Don’t Hate The Player: Scorn Aimed At Fifield Reeks Of Sexism With Whelen Modified Tour

Melissa Fifield (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

“She needs to give up.” … “NASCAR should throw her out of the series.” … “She’s the worst driver ever.” … “Why does she keep coming back?” … “She’s always in the way.”

That’s the behaved stuff in general you’d read when it comes to mentions of Whelen Modified Tour driver Melissa Fifield on social media.

It’s become as regular in the realm of the Whelen Modified Tour as the sun rising in the morning and setting at night. Mention about Fifield on social media and the scorn, mockery, hate and anger seemingly over her existence in racing simmers to a rolling boil. 

And in general, it’s a bad look for Modified racing overall.

The message communicated – no matter how veiled it may seem – is that if you’re female and slow and not getting any better you need to leave, but if you’re male and slow and not getting any better there’s room for you to stay, and maybe even be celebrated. 

Is she slow? Yes. Does being that slow on the track make her an easy mark for critics? Absolutely. 

But it’s hard not believe that the wrath of disgust over her presence on the Whelen Modified Tour that comes with seemingly every mention of her name doesn’t have something to do with the fact that she’s a she and not a he. 

First, in a perfect world, as her abilities stand at this moment, she shouldn’t be good enough to qualify for the starting field for Whelen Modified Tour events. Therein lies the true foundation of the issue. 

At this point in time the Whelen Modified Tour isn’t healthy enough to organically weed out competitors that aren’t up to speed and still put a full field on track. For most events there just aren’t enough teams competing regularly to send anyone home. 

But it’s a fact that’s just part of short track racing – for the most part – with so many divisions these days. Every division needs its contenders, it’s mid-pack talent and it’s backmarkers. In today’s world of short track racing, with participation numbers down and more divisions to choose from than 20 years ago, the product is watered down on every level. Today’s back of the field backmarkers in most divisions are separated further from the front runners and mid-pack more than ever before. 

There’s no sugarcoating that Fifield is a backmarker. She’s the slowest driver competing regularly on the Whelen Modified Tour. Every division has a slowest driver. Every division has a team that is the furthest removed from the best team. But slow is slow. If you’re two seconds off the pace you’re slow. But if you’re a second off the pace you’re also slow. 

One of the regular and fair criticisms of Fifield is that she has seemingly shown little improvement in her six years with the series. 

But over the last 15 years of the division’s existence, there have been plenty of drivers that have shown little or no improvement over a long period of time in competition regularly. There have been plenty of drivers who have shown up week after week to run at the back of the field without ever showing they’re getting any better than just being a backmarker. 

But, they’ve all been men.

And none of those men has ever faced the fanatical fury that Fifield is regularly targeted with. None has ever has had legions regularly saying they need to leave or they should be thrown out or they should just quit. 

Statistically speaking, Fifield was the worst full-time driver on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2019. She started 15 of 16 events and finished 23rd in the standings, accumulating 261 points. 

And the second worst full-time driver in 2019? That was Calvin Carroll, who started all 16 events and finished the season with 323 points, 19th in the standings. 

Fifield collected 17.4 points per race in 2019. Carroll amassed 20.1 points per event. Of the 105 cautions in Whelen  Modified Tour action in 2019, Fifield was involved in two of them. Carroll was involved in 14. Every time the yellow flag flew in 2019 there was a 13.3 percent chance that Carroll was part of the reason why the caution came out. 

Yes, both drivers are trying. 

One of them – Fifeld – is stagnant in her progression. One of them – Carroll – is seemingly in a downward spiral of regression after finishing 12th in the series standings in 2017 and 15th in 2018. 

Carroll’s average finish of 23.8 in 2019 was the second worst for regulars in the series behind Fifield’s 27.6. No other series regular (attempted every event) had an average finish worse than 21.6 in 2019. Both Fifield and Carroll were statistically inferior to all other full-time competitors with the series.

But here’s the rub. You don’t see anyone calling out Carroll on social media. Don’t see anyone calling him unsafe or saying he should quit the series or should be thrown out. In most instances when Carroll gets mentioned around the common channels of Whelen Modified Tour social media he’s described as a driver who is trying hard, who is better than his statistics show and one of the up and coming young drivers in Modified racing. 

Ultimately, when you dissect the statistics, the realization is the numbers are quite similar for Fifield and Carroll. But in the world of social media they’re worlds apart, with one major difference. One is a boy and one is a girl. 

Unfortunately that fact speaks volumes for anyone trying to dig through to the roots of why angry mobbish social media vitriol is so reserved and roundly accepted by so many when it comes to Fifield.



