The Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium Speedway is traditionally the last chance for drivers and teams to roll the car off the hauler and try to get that one last race in the books. This year 2 young drivers Max Zachem and Andy Jankowiak will make their way to the 1/3 mile high banked oval at the Jersey Shore to race one last time.
Max Zachem of Preston Connecticut just finished his first full season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competing in all 15 races on the tour only one of 12 drivers to do so. Max also finished second to Chase Dowling for the NASCAR Whelen Modified tour rookie of the year award.
I spoke to Max about the Turkey Derby, the season that was and his future. Max will be bringing the familiar #14 to Wall with a new sponsor hoping that a good showing will lead to continued sponsorship for 2016. He was very thankful of his 2015 season sponsors Trowbridge Transport/Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair who stepped up to allow him to race the full season. Max spoke of the costs to field a competitive modified and how he was happy with his first full year on the tour. 2 races in particular stood out for Max, the May 29th Waterford Speedbowl where he started in the rear and finished 4th out of 33 cars and Bristol where he started 33rd and finished 14th. Not an easy feat when you have never raced there before.
Looking to 2016 and beyond., as with many drivers it all depends on sponsorship and funding. He has a car that can compete on the NASCAR WMT where e he finished in the top 15 in points and is in the bonus plan for 2016. The bonus program is a big help to run the NASCAR WMT but he would also like to run races on the VMRS and Tri Track Open Modified Series. The costs to field a competitive car goes up every year and finding sponsors is a key to stay on the tour and be competitive. Where Max spends his 2016 is still up in the air but a good finish at the Turkey Derby with a new sponsor could go a long way to firm up next year’s plans.
Andy Jankowiak is another young modified driver from upstate Buffalo New York looking to do well at the 42nd annual Turkey Derby. Andy chases his racing dreams in a different way. Andy runs on the ROC modified tour in upstate New York, the KOMA series down south and the Tri Track series in New England. Andy travels a great deal of miles from his Buffalo home to local New York track, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Connecticut or wherever a good paying race takes him. Andy has his own car the #73X but also runs a Rick Kluth built and owned modified.
The seasons have had ups and downs for Andy, when he comes to the track he gets the most out of his equipment. His bright green and yellow numbers 73X may not be the prettiest or newest but it gets the job done. The Rick Kluth #57 that he drives is also always a potent machine but an accident at the North South Shootout finished that car for the year so he will bring his own #73X to the Turkey Derby at Wall to try and get the job done.
Andy had a 2 race win streak in September, first a KOMA series modified race at Hickory Speedway in North Carolina. then Andy then started last at Oswego Speedway in the ROC modified tour race and won his next race. Being on a low budget like Andy he said the money from those two wins kept the team going the rest of the season. He told me what he budgeted recently for another trip down south recently and it is amazing what they accomplish with what they have. He recently posted that his main motor has about 3,000 laps on it.
Andy recently announced plans to expand his racing schedule in 2016. As always says he said he just wants to race and next year he will get that wish again.. Andy announced he will have a Steve Mendoza owned Rick Kluth build modified at his disposal that he will run on the NASCAR WMT. It will only be a part time deal but he will get his dream of racing Wall, Bowman Gray and Riverhead in the same season. Andy enjoys racing at Wall Stadium Speedway and Bowman Gray Stadium having raced both previously and in 201 will get to add Riverhead to his resume of tracks he has run.
The 42nd annual Turkey Derby will be Andy’s last modified race but will not the end his season. Andy plans on hitting the indoor TQ Midget season at Atlantic City, Trenton and Allentown
This weekend the 2015 edition of the Turkey Derby will take place at all Stadium Speedway in Belmar NJ. Bring a Turkey sandwich then head out for 3 days of season ending stock car racing. With with the weather forecast for Friday and Sat you won’t even have to dress too warm Go to Wall Township Speedway’s website for more details. http://www.wallspeedwayracing.com/