Big Block Modifieds

Big Block Modifieds

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On Tap: Renegades Resume in NC; WoO Hotel California Tour Continues; USMTS King of America







Are you listening mother nature? We're not really happy with you right about now (like there's a damn thing we could do about it). We need you to work with us, need you to help our tracks dry out, and if it's not too much to ask for, how about an additional ten degrees of warmth as a good faith gesture for all the rain and snow!



The elements managed to claim both the Lucas Oil Late Model and World of Outlaw Late Model weekends, and also pushed back our area opener, the Chiller Thriller at Mercer Raceway Park back another week. And Central PA looks like a hard sell at this point as far as weather goes. But there's still plenty of action out there!  Now then, let's see what's On Tap!


Before we begin. We'd like to take a moment to say goodbye to a legend...




As most of you know, Eldora builder and owner Earl Baltes passed away this week. And the hole in the dirt racing landscape is non patchable. They say nobody is irreplaceable, but whoever "they" were apparently never met Earl. He had a dream, a vision, and made it come to life, but as evidenced by those who knew him best, never once let it change who he was. A down to earth, grateful, and accommodating individual who was selfless in pursuit of his dream. Uncommon in today's day and age.  Godspeed Earl...




Renegades of DIRT Modifieds North Carolina Nationals; Friendship Motor Speedway, Mar 27-28

One of the biggest modified events on the east coast takes place this weekend at Friendship Motor Speedway in North Carolina. A whopping $10,000 will be up for grabs as the Renegades of DIRT take to the track for a two day show.  Friday will feature a pair of $1,000 to win features while the big prize will occur Saturday night. Kyle Strickler aka..the high side tickler, will be looking to defend this title against Nick Hoffman, Derek Ramey, Tyler Nicely and over 60 other hopefuls including one Max McLaughlin fresh off his first open wheel modified win do battle.  

This event keeps growing and will attract a good number of drivers from out of the area as well, and would be well worth the purchase on PPV!

Points Coming Into the Weekend:
1. Derek Ramey
2. Shon Flanary
3. Jacob Hawkins
4. DJ Kline
5. Rich Michael Jr

Ways to follow:

You can catch the action via pay per view from Speed51 by clicking here:

From Nat'l Speed Sport News


World of Outlaws at Silver Dollar Speedway (CA) and Antioch (CA) Mar 28-29

Carson Macedo returns to the scene of his biggest career victory this coming Saturday at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, CA.  The 2014 Gold Cup Winner will be looking to make it two in a row at the famed 1/4 mile, and in his way, will be the likes of Sweet, McMahan, Pittman, Shane Stewart and a fully loaded California side, and also some guy named Schatz too.

But it's not only the drivers at Chico, it's the track. It's tacky, semi banked and can lend itself to a mid pack driver making a charge to the front simply by avoiding mishaps.

Sunday, the Outlaws take on Antioch where Kerry Madsen scored the closest victory in WoO history, beating out Californian Kyle Hirst by a mere .005 seconds at the line. Rico Abreu will be in action at both tracks this weekend and he'll be looking for his third victory of the season as will Donny Schatz.


Points Coming Into the Weekend

1. Shane Stewart- 1399
2. Donny Schatz- 1381
3. Paul McMahan- 1375
4. Brad Sweet- 1357
5. Joey Saldana- 1339

Ways To Follow:

There's no video this weekend, but both nights are available in live audio. You can listen to the action with the great Johnny Gibson on the call at DirtVision Here



USMTS Modifieds; King of America; Humboldt Speedway; March 26-28

It's not exactly a tour weekend for the USMTS Modifieds, but it's one of those events than can make a season for a prospective driver. The Annual King of America at Humboldt Speedway (KS) takes place this weekend with $10,000 on the line for the winner of the 100 lap feature event on Saturday night.  There are over 60 entries currently with the expectation of a few more. Previous winners include Rodney Sanders, Ryan Gustin, Stormy Scott and Kelly Shryock.

There will be heats on Thursday and Friday and passing points will be taken into account to help set the field.

Ways to Follow:

There will be live PPV coverage from racindirt.com for all three days, check it out here





Also this weekend:
  • Southern All Stars Late Models at Cherokee Speedway (SC)  March 29
  • Race of Champions Big Block Modifieds at Bridgeport Speedway (NJ)  March 28
  • Open Northeast Modifieds at Big Diamond Speedway (PA) March 29
  • Carolina Clash Late Models at Fayetteville Motor Speedway (NC) March 28
  • Ultimate Super Late Model Series at Smoky Mountain Speedway (TN) March 28
  • King of the West "Civil War Series" Sprints at Petaluma (CA) March 28
We'll keep a running scoreboard this weekend, so check back often if you need to catch up!


Monday, March 23, 2015

2015 PRN Great Plains Promoter of the Year Robinson Relishes Role with Lucas Oil Speedway

Lucas Oil Speedway Promoter Dan Robinson in Victory Lane with Jimmy Owens
(Rick Schwallie)
Sometimes when Dan Robinson is able to take a break from his many duties as the General Manager of Lucas Oil Speedway he'll watch some TV.  When he's flipping through the channels and hears the words "Live from Wheatland, Missouri" or "Show Me 100" come through the speakers he knows what he'll be watching.

 It still blows him away to see the facility he works at on his television screen.

"I'll be watching Mav TV or NBC Sports Network and all of the sudden a show will come on I wasn't thinking about," Robinson said. "I'll catch myself in awe watching it."

Those times to relax aren't always aplenty for Robinson, who was voted by his peers as the 2014 RPM Great Plains Region Promoter of the Year. Running the day to day operations at one of the premier dirt racing facilities in the country can provide a hectic schedule, but Robinson embraces it.

"There's very high expectations here at the Lucas facility with the name that's involved," Robinson said. "So the fans expect a lot and we do what we can to deliver for them."

A Southeast Wisconsin native, Robinson attended asphalt and dirt races growing up. His original dream was to become a crewman for a NASCAR team, but was never able to move to Charlotte to pursue that goal.

Instead about 20 years ago he moved to Missouri and took a job lining up cars at Lebanon I-44 Speedway. That's where he met Bill Willard who Robinson says was very influential to him.

Since 2007 Robinson has worked at the Wheatland, Missouri complex that also includes a drag boat lake known as Lake Lucas. He has been the GM since 2009. He's also the Series Director for the Lucas Oil MLRA late models.

Being in both of those roles gives Robinson the opportunity to see different sides of racing. He likes to soak up knowledge while attending events and it's not limited to just dirt track racing. Minor league baseball, Supercross, and monster truck shows were just a few examples he gave of  events that he has learned something from.

The facility puts on several multiple day events such as the famed Show-Me 100. Robinson knows the importance of the entertainment part of the weekend. Being able to add to the experience of the race and keeping the fan engaged is something they strive for.

"We want our shows to be loud, bright, and colorful," Robinson said. "Racing is extremely important, but you can't forget the entertainment part of it."

While the fan is important Robinson knows the drivers that run there on a weekly basis are an asset as well. Giving the racers a good surface to run on is a high priority for the Lucas Oil Speedway staff.

"Drivers have a lot of choices on where to race at now a days," Robinson said. "They want a nice clean place and most importantly they want to be able to race."

"If they get stuck in the back they want to know they have a fighting chance to get to the front."

To be successful a promoter must wear many hats. That includes being a meteorologist. Rain is often the biggest nemesis of the promoter. Lucas Oil Speedway's paved pit area helps thwart the threat of cancellation if a passing thundershower rolls through. Robinson says Mother Nature has to force him to rain out.

"I'm probably better weather man than the local guys on TV," Robinson said with a chuckle. "I've got the weather apps on my phone and multiple radars going every night. I can pretty well predict where the storms are going to go and when we're going to be in trouble just from watching the storms move across this area through the years."

Lucas Oil Speedway will start the 2015 season with the 2nd Annual MLRA Spring Nationals on April 10-11.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

On Tap; Lucas Oil Series Resumes; Outlaws Invade Wine Country; USMTS Central Region Kicks Off






We're getting a little closer to being in full swing with each passing week everyone! The Lucas Oil Late Models enter the fray this week, while the World of Outlaws Sprints continue their west coast swing. Also, the USMTS modifieds make three visits in Kansas and Missouri this weekend,  and the regional late model scene ramps up down south.

