All posts by Kyle Souza

nascar whelen modified season to open at Myrtle Beach

BY: Kyle Souza / PHOTO: NASCAR/ADAM GLANZMAN

NASCAR announced on Friday the opening of the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season will take place at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina on May 30th.

The race will begin at 6 p.m., according to a NASCAR release, and will be 133 laps in distance. The race will be the Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy Truck and Trailer Repair — named after late NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Wade Cole who lost his life over the offseason.

The race will be a points championship event towards the 2020 title. The race will be held without fans in the grandstands, and NASCAR says they will follow social distancing throughout the infield. Each team will be able to bring eight crew members with them — including a driver, car owner, crew chief and crew.

“The support of Whelen Engineering, Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair and Hoosier was key to us being able to put this together,” said Brandon Thompson, managing director of NASCAR touring series, in a NASCAR release. “Myrtle Beach Speedway and track owner Bob Lutz deserve a lot of credit in providing us with opportunity to kick off the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.”

Different from NASCAR’s top three national divisions, the event will include practice, qualifying and the race in the same day. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competed at Myrtle Beach Speedway from 2017-2019, but was not originally planned to compete as part of the 2020 schedule released prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Timmy Solomito, Jon McKennedy and defending and six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby were the three winners over the last three years of competition at the South Carolina oval.

NASCAR did not immediately release any information regarding streaming of the race, although the TrackPass platform on NBC Sports Gold was originally slated to air all 17 races during the season for a package totaling $19.99. The event is not on the TrackPass schedule via their website.

The remainder of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 2020 schedule was not announced as part of the release.

Seekonk, Tri Track Announce New Date For Open Wheel Wednesday

BY: Kyle Souza/SouzaMediaPR / PHOTO: Seekonk Speedway/Pit Road Photos

SEEKONK, Mass. — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and continued unknowns about the start of the racing season in New England, Seekonk Speedway and Tri Track Open Modified Series officials announced on Tuesday that Open Wheel Wednesday has been rescheduled for Wednesday, August 26. The event was originally slated to take place on July 1. 

The new date will see the same divisions in action, with the annual $10,000 to win Tri Track Open Modified Series event leading a packed night of mid-week racing. The NEMA Lites return for their own feature, and new in 2020, the SMAC 350 Supers hit the track at Seekonk for the first time as part of the annual event. Full details around the schedule for the day will be released at a later date, but racing will begin at 6:30 p.m. 

For more information on Seekonk Speedway, follow the track on Facebook or visit seekonkspeedway.com. For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit the series on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and visit tritrackmodifieds.com. 

“It’s A Dream Come True” – Andy Jankowiak Set For Step To ARCA Menards SERIES in 2021

BY: Kyle Souza / PHOTO: Michael Jaworecki/MyRaceNews

Time to make the next step.

Andy Jankowiak, who has been to Victory Lane across the Northeast in multiple different styles of race cars, is ready to move to the ARCA Menards Series in 2021. Jankowiak acquired a car from former NASCAR Cup Series star Ken Schrader, and will head to Daytona International Speedway in January of ’21 to compete in a test session that will help him get approved for competition.

“It’s amazing, and I can’t believe it’s happening,” he told My Race News on Friday. “It’s so hard just to find a way and now that we have the way, it’s about the work. I’m excited to put the work in and try to make it something bigger than it already is.”

Jankowiak made his name in Modifieds, Midgets, dirt cars and more. He’s known for his glowing personality at the track, his work ethic, and social media interaction with family, friends and fans.

Following in the footsteps of his late father, Tony Jankowiak — a former regular at Lancaster National Speedway — and World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing champion at New Smyrna Speedway himself — Andy found success early in his career.

He’s become a staple in the paddock area at Race of Champions Modified Tour events, along with Tri Track Open Modified Series races, and as part of the Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series. Last year, he made his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut at the Sunoco World Series at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

He’s been behind the wheel of just about everything.

“It’s the ability to focus, I’ve always been goal-oriented and I’ve known that I always wanted to be a race car driver,” Jankowiak said of how he is successful in different style rides. “Whether it’s Modifieds, Midgets, or anything in between, I want to go out there and win. I’ve always been hands-on and I try to get the most out of the car at the shop with preparation. I try to stay in good shape, eat well… just try to do all of the little things and hope it adds up to one big thing.”

His 2020 season already started with a championship — although it came in a different fashion than he would have expected and hoped it would. The Indoor Auto Racing Championship Series originally had four races planned, but when the COVID-19 pandemic started, the series was forced to cancel the finale in Syracuse, New York. Jankowiak, who was leading the points entering the race, earned the title.

“It’s a huge accomplishment — something I’ve chased for a while — Indoor is such a unique atmosphere because you really can’t have a bad race,” Jankowiak said. “What you always will remember about winning a championship is going into the last night, racing against someone, when you both know what you need to know and how bad you want it. There is a lot of pressure that goes into a situation like that and I enjoy those tasks — to be one of the best race car drivers, you have to stay cool under pressure. Without being able to race Erick Rudolph and Matt Janisch there at the end and test myself in that atmosphere is disappointing. I think I look forward to the opportunity to test myself against great drivers. But they aren’t getting the trophy back either — we’re keeping that one. Everyone is disappointed with it — it was a home race for us. We’ll take credit for the championship. The trophy is on display in my living room, and it’s just more incentive to go try and win another one next year.”

With all of this in the past, Jankowiak is looking towards his future — one that looks bright — but he will need some help to attain his goals. Jankowiak is seeking sponsorship for what he hopes will be three races in ARCA in 2021. The car he acquired is going to put him in the position to be successful.

The car will stay down south in the shop. Donnie Richeson will help Jankowiak achieve his dream by preparing the car for competition. The story behind the opportunity all lines up with what Jankowiak has been hoping would happen for years.

“It’s all crazy the way it all shook out, part of the way we got on the path was because of the pause in the racing season that we have, where our attention could go into something different,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, take the step and give myself the chance to do it. Sometimes it just seems so unattainable the way the sport works these days.”

“I have a good friend, Andy Seuss — I told him that I had interest and it was the right time, and he walked me through what I was going to be walking into and he gave me some great advice… he was the first person to suggest I contact Mr. Schrader. I’ve met him a few times at an awards ceremony. I contacted Karl Fredrickson (of Speedway Illustrated) and he was on board. He put me in touch with Mr. Schrader. I’m going to be on the track with really good equipment.”

Jankowiak knows two things are going to be crucial to success: sponsorship, and hard-work. He’s willing to do the work to find the sponsorship, and put in the work to get the car to the front of the field.

“We’re going to be able to go to Daytona, and that’s going to be awesome. But now that we have made it this far, the goal is to attain sponsorship,” he said. “I think what is realistic and ambitious at the same time is to run three races. In order to do it, we need the sponsorship. That’s the step where we are right now. We’re going to hit the ground running and try to find the funding we need to go to a couple of races as soon as we can.”

For Jankowiak, the opportunity is something he’s going to cherish.

“This is really going to help me get to the next level. It’s a dream come true,” he said. “It’s something I didn’t really see coming right away, but it never left my mind. I really think we can do something really good with it. We’re going to give it everything we can. Having it be possible, having a goal… it’s the dream and it’s going to be an experience of a lifetime. You never know what is going to happen. This is all really good equipment.”

Jankowiak poses with the car he acquired from Schrader, which he will drive in 2021. (Photo: Andy Jankowiak)