By Lou Modestino

For six decades Connecticut photographer Howie Hodge has been creating memories for countless auto racing enthusiasts through his camera lens. A good number of those photos taken were of his first racing love, the tour-type Modifieds.

“A very big part of it,” Hodge said when asked if the people in Modified racing have played a role in his longevity in racing. “Both (wife) Mary and I say its not the racing so much as it is the people. That was always a big part of it.”

Hodge and the people in all forms of Modified racing seem to have a connection. It doesn’t matter if they are NASCAR Tour Modifieds, Valenti Modifieds or SK Modifieds, Hodge has been photographing them all.

That is why it seems only fitting to honor the man who has been such a big part of Modified racing since he first was drawn to the sport by Modified legend Buddy Krebs in the 1960’s. Hodge will be the Grand Marshall of the SBM 125 III Modified Open on June 15 at Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire.

Hodge began as a fan in the stands taking photos on the 1960’s. His passion for photography, and the Modifieds led him to the infield. By the mid-’70’s he began working in the infield at Ct’s Stafford Motor Speedway to help then track photographer Mike Adaskaveg, which led to him becoming track photographer in the early ’80’s.

With the inception of the NASCAR Modified Tour, Hodge began traveling to all of those races, and for a time he took photos regularly for both the Modified and Busch North Series, now known as the K&N Pro Series East.

Hodge’s wife Mary has been his infield teammate for most of those years. In the early days his wife of 50 years now, would sit in the stands, while Howie took photos in the infield. Mary decided to become a photographer with her husband rather than sit in the stands, and the photography team is still covering Modified races today.

“I probably wouldn’t have done so much for so long if we weren’t a team,” Hodge admits. “It’s been fun. We just celebrated our 50th anniversary and we haven’t even had a fight. The old body is getting tired now, but we still attend quite a few races.

“I don’t know if I could have one favorite (driver) because we have known so many. When they do good we’re happy for them, and when they don’t do good we’re diasppointed for them. That’s what has been cool over the years. Watching someone like Mike Stefanik go from this kid to a champion.”

The June 15 SBM 125 and its $45,000 payoff will bring race teams from all three Modified touring series together in the same race, to compete against the best Star Speedway regulars. More than 30 race teams will converge on the racy quarter-mile oval for an event that has brought rave reviews from across the Modified spectrum in 2012. This third annual event promises to be the best one yet.

The Saturday night event has the most complete field of Modified drivers you won’t see anywhere else. Modified stars Ted Christopher and Ryan Preece will represent the NASCAR Modified Tour. Chris Pasteryak and Dwight Jarvis are among those from the Valenti Modified Racing Series. Andy Seuss is from the NASCAR Southern Modified Tour.

Jon McKennedy and Rob Summers from the ISMA Supermodified Tour will compete. Zane Zeiner and Austin Kochenash from the Race of Champions Tour, and the last two Star track champions Jacob Dore and Josh Cantara will all be trying to dethrone defending SBM 125 Champion Matt Hirschman, who has an unmatched winning percentage at Star.

Mother Nature will take another victory at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Friday, June 7, as consistent rainy forecasts will force the postponement of the People’s United Bank 100 stock car race at the West Haven, VT track.

The event is part of the four-race Vermont State Late Model Championship Series and was also scheduled to host championship races for the weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Bond Auto Parts Modifieds, Renegades, and Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stocks.

In cooperation with Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, VT – the co-host site of the Vermont State Championship races – the People’s United Bank 100 has been rescheduled for Friday, June 28 at 7 p.m. The recent shuffling of race events due to weather-related postponements has created several other changes in the Devil’s Bowl Speedway schedule as well, which will be announced in the coming days.

Rookie Derrick O’Donnell of North Haverhill, NH leads the Vermont State Late Model Championship Series standings following his surprise victory in opening round at the Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic 100 on May 27 at Thunder Road. As many as 30 race teams are expected to compete in the People’s United Bank 100 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Friday, June 28.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway hosts the inaugural Carmody Ford “Slate Valley 100” – the first-ever Vermont appearance for the Granite State Pro Stock Series – on Friday, June 14 at 7:00pm. General admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, and free for children 12 and under.