Comments

  1. i am SORRY it HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GENDER
    CARROLL gets in many accidents AND HE HAS NOT BEEN on the tour 6 yrs

    FIFIELD JUST GETS LAPPED
    SHE has SOOOOOOO MANY OPTIONS to get better but SHOWS 0 THATS ZERO signs of ANY improvement at the track in 6 YRS
    again NOTHING AGAINST HER but please DO NOT PLAY THE MALE FEMALE thing
    AMY CATALANO was celebrated with her WMT ATTEMPTS
    BUT SHE can run TOP 5 TOP 10 in ROC
    MISSY CANT IN 6 YRS
    I would be the 1st to cheer her on iffff she ever was atleast competive not lapped in 10 laps EVERY DAMM RACE.

  2. Richard Belmonte says

    There is always a few taildraggers in any division, The fact that she’s a woman doing what many of her dissenters wish they could makes her a target. Leave her alone. Many young girls see her as a hero. The jealous complainers WISH they were in the field next to her.

  3. Carroll isn’t a three time most popular driver award winner. That’s where all this negativity stems from.

  4. Is it true? Did I just read that? An opinion piece that lays bare the the truth of everyone involved and spares no one in the best traditions of print journalism.
    Bravo.

  5. I don’t care who you are, if you’re a lap down 5-10 laps into the race (not due to an issue), you should be off the track. Has nothing to do with gender, just talent. They’re completely different.

  6. ALBERT ERMMARINO says

    I don’t think the whole problem is the driver . Any one that has driven knows that your only as good as your car especially when your first starting out, I believe she need a crew chief that will work with her and some what of a crew. I think if this happen she will improve or at lease have a chance to.

  7. Carroll finished top 10 three different times with tri track this year and was a consistent lead lap car. It’s not the tour but you do actually need to race in order to make the tri track feature. He also had four top 10s in a tour type at New Smyrna. Was in the top half of cars all week. Both of these are trending in the positive direction for Carroll… people have seen that Carroll has the ability to race a tour type on pace and on the lead lap and that can’t be said for Melissa. I’m sure there are people that don’t like Melissa because she is a girl but My guess is that is the minority of what most people’s issue is with her…

  8. You’re missing the point. It’s not Carroll vs Fifield. Carroll is just an example. It’s the vitriol leveled at a woman vs any man.

  9. There are two parts to this story – Part One, Melissa is not fast enough (notice I did not use the word good) to be on the Mod tour, male,or female. Part Two, the Tour is watered down as most divisions in the North East.
    Bottom line is that the Mod tour should have a minimum average speed (maximum time) in time trials for you to be able to race that day. If you have a legitimate reason why you did not make speed then you are excused – only to be used twice a season.
    Personally I think she is more accepted on the Tour because she is a female not the opposite. If NASCAR used this min speed rule and she actually made the show – Fans would be embrace her 10 fold..

  10. Maybe I did miss the point… I guess to put it another way: I am at racetracks all across New England either watching, helping or racing. I see tons of women race and I never encounter issues with people not wanting them on track for the sole reason they are a woman… Melissa is just so drastically off pace and out of events within the first 10 laps. I would bet that if she could simply finish events, there would be next to no story. I just think it is unfortunate that the one woman who competes regularly on the tour is so head and shoulders worse than anyone else that roles on the track. I can’t image that a male who performed in the same manor wouldn’t be thought of the same way. There just simply isn’t any other driver that is a close comparison

  11. Pretty much missed the mark here… the feelings toward the 01 has nothing to do with sexism and if anyone says the things they do because of that, well… karma will catch up to you. Carroll may be in some sort of spiral but I want to know just how a tour type mod runs times equivalent to a 5th place SK mod at Stafford after being in the series for over 5 years. Even an ill handling tour type mod can lay down faster lap times than an SK. It’s a question, not a statement. I get it, there will always be back markers but, to be on the tail end of the finishing order of nearly every race for over 5 years? She has every right to be on the track as anyone else but who has the answer? Does that team even know? Even low budget teams are able to keep up at least. You would think, after all these years, she would have improved in some way shape or form or gotten the help they need to be more competitive. This isn’t about gender, at least for me, this about the facts of consistent exceptionally poor performance over the years.

  12. Crazy in NY says

    At this point in time the Whelen Modified Tour isn’t healthy enough to organically weed out competitors that aren’t up to speed and still put a full field on track. For most events there just aren’t enough teams competing regularly to send anyone home.

