July 27, 2020
MATT HIRSCHMAN SCORES FIFTH SBM WIN AT STAR SPEEDWAY
MATT SWANSON COMES FROM 27TH TO FINISH 2ND IN THE MARQUEE MODIFIED RACING EVENT
By Kyle Souza
EPPING, N.H. — Matt Hirschman wasn’t about to be denied. The Pennsylvania native, who is no stranger to Victory Lane on the Tri Track Open Modified Series circuit, returned to glory on Saturday night at Star Speedway in the ninth annual SBM race.
But the ride to victory wasn’t one that came without difficulty, especially at the end. Hirschman dominated the beginning, taking the lead on lap 25 and leading through lap 83, before a controlled caution slowed the race. While some elected to stay out, Hirschman worked to pit road for a fresh Hoosier tire, the charge started back to the front from ninth position. He would eventually pass Matt Swanson for the top spot on a restart at lap 112 and never look back.
It was the fifth win in the prestigious event for Hirschman, who is one of just two drivers to compete in all previous SBM races. The race was 121 laps, in honor of track owner and operator Bobby Webber’s son Tim Webber, who turned 21-years-old the week of the race.
The purse for the event was over $40,000, a figure that didn’t change post-COVID pandemic. Due to COVID-19, and guidance from the state of New Hampshire, Star Speedway ran at 50% capacity for the event in the grandstands, and sold out. Tri Track and Star officials made sure that all social distancing and safe health practices were in place.
“I’ve always enjoyed coming here, winning the first time I have ever came here, and having all of this success I’ve had in this SBM race after that,” Hirschman said. “Going back to the original races, it was, and has been, a big deal for us.”
Swanson, who started 27th after earning a provisional into the race, played a different strategy than Hirschman did, and it almost paid off. Swanson elected not to pit as part of the controlled caution period on lap 83, and took over the lead when most others went down pit road. Swanson led the race from lap 83-112, before Hirschman took control when Swanson spun his tires on the restart. Swanson would finish second, while Andy Jankowiak, who played a similar strategy and stayed out, finished third. Jankowiak was involved in a wreck on lap 25 with veteran Dave Sapienza, but was able to rebound.
Ronnie Williams started third and finished fourth, and Eric Goodale made his return to the Tri Track Series and rounded out the top five. NASCAR Cup Series regular Ryan Preece was sixth in his return to Modified racing, while Anthony Nocella, Austin Kochenash, Cam McDermott and Ron Silk finished the top-10.
Earlier in the day, Ron Silk, Matt Hirschman, Andy Shaw and Andy Jankowiak won heat races, while Anthony Nocella and Calvin Carroll earned consi wins. Both heat and consi winners collected $300 courtesy of the Pepsi Challenge. Swanson, who passed 25 Modifieds en route to the front, earned a $500 hard charger bonus courtesy of Green Construction. Since pole sitter Austin Kochenash didn’t win the race, courtesy of Superior Refinishing, the next race on the circuit will pay a $600 bonus if the pole sitter wins the race.
The Tri Track Open Modified Series returns to the track on Saturday, August 15, with the second stop of the season at Monadnock Speedway.
RESULTS: Tri Track Open Modified Series; Star Speedway; July 25:
Les Rose Jr.
Carl Medeiros Jr.
October 16, 2019
On A Roll: Matt Swanson Ready To Carry Big Momentum To 2020 Whelen Modified Tour Season
A www.racedayct.com article
THOMPSON – When it comes to any division in short track racing, there’s always that short list that teams, fans and followers keep of that guy who will be the next first-time winner.
On Sept. 29 at Stafford Motor Speedway Craig Lutz took his name off that list by winning the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour NAPA Fall Final 150.
Now, when it comes to the Whelen Modified Tour, it’s fair to say that Matt Swanson has ascended to taking over the leading role on that list of likely next first-time winner.
Swanson completed his first full-year with the Boehler Racing Enterprises “Ol Blue” No. 3 car in fifth in the series standings with four top-five finishes and nine top-10’s in 16 events.
“It’s a really good feeling to know the amount of people that walk up to me and say ‘You’re so close man, you’re so close.’” Swanson said. “It just makes me that much more ambitious to put a whole day together in one of these races. I can’t tell you how bad I want to win one of these races. It shows with how hard we’re working at the shop making sure these cars are prepared every week when we come to the race track. We’re so close.”
The 19-year old Swanson, from Acton, Mass., came into Sunday’s season ending Sunoco World Series 150 in the midst of a four-driver battle for fifth place in the standings. Swanson came into the event in fifth, with Eric Goodale behind him by one point in sixth, Timmy Solomito two points behind him in seventh, Patrick Emerling five points behind him in eighth and Chris Pasteryak 10 points behind him in ninth.
Swanson won the battle within the race by scoring a third place finish Sunday at Thompson and cementing his place as the fifth place finisher in the final standings.
Swanson ran part-time in 2015 and full-time in 2016 and 2017 for his family owned team. After five events with his family owned team in 2018, he replaced Rowan Pennink with the Boehler Racing Enterprises team mid-season, running six of the last seven events for the organization. Since taking over the ride he’s learned to appreciate just what it means to drive one of the most iconic Modified rides there is left in the sport.
“I just can’t thank the whole Boehler Racing Team that I drive for enough and all the people that support this race car,” Swanson said. “It’s been on the race track for 60 plus years. … Just to be able to be able to drive for such a nostalgic team. … It just makes it all special.”
Swanson had top-six finishes in five of the final eight races of the season, closing out the season with a string that some him run sixth in the Musket 250 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, fifth at the NAPA Fall Final and then third in the season finale at Thompson. Swanson doesn’t want to put that momentum to rest for the offseason.
“It’s definitely hard,” Swanson said. “But I think what it does for myself and my team is it just makes us more confident going into next year. It makes us want it to be the 2020 race season that much faster. And we know what we have for race cars now. We’ve had a full season together now. Myself and my crew chief Greg Fournier, and car chief Scott Richards and just everyone that works on the car, we’ve gelled now. We picked up on something at the first Loudon race in July and every time we’ve gone to a half-mile or more since then we’ve been in contention. It stinks that I have to go another year without winning a [Whelen Modified Tour] race, I thought 2019 was going to be the year. But 2020 looks to be like that much more.”
September 29, 2019
Craig Lutz Breaks Into Victory Lane in NAPA Fall Final at Stafford
Matt Swanson and Ole Blue Finish 5th In Historic NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Race
A www.hometracks.nascar.com release w/ MSR headline addition
STAFFORD, Conn. — For the second straight year, the NAPA Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway produced a first-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour winner.
Craig Lutz took the lead from Doug Coby on a restart with 33 laps to go, and drove away from Coby, and defending series champion Justin Bonsignore, to earn his first career checkered flag in his 66th series start.
Prior to Sunday, Lutz had finished inside the top five in four of his 12 Stafford starts, including the last three. He had also finished inside the top five in eight of the 14 races in 2019.
For the first time, the Miller Place, New York, driver was able to celebrate a trophy.
“The first win is always special,” Lutz said. “Everyone kept on asking me when it was coming. To finally knock one off, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Lutz started ninth and rode inside the top 10 for the duration of the race, but shined when it mattered most. Chris Pasteryak earned his first career Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole award in qualifying, and led the first six laps, before Coby took control.
Bonsignore took the lead from Coby just before halfway, and paced the field until a caution just after lap 100, when leaders pitted multiple times for tires. It would be the only caution of the day that Coby, Bonsignore and Lutz entered pit road.
Pasteryak would lead eight more laps after cycling back to the lead, but couldn’t hold the top spot, as Coby slid by, then a restart gave Lutz his opportunity. Lutz passed Coby and never looked back, minding a gap back to Bonsignore for the final 10 laps.
“I just didn’t look in my mirror,” Lutz said. “I have an awesome spotter, who has a lot of experience, and he kept telling me to stay smooth and hit my marks. That’s what I kept doing.”
Bonsignore would finish second, while Coby settled for third. Chuck Hossfeld, who missed practice and qualifying on Saturday, charged from the rear of the field to finish fourth. Matt Swanson was fifth.
Ron Silk finished sixth, followed by Bobby Santos III, Woody Pitkat, Chase Dowling and Patrick Emerling.
Coby leads Bonsignore by 19 points with one championship point’s race remaining in search of his sixth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.
The NAPA Fall Final 150 will air on NBCSN on Friday, October 4, at 7 p.m.
August 3, 2019
Ron Silk Survives Chaotic Overtime Restart For Second Straight Win
Matt Swanson Continues Top 5 Tour Modified Hot Streak
A www.nascar.com release
STAFFORD, Conn. — Perfect timing for one, worst timing for another.
Doug Coby dominated the Stafford 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway, leading the first 147 laps before a caution flew for the first time. After a chaotic overtime restart, Ron Silk was the beneficiary of some fresh tires and a daring three-wide move to the take the lead and the win.
The former series champion earned his second consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour checkered flag — which was also his 13th career and second at the Connecticut half-mile.
“We are just continuously putting ourselves up towards the front, in position to have things happen like what happened tonight,” Silk said. “A lot of times, you make your own luck. My team has improved dramatically and the guys are doing a great job.”
It was Doug Coby’s night before a crash in turn three suddenly changed the complexion of the race. Coby was fastest in practice, earned his sixth Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award in qualifying, and drove away with the race early. It was looking like Coby was going to celebrate a complete sweep of the night and his 13th career Stafford win.
But the caution changed everything.
With only six cars on the lead lap, pit strategy was key in the finishing order. Teams are only allowed to take one tire per pit stop under caution, but most of them made their way down pit road more times than one during the yellow. Coby’s Mayhew Tools team elected to take three tires, but he was also down pit road another time for fuel only. After four stops, he restarted sixth for the final dash.
Matt Swanson and Justin Bonsignore took the green flag on the front row, but it wasn’t long before Silk took the top spot with a daring three-wide move off turn two. From there, it wasn’t quite clear sailing, as Jon McKennedy was on the back bumper looking to pounce. But Silk was able to hang on for his third Whelen Modified Tour win of the season.
“I knew there were only six of us on the lead lap at that point and I thought you had to take the tires,” Silk said of the mindset during the yellow. “There were 146 green flag laps, our tires were shot.”
After restarting sixth, Coby managed to charge back to a third-place finish, while Swanson was fourth, and Craig Lutz fifth.
Justin Bonsignore was sixth, followed by Jimmy Blewett, Bobby Santos III, Sam Rameau and Patrick Emerling.
Coby leads by 24 over Silk in the championship point standings, while defending series title holder Bonsignore is third, 42 back.
The Stafford 150 will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, August 7, at 7 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track on Wednesday, August 14, at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for the Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150.
July 24, 2019
Matt Swanson Seeks First Tri-Track Open Modified Series Win At Star Speedway
Tri-Track Open Modified Series PR
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.
July 22, 2019
Ron Silk Earns New Hampshire Win in Overtime
Matt Swanson Tops Practice and Finishes 5th On NWMT’s Biggest Stage
KYLE SOUZA NASCAR.COM w/ MSR headline addition
LOUDON, N.H. — Eight years later, not much has changed for Ron Silk.
The Norwalk, Connecticut, driver picked up his third career victory at the ‘Magic Mile’ in the Eastern Propane & Oil 100 on Saturday, outlasting a field of 38 drivers on the biggest stage of modified racing. It was the third career victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Silk, and his first at the 1.058-mile since 2011.
He beat Doug Coby on what turned out to be the final restart, when contact from a crash shortened the race due to damage to the outside wall in turn one. It was the second win of the season for the former series champion and his 12th career.