Canaan Dirt Speedway cancelled racing for Friday night, June 7. See you at the Open practice on Tuesday, June 11 from 4-7:30 p.m.

The third annual Star Speedway SBM 125 Modified Open for tour-type Modifieds has grown to well beyond expectations in purse money. With less than one week remaining for race teams to enter the Saturday, June 15 event, 31 drivers from eight different states already preregistered to compete for a payoff of more than $45,000.

Defending SBM 125 race winner Matt Hirschman, who won just under $9,000 in last seasons event, is entered to compete in the J&J Motorsports 59 that he won the race with in 2012. Jon McKennedy won the inaugural race in his own car. He will drive for car owner Art Barry again this season.

McKennedy and Hirschman used different strategies to earn their wins. A pit stop for a new right rear tire past halfway brought Hirschman to victory lane last year, while McKennedy won without a tire change. It remains to be seen which strategy proves to be the winning one on Saturday night.

The entry list includes teams from the Valenti Modified Racing Series, the Race of Champions Tour, the regulars of Star Speedway, a few drivers with no affiliation, and of course the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. There is no other race quite like this one, with more than 20 incentive bonuses for race teams to win, which has doubled from last season.

Due to weather issues this spring, some teams are expected to make their decision to race after Friday’s NWMT event at Ct’s Stafford Motor Speedway. A field of roughly 35 cars are expected to compete on the quarter-mile oval for 24 starting positions in four competitive heat races, beginning at 6:00 PM. A purse paying B-Main to determine the final four starters will be run prior to the 8:30 PM SBM 125 main event.

SBM 125 III List of Early Entries:

04 Joey Jarvis, Ascutney, Vermont
05 Jacob Dore, Sanford, Maine
06 Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, Conn.
3 Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn.
5 Chris Pasteryak, Jewett City, Conn.
9 Tommy Barrett, Millis, Mass.
12 Todd Annarummo, Swansea, Mass.
13 Steve Masse, bellingham, Mass.
15 Rob Summers, Vernon, Conn.
16 Ken Barry, Griswold, Conn.
20 Doug Coby, Milford, Conn.
21 Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass.
23 Mike Douglas Jr., Auburn, N.H.
24 Todd Patnode, Richmond, N.H.
25 Zane Zeiner, Bath, Pa.
28 Dwight Jarvis, Ascutney, Vermont
36 Chris Bolton, Weare, N.H.
39 Richie Pallai, Yorktown Hts., N.Y.
40 Ryan Preece, Kensington, Conn.
51 Justin Bonsignore, West Islip, N.Y.
56 Chris Ross, Malta, N.Y.
59 Matt Hirschman, Northampton, Pa.
66 Austin Kochenash, Danielsville, Pa.
70 Andy Seuss, Salisbury, N.C.
71 Josh Cantara, Sanford, Maine
79 Max Zachem, Preston, Conn.
85 Louie Mechalides, Tyngsboro, Mass.
88 Jim Boniface, Winchester, N.H.
92 Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass.
93 George Sherman, Framingham, Mass.
99 Richard Savary, Canton, Mass.

Keith Carzello held Tyler Jarvenpaa in his shadow for 29 sizzling laps Saturday, June 8, at Monadnock Speedway to win his first Sportsman Modified feature of the season. Carzello became the fifth different winner in six weeks of competition at the high-banked speedplant.

Other winners included John Lavoie, who rocketed to his third Super Stock victory of the young season; Mike Stebbins, who earned his second Mini Stock victory of the summer; and Young Gun Cameron Sontag, who also notched his second victory.

Lightning Stock ace Chris Davis made a furious charge from eight rows back to snag the lead with one lap to go en route to his second win of the summer, opening up a sizable lead in the points parade with Saturday’s victory. In the NE Champ Kart feature, Mike Dinsmoor led all the way to score his first Monadnock victory.

