When there’s big money on the line in any type of short track racing event, race teams come out to play. This will once again prove to be true on Saturday, June 14 when over 30 Tour-Type Modified teams are expected to travel to Epping, New Hampshire’s Star Speedway for the fourth running of the SBM 125.
The event, which is organized by long-time race fan and journalist for Area Auto Racing News Kevin Rice, is receiving additional support this year as part of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series – a three race series composed of big money Modified events in New England that will pay out a $10,000 point fund.
For this year’s event, James Schaefer, who is one of the promoters of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, has stepped up to make the SBM 125 a $1,000-to start race. Previously, the race paid at least $600 to each competitor that took the green flag.
“I’m throwing in $6,400 to make it a $1,000 to start event,” said Schaefer. “We figured that number out by figuring out the base purse and figuring out what we’d have to do to it to get to the thousand to start thing.”
Although Schaefer has become more involved with the event this season, he still defers to Kevin Rice – who currently resides in North Carolina – as the man in charge. After being unsure of the future of the event entering the 2014 racing season, Rice will find himself traveling from North Carolina to New Hampshire to once again run the show on Saturday.
“This race is Kevin Rice’s baby, really,” Schaefer told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I think with Kevin going down south this event was supposed to be over and it wasn’t supposed to happen his year. Just when things started coming together with the Tri-Track thing, I said,’ Listen, instead of trying to start from scratch, why don’t we continue with what has already been started with Star and Seekonk?’
“I told Kevin, ‘Let’s try to keep it going for at least one more year.’ From down in North Carolina, Kevin has taken over and will be in charge of the event on Saturday.”
Through his love of Modified racing, Schaefer first got involved with the SBM 125 just a few years ago when he started making small contributions by sponsoring laps. He would go on to sponsor a few bonus awards before really stepping up this year and providing a huge incentive for teams to show up for the event.
While Schaefer has been promoting the event and selling t-shirts from the Northeast, Rice has been busy in North Carolina securing lap money and bonuses for the event. With additional lap money and bonuses added to the basic purse, the total purse for Saturday’s event is expected to be near $45,000.
“Ever since the first time I gave Kevin some money, once this SBM race started, it was Kevin’s drive that made it happen,” said Schaefer. “It is (Bobby) Webber’s track but Kevin is helping to make the purse bigger than what it should be. He’s been doing that each year rounding up crazy people like me who love their Modifieds and are willing to put up some money to make it a better show.”
To have a better show, you need incentive for quality race car drivers and race teams to show up. That is exactly what the SBM 125 will have on Saturday. Schaefer expects the car count to be in the same ball park as it was at the first Tri-Track Open Modified Series event held at Lee USA Speedway (NH) in May. That event saw 34 cars roll through the gate.
Drivers and champions from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Valenti Modified Racing Series, RoC Asphalt Modified Tour, and Star Speedway are all expected to compete for a big pay day at the quarter-mile bullring.
Defending SBM 125 winner Matt Hirschman, Ryan Preece, Rowan Pennink, Andy Seuss and Josh Cantara are among some of the drivers to have already filed entries for the event. Super Late Model star Derek Ramstrom is also expected to make his first career Modified start at Star Speedway on Saturday.
Prior to qualifying heats, which will set the field for the 4th Annual SBM 125, teams in attendance will time trial to determine starting positions in their heat races. Schaefer believes this qualifying procedure will create excitement by putting some of the top teams up front right from the get-go.
“They time trial to set the heat, so that you will have the faster guys starting up front,” said Schaefer. “You would expect that the faster cars start in the top-10 in the feature and when you have that type of talent starting up front, there should be plenty of excitement.
“It’s always been an exciting race, so I wouldn’t expect it to be any different this year.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51. Photo Credit: Speed51.com Photo