Don’t Hate The Player: Melissa Fifield Deserves Credit Not Criticism For NASCAR Award

Melissa Fifield

Melissa Fifield


It’s what Melissa Fifield has been doing for three years as a driver with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

It’s a fair to say that Fifield really isn’t teaching her competition on the track all that much. Rather, Fifield is learning how to get up to speed with the division. And it’s been a slow go for the Wakefield, N.H. driver, who has struggled mightily on track in three years with the series.


The fact is, just because Fifield is usually far behind her peers on the track when the green flag flies, that doesn’t mean her competition on the Whelen Modified Tour can’t learn a thing or two from what she does.

Where they can learn from her is what she does off the track.

On Wednesday NASCAR announced that Fifield had earned her third consecutive Most Popular Driver award with the series.

It only took minutes after the announcement before the ugly vitriol and mean-spirited sarcasm targeted at Fifield began sweeping across social media among those keeping up with the coming and goings of the Whelen Modified Tour.

Has Fifield’s struggles on the track over the last three years made her an easy target for jokes and criticism? Absolutely. There’s no denying that.

But nobody among her peers or those on teams she competes against or fans of the series should joke about how she handles business off the track. The reality is, her competition should be jealous that in today’s struggling world of short track racing, she probably gets survival in the sport better than most.

Is NASCAR’s system for deciding its Most Popular Driver awards for their touring divisions flawed? Some could say yes, that online voting is probably not the best judge of who is most popular. Then again, is there really even a way to truly judge it?

That Fifield has won the award three consecutive years shows she and her team understand that part of succeeding in racing today is homegrown promotion and engagement.

The fact that Fifield and her supporters have so engaged a group of her fans to loyally vote for her year after year shows that she understands the power of engagement for creating success.

And in the bigger picture of the health of short track racing overall, it speaks volumes for what Fifield understands that many others don’t.

There’s a familiar refrain that comes from across all spectrums of short track racing, from touring divisions to weekly track competitors. It’s the complaint that nobody is doing anything to promote them. You hear about how NASCAR doesn’t put them on TV or NASCAR doesn’t promote us online or the tracks don’t advertise enough or promote what we’re doing.

Then you ask, “What have you done to promote yourself?”

The idea that sometimes if you need help you’ve got to help yourself seems lost on many teams involved in short track racing today.

There was a time in this area when you couldn’t drive a 10-mile radius around a local track on a weekend day without seeing multiple race teams out making an appearance at a local gas station or other types of business and reaching out – hand to hand directly – with the community.

These days the “appearance” for local race teams has become a lost art, and with that fact, local teams are losing the chance to connect with the next generation that will help perpetuate the sport.

And then there’s social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. A free form of promotion. Free access to the fans you’re trying to get to show up at the track. And yet the percentage of short track drivers actually using it well to promote themselves or their teams is miniscule.

Bravo to those who do. And more times than not it’s the younger drivers out there today who could teach the veterans a thing or two about it. Look at 14-year old Jacob Perry, a Mini Stock driver at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl who does weekly videos on Facebook updating his results and promoting his sponsors. He’s engaging fans and doing a far better job of it than many of his veteran peers who ignore the free pipeline of promotion, but then complain that track management doesn’t do anything to help them.

If you were in the New Hampshire area on Sunday watching the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship deciding event from Homestead-Miami Speedway on NBC you would have seen Fifield’s face multiple times. During the broadcast of the event Fifield was featured in commercials run locally for one of her sponsors Eastern Propane and Oil of Rochester, N.H.

It’s fair to say Fifield was the only Whelen Modified Tour driver being featured in television commercials broadcast anywhere during Sunday’s wildly popular Sprint Cup finale event.

And why? Surely not because she’s been amazingly successful on track in the division. But, her hard work off the track in engaging fans, sponsors and supporters is the reason she’s on TV in a commercial, promoting herself and one her valuable sponsors.

She gets it, she understands what she needs to survive in racing and what racers need to do to keep the sport moving forward. And has anyone seen or heard her complain that NASCAR isn’t doing enough to promote her? No, they have not.

Short track racing isn’t going to survive because one day a new generation of fans and competitors is magically going to be born out of thin air. It’s going to take work to survive. Work that not only has to be done by the sanctioning bodies and the tracks involved, but also the competitors.

Fifield does that work, and she should be envied by her peers for just how well she does it.


  1. Andy Boright says

    Shawn, that is totally B.S.

    Quit trying to suck up, if she and her team really do “get it”, they would be more competitive by now. All she and her team have been able to do is manaplaite a seriously flawed system that most other teams don’t put much (if any) effort into.