    Opinion of the writer or a fact of some sort? Some silly season fake news that’s guaranteed to stir the pot and get the site some hits. How convenient. There are lies, damned lies, and then there statistics. One you left out were the number of yellows thrown while the 01 was in the pits and not
    “eligible” to be caught in one . The numbers tell only a partial story (as anyone knows). At Oswego Calvin spins (to avoid a wreck not of his doing) and gets collected by the 01. Not his fault , not her fault but it’s lost in the sea of numbers provided. Calvin ( you didn’t mention a former ROTY) has had
    his share of bad luck and in some cases self inflicted by lack of performance. But the 01 trailing the field in time and finishing last or near so for years now hasn’t anything to do with bad luck.
    So why single out Calvin. Your personal beef with a certain member of his crew? You and I Shawn know who we are talking about.
    I have no beef with woman in racing (pay attention here Doug) . I crew some with a woman in the Sportsman division here in NY when I can. One of the toughest and gutsiest racers I’ve ever seen is the now retired Patti Pruitt who held her own well and survived a fiery crash and came back to race again. Or.. my own personally racing favo Shania Texter ( of flat track motorcycle racing) who GETS IT DONE against the guys in the 450 class. Go Google her if you like racing at all.
    I don’t know MF, can’t speak bad about her personally (and don’t) my critic’ has to do with performance over the long haul). She is not getting any better either but that’s mean and anti woman to say that (right Doug)? She’s luck she’s on the Tour where a full field ( as they define it) never happens anymore.

    (btw) Ryan Stone has taken to help the Carrolls racing effort and Calvin raced into third late in the NS shootout this weekend past until the bad luck deamons struck again on lap 107. We salvaged a lead lap 13th which was a great showing but in the world of statistics that would not be so great.
    Can’t wait to see how this tread spools out.

  13. My opinion has nothing to do with sex. Mellissa is a great person, and I’d be one of the first to encourage women in the sport. I attend events mainly at Stafford, where her lap times are slower than most of the late models, which makes me think she may be better suited running in a lower division, like SK Lite. I believe she does have the talent to be a modified driver, just not a WMT driver. Maybe I’m wrong, may be the equipment, and not her, but in this performance driven era I don’t think she’ll get the opportunity to be in good equipment, therefore she should move on and get into a division where she’s competitive, and prove all the sexists wrong. Either way wish her and her team the best going forward.

  14. Crazy,
    The column has nothing to do with a “beef” I have with any crew member. So Crazy you’re surmising that because there’s a crew member on that team that doesn’t like me, and hasn’t liked me for more than 10 years, and has bashed me on social media for more than 10 years that I decided now, a decade after he started bashing me, to write a column in retribution to him? You’re stretching quite far there. Let’s remember, that “certain member” of his crew has also worked for a championship winning Whelen Modified Tour team and as an official for multiple series’, so one would think if I was trying to write a column to hurt the feelings of some random crew guy/official I would have done that a long time ago. If I spent my days writing “revenge columns” aimed at people who don’t like me or don’t agree with my opinions or don’t like my website, don’t ya think I’d be writing them once a week?
    It doesn’t “single out” Calvin Carroll. You make it sound as if I randomly just chose him from a group of struggling drivers. Fifield was the worst full-time driver statistically on the series 2019 and Calvin Carroll was the second worst driver on the series statistically. Those are facts. Nobody was singled out or randomly selected. It’s comparing the worst driver statistically with the second worst driver statistically.
    You, like a lot of people, have gone far today in proving the column right. The point the column was making was that it’s somehow become acceptable in this little world of Modified racing for people to use social media and the internet to – ruthlessly and disgustingly at times – insult a driver constantly for being on the track. But, as the column stated, there are men who come back year after year and show no improvement, or just get worse every year and prove to be regular hazards on the track, and somehow they get celebrated.

  15. that Melissa has been able to field a car for 6 years speaks volumes to her determination,, fact is,, in my opinion,, that she has shown little improvement over that period,, I think that the considerable effort she puts into driving should be redirected to areas where it would be better served,, like providing a car that can run every lap and finding a driver that can run every lap.. over the years,, many great racing people have gone broke attempting to drive… I would hate to see that happen again,, but,, see it for what it is.. .

  16. I’ll ask the former drivers out there. Do you even recall the cars you lapped that did their job and stayed on the apron? This is a fan thing not a driver thing.
    I’ve gone to bat a few times for Fifield and one time in particular tried my best only to be left a beaten and bruised. As an anonymous nobody with zero credibility all I had was the strength of my arguments and they clearly fell flat.
    On the other hand few would argue that Mr. Courchesne pretty much stands alone as the most experienced and well traveled racing reporter in these here parts. He laid it all out and was equally frank about everyone including Fifield. Brutally frank in fact with Fifield. Even had data to back up the points made.
    And yet here we are. A couple showing support for Fifield but once again the majority of self proclaimed non sexist in the all male bastion we have going here actually a bit resentful the article was even written.
    The one take away is that as far as I can see having read Courchesne for the better part of two decades from the Courant to here, Fifield is the only topic he’ll ever get overwhelming push back on.
    That proves his point.

  17. Disgruntled fan says

    Listen… sometimes it has nothing to do with talent.

    Open your mind it comes down to old equipment, lack of sponsors, lack of team, lack of team knowledge of setups and mechanical skills.

    Everyone should be able to live their dream and be happy.

    Screw the arm chair losers who say she cant.

  18. You sir are the only person I have seen so far with a Brain.

    Thank you for being educated.

    Its exactly that reason. Old equipment and lack of crew and funding.

