Thursday, December 8, 2016

Rocket Robin Berghman Crowned New England Pro 4 Modified Champion

Posted by Wayne G. Barber
Photos by Simply the Best, Crystal Snape

 Robin Berghman of Seekonk,Ma. was crowned the 2016 New England Pro 4 Modified series champion Saturday evening December 3rd at the 39th annual banquet at the Ramada Inn in Seekonk, Ma. This was her second championship, the first one was 2013.

   Berghman received the champions jacket from series sponsors R.F.Logic and Bot-L-Gas then thanked her car owner Phil Lausier, her crew, sponsors, competitors, family and fans for their continued support. She then surprised some in attendance by announcing her retirement from motor sports, but wouldn't mind trying out a Valenti modified at some point.

   The top ten owners and drivers were recognized and received awards from series officials. Specialty awards were also presented.

   The Paul Roach Memorial trophy and plaque was awarded to Brett Meservey. The Harry Kourafas Jr. trophy was presented to Chase Dowling. The R.F.Logic Triple Crown trophy was awarded to Norm Wrenn III and Mark Charette. Most improved driver was Brett Meservey. Rookie of the year was Doug Meservey Jr. Hard charger for 2016 was Robin Berghman. Hard luck was claimed by Tom Royer. Mechanic of the year went to David Berghman (Pro 4 Mod.division) while Keith and Ken Harwood claimed mechanic of the year in the Lite division. Sportsman of the year was Sarah Lemay.

   Top ten 
1   07X   Robin Berghman   679
2   1M    Norm Wrenn III     666
3   07     Phil Lausier          605
4   67     Doug Meservey    544
5   5       Brett Meservey     411
6   93     Randy Clark         400
7   0       J.R.Gorman         365
8   11A   Dan Meservey Sr. 349
9   60     Andy Major          314
10  73    Randy Cabral        241

Mark Charette Claims Pro 4 Lite Championship.

   Charette's 505 points gave him the New England Pro 4 Lites championship over second and third place Allen Rieser (504) and Tom Royer (502) respectively.
Victories at New London/Waterford Ct., Monadnock N.H. and Thompson Ct. along with 4 second place finishes, 4 third places and a 4th, 5th and 7th earned the owner/driver the champions hardware for 2016.   

story by James Snape
photos by Crystal Snape  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

2017 Schedule Announced For NASCAR Unified Whelen Modified Tour

Posted by Wayne G. Barber  Photo from Wayne G. Barber Collection

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – From South Carolina to Connecticut, the 2017 schedule announced today for the unified NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will test the best Modified drivers over 17 races and two special events at some of East Coast’s most historic venues.
The new era will kick off on Saturday, March 18, with the season opener at Myrtle Beach Speedway. South Carolina’s semi-banked half-mile oval held its first NASCAR event in 1958. The champion will be crowned at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, as the .625-mile hosts the 55th Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing on Sunday, Oct. 15.
The schedule includes 17 championship points races across seven states, including companion events with NASCAR’s national series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July and September, and Bristol Motor Speedway in August. The summer weekend at New Hampshire will also be highlighted by the invitational, non-points All-Star Shootout, and the fall will feature a non-points special event on the quarter-mile at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“NASCAR is committed to growing and enhancing the profile of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president of weekly & touring series. “The 2017 calendar is a mix of some of the best race tracks for the exciting brand of racing that Modified fans have loved for more than 60 years. We are looking forward to a championship season worthy of the likes of Richie Evans, Jerry Cook and others.”
“Whelen Engineering is extremely excited about the direction NASCAR is taking with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, and our commitment to the tour is unwavering,” said Phil Kurze, vice president of motorsports for Whelen Engineering. “We truly feel the racing is some of the best in NASCAR, and the tracks that the tour will visit will provide fans a great experience as the drivers fight for the 2017 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.”
After Myrtle Beach, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to New England for two of the staple weekends of the early racing season: The 43rd Annual Icebreaker at Thompson and the 46th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway.
May will include a second race at a southern venue to be announced at a later date.
The tour schedule also features stops at a pair of bullrings known for their high-intensity, close-quarters Modified action: New London-Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut and twice at Long Island’s Riverhead Raceway.
The tour will also make returns to Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts and Oswego Speedway in upstate New York after very successful inaugural visits to the two venerable tracks in 2016.
In more great news for Modified competitors and fans, several tracks have signed three-year sanction agreements for their events. They include Thompson’s three races, Brisol, and both championship points races at New Hampshire.
In combining the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tours, NASCAR will offer competitors close to $500,000 in year-end point fund money through support from Whelen Engineering and contingency sponsors. NASCAR will also make available more than $230,000 in owner-plan money. As part of this, NASCAR has reallocated what was formerly the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour year-end point fund in the form of non-qualifier money and a champion/owners plan for the teams who competed in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour in 2016.
The visibility of the tour and the money available to the competitors is unmatched in asphalt Modified racing. In addition, NASCAR is continuing to look at other ways to help teams reduce costs from a competition standpoint.
“It’s very important to us, as we bring these two tours together, to keep in mind the financial realities of racing on the touring series level,” said Brandon Thompson, Senior Director of NASCAR Touring Series. “Since the end of the 2016 season, we have met with drivers and owners across all series, and will continue to have an open dialogue to work to provide what is best for everybody involved in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.”
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour television broadcast schedule on NBCSN will be announced at a later date.
18-MarMyrtle Beach SpeedwayMyrtle Beach, S.C.
2-AprThompson Speedway Motorsports ParkThompson, Conn.
30-AprStafford Motor SpeedwayStafford, Conn.
13-MayTBATBA (southern race track)
14-JunThompson Speedway Motorsports ParkThompson, Conn.
24-JunRiverhead RacewayRiverhead, N.Y.
14-JulNew Hampshire Motor Speedway*Loudon, N.H.
15-JulNew Hampshire Motor SpeedwayLoudon, N.H.
22-JulNew London-Waterford SpeedbowlWaterford, Conn.
4-AugStafford Motor SpeedwayStafford, Conn.
9-AugThompson Speedway Motorsports ParkThompson, Conn.
16-AugBristol Motor SpeedwayBristol, Tenn.
26-AugSeekonk SpeedwaySeekonk, Mass.
2-SepOswego SpeedwayOswego, N.Y.
16-SepRiverhead RacewayRiverhead, N.Y.
23-SepNew Hampshire Motor SpeedwayLoudon, N.H.
1-OctStafford Motor SpeedwayStafford, Conn.
5-OctCharlotte Motor Speedway*Concord, N.C.
15-OctThompson Speedway Motorsports ParkThompson, Conn.
*non-points, special events

