CANAAN, N.H. -- The recently released roster of 65 race teams intending to compete with the BobValentiAutoMall.com Modified Racing Series in 2010 is the largest pre-season count in the seven-year history of the series. Competitors from all over the northeast are preparing for the new season and a strong car count is anticipated for the season opener at the "Budweiser Blastoff" weekend at Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl on March 27-28.
"It is unbelievable when you think of it," said tour announcer John Spence. "We have always had respectable numbers going into a new campaign, but to have 65 teams saying they are going to give your series a try speaks volumes of where this tour is at. Those numbers are where you like to be going into your seventh season."
As the tour makes its way around New England on a 19-race schedule, fans can expect to see series favorites like defending champion, Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass., 2008 champion Chris Pasteryak of Lisbon, Conn., 2006 series champion Dwight Jarvis of Ascutney, and occasional appearances by three-time champion and all-time winner Kirk Alexander of Swanzey, N.H.
Twelve different drivers visited victory lane last season and all are returning in 2010. Joining the four champions will be New Hampshire racers Rob Goodenough and Andy Seuss, Doug Coby and Kenny Barry of Connecticut, Massachusetts drivers Stephen Masse and Jimmy Kuhn, Rowan Pennink of Huntington Valley, Pa., Rookie of the Year Jacob Dore of Sanford, Me., and Mike Stefanik of Coventry, R.I.; seven of those drivers claimed their first MRS checkered flag last season.
Many new names fill the roster coming from other sanctions, weekly programs, and outside the six-state New England region. New to the series this year will be NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Eric Goodale of Riverhead, N.Y., and former NASCAR Busch North Series regular Bryon Chew, of Inlet, N.Y.
North Hanover, N.J., driver David Cranmer plans to spend his racing season in New England. "I'm looking forward to the full MRS schedule this year," said Cranmer. "This will be the first full season of tour racing for me. After Wall (N.J.) Stadium closed in 2008 we ventured south to the ASA Southern Modified Tour. I think the MRS is the best touring series that is still within reach for the grassroots racer."
Household names familiar to New England race fans will also debut this year. Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, Conn., will drive the Eddie Partridge entry in selected events, and former MRS winner Rob Summers of Vernon, Conn., also hopes to run as many shows as possible that do not conflict with his ISMA Supermodified schedule.
"Stormin" Norman Wrenn, of Nashua, N.H., a twenty-plus year veteran, moves to a full-blown modifieds after much success with the New England Pro4 Modified Series. Wrenn, also an accomplished pro-stock and super-late model racer, will run select events.
Series mainstays Les Hinckley, Jack Bateman, Jimmy Dolan, Mike Douglas, Jr., Eddy Spiers, Kevin Ianarelli, and Joe Doucette are all registered as well.
The Modified Racing Series will help Waterford Speedbowl kick off its 60th season. Teams will be afforded the opportunity to practice on Fri., March 26. For additional information log on to http://www.speedbowl.com/.