On A Roll: Matt Swanson Ready To Carry Big Momentum To 2020 Whelen Modified Tour Season

Matt Swanson (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – When it comes to any division in short track racing, there’s always that short list that teams, fans and followers keep of that guy who will be the next first-time winner. 

On Sept. 29 at Stafford Motor Speedway Craig Lutz took his name off that list by winning the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour NAPA Fall Final 150. 

Now, when it comes to the Whelen Modified Tour, it’s fair to say that Matt Swanson has ascended to taking over the leading role on that list of likely next first-time winner. 

Swanson completed his first full-year with the Boehler Racing Enterprises “Ol Blue” No. 3 car in fifth in the series standings with four top-five finishes and nine top-10’s in 16 events. 

“It’s a really good feeling to know the amount of people that walk up to me and say ‘You’re so close man, you’re so close.’” Swanson said. “It just makes me that much more ambitious to put a whole day together in one of these races. I can’t tell you how bad I want to win one of these races. It shows with how hard we’re working at the shop making sure these cars are prepared every week when we come to the race track. We’re so close.” 

The 19-year old Swanson, from Acton, Mass., came into Sunday’s season ending Sunoco World Series 150 in the midst of a four-driver battle for fifth place in the standings. Swanson came into the event in fifth, with Eric Goodale behind him by one point in sixth, Timmy Solomito two points behind him in seventh, Patrick Emerling five points behind him in eighth and Chris Pasteryak 10 points behind him in ninth.  

Swanson won the battle within the race by scoring a third place finish Sunday at Thompson and cementing his place as the fifth place finisher in the final standings. 

Swanson ran part-time in 2015 and full-time in 2016 and 2017 for his family owned team. After five events with his family owned team in 2018, he replaced Rowan Pennink with the Boehler Racing Enterprises team mid-season, running six of the last seven events for the organization. Since taking over the ride he’s learned to appreciate just what it means to drive one of the most iconic Modified rides there is left in the sport. 

“I just can’t thank the whole Boehler Racing Team that I drive for enough and all the people that support this race car,” Swanson said. “It’s been on the race track for 60 plus years. … Just to be able to be able to drive for such a nostalgic team. … It just makes it all special.” 

Swanson had top-six finishes in five of the final eight races of the season, closing out the season with a string that some him run sixth in the Musket 250 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, fifth at the NAPA Fall Final and then third in the season finale at Thompson. Swanson doesn’t want to put that momentum to rest for the offseason. 

“It’s definitely hard,” Swanson said. “But I think what it does for myself and my team is it just makes us more confident going into next year. It makes us want it to be the 2020 race season that much faster. And we know what we have for race cars now. We’ve had a full season together now. Myself and my crew chief Greg Fournier, and car chief Scott Richards and just everyone that works on the car, we’ve gelled now. We picked up on something at the first Loudon race in July and every time we’ve gone to a half-mile or more since then we’ve been in contention. It stinks that I have to go another year without winning a [Whelen Modified Tour] race, I thought 2019 was going to be the year. But 2020 looks to be like that much more.” 

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  1. Yep, 5th place. Home made chassis, a real racing team.

    Congratulations. I am looking for this team to achieve much better in 2020.

    Finished ahead of all those LFR Gen XYZ and Troyer ABC pipes. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Look at all the teams the 3 finished ahead of. All those teams that buy turnkey race cars and still can’t compete must be incredibly frustrated that an old school real racing team whips their butts.

    I was impressed with Swanson when he was running his own stuff, and glad to see he got the ride in the 3.

  2. What this team is able to do is amazing. I know they will spend lots of time fabricating parts and pieces to save $. But it’s still a people sport and the BRE crew are incredibly smart talented people. Matt is a talented humble kid that seems to fit well with this team. I feel like he’s been around a long time and yet he’s only 19!

  3. Dadope I know it was just an oversight on your part but you forgot to mention the RaceWork , Spafco and Fury teams they finished in front of , there was a day you would have never put Troyer name in a bad place , remember Troyer 1-2-3

  4. Started at Stafford, NWMT start in 2015 at 15 making him the youngest ever running 5 races in a SPAFCO chassied car. All 17 races in 2016 coming in 9th in points , with two top 5’s and Rookie of the Year much of it in a SPAFCO. 8th in points in 2017 with one top 5. Transition to BRE in 2018 but still a top 5 in the Swanson car and one in the new ride.5th in points in 2019 with four to p 5’s.
    I miss Pennink. A grizzled veteran driving an iconic, one of a kind car was a natural. No denying however Swanson has a huge upside that has barely scratched the surface of his potential as a driver.
    Dare I say it? Would it be sacrilege to hope BRE buys a state of the art chassis? Could they compete in the top tier if they did? They sure as heck have the knowledge.
    The Swanson/BRE alliance I’m thinking is as much about money as driving. With all due respect to Camerissa’s terrific observations I’m hoping they have resources and that they invest in an LFR or Fury and see if they can crack the top tier on a regular basis. And of course race their unique creations on selected tracks for the sake of nostalgia.
    If the goal is to be unique and see how good you can do riding a unicorn then by all means stay the course. If the goal is to win races and compete for a championship then maybe consider one teensy, weensy little break from tradition.
    Finally what ever happened to the Swanson SPAFCO chassis’s. Are they part of the BRE creations now?