    She isn’t close to being the series most popular driver, and crowd reaction to her at pit parties and driver intros is proof of that.

    She hasn’t been improving as a driver either, quit that nonsense about her “learning”.

  2. It’s really easy to sit in the stands, a beer in one hand, a dough boy in the other and cast critism on those who are trying. Get a life all you critics and grow up. Don’t you have anything better to do then attacking someone who’s doing something you wish you were doing? Let me guess… That your mist likely incabable of doing???

  3. 47,000 votes for all the regional series in just over a months time?? One vote per person per day. Come on now. There are obviously system issues with this. Voting should be at that track only. The award is useless at the end of the day but I would never want to be known as something I’m not. I guess that’s my biggest takeaway from this.

  4. Shawn you may be right,she gets it more than most people give her credit for and obviously more than Andy,not sure Andy got past first sentence before he started typing. Shawn thanks for RACEDAYCT and Happy Holidays to all even you Andy,you gotta lighten up its the holiday season

  5. We can all agree about her on track results, and that she is over her head racing the tour. But she comes across as a very nice young woman. I’ve seen some real nasty stuff about her on here.

  6. justwanarace says

    Please explain something to me. Why bash someone for trying? Who cares if she is running at the rear of the field, she is doing something that most people only dream about doing. Being involved with racing at one time meant you were part of the family, the racing family where all were welcome. As for the intro’s and pit parties i see most of the fans around drivers that give out the best candy and hero cards. You are fooling yourself if you think being a top running car makes you a better person or a more popular driver. Let’s keep it real, racing clean and being respectful makes a driver a better person.

  7. Grumpy old man says

    Mama always said if you don’t have something nice to say, than don’t say anything at all. I will never understand why people feel the need to publicly attack someone and say nasty things. What if she was your sister or daughter, I bet you wouldn’t like it. Time for people to show a little respect and treat others the way you would like to be treated.

  8. Nice article, Shawn. As far as the system goes,it is flawed. You can’t blame Melissa for that. Should she be out there in a tour car? No, definitely not. But she shouldn’t be criticized personally for being there and winning the award. If I could run a tour modified I would love too. Until the most popular driver voting system changes it will be the same discussion.

  9. We should keep it real.The embarrassing spectacle she puts on year after year is not racing its trying to stay out of the way.I certainly have felt bad for her in the past and guilty about the way I react but three years running at stuffing the ballot box is just to much to take now.If she’s good at what you say Shawn then she should do that,because she will never be a racer.Not one bit of improvement in three years.So let her promote and be an ambassador of good will.Doug Dunleavey certainly does a lot for racing without getting out on the track and endangering others.If he won a popularity contest no one would be surprised.Shawn I certainly hear what your saying about vitriol.But a rigged deal like this certainly gets under peoples skin.In my opinion you are way of base on this.

  10. Art,
    How is it “rigged”? Because other drivers can’t get their fanbases to vote with the same fervor that makes it “rigged”? That doesn’t even make sense. Saying it’s rigged is saying someone cheated the system. Engaging your fans and getting them to vote for you is not cheating. Any other drivers in the series could do the same thing she does.

  11. Maybe they should change to an electoral college voting system. 🙂 I give her credit for trying. Definately a flawed voting system.

  12. darealgoodfella says

    Well, where are her fans at the track, cheering for her during introductions? None. Any fans hanging around her pit stall? No. I do believe she was omitted from the driver intros at one of the last races. Ouch! These would be fans that bought tickets, buy concessions, financially support the event. Has she brought fans to the track? Doesn’t look like it. These fans appear to be the silent majority, nobody sees them or hears them. They don’t appear to be spending the all important dollars at the track. But apparently they have many email addresses.

    If she were my sister or daughter, I would be doing everything I could to get her to stop. I certainly wouldn’t enable it.

    This appears to be plain and simple gaming the system.

    We go to the track to see competitive racing. The 01 is the antithesis of competitive and racing. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. It’s not a matter of if, but when. It is extremely cringeworthy watching the 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 16, 25, 29, 44, 51, 82, et al. have to run up high to avoid the 01. It is bizarre to see the front rotors of the 01 glowing red hot when the car is so slow, and the rotors of the faster cars are not glowing red. That is driver. That a driver can have such perennially poor performance year after year, garner sponsorship and win popularity awards just reeks. The other drivers leave it on the track and let their driving do the talking.

    There is value in the Most Popular Driver award, it can be used to leverage sponsorship. That’s all this is about, gaming the system to get sponsorship, other people’s money. Is that a legit reason to win a Most Popular DRIVER Award. Please dwell on the word “DRIVER”.

  13. The problem is there are really no hero’s on the modified tour anymore. No one cares to vote, except a few that think it is important that she wins most popular driver. It’s pretty obvious that the system is broke so NASCAR should fix it. Maybe that to be eligible you must be top 15 in points or have so many completed laps

  14. Shawn,It is a system made to be gamed.Do you really think that our top teams and even our not so top teams care one iota about this nonsense?They have better things to do than go to church and ask people to vote for them.To Quote dareal this certainly REEKS to high heaven.Indeed I have sat in the stands and cringed but now I’m insulted and running out of sympathy. It’s almost Thanksgiving and instead of looking forward to the day and having my grandkids around I have my knickers in a twist.At this point maybe all that can be said is WHATEVER

  15. darealgoodfella says

    The voting should be a the track. Show your PAID ticket, vote, ticket gets punched/marked. Force the people that want to vote to go to the track and spend the money to get their driver awarded.


  16. Liz Cherokee says

    Simple Question: Has she brought fans to the track?
    Simple Answer: Yes!

    Pop the cork!

  17. She might be a fine person, but it’s either she simply can not drive at a competitive speed or her equipment is beyond junk.

    Either way. it is painful to watch

  18. I am ashamed to say I support this series……What a Joke……and the award goes to the driver who should not be on the track.

  19. This is the only time anyone figures out who she is. Two laps down and a mechanical failure racing. NASCAR loves to pander to the this. How about they start paying the winners more so the mods won’t fold. Worry about the teams that give her a chance to go for a Sunday drive, when they stop racing not only will Miss Marissa continue to be the most popular driver she will be the only driver.

  20. As others have stated it is hard to understand why the team continues to go out on the WMT when you have shown NO competitive improvement, with all the choices of track and sk, sk lite to run and actually race side by side and pass others, then go to the tour and race, the negative jokes about her get tiring, but also saying she is the MOST POPULAR driver any yr let alone 3 straight is a joke, has nothing to do with her being female just showing no ability to compete!

  21. The system isn’t rigged, it’s flawed. Her fan base certainly isn’t paying the $40 plus each weekend to watch her race like the rest of us are. The young drivers will always win these because their peer groups are more social media savvy. They should do what MLB does. The drivers, select media and fans all make up a percentage of the vote. I believe a ℅ of the fan vote is at the ballpark too.

    Art wears knickers?? Who knew.

  22. darealgoodfella says

    Liz, if she has brought fans to the track, why do they stay away from her? Why are they so silent? How many?

    Learning? All that needed to learned should have been learned years ago. Now it is either you have it or you don’t. She’s lacking, she can’t drive, it is that obvious.

    She, and her Dad, do not get it. She has to go and promote herself to get whatever sponsorship she can because she does not place at all to get a piece of the purse. What does DNF pay? I have to wonder what her sponsor(s) are really paying, and what incentives. They are replacing performance with promoting and selling. I can’t believe anyone would sponsor her. This is purely playing on the novelty of a girl, but performance-wise the girl is doing nothing more than making it look like girls have no place in racing.

    NASCAR desperately needs to be able to take some credit for diversity, even something like this, to take attention away from the Confederate flags and white robes with pointy hats, that have seen a resurgence in popularity recently.

    As a paying customer, I would expect NASCAR, or the tracks, to cull the field of these cars. What the 01 is doing is as disgraceful as the “start & park” problem.

  23. darealgoodfella says

    Liz, where is the section of the stands at each track where all the Ms. Fifield supporters gather?

  24. At the track voting should be the order of the day .Two inexpensive scanners is all nascar would need to let fans vote one and done at each track.Each fan would be able to vote once at that track.Traveling with the tour would be the only way fans could vote multiple times.Anyone with a ticket stub or wrist band gets to scan it and vote at each race.One race one vote, sixteen races sixteen votes.Nascar could promote this and setup on the midways.Sounds like fun and the whole bash Melissa thing goes away along with her annual crown.It actually could be easily done at all their venues and their divisions.

  25. Does it really matter who win most popular driver. If you go to the races to see who you think is going to the most friendly and best to talk to then get a life. She seems like a good young lady and if the other drivers have a problem let them deal with it. Wade Cole has been doing the same thing for 30 years.

