Monday, January 16, 2017

Jonathan McKennedy awarded “Premier Touring Series Driver of the Year” at Northeast Motorsports Expo

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Photo credit by Simply the Best, Crystal Snape
Jonathan McKennedy awarded “Premier Touring Series Driver of
the Year” at Northeast Motorsports Expo
Augusta, Maine – At this past weekend’s 29
th
Annual Northeast Motorsports Expo,
open wheel Modi*ed standout Jonathan Mckennedy was awarded the “Premier
Touring Series Driver of the Year”.
Sponsored by Mainely Motorsports Television, (MainelymotorsportsTV.com) and its
popular Host Steve Perry, the honor is a tell-tale of top-Series driver results from the
past season.
Host Steve Perry explained, “The Premier Touring Series Driver of the Year” is a
comparison of best season to best season of all our top New England drivers from
ACT, MRS, NASCAR and PASS competition.
“During the 2016 season,” continued Perry, “this driver stood-out above all the rest.
“Competing in 25 Touring Series events, he and his team grabbed 11 wins and 22
Top-Four *nishes. With wins coming in N. Carolina, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New
Hampshire and Maine, our ‘Premier Touring Series Driver of the Year’, is East
Chelmsford, Massachusetts racer Jonathan Mckennedy.”
“This is a super award to receive”, Mckennedy said, “and I am honored to be
mentioned in the same sentence with its past winners. It’s great how Steve Perry
and the Mainely Motorsports television show bring short track racing into the homes
of thousands and thousands of race fans weekly.
“Over the years, they have brought our #29 team solid attention. And now, with
this award, they are bringing stronger light to us all.
“Lots of work went into the preparation and building of our racecar this season,”
continued Mckennedy. “Eddie Flemke’s RaceWorks Chassis stayed consistent
throughout the year -tire management being nearly perfect in many conditions. And
Mike Pettit at Pettit Race Engines gave me a great engine all season. Thank-you.”
“I certainly couldn’t have had this success without my sponsors EXIT Realty, Sage
Bank, De*lippo Insurance and Christopher’s Towing and, of course, my great crew
and spotter who take the time to help me pursue my career. Again, thank-you all.”
Steve Perry added, “Past Premier Touring winners include Dave Dion, Robbie Crouch,
Mike Stefanik, Ricky Craven, Eddie MacDonald, Joey Polewarczyk, Johnny Clark,
Wayne Helliwell Jr., Brian Hoar, DJ Shaw, and Rowan Pennick. That’s a good indicator
of the stars we have and the prestige that comes to the winner, and Mainely
Motorsports Television are pleased that Jonathan is the recipient and thankful he’s
our 2017 ambassador.”
For 2017, McKennedy has begun what so many others have also started, looking for
added sponsors and partners to join his team.
“I’m looking to advance my career as a driver in NASCAR or another Series,” added
Mckennedy. “We have good supporters for our current program, and have two
possible opportunities in the pipe-line. We are working to add, and could certainly
use added partners though.”

