The Chrome Horn News



   Last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, an old number and a veteran driver make a return to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The 7ny and 1992 modified champion Jeff Fuller came to drive a modified for current NASCAR Sprint Cup Crew Chief Kevin “Bono” Manion. Manion is no stranger to New England or the modifieds. Last season, the 7ny made a return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway as current NASCAR Sprint Cup driver J.J. Yeley made his debut in a modified last September. The last time 7ny raced before Yeley was with Tom Baldwin before his untimely death at Thompson in August 2004.
    It was last minute for Jeff Fuller to get to the deal. Bono was visiting with Robby Fuller. At first Bono thought that Jeff Fuller wouldn’t want to run the New England 100 but Robby Fuller told Bono that Jeff would do it. Afterward, Robby called Jeff Fuller and pretty much everything worked out at the last minute. It was a reunion for Bono and Jeff Fuller, as Bono worked with Sheba Racing. “ We're really happy that he (Fuller) is going to do it and were going to have some fun,” Manion said.
   Last Spring, Bono and Gary Putnam came up to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Spring race. It was a decision after the race to order a modified. The car was built and ready to race. Putnam worked with the Pasteryak’s for years. “ Something fun for us to do and have a little fun and try to get back to the modified tour,” Manion said.
    Manion would like to help the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour by putting NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers in the car to give the mods exposure. “ Putting a cup guy in it just draws a little of attention through the series. Hopefully a win-win for both teams.”
   Current NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver, Martin Truex, JR has modified experience. Truex ran a modified back at the old Wall Township Speedway down in New Jersey. Nowadays for a cup driver to do something like this, their current contracts may keep them from doing such a special event like this. The Cup drivers usually do appearances for their sponsors. Kyle Busch who leads the points in the Cup series was scheduled to drive but at the last minute was not allowed to.
   A few things that Bono likes about coming home is seeing a Red Sox game, or fishing and that this is a good track for the 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Impala SS. “ Martin (Truex) has won races here. I have won races here. Gary (Putnam) has won races here. It’s really a win-win for everyone. Just great to be back home,” Manion stated.
   Back in 1992, Bono was at Riverside Park Speedway and won a late model championship with Chris Benson Woods. “ Who could not like Riverside Park? Quarter mile bull ring with Modifieds there. During the day it was hot. When you were young, you go to the amusement park during the day and race at night and watch people like Reggie (Ruggiero) and Bob Polverari and just some of the great people that race there. There is no other place like it.”
   Everybody has a hero that they look up to. A couple of modified drivers that Bono looked up to was Tom Baldwin and Brian Ross. Ross who is from New York drove for Ed Cloce. Cloce owned the red # 69 modified that brought many wins. “ Who couldn’t like Tom Baldwin ? Back in the day, such a hard charger. I was always a big Brian Ross fan. I still have the t-shirt in the attic,” Manion said.
   Last week Truex, JR and Manion brought home a 4th place finish at their home track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.


Source:  Matt Wiernasz /
Posted:  July 4, 2008

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