Seekonk, Mass (August 13, 2019): On Saturday, August 24, 2019, the Tri-Track Open Modified Series (TTOMS) will make its debut at 3/8-mile Oxford Plains Speedway (OPS) in Oxford, ME, for the running of the Oxford Plains 100. Known for its short straights and wide, sweeping turns, the open-wheel action at OPS on the eve of the Oxford 250 promises to be intense with a stacked field of talented modified competitors scheduled to compete.
“We are really excited to be running at Oxford Plains Speedway,” said Series managing partner, Wayne Darling, “and honored to have been invited by Tom Mayberry and his team to run on Oxford 250 weekend. We know that the Tri-Track drivers and teams will put on a show worthy of this weekend.”
Pit gates open at 9am on Saturday, August 24. Grandstands open at 10:30am for a full-day of practice from 10:30 to approximately 4:00pm followed by an evening of great racing action that also includes Street Stocks, Vintage racers, Classic Lites, Legends and ACT Late Models. Heat races are scheduled to go green at 4:30pm followed immediately by feature racing.
Pit admission on Saturday is $40. Grandstand admission is $30 for adults. Juniors, ages 6-12, are $15. Oxford’s traditional Family 4 Pack (2 Adults & 2 juniors) will be available for $65. Skyboxes seats are also available for $50 for adults and $25 for juniors.
The first three races of the TTOMS series have been nothing short of outstanding with heated battles right down to the wire. Series standouts Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA, Ronnie Williams of Ellington, CT, and Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT, have each posted impressive victories.
And while the action will be much the same, the man standing in victory lane may be different. Despite being the first visit by the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, a number of competitors have competed at Oxford. The Modified Racing Series competed at the facility for many years. With OPS experience and modified wins to their credit Anthony Nocella of Berlin, MA, Andy Shaw of Center Conway, NH, and Kirk Alexander of W. Swanzey, NH could be considered favorites to win on August 24.
Nocella won in 2016 when the Modified Racing Series last visited the historic oval; Alexander in 2007. Shaw has a number of starts at the track in both full-fendered and open wheel racers; winning several races in the Pro All Star Series (PASS) Modifieds.
Hirschman, Williams, Silk, of course, can’t be counted out. Matt Swanson, with back-to-back podium finishes in TTOMS competition and Andy Jankowiak, with a string of strong finishes in various Modifieds series this summer, are both poised and ready for a Series victory.
Other contenders include Woody Pitkat, Tommy Barrett, Les Hinckley, Russ Hersey, and Richard Savary. The stout entry list is dotted with great talent from up and down the east coast and includes the likes of Geoff Rollins, Joey Jarvis, Jacob Dore, Matt Galko, Jeff Gallup, Andrew Charron, Kurt Vigeant, Colbey Fournier, Brian Robie, Calvin Carroll, Anthony Sesely, Bill Dixon, Jon Kievman, Carl Medeiros Jr., CJ Bolton and Brad Babb.
For more information on the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, log on to tritrackmods.com or find the series on Facebook and Twitter.
Epping, NH (July 27, 2019): Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT, used pit strategy and veteran moves to win the SBM 125 at Star Speedway for the Tri-Track Open Modified Series (TTOMS) on Saturday night. The victory was hard-fought over runner-up Ronnie Williams of Ellington, CT, and was determined coming to the checkers. It was the second Modified win in the state of New Hampshire in seven days for Silk. The win was also redemption of sorts for Silk who has endured terrible luck in recent TTOMS competition.
Matt Swanson of Acton, MA, turned in another strong performance to complete the podium. Early leader Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA, finished fourth over Andy Jankowiak of Tonawanda, NY. Richard Savary of Canton, MA, Cam McDermott of Canterbury, CT, Brad Babb of Windham, ME, Woody Pitkat of Bellingham, MA, and Brian Robie of Sunapee, NH, completed the top-ten.
After qualifying through the consolation event and starting deep in the pack, Silk methodically worked his way through the field and by lap 35 he was solidly in the top ten. He took advantage of a lap 47 caution to come to pit road for service. During a lap 71 caution, Silk was one of only three cars to remain on the track; giving him the point when the track went back to green. The strategy worked to perfection for Silk who went on to hold off challenges from Hirschman and finally Williams to score the popular victory.
