Big Block Modifieds

Big Block Modifieds

Sunday, October 26, 2014

This Week in DIRT- Smith Clinches Come From Behind Tie For Posse; Bell Snags Short Track Nationals; Hearn Avoids Elimination;

So, what'd ya do this weekend? Go to the movies? Maybe a pub crawl where you literally had to crawl on your hands and knees to the next bar, or worse yet, to the bathroom?

Perhaps you're single and you went on a date with some nice, sweet young lady that doesn't understand the first thing about your passion for dirt racing and couldn't care less. You know the girl, the one that can't put down her cell phone while you're at dinner together and wouldn't wear a racing tshirt if she were naked outdoors in sub zero weather?

Well, we're here to tell you that you have to never see that girl again, and you should ask for every penny of her portion of the date back, in cash! What were you thinking???

Anyhow, there's a number of reasons why you missed the weekend that was in DIRT, and if you did, we'll get you back up to date, because it's time for This Week in DIRT!!

Smith Clinches Tie for Posse With Last Minute Win:

Congrats Ryan Smith! You've just spared the entire Posse nation the embarrassment of losing to the Outlaws in the season series between the two rival sprint car factions.

The Kunkletown, PA native took home the win in the long awaited World of Outlaws return to Port Royal Speedway. Smith came from the fourth starting spot to win which clinched the tie for the Posse on the final night of the series.

BTW, for those of you playing "Schatz's Shots", we're sorry that your still sober. Mr. Schatz moved forward only one position, meaning that if you were playing you only consumed one shot of your favorite liquor in your favorite shot glass.

The PA Posse fans can now breathe a sigh of relief thanks to Mr. Smith and his late heroics.

For the full description of how Smith was able to keep "Schatz's Shots" to only one shot instead of two, click here:

Bloomquist Ponders:

Scott Bloomquist once again collected a five digit paycheck for this weekend's Blue/Grey 100 victory at Cherokee Speedway. The race which pays $10,000 to win for 100 laps of racing featured the likes of Jonathan Davenport, Steve Francis, Chris Ferguson, Chris Madden and even Rick "Boom" Briggs.

In victory lane, Bloomquist said he was confused on just which side he was competing for. "Well, I was born in Iowa, spent time in California, and wound up in Tennessee, am I blue or grey? I have no idea, but I love winning races, and opening up cans of Tennessee Whoop Ass, so call me grey, I guess." 

Since the race was 100 laps instead of the normal 50 for the standard $10,000 to win purse, Bloomquist did remark that he would be investigating what happened to the rest of his winnings. "Seems like half is missing, didn't we race 100 laps? " - Bloomquist.

For More Information on Bloomquist Most Recent Ass Beating, Click Here:

Christopher Bell keeps on rolling:

Another big payday went to young Christopher Bell, $15,000 to be precise, at the Comp Cams Short Track Nationals at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, AK. Bell beat the likes of Brian Brown, Kevin Swindell, Stevie Smith and Wayne Johnson in the 40 lap feature.

Bell has been having a tremendous this season which includes wins with the World of Outlaws and USAC midgets and sprints as well as other sanctions. The win was his 23rd on the year, matching Rico Abreu in the "Drive Anything Well On DIRT' series for the season lead! Congrats Chris!
 For the full story on Bell's weekend triumph, click here:
Hearn Avoids Elimination:

Brett Hearn avoided elimination this weekend at Orange County Fairgrounds Speedway when he won $20,000 in the 200 lap portion of Eastern States Weekend. Coming into the weekend, Hearn was 85 points back of Billy Decker in the Super DIRTcar Series standings and 62 points behind runner up Matt Sheppard.
Hearn has now made the last two points races in Charlotte as part of the World Finals, much more interesting to people who have never seen a big block modified in their entire life who will now tune into the three day speedfest with baited breath and watchful eyes for sure now!!
There's even been talk that the customary "Trip to the head", reserved for any non-fans of any of the three divisions on display, shall be done away with so that fans may actually watch a complete modified show.
For all you gamblers out there, please take the following information with you to Las Vegas. Brett Hearn very seldom loses at 1. Lebanon Valley, 2. Malta, or 3. Orange County, bet heavily on him at these facilities!
To read more about how Brett Hearn and his win as well as how Andy Bachetti didn't get into any on track fisticuffs, click here!