Carzello started on the point in the 30-lap Sportsman Modified feature, outgunned Eric LeClair to lead lap one, and then, after a lengthy caution brought out by a four-car jingle along the backstretch wall, outran the potent field to earn his first win of the summer.

Before lap two was completed, action came to an abrupt halt, as points leader Adam Norton, Jeff Beckwith, Alyssa Rivera, and Brian Chapin tangled along the backchute, with Beckwith’s ride receiving the heaviest damage, while Norton and Chapin were able to return to the track after hasty work pitside by his crew.

Tyler Jarvenpaa rocketed into second on the ensuing restart, and would remain glued to Carzello’s bumper the rest of the race, looking high and low without success until the checkers waved on his second runner-up showing of the season.

Bennnington Bullet Bill Kimball finished at Jarvenpaa’s bumper to complete his hard night’s work in third, with Steve Fifield and Norton fourth and fifth, as the rapid quintet rode nose-to-tail the final five laps of the event.

Dave Striebel set the fast pace for the first ten laps of the Super Stock main, until watching Eddie Brehio III rocket past from the low groove, with John Lavoie following Brehio by as Striebel got hung outside.

Lavoie stayed glued to Brehio the next nine trips around the high banks, until inching ahead of him from the top of the track on lap 19. Tom Carey III would grab third on lap 22 and, with Lavoie setting a blistering pace he would score his third win of the summer ahead of Brehio, Carey, Striebel, and Craig Smith.

Joe Rogers held the point in the Mini Stock feature for the first six laps, but then Mike Stebbins – from row four – would complete his rapid march to the front, with Chris McTaggart dropping Rogers to third three laps later.

McTaggart would look high and low but, on this night, Stebbins had the hot hand, outgunning McTaggart by two carlengths to score his second win of the year. JT Cloutier, a first-time winner a week earlier, came back from a lap-three crash to claim third, with Beth Adams and Kimmy Rivet rounding out the top five.

Hillary Renaud set the pace for laps one through four in the Lightning Stock 30-lapper, then giving way to Tim O’Shea. By lap 16, O’Shea was putting open track between himself and Renaud, but further back, red hot Chris Davis – from row eight – was mowing through the field.

Davis pulled finally pulled up on O’Shea’s bumper with two laps to go, took command at the white flag, and sped off to victory. O’Shea was a solid second, with Renaud impressive in third. Matt Gauffin, like Davis, came from deep in the field to claim fourth, with steady Gary Johnson coming home fifth.

In the Young Guns feature, Cameron Sontag started on the front row, held Sonja Carey in his shadow for five laps, and then drove away from the pack to win his second event of the summer by half a lap. Carey completed her strong run in second, with Matt Kimball third, Cole Littlewood fourth, and Justin Faford fifth. Her deuce finish was Carey’s second runner-up showing in as many weeks.

In the visiting NE Champ Kart feature, Mike Dinsmoor led every lap but one to score the victory. Scott Foster turned on the afterburners on his final trip around the high banks to seize the runner-up spot, and Damon Schuster came home third.

This Saturday, June 15, Monadnock Speedway will host a six-division card of racing on the high banked quarter-mile, with the Sportsman Modifieds, Super Stocks, Mini Stocks, Pro 4 Modifieds, Young Guns, and Thunder Stocks all in action. Post time is 6 p.m.

Top Ten Sportsman Modifieds: Keith Carzello, Tyler Jarvenpaa, Bill Kimball, Steve Fifield, Adam Norton, Joe Kendall, Brian Chapin, Dan Stebbins, Nathan Johnson, Eric LeClair

Top Ten Super Stock: John Lavoie, Ed Brehio III, Tom Carey III, Dave Striebel, Craig Smith, Jeff Morse, Bill Johnston, Ed LaQuire Jr, James Thompson, Tyler Lescord

Top Ten Mini Stocks: Mike Stebbins, Chris McTaggart, JT Cloutier, Beth Adams, Kim Rivet, DJ Lazelle, Eric Pomasko, Joe Rogers, Kevin McKnight, Julia Raymond