  26. Wade Cole passes other cars.

  27. Nasty woman says

    I have to say as bad as this young woman is on the track she has more hands on exp then darealgood loser fellow who just flaps his stupid trap because he has no life whatsoever . At least ms fifield can say I drove a modified on the track . What can MS DAH – REAL – LOSERFELLOW say he has actually done ? He just flaps away because all he really has is a bunch of pencils in his shirt pocket .

  28. Rather Melissa’s grandfather used to beat up Art everyday and take his lunch money, or he can’t deal with the fact an award was given out and his precious Ryan didn’t get it. Which is it Art?

  29. I would like to know who finished 2nd and by how many points.

  30. darealgoodfella says

    Art, if her “fanbase” showed up to the tracks, the purses could be YUGE!

  31. darealgoodfella says

    A minister, a police chief, and an insurance agent walk into a bar…

  32. Wade Cole career stats. 31 years. 322 starts. No top 5s. 6 top 10s. She’s on her way to top his totals. Shawn you should do a poll. Who will have the best stats at the end of their racing career.

  33. Great post there Paul.This has nothing to do with our precious Ryan.It’s about a shameless young girl in way over her head on the race track.BTW I used to carry a sardine sandwich to school everyday so no toughs wanted my lunch.I was able to grow up and bully Melissa.And yes indeed Wade and all the other drivers occasionally pass other cars.Melissa never does.Shawn says she is great in other capacities then she should do that.When Bryan Chew drove the 88 it was a top 10-12 car.He put Woody in the seat it became a top three car.That said Bryan Chew didn’t stink he was just not as good as Woody.At the end of the day its the Fifield’s family business to do what they want.Staying out on the track will invite more of these posts on and on.It’s not about dareal or me or any others that comment negatively here.I don’t think people are being unfair.

  34. Hey Franky, hoe can she be on her way to topping Wade’s totals?! I don’t think she has a top 10, or even a top 15!

  35. Andy Boright says

    Never a top 10 finish, and never a finish on the lead lap. At least Wade Cole has won on lower levels.

  36. The award isn’t about on track achievement. You have race wins and season championships which are provided to individuals for on track success. The most popular driver is all about getting people out to vote for you. She has successfully accomplished getting more votes than any of the other drivers in the paddock. I am curious how many people complaining about this result actually took the time to vote. You had the opportunity to change this result. I will be honest with you, I didnt vote, so I have no right to be upset with the result. In the indycar or cup series, I believe Danica Patrick and Dale JR are multiple winners of the most popular driver award. Neither have won a championship or set the world on fire for wins in the years they won the award. Next year, take the time to vote for somebody else, change the result. she has won it 3 years in a row and guess what she will probably win it next year, because her team is apparently the only one that cares about the award. I don’t understand why everyone is so upset about this. I would agree with another poster, it would be interesting to see who got 2nd and 3rd and their vote totals.

  37. So far SPAFCO & LFR chassis have not made any improvement in her driving. Who’s next, Troyer, CD? You can’t convince me it’s the car or engine, just not drinking any of that koolaid!

  38. Liz Cherokee says

    Anyone ever think that Melissa’s diehard fan base just might be more sophisticated and quiescent? Perhaps they simply prefer not to be carnival barkers at each race and instead prefer to speak as a silent majority at the end of the year…

  39. It’s not the equipment
    She has good stuff the reason she goes slow is because she likes to
    She is a good driver too
    She taught a lot of guys how to race
    She runs times that are top 5 usually

  40. Crazy in NY says

    Same number of NASCAR wins as Danica. Hmmm…I wonder if Go Daddy is looking to get back into
    Cup? Melissa,,,stay by your phone.

  41. darealgoodfella says

    Just how slow is the minimum speed rule? Can’t believe that doesn’t eliminate the 01.

  42. Do her sponsors attend the races???…Do they even know what they are “investing” in??….What sponsor would willingly pay for what she does on the track?…..and Franky, 6 top 10s for Cole…..The 01 will never have 1, not even in a 9 car field.

  43. Liz you are a Moron…..Clueless….stay away from the race track.

  44. ModFan Homtracks says

    In my group, we go to every Mod tour race and have these bets: we handicap the field and pick Winner, top 3, dark horse winner, you take the over/under on what lap the 01 will be lapped, and sometimes we have to pick the exact lap she will be lapped for big money. She’s good for the tour; I won a few hundred on the over/under alone this year. You guys want in on the action?? Ha ha.

  45. darealgoodfella says

    cg, since this is no longer considered politicly incorrect, Danika is a 10, total eye-candy. Have you ever seen her bikini and yoga pictures? Come on! She’s a 10, maybe an 11!!! A YUGE 10.

    Dale Jr. is a sentimental favorite, and he is a contender that has won plenty of races.

    So instead of calling it the Most Popular DRIVER Award, call it the I Got the Most Votes Anyway Possible Award.

    To her credit, she has not caused accidents that took out contending cars, like other back markers have. That’s just a matter of time.

    Liz, don’t you think these quiescent fans would like to go to the track and actually see what they are supporting and voting for?

  46. Liz and Jeffrey, while I enjoy your posts I think you both need to get a heaping dose of reality. She is out of her league in the WMT. When the series combines and they happen to get healthy car counts she will have many DNQ’s in her future.

  47. There has always been issues with with the voting for a all of the NASCAR most popular drivers awards. It is not like this is a first. Bill Elliot won it for the Cup Series 16 out of 19 seasons solely because his fan club always had an organized voting effort. He was probably really the most popular driver only a handful of those seasons. It was never legit. Was he really more popular than Richard Petty the season he won his 200th race or in Petty’s final season too? Was he really more popular than Jeff Gordon during the 90’s when Gordon was winning tons of races and titles and Elliot was falling into obscurity while trying to run his own team with poor results?

  48. JMB,The names your throwing out there are real racers who have won countless races!We are talking about Melissa Fifield here.Your comparing Gordon and Petty in relation to what?You can compare these guy s with one another.You can’t compare Melissa with anyone.What is your point?

  49. You missed my point Art. Elliot won all those awards in years he was clearly not the most popular driver. His fan clubs always organized to stuff the ballot box. There was zero shot he was more poplar than Petty in 84 or 92. Also when you were around the the Cup tracks during the mid to late 90’s there were at least a half dozen drivers moving more merchandise(hats\t-shirts) than Bill but he still won the fan vote.

  50. Yeah, but so did Hillary Clinton. Where we at now?

  51. Jeffrey, you crack me up!
    “She runs times that are top 5 usually”
    I can’t stop laughing, someone please call an ambulance.

    SK LITES – that’s right, LITES – at Stafford have run times faster than hers on the WMT!

    Again, she may be a fine person, but racing on the WMT? No.Way.

    Same thing happened with Lauren Cooper a few years ago. Great in the carts, did not translate well to the SK Lites. Had the equipment – Britt Andersen’s ride if I remember – skills just did not translate as needed.

    Happens, not just with women, but guys as well. Some folks just max out at an earlier point talent wise.

  52. I sit through features at Stafford with 13 cars spread out all over the track listening to Ben Dodge say how someone is gaining when clearly it is more fantasy then competition and you’re going to complain about Fifield not competing. Her team puts up all that money, goes to the the races, does all that work and competes against all guys she should get something. She is the most popular.What person doesn’t route for her to do her best.And if you’re complaining about the chick getting a little love there is nothing most popular with anything associated with you.

  53. darealgoodfella says

    Anybody remember Dave Marcus? The booth announcers would mumble and say he doesn’t belong on the track, while on live TV. It happens.

  54. humphry-I doubt the combined modified tour is going to increase car counts, I would speculate there will be less cars following the tour. I don’t think the tour will be sending many cars home early as a DNQ next season. My guess are owners are probably going to look at the cost, increased travel and time away from home and decide it isn’t worth it anymore. A few owners already said they are dropping out or cutting back and I haven’t heard of anyone new stating they are joining the tour. We will see what happens.

    Does anyone know when the tour will release next years schedule? When do they typically release it?

  55. From my couch it looks like Art missed a lot of points,Melissa keep doing what you love and the rest of us will be watching wishing we could be out there,and most think they could do better,while never even sat in a mod seat,don’t give up .Shawn with all the posts looks to me like she is pretty popular

  56. You can say one thing, she is the most popular (talked about) on this site😀

  57. ….says da round Blogger

  58. Liz Cherokee says

    I laugh when someone calls me a moron… Perhaps I shouldn’t because I know that’s the best some can do with their currently limited abilities. Maybe one day they can gain some introspective and look at my friend Melissa for some inspiration on how to turn their best efforts into something positive.
    No hard feelings… I regard such comments like the tiny bubbles on the side of my champagne flute, they share an evanescence as all I have to do is tilt back, take a sip, and they’re gone!
    However, Melissa’s back-to-back-to-back Whelen Modified Tour Most Popular Driver Awards will live on forever! Bottoms up boys!

  59. darealgoodfella says

    I figured it out… Liz Cherokee is really Kellyanne Conway.