  5. Old Observer says

    Doug, What planet are you on?
    The 3/BRE has been outrunning lots of the LFR/Fury cars so I don’t think a different chassis would change much.
    The kid has been doing a good job. When you get to the top 5, the experience level of the competition is very high, the top 3 all have a championship & the top 2 teams have been together for years.

  6. If I was on another planet how would I know about Swanson. Unless of course it is an advanced civilization that has somehow tied itself into earths internet which in itself is a kind of a nightmarish notion to ponder. You better hope I’m on this planet my friend.
    All I did Observer was summarize the fact that the lad has steadily improved over the course of his career and humbly suggest the notion of a chassis upgrade to compete for the championship. I did not intend to imply nor do I believe I suggested anything negative about anything connected with the team that I like most feel is one of the best stories in not only the NWMT but Northeast Modified racing as a whole. Maybe perhaps in all of racing.
    Would I have liked to see Pennink continue in the ride? Sure but what’s the harm in that? If you are a BRE fan you must remember 2017. It was the high water mark in recent history for the team. A win, a pole, 4 top 5’s and 12 top 10.s. For a while the 3 was part of the championship conversation and always seemed to be among the leaders. It was a magical year. Now it’s Swanson’s goal as a driver to exceed that record and his brief history suggests he will.
    I personally don’t think it would be an affront to the gods of racing if the team decided to add another chassis to it’s stable but in any event it’s only a harmless what if. Yes they have beat most of the current chassis technology except for a few. Can they beat the last few with their current stable? Unknown but a chassis upgrade wouldn’t hurt.

  7. Old Observer wrote, “Doug, What planet are you on?”

    No planet, he’s a floater. Just floating around.

    The 3 team and Pennink were really getting good and then Pennink’s back gave out. They built a new chassis and Pennink’s motors were getting better and more reliable. Just as they were getting ready to challenge for elbow room at the top… BOOM! Nothing at all against Swanson, but I was majorly bummed when Pennink went out. Now they have to restart with Swanson, and he has far less experience than Pennink. But things look very good, this season ended with a rather impressive performance escalation in the last half of the season. It was disappointing to see the season end.

    The BRE chassis is just fine, it runs with the leaders, ahead of the pack of the super high dollar multi car teams with double stacker haulers.

    Let me remind you, no chassis has taken a team from mediocrity to cream of the crop. Not much difference in hardware, but massive differences in talent. That talent can do things with the same hardware that lesser talent simply can not.

  8. 🏁🏁🏁 darealgoodfella 🏁🏁🏁 says

  9. Who runs a multi car team? Or are you talking about a team with 1 driver, but a few cars. For years BRE has done well running their own stuff, but seemed to have a revolving door with drivers. With Swanson returning they’ll be able to build upon their momentum, and hopefully get an early win next season. Just to be the driver of the iconic #3 would count as a win in my book. Wish them the best of luck next season.

  10. We don’t know what cars teams have in their stables do we? Except the obvious stuff like the Stuart team fielding a new TA3 and Fury car this year. That was reported right here so that’s one team. What do other teams have?. Do they field different cars for different sized track? We know Coby has on occasion because it was reported. We know teams have converted to LFR so the question is do they keep their old equipment for backups or sell them. Mainly it’s just too far in the weeds and we just don’t know.
    OK so the legend of Old Blue is that since 1957 they have built there own chassis’s. I now recognize that their entire racing identity and marketing strategy is tied to it and that buying a new chassis would indeed be sacrilege destroying a multi generational image.
    Besides the mystique what do we know about the BRE cars? Or is it car? Old Blue is a nice marketing strategy but really when you reckon all the components attached to the chassis not to mention drive train exactly how old is Old Blue on average. Some here have extolled the virtues of “new pipe”. A catchy little bit that I personally don’t believe is as important as relieving pre stressed chassis components and re-welding but what exactly is in the chassis or chassis’s the team fields. All home built of maybe clips and other components from Raceworks, LFR……who knows. Is there a new Old Blue they have built? The chatter in this forum over the years has always gravitated to some kind of legend that they’ve been rolling out the same car for decades just updated here and there. We don’t know if that isn’t true but it’s amazing how little is actually printed about Old Blue considering it’s popularity.
    The car or cars are definitely blue. Maybe even powder coat? Otherwise the old part most likely has nothing to do with the physical age of the components. Old Blue refers to tradition. Ironically the way the majority of the cars were conceived at one time that by not changing became one of the single most unique feel good stories in all of NASCAR.

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