We'll keep a scoreboard this weekend so everyone can check back right back here in case you missed anything! And in the meantime, if you have the opportunity, go check out some of these races in person...see em for the rest of us that are still waiting for the ground to firm up before the racing season begins!



Scoreboard:

Sunday March 22:

World of Outlaw Sprints at Stockton, CA

1. Rico Abreu  2. Terry McCarl  3. Paul McMahan  4. David Gravel  5. Jason Johnson
6. Tim Kaeding  7. Kerry Madsen  8. Shane Stewart  9. Donny Schatz  10. Kraig Kinser
11. Brad Sweet  12. Ian Madsen  13. Carson Macedo  14. Evan Suggs  15. Brian Brown  
16. Justyn Cox  17. Jason Sides  18. Craig Dollansky  19. Joey Saldana  20. Dominic Scelzi
21. Trey Starks  22. Daryn Pittman  23. Bud Kaeding  24. Logan Schuchart  25. Colby Copeland

USMTS Modifieds at I-35 Speedway

1. Ryan Gustin  2. Keith Foss  3. Cade Dillard  4. Stormy Scott  5. Dereck Ramirez
6. Johnny Scott  7. Austin Siebert  8. Rodney Sanders  9. Dennis Elliot  10. Austin Arneson
11. Alex Engelstad  12. Grant Junghans  13. Ben Kates  14. Casey Arneson  15. Kelly Shryock  16. Bob Timm  17. Cory Wray  18. Brian Green  19. Jesse Sobbing  20. Jesse Willard  21. Jake Timm  22. Joe Duvall  23. Zach Sanders  24. Troy Girolamo  25. Zack VanderBeek  26. Cody Bauman  27. Nick Levins

Saturday March 21:

Lucas Oil Late Models at Brownstown, IN

1. Earl Pearson Jr  2. Scott Bloomquist  3. Devin Moran  4. Jimmy Owens  5. Don O'Neal
6. Chris Simpson  7. Brandon Sheppard  8. Eddie Carrier Jr  9. Steve Casebolt  10. Steve Francis  11. Mike Marlar  12. Jonathan Davenport  13. Josh Richards  14. Tim McCreadie
15. Matt Westfall  16. Dennis Erb Jr  17. Billy Moyer Jr  18. Dustin Linville  19. Duane Chamberlain  20. Jared Landers  21. Mike Benedum  22. Chris Brown  23. Austin Rettig
24. Kent Robinson  25. Bobby Pierce  26. Mason Zeigler  27. Jeremy Hines

World of Outlaw Sprints at Stockton, CA

1. Donny Schatz  2. Shane Stewart  3. Joey Saldana  4. Paul McMahan  5. Daryn PIttman
6. Kerry Madsen  7. Jason Johnson  8. Tim Kaeding  9. Brad Sweet  10. Rico Abreu 
11. David Gravel  12. Carson Macedo  13. Jason Sides  14. Logan Shuchart  15. Cory Eliason  16. Justyn Cox  17. Kraig Kinser  18. Colby Copeland  19. DJ Netto  20. Craig Dollansky  21. Jonathan Allard  22. Evan Suggs  23. Bud Kaeding  24. Trey Starks

USMTS Modifieds at Humboldt Speedway

1. Stormy Scott  2. Dereck Ramirez  3. Ryan Gustin  4. Casey Arneson  5. Kelly Shryock 
 6. Terry Phillips 7. Rodney Sanders  8. Austin Arneson  9. Jason Hughes  10. Keith Foss
11. Cade Dillard  12. Austin Siebert  13. Tad Davis  14. Darron Fuqua  15. Grant Junghans
16. Jeremy Chambers  17. John Allen  18. Darwin Karau  19. Jesse Sobbing  20, Joe Duvall
21. Brian Green  22. Johnny Fennewald  23. Nick Nevins  24. Zack VanderBeek 
25. Brandon Watson  26. Ryan McAnnich

