Organizers Readying For Winchester 200 At Monadnock; Entry List Remains Somewhat Mysterious

Gary Knight, who is behind the organization of Saturday's Modified Touring Series Winchester 200 Open Modified show at Monadnock Speedway

Gary Knight, who is behind the organization of Saturday’s Modified Touring Series Winchester 200 Open Modified show at Monadnock Speedway

Gary Knight was hitting the coffee maker hard on Thursday morning.

With just about 48 hours before the gates open at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. for Saturday’s $15,000 to win Winchester 200, Knight said he was sleepless Wednesday into Thursday morning.

Knight, who started the new “Modified Touring Series” sanctioning body late last year, is the organizer and promoter of the Winchester 200.

“I didn’t sleep a wink last night,” Knight said. “I think I went to sleep about 5:15 [a.m.]. My brain just doesn’t shut off some nights, I stayed awake just thinking and making sure we have everything in place.”

“My excitement level is over the top. I feel like we’ve been able to accomplish every one of our goals. We’ve followed through with everything we said we would be able to do as far as working with the sponsors and working with the race teams. We’ve been working with the racetrack in promoting the race the way that we said we would. I feel like we’ve been able to do everything we said we talked about back in February.”

What Knight doesn’t understand is why it seems so many big names in Modified racing – many who he says had indicated to organizers they would attend – will be staying away from the event.

An event “Roster” on the Modified Touring Series website lists former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champions Donny Lia, Todd Szegedy and Ron Silk, though none of three will be attending.

Matt Hirschman, Chuck Hossfeld and Jimmy Zacharias are also listed on the roster though it’s unclear if any of the three will be there. All three race regularly with the Race of Champions Tour, which has a makeup event Saturday at Lancaster (N.Y.) National Speedway from an April 30 rained out event.

Hirschman, one of the first drivers to commit to the Winchester 200, said Wednesday he expects to make a decision on which event he would attend by Thursday. As of Thursday afternoon he had not indicated where he would be going.

“The ROC thing, … I feel like they could have looked at anything different and done something different other than go on [May 21], Knight said. “They’re asking their competitors to pay the price. They’re actually hurting their own competitors. It’s not good business. Not for their competitors or for trying to work with other people in the business. That’s on their shoulders, that’s not on our shoulders. We didn’t do that. We made sure we didn’t conflict with anybody.”

Other names on the “roster” that it seems likely won’t be there include Steve Masse and Dylan Kopec. The event “roster” includes 35 names, but at least eight of those 35 are known to likely not be attending.

“I believe the car count is going to be 35 plus,” Knight said. “… There’s so many teams out there, it’s about impossible to reach every one of them.

“But there are teams that are not coming that to me it seems like a real disappointment that they’re not trying to come. They say they want more money, they say they want something different, but then they don’t come. There lies the disappointment. They want more money. They want it, they want it, they want it. But if they don’t support these types of races and show the promoters that they’ll race for more than $16,000 purses then why would the promoters put more money up if the teams won’t show up to support a race like this?”


  1. Higher on the priority list for drivers before longer races…before higher purses…is a reputation to know that’ll it’ll be a fair race and a cashable check handed out at the end of the night. Tri-Track struggled to get 30 cars their first year. The Modified Racing Series struggled until the Whelen Tour recessed with the economy.

    “If you build it, they will come” does not apply to racing. If this event has decent racing, fair officiating, and all the monies are paid out as promised, heads will be turned, and there’ll be 30+ cars and many big stars next year.

  2. SeekonkFan says

    I have said it many times, a big purse doesn’t gaurantee all the top drivers or a good race.

  3. Johnny Davis says

    Heard from a few guys that the American racer tire was a turnoff. A few top guys have told me that they won’t skip their reg show to compete on a tire they never tried before. As well as buy 12 tires they can’t use anywhere else

  4. Justafan says

    Poor scheduling is the biggest problem here,also not the best track for the event. But hey at least they are trying,im sure there will a decent count but not many too ranked drivers will be there

  5. I hope this works out well for MTS since this has been an uphill battle. Although I dont want to see new points chasing type touring series, I do want to see more prestigious money races. It’s a shame ROC rescheduled the way they did. This is the biggest payout modified race of the year… You cant tell me they accidentally overlooked the date conflict.

  6. This is going to be such a huge failure in my opinion, I do hope the cars that come to race get paid the same regardless of car counts. 200 laps that starts at 830pm with no yellow flag laps is going to take forever. Unlimited Tires for a Tire that you cant race anywhere else or even practice on is a bad investment unless you have deep pockets. Putting trust in a man that wants a series but only could get 1 race organized since last year leaves obvious doubts and trust issues. Best of luck to everyone involved and I hope I am proved wrong. I

  7. Gary has obviously put his heart and soul into this. Come on racers. Make it work. Your local track or tour will be there next week.

  8. I’m very disappointed to hear many of the advertised entries will not be coming. I’ll be watching social media on Saturday to see who is in fact there and not there before I jump in the car and spend real money on this. I’ve been back and forth on attending for months. I was finally swayed into attending based on who I was led to believe was going to be there. Now I’m back to being unsure. I knew something was up when nobody put out an entry list this week.

    I will cut MTS a break on the date. They picked a day when the other series were off. The ROC deal hurts them although that was beyond their control. After that, what is a better day? The WMT runs almost weekly from mid July into October. Tri Track has a couple of Saturday night shows already. People complain about the date but when else could this event be run? If they run anymore events I’d seriously consider a NY track. The NY teams travel better than the CT teams. Its been that way for a few yrs now. Bring in some Mahoning Valley cars and you could have something. Maybe an Oswego or Holland?? New England is saturated with modified events right now.

  9. darealgoodfella says

    Relax people… this is going to be fine. Adjust your expectations. The days of the awesome, rock ’em-sock ’em open shows are not what they used to be.

    The big issues are weather and if the checks will clear.

    The bill for tires that most likely can’t be used anywhere else is a big pill.

    Yeah, there are no big names, but what can you expect? The promoter has no credibility until he successfully runs a few of these events. The venue is a VMRS staple. It’s an off-off-broadway event. When he successfully runs a few events, and the checks clear, then we’ll see better turnouts of the top tier teams. Consider this a VMRS version of the Thompson 300.

    Heart and soul doesn’t mean a damn thing… will the checks clear?

  10. I dont know the guy who is running it i wish him great results would go have prior obligtions.

  11. Bil. Realist says

    At least you can watch the 29 15 and 06 battle for it!??

  12. I will make the drive from Long Island but i must say I’m not happy about the ROC kick in the face.That was lowdown to do to their teams.they knew a lot of their teams were looking forward to this day.American racer was probably a bad choice for tires although they seem to wear well.Hirschman won a couple of distance races foregoing a late tire change on them a couple of years ago when ROC ran them for one season, but like everyone here is saying,what do you do with them Sunday morning.They’re to big to fit under the bed.Also maybe should have been Stafford or Thompson but what the hay,Hopefully a good race and a decent drive for me.

  13. If you can’t get the big names at $15,000 to win then they are not interested. A lot of money up for grabs . If I had a mod I would be there why not…….weather could be a factor.promoter needs the fans support big time….good luck hope you do well…..

  14. Andy Boright says

    If you knew Knight’s reputation, you would understand the racers hesentcy to support this race. It wasn’t well promoted, they are using drivers who are not going to be there, how many more red flags do you need?

  15. Bob Npt. says

    Let’s face it folks. There are too many tours. There will obviously be conflicts.

  16. Fast Eddie says

    The first SBM125 at Star only had 19 cars. A couple of the Open Wheel Wednesday races at Seekonk had similar car counts with $10,000 to win. The end result was STILL a really good race, not many cautions, and a chance for some of the low buck teams to show their stuff and make some money. Based on what I’ve seen online, the MTS needs to prove themselves and I hope they do. This is kind of like a gamblers race due to the big buy-in for tires and the ROC rainout certainly doesn’t help. Bottom line: I hope they have a successful race!

  17. darealgoodfella says

    Starting late, 200 GREEN FLAG laps, tire… the checker flag will fly at around midnight.

  18. I wouldn’t be to concerned about starting time. Almost all of the WMT events there end up rolling out much earlier than expected. Monadnocks weekly divisions get done quickly. They could be green by 8:15. I’m always on my way home earliest at Monadnock than other tracks
    George Big Money Savary is my prediction for what it is worth. He cleaned up $$ last season.

  19. getserious says

    Stupid of the track to run their full weekly show including their 6-car heats. Those are a waste, and I do mean WASTE, of precious time. This whole show, properly run, should be 5 hours, tops. Who wants to be at a track for more than 5 hours? These guys aren’t even planning to start the 200 until 8:30. Still, for $15,000, et al, somebody is going to show up, right?

  20. Andy Boright says

    NH Mark – why would you compare a series that has spent decades running the same show, to an organization that has never run a race before in it’s life?

    They aren’t honest enough to only use the name of drivers who intend to race, what makes you think they are honest enough (or have the money), to pay the full purse?

    Seems like a potential Bobby MacArthur deal to me, where modified teams are promised a lot of money they never see.

  21. I believe in the ownership at Monadnock. They have run enough 100 and 200 lap touring series races to know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. I do agree the the entry list was manipulated to something it wasn’t. I assume the payout will come from the front gate so not going probably doesn’t help the cause. I still think MTS should refund the ROC guys. From what they told Shawn yesterday it doesn’t sound like that will happen. If the show hasn’t happened the money should still be available for refund.

  22. Norm Desjardins says

    I’ll save my criticisms (if any) for after the race.

  23. I accidentally posted is on the wrong thread, so here it is again…
    I was interested in attending this race, but life got in the way.

    I hope it’s a success, and that the winner collecting the check doesn’t turn into the Bob’s Country Bunker check writing scene in “The Blues Brothers”.

    A successful high paying series could do a lot for Northeastern mods.

  24. darealgoodfella says

    NH Mark, stop worrying about the $150 entry fee. If anyone paid it as an early entry fee, they were idiots. Do you really think if a team showed up and they had not paid the early entry fee they would be turned away? The entry fee is less than the price of one tire. Least of their concerns.

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