Josh Wood Ready for Double Duty at Stafford Speedway in 2017

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

(Stafford Springs, CT)---In a big move for the 2017 season, 2013 Limited Late Model Track Champion and multi-time winner in the Late Model division, Josh Wood, will be adding an SK Modified® ride to his racing stable.  Wood will remain behind the wheel of the #17 Bob Peterson owned Late Model but will pull double-duty throughout the 2017 season also piloting the #24 SK Modified®.
“It was just a case of me wanting to keep moving up and challenging myself,” explained Wood.  “Going up to the SK Modifieds® is a big jump and those drivers are the best in the business and some of the best on the east coast.  It’s going to be a challenge but it’ll be fun.”
During the 2016 season Wood tested the waters running 2 SK Modified® features with 2 different teams and mixed results.  Wood ran one race with the #11 LFR Northeast team and a 2nd race in a Todd Owen prepared car, notching a 24th and 21st place finish respectively.  Though both results ended in mid-race incidents Wood is confident that his new team will be ready to compete with the best of the best when they unload at the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler on April 28-30.
“We’re hoping that we can be a top-10 car in the SK’s,” continued Wood.  “It’s a really tough division so we’re not looking to go out there with guns blazing and try to be in the top-5 every race, that’s not realistic for us.  We have a new car built and prepared by Todd Owen and Butch Shea at Chassis Pro.  I’m not really sure if we’ll be able to use our notes from last year or not but I know that I’ll be comfortable with what I have under me and if we’re not performing well then it won’t be the motor or the car, it will be me.”
Wood joins a long list of SK drivers that have run both the Late Models and SK Modifieds® on a weekly basis.  Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco have spent multiple season driving in both divisions and in 2016 Glen Reen doubled up and won both the SK Modified® and Late Model features in the same night behind the wheel of the #17 SK Modified® and #31 Late Model.  Wood is confident that he can continue his success in full-body competition as he learns in the SK Modified®.
“The biggest goal for the SK will be to stay out of trouble and bring the car home in one piece each week,” explained Wood.  “With the Late Model, things are looking pretty good, we’re hoping we can win some races again and contend for the championship.  It’s all going to depend on how the season gets started for us and if we can stay consistent.”
The #24 SK team with Wood behind the wheel will have to learn quickly if they hope to score good finishes in 2017.  The SK Modified® division continues to be one of the strongest in the country with all drivers finishing in the top-15 of the 2016 point standings set to return to competition in 2017.  Wood and his team are excited for the challenge and looking forward to the season.
Wood and the #17 Late Model team has had long-time support from Flamingo Motorsports, C+S Engineering, R.A.D. Automachine, and Falls Alignment.  All will be continuing their support throughout the 2017 season. 
Wood will kick off his double duty 2017 season in the 46th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler on April 28-30.  Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office.  Tickets are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult.  Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages.  As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.  All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission.  All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information on the 46th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Valenti Modified Racing Series rules meeting.

Posted by Wayne G. Barber


   Sunday Jan. 8th the VMRS held its annual meeting at the Stafford Motor Speedway clubhouse. The turnout of modified teams heard M.R.S. founder and president Jack Bateman discuss the 2017 racing schedule and ground rules for the upcoming season. There are no rule changes for the division and spec motors were unanimously voted out by the owners/drivers in attendance
   
   Traction control was another topic being discussed and the decision was to not allow any form of traction control. Any team found running the device will be disqualified for the entire season.

   Bobby Summers of Hoosier Tire was on hand to answer questions and announce prices will not increase from last year. Also in attendance was a member from the SK division that normally competes at the Stafford Motor Speedway and New London/Waterford Speedbowl. Some SK teams are interested in running selected events with the VMRS and would like to have a set of rules adopted so they can compete competitively with the MRS teams. Such rules may be fourth coming shortly.

   As far as the schedule, the MRS will kickoff the 2017 season on Friday May 19th at the Stafford Motor Speedway with an always exciting 80 lap feature. Then eight days later, Lee U.S.A. speedway will host the MRS for the Lee 125. This event was normally a twin 50 event but this year it will consist of three 25 lap heats with their own payoff of $500.00 to win, $350.00, $250.00, $200.00, $100.00 leading to a 50 lap feature paying $3000.00 to win.

   Probably the most exciting race on the MRS schedule has to be the first ever visit to the one mile Loudon Speedway. That 50 lap marathon will take place on Sat. July 1st with practice on Friday, June 30th. That race will pay $5000.00 to win, $1000.00 to take the green.
A test and tune day will take place in May. That date will be announced shortly.