And that's about it for this week! Have a great one everybody and stay DIRTY!
To read about what goes on in Australian DIRT season Click Here:
To read about the closest thing to "Stampeding Cattle through the Vatican" aka..The Steel City Stampede at Lernerville, Click Here:
To play in our 3rd Annual World Finals Pickem Contest, Click Here:

The Story from Lernerville; 313 Cars and 8 Buckles Later....

Sarver, PA

With the scent of bonfires in the background, and numerous leaf showers from the trees in turn one, the final curtain drew on the 2014 Lernerville season Saturday night with a huge crowd on hand.. And when the dust settled, Brian Swartzlander had ended an up and down season on a high note with his second consecutive Steel City Stampede championship.

Over 300 cars took part in 8 features plus an enduro in the annual DIRTcar Roundup in Sarver that saw Rod George garner his 45th Lernerville feature victory while Russ King took home $3,000 and a belt buckle for his late model win. And Chris Schneider checked out early in the 25 lap open stock feature to add yet another stampede trophy to his collection.

But one of the great things about this annual season ending bash, is the opportunity to see the things you don't often find at Lernerville. Chad Ruhlman bested a 44 car RUSH late model field and the Kyle Strickler put on a clinic in the Renegades of DIRT-UMP modified series feature.
All in all, it was a great night to be at Lernerville one last time to enjoy one final taste of the dirt, and to see the boys of summer, (doesn't belong to just baseball ya know), letting it all hang out for one last ride.
At the start of the regular season, Brian Swartzlander and Mat Williamson were the prohibitive favorites to tangle for the Lernerville modified championship. And then, the season started. The favorites suffered some bad luck and mechanical gremlins that took both out of the chase by mid summer, during which time, Rex King Jr took the opportunity and shut the door with authority, earning his first track championship.
So it seemed fitting that the two pre-season favorites would finish 1-2 in the final race of the season, almost as if to say "we're late, but we're here!"
Swartzlander started on the pole for the 30 lap, $3,000 to win feature, flanked by New York invader Tom Sears Jr. Following an early caution for Rex King Sr, Sears went around Swartzlander up top in turn two while behind them the battle for third waged on between Brian Weaver, Chad Brachmann and Williamson.
Sears Jr then waged his own battle with Swartzlander who'd drawn back tight to the #62. The two were almost inseparable until lap 10 when Swartzlander went topside to get back around Sears Jr.
As Swartzlander entered lapped traffic, Williamson and Brachmann both started to reel in the leader after they'd managed to get around Sears Jr as the laps wound down. Swartzlander's night was almost made into a bad memory very late in the race when Shawn Fleeger spun in front of the leader in turn two, but the veteran modified pilot maintained his cool and avoided disaster.  Swartzlander hung on to claim the victory as Williamson had whittled his considerable lead to a mere .6 seconds at the end of 30 laps.
Fastest Lap: Chad Brachmann: 17.165 on lap 8
Hard Charger:  Mat Williamson (+5)
Top 10:
1. Brian Swartzlander
2. Mat Williamson
3. Chad Brachmann
4. Tom Sears Jr
5. Rex King Jr
6. Jeremiah Shingledecker
7. Brian Weaver
8. Steve Feder
9. Rodney Beltz
10. Rick Richner


Coming into this one, there was a buzz in the crowd talking about someone named Lynch, and it wasn't Ed jr! Young Sye Lynch turned heads with his heat win on Friday evening's portion of the weekend, and his performance placed him third on the starting grid behind the formidable front row of Rod George and Carl Bowser.

Lynch acquitted himself very well in the feature too, but to take home a cherished stampede buckle is not an easy task in any division let alone when a legend and a young legend in the making start ahead of you.

George took the green flag like he'd been shot out of a cannon, stretching out an early lead until the dreaded red flag appeared on the third lap when AJ Flick ended up on his side in turn two.

Flick was alright, and when the feature resumed, Lynch was able to get around Bowser for second while George maintained his advantage. Lynch held off Bowser's attempts to get the position back until lap 10 when they both approached lapped traffic and Bowser was able to dive underneath Lynch to take the position. 

Charging form 6th spot at the same time was one Andy McKisson who'd moved into the top 3 with his lap 15 pass of Lynch as George's lead began to shrink. Bowser had been working through the lapped traffic decisively in the race's later stages and had closed the gap to less than half a second as the white flag flew, but he could draw no closer as George crossed the line first at the end of 25 laps to claim the victory.

