As life changed with marriage, a family and greater responsibilities with his job, the approach to racing also changed. For 30-year-old Kyle Treadwell, it seems the PASS Modifieds have become a great fit.
An experienced racer at Oxford Plains Speedway, Kyle Treadwell has taken on a new challenge with PASS Modified racing in 2021.
He’s enjoyed success in everything he’s driven, yet it’s taking him a while to get his new Mod dialed in.
“I skipped going to Lee and White Mountain, so I’ve only run the three races at Oxford,” Treadwell said. “I’m just not running well enough yet to travel any distance and limp around at the back. That’s not appealing to me at all. I’ve got some work to do before I can take this thing on the road.
On opening day, we won our qualifying heat, which was great. I thought life was good. In the feature, we unfortunately wrecked under caution and finished 14th overall. We finished 11th in the second race there, and came home 21st in the most recent outing. This isn’t the way I had hoped to start out here.
Those long nights during his first several seasons produced good results. These days, it’s a little harder.
“We were fortunate to win a lot of races and take home quite a few trophies back then,” Treadwell added. “We did the Pro Late Model thing, and qualified for the 250 a couple of times. We won a couple of races, but eventually the expense forced us out. It’s not just a hobby running a Super Late Model.”
Treadwell’s ascent up the local short track ladder included stints in Outlaws and Street Stocks, as well.
“My rookie season in the Rebels was 2010, which seems like a long time ago,” he explained. “We had a great run in the little cars, won some races when we stepped up to Outlaws and had a blast when we went Street Stock racing. It’s been quite a ride at Oxford, filled with ups and downs like we all have.”
Like so many of his new open-wheel rivals, Treadwell says the level of competition this year is high.
“It’s a lot more competitive than I thought it would be,” he said candidly. “When I went out for practice this past race at Oxford, I was only a tenth and a half off the leader’s pace but 11th on the speed charts. It’s become very tight now. Most classes have a much bigger gap in times, but not here.
In the past, you really only had three or four guys capable of winning in any given feature. This year, you have 12 to 15 guys that have a legitimate shot to win. Ben Tinker used to own this division, and last year Tyler King won a ton of races. I don’t think you’ll see that kind of domination any more.
Another common theme between Treadwell and others who’ve joined the PASS Mod series this year is what drew him in. The current formula employed by series owner Tom Mayberry is working nicely.
“As Super Late Model racing grew to beyond our means, we wanted another alternative,” he explained. “We figured if we can’t run with those boys any more, let’s give the PASS Mods a try. And man, despite the struggles early on, am I ever glad we did. We don’t have to buy so many expensive tires, for one.
“The weekly costs are low, and the fun factor is high. Well, it will be once I get things going, I’m sure.”
When he first rolled out for the tour’s season opener at Oxford, Treadwell’s No. 44T machine turned a lot of heads. It’s a bright yellow work of art, with sleek lines and an all-business posture of its own.
“This car has quite a story behind it, actually,” Treadwell said with enthusiasm. “It hasn’t been around for very long. Matty Sanborn had Tony Ricci build it back in 2017. They put a Howe front clip on it, Matty ran it a handful of races but didn’t do very well.
“Matty sold it to Jeff Moon, who raced it twice. Jeff sold it to Justin Larsen, who had it for two and a half seasons. Justin won twice in it and was pretty competitive every time he unloaded. He wrecked it last year on Oxford 250 weekend, and took it to Ben Tinker, who put another Howe clip on it.”
The car, it seems, has indeed lived quite the life in the five years since it came off the jig.
“Justin took it to Thunder Road, clipped the famed Widow Maker and rolled it over on the front stretch. They put it back together, won the next week at Oxford and finished second the week after that. I got the car from Justin, and now I’m working through the task of getting it dialed in for my own style.”
Along with his skills behind the wheel and ability to adapt to this new style of car, Treadwell also has a few key people in his corner who make this latest oval endeavor possible.
“I have to give a huge thanks to my father, Joe, because without him I wouldn’t have ever gotten into this sport in the first place,” Treadwell said. “I also need to give a big thanks to longtime friend Matt Dufault, who was my teammate in Outlaws and was there for my Pro Late Model wins.
“Matt is a legend in his own right as far as Street Stocks at Oxford go. I’ll always help him when I can, because he’s always been there for me. Of course I’ll thank my wife, Vanna, who had her own racing career a while back and now supports my program. I’m blessed with a very supportive family.”
As summer arrives here in northern New England, Treadwell knows what he wants to accomplish.
“My goal has changed since the start of season,” he concluded. “At first, I wanted to score a couple of wins this season. Now, I’ll be thrilled to land in the top five. If we can keep that fun factor up, make some gains with our speed and just be competitive, I’ll be happy.
“I really want to go to Seekonk in July, and I want to take the car over to Thunder Road. I feel like that place owes me one. If we can just close it out and be fast, I’ll be good. I’ve won in everything I’ve been in previously, so it sure would be nice to win a PASS Mod feature as well.”
– Story and photo by Phil Whipple, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent