A new event that promises to bring New Hampshire's Center of Speed, the Lee USA Speedway, its highest car count and biggest payday of the season, currently estimated at $44,000 is only three plus weeks away.
A field of close to 40 Tour-Type Modified teams will tow in from roughly ten different states for the 1st annual 100-lap, "Bullring Bash Powered by Sunoco" on Sunday, May 11. One of very few drivers competing in this event that has called Lee home is Mike Douglas Jr., from Auburn, N.H.
"That's where I started and kind of where I grew up watching Supermodifieds," began the 34-year-old, who races a Spafco Chassis Modified at the nearby Star Speedway. "I got my first ever race win at Lee in a Hobby Stock so this event definitely holds special meaning to me."
Douglas will be among the 'underdogs' so to speak, because there will be a host of champion drivers vying for the $5,000-to-win prize plus lap money and contingencies. Verbal entries have come from names like Rocco, Christopher, Preece, Hinckley, McKennedy, Hirschman, Bonsignore, Barrett, Masse, Jankowiak and Seuss to name just a few.
"To just get into the show is going to be like getting into an all-star race," Douglas adds. "I think it's going to be good for local racing. Rather than splitting everybody up between the Race Of Champions, Whelen Modified, Valenti Modifieds and us weekly racers from places like Star and Riverhead, it brings everybody together.
"As long as drivers use their heads and don't do anything too stupid, too early, I think it's going to be a great show. It's going to be a win, win, win with Star and Seekonk (Mass.) rounding out the shows."
The three race 'Open Show' format put in place by avid race fan Jim Schaefer and returning race promoter Dick Williams, who has been away from the sport for some time, added this Lee event to the two existing open shows to form what is known as the Tri-Track Open Modified Series.
Williams is part of a group of racing enthusiasts who have been pooling their money together in recent years to help individual drivers financially, allowing them to keep racing. Now, they are helping create this Lee race with their donations. Williams, Steve Main, Fred and Butch Perry, and Charlie McGowan are all part of 'The Racing Guys', helping make this May 11th race a reality.
Schaefer orchestrated a grass roots sponsorship program with businesses like Sunoco also on board, making this Lee event a big player on the 2014 Modified schedule. Additionally, with the sponsorship of Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists of Quincy, Mass., a $10,000 point fund was established for the three race points total.
The Lee event will be unique in that not only is it the first Modified Open held at the three-eights mile oval in several years, but it will pay $1,000 just to qualify for the main event. Additionally, there will be a B-Main paying a purse for the teams who do not make the feature event.
Lap money paid to the race leaders could add as much as another $2,100 to the race winner payoff as well. An additional $250 will be paid to the driver who leads the most laps of this Mother's Day afternoon event, so there are plenty of incentives to bring in talented drivers.
The Small Block Supermodifieds will also be on the schedule with a points race paying $1,000 to win, which is more than their typical weekly show payout. The always unpredictable Hobby Stocks and speedy Classic Lites round out the schedule.
Practice time will be available to teams on Saturday as well, with a brief warmup session on Sunday. Heat races begin at approximately 1:30 PM on Sunday, May 11th. For more information check out the Tri-Track Open Series Facebook page or log onto www.leeusaspeedway.com and www.tritrackopenmodifiedseries.com.