Fastest lap: Rod George: 14.170 in lap 5
Hard Charger: Brandon Spithaler (+9)

Top 10:

1. Rod George
2. Carl Bowser
3. Andy McKisson
4. Brandon Spithaler
5. Sye Lynch
6. Brandon Matus
7. Michael Wagner II
8. Dan Shetler
9. Brent Matus
10. Dennis Wagner

Late Models:

Three drivers who've dominated the weekly late model at Lernerville for the last few years found themselves starting in the top six as the green flag flew on the 25 lap late model feature. Alex Ferree, Jared Miley and Russ King have had their fair share of wins and/or track championships in recent history, and from a fans perspective, there couldn't be a better way to end the season than to watch them all duel with $3,000 on the line.

King put pole sitter Doug Eck behind him on lap two and never looked back to snag the victory, but it would be no easy chore.

Through the first 10 laps, it appeared King would have smooth sailing and then Ferree was able to mount a furious charge that saw him take a look underneath King on almost every lap, looking for just enough momentum to complete the pass for the lead.

 But King, who primarily rode the top shelf for most of the feature, held his ground and kept Ferree at bay to collect his first career stampede victory, surviving a blanket of lapped traffic ahead him on the final set of turns to earn the win.

Behind them, Miley had rocketed from his sixth starting spot to third in a mere two laps, but could draw no closer, settling for a third place finish while Kenny Schaltenbrand moved forward from the tail of the field following an early caution to take a hard fought fifth place run.

Fastest Lap: Russ King
Hard Charger: Garrett Krummert (+6)

Top 10:

1. Russ King
2. Alex Ferree
3. Jared Miley
4. Garrett Krummert
5. Kenny Schaltenbrand
6. Doug Eck
7. Dave Murdick
8. John Flinner
9. Dan Swartzlander
10. Ed Ferree


A huge field of 49 stocks got sorted out and whittled down to 24 after bmain action Saturday night. And in one of those bmains, invader Nate Smith managed to make the show by posting a win in a caution marred race. And although Chris Schneider claimed yet another stampede victory when all was said and done, Smith almost pulled off a huge upset.

Randy Wyant and Bob Schwartzmiller brought the field to green in the 25 lap main event that saw the former retain the lead while the latter fell back through the field.

Former track champion Mike Miller looked to be in position to win his first feature of the season in the final race as he climbed from his fifth starting spot to second in the early going. But, as Wyant maintained his lead, Schneider was lurking behind both of them.

It wouldn't take much longer before Schneider was in complete control of the race as he took the lead from Wyant on lap five and never looked back.  By this point the heavy hitters had become players in the mix for second as Corey McPherson and Jim Fosnaught both engaged with Miller for the runner up spot, all hoping that something might befall Schneider on his way to victory lane.

But as the laps wound down, Smith who'd come from the 18th starting spot, made his way though the field, taking the second spot from Miller on lap 12. And although Schneider was the class of the field on this night, Smith made a race of it falling three seconds short of Schneider at the line.

Fastest Lap: Chris Schneider: 18.362
Hard Charger: Nate Smith (+16)

Top 10:

1. Chris Schneider
2. Nate Smith
3. Corey McPherson
4. Mike Miller
5. Jim Fosnaught
6. Aaron Easler
7. Randy Wyant
8. Joe Kelly
9. Pat Hanley
10. Rob Shook


RUSH Late Models:

Chad Ruhlman ruled the evening in the $2,000 to win, 30 lap RUSH Late Model main event to collect his first ever touring series event win. Ruhlman came from the 13th starting spot in the win and once he was out in front, he was gone for good.

After a caution filled early going which saw pole sitter Bryce Davis night end in a collision with Jared Hawkins on the second lap in turn two, Ruhlman methodically climbed the ladder in the early going while Hawkins took control of the early part of the race.

After a caution near the race's 1/3rd mark, Ruhlman dove below Hawkins in turn four on lap 10 to take the lead which he'd never relinquish. Meanwhile, behind them Daryl Charlier and Rick Singleton battled for third with front row starting Erick Andrus in the top five mix through the middle portion of the feature.

By the time lapped traffic came into play, Ruhlman was driving a perfect race and he made it through in convincing fashion with a car that was good in all grooves as he pushed forward to a straightaway advantage over Hawkins and the pack behind him.