Carolina Clash Super Late Models; Skyler Trull Memorial at Carolina Speedway

1. Chris Ferguson  2. Ben Watkins  3. Chris Madden  4. Ross Bailes  5. Doug Sanders 
6, Josh Langley  7. Travis Brookover  8. Brian Ledbetter  9. Kevin Goodwin  10. Kevin Wilson  11. Joey Coulter  12. Jonathan Edwards  13. Billy Lambert  14. Zack Mitchell 
15. Anthony Sanders  16. Johnny Pursley  17. Timbo Mangum 18.  Kelly Guy  19. GR Smith
20 .Scott Shirey  21. Tim Allen  22. Robbie Bailey

Ultimate Super Late Models; County Line Speedway (NC)

1. Casey Roberts  2. Dennis Franklin  3. Dustin Mitchell  4. Walker Arthur  5. Christian Joyner  6. Dean Bowen  7. Casey Barrow  8. Jeff Smith  9. Roger Lucas  10. Jay Sessoms
11. Derek Francis  12. Spencer Liggon  13. Travis Hair  14. Damon Kotke  15. Daulton Wilson  16. Christian Thomas  17. Kenny Collins  18. Randy Lucas  19. Donald Bradshear
20. John Eller



Friday March 20:

Lucas Oil Late Models at Atomic:
1. Jonathan Davenport  2. Josh Richards  3. Mason Zeigler  4. Chris Brown  5. Jimmy Owens  6. Jimmy Owens  7. Steve Francis  8. Devin Moran  9. Dennis Erb Jr  10. Dustin Linville  11. Eddie Carrier Jr   12. Tim Dohm  13. Earl Pearson Jr  14. Bobby Pierce  15. Jared Landers  16. Matt Westfall 17. Billy Moyer Jr  18. Duane Chamberlain  19. Greg Oliver  20. Kent Robinson  21. Scott Bloomquist  22. Tim McCreadie  23. Freddie Carpenter  24. Steve Casebolt  25. Davey Johnson






Lucas Oil Series at Atomic (OH) and Brownstown (IN):


The Lucas boys re-boot their series this weekend, and they're likely to encounter a rather large car count and some WoO regulars and other regional heavy hitters for that matter .
Earl Pearson Jr leads the standings coming into the weekend following a sensational GA/FL speed weeks. Meanwhile, Scott Bloomquist finds himself outside the top 10.

It's a good bet that both of those facts will change if both races get in. Don O'Neal will be looking to serve up some home cooking at Brownstown and at Atomic, it wouldn't surprise us if a regional heavy or a true outlaw came home with the cash. Expect Jonathan Davenport, Bobby Pierce, Devin Moran, Mason Zeigler and Steve Casebolt plus a few other top non Lucas contenders in action!





Points Coming Into The Weekend:
1. Earl Pearson Jr- 825
2. Jonathan Davenport- 820
3. Jared Landers- 800
4. Jimmy Owens-770
5. Eddie Carrier Jr-755

When:

Atomic: Friday
Brownstown: Saturday

How to Follow:

There's no PPV or live audio here, as is the case with most every Lucas show, but you can still follow on www.Race-monitor.com or follow on twitter @lucasdirt.





World of Outlaw Sprints at Stockton (CA):

 
Do you know the way to San Jose?


The greatest show on dirt heads to Stockton this weekend for two shows. The nations newest dirt track, nestled in the northern California wine country, is prepared to host the World of Outlaws On Saturday and Sunday.  In 2014, Kerry Madsen passed Donny Schatz in the last set of turns to take the victory in the FVP Showdown at Stockton, while in 2013, Kyle Larson took the checkers in the first WoO event at the speedway.


Shane Stewart leads the Outlaw side into battle this week, followed closely by Schatz and Brad Sweet.  Expect the California side to feature last week's Tulare night one winner, Tim Kaeding, Carson Macedo, Terry McCarl and Tulare night two winner, Rico Abreu, plus a few other stout names.  Stewart has been the model of consistency this season converting all 7 starts into a top 10 finish with four top 5's and a win in Las Vegas.


Points Coming Into The Weekend:

1. Shane Stewart-1119
2. Donny Schatz- 1098
3. Brad Sweet- 1097
4. Paul McMahan- 1089
5. Daryn Pittman- 1088


How To Follow:

There's no video this weekend, but there is free audio on Dirt Vision. If you're not already signed up...better get on it!