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Announces 2017 Schedule

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Announces 2017 Schedule
Season Opener Icebreaker set for March 31-April 2

Thompson, CT (December 5, 2016) – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park today announced dates for the 2017 racing schedule, celebrating its 77th season on the high banked oval.  The 2017 seven event NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) schedule is highlighted by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the return of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
“This year’s schedule balances our commitment to tradition and innovation,” states Josh Vanada, General Manager of TSMP.  “The 2017 schedule preserves fan favorites while introducing unique and creative events and promotions.”
The speedway will continue to showcase Sunoco Modifieds, which will compete in eight points-counting races supported by the Late Models, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks, who will all have seven points-counting races. The Lite Modified Division will race in five of the seven events, but will not race under the NWAAS sanction.

Several touring series will be making appearances at TSMP in 2017.  At the top of the list will be the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour visiting the track four times followed by NEMA Lite making three stops. NEMA, the North East Street Stock Tour and Mr. Rooter ProTruck Series will all be appearing twice.  The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, American-Canadian Tour, Pro All Stars Series, International Super Modified Association, Valenti Modified Racing Series, Granite State Pro Stock Series, North East Mini Stock Tour, New England Pro 4 Modifieds, Vintage Outlaws, and Senior Tour Auto Racers will make single stops at the track throughout the season.

The 2017 season of racing kicks off Friday, March 31st with the 43rd Annual Icebreaker.  Eleven divisions will be featured in TSMP’s season opener, headlined by Thompson’s 135th NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race.  The Race of Champions has been added to this year’s event, featuring our four NWAAS champions. They will face off in equally prepared cars from The Racing School.  Bragging rights are on the line to determine who the champion of the champions will be.  The highly-anticipated Fan Appreciation Party and Champion’s Banner Raising will be held on the last day of the event.

Sunday, May 21: 2nd Annual Limited Sportsman Long Distance & Military Night
Wednesday, June 14: 3rd Annual NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 125
Friday, July 7-8: Inaugural NASCAR Busch North Throwback
Wednesday, August 9: 28th Annual Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150         
Sunday, September 10: 2nd Annual For the Fans Event; 4th Annual Sunoco Modified 20/20 Sprint
Friday, October 13 – Sunday, October 15: 55th Annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing

About Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP), “Indianapolis of the East”, the famed 5/8 mile, high banked, oval and motorsports facility is tucked away in the beautiful countryside of Thompson, CT.   Our 2017 Schedule includes seven exciting events: March 31-April 2 (Icebreaker), May 21 (Limited Sportsman Long Distance& Military Night), June 14 (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 125), July 7-8 (NASCAR Busch North Throwback 100), August 9 (Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150), September 10 (For the Fans Event; Sunoco Modified 20/20 Sprint), October 13-15 (Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing).  To purchase tickets or a season pass, call 860.923.2280 or visit  Follow TSMP on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube for the latest news and events.

