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   The Chrome Horn - Modified Racing Series




Stafford Motor Speedway has hosted modified racing since 1959 with races on dirt and asphalt including all different types of modifieds such as Whelen Modified Tour cars, ISMA Supermodifieds, Pro-4 Modifieds, SK Modifieds, and SK Light Modifieds. On Friday, September 10th, a new chapter will be written in the SMS Modified history book with the Inaugural Shark Cycle 100 for the Modified Racing Series.

Formerly the True Value Modified Series, the series has grown from a 14-race schedule in its first season in 2004 to its current 19-race schedule with over 70 cars registered to race during the 2010 season. The 2010 Modified Racing Series season has seen exceptional parity on the track with 10 different winners in 12 races. Only Les Hinckley and Steven Masse have managed to win more than one race thus far during the 2010 season and fans can expect to see a great battle for the checkered flag in the Shark Cycle 100 at Stafford with a mix of series veterans and outsiders alike, with some of the “outsiders” having much more experience at Stafford than the regulars.

“I would say we have an advantage because we know the track a lot better,” said Jeff Malave, who will bring his #3 Davidson Co. / TSI Harley-Davidson sponsored car to the race. “I can’t wait for the race, I love racing with these guys. They always seem to have clean races and I love racing at Stafford, so to bring the M.R.S. there will be a double positive for me. The combination of Stafford and the M.R.S. is perfect.”

“I’m looking forward to it, Stafford is a nice facility, good track, it has good grip, it’s going to be a good race,” said defending Modified Racing Series Champion Jon McKennedy, driver of the #73 McKennedy Racing car. “I ran there once with the super and a handful of times with the modified, so I might have a little bit of an advantage over guys who haven’t been there before, but its like any other track, after a few practices most of the guys will adapt pretty quick. I hope we can put on a good show and be able to go back there, it’s certainly a great facility.”

“Stafford will be a big venue for our series and it will be important to us since we’re from Connecticut,” said Les Hinckley. “Stafford is the closest track to us and we put a lot of emphasis on the Connecticut races because we have a lot of friends and family that come to the races. It’s definitely a big deal and we’re looking forward to it.”

Although Hinckley is tied with Masse for the division lead in wins, he remembers his previous Stafford experience as a not so fond experience, but he looks to have better results with his #06 CMR Racing team.

“I raced a ProStock at Stafford a couple of times in 1997, but I don’t know if you could call what we did racing,” said Hinckley. “It was pretty ugly, but that was a long time ago and a totally different deal. I would have liked to put together a deal to run an SK there a couple of times before we show up to run our race, but nothing has really materialized yet. I think that guys will be able to pick it up pretty quick. Stafford is a technical type of track, so the guys that have laps there will have an edge on us to start with, but we’ve been to plenty of new tracks and picked up on it right away, so I think we’ll have a good ballpark setup for when we unload and we’ll be ok.”

For the Shark Cycle 100, half of the battle will be getting qualified for the 100-lap main event. Unlike other touring series, the Modified Racing Series qualifies their cars through heat races, which are determined by the luck of the draw from a hat.

“We pick out of a hat for qualifying, and a lot of time it’s the luck of the draw,” said Malave. “We had 34 cars [at Waterford] and they’re all good cars. We drew 44 for qualifying, so it definitely makes you work a lot harder to get into the show. I think there will be more opportunities for passing at Stafford, so it may not be as big a factor as it is on some of the smaller tracks that the MRS runs at if you draw a high number for qualifying.”

With the parity that has existed on the MRS tour this season, fans could be in for a treat as there could very well be some heavy hitters starting towards the rear of the field that will have to hustle their way through traffic to be a contender for the checkered flag.

“It’s pretty hard to win, the competition has really stepped up from last year,” said McKennedy. “We’ve been averaging around 30 cars per event and the whole field is only separated by 2 or 3 tenths of a second. Almost every week there’s a different winner. There’s still the same 10 or 15 guys that are up front every week but now if you’re off just a little it really shows where in the past if you were off a little, you could still get away with a good solid finish.”

Having run an ISMA Supermodifed as well as a Whelen Modified Tour car in the past at Stafford, McKennedy offers his take on what it will take to reach CARQUEST Victory Lane in the Shark Cycle 100.

“You need a good handling car and you need to keep the car on the bottom,” said McKennedy. “If you watch the guys who run good at Stafford, they’re way down below the apron and the key is to keep the car turning and keep it low in the corners.”

Tickets for the Inaugural Shark Cycle Modified Racing Series 100 event at Stafford Motor Speedway are on sale now and are priced at $20.00 for Adult General Admission, $5.00 for Children Ages 6-14 General Admission, $23.00 for Reserved Seating, and $35.00 for Pit Passes. Tickets can be ordered by calling the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or by logging onto the Online Ticket Sales section of www.staffordspeedway.com.

Shark Cycle is located at 11 Willington Ave. in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Shark Cycle’s showroom is stocked with Victory Motorcycles, Polaris and Arctic Cat ATVs, Rangers, Prowlers and Snowmobiles as well as a complete inventory of used street bikes, repairable motorcycles and ATVs.

Shark Cycle has a large selection of clothing and accessories to customize your motorcycle and/or ATV. Shark Cycle's Service Department is staffed with full-time certified and experienced service technicians with extensive experience diagnosing and servicing Motorcycles, ATVs, Snowmobiles, and Dirt Bikes. Shark Cycle’s Service Departments are open Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Saturday by appointment. Call Shark Cycle at 860-684-7763 to make an appointment for service.

For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

Source: Scott Running / Stafford Motor Speedway
Posted: August 19, 2010

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