By Lou Modestino

The 42nd Annual Icebreaker, one of the most highly anticipated racing events in New England, will take place on April 8-10, featuring the first championship race of the season for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT). The Icebreaker this year has been expanded to twelve divisions of racing, and will once again include the popular Fan Appreciation party on the track on Sunday morning before the second day of races begin.

The Icebreaker will start off with a practice day on Friday, April 8. The pit area will open for haulers to start coming in at noon, and rotating practice sessions will begin at 1 pm for all divisions except for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the Pro All Stars Series (PASS). Tickets for Friday cost $15 per person for pit access. Haulers will be able to come in until 7 pm on Friday to park for the weekend.

Saturday’s on-track activity will begin at 9:45 AM with practice for PASS and NWMT competitors. The pits open at 8 am and the grandstands open at 9:30 AM. Qualifying races will begin in the afternoon at 2:30 pm for all divisions, ending with time trials for the NWMT cars at 4 pm. Feature races will begin immediately after, starting with the Vintage Outlaws division who will be racing their first of three events at TSMP this season. Also returning to the Icebreaker will be the Lite Modified division, NEMA Lites, Lite Modifieds, and Trucks. Newcomers to the Icebreaker this year include the Pro All Stars Series (PASS), for their first return to the 5/8-mile oval since 2010, and the start-up stock car series, the North East Street Stock Tour (NESST). The NESST is open to any of TSMP’s Limited Sportsman cars, giving drivers the opportunity to compete twice on Icebreaker weekend.

Sunday’s events will start off with the return of the Fan Appreciation party on track. Fans will once again be invited to the Icebreaker Fan Appreciation party on the track Sunday morning for the opportunity to meet the stars and cars and enjoy some live entertainment. The morning’s activities will include a Champion Banner Raising Ceremony at 10:30 AM followed by a live concert by American Idol contestant, Timmy Brown.

The racing action will begin on Sunday afternoon at 12:35 pm starting off with the TSMP’s premier NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) division, the Sunoco Modifieds. Also on tap will the TSMP’s other three NWAAS divisions – the Late Models, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stock. The Limited Sportsman and Mini Stock divisions will both be competing in their first race of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Triple Crown Championship, which earns competitors separate points in the three-race series in addition to TSMP points. PASS will be putting on an exciting 75-lap race, and the afternoon will finish up with the feature event, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150-lap race at 3:30 pm.

Short track racers from across the Southeast are busy building and testing their machines as they prepare for the upcoming South Carolina Clash for the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Models at Dillon Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 5.

The 4/10 mile, egg-shaped speedway in South Carolina’s Pee Dee region has long been one of the toughest tracks on the PASS South schedule and this year’s 125 lapper looks to be an equally tough task.

Darlington, SC’s Hayes Goodson is the third generation from his family to race at Dillon Motor Speedway. His grandfather, Howard, raced and won on the original dirt track back in the 1960’s, while his father, Hal, has been a consistent winner in the Truck and Late Model divisions at Dillon throughout the 2000’s. Goodson is excited for the opportunity to step back behind the wheel of the #16, reminiscent of the machines his father campaigned in the 1990’s, but knows it will not be easy.

“Dillon can be very tricky to get around,” said Goodson, driver of the Florence-Darlington Technical College/AAR entry. “Turns 1 and 2 differ from turns 3 and 4 a great deal. It’s easy to overcharge the corner or pick the gas up too early. Dillon also has very tight straightaways, which tends to cause problems exiting the corner. Without much leeway between the walls, a single car spin can quickly turn into a multi-car pileup.

Kannapolis, NC’s Kodie Conner is making the jump in 2016 from the Pro Late Model division, where he won the championship last year, to racing full-time in PASS South Super Late Models. Despite a top 10 finish in the season opener at Greenville-Pickens, the learning curve is steep and it’s made even tougher when racing at quirky speedways like Dillon.

“Going from a Pro Late Model to a PASS Super Late Model has been a big step in my driving career,” says Conner, driver of the Jerry Conner Insurance #45 Toyota. “At Greenville, it took me a few laps to adapt to the car on the track. Dillon is not my best track and it will take a practice or two to get used to the car again. My team and I have been working hard to be able to make it to victory lane. This season my goal is to get a win and finish top 5 in points. I will stop at nothing to reach my goal.”

This year’s 11th Annual South Carolina Clash will be 125 laps, which is 25 laps shorter than in years past. Goodson recently tested at Dillon and believes the shorter race will put more of an emphasis on qualifying.

“The PASS race at Dillon is always a good show so we’ll try to secure a decent starting position, find a place in line, keep the fenders and nose on all 125 laps, and hopefully find ourselves battling near the front at the end,” said Goodson.

Goodson and Conner will not only have to deal with a tough race track, but also by another stellar field of racers led by defending PASS South Super Late Model champion Tate Fogleman, who led 82 laps there last year, and defending South Carolina Clash winner Tyler Church.

