Springport, Michigan — The 27th season of competition for the Broaster Chicken International Championship Auto Racing (ICAR) Top Speed Modified Tour began with the Cabin Fever 50 Presented by Genuine Broaster Chicken on Sunday, May 3rd. The fast 3/8s (0.375) mile semi-banked paved oval of Springport Motor Speedway, located north of Jackson and south of Lansing in Springport, Michigan began a new era for ICAR as in 2015, the Tour has been split into two divisions making this event the Inaugural race for the newly created Northern Division.
The chase for the 2015 ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Northern Division Championship kicked off for the premier open-wheeled Modified tour in the country on a beautiful sunny afternoon of racing in south Michigan. After 50 laps of caution free racing, M.P.H. Promotions Rookie of the Year title contender, Jason Parish pulled into victory lane after his first career ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour victory. The Eaton Rapids, Michigan veteran in his #31 Painless Dentistry / R. Knott Lawn-Landscaping & Snow Services entry, a long-time veteran of the weekly wars throughout the state of Michigan, began his touring career off in style with the win.
“This is pretty damn cool. We just got this new Burkett-Nester Racecars chassis and this is probably the best car I’ve ever driven. I could put this thing anywhere I wanted too,” The jubilant 41-year-old relayed in victory lane surrounded by his family, crew and friends. “We tore the car up last night in another race and we didn’t get here in time to even practice. But we still qualified second quick so I knew we had a good chance. We’ve always been the weekly warrior and after hearing I’m eligible for the rookie title in the series, we made the decision to start touring this year and this is a great way to start the year.” He added.
After Economy Auto Parts Fast Qualifier, Nick Clemens drew the maximum of a 12 redraw; Veteran Nyle Weiler and Travis Eddy were scheduled to start on the front row of the 24-car starting field. However while the field was on their pace laps, Eddy was forced to pit with electrical issues and had to pit. This moved the outside lane up by one and placed 17-year-old Tristan Van Wieringen next to Weiler, the 1998 Track Champion. When the green flag of Chief Starter, Weo Schweyer flew, Weiler would jump out to the early lead as the rest of the field settled in behind him.
Parish, who started in fifth, began methodically picking off cars in an effort to chase down Weiler. Soon Parish would find himself on the back bumper of the race long leader and the battle was on for the lead. Parish, who had made six career ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour appearances prior to this event, began hounding Weiler and would make the winning pass just prior to the halfway point on lap 24. From there, it was all Parish who would pull away from the rest of the field and earn the $1,200 payday and the M.P.H. Promotions Rookie of the Race Award with his first career win.
Weiler finished second in his #27 Engine Machine Service open-wheeled entry after the 63-year-old from Vermontville, Michigan veteran led the first 24 laps. Once Parish got past, Weiler was left to fend off a hard-charging Clemens, who started eighth would finish on the podium in third in his #34 O’Guinn Family Funeral Homes machine. The 31-year-old Clio, Michigan resident is slated to make a full run at the 2015 Northern Division Championship after winning Track Championships in recent seasons at Auto City Speedway, Dixie Motor Speedway and Owosso Speedway, all in his native state of Michigan.
Veteran Outlaw Super Late Model competitor, 49-year-old Phil Massuch, who was filling in for another veteran driver, Dan Loughan in Loughan’s #72 Beacon Sales & Service car, came away with a fourth place finish. The Eaton Rapids, Michigan driver is the 2013 Super Late Model Track Champion at the track. Jordan Pruitt completed the top five in his #8 Gaylord Machine & Fabrication ride. The Gaylord, Michigan driver is competing full-time with the ARCA/CRA Super Series in 2015 going after the Rookie of the Year title. The 27-year-old will make appearance back with the Modifieds when his ARCA/CRA schedule allows.
Defending race winner, Derrick Griffin finished sixth after starting 10th while Van Wieringen scored a seventh place showing. 75-year-old Don Skaggs scored the Top Speed Fabrication Hard-Charger Award with his 15th to eighth place run while a second Rookie of the Year title contender, Nick Pressler finishing in the ninth position. Eddy recovered from his pre-race electrical problems to complete the top 10.
Earlier in the day in Economy Auto Parts Qualifying, Clemens out-timed the 27-car field on the property with a lap measured at a 15.712. The ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Overall Track Record is held by 2014 Cabin Fever Winner, Derrick Griffin who turned in a 15.458 back on May 4th, 2014. Bobby Heyink would win the Last Chance Race to transfer into the main.
The next race on the 2015 schedule overall for the Broaster Chicken ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour will be the 2015 Southern Division season opener on Saturday, May 9th. The fast 1/2 (0.500) mile semi-banked paved oval of Baer Field Speedway located in Fort Wayne, Indiana serves as hosts of the Broaster Chicken 50 Presented by Burkett/Nester Racecars. This event will also serve as the first event of the season on the tracks outer 1/2 mile.
This event is also the first of two races for the series at Baer Field. This event will be the first appearance by the Tour at Baer Field since August 7th, 2009 when 2013 Tour Champion, Tim Burkett went to victory lane over Bud Adams, Brian Nester, Erik Schaeffer and 2008 Tour Champion, Scott Coe who were the top five. Adams holds down the ICAR track record on the 1/2 mile with a 17.790 back on September 18th, 1999. That lap, almost 16 years ago, measures out to 101.180mph.
The next event for the ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour Northern Division will be the following weekend on Saturday, May 16th with the first of three appearances at the historic Auto City Speedway, located north of Flint in Clio, Michigan. The tricky 0.393 mile semi-banked paved oval hosts the Broaster Chicken 50. The other two races scheduled for the Eastern Michigan speed plant are on Saturday, June 20th and Saturday, July 11th.
For more information about the 2015 racing season within both divisions of the Broaster Chicken ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour, please go to the series website located at: www.topspeedmods.com You can also follow along on the Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/TopSpeedModifieds and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ICARModifieds For more information about Baer Field Speedway, the host track for the 2015 Southern Division season opener, go to the track website at: www.baerfieldspeedwayin.com Finally for more information about Auto City Speedway, the host track for the second Northern Division race of the year, go to: www.autocityspeedway.com
-Top Speed Modifieds Press Release. Photo credit: R&S Racing Photo