With an increase of Tour-Type Modified events coming to New England for the 2017 season, promoters are taking a hard look at what their series and racetracks can do to maintain and bring in high numbers of both race teams and race fans. This includes Valenti Modified Racing Series founder and promoter Jack Bateman who is helping put the pieces in place for the tour’s 14th season of operation.
The VMRS originally announced 10 events at seven short tracks all up and down New England just before the December holidays. In the time since, a unique format has been announced for the series’ second event of the season at Lee USA Speedway on Saturday, May 27 and just this past weekend at the Racer’s Expo in Marlborough, MA, Bateman announced a new change for the lone series visit to the State of Maine at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on August 19.
“We’re trying to mix it up a little bit, we’re going to do a 75 lapper at Beech Ridge and we are going to do a different format at Lee which is going to be three 25 lap qualifiers and then a 50 lap feature. The qualifiers are going to pay pretty good money with some good money also in the feature,” Bateman told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Twin 50-lap formats, which the VMRS has run successfully the past two seasons, are also expected to be announced for additional events in 2017.
The biggest event on the 2017 calendar will be the 50-lap race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 1 as a part of the first ever New England Short Track Showdown where the Granite State Pro Stock Series, Northeast Mini Stock Tour, and new Street Stock Showdown Series will also be on hand. Though there is much excitement, Bateman also noted that there is plenty of work to be done in advance of the “Magic Mile” outing.
“It’s exciting and a bit of a challenge for the Modifieds because we’ve got three different engine programs so we’re going to have to design three different restrictor setups for them. We’re going to have to run a different compound of tire, but it should be good.”
The Showdown brings the event total to 11 on the season at eight different tracks, with VMRS paying $5,000 to win and $1,000 to start, one of the largest single event payouts in series’ history.
As previously announced in a January meeting, spec race engines which have been popular in NASCAR competition, will continue to be outlawed in the VMRS. Bateman is hopeful this will allow new teams to be able to have a chance to compete at the front regularly in 2017.
“We’ve got several new teams signed up. That’s always exciting. Give everyone a new opportunity to have a good time and enjoy it. We also got some regular teams coming back, some usual tracks that we’ve run for years. It should be a good season.”
The Valenti Modified Racing Series rolls off for the 2017 season at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut with 80 laps around the half-mile.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen photo