Late December is known as a quiet time for teams and series, with schedules and silly season news occupying most of the talk. 2015 is different. A lot of talk in the “Heart of Modified Country” surrounds the newest venture, with another traveling series, currently known as, the Modified Touring Series.
Since the series was revealed by founder Gary Knight at the end of October, during the season finale at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, many questions have been raised. Teams and fans have insisted upon a release of series rules and structure, to purses and, of course, a schedule.
The schedule still seems to be a bit of a mystery. At a series meeting in the Knight of Columbus in East Longmeadow, MA, Saturday, Knight kept things vague in terms of scheduled races. He sighted only “ongoing negotiations” with potential facilities. He does, however, expect the schedule to have six to eight races for the inaugural season, with the focus market being in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and possibly Maine.
One of the biggest announcements came from Scott Junold, the director of racing for series tire supplier, American Racer. The organization will be providing a new 15-inch Modified tire similar to the one that was run at Wyoming County Speedway in October. It will also be similar to tires that teams have been used to running in other series’ in an effort to help with ease the setup curve for teams who choose to run multiple series.
As for tire rules, teams will be required to run the feature event on the same set of tires they qualify on. Tire changes will not be permitted unless a tire has been damaged. Teams will have the option of rotating tires in the race. There will be no limit on tire purchases.
Purse structure was also at the forefront of the meeting. The series stated a guaranteed $2,500 will go to the race winner, with $600 merely for starting the event. Knight made it clear that assuring drivers purse money is a top priority and will be heavily advertised for series events. He feels confident that tracks will be comfortable with this structure and will make sure they will pay up before committing to an event.
Another question that has been asked repeatedly is how the new series will fit into the current climate of Modified racing in the Northeast, which already has a few touring series and a lot of weekly racing. Knight responded by saying that the series can coexist with others, and that with smart scheduling the series will be successful. He also stressed that he is solely focused on getting the MTS up and running and not taking away from any other series.
Another goal for the series, going forward, is to ensure the communication between series and teams is on the up-and-up in an effort to prevent the spreading of any potentially harmful rumors. In fact, Knight admitted, “I feel that a lot of internal issues remain with my people and the teams.”
There is still more to come, including specific series rules, with the biggest being a ban on spec engines. Knight also claimed cost measures will be top priority and that he does not want to make “shoebox” regulations. It is expected that rules for 2016 and beyond will be the next major announcement.
The buzz about an announcement of a “Corporate America” series sponsor was also in the air. In fact, the talks continued at the Performance Racing Industry Show just a couple weeks ago.
The Modified Touring Series has some momentum, especially after this meeting, but still plenty of questions to be answered as well.
By Connor Sullivan – Correspondent, Speed51.com
Photo Credit: Mario Fiore (Facebook photo)