Looking Back: The History of Seekonk’s Speed51 Modified Madness, Worth $10,000 To Win
By Souza Media/Kyle Souza
SEEKONK, Mass. — With $10,000 on the line, anything can, and will, happen when the Tri Track Open Modified Series returns to action at Seekonk Speedway on Wednesday, June 30. In race three of the Tri Track season, drivers will be chasing one of the most historic trophies in New England Modified racing — the Open Wheel Wednesday crown at Seekonk — this time in the Speed51 Modified Madness.
Set for the 16th annual 100-lap event, Tri Track is expecting a healthy car count and some mid-week fireworks between some of the top Modified talent from across the East Coast for a lucrative purse. The overall purse for this one event will rise over $40,000, with teams earning $1,000 to start the feature, and multiple contingency awards also on the line.
In the first two races of the year, Sam Rameau (Monadnock Speedway) and Jon McKennedy (Star Speedway) dominated en route to Victory Lane — both with a late drive through the field on fresh Hoosier rubber. Continuing tradition, teams will be allowed to change one tire during the race, meaning the pit strategy will be exciting to watch for race fans.
Tri Track didn’t visit Seekonk in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic — and the track is excited to have the series back for what should be a classic event. The 2021 edition of Speed51 Modified Madness will include two other exciting open-wheel divisions — the SMAC 350 Supermodified Series and the NEMA Lites for their annual 50-lap Dave Steele Memorial.
“We are expecting this to be one of the top events for open wheel divisions across the region this season,” Ed St. Germain, Director of Business Development at Seekonk Speedway, said. “The Tri Track Open Modified Series always puts on a good show at the third-mile. Our fans appreciate the 100% green flag racing that the Tri Track Series offers. Adding the SMAC Supermodified Series & the NEMA Lites will make this a can’t miss event for race fans.”
The tradition of paying $10,000 to the winner started in 2005 — and the race has occurred every year since — except last year, during the pandemic. Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Donny Lia won the inaugural event — besting the late Ted Christopher for the trophy in the final laps. But that wasn’t the only time the race went down to the wire.
Overall, there have been 11 different winners in 15 years — with two drivers adding their name to the record books more than once. Five-time Tri Track champion Matt Hirschman and six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby both have three wins in the prestigious event, and both of those drivers will be in the field looking to add to their historic list next Wednesday night. Coby is coming off an impressive week — after winning the SRX Series debut at Stafford Motor Speedway on June 12, announcing his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will come in September, and winning the Whelen Modified Tour race at Riverhead on June 20.
After Lia’s victory, veteran modified racer Kirk Alexander (2006) and hometown favorite Vinny Annarummo (2007) earned the check, while Hirschman won in 2008, and Chris Pasteryak scored the checkered in 2009. Todd Annarummo’s victory in 2010 marked the first, and only time, that a father-son combination has scored the big win. Coby started his winning streak in 2011, while Hirschman followed with his second victory in 2012.
Coby won again in 2013 — while rising star Tommy Barrett scored in 2014, and Richard Savary won a year later. Coby and Hirschman added their third each in 2016 and 2017, while since then, two different first-time winners have been to the start/finish line first. Former Whelen Modified Tour champion Ron Silk — and two-time Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified champion Ronnie Wlliams — are the two most recent winners.
Out of the former winners, at least eight of them are expected in the field for this year’s event. Outside of the $10,000 to win check, the race will also provide points for Tri Track competitors with only four races left in the season. Through two events, Silk leads Rameau by eight points, with Les Hinckley, Hirschman and Anthony Sesly completing the top-five.
General admission tickets for adults are $30 per person, with children 6-12-years-old set at $10. Any kids five and under are free. Front gates open at 4 p.m., just in time for fans to catch the practice session for the Tri Track Open Modified Series. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. with heat races and feature action will follow. Seekonk Speedway is back at full capacity and fans will flock to Massachusetts for this special event.
For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit TriTrackModifieds.com and follow the series on social media. For more information on Seekonk Speedway, visit SeekonkSpeedway.com and follow the track on social media.