  60. Just like the WMT,this is a total joke.

  61. cg, my point is the races where the car count is healthy, which ever ones they are, she will not qualify, and if she is lucky enough to qualify, she will continue to be a back marker. She reminds me of the start and park cars that NASCAR uses to fill the fields in their upper divisions. The only thing us she does not park and how that pays the bills I don’t know.

  62. Elect has been following this thread for days now and thinks our queen is popular?I wonder what he is imbibing that couch?Maybe he and Liz are together but me thinks the crystal Liz talks about is crystal meth!

  63. Humphrey do you really think any of them are paying the bills with the winnings? And Art another point missed I don’t think I ever said she was or wasn’t popular but she’s doing what she wants,and you have 6 posts and I bet your not done yet,I think Shawn knew exactly what he was doing with this article,good job

  64. Liz Cherokee says

    Crystal meth? Well I’ve stayed at Claridge’s in Mayfair (lovely tea and crumpets you should know!), but that’s on Park Lane… I’ve never been down Jeremy Mayfield lane! Tisk! Tisk!
    However I will take responsibility for your confusion because the moronic autotext on my phone is a bit too plebian and misspelled the name of the fine Louis Roederer champagne… It is Cristal and not Crystal! Please excuse the oversight on my part!

  65. James Scott says

    Elect your so right. Most here are clueless. Good fella (or whatever his name is) brings up Dave Marcis who is probably one of the greatest independants ever. People here also bring up Wade Cole who is to the tour, what Dave Marcis was to Winston Cup. These guys are racers. Malissa has a way to go before being close to these guys but she is out there every week doing what turns her on. Ken Heagy, Dave McDonald, whoever, anybody who shows up every week is a racer. Anybody remember Joe Bubbico? Joe raced every week against the greatest. He was there every week. Maybe the big boys on the tour should pay more attention about self promotion.

  66. Elect,I went back and read your post.Last line “looks to me she’s pretty popular”
    Liz, I’m not confused just being a wise guy.Hopefully it’s taken that way.You seem to be a good sport.

  67. James the tour should be in good shape next year as Art ,Dareal, and Humprey,I’m sure will be replacing the cars the tour loses next year and they will be upfront , Dareal will have the biggest carb. Humphrey will keep it going with the winnings,and Art no telling what he’ll do but I’m sure they’ll all be going for the win,the stands will be rocking with all the fans.I’m so excited I can’t wait

  68. I gotta stop or I’ll have as many post as Art Merry Christmas

  69. darealgoodfella says

    Seems like a whole bunch of voting is being manipulated and contaminated this year.

  70. Next year I’m gonna use 5 VPN apps and vote for Mellisa 1000 times a day during the work week and 10,000 times a day during the weekends.

  71. Next year I’m gonna use 5 VPN apps and vote for Mellisa 1000 times a day during the work week and 10,000 times a day during the weekends.

  72. Next year I’m gonna use 5 VPN apps and vote for Mellisa 1000 times a day during the work week and 10,000 times a day during the weekends.

  73. Next year I’m gonna use 5 VPN apps and vote for Mellisa 1000 times a day during the work week and 10,000 times a day during the weekends.

  74. darealgoodfella says

    She is simply not a good driver. She is terrified on entry. Her car is the slowest, but she has the front rotors glowing red on entry, and that makes no sense. She is so slow, she should be able to glide right in, but she’s terrified and standing on the brake. That is not a real driver. After all these years, she should be able to enter by now. If it didn’t happen by now, it’s never going to happen. Real drivers are always trying to find the edge, she’s doing everything to never get near it.

  75. OK Kurt, we get the message!

    FYI, during the World Series there were SK Lights in the 19’s and what was her qualifying time? Someone please tell me……………

  76. Humphry, that would be 19.907.

  77. darealgoodfella says

    She goes that slow to save tires so she can run them at more than one event.

  78. Thanks fast. So she is as fast as the top SK Lights, slower than the majority of the SK’s and WMT cars. I rest my case.

    I wish she would just drop down a division or two where she could be more competitive and probably have a chance to win.

  79. darealgoodfella says

    She can’t be competitive. She can not drive, she can not drive in traffic. She’d get destroyed in competitive traffic.

  80. I have respect and always root for the teams that are out there on a limited budget and doing the best they can with what they have; they’re running their passion for Modifieds. Most of the slower racers were competitive at one time, and unfortunately their budget didn’t increase at the rate needed to continue being competitive. However, I think the #01 really needs more seat time in lower categories in order to improve. She won’t learn much running 10-15 mph slower than the field she’s running in. If she’s running in a class at a competitive speed, she can learn how to race. Then she can learn how to race faster cars.