Speaking of the pack, Michael Lake and a 22nd starting Mike Pegher Jr had quietly moved forward to the top five as the laps ticked off as they both overtook Hawkins and Charlier to thrust themselves into the top 5.

In other RUSH news, Ryan Montgomery, by virtue of his showing up at the event, took home the season honors as the RUSH Touring Late Model Champion in 2014.

Fastest Lap: Bryce Davis; 17.912 in lap 1
Hard Charger: Mike Pegher Jr (+18)

Top 10:

1. Chad Ruhlman
2. Michael Lake
3. Alan Dellinger
4. Mike Pegher Jr
5. Jared Hawkins
6. Daryl Charlier
7. Rick Singleton
8. Josh Double
9. Will Thomas
10. Ryan Montgomery


Renegades of DIRT Modifieds:

During the course of the festivities at Lernerville on Saturday night, TDN correspondent Josh Bayko had commented to me "Just get on top of those turn two bumps and ride the top against the last of the cushion", upon watching some bumps emerging in the midsection of turns one and two as the evening progressed.

Kyle Strickler "The high side tickler" completely agreed with the idea.....

The Mooresville, NC native made the long tow to Sarver for the weekend and the IMCA Supernationals winner gave everyone a small, first hand glimpse of just what he's capable of in taking apart a 30+ car field over the course of the weekend show.

Strickler started outside row one alongside Rich Michael Jr and wasted absolutely no time, leading the 20 lap main event from green to checkers to collect the victory and wrap up the 2014 Renegades of DIRT Modified Tour Championship.

Owensboro, KY native Tyler Nicely and Micheal Jr engaged in a battle for second place early on which Nicely would take for good on lap four while behind them, Micheal Jr would fall out of the running on lap 12.

Tour regular Travis Dickson then got around Evan Taylor on lap thirteen en route to taking the final podium spot while going unchallenged over the final seven laps.

But the night belonged to Strickler who's fastest lap was half a second faster than anyone else in the field.

Fasted Lap: Kyle Strickler; 18.464
Hard Charger: Jason Fosnaught (+7)

Top 10:

1. Kyle Strickler
2. Tyler Nicely
3. Travis Dickson
4. Evan Taylor
5. Jonathan Taylor
6. Jon Sluka
7. Mark Dickson
8. Bob Moskey
9. Kyle Bedell
10. Robbie Evans

RUSH Sportsman Modifieds:

The Inaugural RUSH Sportsman Modified season came to an end Saturday night. And out of all the features on the card, this one had some point standing intrigue.

Two New York natives, Greg Martin and Adam Hilton, decided early in the season to make the trek to our area and participate in the first season series and they were separated by a mere three points heading into the final touring series event.

Martin and Larry Kugel brought the field to the green flag with Hilton tucked right behind them starting third in the 15 lap feature. And early on it Martin in command as Hilton made his way around Kugel on lap two and set his sights on Martin and the championship.

And Hilton managed to whittle away at Martin's lead until a lap 11 caution, re-stacked the field, making for one last four lap dash to the title.

But Martin stayed cool and held off Hilton to take a one and a half second margin to the final checkered flag. 

Being the champion of the inaugural season is really special," stated the 33-year-old Wilson, New York victor.   "This is a great Series and it's really going to grow.  There's a great foundation, it has a lot of support, and everyone really believes in it.  Adam (Hilton) can get around here real well.  We were only here one other time and I didn't fare so well so sitting there with four to go I wasn't sure what would happened.  This is a great event and I'm honored to win here.  The support I got from my guys this year was just great and I really have to thank them."

Martin collected $500 for the win and $3,000 for the touring series title.

Fastest Lap: Adam Hilton- 18.881 in lap 4
Hard Charger: Jeremy Zufall (+2)


1. Greg Martin
2. Adam Hilton
3. Larry Kugel
4. Jeremy Zufall
5. Rocky Kugel
6. Chelsie Kriegsich
7. Steve Burns Jr
8. Michael Kristyak
9. Will Shaffer

Further Stories and Pictures forthcoming:

For Our Complete Photo Page from Saturday night, courtesy of Pat Miller, Click Here:

For RUSH Crate Late Model/Sportsman Results Click Here:

For complete results from ALL divisions from Click Here:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recommended Racing; Lernerville's Steel City Stampede Offers Up Great Weekend of Racing

The Steel City Stampede at Lernerville has earned a place in the history of season ending bashes. You know the shows, lots of cars all gathered together for one last race while the frost gathers on the pumpkins.  Many have a top division and numerous support classes.