By virtue of the redraw following heat race qualifying, Hirschman led the 27- car field to green for the start of the SBM 125. Hirschman jumped out to the lead with Pitkat following in line in second with Hersey and Swanson in tow. Over the opening laps a brewing battle for third between Hersey and Swanson was stalled by the first caution of the event on lap 6; involving Josh Cantera of Sanford, ME, and Jon Kievman of Deerfield Beach, FL.
Hirschman was able to retain the lead on the restart ahead of Pitkat and Hersey. From the outside groove Swanson gave up a position to Savary. On lap 11, Savary took third from Hersey. Deeper in the pack, rows of side-by-side racing saw Babb and Jacob Dore of Sanford, ME, McDermott and Anthony Sesely of Matawan, NJ, and Anthony Nocella of Berlin, MA and Andy J vying for position.
Fluid on the race track necessitated a caution on lap 19. Under yellow, Dore, Andy Shaw of Center Conway, NH and Nocella pitted. Back under racing conditions, it continued to be Hirschman over Pitkat and Savary. A bobble from the outside groove on the restart saw Hersey losing several spots.
The third caution flew on lap 20 for a spin my Carl Medeiros, Jr. of Westport, MA. It was much of the same for Hirschman with Pitkat, Savary, and Swanson. Dana DiMatteo of Farmington, CT, joined the top five once back under green. Kirk Alexander of W. Swanzey, NH, joined the fray using the outside groove to get by Babb. Williams was also on the move and into the top ten. The action outside of the top ten continued to be spirited with McDermott, Jankowiak, Sesely and Silk.
The front duo was beginning to breakaway from the field once again. Savary took chase followed by DiMatteo and Swanson. Alexander and Williams had joined the battle for the top-five before the #92 of Nocella slowed on the speedway to bring out the fourth caution on lap 35.
Behind the lead trio, the lap 35 restart saw some movement with the lead pack as Swanson and Williams gained positions. During the stretch of green flag racing, Silk got around Barrett, Hersey and Galko. He immediately went to work on Babb; taking the position on lap 43. He continued his charge to the front with a bold pass on Alexander for seventh.
At the head of the field, Pitkat looked to be getting racy for the lead when the fifth caution flew for a spin by Vigeant on lap 47. Andy Shaw was penalized for his involvement. Silk pitted under the caution.
On the lap 47 restart, Hirschman continued to show the way over Pitkat and Savary. Williams capitalized on the restart to move into fourth. He dove low on Savary on lap 52 and was able to make the pass stick. Once again, the lead duo was getting some breathing room over now third-running Williams. Savary was still in striking distance while Swanson ran alone in fifth.
The top-ten at halfway were Hirschman, Pitkat, Williams, Savary, Swanson, DiMatteo, Alexander, Galko, Sesely, and Babb. Silk was mired deep in traffic.
Hirschman was enjoying his largest lead of the night when the sixth caution flew on lap 71 for a multi-car incident in turn one. Under the caution, the entire field headed to the paddock area for service, except for Silk and Jankowiak, each who had short-pitted, and lucky dog recipient Donny Hartzel of Hunlock Creek, NJ.
For the safety of the competitors, the lap 71 yellow served as a competition caution and a cold pit situation. Teams coming off pit road maintained their positions behind the cars that stayed out. The ensuing restart found Silk and Jankowiak on the front row ahead of Hirschman and Pitkat.
Hirschman darted to the inside; taking over second from Jankowiak. Williams was able to take a spot from Pitkat as well. The top-six ran nose to tail with Silk showing the way over Hirschman. Williams took over third from Jankowiak on lap 79. The lead pack continued to run in close quarters as the laps began to wind down.
At lap 90, Silk was able to gain some breathing room over Hirschman. Williams was getting some pressure from Jankowiak while Pitkat had his hands full with Swanson. Sparks were flying for position just outside the top ten with Alexander, Galko and Cam McDermott as cars stacked up behind DiMatteo. Alexander got the short end of the action losing several positions.
Swanson got underneath Pitkat on lap 98. Despite lapped traffic, Silk was able to maintain his lead. Ten laps later, the lapped traffic nearly played a factor when Calvin Carrol of Andover, NJ, spun in close proximity to the leader, who was bearing down on a pack of cars, to bring out the seventh caution.