Veterans Jeff Batten and Jimmy Doyle will be joined by PASS South rookies Kyle Desouza and Derek Scott, Jr. at Dillon. Washington state’s Nicole Behar will make her first PASS South start, along with teammate Raphael Lessard from Quebec. Fellow Canadian JP Josiasse will also be making the trek from Ontario for his first start at Dillon Motor Speedway.

All the action gets under way on Friday, March 4 at Dillon Motor Speedway with open practice for all competing divisions from 3 – 6:05 PM. On Saturday, March 5, practice will begin at 12 Noon with qualifying starting at 3:30 PM for the PASS South Super Late Models, DMS Late Models, and Pro 4-Cylinders, followed by main events starting at approximately 5 PM.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s 50th season of stock car racing just got an extra boost, as longtime marketing partner Central Vermont Motorcycles has doubled its support of the track for 2016. Central Vermont Motorcycles will return as the title sponsor of the Late Model division on Devil’s Bowl’s half-mile Asphalt Track and also joins the 3/10-mile Dirt Track to headline the Sportsman Modified class. Both divisions will be part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) championship structure.

Located on West Street in Downtown Rutland, Vt., Central Vermont Motorcycles offers a full line of powersports vehicles for land, sea, and snow. A 10,000-square-foot showroom and a two-acre test track allow customers to see, shop, and test all of the latest models from Arctic Cat, Can-Am, Honda, Kawasaki, Ski-Doo, Spyder, Suzuki, and Triton Trailers. Central Vermont Motorcycles has full-line parts and service departments, and also stocks Honda Power Equipment including generators, water pumps, snow blowers, and more.

The Central Vermont Motorcycles Dirt Sportsman Modifieds will compete for NWAAS points for the first time in 2016, as drivers run for championships at the track, state, and national levels. Kenny Tremont Jr. of West Sand Lake, N.Y., is expected to return in defense of his 2015 Devil’s Bowl title and will run for his first NASCAR-sanctioned championship, while Josh Masterson of Bristol, Vt., will attempt to become the first multi-time champion in the Central Vermont Motorcycles Asphalt Late Models.

Central Vermont Motorcycles will also present a night of racing action on Sunday, June 19 for The Dirt Track. Fans will get to see equipment from Central Vermont Motorcycles up close and speak with experts as part of a large display of motorcycles, ATVs, side-by-sides, and other machines at the track.

“Central Vermont Motorcycles is such an important local partner at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, and it’s a great sign that they’re increasing their involvement at the track this year,” Devil’s Bowl media director Justin St. Louis said. “Lots of our fans love to get out and ride, and Central Vermont Motorcycles has the best equipment. Their displays at Devil’s Bowl are always impressive, and their showroom in Downtown Rutland is incredible.”

Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s 50th season of racing will include NASCAR Whelen All-American Series-sanctioned action for both the asphalt and dirt tracks, totaling 27 scheduled events. The asphalt track will race primarily on Saturday nights, and the dirt track will race primarily on Sunday nights; opening weekend is slated for May 21-22.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway is ready to welcome the next generation of stock car drivers to the track, with the inaugural season of the “Bandit” youth racing division in 2016. The division will offer a structured introduction to real racing competition with safety courses, a driving school, and a series of races for aspiring drivers age 10-15. Training and events will be held on both the half-mile Asphalt Track and the 3/10-mile Dirt Track at Devil’s Bowl.

The division, which will utilize the technical specifications from the four-cylinder Portland Glass Mini Stock division, has been a work-in-progress for several seasons. A test race at Devil’s Bowl in 2013 led to a successful bid to have Vermont state laws changed in 2014 to lower the legal race track pit area admittance age to 10 years old. Originally branded as the “Young Guns,” the division was initially scheduled to begin last year before Devil’s Bowl officials elected to postpone until this season in order to ensure a more successful program.

Four pre-season training and instructional classes will be held to outline the division and educate all hopeful young competitors in safety, car control, and race procedures. Bandit drivers must satisfactorily complete a minimum of two training classes before being approved for competition and must attend three additional classes throughout the season. A total of 10 Bandit races will be held from May to September.

“The Bandit division has been a dream of ours for a while, and we feel that we’re finally ready to give it a go,” Devil’s Bowl promoter Mike Bruno said. “We’ve heard from many local families who are ready to take this step with their children, and we’re encouraged by their support. We want these kids to learn the knowledge and skills that they’ll need to have a fun, safe, and rewarding experience. The Bandit division will help to build the future of Devil’s Bowl from the ground up, and we hope that these new young racers will advance through our NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions as they get older.”

Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s 50th season of racing will include NASCAR Whelen All-American Series-sanctioned action for both the asphalt and dirt tracks, totaling 27 scheduled events. Opening weekend is slated for May 21-22.

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