Seekonk, Mass. -- Before Matt Swanson began making a name for himself aboard the legendary Ole Blue in Modified competition he was a regular at Star Speedway. On Saturday, July 27, the Acton, MA, driver hopes to turn that familiarity into victory during the Tri-Track Open Modified Series SBM 125. Swanson will go head-to-head for the win with a full-field of Modifieds that will also include the likes of red-hot Ronnie Williams, Ron Silk, Matt Hirschman, and many more.
“I haven’t really raced there in a while,” said Swanson, of Star Speedway. “The last time I ran there was in a NEMA Lite and before that in Bobby Webber’s 350 Super. I’m hoping it all comes back to me.”
If it does, it could mean a return to his winning ways. Swanson was the Modified track championship at Star Speedway in 2014.
Saturday’s start will be only Swanson’s second SBM race start.
The SBM VIII presented by the Tri-Track Open Modified Series will feature a 125 lap main event for the Modifieds. The full night of racing also includes Late Models, Street Stocks, Six Shooters and Legends. Racing will get underway at 4:20pm with qualifying for all divisions followed immediately by feature racing. Grandstands open at 11am and admission is $22 for adults and $20 for seniors. A junior ticket for kids ages 11-16 will be available for $15 Kids under 10 are admitted free. Pit admission is $45.
“If this race is anything like the last two we’ve had, which we certainly expect it will be, especially at Star, the fans are in for a great night of side-by-side racing,” said Series co-founder, Jim Schaefer. “I think I look forward to this race as much as a fan as I do a promoter-maybe more so.”
With some of the most recent Modified event winners and hottest drivers scheduled to compete in the TTOMS event at Star Speedway, the SBM 125 will undoubtedly provide fans with exciting racing action from the drop of the green through all 125 green flag laps of competition.
“It’s a racy little race track,” added Swanson.
And, Swanson is one of those drivers that is hot right now. He’s fresh off a competitive fifth-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He finished third in the most recent TTOMS event at Seekonk back on June 26 and in the Bud Light Open Modified 80 on July 12 at Stafford Motor Speedway the young gun finished second.
“All this success is because of the teams I get to drive for,” said Swanson. “I am fortunate enough to drive for not only owners but crews that put their heart and soul into preparing these race cars. It’s a real confidence booster when you know that every time you get behind the wheel, you have a solid chance of winning.”
The respect is clearly mutual. The young driver has been in high-regard starting from a very young age. Racing now for legendary car owners the Boehlers, he has also done so throughout his career for the likes of the renowned Seymour family. Much of his early modified success came aboard cars owned by the popular and successful owner in NH racing circles the late Marco Turcotte. He’s even wheeled a racer for Star Speedway promoter, Bobby Webber, Jr.
Swanson began his career quarter midget racing at facilities like Little ‘T’ located at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Coming up through the ranks, his focus has always been on open wheel racing; piloting everything from micro-sprints, NEMA midgets and SK lights before progressing to tour-type Modifieds. Swanson earned the Modified track championship at Star Speedway in 2014. The same year he made his Tri-Track Series debut.
Since then, Swanson has competed regularly with the Tri-Track Series as well as the Modified Racing Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. In 2016, at just 16 years of age, Swanson was the Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2016.
Swanson believes that he would not have the opportunities he has today without the support of the Webber Family.
“The Webbers gave me the opportunity to race a modified at such a young age. Not many other guys get a chance like that,” said Swanson. “They let me run in a division with high-powered cars that let me get such important experience. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
That respect, too, is mutual.
“Matt was always one of Dad’s favorites,” said Bobby Webber, Jr., Star Speedway owner, of his late father. “‘We watched Matt grow up at Star. He’s a great kid with a great family. His father John and I have been friends for about 30 years.
It could probably be said that John and Bobby grew up in racing together too. Swanson is definitely a sentimental favorite for the Webber Family this weekend.
While a win is the ultimate goal, a win at Star Speedway would undoubtedly be special to Swanson and his family as well. The goal for Swanson and his team is to keep the good momentum from the last several races going.
Admittedly, Swanson hopes that the “Ole Blue” used by BRE Racing in Tri-Track competition, will be as racy as the Tour car was in the Modified Tour race.
“We were good as soon as we unloaded at Loudon,” said Swanson. “I’m hoping that same holds true this weekend too.”
And, while debate swirls around chassis builders in Modified racing today, there is no doubt that Swanson will strap into a truly unique and original home built Modified when he looks for a victory on Saturday night at Star Speedway.
Interestingly enough, the car which is maintained by the dedicated crew of Greg Fournier, John McKenna, Scott Richards and others, is older than its driver.
Showing wisdom quite possibly beyond his age, Swanson is quick to recognize the efforts of Larry Westgate and his company All-Phases Renovations.
“Larry’s support has allowed us to put a good schedule together that includes not only the 18 races of the Modified Tour but also the six Tri-Track events,” said Swanson. “This is helping us get stronger as a team. We are learning more about each other and the guys are learning more about what I like in the car.”
With a momentum, a ‘home track’ advantage, and a flattened learning curve, a win for Matt Swanson and BRE Racing in the SBM VIII presented by the Tri-Track Open Modified Series at Star Speedway could be the first of many.
All the action gets underway when Swanson and the Tri-Track Open Modified Series rolls into Star Speedway in Epping, NH, on Saturday, July 27. Practice starts at 1:00pm. Racing gets underway with heats for weekly divisions at 4:20pm followed by heat race action for the Tri-Track Mods. Features for all divisions, including the 125 laps of ground-pounding Modified excitement, will roll-off immediately following qualifying activities. More information can be found at StarSpeedwayNH.com.
The Tri-Track Open Modified Series is proud to be a part of the Star Speedway family. For more information on the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, log on to tritrackmods.com or find the series on Facebook and Twitter.
-Tri-Track Open Modified Series Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51