The lap 108 restart allowed Hirschman to get alongside Silk. The move opened the door for Williams on the bottom groove. He was able to make the pass and mover into second. Williams was right on the back bumper of Silk. Matt Swanson was similarly working on Hirschman.
A large pile-up of cars deep in the field in turn four brought out the eighth and final caution on lap 114; setting up an 11-lap shootout to determine the winner with some very racy cars up front. On this restart, Silk had to contend with Williams to his outside. Silk got a great restart and darted out to the lead. Williams got in line in second.
On lap 117, Williams poked in nose underneath Silk but could not make the pass. Swanson got by Hirschman to take third. Some ‘bump and run’ between the lead duo allowed Swanson to join the battle for the win. In the end, it would be a two-horse race to the checkers. Over the final laps, Williams tried high and low; to no avail. On the final lap coming to the checkers, Williams dove to the inside of Silk. With the crowd on their feet, the two made contact. But Silk was able to keep it going in the right direction to score the victory.
Tri-Track Open Modified Series, SBM 125, Star Speedway, July 27, 2019 Finish: 1. Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT; 2. Ronnie Williams, Ellington, CT; 3. Matt Swanson, Acton, MA; 4. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 5. Andy Jankowiak, Tonawanda, NY; 6. Richard Savary, Canton, MA; 7. Cam McDermott, Canterbury, CT; 8. Brad Babb, Windham, ME; 9. Woody Pitkat, Bellingham, MA; 10. Brian Robie, Sunapee, NH; 11. Anthony Sesely, Matawan, NJ; 12. Russ Hersey, Swanzey, NH; 13. Calvin Carroll, Andover, NJ; 14. Matt Galko, Meriden, CT; 15. Mike Holdridge, Madison, CT; 16. Jacob Dore, Sanford, ME; 17. Andy Shaw, Center Conway, NH; 18. Tommy Barrett, Millis, MA; 19. Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, CT; 20. Dana DiMatteo, Farmington, CT; 21. Kirk Alexander, W. Swanzey, NH; 22. Donny Hartzell, Hunlock Creek, NJ; 23. Kurt Vigeant, Oxford, MA; 24. Anthony Nocella, Berlin, MA; 25. Carl Medeiros, Jr., Westport, MA; 26. Jon Kievman, Deerfield Beach, FL; 27. Josh Cantara, Sanford, MA. DNQ: Geoff Rollins, Groton, MA; Andrew Charron, E. Greenwich, RI; Colbey Fournier, Berkley, MA; Kreig Heroth, Fort Plain, NY; George Sherman, Framingham, MA.
Seekonk, Mass. (July 21, 2019): Before Matt Swanson began making a name for himself aboard the legendary Ole Blue in Modified competition he was a regular at Star Speedway. On Saturday, July 27, the Acton, MA, driver hopes to turn that familiarity into victory during the Tri-Track Open Modified Series SBM 125. Swanson will go head-to-head for the win with a full-field of Modifieds that will also include the likes of red-hot Ronnie Williams, Ron Silk, Matt Hirschman, and many more.
“I haven’t really raced there in a while,” said Swanson, of Star Speedway. “The last time I ran there was in a NEMA Lite and before that in Bobby Webber’s 350 Super. I’m hoping it all comes back to me.”
If it does, it could mean a return to his winning ways. Swanson was the Modified track championship at Star Speedway in 2014.
Saturday’s start will be only Swanson’s second SBM race start.
The SBM VIII presented by the Tri-Track Open Modified Series will feature a 125 lap main event for the Modifieds. The full night of racing also includes Late Models, Street Stocks, Six Shooters and Legends. Racing will get underway at 4:20pm with qualifying for all divisions followed immediately by feature racing. Grandstands open at 11am and admission is $22 for adults and $20 for seniors. A junior ticket for kids ages 11-16 will be available for $15 Kids under 10 are admitted free. Pit admission is $45.
“If this race is anything like the last two we’ve had, which we certainly expect it will be, especially at Star, the fans are in for a great night of side-by-side racing,” said Series co-founder, Jim Schaefer. “I think I look forward to this race as much as a fan as I do a promoter-maybe more so.”