Top Ten Lightning Stock: Chris Davis, Tim O’Shea, Hillary renaud, Matt Gauffin, CJ Johnson, Tim Paquette, Dick Houle, Matt Somerville, Fred Rogers, Craig Chaffee

Top Ten Young Guns: Cameron Sontag, Sonja Carey, Matt Kimball, Cole Littlewood, Justin Faford, Corey Wheeler, Michelle Leh, Dylan Morse, Mike McGoldrick Jr, Hayley Guy

Dale Shaw of Center Conway, New Hampshire became the first repeat winner in the upgraded Pro Late Model division’s 40-lap feature race on Sunday at Oxford Plains Speedway, driving a Precision JLM-sponsored machine of his own creation.

Shaw, a former champion of the old NASCAR Busch North Series that defined the regional short track scene at the time, put the hammer down early to stay in front of chief rivals Shawn Martin of Turner and TJ Brackett of Buckfield en route to an early lead that proved to be insurmountable.

Eventual ninth-place finisher Vanna Brackett of Buckfield led the first ten laps of the Pro Late Model race and was battling Oxford’s Adam Polvinen for the front running position when Shaw made a three-wide move that put him in the lead for good.

Martin and TJ Brackett waged a near race-long battle for position, with two-time Late Model champion Martin pulling away during the closing stages to claim runner-up honors in front of the current leader in the championship standings.

Donnie Wentworth of Otisfield turned in the fastest lap in the event en route to a fourth-place finish. Rookie Scott Farrington of Minot rounded out the top five.

Marc Lucas of Harpswell prevailed in the 40-lap main event for the visiting Pro All Stars Series Modified class. Lucas, a former champion of the series, made a late charge to the front to overhaul Dana Reed of Shapleigh, who led the opening 30-plus laps before settling for runner-up honors. Mike Carignan of Somersworth, New Hampshire filled the final podium position. Scott Alexander of Hampden and Scott McDaniel of Livermore rounded out the top five.

Tyson Jordan of Poland romped to victory in the 30-lap feature event for Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy Street Stock racers to become the first multi-race winner in the ultra-competitive class. Veteran Larry Emerson of Durham was a distant second-place finisher, with Leeds driver Billy Childs, Jr. claiming third-place hardware. Waterford’s Spencer Morse made a late charge into fourth position, with Brownfield’s Matt Williams rounding out the top five. Dan Brown of Peru led most of the race before crossing the line in eighth position.

Calvin Rose, Jr. of Turner claimed his first victory of the season to reclaim the lead in the Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy Mini Stock division championship standings. Rose got by early race leader Shane Kaherl of Jay, then outran Rob Greenleaf of West Bath, the points leader and reigning class champion, to the checkered flag in the 30-lapper. Top-ranked rookie Justin Larsen of Peru was third, followed by Kaherl and Nik Coates of Lisbon.

Kyle Treadwell of Auburn nailed down his first victory of the season in the Ripley & Fletcher Ford Outlaw Sportsman main event. Treadwell started 11th, and methodically worked his way to the front, aided by a few miscues among the early frontrunners. Livermore Falls racer Mike Haynes survived the 25-lapper with a season-best second-place finish. Corey Morgan of Lewiston, the early leader in the 2013 championship standings, crossed the finish line in third position. Steve Moon of Gray was fourth, followed by David Childs of Oxford.

Results (finishing position, car number, driver name, hometown)

Pro Late Model (40 laps) 1 68 Dale Shaw, Center Conway NH; 2 94 Shawn Martin, Turner; 3 61 TJ Brackett, Buckfield; 4 63 Donnie Wentworth, Otisfield; 5 22 Scott Farrington, Minot; 6 88 Kyle DeSouza, East Providence RI; 7 73 Adam Polvinen, Oxford; 8 09 Joe Turner, Norway; 9 3 Vanna Brackett, Buckfield; 10 60 Tim Brackett, Buckfield; 11 6 Tommy Ricker, Poland; 12 72 Chris Coolidge, Norway.