Friday, December 2, 2016

NASCAR & Monster Energy in 2017

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

NASCAR announced on Thursday at Wynn Las Vegas a multi-year deal that will make Monster Energy only the third entitlement sponsor (RJ Reynolds/Winston and Sprint/Nextel) in premier series history. The length and terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both parties hailed the partnership as the perfect fit for both brands. "Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. "This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series. Today's announcement is the culmination of a thorough search, one that resulted in the right partner at this important time in our sport's history."
Monster Energy has existing sponsorships with a number of motorsports sanctioning bodies, athletes and teams, but the NASCAR deal signals the biggest sponsorship step in the company's history. "Monster has built its brand on racing and motorsports, and NASCAR is the pinnacle of motorsports in America," said Mitch Covington, vice president of sports marketing at Monster Beverage Company. "It's American racing; we're an American brand that's a global company, and NASCAR is, too. When the opportunity came along to further associate yourself with a sport like NASCAR, it was the perfect fit for us. ... NASCAR is just a hard-hitting, close-racing, fun property to be associated with."
Along with naming rights to NASCAR's top series, Monster Energy will also hold race sponsorship to the NASCAR All-Star Race and become the Official Energy Drink of NASCAR. Monster Energy also said it will continue to sponsor Stewart-Haas Racing's #41 Ford of Kurt Busch.
Thursday's announcement is the culmination of a lengthy and thorough search by NASCAR to find the successor to Sprint, whose entitlement sponsorship will end on December 31, 2016. Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief global sales and marketing officer, said that the sanctioning body spoke with numerous companies throughout the process, ultimately choosing Monster Energy for a number of reasons, not the least of which was its lifestyle culture. "We have the good fortune of finding a brand that we believe works for our sport," Phelps said. "They're going to bring their lifestyle to their activation. ... They're going to bring their brand, their excitement, their energy to this partnership, and the fans are going to be the winners. It's all about engaging the fans and having the fans have unique, fun experiences whether at the race track or through different mediums, through social, digital, content." Phelps said a number of ancillary details will be announced in the coming weeks. Among those still under discussion is the name of the series, the series mark and the championship trophy. Under the agreement, energy drink sponsors already involved in NASCAR may remain in place. Potential sponsors from the energy drink category will not be eligible for future sponsorship if not already involved in the sport. Source: NASCAR Media Press Release (12-1-2016)
UPDATE2: Monster will carry "official energy drink" status and any energy drink not currently sponsoring a driver in Sprint Cup will not be able to sponsor a Cup car, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said. Higdon would not talk about the details of the grandfather clause and whether 5-Hour Energy, sponsor of Erik Jones at Furniture Row Racing, would be included -- as an energy shot, it is slightly different from an energy drink. 5-Hour Energy, according to the agency that handles its NASCAR marketing, has not gotten details yet from NASCAR on whether it will be affected. Source; NASCAR Media Press Release (12-2-2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Chase Dowling Returning to Weekly Competition in Stafford’s SK Modified® Division for 2017 Season

Posted by Wayne G. Barber


(Stafford Springs, CT)---After two years away from weekly competition, 2014 SK Modified® Rookie of the Year Chase Dowling will return to Stafford’s premier division in 2017 behind the wheel of the #50 Les & Tina Skowyra owned modified.  Dowling has spent the last two years running on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour after an impressive 2014 season in the SK Modified® division which etched his name in the record books as the youngest SK Modified® winner in track history.
            “Adam Skowyra and I have talked over the past couple of years and it was just trying to find a sponsor,” explained Dowling.  “As everyone knows S+S Asphalt Paving has been a huge part of my racing, they’ve been my backbone and I definitely wouldn’t be racing today if it weren’t for them.  Adam and I talked and I took care of everything on my end and I’m really excited about coming back to my home track and to be racing weekly on Friday nights.  Adam is working on building a new Troyer car and it’s going to be a blast again to be racing against guys like Ted Christopher, Keith Rocco, and Rowan Pennink.”
            Dowling will have some big to shoes as he fills the #50 seat that has been driven by one of the best Stafford drivers of all-time, Woody Pitkat.  The #50 team scored two wins and was a contender each week throughout the 2016 season with Pitkat behind the wheel.
“I have some pretty big shoes to fill with Woody being in that car the last couple years,” continued Dowling. “I think we can be there at the end of the season for the championship, we have everything we need with the car and the motor and we have all the pieces of the puzzle, we just have to show up every week and give our best effort.”
            Dowling will have to have his A-game when he makes his SK Modified® return at the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler as the SK Modified® field is arguably the toughest weekly racing division in the country.
            “Everyone knows SK Modified® racing at Stafford is some of the hardest competition around,” explained Dowling. “The only word I can use to describe the racing is competitive and you’re not going to be the best unless you beat the best and you’re racing against the best every Friday night at Stafford.”
            Dowling is also excited to have another shot in the biggest SK Modified® race in the country the NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k.  Chase finished 8th in the inaugural SK 5K in 2014 and turned in a strong run in the 2015 edition before being taken out in a late race incident.
            “I have to thank Mark Arute and the whole Stafford team as well as NAPA Auto Parts and Doug Dunleavy for putting the money up for this race,” said Dowling.  “Every racer, we’re not making money doing this and when there’s big purses on the table, everyone wants to race in that race and win.  The car counts have been really good the last couple years and it’s only going to grow.  It’s awesome that Doug, Mark, and everyone at Stafford puts in the effort that they do to make big races happen for us racers.”
            “I also have to thank Adam for giving me the opportunity to drive the #50 car and I hope I can bring the best for him and his crew,” continued Dowling.  “I get along with all of his guys and I’m looking forward to getting started.  I think everything will come back to me pretty quick and we can be a top running car.  We’re going to try our best to win races and the championship and I think we can come close to achieving those goals

