SEEKONK, Mass. – In the weeks and days leading up to Sunday’s special $5,000 to win SK Modified event at Seekonk Speedway, the talk around the pit areas of the short tracks of Connecticut was of numbers few have seen in quite some time for an event for the cars.
No knock on the 26-car field that started Sunday’s event at Seekonk, but it was an event that truly proved the cliché, talk is cheap.
Of the 26 cars that started, 20 were SK Modifieds and six SK Light Modifieds. Those are hardly a numbers that do anything to bear witness to any sort of thriving health for the division.
When it comes to Modified racing of any sort, one of the most common conversations is about big shows. Hang around drivers or team owners long enough and the conversations will meander toward the topic of the good old days and open shows that paid big money to win and how it’s something that the division needs to return to having regularly.
Promoter Gary Sagar and Seekonk Speedway did that Sunday and oddly, they were given a “Thanks, but no thanks” from so many that make up the bulk of SK Modified and SK Light Modified racing community.
That so many stayed away made it all that much easier for race winner Matt Hirschman to walk away with the $5,000 winner’s purse at the end, but even he was left wondering where the cars were.
“I really expected more and I think they could do better,” Hirschman said. “It’s one of them things that I scratch my head as to why guys don’t support something that pays above and beyond what you’d get anywhere else. I think it was a good field, but there’s definitely a lot more cars out there.”
Granted this wasn’t the type of money that was going to send any car owner into early retirement, but it was much more than anybody is collecting at any regular weekly events.
And it seemed to be arranged in a way that would work for Connecticut weekly racers to make the show. The Sunday schedule allowed all teams to run their normal events, come to Seekonk to race, and if they did have problems, they would be afforded plenty of time to make repairs in time to return to their weekly tracks in one piece.
And the reality is, the tiny Seekonk bullring isn’t a place where catastrophic damage from any wreck is likely to happen.
The $5,000 to win on the line should have had at minimum, each driver that could contend for a win weekly at Stafford Motor Speedway, Thompson International Speedway or the Waterford Speedbowl, in the house.
Stafford Speedway’s logo says “The Home of the SK Modifieds” and yet only two SK Modified teams that race regularly at Stafford made the trek Seekonk. Of the 20 SK Modified teams in attendance most were from the Waterford Speedbowl.
So what is the answer, or is there even an answer? Can anybody make these type of shows work now? Is it all talk when team owners and drivers say the sport needs more open shows?
The cars that did show up at Seekonk Sunday put on a good show for the fans. It was a race that had some feisty skirmishes in the front, lots of passing through the field and the added bonus of pit strategy. It had everything a good open competition, big money paying show should have. So why was it not good enough for so many teams that make up the bulk of the SK Modified fields at Connecticut three short tracks that showcase the division?
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