USMTS Modifieds Tripleheader:


After mother nature took a three day weekend away from the USMTS modifieds last weekend, the tour moves on to Wizard of Oz country with dates at Caney Valley Speedway (Kansas); legendary Humboldt Speedway (Kansas) and I-35 Speedway in Winston, Missouri. This three day swing kicks off the Central Region portion of the tour.

Some of the drivers got a sneak peak at Humboldt last weekend during a USRA event. So far in 2015, the leading rookie of the year candidate won the first regional title. Austin Arneson has been nothing short of sensational so far this season. And behind him, Dereck Ramirez has been fairly consistent while Zack VanderBeek is looking to gain some consistency following some momentum earned in his last outing that almost saw his first win of the season.  Rodney Sanders will be in action this weekend and there's a good chance of a Ryan Gustin sighting.

When:
Friday- Caney Valley Speedway *Cancelled
Saturday- Humboldt Speedway
Sunday- I-35 Speedway

How To Follow:


There's no PPV that we can find just yet (we'll let you know asap if that changes), but you can follow the action at www.race-monitor.com  and also follow on twitter @USMTS  or our good friends at @MadnessModified






Also this weekend


  • Skyler Trull Memorial at Carolina Speedway (Fri/Sat)
  • Lucas ASCS Spring Nationals at Devils Bowl, Mexquite TX (Fri/Sat)
  • Ultimate Late Models at County Line Speedway, NC
  • Weekly 410 Spint Action at Lincoln & Port Royal (PA) *cancelled

Sunday, March 15, 2015

This Week In DIRT: Abreu and Kaeding Survive and Win; Hiett Takes Checkers at Dixie; Central PA Ice is Broken




March madness...it's taking over our tv sets, our social media, radio airwaves and the through process of millions of Americans this time of year.  But not ours! Our brackets will pretty much be demolished by the time the first set of games end, and it's not like we'll have lost any money either, because most of us are saving cash for road trips and tshirts, and other items of interest (beer money). 

So having said that. We're paying attention to DIRT, doing our jobs, and saving you mouse clicks.  Mother nature on the other hand, she's doing her best to keep us away from the track as the USMTS weekend and several other late model shows were cancelled or reset. 

Maybe you were face down in a bowl of potato chip and beef jerky casserole watching basketball all weekend, maybe you were busy looking for some kind of tax loophole that would get your refund to record levels? Maybe you were evading taxes altogether, and that's totally fine...we get it. And we'll help you catch on what you missed...because it's time for This Week In DIRT!



Abreu and Kaeding Survive and Win

The red flags flew and the flip count was on a Chili Bowl size scale this weekend at the Tulare Thunderbowl. And when the cars got upright, and the carnage was cleared, Tim Kaeding and Rico Abreu found themselves winners. 

On Friday, Kaeding not only had to battle the wrecks, but a determined Terry McCarl as the two engaged in a spirited but clean battle to the end that saw Kaeding make the pass for the win on lap 31. It was a surreal evening for Kaeding to climbed back into the Roth Motorsports Ride for the first time in over a year. Donny Schatz, who was involved in an early accident, rocketed from the tail of the field to eighth. 

Friday March 13:

1. Tim Kaeding
2. Shane Stewart
3. Terry McCarl
4. Kerry Madsen
5. Rico Abreu

On Saturday, Abreu had a fast car, won his heat, and placed second in the dash. He started on the front row alongside fellow Californian Brad Sweet and took the lead from the drop of the green flag. Abreu then survived several restarts and held off Shane Stewart, who placed 2nd on both nights, over the course of the remaining laps to collect his second career Outlaw victory at the same track where he won his first. 

