Speed51’s coverage of all things short track racing expanded in 2019, including the eye on the thunder warriors of Modified racing, both north and south. Tour-types, narrow-wheeled, or even Supers, there was plenty to see in the past year, and we have much of it on the Speed51 Network. To celebrate, we have the Top 10 Modified videos of 2019.
October’s Haunted Hundred, the finale for the 2019 Tri-Track Open Modified Series schedule certainly lived to up expectations, and then some. An eventful feature event soon came down to Matt Hirschman and Ron Silk taking off the gloves in what would come down to an action-packed white flag battle, with plenty of controversy before and after the checkered flag.
It was everything you could expect out of a Modified race at “The Magic Mile” during the New England Short Track Showdown back in June. The usual helping of bump-drafting, slingshots, and multiple lead changes were the norm of the 50-lap feature, with Ronnie Williams and Anthony Nocella taking the fight to a dominating Chase Dowling; all culminating with a photo finish to cap it off.
Returning to Canada’s big 5/8-mile for the second-straight season back in July for the Great Canadian 100, fans got plenty of high-speed thrills and side-by side-action once again. It was a great three-way battle between former RoC champs Chuck Hossfeld and Patrick Emerling, along with Tommy Catalano who was in search of an elusive first RoC victory.
The SBM VIII will be remembered by another name for those who were there that Saturday night in July: “The Ronnie and Ronnie Show.” The 125-lap contest would come down to youth and experience as Ronnie Williams and Ron Silk would settle the race honors in a pitched battle over the final laps at the quarter-mile oval.
RoC’s second trip to Chemung for the Rod Spalding Classic in early August saw the usual close-quarters tussling under the lights. The 75-lap affair featured plenty of heartbreak for many in the field, while giving others the chance to show off. Avoiding plenty of chaos, Patrick Emerling and Matt Hirschman would be the ones to settle things in the race’s final stretch.
There’s always plenty of thrills on Turkey Derby weekend in November down on the Jersey Shore in all divisions. But, the Dirt Mods stole the spotlight from the headline Tour-type Mods on this cold Saturday. In particular, Long Islander youngster Dillon Steuer gained the most attention, with multiple three-wide passes as he pursued the lead.
The first 2019 visit by the Mods of Mayhem to the Florida Panhandle in April ended with a battle of North vs. South. Alabama’s Augie Grill and Ohio’s Kyle Purvis each carved a path through the top of the field over the early stage of the race. In the end, it would be the two of them who would shoot it out, while dodging lapped cars in the waning laps.
A grand racing tradition, with only the Indianapolis 500 surpassing it in age, the 69th running of the Race of Champions 250 featured plenty of prestige and intrigue this past September. The race’s multiple pit stops over the long distance, coupled with Lake Erie’s reputation as being one of the most competitive tracks in the land, kept things unpredictable to the end.
Way back in March, the season opener for the 2019 SMRS season would end up becoming a North-South affair. Usual favorites John Smith, Burt Myers, and Jeremy Gerstner found themselves up against Matt Hirschman, Jon McKennedy, and Jimmy Blewett over the 125-lap distance, with Hirschman and Smith duking it out for the trophy in the end.
One of the major marquee events for Supermodified racing, the Star Classic brings together many of the best in the class year after year to southern New Hampshire. This past September saw one of the strongest fields in years turn up, wowing all in attendance with close wing-to-wing action and plenty of sparks flying over the 125-lap distance.
Just missing out the list, were the highlights of a pair of thrillers, one being the MRS at Thompson Speedway (CT) in April, and the summer Wednesday show for the Tri-Track Series at Seekonk. There’s the historic I-CAR Crown Jewel of Modifieds on the half-mile & quarter-mile of Baer Field Motorsports Park (IN). The drivers of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour making their case to race at Martinsville just weeks before the 2020 race announcement, and our one-on-one with now six-time champion Doug Coby is also worth a look.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51