PASS Mods (40 laps) 1 5 Mark Lucas, Harpswell; 2 60 Dana Reed, Shapleigh; 3 21 Mike Carignan, Somersworth NH; 4 17 Scott Alexander, Hampden; 5 14 Scott McDaniel, Livermore; 6 89 Ryan Phillips, Buxton; 7 7 Mitch Miller, West Boylston MA; 8 33 Billy Dixon, Waterboro; 9 Alan Wilson, Hebron; 10 96 Chad Binette, Arundel; 11 28 Mark Lundblad, Jr., Albany NH; 12 31 Ryan Morgan, Mystic CT; 13 00 Bill Lake, Albany NH; 14 3 Travis Buzzell, Hollis; 15 05 Ron Henry, New Gloucester; 16 9 Evan Armington, Lovell; DNS 0 Sumner Sessions, Norway.

Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy Street Stock (30 laps) 1 69 Tyson Jordan, Poland; 2 24 Larry Emerson, Durham; 3 1 Billy Childs, Jr., Leds; 4 34 Spencer Morse, Waterford; 5 63 Matt Williams, Brownfield; 6 23 Zach Emerson, Sabattus; 7 55 Kurt Hewins, Leeds; 8 83 Dan Brown, Peru; 9 26 Corey Morgan, Lewiston; 10 9 Ryan Robbins, Dixfield; 11 14 Mike Roe, West Paris; 12 3 Josh Childs, Leeds; 13 56 David Whittier, Poland; 14 777 Mike St Germain, Auburn; 15 12 Skip Tripp, Poland; 16 36 Rick Spaulding, Lewiston; 17 08 Robbie Wentworth, Center Conway NH; 18 60 Richard Wentworth, Center Conway NH; 19 5 Ryan Hewins, Leeds; 20 04 Zach Bowie, Sabattus.

Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy Mini Stock (30 laps) 1 8 Calvin Rose, Jr., Turner; 2 2 Rob Greenleaf, West bath; 3 18 Justin Larsen, Peru, 4 19 Shane Kaherl, Jay; 5 4 Nik Coates, Lisbon; 6 06 Ryan Glover, Rumford; 7 83 Brady Romano, Livermore Falls; 8 10 Bill Childs, Sr., Leeds; 9 29 Brandon Palmer, Bridgton.

Ripley & Fletcher Ford Outlaw Sportsman (25 laps) 1 44 Kyle Treadwell Auburn; 2 67 Mike Haynes, Livermore Falls; 3 26 Corey Morgan, Lewiston; 4 19 Steve Moon, Gray; 5 33 David Childs, Oxford; 6 14 Scott Hetcoat, Danville Junction; 7 39 Gerry Freve, Buckfield; 8 28 Josh Toothaker, Sabattus; 9 38 Addison Bowie, Auburn; 10 6 Todd Bisbee, South Paris; 11 63 Bob Ferguson, New Gloucester; 12 51 Kyle Hewins, Leeds; 13 21 Rachel Dubois, Sabattus.

Mother Nature has been a thorn in the side of stock car racing fans throughout the northeast, but Vermont’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway is fighting back. After losing two of the first three regular Friday night summer programs to rain, Devil’s Bowl will start making up for lost time by adding the exciting “Twin 25” format to Carmody Ford Night on Friday, June 14 for the Bond Auto Parts Modified division of the weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

The ground pounding Modifieds will run a pair of 25-lap main events during the program, joining the Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock division and an historic inaugural appearance by the Granite State Pro Stock Series for the Carmody Ford “Slate Valley 100” event. Twenty-one year-old Alex Bell of Cambridge, NY was the most recent Modified winner on May 31 and will try to win both 25-lap races on the night presented by his team’s primary sponsor, Carmody Ford of Greenwich, NY.

“I’ve had the Carmody Ford race circled on my calendar, and now I’ve got two chances to get them in victory lane on their own night, so I’m excited,” Bell said. “Our car is running really well and we’re on a roll after the win two weeks ago. I would love to do it again a couple of times this Friday for my sponsor.”