And although there's some of those in the mix too, what sets Lernerville's season ending party apart from the rest, is that instead of one huge headliner, you'll see the "Three Headed Monster" on display as 410's, Super Lates and Big Blocks all race for some increased purses.

And not to sound like an annoying TV commercial but, 'that's not all folks!".

The Renegades of DIRT modifieds will also be on the plate this weekend as well as RUSH Late Models & Modifieds, open stocks, mini stocks and a 100 lap endure on Saturday as well.

If you're anywhere near the area this weekend, we recommended you take the opportunity to check it out. Preliminary weather forecasts look wonderful for the festivities this Friday and Saturday and let's face it, this may be the last chance for some of us to see one more night of dirt racing before our tracks are covered in snow. And, there's probably no better value among the season-ending parties, than this weekend at Lernerville anywhere in the region!

The Agenda:


Starting at 7:05, heat races for all divisions, 10 laps for the 410's, Super Lates, Big Blocks, Renegades/UMP Mods, and RUSH Lates,  and 8 laps for the RUSH Modifieds, Stocks, and Mini Stocks.

After the action on the track, fans can enjoy live music in the Round up Tent


Starting at 6 PM, be ready for a few b-mains and then the features for all divisions.

Sprints: 25 Laps; $3,000 to win
Late Models: 25 Laps; $3,000 to win
Modifieds: 30 Laps: $3,000 to win
RUSH Late Models: 30 Laps; $2,000 to win
Renegades of DIRT UMP Mods: 20 Laps; $1,000 to win
Open Stocks: 20 Laps; $1,000 to win
RUSH Modifieds: 15 Laps; $500 to win
Mini Stocks: 15 Laps: $500
100 Lap Enduro: $1,000 to win

What To Expect:

Essentially, the hidden gem in the lineup are the Big Block Modifieds. $3,000 to win with not much else going on in "modified land" outside of SDS Orange County, tends to draw a good many invaders, taking on the weekly assortment from Lernerville and Sharon with some of Mercer's small block modifieds in the mix as well. You can expect much more than a full field of highly competitive modifieds this weekend.

As far as the Sprints and Late Models go, it'll be pretty much business as normal with a few different faces. But the increased purses will bring out some fantastic racing. We've seen some great ones at Lernerville on a weekly basis this year, but with no reason to hold anything back, the excitement factor will be increased.

The Renegades of DIRT modified series is the fastest growing UMP style modified series in the nation, and thrilled fans with their first appearance at the action track earlier this summer. These guys come to race, and there'll be a good many of them on hand.

The RUSH late models always tend to put on a good show at Lernerville, and there'll be most likely 30+ of them in action. Series points leader Ryan Montgomery looks to clinch the title this weekend.

The sportsman stocks that normally grace the clay at Lernerville will be "opened up" so to speak as the rules have been modified to include drivers from all over the area. PA/OH Stock series champion Chris Schneider looks to take another Stampede buckle this year but looking to take it from him will be champion Jim Fosnaught and former champion Corey McPherson. Will it be one of them, or an invader from Sharon, Mercer, or PPMS?


For all event related details including pit pass information, tickets, and complete schedule of events, be sure to check out Lernerville's Steel City Stampede Page by clicking here

Sunday, October 19, 2014

This Week in Dirt; Bloomquist Opens Can of Whoop Ass; The Doctor Operates on Brockville; Schatz's Shots; Carl Short Finds Money in Sock

It's getting colder, football dominates on TV, and Ebola has half the country or more paranoid.  But there's still dirt racing going on, and it's our job here at TDN to give you something to read in the john on your lunch break, to help you catch up on what you may have missed while you were out busting your ass at work. 

Maybe your wife kept you busy putting the yard to bed for the winter. Or perhaps an old girlfriend came in from out of town and you couldn't pass up the opportunity to revisit memory lane in some cheap, sleazy, bedbug ridden hotel, using up the last of your credit card balance for one more night in the sack.

Don't worry, we've got you covered! Here's what you missed this week in DIRT!