  19. “bashing” on the internet, and in internet forums shouldnt be acceptable regardless of whether it’s not based on gender, sexual preference, etc or not.
    that said…
    people (fans, fellow drivers, writers, promoters etc) have brought up valid negative points about Melissa and the 01 team, but that doesnt mean that’s all “bashing”. there are legitimate questions to be asked/points to be raised about Melissa and the 01 team. first and foremost, are they trying to be competitive? it doesnt seem so, and if not, is just time trialing and running several laps really something that should be allowed by the WMT?
    Shawn asks why people arent “bashing” Calvin Carroll the way Mellissa gets it. thats a silly comparison, and i’ll explain why. Calvin and team are DEFINITELY trying to be competitve. Calvin has passed cars under green, at full speed while “racing”. Has the 01 in 6 years ever done that? has the 01 in 6 seasons ever finished a race on the lead lap? has the 01 in 6 years ever been on the track actually “racing” competitively at all?
    people should be able to question and criticize the 01. to label such legitimate questioning and criticizing as “bashing” is a copout for not answering the questions and critics! to then proceed down the slope and call that non-bashing as bashing because she’s female is ridiculous and just a smokescreen.

  20. I don’t care if she’s male, female, trans or a unicorn. She’s an obstacle at times, has shown 0 improvement throughout her career, and is a waste of resources. However, she’s well within her right to be all those things and waste all the time and money she can conjure. I think she is probably a wonderful person and she is a great ambassador for the sport. I think it’s unfortunate that they don’t realize they are out of their league and either try putting in a driver or moving to a series where she can be at least a little competitive. But again they have every right. I just hope she never is in a situation where, by being in the way, she causes a wreck where she or someone else is injured. The same criticism can be applied to some male competitors, but I don’t think to quite the same degree. Renee Dupuis and Amy Catalano are in my opinion, real female racers. Racing is a competitive sport not an expressive art piece. My honest opinion.

  21. Crazy in NY says

    Its exactly that reason. Old equipment and lack of crew and funding
    (cough**) Brendan…have you ever been to a Tour race?
    01 has less than say the 33? Holy smokes the craziness here is mind blowing at times.

    So..here is the standard. 01 last, 25 second to last. That’s all we need to know.
    That true fact tells the story right? A single season points total and now we know it all.
    point is nobody needed naming unless ……an ulterior motive MAY be at stake.

    You know there just may be a few hold overs from the { No T*t$ in the pits} old days but I doubt
    it is many. Those that counter a criticism of an athlete, a performer, or a politician even with out of the box calls of racism, sexism, etc are standing on shaky ground in defending those that they think
    need defending.

  22. Betting What Lap says

    The Dream has turned into a Nightmare. Be honest with yourself and call the top 10 and ask them to be honest with you. It’s obvious she loves racing. I love playing hockey, but that doesn’t mean I’m on the ice with the Bruins. She has 2 cars, a big trailer and everything to Whelen Tour race.The cars she has LFR/TFR/Fury run up front every week and the motors are all the same. Her engines should be better as they don’t have as many laps on them! Why not find a driver that has a crew, crew chief and some ability that you can build a team with? I’m sure every owner out there either has or wants to race but it’s not for everybody! Get yourself out from under all this pressure to perform at a level you can’t. Make it fun again. Get a driver to bring GOOD attention to your team and the sponsors and funding will happen Do it now so your ready for the season 2020 can be your rookie year again …..as an OWNER !

  23. Linus Van Pelt says

    Brendan You sure your not talking about 3 car? And the 01 has been to LFR and Had Robbie Fuller on the radio with her for half a season.

  24. Phil A.,
    Anyone keeping up with social media knows that the bulk of the comments typically shared about Fifield don’t fall under the category of constructive criticism. Most are pointed, directive derogatory bullying or just simply plainly personally insulting of her.
    Secondly, your comment here really only serves to indict Calvin Carroll. You say Fifield is not trying to be competitive and Carroll is. You’re basically saying that Carroll tried very hard to be competitive but yet could only amass a statistical result only slightly better than someone that – in your opinion – was not even trying? That’s not saying much for Carroll.

  25. I know people who work with that crew and my understanding is she and the team have had oferres of help from other crews and some well known drivers and they dont want it. They are happy doing what they are doing. It’s not an equipment problem as I’m told she has a good car. But nascar should have a min speed that must be maintained for safety reasons.

  26. Annoyed in NY (aka GP) says

    Shawn, here’s some stats you left out:

    Looking at 5 races (cuz I don’t have time to look at them all), Wall, Seekonk, Oswego, and the last races at Stafford and Thompson, she was an average of 9.928 mph off the pole speed. By comparison, Calvin was 3.071 mph off the pole. Hell, Melissa was an average of 3.347 mph off the next slowest qualifier.

