first laps of the season.  After the heats they had a lengthy delay to work the track and try to eliminate the potholes. To the credit of the many drivers there was no public bitching about the conditions, a tribute to their professionalism. (Although with the amount of broken hubs, shocks and crushed body parts there had to be some private complaints)

Shooting races from the infield of a large track like New Egypt you spend most of your time focusing on what is right in front of you. Last night no matter where you looked there was plenty of action to shoot.. Standing on the backstretch they roared by, standing in turn 1 and 2 the  Big Block modified cars bounced through the ruts while still on the gas. It was an amazing sight. Some of the cars were slowed down because they were literally plowing through the ruts bottoming out the cars. David Van Horn was a victim of one of the large ruts as he hit one wrong and rolled the car over, David was OK.

Jimmy Horton worked his way out front of the big block feature fairly early in the race and then picked his way through the pot holes  to win the race with a $10,000 payday. Jimmy looked very happy in victory lane even after the pounding he must have taken all night. Jimmy Blewett saved his car all night and made a late move for second place. Ryan Godown was strong all night but a late trip to the pits cost him any shot at a win ending up 3rd.

Ken Hammond took the lead  and the win late in the sportsman race over DJ Ruppert and Eddie White.

While the track was not good on Sat. the drivers put on a great show when the night could have been a disaster. With all the improvements already done and planned they should have the track surface problems solved for opening night. April 6th is the next show with 358 Modifides, Sportsman and Street Stocks.

Thank you to New Egypt Speedway for the hospitality they extended. It was our first time covering a race there and they made me feel as welcome as any track I have been to.

Next up for Myracenews will be the Ice Jam at Fonda on April 6th, Waterford on the 7th, Lebanon Valley on the 13th and Thompson on the 14th. Get to  you favorite short track and see a race!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Been on the road.

Well I can't believe its July 20th already. Yes I know I have not blogged in about 2 months. This will be a short one to let you all know I am still here..

Well it has been a busy 2 months. Since my last post I have been to Virgina, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Connecticut,New Jersey and of course the great state of New York all to catch a race or two.

Our first big road trip was to the south to see my first race at Bowman Gray, the Madhouse and the Madhouse it was. The trip also included first time stops at Linda's Speedway for mini sprints and what apparently the last modified race at Martinsville Speedway.

Other road trips included taking the kids to New Hampshire Speedway plus Lebanon Valley Speedway and New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey for some big block dirt modfieds. Plus we caught our first modified race on a road course at Limerock Speedway.

Variety has always been what I love. Yes modifeds will always be my favorite but NHRA drag racing is always on the schedule at least once a year. Seeing cars go over 300 miles an hour is quite a rush. Englishtown in New Jersey has been a stop now for the last 3 years. Unfortunately another drag racer lost his life there this year, lets hope they have learned from past tragedies and his passing will be the last. Seeing mini- sprints on dirt for the first time this year made me want to see more!

I must say that this year I have had the most fun traveling with the kids to the races. We have made many side trips to parks, 6 Flags, rivers, the ocean, Cooperstown and many other great places. As they grow up the time we spend is special just because they grow up so fast.

Coming up is the busiest stretch of the season. Starting with the end of July at Riverhead Raceway for a 175 lap modified race. With the help of my good friend Jim Schaefer should be quite a night. From there races at Stafford, Thompson and Bristol really fill out the month of  August and then there will be only 3 races to finish the season  at New Hampshire, then back to Stafford and Thompson.

Join us at Riverhead for what should be a fun and special night. Saturday July 31st at Long Islands last remaining Speedway.

See you at the races.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Supporting the Sport That He Loves.

Some people go on various chat rooms, comment on Facebook and voice their opinions at the track about the state of the Modifieds. They discuss car counts, the quality of races, the quantity of races, that the races should be on TV and that Nascar modifed races should pay more money.

Well we got the races on TV, even tracks like Riverhead Raceway will be on Versus TV in HD no less!

Plus one person decided to stop discussing and start doing something about the purse at his home track.

That person is know to many as LImodmaniac but his real name is Jim Schaefer , a school teacher from Riverhead NY. Jim is a long time race fan, especially the mighty modified race cars.

Jim has personally sponsored cars and always supports the races by attending up to 50 or more races a year all over the eastern United States.

Jim's quest started last year at the Riverhead Raceway WMT flash race. Jim dug into his own pocket and added $1,400.00 winner Ryan Preece's payout. Last year Jim was able to round up the base winners purse to a cool $4,000.00 to win. Kids from Jim's class got to go on the track and give the start your engine command, quite a thrill for them I am sure.