Bloomquist Administers Beat Down in DTWC:

Late model legend and self professed "voodoo child" Mr. Scott Bloomquist once again dominated a 100 lap "crown jewel" race in the 34th annual Dirt Track World Championship at Portsmouth Raceway Park (OH) Sunday afternoon, arriving in victory lane to a chorus of 60% boos, 30% cheers and the other 10% of the fan base that had to leave early because they weren't allowed to be out so late on a Sunday evening.

Bloomquist started towards the front, took the lead with 39 laps to go, and never looked back to secure yet another big money win. Which happens to be a good thing.  Just several weeks ago, Mr. Bloomquist had been lamenting the financial struggle of late model touring drivers in an attempt to organize a telethon with the hopes of raising awareness and money towards the plight of the down trodden drivers who criss cross the country, losing money left and right to entertain fans.

Seriously, this is as good a season ending run as we've seen in quite some time. The field he put behind him today and at Eldora and would have at Knoxville had it not been for a last lap mechanical failure has surpassed Billy Moyer's 2010 season in terms elite wins. We've yet to hear if crotch chops were thrown in victory lane, but if they were, they were justified. 

In other Lucas Oil Late Model news, Don O'Neal won yet another tour championship on Sunday.

top 10:
1. Scott Bloomquist
2. Eddie Carrier Jr
3. Jimmy Owens
4. Don O'Neal
5. Jason Feger
6. Billy Moyer
7. Dennis Erb Jr
8. Dale McDowell
9. Steve Francis
10. Tim McCreadie

The Doctor Operates on Brockville; 

Dr. Danny Johnson performed surgery this past Friday and Saturday. The geriatric wonder was found missing from his retirement home complex early in the morning on Friday and found in Brockville, Ontario later on that evening winning a 358 DIRTcar modified tour race.

Johnson then took a tall drink of Metamucil and vowed to stay for Saturday night's festivities "It's carving time" Johnson said to the gathered media on Saturday evening, and then he went to work, keeping the stars of the Super DIRTcar big block modified series behind him for 100 laps to close up the surgical wounds left form two days of operations.

Seriously, it's great to see Johnson so relevant this late in the season. He's having a blast it shows in the results. Congrats Dr. Johnson!

For the full race recap and results click here

Schatz's Shots:

Donny Schatz put a stout field of local Ohio drivers and a few outlaws behind him in grand fashon in Fremont, OH Saturday night coming from deep in the field which prompted us to come up with a new drinking game in his honor.

To play, simply obtain a bottle of your favorite liquor and a shot glass, and then take a shot for every pass Donny Schatz makes in a feature event. If you're not such a good drinker, you may elect to only take a shot when Schatz makes an actual pass, and not for any driver ahead of him that pulls off the speedway. But, if you're a real party animal, try it in a race which Schatz comes from a Bmain aka the "Sucks To Be You Race) or (Lord Jesus, please let me transfer race) and hammer down to a shot on every single position he climbs regardless of how.  This Saturday, you'd have had 14 "Schatz's Shots" and would probably have awaken to the sounds of jackhammers in you head, but that's half the fun.

*Please drink responsibly and DO NOT DRIVE....ANYWHERE after playing this game!

To see exactly who Schatz passed on his way to his 26th feature win of the season, simply click here

Briefs: Short finds $50K in sock; Late Model Hall of Famers Named

Promoter Carl Short found $50,000 in his sock Saturday night at the Dirt Track World Championships and has vowed to double the purse of the 2015 main event. This makes the DTWC the second $100,000 to win late model race in the country though still not quite as prestigious as the World 100 at Eldora.  The IRS has been called to investigate Short's sock for interrogation.

The National Dirt Model Hall of Fame in Florence, KY has officially named the following drivers to be inducted next August at the North/South 100. Congrats to all of them for such outstanding careers:

Davey Johnson
Skip Arp
Leon "slick" Sells
Jim Butler
Wayne Kindness
Al Friedon
Curt Hansen
Red Droste

And that's it for this week. Stay out of trouble and Stay DIRTY!

Northeast Modified Rankings Volume 6; We have a tie

And when the dust settled since the last volume of our Northeast Modified Rankings,
we saw a tie.....

As many of you know, we use certain criteria for our rankings including number of starts attempted, level of competition at said races, finishes in big money events, and so on.

