Over the winter, Stan Narrison decided he wanted to do something different. He wanted to find a way to give a different group of short track racers the spotlight in a region where Super Late Models always seem to take center stage. Narrison, the general manager of Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL), came up with the Modifieds of Mayhem, a touring series for Modifieds in the Gulf Coast region.
The first race at Mobile International Speedway (AL) perhaps didn't exactly meet Narrison’s expectations, but showed the potential for growth. 13 cars showed up to run the inaugural 50-lap feature.
But this past weekend at Montgomery Motor Speedway, the new touring series brought a lot of what Narrison was hoping to see. 19 cars took the green flag for the 50-lap race and in a way the race lived up to the series' moniker.
"I don't want it to be a hooligan thing, but it really did (live up to the nickname)," Narrison told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. "There was a pass for the lead with seven laps to go. There was a lot of passing through the field. I don't necessary like it, but we had a big wreck on the frontstretch too."
Narrison, the series director for the Modifieds of Mayhem, came up with the name because that's how he describes driving one of these cars. The cars have a lot of horsepower (close to 600), but they run on just an eight-inch tire. That combination makes the cars incredibly difficult to drive.
"We have way too much power in a light car with too little tire, so I think it does live up to its name," Narrison said. "It's exciting and some of the passes make you hold your breath. The cars are jumping sideways as they come off the turns when the tires wear."
Donald Crocker took the win in the first race ever for the series. Donnie Hamrac took the win at Montgomery on Saturday night after passing Ryan Redmon with seven laps to go. Redmon had dominated the race up until that point.
It was the type of race that Narrison thinks will do wonders for the series' future growth.
"This last weekend we had the best crowd in the grandstands since I've been (at Montgomery)," Narrison said. "And I've been there a year now. I think that as people experience this style of racing and the speeds that those guys put on, I really see both the car count and the fan count going up every time we race them."
Part of the reason Narrison thinks the fans will enjoy the series is because it's just different. It's a strange way to explain it, but everything is different. The open wheel style, the designs on the cars, the personalities of the drivers; it's all just different from the Late Model racing that dominates the region.
"Sometimes your Late Model guys can be a little cookie-cutter trying to all have the same image," he said. "With the Modifieds it seems like every car has a different personality and every driver has a different personality. The fans were excited about it because it was a different car."
And the drivers were excited too, according to Narrison, because it's different for them too. Narrison accomplished his goal of making these drivers the stars for a night, instead of being a preliminary act like usual.
"They are the show," Narrison said. "It's a Modified of Mayhem event. They were the main event. The big thing the guys have told me is they appreciate having some places to race and being able to be the feature event when they get to these race tracks."
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Montgomery Motor Speedway Facebook