  81. I dont understand the big debate. She markets herself and her team very well. She is off the pace but stays out of everybody’s way so she’s not a danger. Who is complaining? If the driver’s are complaining then they’re being babies (not surprised since we are talking about the fabulous modified tour drivers). Drivers are aware of her existence and she is seen from a distance as the faster drivers approach her car. She’s doing the best she can, she’s young, she’s putting in her time, maybe 5-10 years down the road she’ll be racing for decent finishes. With all that’s wrong with short track racing, is this really a big deal?

  82. Crazy in NY says

    In this day and age of PC everything the idea of NASCAR kicking it’s ONLY female WMT driver out of the series is laughable. If she was a he (Marty FiFeild) do you think we would be having this “debate”?
    So she gets voted most popular…who cares?

  83. Fast, you articulated your opinion perfectly, could not have said it better.

    Crazy, nothing to do with the gender.

  84. Thanks humphry. My opinion was formed one day at Thompson during WMT qualifying. Even the low-buck teams roll through the center of the corners and are on the throttle before the corner exit. The 01 is braking much earlier and staying on them through the center, finally back on the throttle coming off. Maybe that’s why she’s out early with brake problems so often. In a slower class she could learn the technique of running a given track’s line efficiently for that class of car. Moving up would then mean learning the faster car. She’s trying to learn the tracks, the lines, the speed, and how to race all at once. I think that’s a tall order for almost anyone to try to accomplish!

  85. darealgoodfella says

    She can’t drive. It is crucial to turn in the modified. These cars are all about turning. She gets destroyed on the smaller, tighter bullrings, with all that close confines traffic, where she is a traffic cone. Her least worst is at Loudon with all that room and extremely large radius turns.

    That’s why the Riverhead guys are so good on the tight tracks, they survived and thrived at Riverhead, one of the tiniest tracks out there. Anybody can drive on a straightaway, the better drivers can navigate and compete on the turns of the tightest tracks.

    Ms. Phiphield went asymptotic a long time ago. Watching and listening to the 01 this season was scary. She’s had enough seat time to be much better than she is. Simply can not blame equipment at this point. It’s a question of talent. She’s out of the throttle and on the brakes extremely early, and into the throttle way late, not until on the straight much of the time. How much longer will people continue to do the same thing over and over thinking the next time will be better, different? It’s insane.

    And if you think gender is not a part of this, you are wrong. You think she isn’t playing the girl card for all she can? Of course she is. If she was a he, this would have been stopped a long time ago.

  86. Liz Cherokee says

    If she can get some support from the new southern block of voters that will come with the expansion of the WMT next year, maybe Magnificent Melissa can pull off a four-peat next year!

  87. Old man racer says

    I wonder if anybody in the pits has tried to help them out?
    Try putting a proven driver in the car to get the setup right. The other teams would benefit from getting her up to speed. If she is still slow, then the team will realize they have some soul searching to do. What happened to the LFR cars sharing info? I fiND it hard to believe they wouldn’t help out a customer. You would think that if they made HER competetive, they would sell even more cars.
    By the way, if I remember correctly, the most popular driver used to get a provisional starting spot (back when all cars did not qualify).I think that may be how this all started.

  88. darealgoodfella says

    I believe a well known driver got in the car towards the end of this past season. The car went lots faster, by something like over a second. This has NOTHING to do with the equipment. Enough help has been offered to know conclusively that the equipment is indeed capable. There is no way a team has three years of equipment issues, race after race.

  89. Fast Eddie says

    Based on the paint job, I was thinking her car may have been one of the “house cars” that Todd Zsegedy and Ronnie Silk were driving. If so, it must have a decent set-up in it. I also didn’t understand why she moved up to WMT from the VMRS; if she gets a provisional that might explain why. She didn’t make the field for some of those VMRS events. Maybe some racing school sessions would help.

  90. darealgoodfella says

    It does appear to be one of the LFR house cars that she ended up with. Up close, you could see the LFR theme was painted over.

    She couldn’t qualify in the VMRS, too many cars. She had to go where she could run, and the low car counts with the WMT were a perfect match.

  91. The black flags come even earlier at Riverhead.She is not good at any track ,seat time has not helped.If she converted her car to an SK she could run in New England 3 nites a week.She hasn’t done that.The 01 team seems to be happy with the status quo.Liz has nothing to worry about she will be our most popular turtle once again.As I related last year I was sitting in the pit stands at mad dog and heard a team member and the nascar official laughing because she spun in practice.Good the team guy said” she’s finally looking for the edge”.That was two years ago.She found the edge, it scared the bejesus out of her and now dareal has nightmares about glowing metal.I am willing to bet there will never be any improvement.Humphry is asking about qualifying times,but she’s not that much slower than some other back markers.She gets lapped immediately the other guys not as soon.She’s afraid no doubt about it.