Since the home tracks are finished, we've only got the specials to go by. Also, remember that our rankings are completely open for Big Blocks and 358's on either Hoosiers or American Racers, SDS, RoC, STSS, it does not matter where they run. Basically, if it's a northeast modified chassis with anything but a crate engine, it can be ranked, sail panels or not.

In our mix this month, a couple of standard SDS events, Super DIRT Week (358's and Big Blocks), A Short Track Super Series event, and the Freedom 76er and Fulton 200.

So our look back this month will be from September 20th, to October 18th.

And here's how they stack up:

1. Stewart Friesen/Matt Sheppard (Tie):

Okay, so we have a tie. We're not homers here at TDN, they both had incredible months, won big money races, and were running against the best of the best. They both stepped on their (insert body part here) once or twice too.  The easiest way to explain this one, is to compare them.

Friesen: The Syracuse 200 Champion took 3 checkered flags in our look back including a $25,000 win in the Freedom 76er at Grandview, the "Friends of Mike", RoC event at Bridgeport and the aforementioned "200" at the Moody Mile. 

Outside of that, Friesen had a couple of not so memorable Fulton 200 and SDS Fonda performances. Still, $50,000 at Syracuse gives him a winnings edge vs Sheppard.

The way in which Friesen won at Syracuse
astounding, overcoming numerous mechanical
problems, and his turn three pass of Sheppard
was something to behold. But was he as consistent?

Sheppard: And now in the blue corner, the case for Sheppard is as follows. He took victories in the Outlaw 200, good for $20,000, a 358 tour event at Weedsport during SDW, and scored the victory at the "King of the Can" at Penn Can for another $5K+ at the pay window.

So his winnings weren't quite what Stew's were but here's where the factor for the tie comes in. Sheppard finished runner up to Friesen at the Cuse, and also at RoC/Bridgeport. Between the two, Sheppard's average finish in these high profile races was superior.

So there you have it. Had Sheppard been able to top Friesen just one more time, or if Friesen had taken care of business at Fonda, a place he normally dominates at, they'd be decisive #1's. As it is, we have a tie. Going down the final stretch, Friesen has the upper hand as he's a favorite at Orange County and has a World Finals win on his resume. Sheppard needs a win in one of the final three SDS races, or, if our second ranked driver sweeps all three.......

2. Brett Hearn:

The jet seemed primed to vault to the top this month, but experienced a shock problem in the 200 at Syracuse. Still, it was a great month for Hearn who found victory lane at Fonda in SDS tour action, and took home a pair of checkered flags in 358 tour action in the Hurricane 100 at Brewerton and 150 lap "Salute the Troops" race at the mile. He may have squandered a chance to put the SDS title to bed with his 200 performance and subsequent mid pack finish at Brockville on October 18th, but like Friesen, he can more than get it done at Orange County and Charlotte.

3. Danny Johnson:

The Doctor swept the 358 and SDS tour portions at Brockville this past weekend to cement his season. Just when you expect him to fade, he refuses to go gentle into that good night and may actually be a player at OFCS and Charlotte. Johnson also took 2nd at the Hurricane 100 and although his Syracuse performances weren't quite what he'd have liked them to be he's still as potent as he needs to be.

4. Erick Rudolph:

In the middle of summer, we started ranking the young pilot, not sure of how long he might stay in the rankings, but he sticks in the top 5 again this month, and has a season to remember.  For the month, he's cooled a little bit but still took the victory in 358 mod tour action at Brighton on September 20 and actually led a lap at Syracuse in the 200 before having to pit where he stalled and got far behind. His 2nd place finish in the 358 tour stop at Brockville helped him seal his second consecutive tour championship.  He also managed a fourth place finish in his first ever appearance in the Outlaw 200 at Fulton.

5. Jimmy Phelps:

Phelps finally got the special event win he'd been in contention for all season on September 19 at Yates County (formerly Dundee Speedway, NY), holding off teammate Matt Sheppard for the victory. He then proceeded to snag a 2nd place finish in the Outlaw 100 and was in contention at the mile in the 200. Going forward, he does have a career win at Charlotte and it's not out of the realm that he could get another in a few weeks.

6. BIlly Decker:

Syracuse started great for Decker who qualified well for both feature events, and it ended up with a disappointing 150 finish and an 8th in the 200. He's been fairly consistent in SDS events though with a 2nd place finish at Fonda and a decent run at Brockville. His Outlaw 200 was not up to par though especially at a place he's done well at over the years. Still, he could take home another SDS points title if he can find a way to stay ahead of Sheppard and Hearn over the last three rounds, which actually sounds incredibly difficult at this point.