    I don’t mean to pick on her and if she’s happy doing what she’s doing, then more power to her. I just get really annoyed when some people trot out accusations of sexism, racism, or whatever-ism anytime someone in a “protected group” is criticized. If you disagree with the criticism, you should be able to make your counter argument without having to resort to labeling your opponents “sexist”. That’s usually a sign that you have a weak argument.

  27. You can criticize Fifield because you support other women that race…………irrelevant.
    Fifield doesn’t improve…………irrelevant.
    Fifield doesn’t take other teams help…………..irrelevant.
    Fifield’s equipment is good or bad……….irrelevant.
    The majority of forum participants think Fifield should not be allowed to race in the NWMT……..irrelevant.
    NASCAR should have a minimum speed requirement……..contact NASCAR.
    Tracks should stick to the number of qualified cars advertised……….Contact the tracks.

    All your goals and standards…..irrelevant. Racing is about fun. Spending a lot of money to have fun. it’s a selfish extravagance that can put your physical and financial well being at risk but it’s worth it because for some it’s so much fun it’s addictive. If Fifield is meeting NASCAR’s requirements, her only goal is fun and she’s having fun then every other goal or standard outlined here………irrelevant.
    Don’t like it. Contact NASCAR.
    Otherwise as the great Cyndi Lauper said
    “And girls, they wanna have fun
    Oh girls just want to have fun”

  28. I agree Carroll is hands down the worse driver on the Tour, wrecks everything and everybody including the hole Consi at last years Turkey Derby, caused multiple cautions at New Symrna this year, and Tri Track let him start last at Seekonk even though he didnt qualify or have a provisional because somebody cried. Fifield doesn’t think she’s the next Jeff Gordon out there and minds her own buisness and I have no problem with that, but a kid that has no experience but has money is out there wrecking damm near every race he’s in and is verry costly to cars surrounding him, but its ok because he tries hard?

  29. Missy can’t drive. I watch the 01 closely. She can’t enter. She can’t turn. She can’t exit. The 01 has used every equipment option available. It’s not the equipment. The 01 has very capable equipment, new and modern equipment. The 01 has used Fury, LFR and any other whizbang chassis out there. Same results.

    If I recall correctly, Missy tried to run the MRS, early on when there were great car counts. She couldn’t qualify on the MRS. The NWMT had poor car counts, so that’s where she ended up.

    Let’s not forget the Most Popular Driver Award. What happened to that very popular accolade? The fans used to get to vote for their favorite driver. How can a driver that gets ZERO positive response from the crowd win the award so many times? Missy’s daddy was a Police Chief. Walk by the 01 pit stall and you’d think you were in a church. Given that I would expect a team run with exemplary morals and ethics. So can someone please explain what happened to the fans choice of Most Popular Driver award, and who ruined it for the fans? This needs some more exposure, not suppression.

    Geez, this is such a target rich topic, there are so many different ways to address this. Look, Missy can’t drive. It’s that simple. It’s not equipment. Equipment is not why she is so slow, can’t enter, can’t turn, can’t exit, can’t drive fast. Equipment issues can be fixed.

    Missy is not the only one getting this kind of treatment. I hammer the 18 and 26 regularly. They cause plenty of cautions. There was an event at Stafford where the 26 alone caused 3-4 cautions. The 18 nerfed competitive cars, ending their runs, and so on. And they are driven by men. This is to be expected from the 18 and 26. And to be fair, the 18 has been rather racy lately. Some non-backmarker-esque finishes. So don’t try to make this look like the men don’t get this treatment, I’ve been handing it out for years. As many wins as TC had, I hammered him for his wrecking. TC was a profound, notorious wrecker, of himself and many others, and I hammered HIM for it.

    So that leaves Wade Cole. Although Wade is not competitive, he knows how to disappear on the track. He is not an obstruction to the competitive cars as the other slow cars are.

    As of this writing, Carroll is 18 years young, Missy is 26 years old. He’s a kid, she’s a young woman. Youngsters have lots of “bad luck”, Carroll gets into trouble. BUT, Carroll is racy. He can drive a car FAST. Missy can not drive fast.

    Here’s some Missy NWMT stats:

    Born 1992

    88 races over 6 years

    0 wins

    0 T5

    0 T10

    0 Pole

    7033 laps

    0 Laps Led

    27.4 Avg Start

    25 Avg Finish

    22 Races RUNNING AT FINISH

    1 Race with a LEAD LAP FINISH

    Calvin Carroll NWMT Stats:

    Born 2000

    50 races over 4 years

    0 Wins

    0 T5

    1 T10

    0 Poles

    5800 laps

    0 Laps Led

    20.6 Avg Start

    21.5 Avg Finish

    33 Races Running at Finish

    6 Races with a lead lap finish

    Calvin Carroll’s record is far superior to Missy’s. FAR SUPERIOR.