“Kenny and Kevin Stuart (car owners) have really done a great job getting me everything that I have asked for,” Silk said. “It’s nice to see the effort pay off. The guys are really working hard.”
Silk didn’t lead a lap until the final stages. Following a caution with just 20 laps remaining, Silk chased the back bumper of Eric Goodale, before taking the lead from him on lap 85. From there, he never relinquished the top spot, while drivers jostled for position in the draft behind him.
The field lined up for a green-white-checkered finish on lap 101, but a quick crash in turn one slowed the field again. While safety crews went to work on the wall, the race was deemed complete in overtime. Silk took the checkered flag until caution, seven laps after the scheduled distance.
“We raced really hard the whole day,” Silk said. “There was certainly no guarantee that I would have won. But we were leading at the right time today. Bummer circumstances that we didn’t get to finish (under green).”
Coby crossed the line second, while Chase Dowling finished third. Jon McKennedy, who earned his first Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award in qualifying, led 19 laps and finished fourth. Matt Swanson was fifth. Eric Goodale was sixth, followed by Justin Bonsignore, Rob Summers, Tommy Catalano and Craig Lutz.
Coby leads Silk by 28 in the championship point standings with seven races remaining, while Bonsignore is third, 38 out.
The Eastern Propane & Oil 100 will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, July 31, at 6 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track on Friday, August 2 at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut.
July 14, 2019
Ronnie Williams Wins Bud Light Open Modified 80
Matt Swanson Finishes 2nd After Last-Minute Decision To Enter Event
A www.staffordspeedway.com release
(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway hosted the 2nd Annual Bud Light Open Modified 80 with tour style modifieds taking center stage for an 80-lap race around the Connecticut half-mile. Ronnie Williams came home as the big winner, holding off Matt Swanson in a four lap sprint to the finish.
The Bud Light Open 80 took the green flag with Tommy Barrett, Jr.’s car immediately dropping off the pace and coming to a stop in turn 1 to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed. Matt Galko and Todd Owen were side by side on the restart with Galko taking the lead by a nose at the line at the end of lap-1. Keith Rocco was third with Eric Goodale in fourth and Michael Christopher, Jr. in fifth. Ronnie Williams was sixth with Anthony Sesely, Cam McDermott, Chase Dowling, and Joey Cipriano rounding out the top-10. Jeff Gallup came to a stop against the turn 4 wall with a flat tire to bring the caution out with 7 laps complete.
Galko took the lead back under green with Owen and Rocco side by side for second and Christopher and Goodale side by side for fourth. Things settled into line with Galko leading Owen, Rocco, Christopher, and Dowling. McDermott was sixth followed by Williams, Goodale, Cipriano, and Sesely. Williams took sixth from McDermott on lap-14 and Owen got by Galko to take the lead on lap-14. Sesely spun coming off turn 2 to bring the caution out with 30-laps complete and the order still Owen, Galko, Rocco, Christopher, and Dowling.
Under the caution several cars, including Dowling, Williams, Andrew Molleur, David Schneider, Matt Swanson, Marcello Rufrano, Sesely, Bakaj, Owen, Dylan Kopec, James Pritchard, Jr., and Andy Shaw all came to pit road for 2 fresh tires and adjustments.
Back under green, Galko took the lead with Rocco, Christopher, McDermott, and Goodale lined up behind him. Anthony Flannery was up to sixth with Gallup, Owen, Kopec, and Molleur rounding out the top-5. Rocco got around Christopher to move into second on lap-36 and began to apply heavy pressure to Galko for the race lead. Just behind the two leaders, Christopher and McDermott were having an intense battle for third. The caution flew with 41 laps complete for Schneider, who came to a stop backwards against the turn 3 wall.
This caution period saw Galko, Rocco, Christopher, McDermott, and Goodale all come to pit road for their two fresh tires and adjustments. The pit stops put Owen back into the lead with Flannery, Molleur, Kopec, Bakaj, and Williams into the top-3 rows for the restart.
Owen charged back into the lead on the restart with Molleur in second. Swanson was third with Williams getting by Bakaj to move into fourth. Bakaj and Kopec got together and spun in the middle of turns 3+4 to bring the caution out with 45 laps complete.
Owen took the lead with Swanson moving up to second and Williams to third on the restart. Dowling was fourth with Goodale in fifth. Molleur was sixth line followed by Galko, Rocco, Rufrano, and McDermott. Goodale took fourth from Dowling and Goodale was now challenging Dowling for fifth on lap-51. Galko completed the pass while Williams was starting to search high and low for a way to get by Owen for the lead.
Williams got a good run to Owen’s inside on lap-56 and he took the lead on lap-57. With 20 laps to go, the order was Williams in the lead with Goodale, Owen, Swanson, Galko, Dowling, Rocco, Christopher, Molleur, and Gallup making up the top-10.
With 10 laps to go, Williams was slowly stretching out his lead over Goodale in second while Swanson got by Owen to move into third. Dowling was now looking to get by Owen to take fourth with Rocco right behind Dowling. Dowling took fourth on lap-73 and Rocco took fifth from Owen on lap-74 as Williams continued to pull away. Williams’ advantage was erased by the caution for a spin by Kopec in the middle of turns 3+4 with 75 laps complete.
Williams took the lead on the restart with Goodale in second. Owen drifted up the track in turn 4 to lose a couple spots but the race stayed green until a multi car spin brought the caution back out with 76 laps complete.
Williams took the lead while Swanson pulled alongside Goodale for second. Swanson cleared Goodale on lap-78 with Rocco in fourth and Galko in fifth. Goodale and Swanson touched wheels with Goodale going through the grass and rejoining the track to keep the race under green. Williams led Swanson to the checkered flag to pick up the win. Rocco finished third with Galko and Christopher rounding out the top-5.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
June 27, 2019
Connecticut Driver Continues Big Week at Seekonk
Matt Swanson Has A Career Day In Open Wheel Wednesday Event
Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor - Twitter: @ztevans
w/ MSR headline addition
Ronnie Williams’ hot streak in Modified racing continued Wednesday night at Seekonk Speedway (MA). Just three days removed from his photo-finish victory over Anthony Nocella in the New England Short Track Showdown’s Valenti Modified Series event, Williams took the checkered flag in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series event at Seekonk.
Williams took the lead from Matt Swanson on a restart with 10 laps to go in the 100-lap event, taking the $10,000 Open Wheel Wednesday paycheck along with it.
For Williams, part of the key was pit strategy in the event. Front runners were split between pitting at lap 43 after a caution for a Carl Medeiros spin and pitting on lap 55 after a turn-four incident with Kirk Alexander and Dana DiMatteo.
Williams was among the takers at lap 43, which allowed him to move ahead of contenders such as Ron Silk, Matt Hirschman, Keith Rocco and more who pitted 12 laps later.
“We got a little loose around the halfway mark, and we were one of the first guys to pit,” Williams explained in victory lane. “Just slowly worked our way up there, a lot of guys pitted around lap 60. It was a great race from there.
It was a quick turnaround for Williams and his team after the New Hampshire triumph, but that made the second trip to victory lane on the week that much sweeter.
“It just shows how good these guys are,” said Williams. “They went back to the shop and worked until 2:30 in the morning. They told me that every 10 minutes today. Hats off to them. This is their win, I’m just fortunate enough to drive the car.”
Tommy Barrett also passed Swanson in the closing laps to take the second position, closing in on Williams over the final green-flag run but ultimately running out of time.
“We started off pretty rough today,” said Barrett. “The car wasn’t very good out of the trailer. They made wholesale changes on the car, and we drove up from 18thto second. I was as fast as Williams, but we weren’t loose enough to go by him. Maybe another couple of laps.”
While pit strategy played a role in Williams’ victory, mechanical gremlins prevented Swanson from playing any strategy game. Due to a suspension issue, Swanson and his team elected to stay out for the duration of the race and protect their track position.
That decision led to Swanson leading the majority of the race before fading to a third-place run in the closing laps.
“We had a rear suspension problem about 20 laps into the race,” said Swanson. “The torque arm was actually falling out of the car. It was just a matter of hanging on. We took over the lead there and hung on to it for a while. We never came in to put a tire on. Once we took the lead, we had what we had and just had to hang on to it.”
Race fans who missed Wednesday’s Tri-Track Open Modified Series feature at Seekonk Speedway can relive the action by watching Speed51’s Summer Thunder TV broadcast of the race by clicking here.
March 14, 2019
Swanson Excited About 2019 Season
A Matthew Wiernasz article
ACTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Matthew Swanson is excited to get the 2019 season underway. This season he will return to drive for one of the most Nostalgic modified teams Boehler Racing Enterprises in the Ole Blue number 3.
Swanson told 22News that the team has not slowed down during the offseason. The team has three cars as they are preparing one of them where they could run some Tri-Track Open Modified Racing series races this year. He is planning to run the two cars on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
"Those guys have taught me a lot this winter. Every day has been basically a classroom day. Learning new things and bettering myself as someone that works on my racecars and drives them as well. Really excited for the Whelen Modified Tour season and looking forward to be back full time and looking forward to going down to Myrtle Beach," said Swanson.
Last August at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, Swanson filled in for Rowan Pennink who was driving the car at the time as Pennink was going to become a dad. Pennink announced his retirement a couple of weeks later. Swanson never thought it would turn into something more. Looking back on it, Swanson feels like he is dreaming about it that he doesn't want to get pinched and woken up from.
"To think and look back on the year with the family car. We never finished outside the top 10. We've really had a stellar year for the family team with us not running full time and we definitely achieved all the goals we had besides the win with the family car," said Swanson
When Swanson got the phone call that Pennink was going to be a dad for the first time. The crew members on the team wanted Swanson to fill in for Pennink. Swanson will say it all the time that he did not know what to think. In his debut with the team, Swanson finished second in the event in which a team he has never worked with before and almost beating one of the best drivers on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 2018 champion Justin Bonsignore.
The night Swanson finished second at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. It felt like a win to him. The night the team had where they were fast in practice all day. He didn't think they were outside the top 5 in practice all day. He qualified in seventh that night for the 150 lap race and tied his best qualifying record and to go out and race in the top 5 all night during the 150 lap race. He came in for tires and a little contact put up in the marbles on the restart. and put way back where he thought he was in last place or the last car on the lead lap and to never get a caution and to drive up to second place on the same tire cycle Justin Bonsignore was on. Swanson felt he had a fast race car that night to where the car was capable of winning the event. The misfortune didn't happen and still cannot put that night into his own words. It's just because it meant so much to Swanson to have such a good run in an iconic car and to do it in his first start made it feel more special to do it for the Pennink family at the time and all the BRE guys that put so much time and effort into making the cars what they are made the night so special.
Although it's been a short time with the team, they feel like family to Swanson.
"The whole BRE Enterprises team is a family. That's the atmosphere I like to be around. It's just really good to be back full time this year," said Swanson
Swanson did learn cutting back on his schedule on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour that in the long run, he would get a full-time ride with one of the most iconic teams in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
"It was a big learning curve year just because the cars weren't down at Spfaco anymore. They weren't getting maintained down there. It wasn't like I just kind of went there to clean the cars loaded them up and went to the race track. It was me, my father, and my brothers and Spfaco still helped us but when it came down to it. I wasn't in the shop every day and my brothers weren't coming down after work and my father wasn't coming down to the shop after work. That car wasn't going to the race track so it was a lot more I don't want to say stressful but it was a lot more dependent on myself and my family to get that car to the race track not every week but when we had to race. That car had to be ready and had to be 100 percent and that was one of the reasons we decided to do part-time was because we wanted to make sure we were capable of doing it. Wanted to make sure we had the resources was available to us to do it before we decided to go back full time," said Swanson.