Monday, November 28, 2016

Preece to return to XFINITY Series in 2017

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Preece to return to JD Motorsports

JD Motorsports will have some familiar faces in its camp next year. Lead driver Ross Chastain is returning to the #4 car, with 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece back in the #01 car as well. "We're trying hard and we have a lot of great people behind us," Preece said. "We're hoping that next year, we can keep on digging. We want more sponsorship and make a lot more great things happen." Chastain's return to the team comes as he caps off his second full-time season with JD Motorsports. However, he failed to finish in the top 10 this year. "Before, the [No.] 01 car was leaps and bounds over the [No.] 4 car on the racetrack and business-wise," Chastain said. "To have equal racecars is a big deal. I'll be back in the #4 car next year. Me and Johnny shake hands and we're racecars who want to go racing. We want to do it at the highest level possible, and we're trying to get this car up the leaderboard." While the two drivers are confirmed to be returning, Garrett Smithley is unclear of whether or not he will return to pilot the team's #0 car in 2017. "Nothing is solid yet," Smithley said. "We're still working on sponsors and everything. I think we will be."Source: (Frontstretch)

Toyota Wins All Three Manufacturer's Championship Titles in 2016

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Toyota wins first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturer's Title: Toyota secured its first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) manufacturer's championship with a sixth-place finish by Kyle Busch at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday to capture the title in Toyota's 10th year of Cup competition. Camry drivers won 16-of-36 races to take the NSCS manufacturer's championship in the season finale. The championship is the first manufacturer's title for Toyota in the Cup Series, and Toyota has now secured the manufacturer's title in all three NASCAR national touring series.
"Capturing our first Cup Series manufacturer's title is a tremendous accomplishment, and one that has been a goal for Toyota since entering the series 10 years ago as underdogs in this ultra-competitive series," said Ed Laukes, Vice President of Integrated Marketing Operations for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. "With the partnership of great teams like Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing, Toyota has been able to breakthrough and become the first different manufacturer to earn this championship in 13 seasons.
   Toyota has now won manufacturer's championships in all three NASCAR national touring series, and to have reached this amazing milestone really speaks to Toyota's commitment to not only NASCAR, but also to motorsports endeavors around the globe. We're proud of the effort put forth by each of our Toyota teams, and all of the Toyota team members that have allowed us to reach this goal."
Five Camry drivers collected 16 wins over 36 races during the 2016 season, including 12 wins by Joe Gibbs Racing and four by Furniture Row Racing. Busch and Martin Truex Jr. led the group with four wins a piece, while Carl Edwards (three victories), Denny Hamlin (two), and Matt Kenseth (two) also recorded triumphs in 2016.

In addition to securing the 2016 NSCS manufacturer's championship, Toyota claimed the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) manufacturer's title at Phoenix International Raceway and the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) manufacturer's championship at Homestead. Toyota drivers also won multiple championships across the NASCAR national touring series, with Daniel Suarez winning the driver's championship in the NXS and Kyle Busch Motorsports taking the owner's title in the NCWTS.
Toyota first entered NSCS competition in 2007 and the 2016 season marks the Camry's 10th year competing at NASCAR's highest level. Since joining NSCS competition, Toyota has won 95 races and captured 90 poles in 360 races.(Toyota Racing)(11-21-2016)