Bell has plenty of company at the front of the Bond Auto Parts Modified field. Two-time defending Devil’s Bowl champion Ron Proctor of Charlton, NY leads the point standings, with veterans Todd Stone of Middlebury, VT, Joe Williams of Scotia, NY, and Vince Quenneville, Jr. of Brandon, VT grouped closely behind. Jessey Mueller, Hunter Bates, Leon Gonyo, and Bell are all within 43 points of the leader.

Bobby LaVair of Gabriels, NY leads the Central Vermont Motorcycles Mini Stock division following his victory on May 31, with, Benson, VT’s Jake Noble just six points back. Rookie Lacey Hanson of Orwell, VT and veteran John McCarron of Rensselaer, NY are tied for third place.

The Granite State Pro Stock Series will bring high-profile entries from around the northeast for the Carmody Ford Slate Valley 100 including Vermont State Late Model Champion Dave Pembroke of Middlesex, VT, Oxford 250 winner Larry Gelinas of Buxton, ME, NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Matt Frahm of New Salem, NH, and five-time Devil’s Bowl winner Chris Wilk of Rutland, VT.

General admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, and free for children 12 and under. Racing begins at 7:00pm on Friday, June 14. Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, VT, four miles north of Exit 2 on U.S. Route 4.

With the multiple rain-outs Riverside Speedway has suffered in recent weeks, track management has decided to make a huge night this weekend presented by NAPA.

All divisions will be on hand for extended laps and/or segment races. A final schedule by division will be posted later this week, but each division will have more racing to make up for the weather early in the season.

In addition to the racing action, there will be kid’s bike races on the front-stretch. Youngsters can bring their bikes and race against children their own age for the win. For the second year in a row, there will also be the “Adult Kid’s Bike race”. Racers will hop on a kid’s bike, and race around Riverside Speedway to be crowned champion. Last year’s winner, Alex Kopp, has already pre-entered for this event to defend his title.

Also on the event card will be the Tom Doyon Pit Crew Challenge. Crew members and drivers will get to show the stuff that usually goes on behind the scenes on the front stretch for a chance at a plaque, their names on a permanent plaque, and $100. Last year’s champions, the North Country Ford team, are chomping at the bit to show their skills once more. Tom Doyon, former crew member for multi-time champion Aaron Bennett, amongst others, will be honored as a guest judge for the competition.

With all of these events going on, post time for Saturday has been moved up to 5:30PM. Tickets are still just $9 for all of this action, and rain checks from last weekend will be honored. For more information visit our website,, like us on facebook, or follow us on twitter @riversidespdway. Riverside Speedway is located at 78 Craggy Road, just off Brown Road, in Groveton NH.

After Sunday’s twilight event at Barre’s Thunder Road, the championship point standings are as tight as ever across all divisions heading into Harvest Equipment night at Thunder Road this Sunday, June 16.

The King of the Road title fight remains close in the Late Model division with three points separating the top five in the overall standings. Three former Late Model Champions top the standings, with Dave Pembroke and Jean-Paul Cyr tied for the lead, and reigning King of the Road Nick Sweet just two points behind in third. Behind Sweet is another tie between young talents Derrick O’Donnell and Cody Blake, who sit just three points out of the lead.

The Bond Auto Tiger Sportsmen are even more deadlocked as Hyde Park, VT’s Tucker Williams took over the points lead followed by a three-way tie between veterans Eric Badore, Mike Ziter, and David Finck, just one point behind. Josh Demers holds on to the fifth position, only three points out of the top spot.

In the Allen Lumber Street Stocks, Dean Switser survived a blown motor last Sunday to hold on to a 6-point lead over Hardwick, VT’s Bunker Hodgdon. The all-time wins leader in the division, Tommy “Thunder” Smith, is just two points behind Hodgdon in third, with Morrisville, VT’s Jamie Davis in fourth overall. Defending Street Stock Champion Nick Pilotte rounds out the top five, fourteen points out of the lead.

The championship chase will continue this Sunday, June 16 at Kid’s Night at Thunder Road, presented by Harvest Equipment. Kids 12 and under will get free admission to the track, a free hot dog, and race car rides with the local stars will begin at 1:15pm. Gates open at 1pm. Post time is 4 p.m.