For Swanson to go back to a team who has a major success for over 60 years it feels really good and makes him feel confident as a driver. We're going to have a fast race car everywhere they go this year.
The tracks Swanson looks forward to going to on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule are Loudon and Thompson because it's where he has had the most success.
Swanson told 22News, "There the places where I feel like we unload whether it was with my family car or the 3 car and I felt the most confident as a driver and I felt the most confident in our race car but this year I am looking forward to going to South Boston for the first time and going to Wall Stadium. It felt like an odd coincidence that I ran my first Turkey Derby there last year for Ricky Kluth and we get the news while we were in New Jersey that the tour is coming next year. That kind of allowed me to open my notebook as a driver and just take notes on what I felt my strong suits were. What I needed to work on for when we go back with the tour this year. It's going to be cool because Wall does have a tour division there so I think you'll see a situation like Riverhead where their weekly guys come out of the woodwork to run the Whelen Modified Tour trying to make a name for themselves. I think that's going to be cool and I am also looking forward to going to Stafford just because I know as a driver I need to work on Stafford. Stafford really hasn't been one of my strong suits. I do have a win there in an SK Light. An SK Light compared to a Whelen Modified Tour races completely different. It's one of those places that can really make or break our schedule just because it's one of the first tracks we go to. We go there in the middle of the season where the points battle really starts to heat up and then we go there for our second to last race. The tracks that can really make or break your season are the ones I am most looking forward to going to."
The Musket 250 will make a return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in which it will be the longest race on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule. Swanson is really looking forward to the race this year. Last year, he felt he had a good car but got caught up in a mess early on in the race. He can honestly say as a driver that a lot of it was his fault where he put himself in positions where he didn't need to be in especially that early in such a long race. He's going back to Loudon this year with the same attitude where he is excited to head back.
After watching the 250 laps and seeing the different strategies that people placed with their race teams and race cars. Swanson felt it was a good race and felt New Hampshire Motor Speedway had a great crowd. Swanson was quite impressed with standing on top of a hauler after unfortunately crashing in the event and just seeing the energy from the crowd and the crowd of people that were there to watch the modifieds. Swanson felt it showed the diehard fans that the modifieds do have. He is looking forward to going back with the BRE team this season.
Swanson will also be driving a 350 Super for Bobby Webber, Jr. It means a lot to Swanson that Bobby Webber, Jr is giving him the opportunity to drive one of his 350 Supers. The first time Swanson drove a 350 Super for Webber was during the SBM 125 weekend in 2016. Swanson feels that they are fun race cars and like almost driving a go-kart because they have a lot of downforce. Swanson will get a chance to drive the car at Star, Lee, and Hudson.
The goals for the 2019 season for Swanson are to chase wins and be able to contend for a championship and for him and the team to do their best and put in a 100 percent effort everywhere they go.
The 2019 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season will kick off this Saturday at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
August 9th, 2018
Super Sub: Matt Swanson Second Filling In For Rowan Pennink At Whelen Mod Tour Bud 150 At Thompson
A www.racedayct.com article
Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT
THOMPSON – At about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night, Matt Swanson was prepared to drive his family owned No. 89 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ride in the Bud King of Beers 150 at Thompson Speedway.
And just as he closed the back door on his family’s hauler he found out he’d instead be driving a car legendary in the history of Modified racing.
With Boehler Racing Enterprises driver Rowan Pennink welcoming his first child early Wednesday morning, it was Swanson tabbed to fill in for Pennink in the team’s iconic Ole Blue No. 3 ride.
And the 18-year old Swanson made the most of the opportunity, rolling to a career best second place finish in the Whelen Modified Tour Bud King of Beers 150 Wednesday at Thompson Speedway.
“I actually was at SPAFCO [Tuesday night] getting my own family car set up,” Swanson said. “My father called me just as I was shutting the door on the trailer and said ‘Rowan’s girlfriend is having a baby, the [Boehler Racing Enterprises team] called, do you want to drive [for them]?’ I said ‘Absolutely’. That car’s always a rocket ship here. It’s a rocket ship everywhere they go. I was very humbled to be the one that got the call. There are a lot of other drivers they could call. … They called me and I’m so thankful. … The opportunity to drive such a famous Modified, it makes me feel very good to be able to do that. I’m happy that I could put a good finish in for them.”
Pennink and his girlfriend Nicole Kirstin welcome their daughter Jordan at about 3 a.m. Wednesday.
“It was awesome working with the Boehler guys,” Swanson said. “They welcomed me with open arms and I can’t thank them all enough.
Before Wednesday Swanson’s best career finish in 43 career Whelen Modified Tour starts was a third place at Thompson on June 15, 2016. He came into Wednesday night’s event with four career top-five finishes, including a fifth place in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson on April 8.
“It didn’t really settle in how excited I was and how awesome of a ride this was until I walked into the [Boehler Racing Enterprises] shop this morning and just saw all the memorabilia hanging on the walls, the [No. 3] cars, all the Boehler family headlines in the newspapers and just the list of names that have driven that car,” Swanson said. “It really didn’t settle in until I walked in the door. Now that I’m standing here, I got out of the car and I saw that famous [No.] 3 sitting there and it’s awesome.”
Just about 24 hours after he found out he would be driving the car, Swanson was holding off the challenges of five-time series champion Doug Coby in the closing laps at Thompson.
It proved a matter of one extreme to the other for Swanson. On Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway a mechanical failure in qualifying for his team to withdraw from the Starrett 150.
“That was awesome to see him up there,” series points leader abd Bud King of Beers 150 winner Justin Bonsignore said. “Matt’s a great driver. He’s got great equipment. … He’s come a long way since he’s been a rookie. This is a really good boost for him, unfortunate it’s just a one race deal. And congrats to Rowan on his baby today, him and his girlfriend. It’s awesome for Matt. … He needed a confidence booster. He didn’t even get to race last week. I’m really happy for him and his father and his whole family. They’re good good people.”
July 24th, 2018
Matt Swanson Measuring Up For Victory In Whelen Modified Tour Starrett 150 At Stafford
A www.staffordspeedway.com release
Stafford Motor Speedway hasn’t always been Matt Swanson’s best track with 4 top-10 finishes in 10 career starts. But after matching his career best Stafford finish with a 7th place effort at the NAPA Spring Sizzler in April, and an 8th place finish in the most recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Loudon, NH, the driver of the #89 Starrett Tools Ford is looking forward to the Starrett 150, set for August 3rd at the Connecticut half-mile facility.
“We haven’t had the best luck at Stafford in the past,” said Swanson. “I won an SK Light race there when I was running for Kenny [Barry] and that’s where I made my Tour debut, so I will always have special memories at Stafford. We never really had the luck we wanted with the Tour car until the Spring Sizzler this year. We had a strong run and we felt like we were contending all day and we finished 7th. Our season has been going well this year so far, of the races we’ve run we only have one DNF at Seekonk and we’ve been in the top-10 in all our other starts. All in all we’ve had a good season and we want to keep that going in the Starrett 150.”
The 20-year old Swanson has made 43 career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts in his young career and he is still in search of his first victory. In 5 starts this season, Swanson has recorded 4 top-10 efforts with a season best finish of 5th at Thompson. With Starrett Tools serving as the title sponsor of the Starrett 150, as well as being the primary sponsor on Swanson’s #89, the Starrett 150 would serve as the perfect race and track for Swanson to get his first win.
“A win in the Starrett 150 would be awesome,” said Swanson. “I would say Stafford has one of the loudest crowds of the tracks we go to. When we have driver introductions at Stafford, whether it’s cheers or boos, the fans are loud and it gets the drivers amped up. It would be awesome to win my first Tour race at Stafford at a race that Starrett is sponsoring as well as my car. It’s awesome to represent a company like Starrett because they’re all die hard racers and they know what it takes for us to get these cars to the track every week. If the driver can do his job and the cards play out right for us, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can win this race.”
If Swanson is to record his first career NWMT win in the Starrett 150, he will have to overcome some long odds. In the 19 NWMT races held at Stafford since the start of the 2013 season, 15 races have been won by the driver combination of Ryan Preece, Doug Coby, and Woody Pitkat, who all are either current or former weekly racers in Stafford’s premier SK Modified® division. While Swanson has half of a season of SK Light experience under his belt to go along with his 10 career NWMT starts at Stafford, he knows he is lacking in track experience.
“I think Stafford is probably one of the toughest tracks that we go to with the Tour,” said Swanson. “Stafford is a unique track. Turns 1 and 2 are completely different from 3 and 4 which is something that a driver has to adapt to. I’m just starting to get used to it even though I’ve run quite a few races there. You look at all the guys who run up front in the Tour races at Stafford and the majority are guys who have run SK’s there weekly over the years with success. Drivers like Ronnie Williams, Ryan [Preece], Chase Dowling, Rowan Pennink, Doug [Coby] and Woody [Pitkat], the list goes on and on. If you look back at years past, I don’t think there’s been a year where there hasn’t been 4 or 5 Tour drivers racing every week in the SK Modified® division at Stafford. It’s like I’m a small fish in a big pond racing against guys who have been racing at Stafford for many years.”
One area where Swanson knows he can make a difference is by getting a good starting position with a good qualifying lap.
“I’ll be the first one to say it, I’m not the best qualifier,” said Swanson. “I look at the racing stats every week and my average starting position for my whole Tour career is 17.5. I’m used to starting in the back and having to work my way to the front. The race at Loudon last week was kind of an eye opener for me. We qualified 7th which was my first ever top-10 qualifying on the Tour. Starting up front I realized that I can ride and save the equipment and do our deal and then when it’s time to go hard, we can go hard and still have something left in the tank. For Stafford, I think starting inside the top-10 is really a key thing in being able to win the race. At the Sizzler we qualified 17th and we had to use our stuff up to get to the front and once we got to the front, we had nothing left. A top-10 qualifying run will definitely be a goal for us at Stafford.”
Tickets for the August 3 Starrett 150 are available and on sale now at the Stafford Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $35.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seat tickets are $37.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self-contained Recreational Vehicles. Stafford’s five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will join the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour cars in feature action.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
July 23rd, 2018
Airwaves: Matt Swanson Learning To Conquer Whelen Modified Tour NHMS Draft
By Denise DuPont of www.racedayct.com
LOUDON, N.H. – Matt Swanson started the 35-lap Whelen All-Star Shootout for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway third.
He maintained a run with the leaders until mid-race. Then he tried a bold move on the outside to challenge for the front position. Without a drafting partner, and a blistered tire he was hung out to dry losing positions lap after lap. At race end Swanson was tenth.
The #89 team took the lessons learned from the All-Star Shootout and incorporated them into Saturday’s plan for the Whelen Modified Tour Eastern Propane & Oil 100.
Notebook updated the team was ready for Saturday morning’s qualifying. Swanson started seventh in the stout field of thirty-four modifieds and was ready to go.
The 18-year old ran a consistent 100 lap race staying in the same ranks where he started in the field. Swanson has limited experience on drafting and the “Magic Mile” but he is learning fast from the best and will soon be running for the win.
“All in all it was a great weekend,” Swanson said. “Our Starrett Tools Ford was really good. It just got better all weekend. Even though it was good, we continue to get the car better. I also had to get use to the drafting all over again after not doing it for a while. This is the strongest that our car has been in a very, very long time. If not ever. I feel like the 89 ran real good.”