Saturday March 14:

1. Rico Abreu
2. Shane Stewart
3. Brad Sweet
4. Donny Schatz
5. Paul McMahan

Points as of March 15:

1. Shane Stewart - 1119
2. Donny Schatz- 1098
3. Brad Sweet- 1097
4. Paul McMahan- 1089
5. Daryn Pittman- 1088





Hiett Takes Checkers at Dixie

Oxford, AL driver Jason Hiett took home a nice $5,000 payday from the legendary Dixie Speedway in Rome, GA on Saturday night. Hiett won the 50 lap feature from the pole and played some fantastic defense in the waning laps against none other than Ray Cook, his closest pursuer.  Donald McIntosh, (learn his name folks, he's going to win a sizeable race sooner rather than later), charged from the 10th starting spot to take home the final podium spot

Also in attendance was current World of Outlaw Late Model points leader Shane Clanton, however his overall winning streak was halted when he succumbed to a flat tire early in the race. There were 31 cars attempting to make the show which also included area heavy hitters such as Will Thomas and former WoO series regular Clint Smith. 


Saturday March 14:

1. Jason Hiett
2. Ray Cook
3. Donald McIntosh
4. Shawn Chastain
5. Jake Knowles
6. William Thomas
7. Clint Smoth
8. Dale Thurman
9. Jordan Nipper
10. Austin Smith




Central PA Ice is Broken

For weeks on end, the citizens of central Pennsylvania had been held hostage in their living rooms as freezing cold temperatures and precipitation had pushed back the annual Icebreaker at Lincoln Speedway.  But on Sunday, the track was good enough to go as the first race of the 2015 season got underway on a cloudy, chilly afternoon. 

31 cars answered the bell on opening day, with most of the heavy hitters from the area in the house. Freddie Rahmer and Chase Dietz led the field to green, and it would be the last such flag anybody saw for quite some time as the first 12 laps were marred by a series of red and yellow flags.  When the action finally settled down, Greg Hodnett was firmly in command and took home $4,000 for the effort.


Sunday March 15

1. Greg Hodnett
2. Kyle Moody
3. Robbie Kendall
4. Brent Marks
5. Cory Haas
6. Alan Krimes
7. Brian Montieth
8. Gerald McIntyre
9. Danny Dietrich
10. Cole Duncan

And that'll do it for this weekend. Have a great week and stay DIRTY everyone!




Want to check out our World of Outlaw Previews?


Click Here for WoO Sprints
Click Here for WoO Late Models


Save the Moody Mile! Here's our two cents and how you can help! Syracuse 200 in Trouble





Friday, March 13, 2015

Outlaws Attack Tulare - Bold Predictions

We gave our 5 Bold Predictions for last week's FVP Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas.

The result? A dismal 1-for-5. So we're set out to redeem ourselves by predicting a few things for the two upcoming races at Tulare.


WoO Sprints - Tulare, CA

1. Paul McMahan will pick up his first victory of the season

2. Non-series drivers will pick up at least 50% of the heat race wins

3. A driver that has never won a WoO feature will garner a runner-up finish

4. Joey Saldana will extend his streak to 8 straight top-10 finishes

5. Kerry Madsen will set QT at least one of the two nights

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Greg Martin- The Championship's Only Half the Fun





When the RUSH Sportsman Modified Series came to fruition in 2014, it faced the same questions that many first year racing organizations have.  Where will the drivers come from? Will we be looking at less than five car features some nights? Can a solid foundation be constructed, surrounded by enough stability to encourage growth?  The answers to the last two questions were yes and yes.  But where would the drivers come from? 

The Niagara frontier has supplied the area big block modified racing scene some fairly good drivers to the larger paying shows the last few seasons. Drivers such as Chad Brachmann, Randy and Roger Chrysler have become staples at various BRP Modified tour events. Also Mat Williamson and Rick Richner have both called Lernerville and Sharon Speedways home respectively.  There's some different reasons why they make the 3 hour trek to the Western PA/Eastern OH area to race among them. Some are looking for DIRTcar points, some are looking to take a few bucks back home, some have friends in the area that race. 

But when the area's first ever attempt at crate modified racing took flight, it was hard to envision any of the Niagara region's sportsman drivers would buy the spec components necessary and commit to running a whole season.  Would they have a reason to come?


Buffalonews.com


Enter Ransomville, NY native Greg Martin.  "We love to travel and we're always looking for new tracks we hadn't been to," said the veteran sportsman modified pilot. "Every year we try to do a weekend triple header. Ransomville on Friday, Canandaigua on Saturday and Utica Rome on the Sunday. But this past year, when RUSH sportsman modifieds started up, they did a really nice job of publicizing it and they were great to talk with and all the sudden we were interested."


There wasn't much in the way of financial gain for Martin's appearance given the state of sportsman division purses overall. The winnings barely pay for the gas, but the chance to see new places, to get to meet new people and to have fun racing, that's right, have fun racing no matter what happens, the true aim of crate sportsman racing, is what Martin found alluring. 

"I remember Chad Brachamann talking about the tracks in the area and that he really liked them, so I saw RUSH as an opportunity to run those tracks and we jumped on it. We made the decision to invest in the spec shocks, and most of the other rules were the same, so we went down and had a great time, met some nice people, and learned a lot about PA/OH tracks, and that's what really attracted us."

It was a different atmosphere than the Ransomville sportsman modifed champion normally finds in his neck of the woods where the sportsman modifieds contain a good many drivers just looking to do a little racing, but also some who spend a great deal of resources in a highly competitive division.

"Up here, crate racing has evolved into a level where it's really hard to buy a used modified and buy a crate engine and compete. Everyone has lightweight pulleys and lightweight rear ends. RUSH has a great rules package and it's really a big difference."


The area tracks were something that Martin took a studious approach to, learning a little about each every time he raced and he relished the opportunity to race at the area speedways. 

Gary Heeman Photo


"Lernerville was really interesting," Martin said. "During practice one time, the track had so much grip and then during the feature it was so slick and glassy. We don't really have any red clay here except for Weedsport now, so now we have some knowledge that we can take from Lernerville to help us there.  Sharon's surface was more of a sandy type that we find at the NY/PA border area tracks, and then again at places like Five Mile Point. And PPMS was just smooth as glass and slick, that was a neat track. The line was right around the wall and it was a great experience, I'd love to race on that track with about 35 other cars."


Martin began his career racing go karts and TQ midgets and then gradually moved to sportsman modifieds of the asphalt variety growing up.  He's always had the passion for racing from as early as he can remember.



"I'd get home and get all my chores done on Friday afternoon and it seemed like forever until 6:30 would come and we'd leave for Ransomville. "

"I got to see the greats like Davey Moore, Alan Johnson and Danny Johnson who all drove big blocks back then (Ransomville now runs 358's as their top class),  and Charlie Rudolph too. I made a huge scrapbook of everything Charlie did when I was growing up. He was right in town and you could stop in at his shop and they did all their own engineering. it was just so neat to watch them go all the way from the dirt at Ransomville to Winston Cup. He was my idol growing up."

Martin became a fixture in the inaugural season of the RUSH Modifieds, and after his first dip into the scene he assumed a position at the top of the standings which he would not relinquish the rest of the season. It culminated in a moment which he won't soon forget, the night in October when he clinched the inaugural series championship. 

"I really wanted to make an impression and I hoped I could lead the series the right direction. I wanted to be sure it was seen in a positive light with a lot of positive press because they (RUSH) deserve it. They did a great job of getting it off the ground and getting the support and sponsors. To be able to win the first championship, was awesome and I'm honored,"

So what does Martin see for the future of the series? What will it take for it to grow? And can it play a valuable role in perhaps fostering growth in the area big block/358 modified divisions in the area? 

"I believe it will take off, I think they just need to get an influx of used crate motors down there and once there's more older chassis in circulation you're going to see more guys wanting to and being able to go racing and have fun. And I definitely think it'll be a good thing for modified racing in the area overall. It'll take some time, but at some point there's going to be some RUSH guys that'll naturally want to go big block racing and they'll sell their car to a guy who wants to start up. The more cars that circulate in the area, whether they have a crate or big block or 358, the better."

In the coming year, Martin will be at his usual place on Friday nights, at Ransomville Speedway, but he'll be travelling to the east more which will include some dates with the newly formed "King of DIRT" crate sportsman series at places like Albany-Saratoga and Lebanon Valley. After all, it's never a bad time to go to the places you've never raced before and learn a little. And he'll be at a RUSH series event when he can, but when he does go out east to take on the highly competitive fields with KoD, he'll have some fans checking in, some from this area too.