Story By: CHRIS LEONE / BULLRING BASH – ATTLEBORO, MA – As winter officially turns to spring, the big topic of conversation for Modified and Legend Car racers throughout the Northeast continues to be the Bullring Bash Quarter Mile Challenge. The buzz surrounding the all-star events is drawing competitors of all backgrounds who have a variety of reasons for climbing on board.
For some, the Bullring Bash presents an opportunity to expand beyond their current track or series. With a three-event schedule, racers can go up against all-star competition without a summer-long commitment. This is especially true among Bullring Bash Midstate Development Legends seeking a high-profile alternative to the weekly racing they’re used to.
“Honestly, there’s not much regionally in the area for Legends divisions as far as racing that’s promoted like this,” Cromwell, CT’s Peter Bennett said. “That’s really what caught my eye about this series in general. This is exactly what I was looking for going into this season – something that’s not an entire-season commitment. In the past, I’ve always been a ‘race for a championship’ type of guy. So it’s cool just to be able to show up at the track, race three races, and have a little bit of money on the line.”
The prestige already surrounding the events is another thing drawing competitors to the Bullring Bash. With large purses on the line, along with automatic qualifying bids to even bigger events such as the Race of Champions 250 and the INEX Legend Car Nationals, the biggest names in the region have begun filing their entries.
Two-time Modified Racing Series Champion Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT and multi-time PASS Modified Champion Andy Shaw of Center Conway, NH are among the household names that have already committed to the Bullring Bash Modifieds. On the MSD Legends side, defending New London-Waterford Speedbowl Champion Bennett, 2016 INEX Semi-Pro National Champion Noah Korner of Canton, CT, and multi-track winner Kevin Nowak of Medford, NY stand out on the entry list.
“I just enjoy competing in the Legends class overall, and competing for a decent purse payout like the Bullring Bash is offering makes it easier to attend,” Nowak said. “It’s fun racing these cars, and to go to an event like this, it’s going to draw bigger competitors. I’m interested in racing against the guys that have more experience and put on a better show for the fans. To attend an event like this with the prestige and money involved is great, and hopefully it’s something that can grow in the future with even more tracks and events in other states.”
But not every competitor is going in expecting to make a big splash. Many part-time or low-budget racers see the Bullring Bash as a place where they can be part of a larger experience. This is the case for Maine natives Kevin Oliver in the MSD Legends and Bill Dixon in the Modifieds, who are optimistic they can still contend against their better-known competition.
“For someone like me, the Bullring Bash gives me more opportunities to go to different places,” Dixon said. “It’s going to be a good little series. And I like the fact that they tried not to schedule against anybody. Hopefully all these Modified divisions can work together a little bit so more racers can go to more events.”
Then there’s the venues themselves. The Bullring Bash marks the return of Tour-type Modified racing to N. Woodstock, NH’s White Mountain Motorsports Park and Barre, VT’s Thunder Road Speedbowl after long absences. For Thunder Road, it will be the first time the track has hosted a Legend Car event.
This means many Bullring Bash drivers, especially in the MSD Legends, see the events as an opportunity to try out new tracks. For those who have experience at these speedways, such as Modified racers Shaw and Dixon, the chance to return is part of what convinced them to enter.
“What drew us to the Bullring Bash was the fact that a lot of the tracks are tracks we’ve raced on,” Shaw said. “We come from a PASS Modified and Super Late Model background, so we’ve raced at those tracks, and I actually consider White Mountain (Motorsports Park) as one of my home tracks – it’s 45 minutes from my house, and the closest racetrack to my house. I have a lot of experience there, and I feel like the tracks are a good fit. Modified racing doesn’t generally come up this way, so we’re excited to have them somewhat close to where we live.”
Regardless of their reasons for entering, the Bullring Bash entrants so far have two things in common. They all love to race and they are eager to participate in events that generate excitement for teams and fans. The Bullring Bash is shaping up as the place for both in its inaugural season.
The Bullring Bash Quarter Mile Challenge will have additional announcements regarding registered teams, sponsors, officials, partnerships, and much more in the coming weeks.