    Here’s a huge difference between Carroll and Missy… Carroll is racy, Missy is not racy. Missy doesn’t get near the edge of what her car can do. She stays far away from the edge as it appears she is afraid. Missy can run her NWMT car on the SK Lite circuit and still end up DFL. Not only that, the SK Lite and SK series are incredibly competitive and they will destroy her on the track. Missy can’t drive and can not be trusted in traffic. Carroll is very young, little experience and racy, and that will get him in trouble until he learns to be patient. And perhaps a better crew chief and adult guidance will help, but at least Carroll runs the car to the edge.

    Didn’t one of the Roccos, or some other credible driver, take the 01 out for a shakedown a couple years ago (might have been at Stafford) and ran well over a second faster than Missy?

    I don’t understand why Calvin Carroll was singled out here for the comparison. There are plenty of other men with non-competitive records. Heagy and McDonald come to mind and their stats are far superior to Missy’s. I have hammered the 18 and 26 relentlessly over the years for all the cautions they have caused, and competitive cars that they have rubbed out. And the 18 and 26 are driven by men, men that have been around a long time, men that are racy, or at least trying to be racy. Missy seems to be afraid to go fast, she’s terrified of the entry and turns. The car jerks even though she is so slow. Every time she’s on the track, it looks like her first time. Maybe she’d have more fun in the NHRA.

    I have never seen anyone as unracy and uncompetitive as Missy. She needs to get into a car more matched to the speeds she likes to run. A modified is far ahead of her ability.

    That Missy is not competitive has nothing to do with car counts. She can’t go fast. You can see that on entry, the way she’s stabbing the brakes and locking up the fronts, even though she is so slow to begin with.

    Wade Cole gets down very low in the turns, getting out of the way. Missy stays up in the racing groove in the turns. She is an obstacle. It is strange, to the point of unbelievable, that the 01 has all these mechanical issues taking it out of the races. Look it up… the car has so many “issues”. That the 01 has only been running at the finish in 1/4 the races looks like NASCAR wants that car off the track at “go time”. That the 01 is off the track in ¾ of the races at “go time” is probably why it hasn’t caused many wrecks.

    Renee Dupuis never had this kind of treatment, and she was an active driver back before we became enlightened. Her record is far superior to Missy, Carroll, Heagy, McDonald and probably many others.

    Some NWMT stats for Renee Dupuis:

    116 races

    0 wins

    0 T5

    2 T10

    0 Poles

    13,732 laps

    76 races running at finish

    22 races with a lead lap finish

    Renee was racy. She never got this kind of treatment. At least I did not see it. If sexism is the undercurrent behind the current perception of Missy, it should have also been evident, perhaps even worse back when Renee was driving, but yet I did not see Renee getting this kind of attention in the media. It would be reasonable to say that is because Renee was racy, she was not afraid to go fast. If you want to be a racer, you have to race, you have to go fast.

    Missy is not a victim of sexism. Sexism is not why Missy can’t drive. There might very well still be some sexist troglodyte knuckle dragging neanderthals that think females should not be driving race cars, but I’m not seeing that as the prevailing motivation behind the treatment of Missy. When folks speak/write of the 01, it’s about how bad the car is on the track, and how it is an obstacle. Her performance, or lack of performance, on the track is what gives Missy the attention she gets.

    After six years, the performance of Missy as a driver is not the fault of her cars. She has had just about every car available. No change in results. Very consistent poor results over the six years.

    Missy is not helping the girl power movement at all. She is making it look like girls can’t do it. She is not competitive at all.

    In the spirit of American capitalism, I am a paying customer and I do not want to see that woefully poor product on the track.

    From the opening of this thread,

    “She needs to give up.” … “NASCAR should throw her out of the series.” … “She’s the worst driver ever.” … “Why does she keep coming back?” … “She’s always in the way.”

    I really can’t disagree with any of that. If there were high car counts, she’d never make a NWMT event. It’s been 6 years. Doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is insane.

    I am hoping for great car counts in 2020 to stop the insanity.

  30. I think Melissa is great for the sport of Auto racing. She has talent, and definitely is determined. I think she would probably be more competitive in another form of modifieds, or maybe a full fender car. There are allot of sexist people who will say women don’t belong out there to them I call B.S. Some day in the not so distant future we may be witness to a female Xfinity, or Cup champion, and that women will most likely credit woman like Melissa, for setting the stage to their success. To all the haters I ask; could you do better? Driving those cars isn’t as easy as it looks sitting in the stands. To Melissa I say; you go girl, and don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way. And remember, you DO belong there. There’s enough hatred in the world today don’t let it ruin the sport we all love!

