RPW Column: The Champ Trail; NASCAR Mods, Racing At Fonda, Waterford & More…

RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – With Florida Speedweek in the rear view mirror it’s time to look ahead to the 2020 Whelen Modified Tour Series which opens in three short weeks at the South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Va. On March 21.

It’s amazing that Doug Coby is without a ride and will not be able to defend his series championship. Usually when one door closes another one opens but this has not been the case so far. Anthony Nocella had a break-out series event with his recent performance at New Smyrna.

It will be interesting to see if he is in the line-up at South Boston. Nocella has been an outstanding competitor on the New England based Modified Racing Series and the Tri Track Series. He is a tough but very clean and fair competitor.

Jon McKennedy is also looking to be at South Boston in the Tommy Baldwin 7ny. McKennedy and Baldwin have sponsorship for four races, after that it’s a crap shoot. The pair are proven front runners and winners in the past so here’s hoping. Baldwin does have sponsorship for the Fall Final at Stafford but the sponsor dictates that Mike Christopher Jr will be the driver.

McKennedy and car owner Art Barry, who won the Modified Racing Series championship together in 2012, will team up to make a run at the checkered flag in Stafford’s Open 80 events scheduled for May 8, June 12, July 10, and August 21 with the #21 SPAFCO Chassis Chevrolet.

Matt Hirschman who is coming off his recent championship at New Smyrna is a highly possible entrant at South Boston. Hirschman has the uncanny ability to manage his tires keeping the best for last. Hirschman is a money racer which indicates that once the 2020 season gets into full swing he will pick and choose where he races.

Word has it that car owner Sully Tinio will return to the Whelen Modified Tour Series. As was before, Bobby Santos III will be his driver. Tinio will not commit to a schedule until he sees Santos’.

NASCAR plans to integrate the restart zone for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races in 2020, per Kyle Souza. Previously, teams had double red lines on the outside wall to start the race. This joins single car qualifying and 2 tires per stop at @StaffordSpeedwy as offseason changes.

The management of the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway needs to read this as the up-state New York Speedway knows how to promote an affordable night of entertainment. Since 1953, the ‘Track of Champions’ Fonda Speedway has hosted the best in stock car racing. Under the management of BD Motorsports Media LLC, the speedway will operate weekly on Saturday nights from April through August plus several special events.

The BD Motorsports Media-led management team has announced the return of $11 Adult grandstand admission for standard weekly events during the ’20 campaign at the Track of Champions. Seniors (ages 65 and up) pay $9. Kids 11 and under are FREE. “We were very pleased with the resurgence of fans last year at the speedway,” Fonda Speedway promoter Brett Deyo said. “We saw some impressive numbers all year long and that was evident through our 50/50 winning shares. This season we want to continue our growth by giving families a night out at a reasonable price.”

Parks Companies has teamed up to present a HUGE $11 program on April 25 at Fonda. Sunoco Modifieds will race for an $8,000 top prize and fans will see no increase in admission!

After a massive fan turnout last season, the ‘Dollar Night’ is back on the Fonda schedule for May 9. This event features $1, yes $1, grandstand admission for a complete program including the Sunoco Modifieds. In ’19, more than 4,000 race fans turned out for the ‘Dollar Night’ promotion.

New for the ’20 season are two events offering $5 grandstand admission. The first $5 Night is presented by Bob Hilbert Sportswear on June 6. The event will include the popular Hondo Classic for the Pro Stock division, a pre-race Fan Meet and Greet and NYSCCA Safety Awards. Fans will see a complete night of stock car racing for just $5. A second $5 program takes place on Aug. 1 with a Sunoco Modified-headlined show that includes all weekly classes and the Four Cylinder Cruisers.

Fonda Speedway, a half mile dirt facility, is located on the Montgomery County Fairgrounds off New York State Thruway Exit No. 28 at 21 S. Bridge Street Fonda, NY 12068.

Work is progressing at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Most of the site work to support the erection of the new grandstands appears to be done. The actual erection of the new stands is about to begin which will signal a new beginning at the shoreline oval.

On a sad note, 51 years ago this past week the great Don MacTavish lost his life in a horrific accident during the Permatex 300 at the Daytona International Speedway. He was the 1066 NASCAR National Sportsman Champion.