SBM 121 SET FOR SATURDAY; TALENT-LADEN FIELD SET FOR COMPETITION
By Souza Media/Kyle Souza
SEEKONK, Mass. -- The best of the best in Modified racing are heading to Star Speedway chasing a $6,000 winning prize on Saturday night. In the annual SBM 121, names like NASCAR Cup Series star Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat, Ron Silk, Ronnie Williams, Matt Hirschman, Eric Goodale and Matt Swanson will compete against a field full of talent in the second race of the Tri Track Open Modified Series season.
The total purse for Star rises over $40,000, with heat and consi races also paying $300 to win courtesy of Pepsi and the Pepsi Challenge. A contingency program with select additional awards is also up for grabs. None of the purse has changed since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to COVID-19, and guidance from the state of New Hampshire, Star Speedway will run at 50% capacity for the event in the grandstands. Tri Track and Star officials will make sure all social distancing and safe health practices will be in place to keep teams, drivers, staff and fans safe in the pit area.
On July 5, Craig Lutz used a final lap bump to win the opener of 2020, delayed two months due to COVID-19. Lutz, and the man he bumped in the final corner, Les Hinckley, could be setting up for a rematch to the checkered flag at Star. Hinckley is no stranger to the track, having three second-place efforts in previous SBM events. The talented field will also include a host of Tri Track regulars and additional invaders looking to etch their name in SBM history.
The 9th annual SBM 121 will be a bit different than all the previous events -- it will still take place at the Epping, New Hampshire, oval, but will 121 laps instead of the normal 125. This year’s SBM race is 121 laps in honor of Tim Webber – the son of track promoter Bobby Webber, who is turning 21 during the month of July. In the previous eight, Hirschman has four wins, Jon McKennedy has two, Todd Patnode has one, and so does Silk, the defending winner. Last year, Silk beat Williams and Swanson across the line at the finish. Following Star, the remainder of the schedule remains in place – with stops at Monadnock (August 15) and Seekonk Speedway (August 26 & October 24) still in plans.
“The SBM is one of our favorite events of the year,” Wayne Darling, Managing Partner of the Tri Track Open Modified Series, said. “This field of drivers that will be assembled at Star on Saturday is going to include some of the best in all of Modified racing. We can’t wait to see who earns the checkered flag.”
Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets ahead through Venmo (@bwebber19), to make sure they get their seat. There are a limited amount of grandstand tickets remaining. There will be no pre-sales for pit passes.
Over eight years, 96 drivers have attempted to qualifying for SBM events. Silk, who earned the win last year for Bob Horn, managed to do it from the rear of the field after not qualifying through his heat race. The Norwalk, Connecticut, native has finishes of 4th (2015), 2nd (2018) and 1st (2019) in his last three SBM starts. Hirschman and Josh Cantara are the only two drivers in history to attempt to qualify for all eight previous SBM events.
It’s hard to forget about Preece, who is returning to his Modified roots on his off weekend from NASCAR Cup Series racing. Preece ran the first four SBM events, finishing inside the top-five three times. He has experience at Star and will practice the car the night before the race to try and get the upper hand. Names like rising Modified star Jacob Perry, former NASCAR National champion Bryan Narducci, Tommy Barrett, Andy Jankowiak, Richard Savary, Anthony Nocella and more are also expected.
Courtesy of Green Construction, the Hard Charger award will pay $500 to the driver who advances the most positions during the race. Along with the bonuses from Pepsi, there is also another bonus on the line for the driver who starts on the pole. Courtesy of Superior Refinishing and Ted Anderson, if the polesitter wins the race, he will earn an extra $400. If the polesitter doesn’t win, the next stop on the seires at Monadnock on August 15 will $600 to win from the pole.
Tri Track Open Modified Series teams can practice on Friday from 4-8 p.m. and can sign-up by contacting the track directly since spots are limited. On Saturday morning, the pit area opens for Tri Track teams at 10:45 a.m., while the first practice will go green from 1:15-1:55 p.m. There will be a second practice from 2:15-2:40 p.m., and a scuff session will take place from 3:05-3:15 p.m. Heat races begin for Star divisions at 3:30 p.m., followed by qualifying for the Tri Track Series.
For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit tritrackmodifieds.com and follow the series on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
PURSE: TRI TRACK OPEN MODIFIED SERIES AT STAR SPEEDWAY: JULY 25: