The Chrome Horn News


Media Day at New Hampshire International Speedway

    First, I would like to thank Bob Bahre, Fred Neergaard, Kristen Costa and the entire NHIS team for their continued support of the Whelen Modified Tour and the media. The support from NHIS is second to none for our series. Thanks again NHIS.
    When heading to NHIS for an event, what do we normally expect – rain! After the initial couple hours of rain the sun made an extended appearance and practice was held. As of 1:41 p.m. the sun was still out and there were just a few scattered clouds.
    Six drivers were on hand for practice: #8 Glenn Tyler of Hampton Bays, NY; #21 Richard Savary of Canton, MA; #40 Ryan Preece of Kensington, CT; #48 Tony Hirschman and Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA; and #09 Bobby Grigas of Marshfield, MA. Matt Hirschman was here as the car chief for his dad, while Tony was tire testing for Hoosier Tire.
    While having breakfast at the Checkered Flag Restaurant I was able to speak with Glenn Tyler, driver of the #8 modified. We were discussing the flash format and I asked him how he would change or set up the flash format. He said all competitors should time trial with the top ten to fifteen making the feature on time. The remainder would then run heat races with five to six cars in each heat. Then there would be a last chance qualifier to get the last shot at making the feature.
    The format at Wall was not good according to Tyler, though he did admit that it was just the first flash event, and hopefully, NASCAR will adjust the format to be competitive and fair to all the racers. “We are not having good year yet, but we are here to learn the track so we can race well in July,” Tyler stated.
    Asked by Fred Neergaard, Public Relations Director of NHIS, if he would like to get a portion of the Merriam/Lincoln Welding track champion award, he replied, “Yes, that would be great! We have lot to learn yet. We’re here to get some seat time and help our program and be a little bit faster this year.” He continued, “the team is just looking to get better as the season progresses, we have plenty to learn.”
    Matt Hirschman was also not a huge fan of the Flash Event at Wall. He said the format at Wall Township Speedway didn’t make a lot sense! “The officials were still making decisions about the race on Sunday. My concerns,” said Matt, “were length of the heat races along with features being the same. I came from running heat races and I’ve never heard of a heat race of that length. Usually the heat races are 15-25 laps. If we have to run heat races we shouldn’t put 20 to 25 modifieds in each heat. Maybe four heats of 10-12 cars, so we can then have a last chance qualifier.”
    “With the heat races that long, we basically are racing for nothing! I don’t care if they pay for the heats, a fifty lap heat race is pointless. If we need to go into these tracks to run shorter features to make the race affordable for the track, then we can do that. As long as we’re going save on expenses, especially tires. If we can make these events one day, it would likely be more appealing,” he concluded.
    I asked Tony Hirschman what his goals for today were. “We’re here to test tires today. We’re not as good as we were in the past but I figured I’d get some practice and test the tires. I am not boycotting NASCAR. I really wish that the officials of the Tour had consulted with the racers about the format of the flash races. We will possibly miss two or three more races.”
    Tom Kehley, his car owner who was with Tony at the press conference said, “It was team decision to miss the Wall race. We felt it was not to our benefit to race the event.”
    I then spoke to Richard Savary for a bit. I stated, “You had really good year last season with running a limited schedule of just five races. I see you’re running for the Rookie Of the Year title.”
    He replied, “Yes, NASCAR notified Art Barry (car owner) that I was eligible to race for rookie honors. It was a great honor and opportunity to run for Art Barry.” Savary is sponsored by Superior Oil’s Tom Caperstran and has competed in the Pro Four Modifieds of New England and at Riverside Park. He has also run full bodied cars at Seekonk Speedway. Savary recently ran Sunoco Mods at Thompson Speedway. Savary said he would a run a few open shows as the WMT schedule has only two races during June and July. Savary looked quick in practice, though there were no stopwatch times.
    Ryan Preece is a sixteen-year-old standout. He is looking to further his career and he has stepped up to the Modifieds and the Busch East Series. Fred Neergaard asked him how it felt to be able drive on a track like NHIS and not be able to drive a street car yet? “This is a big chance for me. Not many people who are my age get an opportunity to drive a Modified at the Magic Mile – it’s definitely an experience!”
    Preece is a sophomore at Berlin High School in Berlin, CT. “I stated racing in quarter midgets at Silver City Speedway in Meriden, CT, but we pretty much went all over the East coast. I had lot of fun doing it. We won the Grands (championship) in my second year. We won the nationals in Indiana. I was running Micro Sprints last year, but we were too quick and they banned the cars. So we bought modified and ran at Mahoning Valley Speedway.”
    He continued, “We bought tour new Troyer car the next year and we started running True Value (Modified Tour) races and RoC Tour races. We had fun doing those events.” Do you use video games to test your skill? “Yes, I do!” Have you raced on NHIS in the NASCAR 2003 Sim Game? “Yes, but I haven’t done that well! Hopefully we will do good today.”
    He seemed pretty confident on the track. Preece is sponsored by F.J.Fubery, Inc. “We had Bobby Santos in our car here last year.” Santos is currently running a limited schedule with Bill Davis Racing on the ARCA Series and Busch Series. Preece is Bobby Judkins grandson, who is a former modified standout. In speaking to Preece after practice, he was happy with the track and his performance. He said “the track is better than the game!”
    Bobby Grigas in the #09 Triple G Scaffolding Chevrolet has recovered from a serious broken wrist and tendon damage he received at Canaan Fair Speedway. Grigas is currently 8th in the WMT standings. The 25-year-old Grigas had two wins on the True Value Modified Series last season, including one at the Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, CT. Grigas started racing in 2004 at Seekonk Speedway in a late model where he finished tenth in the standings.
    He stated, “In 2005 I raced a late model at Lee USA Speedway, along with Seekonk and Thompson. We ran good -- top 10’s at both Seekonk and Lee. We kept blowing engines at Thompson -- that 5/8-mile track must have been too tough! I started racing the modifieds in 2006. I raced the True Value Tour and I won Rookie of the Year. I broke my wrist towards the end of the season, so I missed a couple of races and still finished 10th in points.
    “We raced the North-South Shootout and the Mason-Dixon Meltdown, but had bad racing luck. We ran New Smyrna Speedway this winter and that was a learning experience!” Grigas garnered the displeasure of WMT vet Eric Beers as he was a “loose cannon” at the World Series last fall. Beers said, “The only thing he didn’t hit was the tow truck.” (Walt Newcomb quote)
    Both Preece and Grigas gained valuable experience in preparation for the July NHIS event, and both drivers were excited about coming back for the race.


Source: Dave Meredith/Independent WMT PR
Posted:  May 16, 2007

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