After the race Jim started thinking that $1,400.00 was good but $10,000.00 would be better. Jim believed with the help of others he could raise the money.

Right now the goal for the 2010 Riverhead Raceway WMT race on July 31st is to add $300.00 to each position plus an extra $2,100.00 to the winners share for a total of $5,000.00 to win. Jim's total goal is to add $10,500.00 to the purse, plus if he goes over that he would also like to add tow money for the cars that do not qualify.

Jim personally spoke to many of the drivers at Stafford and showed them a copy of the enhanced purse, I believe Jim made many friends at Stafford.

Several friends of the Chrome Horn web page have pledged money including Hossfan, Mod11racer, StoningtonModMania, Axel and Liquid bread. Jim is getting close to his goal but still needs a little help. So if you would like to contibute, contact Jim on the or speak to him at just about any modified race between now and July 31st.

Jim will be at the May 15th Riverhead Raceway 100 lap Modifed race supporting is favorite race cars, adding a little money to that race and drumming up support for the July 31st WMT race. Come on down and join him, the first feature race starts at 5:00 o'clock sharp.
From the drivers, team owners and fans of the sport, thank you Jim Schaefer.
See you at the track.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

OK, so we have one MRS and one Whelen race on the books and one rain out. Stafford is up next and hopefully mother nature will let us get this one in.

What have we learned so far?? Well the #4 team is a solid team and with a good driver behind the wheel who is now Bobby Santos the III can win on any track. Ryan Preece has started the year where he left off with another second place finish and looking to move up one spot in the standings. Mike Stefanik looks to be on a mission to show yes he is getting older but that is not going to slow him down. TC fought the race car most of the Icebreaker for a 4th place finish. Todd Szegedy had one his usual solid top 5 finishes.

I think what we may also learn is that while we may not have the largest fields of cars it is a quality field of cars. Walking through the pits at Thompson there are a lot of new and freshened race cars that should make for great racing this year.

Several cars that caught my eye did not finish up front but it was good to see them in action.

Burt Myers from NC looked strong early but faded at the end to a 14th place finish. I think everyone would like to see him back for more. Richie Pallai Jr. finished 21st in his 1st modified start at the track. Johnnny Bush in his immaculate #68 had a crate motor and a GPS from Nascar to keep an eye on it. Teammates Wade Cole and Jake Morosz had there ups and downs but I think it was fair to say most were happy to see 2 of the long time tour supporters at the track.

Jimmy Blewett will give the 14 a good ride this year but is is strange not seeing the Reg at the Icebreaker. Hopefully we have not seen the last of him on the tour. Southern tour champ George Brunnhoelzl III who is a native Long Islander is keeping up a family tradition that dates back to the 1950's of winning races and championships.

So its now its on to Stafford and the 200 lap Spring Sizzler, a race that has been won by the biggest names ever to drive a modified. Lets hope the weather holds off so we can run the 39th annual Sizzler! It all starts with the morning pit party on the track from 11:00-12:00 and ends with 200 laps of modified action.

See you at the track.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Racing Season is Now Open!

Well we now have our 1st race under our belts. The Waterford Speedbowl hosted 2 days of racing this past weekend. Sunday morning it was on the road early for the 2 1/2 hour drive up the Connecticut coast line to see the MRS racing series, Waterford SK modifieds, NEMA midgets and other local classes.
2 weeks ago it was 70 degrees, last weekend no such luck with a cloudy sky and 40 degree temperatures.

First up was the midgets, 5 minutes and 40 seconds later they were done with Chris Leonard at 19 years of age taking down his first win.
The SK modified class brought a strong field of good looking race cars to the track. 27 cars started a 60 lap race but far from that number finished. Keith Rocco started first and finished there. Keith was strong from the drop of the green and was never really was challenged. Back through the field there was a lot side by side racing and passing. Unfortunately there were many spins and wrecks too. Shawn Solomito passed many cars on his way from the back to a 7th place finish, Jeff Pearl also passed his share of cars and finished 3rd. Ceravolo was strong all day for a 2nd place finish .
The feature event of the day was the MRS modifieds. Another strong field of 30 cars from all over the northeast took part in their first race of the season. Doug Coby won his second MRS race in his last 2 tries at Waterford. And this time he stayed clear of the infield water.
It was a rough day for the open wheel cars. At one point on lap 80 there only 10 cars remained waiting for track clean up to finish. Chris Pasteryak had a good run going until he crushed the brand new cement wall setting off a chain reaction that involved no less than 6 cars and left several out of the race.
Matt Hirshman had a good day, staying out of trouble and finishing a strong second in what was an underpowered car. Eric Goodale had a good finish in 7th but took the hard route to get there. Several trips to the pits and a couple spins plus an almost trip into the first turn wall did not deter the MRS rookie from finishing..
The most disappointed driver of the day had to be Rowan Pennick who while running 2nd ran out of gas on a restart and was never a factor again finishing 10th.
Next up for the MRS modifieds is Albany Saratoga on the 18th of April, but before that its an annual tradition the Whelen modified tour at Thompson Speedway for the 2010 edition of the Icebreaker.
See you at the track.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Speedweeks in the Mirror.