  31. Hillary 2020 says

    Hey just imagine what the accusations would be if she were an African American woman. Sheesh. Correct me if I’m wrong but she raced the MRS before the tour and couldn’t qualify through heats because of the high car counts. Maybe she should go back. She’d get in easily now. You guys are saying she needs to go sk or lite racing. Where, Stafford? She’d fail to qualify there most likely. What’s her history in racing anyway? Was she competitive in anything before modifieds? What would have been cool to see is her racing an sk the same years Nicole Morgillo did at Waterford. I bet everyone in the stands would still be taking bets as to what lap she would be lapped. Nicole was a racer. I don’t know what you would call Fifield. A participant? Sad that she’s a “hero” to all the girls out there.

  32. shawn…

    i understand your interpretation of my point and your interpretation is definitely fair considering the results you lay out.
    however..
    my point is that one team/driver is on the track racing and the other is not. questions to my point:
    1) has the 01 ever made a pass of another car while both cars were racing?
    2) has the 01 ever finished a race on the lead lap?

    your stat in the column about each drivers involvement in yellow flags isn’t part of the main point. the 01 isnt involved in many becuase the 01 isnt racing. it is a car driving arounf the track at speeds much lower than the average of the pther cars. hence, the 01 isnt apt to be involved.

  33. Cant qualify for an MRS race because they send cars home so lets go to the Mod Tour where everyone starts. Makes perfect sense to me.

  34. Hillary 2020 says

    Great for the sport? How so?. Talent to do what? Drive slow and get out of the way? And stop with the “could you do better” bs. No most of us couldn’t because we’re not race car drivers. And we don’t need to be to know that she has no talent to be on the tour. Maybe I sit in the sexist section of the stands but all I know is when she comes out, bets are taken as to what lap number she’ll either be black flagged or pit under green.

  35. knuckles Mahoney says

    I don’t agree with dareal too often, but very well said. To call critics of Melissa sexist in the face of actual real facts is the typical liberal mantra. But, she has every right to race, and I think almost everyone in the stands would be going ballistic with cheering and happiness for her if she was competitive.

  36. Good call knuckles. She does have every right to be out there. Hillary, I’m going with the ” could you do better” it’s easy to sit in the stands, and rate the drivers on track driving one of those beasts would probably wake you up. It’s not an easy thing even under the best circumstances. At least she’s trying, and when others offered help she said no, gotta do it myself. She had success in carting, and 1/4 midgets before trying mods. It’s woman like her that give that little girl in the stands the courage to try. They may not try racing, but try other things which is all you can hope for. You should change your name to trump2020 because you sound allot like him. To race on the tour for 5 seasons, running like she does, and keep coming back speaks to her strong character, and never quit attitude more people should be more like her and less like you.

  37. I believe it started with a Troyer chassis, then to SPAFCO and now with LFR/FURY. Every change netted the same result, no improvement and I am certain the support after the sale was there. It started with an 18 degree engine then moved to a spec and netted the same result, no improvement. Why wouldn’t a driver who was offered help from their fellow competitors & crews accept it? Why would a driver change chassis manufacturer and engines? I think the answer to any reasonable individual would be to better themselves. So you need to ask, why would anyone not want to better themselves and make a statement? You would expect that having the hottest chassis in racing under your butt with a spec engine would give anyone the drive and incentive to excel. I don’t know, maybe an atypical race car driver? Well let me rephrase that, a person that drives a race car and we all know, anyone can do that and maybe that is the difference.

    The right to be out there with a big fancy hauler, best race car money can buy, absolutely, no questions asked. However, this is not a gender or sexist issue, it is based on facts, statistics and performance.

  38. I don’t think tearing someone else down to make Melissa look good is the right approach. Obviously a car that runs competitively and is racing with the field is more likely to be caught up in more accidents or cautions than a car that is running all by itself.

    I think looking at lap times would be a better way to compare drivers to see who is more competitive. Below is qualifying position at one event at each track the tour ran at last year. Now I took the last race at each track they ran multiple times I didn’t look at every race it was clear a trend was developing. The first number is where they qualified last number speed. Melissa Fifield qualified slowest of drivers taking time at each event I sampled with 2 exceptions where she qualified 2nd slowest. I think both drivers would like to do better but it is clear one is consistently competitive the other is regularly off the pace.

    Thompson closer
    25 Calvin Carroll 25 Chevrolet 19.335 116.369
    39 Melissa Fifield 01 Chevrolet 21.276 105.753
    NHIS musket
    20 Calvin Carroll 25 Chevrolet 30.119 126.458
    32 Melissa Fifield 01 Chevrolet 32.950 115.593
    WALL
    26 Calvin Carroll 25 Chevrolet 12.839 92.531
    28 Melissa Fifield 01 Chevrolet 13.727 86.545
    Seekonk
    16 Calvin Carroll 25 Chevrolet 12.210 97.297
    30 Melissa Fifield 01 Chevrolet 12.908 92.036
    Riverhead 9/7
    21 Calvin Carroll 25 Chevrolet 12.201 73.764
    28 Melissa Fifield01 Chevrolet 13.141 68.488 2nd slowest
    Oswego
    18 Calvin Carroll 25 Chevrolet 17.916 125.586
    27 Melissa Fifield 01Chevrolet 18.885 119.142
    Stafford Fall
    30 Calvin Carroll 25Chevrolet 19.326 93.
    34 Melissa Fifield 01 Chevrolet 20.652 87.159
    SOBO
    16 Calvin Carroll 25 Chevrolet 14.185 101.516
    32 Melissa Fifield01Chevrolet 15.380 93.628
    Myrtle
    14 Calvin Carroll 25 Chevrolet 19.874 97.454
    31 Melissa Fifield 01 Chevrolet 21.317 90.857 2nd slowest

