Monday June 11, 2007

By Brian Danko                                                                           

While the modified tour heads into the middle of its mid spring sabatical, a change took place on the NASCAR Whelen modified tour when Chuck Hossfeld was released as driver of the Roger and Sandra Hill owned, Coors Light sponsored #79. The news broke on Wednesday, June 6th and for many it wasn't a surprise as the results weren't what either side wanted. On Thursday, I was able to talk with David Hill, son of the car owners and crew chief on the modified and according to him; it was his fathers' decision. "My dad said this is strictly a performance based decision. He certainly had no luck and not everything is his fault. We've been around forever and Chuck just wasn't adapting to the Race Works chassis." Dave added that Chuck was 'sort of set in his own ways and sometimes didn't want to try something new.' Hossfeld is used to running Troyer Chassis. "I wish that Chuck would have called Eddie (Flemke) or Reggie (Ruggiero) over at Race Works and ask for a little help in figuring out what was wrong."
After playing phone tag with Chuck for a couple days, we finally talked on Friday and he said he was 'relieved.' "We weren't getting results and we weren't going anywhere. This is the best move for the both of us. I am confident in my capabilities as a driver and I look forward to the future." Hossfeld, from upstate New York is in the process of moving back home after living at a house owned by the Hills in North Carolina and being paid a salary to work on the car.

Hossfeld on the modified tour has made 95 career starts with five wins and 36 top five's and has finished a career high third in points twice, in 2002 and 2005. He finished second in this year's season opening Icebreaker at the Thompson Speedway. "I have had a couple of phone calls already but I am not going to rush into a decision just to get into a car." Chuck said. Hossfeld, who still owns his own modified, said running his car is an option if all else fails. He plans on running his own car at non-NASCAR sanctioned events such as the North-South Shoot-out and the Race of Champions and might run it at the modified tour event in Loudon, NH in September. "Phil Moran, has agreed to be my crew chief if we decide to do Loudon in September. I worked with Phil when I was driving for Don Barker and enjoyed it." Moran is now working full time for Bill Davis Racing in North Carolina.

As far as the Hills go, they said that they have made several phones calls and have received several calls themselves but two names keep coming up, former modified tour driver and past Sizzler winner, Doug Coby and 2006 NASCAR Regional winner, Woody Pitkat. David was non-committal when asked when a driver would be named but added they would be at the next modified tour event at Thompson Speedway
on Thursday, June 21st. "We may surprise everyone and go with a rookie." David said, "Sometimes you get a rookie and they are anxious to learn and don't have any bad habits."

The Hills haul to every modified tour race from Westfield, NC and certainly have proven their loyalty to not only the NASCAR modified tour but also running in several southern modified tour events. Dave said according to his father, "That we were spending too much money to finish last." David said the next driver they are looking for needs to give '100% and that your mind needs to be in it.' Both David Hill and Hossfeld agreed that they weren't getting the proper communications that a driver and crew chief need to be competitive and win races and that is what was missing in this relationship. While both said the split was for the best, both wish the other the best of luck in the future.

There are signs leading up to change to the format used for the next modified tour Flash event at the Twin States Speedway in New Hampshire on Sunday, July 8th. After the debacle at the Wall Township Speedway in which everyone from car owners and drivers to fans were disappointed in the crash filled race, NASCAR knew that they had to make some serious changes. That or face a near empty pit area when the race is scheduled in a little more than two weeks.

Gary Teto, car owner for Eddie Flemke, Jr passed around a letter at the last modified tour race at Stafford Speedway asking for teams to ban together and force NASCAR to make changes to the Flash events. I called Ed Cox, modified tour series director for NASCAR on Monday and he hasn't returned my call while Teto when asked if he heard anything said no. But in a call to the Twin States Speedway, a person who answered the phone said the event will be called the 'Allstate Insurance 150' and would feature a 100 lap race with twin 25 lap heat races. The person at the track said that they officially haven't heard anything from NASCAR.

There is still one more 'Flash' race left on the schedule in 2007 on August 4th at the Riverhead Raceway. Depending on the how the modified tour teams feels about the changes made to the event at Twin States will go along way to determine the number of cars at Riverhead. Naturally, all of the point chasers have to go but teams outside of the top ten figures the financial gains or losses aren't worth the time and effort.
Officials at NASCAR proved once again that they are wishy-washy when it comes to handing out penalties when Kurt Busch received a 100-point penalty, a $100,000 fine and probation for the remainder of the year. He should have been sat down for one race, heck, even Busch expected to be punished more severely.

Busch is lucky that the crewmember for Stewart was keeping his eyes on Busch and escaped serious injury by jumping on the hood of Tony's car when he came sliding along side of Stewart after an on track incident. Points and money aren't such a big deal but it would have sent a strong message in the future that what happens on the track, needs to stay on the track and not on pit road, which is already a dangerous place.

The future of NASCAR took a cloudy future when William C. France, son of NASCAR founder, Big Bill France died on Monday, June 4th from cancer. While Mr. France was in the back ground since handing over the multi million dollar, family owned business to his son, Brian, he still carried a lot of weight on what direction NASCAR headed. Many are wondering what kind of family feud will take place now with Bill, Jr gone. Brian runs the company while his sister; Lesa is an executive with International Speedway Corporation, the parent company of NASCAR. Most people don't have much faith in Brian while his sister; many feel would be better suited to run NASCAR. Stay tuned to this.