So Speedweeks is over and the racing season has begun. The next real Modifed race is in less than a month at Atlanta Motor Speedway, on the 1/4 mile track on the front strech followed by Orange County Speedway in NC. Lets hope the weather changes a whole bunch in the next 4 weeks.

Opening day for the Whelen Modifed tour is in less than 2 months away at the Thompson International Speedway. The Modifieds will be joined by 6 divisions of stock cars to get the season off to a bang.

The winter was relatively quiet this year. That was until until Donny Lia left the #4 Mystic Missile team 2 weeks ago to re-join the Camping World Truck series. Donny was running well at Daytona until he was involved an a big wreck.

Then at New Smyrna TC won another championship (His 8th by the way) which wasn't the biggest story. The Ronnie Silk/ Keith Rocco WWE SK night at the track grabbed a lot of the headlines. Keith is quickly becoming one of modified racing's bad boys. That is too bad because he can drive a race car but if he keeps this up no one will notice.
The 2010 WMT championship race will be wide open with Donny Lia not racing. Will Ted Christopher get his second championship. Will Todd Szegedy get his first after running so strong most of last year. Will Ryan Preece who is still so young but really came on last year take the last step and get his championship? Plus add in Eric Beers who will have a 2 team effort to try and win his first championship.
Every year at least 1 team steps it up. To do that you need experience, luck, money and a lot of hard work. This year Rowan Pennik could be that driver. Either in his own 93 or the rumored shift to the 4 car could move him up in the standings.
Bobby Grigas will have a new crew chief in Brad Lafontaine, could this be a big year for him? How about Ronnie Silk or Matt Hirshman both very capable drivers with great equipment and experienced teams behind them. This could also be a break out year for some younger drivers, Eric Goodale who had a pretty strong Speedweeks could have a breakout year in only his second full season.
Its just 50 Days until Thompson and counting down. It will probably be cold and with the weather we have had this winter maybe even a little snow left over. But the stands and the pits will be packed with thousands of people all looking to get their racing season off to a great start.
See you at the race track.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Its Snowing, So it Must Be Time to Go Racing!!

OK, so it freezing outside and its snowing. That must mean its time to go racing!

While 100,000,000.00+ people are waiting for the Super Bowl, most people I know are looking at Florida not for the Super Bowl but for Speedweeks.

Hundreds of race teams and thousands of of fans are converging on the Daytona Speedway, New Symrna, Volusha and other short tracks around the state. They are there for their love of racing and the annual start of racing in the United States.

Will Jimmy Johnson make it 5 in a row, will Dale Jr. be the driver all him millions of fans want him to be, does Ken Schrader belong in the Bud Shoot out?

All good questions but most of my friends are asking different questions. How many cars are going to show up at New Symrna, will they all come home in one piece, who will win the championship that has been won by so many great drivers over the years? Who will win the Richie Evans memorial race?

For a week of racing that does not pay much beyond the 1st and 2nd place cars it has always attracted the best drivers and teams. Steve Park, Richie Evans, Jimmy Spencer, Tom Baldwin, Ted Christopher, John and Jimmy Blewett, Reggie Ruggiero, Donny Lia, Jan Leaty, Jamie Tomino, Tony Jankowiak and hundreds of others have tried their hands at one of the fasted short tracks in the country.

While a bad night at New Symrna could ruin your season, a good week could make your year. Many a driver has destroyed a car and never recovered the rest of the year. Others have open some eyes with one or two win in Fla.

Well unfortunately the years first race had to wait another day as heavy rains postponed night 1 but hopefully they get in night 2. But there are 7 more races to go including Wednesdays John Blewett Memorial and Fridays Richie Evans Memorial races.

Let hope for good weather and safe races for the rest of the week.

Until we meet at the track.