Story By: CHRIS LEONE / BULLRING BASH – ATTLEBORO, MA – One of the true veterans of Northeast motorsports is joining the Bullring Bash Quarter Mile Challenge, presented by RaceChoice.com for its inaugural season. Swanzey, NH’s Russ Hersey has filed his Bullring Bash Modified entry and is getting in on the ground floor for the trio of all-star events.
Hersey has been racing throughout the Northeast for well more than two decades, visiting dozens of tracks in the region. The opportunity to return to a pair of speedways where he has fond memories was a big part of why he and his team decided to join the Bullring Bash.
“I’ve run White Mountain and Thunder Road before, and I really enjoyed both tracks,” Hersey Said. My home track is Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH, and it’s a high-banked quarter-mile very similar in construction to both of those tracks. So I thought it would be a good fit and something I’m familiar with. I always wanted to race a Modified on those two tracks.”
“It sounded like a fun deal,” Hersey added. “The format was interesting with segment racing and all the different awards throughout the segments, so I thought this was a good time to help kick off a series and go to some places I want to go to.”
Hersey has long been known for racing almost anything and anywhere. What remains constant is his success behind the wheel. He is a four-time Monadnock Speedway track champion, most recently in 2012 in the Sportsman Modifieds. Hersey previously won three titles at the speedway in the Super Late Models.
In addition, Hersey has put up strong efforts in numerous touring series. He is a two-time Valenti Modified Racing Series (VMRS) winner and finished 10th in Pro All Stars Series points back in 2002. He also has starts with the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, Busch North Series, Granite State Pro Stocks Series, and X-1R Pro Cup Series.
While Hersey has competed previously at N. Woodstock, NH’s White Mountain Motorsports Park (WMMP) and Barre, VT’s Thunder Road, the sites of the Bullring Bash events, he did so in full-fender cars. He has multiple top-10 finishes at WMMP in a Super Late Model and visited Thunder Road in 1997 with the Busch North Series. Regardless, he knows any experience is helpful at each track.
“I’m familiar with all the dips and humps and rolls on them having been there,” Hersey said. “It’s a huge deal when it comes to acclimating to these race tracks and how quickly you can get up to speed, because everything’s on a limited amount of time. They’re one-day shows, you want to be in and out, and everyone’s hurried up. So the more experience you can have, the better off you’re going to be. White Mountain has some intricacies that are unique, as does Thunder Road with the Widowmaker coming off turn 4. I think it’s going to be tight racing, but it’s going to be a good time at both tracks.”
For the Bullring Bash, Hersey will once again partner with car owner Warren Mordentti, who also serves as crew chief. The car will carry sponsorship from Central Mass Tree and S.M. Olivo Lumber. Hersey drove for Warren’s father Bill a few times earlier in his career, then offered Warren a loaner engine a few years ago when the team was struggling and he was out of racing. This eventually led to Hersey being offered a chance to drive the car at Monadnock.
“We brought the car there, we put my motor in it and set it up, and we ended up setting fast time for the day and think ran fifth in the race,” Hersey recalled. “It was a great way to kick it off. Warren and I had a lot of fun together with the people that he brought, and we’ve just continued on from there. Warren’s driven and owned cars for quite a few years, so he understands both sides of it. You won’t find a better hands-on mechanic than Warren.”
The duo has prospered together in a part-time schedule, scoring VMRS wins at Claremont Speedway and Lee USA Speedway. They look to continue that success while also having fun with the Bullring Bash in its first season.
“It’s exciting to get in with a good group of people that I’m familiar with,” Hersey concluded. “Josh has assembled a program where, when you read through it and see all the people involved, it gives it a lot of credibility. It has some dynamics with the way everything’s set up that you don’t find in some of the other events that we go to. It also goes to a couple venues that we haven’t been to in a number of years. Modifieds have been on them, but it’s been a long time. It gives us something to look forward to – something out of the box and out of the norm. I think it’s going to be a good time and it’s going to be beneficial for everybody involved.”