A Mandatory caution was called on lap 30 of Saturday’s race to allow teams to add gas or change tires during their pit. The #89 of Swanson had an issue during the stop and re-joined the field in 20th.
“We just had a mishap during the pit stop,” Swanson said. “But to go from 20th to seventh in 16 laps is pretty good. It is almost like a win for us. I just cannot thank everyone enough on my crew, Starrett Tools, Swanson Buick-GMC, Spafco Race Chassis, Robert Yates Racing Engines … all my sponsors and everyone that helps us with this race car. We had a strong car, but just not the strongest.”
The Starrett Racing Ford team packed up their hauler to head back to home base. They will now review their race weekend and get the equipment ready for the 28thAnnual Starrett 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway on August 3.
June 15th, 2018
Matt Swanson Returns To His Top 10 Ways In Thompson 125
A www.hometracks.nascar.com release w/ MSR Headline addition
THOMPSON, Conn. — Justin Bonsignore didn’t look to have the fastest car for much of the Thompson 125, but when it was time to crown the winner, he found his way to the front.
The Holtsville, New York, driver scored his third victory of the 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, using a late caution to get out front of the field on pit road.
The win was his 15th career, his seventh on the Thompson high-banks, and it helped to continue an early-season roll that has him at the top of the championship standings with five of 16 races into the record books.
“The (pit crew) guys won us that race, they got us out in front of Doug (Coby),” Bonsignore said. “Track position is so important, if we didn’t get it, I don’t think we would have won as easily as we did. If you can roll the top here, and have good drive-off, you can just roll away from the guys on the bottom.”
A pit stop during the first of two cautions on lap 92 for fresh Hoosier rubber saw Bonsignore enter the pits running fourth, but when he left, he was looking at clear track in front of him. On the restart, Bonsignore drove away from Coby, who led a race-high 82 laps, but that wasn’t the only challenge he faced in the final circuits.
After another quick yellow flag, Bonsignore had to fight-off a charge by Rowan Pennink, who was all over the back bumper of the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Inc., Chevrolet looking to spoil Bonsignore’s success. In the end, Pennink was forced to settle for second.
Coby was third, followed by defending race winner Ryan Preece, who finished fourth. Preece chased the back bumper of Coby’s car through lapped traffic for much of the middle portion of the race battling for the lead, but lost crucial track position on pit road, and wasn’t able to rebound. Dave Sapienza rounded out the top five.
Timmy Solomito was sixth, followed by Craig Lutz, Rob Summers, Chase Dowling and Matt Swanson.
Bonsignore led 43 laps, and holds a 19-point advantage in the championship standings over Chase Dowling, while Craig Lutz is third, 29 points back.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, on June 23.
April 30th, 2018
Swanson Scores Back To Back NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Top 10’s With 7th Place Finish In Spring Sizzler
A www.hometracks.nascar.com release w/Matt Swanson Racing headline
STAFFORD, Conn. — There has been nobody better than Ryan Preece lately when it comes to NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour racing at Stafford Motor Speedway.
For the second straight year, Preece drove the No. 6 TS Haulers Chevrolet to Victory Lane at the track’s NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler 200. It continues a hot streak for the Berlin, Connecticut, driver at the historic half-mile. He’s the first driver to win the Sizzler in back-to-back years since Bobby Santos III in 2013-14.
“Winning the Sizzler, it’s a big deal,” Preece said. “Guys 30 years from now, they are going to think of me how I think of Bugsy (Stevens), Richie (Evans) and Ted (Christopher) right now. I want to move up, but at the same time, I want to create a name for myself.”
Preece, who won his second career NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 14, has finished inside the top two in seven of his last eight Stafford starts, and has now been victorious in six of his last 16 Whelen Modified Tour races driving for Ed Partridge.
Preece won two of three events at Stafford last year, finishing runner-up in the other.
The victory was the 21st career in Whelen Modified Tour competition for Preece, and his eighth at Stafford.
To get the latest win, Preece had to gamble a little. He stayed out on the track for the entire first half of the race, while other competitors pitted. After leading for a long stretch, he began to fall back after losing the point on Lap 115. He got caution he needed on Lap 152, and pitted for three new Hoosier tires. The 27-year-old began his drive to the front and took the lead from rising star Chase Dowling on lap 171, never looking back en route to the win.
Preece led a race-high 91 laps, including the final 29.
Dowling, who led 69 laps, finished second. It was the third straight top 10 finish for the Roxbury, Connecticut, driver to open the season and his best career finish at Stafford, where he is also a full-time SK Modified competitor as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
“Overall, it was a pit strategy race, and we had a fast car all day,” Dowling said. “I’m just trying to soak in everything we have and I appreciate all of these good runs that we have been having.”
Rowan Pennink scored his second straight podium finish back from injury with a third. Patrick Emerling, who led 40 laps, and Craig Lutz rounded out the top five.
Jon McKennedy was sixth, followed by Matt Swanson, Justin Bonsignore, Timmy Solomito and Rob Summers.
Bonsignore holds a one-point lead over Dowling, and a five-point advantage over Lutz.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track in Massachusetts at Seekonk Speedway on Saturday, June 2.
April 9th, 2018
Matt Swanson Kicks Off Whelen Modified Tour Season With Fifth At Icebreaker 150 At Thompson
A www.racedayct.com article
THOMPSON – With a part-time schedule planned for 2018, Matt Swanson kicked off his 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour campaign Sunday in a positive way with a fifth place finish in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway.
Swanson skipped the season opening Whelen Modified Tour event at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway on March 17.
Picking his way through the field, Swanson took the green flag 21st, survived the melee of cautions, pitted just prior to the halfway mark before getting through some late race aggressive action to finish fifth.
“Missing the first race I wasn’t really sure what to expect here at Thompson but this Starrett Tools Ford was very good today,” Swanson said. “All the guys at SPAFCO, my father, my brothers, all the crew guys, prepared me a great race car and I was glad to prove it for them.”
“You always expect a little contact at the end of a Tour race here, today, there was a little extra contact. We were able to keep all four wheels on it, we’re rolling it through tech and we’re putting it in the trailer.”
Swanson used an early pit stop for adjustments and one tire that paid dividends.
“We felt we could gain putting a new tire on,” Swanson said. “We pitted early with a couple other cars. We had a back up plan if the cautions didn’t fall the right way, but they did. We were able to come in, put three tires on and the car held it self the rest of the race. It handled as well at the end of the race as it did when we bolted on three tires.”
Swanson’s team returns to action with the series in the NAPA Spring Sizzler April 29 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
April 8th, 2018
Bonsignore Wins At Thompson
Matt Swanson Finishes 5th In 2018 Tour Debut
BY KYLE SOUZA HOMETRACKS.NASCAR.COM w/ Matt Swanson Racing headline
THOMPSON, Conn. — Even though he finished third in the championship standings last year, Justin Bonsignore struggled for much of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.
As a result, over the latest offseason, his Kenneth Massa Motorsports team decided they needed to make a change. The team switched to LFR Chassis and brought Ryan Stone on board as crew chief, in what Bonsignore called a complete “reboot.”
Sunday, in the 44th annual Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, Bonsignore took his new combination to the winner’s circle in just their second effort as a team. The victory was the 13th of his Whelen Modified Tour career, and his sixth on the .625-mile high-banked oval, making him the active leader in victories at the track.
“It was tough,” Bonsignore said of his struggles throughout last year. “The 2017 season humbled me a lot as a person, as a race car driver, it was just a really tough season. To come back and have a really good car at Myrtle Beach, and come here and have luck go our way today and get a win, it’s a really good feeling.”
Even though he carried the checkered flag, his return didn’t come without an array of close calls. On Lap 1, Bonsignore locked the brakes up going into Turn 3, and nearly made contact with defending race winner Rowan Pennink. In the final laps, the Holtsville, New York, driver found himself chasing Jon McKennedy looking to capture Thompson magic once again.
Coming down for a restart with five laps to go, McKennedy’s No. 7 Accell Construction Chevrolet ran out of fuel in Turn 3. Bonsignore inherited the lead for the final restart, but had to hold off a furious charge by Ronnie Williams on a green-white-checkered finish. Williams, who won his first career pole earlier in the day, was involved in a last-lap wreck, while Bonsignore went around and captured the checkered flag.
“We had a really good car,” Bonsignore said. “I’ll take the luck any day of the week. I knew Ronnie was going to be anxious. We have all been there, looking for our first win. I got a good launch on the restart. I really just love winning at Thompson.”
Craig Lutz put together an impressive final stint of the race to charge through the field and finish second, while Pennink, in his first race back since offseason back surgery, finished third.
Ryan Preece and Matt Swanson completed the top five.
Doug Coby rebounded from two wrecks and finished sixth, followed by Rob Summers, Chase Dowling, Bobby Santos and Timmy Solomito. Williams ended up 19th and McKennedy 20th.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track for the NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 29
August 27th, 2017
Coby Gets Back To Victory Lane
Matt Swanson Races To A Stellar 4th Place Finish At Seekonk
A NASCARHomeTracks.com release
SEEKONK, Mass. -- Doug Coby finally found himself back in Victory Lane on Saturday night.
The Milford, Connecticut driver dominated the second half of the Seekonk 150 at Seekonk Speedway and captured his first win of the 2017 season. He took the lead from Matt Hirschman on lap 63 and led all but one lap in the final stages en route to the win.
"We just had an awesome car," Coby said. "My guys made awesome adjustments for the feature. When you can't pit for tires, you have to be stout off the truck. You have to know what to do for race. The car was just awesome. I'm really happy to get Mayhew Tools their first win with us."
The win was the 23rd career in Whelen Modified Tour action for Coby and his first at the third-mile of Seekonk. The only blunder for Coby, who started fourth, came at lap 63 when Coby and Hirschman got together battling for the lead. While Hirschman spun, Coby was able to continue without damage and stayed at the front of the race until the checkered flag flew. He held off challenges from Ryan Preece and Anthony Nocella in the final dash to the finish on Saturday. 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Rookie of the Year, Matt Swanson, finished with an impressive 4th place run.
Coby crossed the line 0.251 seconds ahead of Nocella. Prior to Saturday, Coby had three consecutive second-place finishes in Whelen Modified Tour competition.
With his third-place finish, Preece took the points lead by two points over Coby. Rowan Pennink is third, three points back, while Timmy Solomito is fourth, 11 points back. Solomito crashed out while running inside the top five and finished 22nd.
Justin Bonsignore was sixth, followed by Hirschman, Max Zachem, Gary McDonald and Wade Cole. Earlier in the day, Hirschman won his fourth career Coors Light Pole Award.
The Seekonk 150 will air on NBCSN Saturday Sept. 2 at 9:30 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track next Saturday night, Sept. 2, at Oswego Speedway in New York.
August 4th, 2017
Preece Continues To Roll At Stafford
Matt Swanson Puts His Starrett Tools Ford In The Top 10 At Stafford
A NASCARHomeTracks.com release
STAFFORD, Conn. -- Ryan Preece has been nearly unbeatable of late when he straps behind the wheel of a race car.
Last weekend, Preece scored his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Iowa Speedway. He marked his return to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Friday at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway with another trip to Victory Lane in the Stafford 150.
The Berlin, Connecticut, driver took the lead from four-time tour champion Doug Coby on a Lap 148 restart and didn't look back. The win was the 18th career in Whelen Modified Tour action for Preece and also his seventh at the half-mile Stafford. He won the NAPA Spring Sizzler at the track on April 30.