   To learn more about any rules and race dates, Bateman and his team will be on hand at the Auto Parts Swap & Sell at the Eastern States Exposition. W. Springfield, MA January 21st & 22nd.
Story by James Snape and photo by Simply the Best, Crystal Snape

Fri.   May 19   Stafford Motor Speedway
Sat.  May 27   Lee USA
Sat.  June 17  Speedway 51, Groveton,NH
Sat.  June 24  New London/Waterford
Sat   July  1    Loudon
Fri.   July   7   Claremont
Fri    July  21  Lee USA
Sat.  Aug  12  New London/Waterford
Sat.  Aug  19  Beech Ridge
Fri    Sept  1   Stafford Motor Speedway
Sat/Sun  Oct. 7/8  Lee USA
Fri/Sat    Oct  13/14  Thompson Speedway         

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Carl Edwards to retire immediately

Posted by Wayne G. Barber


#19-Carl Edwards is expected to announce Wednesday that he will retire immediately from NASCAR racing, according to sources familiar with his plans. Edwards, 37, spent 13 years in the Cup Series and won 28 times in 445 starts. No immediate reason was available for why Edwards would retire. Daniel Suarez will be named the replacement for Edwards at Joe Gibbs Racing, sources said. Suarez, from Mexico, became the first foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR national series when he earned the Xfinity Series title in 2016.(ESPN)
AND: Joe Gibbs Racing is scheduled to hold two separate news conferences [Edwards retirement? Hamlin contract extension?) starting at 10:00am/et on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 from its headquarters in Huntersville, NC.(JGR)
MORE: Edwards is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to pursue other interests outside of driving and will not compete in 2017. On Wednesday, JGR will announce at a press conference that Daniel Suarez will replace Edwards as the driver of the team's #19 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota. Suarez is the reigning NASCAR XFINITY Series champion. Representatives of Edwards and Joe Gibbs Racing declined comment. David Wilson, president of TRD, U.S.A., also declined comment on Edwards' departure.Source: (FoxSports) (1-10-2017)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Stafford Speedway SK Light Drivers Weigh In on Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night Record Purse of Over $10,000 Up For Grabs

Photo by Wayne G. Barber  &   Posted by Wayne G. Barber
(Stafford Springs, CT)---New to the 2017 schedule of events at Stafford Speedway is the Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night on May 26.  Thanks to Doug Dunleavy from Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair, the new race will feature the largest purse ever offered anywhere for an SK Light feature event with over $10,000 up for grabs.  With over $10,000 in purse money, the race winner is guaranteed to take home $1,750, which is nearly 6 times the standard winning share of $300. 
Don Wood from R.A.D. Automachine will be providing $1,500 in contingency money for the top-3 finishing cars with R.A.D. engines under the hood.  With the highest finishing R.AD. car receiving a $750 bonus, the potential winning payout jumps up to $2,500.  The second highest finishing R.A.D. car will receive a $500 bonus with the third highest finishing R.A.D. car receiving a $250 bonus.  With further contingency awards factored in, the winner could take home in the neighborhood of $3,000.  But the money isn’t the only thing that will be unique for this SK Light feature event.
Whereas SK Light features are normally 20 laps in distance, the Dunleavy’s Modifiedz SK Light feature will double in length with 40 laps on the docket.  Drivers will have to contend with the extra weight of a larger than normal fuel load factored into the setup of their cars as well as having to manage their tire wear over two race distances to be able to race for the win in the closing laps of the race.
With so many different factors in play, we asked several SK Light drivers for their thoughts on what is sure to be the biggest race of the 2017 season: 
·         Tony Membrino, Jr.:  “I’m definitely excited about it, who wouldn’t be?  Stafford has been on the forefront of giving back to the SK Lights over the last couple seasons and this race is the icing on the cake.  Any time there’s a little extra money on the line, even if it’s just $100, you get a lot of added interest.  It’s going to be interesting to see who shows up and who does what.  On top of all that, the race is going to be 40-laps long so that will be interesting to see how guys handle the distance.  I don’t really see driver's tactics changing much and I think that you’ll see 20 more laps of good, hard, exciting racing.  There’s been tons of races where at the end you say to yourself ‘I wish I had 5 more laps’ and now we have 20 extra laps.  So with another whole race on top of the normal distance, there’s going to be car setups and how guys are going to compensate with fuel and tires, so it should be an interesting race.”
·         Joey Ferrigno:  “I’m really looking forward to the race, it’s a race where we could actually make a little bit of money.  That purse will definitely help pay for some tires.  The race distance is even better, if you’re stuck at the back at the start, you’ll have plenty of time to get to the front.  Sometimes you have the best car and driver and only 20 laps to get to the front, and if you start in the back in 22nd place, you need to pass a car a lap to get to the front.  If you get held up behind someone for 3 or 4 laps, you’re not going to make it to the front so this race will give everyone a chance to get to the front and win some of that Dunleavy’s money.”
·         David Arute:  “It’s pretty awesome to have this extra distance race with the money that will be available from Dunleavy’s.  I think it should be interesting to see if any outsiders decide to come to Stafford and compete against the regulars.  It should be a great race and hopefully everyone will make it to the finish.  With the 20 extra laps, I’m thinking that it will be a kind of Tommy Barrett style of saving the car until the second half of the race.  My strategy will be to approach it like 2 features and save the tires for the second half of the race and hopefully we’ll be up front for that second half.  My luck in extra distance races hasn’t been that good in my career so my first goal is to just finish the race.  My car usually gets better towards the end of the race so hopefully that will be the case for us again.  We’ll have a few weeks and races to get everything figured out with the car setup and what we’re going to do with fuel and tires.”
·         Wesley Prucker:  “I’m excited for the race and we’ll definitely be ready for it.  We’re used to racing for $300 to win and now we’re racing for almost 6 times that amount so it’s going to make for a very interesting race and I feel like we’re going to have a good chance to take home some of that extra money.  I think that tire conservation is going to be the key to running up front and having a chance to win and we’ll get things figured out over the first couple of races where we need to be with the car setup for 40 laps.”
·         Dan Wesson: “This is a great race at a great time of the year to recognize veterans and with the extra money on the line I’m sure the race is going to bring in cars from other tracks.  Winning this race would be a big boost for the remainder of the season and it would definitely give a lot of exposure to the winning driver and team.  The 40 laps is going to be pretty exhausting for me because I get tired after 20 lap races, but I’m always ready for anything.  Car setup is going to be a big factor and I think that the veteran drivers in the division might not struggle as much as some of the newer drivers.  I think you might see cars from other tracks come to Stafford to race the first four races of the season to get a good handicap for this race and then they might race at Stafford for the rest of the year.  It’s very exciting that Doug Dunleavy and the Arute family have given the SK Lights a race like this and I can’t thank Doug enough for all his support of modified racing.  There’s going to be a lot of other good cars out there for this race but I’m pretty confident in my team and I think we can be a contender for the win, I just have to be patient and keep all four wheels on the car.”

