By: BOBBY SWEENEY
BREWERTON, NY – With many northeastern states under strict government sanctions, Dirt Modified action has shifted south. On Friday, May 29th, and Saturday, May 30th, the Big Block/Small Block Modifieds hit the track at Chatham Speedway in Louisiana.
$10,000 awaits the winner of Saturday night’s 75-lap “Return From The Corona” feature event at the 3/10 mile oval. Friday is scheduled to be a full night of practice concluding with time trials, giving drivers adequate time to shake down their rides after the second offseason, along with getting accustomed to the southern clay.
The weekend is being organized by well-rounded and experienced racer Brandon Hightower, who competes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Late Models, and now Modifieds. Hightower has been a leader for the northeastern Modifieds in the deep south, helping establish the Southern Super Modified Series with Tim and Chris Bates.
“This track is my favorite,” Hightower said. “Chatham gets real wide, a good cushion up top and slick in the middle. For $10,000, we want to make sure these guys have something to race on and worth their while. There’s a lot of drivers and fans out there who want to race, and we’re doing this for them.”
Hightower says he has received great interest and feedback from drivers regarding the event. Among those already confirmed include Larry Wight, Stewart Friesen, and Max McLaughlin. Wight and Friesen have already expressed their excitement for their first races in the area.
“It’s a big step in the right direction for the northeast Modified class,” Wight noted. “It would be great if a sanctioning body could get involved and put together a southern swing during our time between Florida Speedweeks and the start of the northern season. Maybe work together on the rules so that all racers with a Modified can easily compete in it.”
Likewise, Friesen is also ready to head to Chatham. Friesen is no stranger to the area with his NASCAR Truck, but has yet to visit the area with his Modified.
“It plays into our hands because we are planning to use our NASCAR shop as our home base for the next week,” said Friesen. “With the STSS race in western North Carolina and the Truck Series race at Charlotte, we’re already halfway there. It will be cool to check out some new places and race our cars in uncharted waters.”
Additionally, events on Thursday and Sunday at surrounding speedways are also in the works, creating a four-night swing for northeastern competitors.
Hightower says the technical rules for the event will mirror that of the Short Track Super Series. With minimal restrictions in Louisiana, there will be no cap on entries for the event, and fans will be allowed in the grandstands at Chatham.