"I would have liked the restarts lane to go more my way, but we had a really good car tonight," said Preece, who started in the back after having his qualifying lap disallowed for failing post-qualifying technical inspection. "It was tough to have to start in the back, but my car was in the track all day. We've just had a great car all year long. I enjoy doing this. I enjoy showing up and knowing what I have and being successful."
Preece's No. 6 TS Hauler Chevrolet crossed the the finish line 0.302 seconds ahead of Coby, while Justin Bonsignore followed in third.
Although it looked like Coby was en route to winning for the 11th time at Stafford after leading 135 laps, a few late caution flags allowed the rest of the field to close to his back bumper. After a multiple car crash on the frontstretch on lap 144, Preece got his chance at Coby, lining up to his outside on a restart with just two laps remaining. When the green flag flew, Preece used the outside lane and powered around Coby going into turn one. He never looked back.
"I think the biggest thing was I had a better left-rear tire to fire (on the restart)," Preece said. "Having both fresher rear tires helped me be able to get in front of him and have the right line going into turn one."
Timmy Solomito took the championship points lead with a fourth-place finish, while Jon McKennedy completed the top five.
Rob Summers was sixth, followed by Dave Sapienza, Craig Lutz, Gary Putnam and Matt Swanson. Rowan Pennink, who held the points lead coming into the event, finished 17th and is seven points behind Solomito. Preece is fifth in points, one behind Eric Goodale and Bonsignore and 26 back of Solomito.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on Wednesday night, with the running of the Bud 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. From there, the series will visit Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 16.
July 3rd, 2017
MacDonald Scores At The ‘Magic Mile’
Matt Swanson Battles With Two Of New England’s Most Successful Late Model Drivers, Finishes 3rd In His Starrett Tools Machine
A www.gspss.net release
WALPOLE, N.H. – Heading into Saturday’s First Annual New England Short Track Showdown presented by AR Bodies at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Eddie MacDonald was listed as one of the favorites to capture the checkered flag.
Behind the wheel of his No. 17, MacDonald showed why he was one of the favorites. He scored the victory in his heat race and then went on and scored the win in the 50-lap feature event as part of the inaugural stop for the series on the 1.058-mile oval. DJ Shaw and Matt Swanson joined MacDonald as podium finishers.
Although MacDonald got out front early and seemed to be the race dominator, he faded just before the halfway point and Shaw was able to slide by and take the lead at lap 19. MacDonald mentioned post-race that he had a right-rear tire blistering and also had the deck lid of the car come off while on the track which slowed his efforts.
However, during a halfway break with 22 laps to go, MacDonald’s team went to work and fixed the body and gave him two new right side tires to attempt to work his way back to the front. On the restart, MacDonald slid to the inside of Shaw and took over the advantage, pulling away into glory and capturing another NHMS victory.
Going into Saturday’s main event, MacDonald had already won races on the ‘Magic Mile’ in multiple different touring series and he was able to use the experience to his advantage and capture the inaugural Granite State Pro Stock Series stop at NHMS.
Shaw finished second behind the wheel of his No. 90, just a little bit short of capturing the checkered flag. Shaw’s team car, driven by NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Matt Swanson, finished in third and rounded out the podium finishers.
Mike O’Sullivan finished in fourth, while brother Tommy O’Sullivan rounded out the top five at the finish. Six through 10 were Nick Lascuola, Mike Scorzelli, Barry Gray, Josh King and Wyatt Alexander.
Early cautions plagued the race, including an incident on the backstretch that took out Travis Fisher and Kevin Casper. Shortly after, a major crash in turn one started when Scott MacMichael blew a motor in front of the field. Ben Rowe, Derek Griffith and Billy Brady, along with others, were involved and the crash ended their day as well.
The series wishes to thank all of the teams, drivers, fans and supporters of the First Annual New England Short Track Showdown presented by AR Bodies.
Next up for the Granite State Pro Stock Series is the second of two stops at the Lee USA Speedway in Lee, New Hampshire. The event will be held on Friday, July 7, with a post time of 7 p.m.
For more information on the Granite State Pro Stock Series, fans are encouraged to visit www.gspss.net, or follow the series on Twitter and Facebook for updates.
1. 17ma Eddie MacDaonald
2. 90 D.J. Shaw
3. 49 Matt Swanson
4. 08 Mike O’Sullivan
5. 4 Tommy O’Syullivan
6. 39 Nick Lascuola
7. 18 Mike Scorzelli
8. 29 Barry Gray
9. 21 Josh King
10. 96 Wyatt Alexander
11. 01 Joe Decker
12. 17 Heywood Herriot
13. 28ma Greg Nanigian
14. 7 Cory Casagrande
15. 51 Eddie Fatsher
16. 57 Zig Geno
17. 72 Scott MacMichael
18. 12 Derek Griffith
19. 12j Joe Graff
20. 4r Ben Rowe
21. 05 Phil Richardson
22. 43 Devin O’Connell
23. 92 Billy Brady
24. 76 Zane Zeiner
25. 8f Travis Fisher
26. 88 Kevin Casper
May 15th, 2017
Solomito Muscles Way to Langley Victory; Matthew Swanson Moves To 6th In Points With Another Stellar Top 10 Finish
A NASCARHomeTracks.com release
HAMPTON, Va. – Timmy Solomito muscled his way past Doug Coby with seven laps to go to score the victory in Saturday night’s City of Hampton 150 at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway – his second victory of the season in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Coby had dominated much of the event, leading all but six laps, but Solomito closed in on him in the closing stages of the 150 lap race at the .396-mile oval in Hampton, Virginia. When Solomito finally got to Coby’s rear bumper, he began to press the issue, looking to the inside and the outside and repeatedly giving shots to Coby. With seven laps to go, and the third and fourth place cars of Max Zachem and Eric Goodale joining the battle for the win, Solomito executed the bump-and-run, which resulted in Coby spinning.
Solomito then survived a restart with two laps to go and survived overtime to clinch the win.
“I hate to race that way,” Solomito said. “We had a really fast car tonight. I pressed him and tried to get him to slip up. He slipped up a few times. I showed my nose a couple times. I have a lot of respect for Doug but he’s trying to win a race and I’m trying to win a race. Unfortunately, tight quarters, you’re racing on a small track, I hate to win races that way but it happens, contact happens.
“Unfortunately, it’s racing. It is a contact sport here and there and sometimes things happen. We didn’t want that to happen but it’s hard racing. Two guys going for the same piece of real estate for the win. If I could go back, would I have done anything different? Probably not. Everybody’s here to win.”
The win at Langley marks Solomito’s second of the season. Earlier this year, he won the Whelen Modified season opener at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway and backed it up with a second-place finish at Connecticut's Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Despite an 11th place finish at Stafford, the strong start to the season has Solomito thinking big picture.
“We just have to keep it rolling and keep running strong and having good finishes,” Solomito remarked. “At the end of the day, every position counts. You have to play your cards right and be there at the end. You just have to finish every race. It’s not always about winning as many races as you can, it’s about finishing up front and running well.”
Doug Coby, who led 134 laps, ended up being relegated to a 15th place finish after the contact with Solomito.
“Timmy made his car faster, and we were just a tick tighter,” Coby said. “We still had a fast race car, a controllable race car. It was a good race, that’s what the fans deserve to see. They don’t want to see somebody walk away by a straightaway.”
As Solomito closed in, Coby said he expected the race to come down to paint trading.
“I was expecting the bumper shots, the crossovers and stuff,” Coby explained. “No matter what he was trying to do, if I don’t give up the bottom, he can’t get by me. That’s short track racing. You’ve got the outside to go around, you’ve got the way bottom to go around. If I’ve got a fast car and I’m on the bottom, find another way around.”
Eric Goodale finished in second, his best result of the season. Kyle Bonsignore finished third while Max Zachem and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top-five.
Rob Summers, Rowan Pennink, Danny Bohn, Kyle Ebersole and Matt Swanson completed the top 10.
Solomito took over the points lead with his victory, leading by nine points over Rowan Pennink following the race at Langley Speedway. Eric Goodale sits third in points while Justin Bonsignore and Max Zachem sit fourth and fifth.
The next race for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be held at Connecticut's Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on June 14th.
April 9, 2017
Pennink Puts Ole Blue Back Into Victory Lane; Matthew Swanson Drives His Starrett Tools Ford To 7th Place Finish
A Jason Cunningham, NASCARHomeTracks.com release w/Matt Swanson Racing headline addition
THOMPSON, Conn. - Rowan Pennink outdueled Bobby Santos on a restart with three laps to go and drove on to victory in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Sunday marked the third career victory for Pennink, and first since the 2013 season, which also came at Thompson. It was also the first points race victory for the famed "Ole Blue" No. 3 Cape Cod Copper Chevrolet since 2009. The Boehler Racing team, which has six NASCAR Modified championships, is celebrating its 60th season.
Coors Light Polesitter Timmy Solomito rallied in the closing laps to finish second and Max Zachem crossed the line third. Santos, who was leading the race on the Lap 147 restart, settled for fourth with Patrick Emerling fifth.
Eric Goodale, Matt Swanson, Woody Pitkat, Justin Bonsignore and Todd Szegedy brought home the top 10.
Pennink led a race-high 109 laps. The race was slowed by caution five times for 35 laps.
Solomito leads Pennink by four points (90-80) in the championship standings after two races, and Zachem is third -- 10 points back of Solomito.
The Whelen Modified Tour will return to action April 30 at Stafford (Connecticut) Motor Speedway.
March 18, 2017
Solomito Charges Late For Myrtle Beach Win; Swanson Marches Thru The Field In First Race With Starrett Tools
A NASCARHomeTracks.com release with Matt Swanson Racing addition
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – One year ago, Timmy Solomito captured his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory in the season-opening Icebreaker at Connecticut's Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Fast-forward a year later, the Islip, New York, driver was celebrating a victory in the season-opening race once again. This time, the win came in South Carolina.
Solomito captured the win in the Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety-Kleen on Saturday at another historic venue, the half-mile Myrtle Beach Speedway, and became the first winner on the newly formed unified Whelen Modified Tour.
Solomito's No. 16 Starrett Tools Ford took the lead for the final time following a late-race caution that setup the final restart and held off Rob Summers on a green-white-checkered finish to take down the victory. The win was Solomito’s fifth career on the tour after his breakout 2016.
“My team did a great job,” said Solomito. “We knew we had to ride and save our stuff as much as possible for the end of the race. I knew the last five laps we had to run as hard as possible and my team gave me a car good enough to do that.”
Rob Summers, who scored his first Coors Light Pole Award since 2001 earlier in the day, led a race-high 72 laps but came up just short of the victory with a second place finish behind the wheel of his No. 64 Fastrock Electric Chevrolet.
Andy Seuss made a late charge to finish third after spinning just after the halfway point. Ryan Preece was also able to climb to the front late and finish fourth, with Max Zachem rounding out the top five.
Justin Bonsignore was sixth, followed by Rowan Pennink – who led 38 laps – Woody Pitkat, Les Hinckley III and Burt Myers.
The race was slowed by eight cautions, with four coming in the final 30 laps, including one on Lap 145 and a subsequent one on Lap 148 that winnowed the field and took out several contenders. The final yellow pushed the race to 155 laps.
In the offseason, NASCAR unified the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour into one tour that stretches from New Hampshire to South Carolina.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Thompson for the Icebreaker 150 on Sunday, April 2.
Matt Swanson made a tremendous run thru an impressive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour field by finishing in 11th place from his 21st starting spot in his Starrett Tools machine.
The L.S. Starrett Company, founded in 1880, manufactures more than 5,000 variations of Precision Tools, Gages, Measuring Instruments and Saw Blades for industrial, professional and consumer markets worldwide.
Starrett, a leader who has set the standard for fine precision tools in industry for over 130 years, has rightfully earned the title, "World's Greatest Toolmakers"
January 23rd, 2017
Starrett Announces 2017 Sponsorship Program
Athol, MA – The L.S. Starrett Co. announced today that it will expand its motorsports marketing program by continuing support of the newly combined NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Under the banner of Starrett Racing, the company will be the primary sponsor of the Flamingo Motorsports #16 with driver Timmy Solomito. In addition to sponsoring the 16 car, Starrett Racing will also support the future of the sport through a driver development program as the primary sponsor of the Matt Swanson Racing #89 and driver Matt Swanson. “Starrett is very pleased to expand our racing program in 2017 to include two high-quality teams. Flamingo Motorsports is a proven, championship and race winning team that fought in the 2016 points battle to the end. Matt Swanson is a really great young driver that has won championships and who is progressing quickly through the racing ranks and was the Rookie of the Year in 2016. At Starrett, we believe in striving for excellence and continuous improvement. We see these two relationships as meeting those goals and we expect to be winning races and championships now and well into the future. We are really looking forward to having Timmy, Matt and their teams represent our company,” explained Jim Taylor, Starrett’s VP of Operations.
“We are thrilled to have Starrett on board as our primary sponsor, “said Eric Sanderson of Flamingo Motorsports. “ We have the right cars, the right driver, the right crew chief, and now we have the right sponsor. This is going to be a great year of racing and we are going to do everything necessary to win the championship.” Flamingo last won the NWMT championship in 2013 with driver Ryan Preece and also won with Mike Stefanik in 2006. It’s a bit of a stretch, but Stefanik also plays into the history of the 89 team, having won championships in 2001 and 2002 driving for Art Barry. Ken Barry is the crew chief on the 89 and has been a big part of bringing Swanson along in his development. “By the end of the season we were consistently running in the top ten and pushing the top five. Finishing 4th at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway last September was a big achievement for such a young driver. Winning Rookie of the Year and finishing 9th in the points were really feathers in Matt’s cap,” Ken said.
It may be the “off-season”, but preparations are well underway for 2017. Timmy Solomito is looking forward to racing speedweeks at New Smyrna and having his first indoor TQ experience at Atlantic City later this month. “It’s been great to spend more time with family, but we have been really busy getting the cars ready for the season. I’m ready to strap in and excited to get to racing for this championship. We have the full package and showed that we can win races last year. With Starrett on board we are looking forward to taking it to the next level this season.”
Matt Swanson is looking forward to the season for a lot of reasons. “We made a lot of progress last year and it really helped getting to go to the tracks for the second time. Most of the tracks we ran I had never turned a lap on. By the end of the season I was feeling comfortable and was able to give Ken better feedback on the cars. We should be able to consistently run well this year. I’m really grateful for Starrett’s support and look forward to representing them. Starrett tools are the best measuring tools on the market and we use them to build our cars. They are made in America, right here in Massachusetts, and I’m proud to have them on our race car.”
Starrett sponsored the Bob Garbarino owned Mystic Missile and driver Jimmy Blewett throughout the 2016 campaign. The #V4 finished 4th in the owners championship and won the Stafford 150 in August. “We really appreciated getting introduced to this series by Bob and his team. We were thrilled to win a race and to have our company represented by such professional and experienced people as the Mystic Missile team. We loved working with Jimmy and living the excitement that ‘Showtime’ brings to every race. Jimmy is going to be devoting more time to his family this season and to getting his nephew, John Blewett, started in his modified career. He plans to run select Tour races and we hope to help him in that endeavor. We admire and support his decision to focus on his family,” said BJ Guerin, Motorsports and Education Specialist at Starrett.
You can find more information at www.starrett.com, www.flamingomotorsports.com, www.mattswansonracing.com, or follow on Facebook or Twitter @starretttools, @TheNatural99, and @MSwanson40
January 11th, 2017
Matthew Swanson Will Be Very Busy This Season
Driver Will Run On The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour & Run Super LM's For Dale Shaw Racing
A MATTHEW WIERNASZ / Raceproweekly.com article
ACTON, MA - Matthew Swanson will have a busy 2017 season. Swanson will return to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Swanson will also run Super Late Models this season for DJ Shaw. He made his debut with the Super Late Models at the D.A.V. at Seekonk Speedway last October. Swanson was going to see how he liked the car with the way it handled.
When Swanson went to Seekonk, he felt he didn't have the greatest car. He was able to get to finish in the top 10 with a sixth place finish. The idea came about the deal with Swanson talked to Shaw about putting together for the Super Late Model. Swanson and Shaw had been talking about it for a long time.
“We really never made anything happen until we decided to run the D.A.V. race." Swanson Said
Swanson's father John and Dale Shaw raced against each other in the NASCAR Busch North Series which is now the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Swanson has raced go-karts for DJ up in Maine where it was about 5-6 years ago and won a championship. The deal sparked up at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl where Craig Weinstein could not make the race at Seekonk. D.J. Shaw had asked Swanson if he wanted to drive it. Swanson and his father sat down and talked about it and felt it would be a good idea.
Swanson thinks overall that they have top notch equipment. Swanson was up get there a few weeks ago getting fitted in one of the cars. When Swanson went to the shop in New Hampshire, they were working on the car that Swanson will run this season. They were putting in the interior in the car.
When Swanson went to Seekonk with the team and Swanson used a set of shocks he raced on the car. They changed shocks and put on new front shocks that the team wanted to try. Swanson believes its different with the way the Super Late Models work.
“You don't like the handling of the car. You can change a set of shocks where you're running a modified. It’s more of you have to work with what you have when you show up to the race track
Swanson looks at the stacked field in the Modifieds and Super Late Models. His family has been around the PASS Series for along as he can remember when his father John Swanson owned a pro stock and GeGe Gravel drove it.
Swanson wants to be competitive even if it’s a in a Modified or a Super Late Model, or NEMA and he believes he is getting the modified program up there where he is a top 5 and top 10 car. He hopes to do the same when running the Super Late Model and contend for wins.
Swanson won the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Rookie of the Year. Swanson is only 16 years old.
“That was definitely our goal. We wanted to turn some heads and get rookie of the year award. We definitely show we can run up front this year. Now we want to try to get some wins. That’s definitely our goal this year." Swanson Said
Swanson knows he and his modified team will have to step up their game for the 2017 season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. They are trying to get another spec motor for the program. He wants to have good race cars when he needs them.
“We had that all last year. We unfortunately wrecked one at Riverhead. Caused enough to have park it for the rest of the year. We still had a good car sitting in the garage waiting for us if we needed it." Swanson Said
Unfortunately for Swanson, he can't have a spec engine program where if one goes. He can have another one ready. He has only has what we can race with. They try to get a good rotation where after 5-6 races where they can send it out and get it refreshend and they have the other one sitting and ready to go. Last year they did the open motor program until they wrecked the car at Riverhead. They never realized how big of a deal at a lot of the tracks besides Stafford. Stafford they kind of understood it the whole time.
He knew from the beginning in how he would need to have a good handling race car at Stafford in what crew chief Ken Barry gives him every time they go to contend for a top 10. The spec motor helps out a lot in motors. With Swanson being a small team without sponsorship. They can't be like the big teams on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour having spec motors sitting on the sidelines ready to go.
Swanson just wants to run races. His schedule is looking anywhere from 30-50 races. He is planning to run in NEMA for Kevin Iannarelli and Iannarelli Motorsports. Swanson believes this is one of the best off seasons he has had.
His goals for 2017 are to race as many races he can win as many races as he can. Swanson believes he has been given some great opportunities. Swanson knows he will need seat time in where he can improve.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will kick off their 2017 season on Saturday March 18th at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
December 27th, 2016
Top 10: Pavement Short Track Drivers to Watch in 2017; Matt Swanson Makes The Exclusive List
A www.speed51.com article
Each year, short track racers throughout North America grab the attention of fans, media and those watching from the higher levels of motorsports. Before we turn the calendar to 2017, we give you a list of drivers to keep an eye on next season.
Carson Hocevar – We will finally be able to get a good clean look at this kid in 2017. After the age issue at Berlin last season, Hocevar got national attention from all types of media. It’s in the past and now it’s his time to shine. On the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour he had three top-five finishes in four starts. Now he’ll be a full time JEGS Tour driver and it will start in January at SpeedFest for this upstart.
Cole Anderson – The Minnesota driver announced his prescreens with authority in 2016 by starting the year off with a win in the Red-Eye 100. He backed that up with victories at the Orange Blossom 100 and a Pro Late Model victory at Speedweeks. Is that enough? He kept going with wins at South Alabama and Montgomery with the Southern Super Series. He ended the year with a top 10 run in the Snowflake 100.
Cole Butcher – The one thing we like about Cole Butcher is that he’s not afraid to come to the states and run. The 2016 Atlantic Cat 250 winner rode the coat tails of a fine season to win the PARTS for Trucks Pro Stock Tour title. The 20-year-old Nova Scotia driver then when to Pensacola for the Snowflake 100 where he logged a top 10. Hopefully we will see him more in 2017 and he can mix it up with the PASS guys to create that border war rivalry like we saw in New England in the 90’s.
Christian Eckes – 2016 could not have ended any better for Christian Eckes. Wins at Myrtle Beach Speedway in the Myrtle Beach 400 and then Southern National at the Thanksgiving Classic paved the way for his 2016 Snowball Derby upset win. Eckes will now continue his career and see what more he can do after winning the biggest pavement short track race of the year.
Connor Okrzesik – We see good things on the horizon for Connor Okrzesik. After finishing 13th in his first Snowball Derby and Florida Governor’s Cup we expect growth in the off season. You have to make laps before you can start winning races and Okrzesik stayed in the game all season logging laps. He still may be another year away, but we expect the name to be around in 2017.
Garrett Evans – Ageless Garrett Evans just keeps on trucking in the Northwest. After pocketing his third straight title in the Northwest Super Late Model Series it bring his touring series championship total to eight and it may be more. The 60-year-old driver just stays after it and we will see what 2017 will bring him.
Matt Swanson – The changing of the guard in the Modified ranks is well underway with older drivers stepping down and new ones popping up. Just five years ago Doug Coby had only two wins; now he’s a four-time champion. Matt Swanson could be one of those up and coming drivers after taking the Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He racked up seven top 10’s and posted a ninth-place finish in the final standings. He kept his nose clear and finished 15 of the 17 races. Look for more good things next year.
Scott Payea – After a year of shaking off the rust we are ready to see if Scott Payea can be an ACT champion in 2017. He completed all but two laps this past season and had three wins. After sitting out several season he showed he belongs behind the wheel and now we could see him at his peak beginning next season.
Ty Majeski – Another ARCA Midwest Tour title, another Florida Governor’s Cup 200 win, a Speedweeks title, a Rattler 250 win, 27 total wins and all we can ask is what’s next? Majeski is a modern day Dick Trickle type driver who races every week and wants to get better. He can pretty much almost win every week, too. Had it been on their radar they might have taken the NASCAR Whelen All American Series title as well after coming up third with 14 wins in 25 starts.