7. Rick Laubach:

The Quaker Shaker struck twice for wins in the last month with a win at Bridgeport on Oct 4 in the Poker Series and an impressive $5K+ win on October 18 at Delaware Int'l. He was in contention at Syracuse early in the going in the 200 as well. Probably could have climbed above Decker with a couple more starts or another win.

8. Larry Wight:

The young pilot kept the momentum rolling with a special event win at Fonda on Sep 20, and had an impressive podium finish in the Outlaw 200. He had a top 10 at Weedsport during SDW in a 358 and looks primed for a big 2015. Whatever happens the rest if the way, he can't be overlooked and will be competitive wherever he goes. It's been a breakout year for "Lightning Larry"

9. Duane Howard:

Howard didn't get a win in this past month, but was as close as you can get. He finished second to Friesen in the Freedom 76er and had a top 5 finish in the 200 at Syracuse.

10 Mike Mahaney:

Maheney scored a win at I-88 Speedway on Septmber 27th in the Fall 250, and also finished third in the "King of the Can" won by Matt Sheppard this past Friday. He also found the podium in the last round of the Short Track Super Series held at I-88 with a runner up finish on October 11. It was a great season for Mahaney with 72 starts and 8 wins and leads to questions about his plans for 2015 where he will be a threat wherever he races.

And that'll do it for this edition of our Northeast Modified Rankings. The fun doesn't end here though. We'll be back next month after the world finals for TDN's Northeast Modified Year in Review which you won't want to miss!

Until next time everyone...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Friesen Stands On Top of the World; Bloomquist and Abreu Continue to Impress

Driver of the Week:

Stewart Friesen:

Few can dispute the dominance the Stewart Friesen displays whether it be in a big block modified or the sprint car that he has piloted around as of late. This past weekend "Mr. Freeze" stuck to his roots with the big block groundpounder as he partook in the Syracuse 200 during the 43rd Annual Super Dirt Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY. Friesen started on the inside of the 11th row for the 200 Lapper at the mile-long speedway. His charge to the front was never completed, as he never gained the top spot, until he crossed the stripe to complete Lap 190 with a rare pass of then leader Matt Sheppard. Friesen's incredible day was highlighted as he went to the outside of Sheppard to gain the lead through turns 3 & 4, something that is not easy to do at the Fairgrounds. Also adding to the sweetness of the $50,000 triumph was the ability of Friesen's team to overcome a broken shock mount during the middle portion of the race.

The win for Friesen was his 3rd career Syracuse 200 victory

Link to the full story

Honorable Mentions:

Scott Bloomquist:
The VooDoo Child has been far-and-away the best dirt late model driver over the past couple months. Bloomquist showed no signs of slowing down this weekend as he steam-rolled the competition at Magnolia Motor Speedway's unsanctioned "Cotton Pickin' 100". Bloomquist took off from his 2nd place starting spot to grab the lead heading down the backstretch. Aside from a couple mid-race cautions, that was as close as anybody was going to get to the Mooresburg, TN native. The flag-to-flag victory for Bloomquist garnered a $20,000 payday.

In the past 6 weeks, "Black Sunshine" owns wins at Attica Raceway Park ($10,000), Eldora Speedway ($47,000), Brownstown Speedway ($20,000), Rome Speedway ($10,000) and Magnolia Motor Speedway ($20,000). You could also potentially thrown in Knoxville Raceway ($40,000) had he not broke on the final lap.

Link to the full story

Rico Abreu:
He may only stand at 4'4" tall but there is no question that he can race with the best of them. Abreu picked up a pair of feature wins this weekend behind the wheel of his Abreu Vineyards no. 24 sprint car. The first one came in Midwest Open Wheel Association (MOWA) action Friday night at the Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln, IL. That victory was his 3rd MOWA win of the year. Trying to one-up himself, Rico Abreu hauled over to the Big E to compete with the All Star Circuit of Champions in what was their final race of the season, where he would find victory lane again. The most impressive thing to note about his All Star win at Eldora was that he tracked down and eventually pulled away from the "King of the All Stars" Dale Blaney. Blaney has been almost unbeatable on the tour this season but Abreu managed to dethrone him on this particular night.

Link to the full story