Granite State Pro Stock Series Banquet & General Information Meeting Announced  

Posted by Wayne G. Barber


WALPOLE, N.H. –

The Granite State Pro Stock Series (GSPSS) is pleased to announce the date for the 2016 awards banquet and celebration has been set for February 4, 2017. The event will take place in combination with the Racer's Expo at the Best Western Royal Plaza in Marlborough, Mass., where reigning series veteran Barry Gray will be officially crowned the champion. 

Cocktail hour has been set for 6:30 p.m., with dinner following at 7:30 p.m. The awards will conclude the evening. Tickets for the banquet are $55.00 and on sale immediately and can be purchased by visiting the Granite State Pro Stock Series website, gspss.net.

The series would also like to announce that the 2017 General Information Meeting will be held at the Racer's Expo that same day, February 4, at 2 p.m. Drivers and teams are encouraged to bring questions to the meeting in preparation for the 2017 season.

Finally, car registration is now open for the 2017 Granite State Pro Stock Series season. All numbers will be held from the 2016 season up until February 15.  

After that day, drivers will be able to register any number that is available.

For more information on the series, fans are encouraged to visit www.gspss.net

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Camping World Race Team # 5 Athenian shutdown?

Posted by Wayne G. Barber


Social media posts popped up in early December that employees had been laid off from Athenian Motorsports. More posts circulated after the new year. It is unclear what the team plans are as of now; whether they will continue part-time or close completely.

 In 2016, the team entered races in ARCA and XFINITY, and ran the entire Truck Series schedule.

John Wes Townley was the primary driver, but missed multiple races mid-season for a concussion, and ended the year on the sidelines after suffering a non-racing related ankle injury.(1-4-2017)