  92. …Lets keep it gong and help out some clearly attention starved people.

  93. Read the last two sentences of Fast’s post on 11/30/16 and I believe it covers the subject well.

  94. Not everyone has what it takes regardless of their gender.

  95. This is exactly why she is the most popular driver. Story after story of the “regulars”in new england averaging 5 maybe 10 comments. Melisa, 105 in these two little articles. Yes she is horrible, there is no disputing how dangerous she can make it out there. But her name is out here and were all talking about it here. She will give up on it when she realizes the time, money, and effort just isn’t paying off, or maybe were all wrong and shes playing possum an…….. sorry i tried to type that with a straight face but its impossible. She’ll win the award for as many years as she races. She has a silent following that is extremely supportive. Who really cares, we all see it every week getting black flagged repeatedly. When a wreck is caused and someone gets hurt action will be taken. Its how NASCAR works. If you wanna know who really one the award look at second place in voting.

    Besides i kinda want to see an article hit 100 comments. .

  96. darealgoodfella says

    Fast Eddie said: “She won’t learn much running 10-15 mph slower than the field she’s running in. If she’s running in a class at a competitive speed, she can learn how to race. Then she can learn how to race faster cars.”

    But what if she simply can’t drive fast? If she can’t drive and get close to the edge, then she will never be able to race. In order to race, she has to drive fast and at the edge. If the car is at the edge, then they need to take up another hobby.

  97. darealgoodfella says

    The real shame in all this is that a real driver that could use the award as collateral and equity to get sponsorship is being deprived of the award by Ms. Fifield.

    I’d like to know the complete standings of the voting. What about Chase Dowling? He’s a pretty good driver and if he had won the MPD, could that be used to get sponsorship to keep his WMT operation running?

    The real shame is that a real race car driver is deprived of the value of the award.

  98. Andy Boright says

    Hey Fred, you took a leap of logic to claim all these responses were a vindication of her reward. She doesn’t have an army of followers, that is proven at the race track and pit parties. All she and a few of her supporters do is game the system.

    Many tour supporters view her award in a negative light, that’s what all these responses add up to.

  99. darealgoodfella says

    fred, would agree that she is popular for all the wrong reasons?

  100. just wanted to be #100

  101. Crazy in NY says

    Hmmm , 100 (i’ll be 101) comments makes her “Most Popular Subject On RacedayCT. Smart move
    for Mr Courchesne . And people think she contributes nothing to racing. 🙂

  102. Andy seeing almost everything you say is negative, ill give ya a pass on this one. Nowhere did i suggest these comments are somehow vindication of an award. My point was she found a way to get her name in the spotlight even when she is a rolling roadblock. We talk about wade cole and ken heagy, dave salz etc etc… BUT not in this level. She has managed to garner all this attention from a seemingly meaningless award to everyone else in previous years, until now when she wins it three years in a row. Again Im not saying she earned it but she and her fans, how ever many there are, Put the effort in so she could win it. Gaming the system yes andy you are correct.

    Dareal, Yes she is the most popular driver of the year for all the wrong reasons, but what can you do about it? Nothing? or vote the heck out of another driver next year. Now if nascar gave two #$%#@ they would make it so registered IP’s only have one vote. Cause theres now way her 3 followers can find enough computers to make the most unpopular driver popular again.

  103. Jerry Fascione says

    Wow has this article broken a record for responses ? My opinion is most popular driver means NOTHING, she isn’t the most popular driver and there is no way to argue that. Richie Evans won that award but he earned it the right way by never leaving the track without talking to every fan who wanted to talk to him. He had lines of fans who followed him from track to track she has friends who stuff the ballot box. THIS AWARD NOW REALLY HAS NO MEANING EXCEPT TO GIVE YOU PEOPLE SOMETHING TO ARGUE ABOUT.

  104. darealgoodfella says

    Hey, maybe all those voting for Fifield were illegal immigrants. BUILD A WALL!!! A BIG BEAUTIFUL WALL!!!! VOTER FRAUD!!!!

  105. darealgoodfella says

    Go look at the list of Most Popular Drivers… Stefanik, Christopher, Hirschman, Baldwin, Szegedy, Preece, Bonsignore, Flemke, Ruggerio, …

    We have become a society of relentless non-performing self-promoters, instead of letting our performance do the talking.

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