Raphael Lessard – Let’s keep in mind that Lessard was a still a rookie at the begin of 2016. That was hard to tell as he won the CARS Tour Super Late Model title with four wins. He first put his name on the map when he scored a win at Smyrna Speedweeks in February in a Pro Late Model, and from there he switched to the big power. After his title he finished on the podium at the All American 400, crashed out while leading at the Winchester 400 and came from the back for a 10th-place run at the Snowball Derby. We look forward to his transition into 2017.
December 3rd, 2016
Matt Swanson To Join Dale Shaw Racing For Part Time Super Late Model Schedule In 2017
2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco Rookie of the Year, Matt Swanson of Acton, Massachusetts announced via his social media that he will be joining the two-time and defending PASS Super Late Model championship team, Dale Shaw Racing, for multiple events in 2017.
The 16 year old modified champion competed for Dale Shaw Racing in the 2016 DAV Classic at Seekonk Speedway and found Super Late Model success right away by winning his very first competitive event in a star studded qualifying race. Matt would continue to impress even further by finishing a strong 6th place in the 150 lap main event.
Swanson went on social media to make the announcement, “I’m proud to announce I will be joining DJ Shaw as part of his DSRC Development program. After a good run at Seekonk Speedway last year we look forward to putting a schedule together around my NASCAR Whelen Modified tour car. DJ is in the processes of build a new super late model at Dale Shaw racecars in their shop in New Hampshire and our goal is to test first of the year. We will wait to see all the schedules and announce ours once they all come out and hopefully compete at some of the larger shows. It’s a blessing to be surround by some great teams and can’t wait for 2017. Next week we are heading out to PRI with the Spafco Chassis guys then off to North Carolina for the NASCAR banquet.”
Stay tuned to www.mattswansonracing.com for further information when it becomes available.
October 15th, 2016
Matt Swanson Collects 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco Rookie Of The Year Title
A hometracks.nascar.com release
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Matt Swanson is unique among his high school peers.
While the other student-athletes at his school participate in a multitude of sports, Swanson is the only one who is a full-time race car driver. And Swanson has excelled in his first season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. So much so that he's clinched the tour's Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors with a race remaining.
The Acton, Massachusetts, teenager finished fourth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September and eighth at the NAPA Fall Final at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway to pull away from Craig Lutz and secure the honor for first-year competitors.
Heading in to the season final this Sunday at Connecticut's Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, Swanson has won 12 Sunoco Rookie of the Race honors in the first 16 events.
“We set goals for this season and one of them was to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour,” Swanson said. “We started the season just wanting to run well and things fell into place where we now can celebrate this honor.”
Swanson added that his team was also looking to use this year as a learning one to build on for the future.
“The guys on the team worked hard all year and we began the season building our notebook of notes for each track we race at on the schedule,” Swanson said. “We were concerned more with that to start the season and didn’t really worry about finishes until later in the season when we realized we could lock up the ROY award.”
Swanson’s best finish this season so far is a third-place at Thompson in June, but it was his most recent finishes that made the difference for the teenager.
“The third-place finish we had a Thompson was great and that one along with coming from 20th to fourth at New Hampshire and coming home strong at Stafford last weekend helped us a lot.
“I just want to thank Sunoco for this honor and award each week and at the end of the season because it gives new drivers coming in to the series something to race for and as hard as it is to get sponsors in racing these days, every bit of help we get is appreciated,” Swanson said. “This is something I’ll always remember and hope we can build off of this honor like many others have done on the tour and went on to win races and contend for championships.”
Heading into the final race, Swanson leads Lutz 154-134. Andrew Krause, Nick Salva and Walter Sutcliffe, Jr. rounding out the top five.
Rookie points are earned on a 10-to-1 system with the highest-finishing first-year driver in a race scoring 10, the second nine, and so on down to one point for the lowest finishers.
Swanson will receive the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award on Dec. 10 as part of the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Series Awards at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina.
October 10, 2016
Coby Continues Stafford Roll; Matt Swanson Charges To An 8th Place Finish
A www.hometracks.nascar.com release
STAFFORD, Conn. (Oct. 9, 2016) – Doug Coby is the modern day dominator of Stafford Motor Speedway. Nothing that happened Sunday changed that fact.
Despite a delay of a week, and nearly seven more hours during a rain-drenched Sunday, Coby still reigns supreme with a victory in the NAPA Fall Final 150.
Coby rolled to his 10th career victory at the historic half-mile – now trailing only Ted Christopher’s 12 – and extended his lead in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship standings to 20 points with one race to go.
It was Coby’s fourth win in the last five tour races at Stafford behind the wheel of the No. 2 Dunleavy's Repair/A&J Romano Construction Chevrolet. It also marked his fifth overall in 2016, and 22nd of his career.
Justin Bonsignore entered the race trailing Coby by 13 tallies. The pair started the rain-delayed race 1-2 and traded the lead early, but Bonsignore experienced a mechanical issue and lost a lap on pit road. He was able to earn the subsequent free pass, and made it back to fourth to salvage a good finish considering the circumstances, but lost seven points on Coby in the process.
Following Coby across the finish line was Timmy Solomito and Jimmy Blewett. Bonsingore, Chase Dowling, Roan Pennink, Max Zachem, Matt Swanson, Woody Pitkat and Shawn Solomito brought home the top 10.
The NAPA Fall Final 150 will be telecast on NBCSN on Oct. 16 at 9:30 p.m.
The Whelen Modified Tour will conclude its season and crown a champion in the Sunoco World Series 150 on Oct. 16 at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
September 24th, 2016
Bonsignore Finds Success At Magic Mile; Rookie Matt Swanson Turns Heads With 4th Place Finish
A www.hometracks.nascar.com article, NASCAR.com photo
LOUDON, N.H. -- Justin Bonsignore knows if he's going to catch Doug Coby in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship race, he's going to need to all the points he can get in the final three races.
And that means finding success at a place that's long plagued him: New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Mission accomplished for the Holtsville, New York, driver Saturday afternoon. Bonsignore dominated the FW Webb 100, lead 77 laps and holding off the field in a green-white-checkered finish to score his first win at the "Magic Mile."
"It doesn't get any bigger than this," said Bonsignore. "To do it here at New Hampshire, on the big stage, hasn't sunk in yet. I don't know if it ever will. It's a huge honor to be here at honor and to be called a winner now it unbelievable."
Ron Silk finished second, followed by Coby, Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Matt Swanson and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman.
Rowan Pennink led five laps and was in contention for the win when engine issues on Lap 98 ended his day. It also brought out the race's final caution and pushed the event to 106 laps. On the final restart, Bonsignore was able to get a push from Silk to pull away from him and Coby en route to the checkered flag.
Bonsignore entered the event with an average finish of 17.4 in 14 previous starts at New Hampshire. He had only led two laps on the 1.058-mile oval.
It was Bonsignore's 11th career win. His previous NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victories came at his home track, Long Island's Riverhead Raceway (four wins), Connecticut's Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (four wins) and New Hampshire's Monadnock Speedway (two wins).
It was also Bonsignore's third win of the season. More importantly, it allowed him to slice seven more points off Coby's lead. Coby, the three-time tour champion, holds a 13-point advantage on Bonsignore with two races remaining.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will race in the NAPA Fall Final 150 at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 2, before concluding the season in Thompson's Sunoco World Series 150 on Sunday, Oct. 16.
Patrick Emerling finished sixth at New Hampshire, while Jimmy Blewett, Max Zachem, Timmy Solomito and Donny Lia rounded out the top 10.
The FW Webb 100 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.
September 10, 2016
Solomito Wins At Seekonk; Matt Swanson Has Solid Top 15 Finish
A www.hometracks.nascar.com release, with a Matt Swanson Racing addition
SEEKONK, Massachusetts -- When it was go-time, Timmy Solomito didn't hesitate.
The Islip, New York, driver muscled his way past Doug Coby on Lap 114 and then held off the three-time champion as well as championship contender Justin Bonsignore to win Saturday night's AnytimeRealty.com 150 at Seekonk Speedway.
It was Solomito's fourth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win of the season.
Solomito started alongside Coby on the Lap 112 restart. After failing to get by on the outside on the first lap, Solomito fell into line behind Coby coming off Turn 4 and then drove low into Turn 1. Solomito's left side tires kicked up dirt and grass and the two banged side nerf bars as Solomito emerged from Turn 2 with the lead.
"It was time to go," said Solomito. "There was 30-something laps to go and you're racing on a tight track. Yea, I got down on the grass there, got a little sideways. But we were able to sneak by him. That's all that mattered. At the end of the day, we were able to do it."
A late caution set up a green-white-checkered finish that pushed the race to 151 laps. Solomito was able to get away on the final restart as Bonsignore edged Coby for second.
Coby won his eighth Coors Light Pole Award of the season earlier in the day and led a race-high 108 laps. The finish allowed Coby to maintain his 20-point lead over Bonsignore, while Solomito moved four points closer and sits 36 points out with three races remaining.
Matt Hirschman finished fourth at Seekonk, followed by Bobby Santos.
Eric Goodale, Jimmy Blewett, Rowan Pennink, Chase Dowling and Jeff Goodale completed the top 10.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will run in the F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Matt Swanson brought his Spafco Race Chassis #89 team to the “Cement Palace” for their first and only visit of 2016 and earned a strong 12th place finish.
After qualifying 11th, Matt battled all night long in his Central Mass Tree Chevrolet and strengthened his grip on the quest for the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Rookie of the Year title.
August 21st, 2016
Goodale Scores Biggest Win of Career; Swanson is 10th Highest Finishing North Driver
A www.hometracks.nascar.com release w/ Matt Swanson Racing addition
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Eric Goodale entered the Bush’s Beans 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway looking to continue his recent run of solid finishes in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
After his performance in the eighth annual combination race with the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
Goodale took the lead over Todd Szegedy midway just after the restart after a rain delay and held on during a late restart with two laps to go to collect his second career win.
Szegedy, who gave a valiant effort on the final restart and almost lost control of his car on the backstretch, finished second for the third time in the event.
Donny Lia, who won the inaugural combination race at Bristol in 2009, overcame an illness to finish third. Patrick Emerling followed in fourth with northern tour points leader Doug Coby fifth.
Ryan Preece was sixth while Bobby Santos, Ron Silk, Kyle Ebersole, and Jeff Goodale rounded out the top 10.
Ebersole used his ninth-place finish to lead the southern tour and get credit for his third career win.
The Bush’s Beans 150 will air on NBCSN on Friday, Aug. 26 at 9 p.m. ET.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour returns to action on Saturday, September 3 in the Visit Martin County 150 while the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Riverhead Raceway for the Riverhead 200 on Saturday, Aug. 27.
Matt Swanson drove his SPAFCO Racing/FMR Racing machine to a 12th place finish in his debut at the historic Bristol Motor Speedway. With the modified event at Bristol being a combination event between the North and South Whelen Modified divisions, Matt’s finish at the Last Great Colosseum was another Top 10 finish for the team in 2016 in NWMT competition.
August 11, 2016
Bonsignore Tackles Thompson Again; Matt Swanson Extends ROTY Points Lead
A www.hometracks.nascar.com release w/ Matt Swanson Racing addition
THOMPSON, Conn. – After saying he ‘gave’ away about thirty points this season with two DNF’s, Justin Bonsignore was finally able to celebrate after a race Wednesday at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Bonsignore passed points leader Doug Coby on Lap 74 and withheld a strong challenge for the lead on a restart with fours lap remaining to win the Budweiser King of Beers 150 for his first win of the season.
Bonsignore qualified third and was able to muscle by Coby for the lead and hold off the two-time defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion for his ninth career win and fourth overall at Thompson.
