Big stars, big sound, big action, and of course big money. These are the four pillars that have made the Tri-Track Open Modified Series so popular among race fans and race teams in the Northeast.
Short track nation will see more of the same in 2021, as the series begins its three-track, six-race schedule for the season starting this weekend in the Southwest corner of New Hampshire at the tricky Monadnock Speedway.
Saturday’s Wonder Casino 100 alone will boast a $6,000 winner’s prize out of the around $40,000 purse. A fantastic mix of drivers from New England to the Mid-Atlantic vying for their chunk of the cash have already put their names in for the full six-race slate.
One driver walking tall is that of Ron Silk, who is fresh off a Modified win during the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway in early April. The win was his first since joining up with the Tyler Haydt led No. 16 team in 2020.
However, the driver that is still a giant looming large is five-time and defending Tri-Track season champion Matt Hirschman. 2021 has already been an amazing one for “Big Money Matt” who has not only won eight Tour-type Modified races so far this season, but they have all come in direct succession; stretching from New Smyrna Speedway, to Caraway Speedway, Wall Stadium Speedway and Mahoning Valley Speedway.
The only driver to dethrone Hirschman in the series title hunt the past six year was Ronnie Williams back in 2019. Williams is back in red in 2021 continuing the successful partnership with car owner Gary Casella and the No. 25 camp.
Also back in familiar surroundings are that of Woody Pitkat and the Stan Mertz No. 6 team, while Matt Swanson is back in the Boehler family’s Ole Blue No. 3. Both drivers have put on great performances in Tri-Track racing, but are looking to finally break through to victory lane.
There will also be some still fresh combinations who will go for glory throughout the Northeast over the year. Two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore will step into the Jimmy Paige No. 00, while Chase Dowling will wield the Ben Dodge owned No. 9. Both drivers began these new partnerships in late 2020, with Dowling even claiming victory at Stafford Motor Speedway in October.
There are also a selection of drivers who are looking to breakthrough for their first major Modified win, just as Sam Rameau did last summer at Monadnock. Rameau naturally is back for more too.
One of those is Brian Robie, who is fresh off track championships in NHSTRA Modifieds at Claremont Motorsports Park, Hudson Speedway and Monadnock in 2020. Robie is looking to turn his close calls in Tri-Track competition into a win in 2021. Another is Les Hinckley, who suffered two heart breaking finishes at Monadnock just last season.
Add to that drivers like Tommy Barrett, Chris Pasteryak, and Richard Savary who are trying to break winless streaks, throw in plenty more, and you got one amped up roster of drivers.
See how they all perform at Monadnock Speedway, this Saturday, May 1 live on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51