THOMPSON, CT----- On the 52nd
lap of the 150 lap season ending Whelen modified tour event at the Thompson
Speedway, pointís leader Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT. thought his dreams of
capturing his first NASCAR touring series title went away.
He slid his car backwards into the wall
and then was hit by a sliding Tony Ferrante, Jr. as both cars were caught up
in someone dumping oil on the track.
But the crew worked to keep Silk on the
track and despite being 9 laps down at one time, Silk managed to survive the
carnage that was the modified tour finish and win his first title. Silk
entered the race with a 54 point advantage over past series champion, Todd
Szegedy of Ridgefield, CT. and after Szegedy led early to give himself an
extra five points towards the title, Szegedy always seemed to be in the
middle of action on the track and when the race restarted a
green-white-checkered finish on lap 149, Szegedy got caught up in a wreck in
turn four to officially hand Silk the title as Szegedyís car went off the
track hammock style.
It was a memorable win for Glenn Reen
as the youngster secured his first ever modified tour win beating out Bobby
Santos and Matt Hirschman but the story line was the battle for the title
and despite being nine laps down, Silk was able to make up 6 of them as he
continued to be the ĎLucky Dogí as the caution flag continued to fly in a
race that saw the scheduled distance of 150 brought out to lap 168.
Silk final tally would show it was a
margin of 76 points over Szegedy with Eric Beers third in the pointís final
NASCAR AND TOUR IN 2012
While the 2011 season came to a close
under perfect racing conditions at the Thompson Speedway, it wonít be too
long before the 2012 season will be upon the race teams and NASCAR and in
the short few months before now and then, a lot needs to be accomplished.
The economy is still going to be poor
as the calendar will turn another year and with several race teams looking
to call it a career, or at least reduce the number of races that they are
going to run, it is time that NASCAR needs to step up in the scheduling
department and while doing that reduce the number of races that are two day
and reduce them to one day.
Phil Kurze of Whelen did announce that
they are looking at ways to reduce both track cost and race teams cost and
that is one way to achieve it. He also said that the schedule would be more
balanced where there wonít be a race for almost a month and then have six
races in a row.
One item that NASCAR needs to address
is the Bristol race followed by the race in Canada. You canít have two races
at faraway venues, one in the middle of the week and one in another country.
These teams just canít afford it with part time crew members, many whom
already exhausted their vacation time on racing.
Someone with common sense needs to sit
down with both NASCAR and the teams and toss ideas around to save cost for
everyone in racing.
NASCAR also needs to get something done
for television for 2012 and beyond. After having many races taped delayed
last year and shown later was great but then to have just two races in 2011
was and is unacceptable.
Don Hoenig, who for more than 35 plus
years has been the name and face of the Thompson International Speedway
bowed out at the drivers meeting for the modified tour competitors. Hoenig,
whose son and grandson will be taking over the leadership of the flagship
track for the modified tour and into the future. Donís father built the
track after the Hurricane of 1938 and turned it along with Don into one of
the premier racing facilities in the country.
Hoenig said that he has enjoyed the
friendship and support given by all of the modified teams over the many
years and that he looks forward to just being in the background going
I had the chance to talk with Don
before the drivers meeting and complimented him on the North South Thompson
Shootout and he said most of the talk after the race was good but that there
was some complaints but he also acknowledged that is also part of putting on
a first annual event and that it will grow bigger and better into the
Don has been an intrigue part of auto
racing in the northeast and he will be inducted into the New England Auto
Racing Hall of Fame this coming winter.
Don said that next August that they are
looking at returning one of the modified tour races dates but making it a
one day show.
TALKS ABOUT 2012
Phil Kurze, the director of Whelen
motorsports and one of the biggest supporters of the modified tour said he
saw a glimpse of the 2012 modified tour schedule and while he couldnít tip
his hand about it, he said he is hopeful for a good season next year.
Kurze did say that there were some
sanction issues to work out and that he is still working on television for
next year and beyond.
Kurze also mentioned that the banquet
in Charlotte is attended by more people from the modified tour than any
other sanctioned series under the NASCAR banner. (Now maybe they could
return it to Mohegan Sun)
A few weeks ago, I suffered a seizure and was
hospitalized for four days. I want to thank the racing community for the
cards of cheer and the support at the track. I have always considered the
teams and people associated with the modified tour as part of my extended
family and I truly am humbled by your best wishes for a speedy recovery.