The third and final caution of the race was given to the field on Lap 143 for a single car spin setting up the final restart. Bonsignore was able to drive away with Coby in tow to get his first win since the Holtsville, N.Y. native won at Riverhead Raceway last season.
Bobby Santos finished third as Woody Pitkat and Ryan Preece rounded out the top five. Max Zachem was sixth with Ron Silk, Donny Lia, Shawn Solomito and Jeff Goodale coming home seventh through 10th, respectively.
Chase Dowling took advantage of a quick pit stop by his crew during the first caution of the race on Lap 58 to take the lead where he stayed until Coby got by on Lap 62 on the restart.
Bonsignore was able to pull to within 15 points of the lead and now trails Coby 397-382 in the standings with seven races remaining. Timmy Solomito is third with Donny Lia and Jimmy Blewett rounding out the top five in the standings.
The Budweiser King of Beers 150 will be televised on NBCSN on Friday, Aug. 26, 8 p.m. ET.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action along with its NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour counterparts for their annual combination race on Wednesday, Aug. 17 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The Bush’s Beans 150 will be held at 6 p.m. as part of a doubleheader with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Matt Swanson strengthened his hold on the 2015 NWMT Rookie of the Year championship with a solid top 20 finish in the 27th annual Bud 150 at Thompson Speedway. Matt leads the ROTY title chase while continuing to stay entrenched in the Top 10 of the series championship standings, as he heads into the big Bristol Motor Speedway event.
June 28th, 2016
Solomito Scores Home Track Win; Swanson Battles To Top 10 Finish
A NASCAR Home Tracks release, with Matt Swanson Racing addition
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. -- While Timmy Solomito's first career win earlier this year was a 'dream come true,' Saturday night's victory at his home track was twice as sweet.
The 24-year-old Islip, New York driver, piloted the No. 16 Diversified Metals /R.B. Enterprises Ford to the win in the Riverhead 200 at Long Island's Riverhead Speedway. To get to Victory Lane for a second time, Solomito had to hold off Justin Bonsignore in a green-white-checkered finish that capped a wild night on the historic quarter-mile.
"Since I set out on the tour, this is something I always wanted to do, win in front of my hometown crowd," Solomito said. "To finally get a win here means a lot."
It was a Riverhead sweep of the podium, as Bonsignore settled for second and Donny Lia came home third.
Jimmy Blewett, who had to drop to the rear on the start for making changes after qualifying, charged his way up to fourth. And Dave Sapienza rounded out the top five.
Solomito has won a number of the extra-distance NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified events at Riverhead, but was 0-for-5 in tour starts. He did nearly come away with a win in 2013, only to finish third after losing the lead to eventual winner Ryan Preece with 24 laps to go.
Bonsignore is a former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion at Riverside and was looking to win his third straight tour race there. But Solomito got a strong jump on the race's final restart as the late caution pushed the race to 212 laps.
Earlier in the day, Doug Coby won his fifth Coors Light Pole Award in six races this season. Coby led a race-high 81 laps but spun after contact with Bonsignore as the two battled along with Solomito for the lead on Lap 196. Coby salvaged a 10th-place finish and maintained a 17-point lead over Max Zachem.
Zachem finished sixth, followed by Eric Goodale, Chase Dowling, rookie Matt Swanson and Coby.
Bonsignore is third in points, one ahead of Lia and two ahead of Solomito.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads north next month for the New England 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 16. It's part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at the "Magic Mile," which includes the non-points All-Star Shootout for the Whelen Modifieds on Friday, July 15.
Matt Swanson continued his hot June streak with a tremendous battle back from a late race spin to score another top 10 finish in 2016.
While running mid pack late in the 200 lap event, Matt was spun out of turn 4 on the tight 1/4 bullring in Riverhead, NY,. Swanson quickly fired his car up and rejoined the field just in front of leaders when the caution flag did not fly.
Not to be denied, Matt began to drive away from race leader Doug Coby and methodically marched back thru traffic to earn his 3rd top 10 finish of 2016 and strengthen his grip on the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Rookie of the Year title chase.
June 16th, 2016
Santos Returns To Victory Lane; Rookie Matt Swanson Earns First Career NWMT Podium With 3rd Place Run
A NASCAR Home Tracks Release
THOMPSON, Conn. -- It had been long enough since Bobby Santos had been to Victory Lane that he was wondering whether he would ever get back.
It only took one lap Wednesday night at Thompson Speedway Motorsport Park to erase all that.
Santos drove the No. 44 Tinio Corp./Dan Kelley/Curb Records Chevrolet by Max Zachem on the white-flag lap to win the Thompson 125. It was the only lap Santos led on a night where he pitted multiple times early in the event due to a tire issue.
"There was a lot of doubting ourselves," Santos said. "We all know we can win. We won as this team before. We just need a little momentum and we can start winning races again."
Santos hadn't been to Victory Lane since July 12, 2014, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It was a 25-race slump for the 2010 tour champion.
Zachem settled for second after coming within one lap of his first career tour win. The 23-year-old from Preston, Connecticut, was making his 23rd career start and led a race-high 43 laps.
Rookie Matt Swanson finished third, followed by Patrick Emerling and Jeff Goodale.
Zachem and Swanson were among a group of drivers who pitted early in the race. Leaders Ryan Preece, Doug Coby, Timmy Solomito and Justin Bonsignore stayed out until a Lap 77 caution. Santos came down with those four, but because he didn't take tires, he was first off pit road and restarted 12th.
From there, Santos was the first one to make it to the front of the field.
Preece, who is running NASCAR XFINITY Series full-time this season, came back to finish sixth. Rowan Pennink, Brendon Bock, Jimmy Blewett and Ken Heagy rounded out the top 10. Coby, who earlier in the day won his fourth Coors Light Pole Award of the season, wound up 11th.
With his finish outside the top 10, Coby saw his points lead cut to 19 over Zachem after five races. Pennink is third, 10 behind Coby but three ahead of Donny Lia and four in front of Justin Bonsignore. Santos moved up to sixth in points, just four behind Bonsignore.
The Thompson 125 will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, June 22 at 5 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on Saturday, June 25 at Riverhead (New York) Raceway.
May 15th, 2016
Silk Scores Waterford Win; Matt Swanson
Finishes A Strong 7th Place
A NASCAR Home Tracks article
WATERFORD, Conn. – Ron Silk powered past polesitter Eric Goodale one-third of the way through the New England Cycle Center 161 Saturday at New London-Waterford Speedbowl and never looked back.
Silk, of Norwalk, Connecticut, held off the field down the stretch to record his 10th career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory. It was his first at the Speedbowl, and it came in just his third race with new car owner Danny Watts Jr. and the No. 82 Horton Avenue Materials Chevrolet team.
Max Zachem, of nearby Preston, Connecticut, crossed the stripe second for his best career finish. Jimmy Blewett joined him on the podium in third.
Jeff Goodale and Rob Summers rounded out the top five while Brendon Bock, Matt Swanson, Doug Coby, Donny Lia and Jamie Tomaino completed the top 10.
Saturday also marked career-best finishes for Jeff Goodale and Bock.
Tomaino extended his Whelen Modified Tour record for career starts to 600 in the event.
Silk, the 2011 Whelen Modified Tour titlist, ended a 42-race winless drought with his first victory since August 2012 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
After three events the two-time defending champion Coby leads Timmy Solomito by eight points and Zachem by 15 in the season standings.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to action on June 3 at Stafford Motor Speedway for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125.
February 25, 2016
Matt Swanson & Craig Lutz to Step Up on Whelen Modified Tour
Will Take on Full Schedule, Run for Sunoco Rookie of the Year
By Jason Cunningham, NASCAR
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — After testing the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour waters as part-time participants year ago, drivers Craig Lutz and Matt Swanson are ready to step up to full-time competition and contend for the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.
Lutz, of Miller Place, New York, made his first Whelen Modified Tour appearance in 2014 at New London-Waterford Speedbowl where he has competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified division in recent seasons. Last year the 21-year-old, who works as a carpenter on Long Island, made four Whelen Modified Tour starts.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Lutz said. “I’m excited for the experience of going to tracks I haven’t been to and getting some seat time there. Hopefully we’ll be able to make a competitive run for Sunoco Rookie of the Year.”
Swanson hails from Acton, Massachusetts. The 16-year-old student debuted on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2015 with five appearances, highlighted by a seventh-place finish in the NAPA Fall Final 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway. His debut at Stafford in August made him the youngest race starter in Whelen Modified Tour history at 15 years, five months and 22 days old. Swanson earned the modified division track championship at Star Speedway in 2014 at age 14 before moving to touring competition last year.
“This year we’re coming into it really prepared,” Swanson said. “We only had one car last year and we used last year as a learning experience. This year we know what to expect and we’re coming back with two open motors from Billy the Kid and two Spafco chassis to see what we can do.”
Swanson, like Lutz, is looking forward to an opportunity to vie for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.
“The driver that earns that award gets some pretty good publicity,” Swanson said. “To earn something like that on the Whelen Modified Tour would really be something to look back on years later. It’s really cool to be able to contend for that.”
The 17-race NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season will commence with the Icebreaker 150 on Sunday, April 10 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
October 4th, 2015
Coby Keeps Title Repeat Hopes Alive, Wins Stafford Fall Final
Rookie Matt Swanson Dazzles With 7th Place Finish
A NASCAR Home Tracks release w/ Matt Swanson Racing addition
STAFFORD, Conn. -- Three races after it appeared Doug Coby's efforts to repeat as NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion were in jeopardy, he's back in the driver's seat.
The Milford, Connecticut, driver rolled to his second straight win Sunday in the NAPA Fall Final 150 at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway and will head into the season finale as the championship points leader.
Ryan Preece, the 2013 champion who was the runner-up to Coby in 2012 and 2014, rebounded from an accident and pit road penalty to finish second at Stafford. Woody Pitkat, who entered the penultimate race weekend with the points lead, finished 12th after being involved in a late-race wreck.
The result is Coby will head to the season finale even in points with Preece. They are both four points (565) ahead of Pitkat (561) going into the Sunoco World Series 150 at Connecticut's Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Sunday, Oct. 18.
Coby has six wins to Preece's four and Pitkat's one.
It's a dramatic turn of events for Coby, who wrecked on Lap 2 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 19 and left the World's Fastest Half-Mile 33 points out of the lead. He finished second at New York's Riverhead Raceway before winning last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Sunday's race at Stafford.
Coby also earned the Coors Light Pole Award for the NAPA Fall Final 150 in qualifying on Saturday. With Sunday’s win he became the first Whelen Modified Tour driver since Donny Lia in 2007 to win six events in a season.
Timmy Solomito was third on Sunday, followed by Lia and Shawn Solomito.
Rookies Chase Dowling and Matt Swanson were sixth and seventh, respectively, followed by Jamie Tomaino, Ken Heagy and Todd Szegedy.
The NAPA Fall Final 150 will premiere on NBCSN on Oct. 10 at 4 p.m.
Matt Swanson continues to impress the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour racing world at Stafford in it's historic Fall Final event. The 15-year old rising star once again wheeled his #89 SPAFCO Race Cars/FMR Chevrolet from its 19th place starting spot in the 27-car field with the patience and precision of a veteran racer for all 150 laps. When the checkered flag fell, Swanson was able to earn his first-career NWMT Top 10 finish with a hard fought 7th place finish.
Matt Swanson and his #89 SPAFCO Race Cars/FMR team will be back in action this weekend, October 10th-11th 2015, at the popular Oktoberfest 2015 at Lee USA Speedway.