By DEAN REYNOLDS
Toronto, Ohio’s John Mollick decided to make a career switch mid-stream. It might look like it was on a whim but he had his reasons. Mollick has raced Late Models in the Western Pa./Eastern Ohio circuit for years and has had success. But, a change was needed and so far he’s liking it.
“The late models just seem to be out of control, we talked about updating our equipment to a new car and such,” John went on, “Then I just said the hell with it. Even here on a local level the cost of running them is tough. I went with a big-block cause I felt I could at least compete.
“I work, my wife works and we work hard for the our money,” said John who works at a titanium mill plant. “This is how we do it by working and we just want to be able to compete that’s all.”
So John picked up a Bicknell chassis from Central New York’s Dave Rauscher and a motor from the King family who have been running Modifieds in this neck of the woods for many years. So the equipment shouldn’t be a problem, John admits it’s now the driver.
This past Friday at the Lernerville Speedway was the $2,000 to win Modified Mania event, which is one of the higher paying events on the calendar. Mat Williamson was in the pits even though it was a non-point event and also Pa. invader Ryan Watt who was making his way back from Eldora.
With the redraw, Mollick had his sharp, black #4 on the pole for the 30 lapper. Top runners by the names of Swartzlander, Krummert, Regalski, Watt and others right behind. At the start, Mollick quickly faded to fifth but he kept the focus and took it lap by lap.
“This is only my third time in the car, second here and my car is better than the driver,” Mollick analyzing. “It’s hard for me to get my rhythm or patient enough to run the bottom here. The top is so fast but if you want to pass like tonight you needed to at least try and run the bottom, that’s how Mat got me.”
After the slow start, the race started to come to Mollick albeit with a little help. Swartzlander had issues under the hood while leading, Krummert slipped off the banking allowing Mollick to sneak by and then he was also putting in good steady laps.
Running in third, Mollick was hoping for a podium finish when Krummert slipped by with two laps to go to move him back to fourth at the finish. A top three would have been good, but Mollick isn’t hanging his head with a fourth.
“I feel good, we still need to get some bugs out but I can’t complain, I can’t complain at all,” he continued, “It’s tough to find balance and how to make the car roll with the gas. That’s what the driver now needs to learn and maybe we can stay with those guys every race.”
John then went on about the difference of a Late Model vs. a Modified. “The big difference for me is you sit up so much higher in a Modified and these cars roll a lot more,” he went on. “They make traction a lot differently, a left rear in a late model likes to drive up your back where a modified you got to keep the momentum and keep them strait.”
The heart of big-block Modifieds of course is in New York state and when John was asked about possible traveling he simply said, “I need to run and compete with Williamson, he’s the guy down here and until I can do that consistently I don’t need to go to New York and get beat up there.” Saying with a smile.
John Mollick is three races old in a Modified and already two top fives so his new career is off to a good start.