Waterford, CT — With rain pounding on rooftops all over the New England area, most had doubts that they’d even get the opportunity to unload their cars at the annual Budweiser Modified National Opener and be able to run them on the track. By 10am however, the skies began to clear and the Waterford Speedbowl staff had finished drying the track so that warm-ups could begin. The excitement on the drivers and crews faces were a grand thing to see. For the Pro-4 teams, this was the first time this season that they were getting out to race. As the engines roared to life, those old familiar smells that drivers, crews, sponsors, and fans have come to love quickly filled the air.
When the division took the field for their heats, everyone was ready. In the first qualifier, the 4 of Cory “the Cub” Cleary grabbed the top spot with “Stormin’ Norman” Wrenn’s 1M car at his door in a photo finish. In the second heat, George Sherman’s 13 crossed the line in front of the 25 of Tyler Anderson.
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NASCAR to Recognize Modified Legends at Stafford
Daytona Beach, FL — As part of a season-long celebration of 60 years of Modified champions, NASCAR will honor legends Ernie Gahan and Red Byron at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn., on April 27 prior to the Tech-Net Spring Sizzler.
NASCAR plans to honor each of its 31 all-time Modified champions throughout the season. The celebration began with the recognition of Frankie Schneider, Donny Lia and Richie Evans at the Icebreaker at Thompson International Speedway on April 6.
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This sport that we love so much, this thing that is so entrenched in our hearts and souls, has now hurt our hearts and taken a piece of our souls. Some of the attraction of this sport that occupies many of our days and nights are the personalities of the people involved, the interests that we share, the camaraderie of the competitors, the spirited competition and the overall thrill that is auto racing. A good part of that thrill is the danger associated with the event itself. There isn’t a driver whose adrenaline isn’t fueled by the risk they take every time they strap themselves into the car. That risk and the element of danger is part of what brings us back week in and week out, puts spectators in the stands and provides the excitement that consumes so much of our lives. Love it as much as we do, we hate it when it takes one of our own.
Shane Hammond was a colorful kid, warm and friendly with a great smile and pleasant attitude. He was a racer’s racer. He never complained, he listened a lot, a true professional, a gentleman and a friend to everyone he raced with. He could turn the wrenches and was admired for his mechanical abilities. He was good on the track, too. One of those drivers that week in and week out was in contention, and more often than not we said “he’s due for a trip to victory lane.” Often times we were surprised that he didn’t post a podium finish and be back at the start/finish line after the race to celebrate with some of the more experienced drivers like Joey, Nokie, Randy, Greg and Ben. He certainly was on par with those guys. Many of the times he didn’t post a top three finish it was no fault of his. It was mechanical problems or he just didn’t get the break he needed to get to the front. Even though he wasn’t there in front of the crowd getting his picture taken at the end of the race, he never showed an ounce of discouragement. Right back at it next week, listening, asking questions, trying harder. Shane was a racer’s racer, a role model to the incoming rookies and sophomores of NEMA. He was part of that new breed of midget drivers that have been putting NEMA on the map lately; destined for greatness in open wheel racing.
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