OLD NUMBER, VETERAN
AT NEW HAMPSHIRE
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
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
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 /
July 4, 2008