With some of the most recent Modified event winners and hottest drivers scheduled to compete in the TTOMS event at Star Speedway, the SBM 125 will undoubtedly provide fans with exciting racing action from the drop of the green through all 125 green flag laps of competition.
“It’s a racy little race track,” added Swanson.
And, Swanson is one of those drivers that is hot right now. He’s fresh off a competitive fifth-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He finished third in the most recent TTOMS event at Seekonk back on June 26 and in the Bud Light Open Modified 80 on July 12 at Stafford Motor Speedway the young gun finished second.
“All this success is because of the teams I get to drive for,” said Swanson. “I am fortunate enough to drive for not only owners but crews that put their heart and soul into preparing these race cars. It’s a real confidence booster when you know that every time you get behind the wheel, you have a solid chance of winning.”
The respect is clearly mutual. The young driver has been in high-regard starting from a very young age. Racing now for legendary car owners the Boehlers, he has also done so throughout his career for the likes of the renowned Seymour family. Much of his early modified success came aboard cars owned by the popular and successful owner in NH racing circles the late Marco Turcotte. He’s even wheeled a racer for Star Speedway promoter, Bobby Webber, Jr.
Swanson began his career quarter midget racing at facilities like Little ‘T’ located at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Coming up through the ranks, his focus has always been on open wheel racing; piloting everything from micro-sprints, NEMA midgets and SK lights before progressing to tour-type Modifieds. Swanson earned the Modified track championship at Star Speedway in 2014. The same year he made his Tri-Track Series debut.
Since then, Swanson has competed regularly with the Tri-Track Series as well as the Modified Racing Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. In 2016, at just 16 years of age, Swanson was the Tour’s Rookie of the Year in 2016.
Swanson believes that he would not have the opportunities he has today without the support of the Webber Family.
“The Webbers gave me the opportunity to race a modified at such a young age. Not many other guys get a chance like that,” said Swanson. “They let me run in a division with high-powered cars that let me get such important experience. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
That respect, too, is mutual.
“Matt was always one of Dad’s favorites,” said Bobby Webber, Jr., Star Speedway owner, of his late father. “‘We watched Matt grow up at Star. He’s a great kid with a great family. His father John and I have been friends for about 30 years.
It could probably be said that John and Bobby grew up in racing together too. Swanson is definitely a sentimental favorite for the Webber Family this weekend.
While a win is the ultimate goal, a win at Star Speedway would undoubtedly be special to Swanson and his family as well. The goal for Swanson and his team is to keep the good momentum from the last several races going.
Admittedly, Swanson hopes that the “Ole Blue” used by BRE Racing in Tri-Track competition, will be as racy as the Tour car was in the Modified Tour race.
“We were good as soon as we unloaded at Loudon,” said Swanson. “I’m hoping that same holds true this weekend too.”
And, while debate swirls around chassis builders in Modified racing today, there is no doubt that Swanson will strap into a truly unique and original home built Modified when he looks for a victory on Saturday night at Star Speedway.
Interestingly enough, the car which is maintained by the dedicated crew of Greg Fournier, John McKenna, Scott Richards and others, is older than its driver.
Showing wisdom quite possibly beyond his age, Swanson is quick to recognize the efforts of Larry Westgate and his company All-Phases Renovations.
“Larry’s support has allowed us to put a good schedule together that includes not only the 18 races of the Modified Tour but also the six Tri-Track events,” said Swanson. “This is helping us get stronger as a team. We are learning more about each other and the guys are learning more about what I like in the car.”
With a momentum, a ‘home track’ advantage, and a flattened learning curve, a win for Matt Swanson and BRE Racing in the SBM VIII presented by the Tri-Track Open Modified Series at Star Speedway could be the first of many.
All the action gets underway when Swanson and the Tri-Track Open Modified Series rolls into Star Speedway in Epping, NH, on Saturday, July 27. Practice starts at 1:00pm. Racing gets underway with heats for weekly divisions at 4:20pm followed by heat race action for the Tri-Track Mods. Features for all divisions, including the 125 laps of ground-pounding Modified excitement, will roll-off immediately following qualifying activities. More information can be found at StarSpeedwayNH.com.
The Tri-Track Open Modified Series is proud to be a part of the Star Speedway family. For more information on the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, log on to tritrackmods.com or find the series on Facebook and Twitter.