  39. Rep. Jim Jordan (R) says

    Calvin has a lot of potential and we will see it in 2020 now that they have gotten rid of the real problem with the 25 that terrible spotter Wayne Muffy.

  40. I’ll admit, she is off the pace, it’s been documented. Fact is she’s out there doing something she loves to do. There are allot of people in different occupations that suck at what they do, but no one tells them ” you suck at this, and shouldn’t be doing it”. Fact is, most of the people chiming in here would probably perform about the same as her, including me, if we were to drive the 01. Lost is the fact that she’s making the effort. Maybe it’s the equipment. Just because it’s good equipment doesn’t mean it’s set up properly to be competitive, and it’s been stated before about Fury not having good technical support. When I started racing in 1985, it took quite a few years to get that first win, then a couple more to get the second. Did we give up? Hell no, and in 2001 we won a track championship, following it up with another in ’02. Point is I’ve always felt; do what you love, and love what you do, and never give up. Apparently Melissa loves racing, and I applaud her for not giving up.

  41. Hillary 2020 says

    It’s the way it is these days. If you criticize one person but not the other it has to be because of gender race religion ect. Look at what’s her name Harris running for president. She’s already crying that she’s gonna lose because America won’t vote for a black woman. Nothing to do with policies or anything else. It’s ALWAYS race and gender. I just wish there was a black, trans, gender fluid Muslim on the ballot. I’d vote for her him they it, twice.

  42. Hillary your a trip LOL

  43. Make it simple your laped 4 times your out come on who cares who it is the leaders and the rest of the field have come upon her fighting for position and had to lift sooner or latter someone is going to get hurt

  44. I believe she doesn’t want to do it I believe her dad does when I’ve observed her that is what I see just an opinion.

  45. Woman have been in racing for decades, throughput the various divisions. Woman like Janet Guthrie and Shawna Robinson inspired woman like Renee Dupios and Melissa Fifield and Amy Catalano. Now Renee and Amy inspire girls around the region. Some day a Woman will stand in Victory Lane, maybe Renee or Amy, but the Woman who came before her will be credited with the inspiration. Look at what Haley Deegan has accomplished. When a Woman finally wins a NWMT race, look out, fans are gonna goes nuts.

  46. When I see the 01 the track, I don’t think if its a male or female driver. I just see a slow car going laps down very quickly. Is the driver afraid of racing at speed with the pack, afraid of crashing and getting hurt or is it the race car. What ever the reason as long as the driver is not in the way, or causing a lot of cautions or wrecks. I don’t notice . I prefer to watch and concentrate on the actual racing.

  47. Richard Belmonte says

    This is a premier division. It should be up to Nascar to decide what percentage of leader speed the slower cars must achieve. It’s on them. She tries, regardless of the reasons. I think it takes more courage to be that slow every week than to be competitive. May be underlying circumstances, as mentioned above, as to why she shows up every week knowing she will be lapped at will. Give her credit for trying to please someone.

  48. So what do the women think? None dare step into this cocoon of open minded progressives but on Facebook there were responses from the gals. Actually only two.

    Linda-“Her car, her money, her time. She can do whatever she wants too..hopefully she enjoys it too.”

    Mary -“Being a former driver and also being slow most of the time, I really take offense to people ragging on female drivers. She has every right to be out there doing what every man has a right to do regardless. I have seen this nonsense with Danica and other female drivers thru the years. I still think some have an idea that women can’t do what a man does without getting bad mouthed. This is so immature. I didn’t win a race when I raced, but I had a good time and fulfilled a dream of mine. It meant a lot to me to have had the opportunity. So I say to the people ragging on Melissa, knock it off!! She has every right to be where she is like it or not. I support her 100%. God bless her heart for doing what she wants. By bitching and complaining you hurt those little kids and future racers that want yo be like Melissa when they grow up. Show some respect!!!!!”

    The outside world may try to be more open minded but as far as racing goes “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”:.as immortalized by the late great James Brown still applies.
    Whether by choice of occupation or circumstance the author is usually in the eye of the storm. He observed the hyperbolic reaction Fifield gets whenever her name is mentioned and wrote a piece that could give folks pause to step back and think for a bit. Not with the respondents here for the most part but hundreds or thousands reading and not responding. In fact I’d be willing to conjecture that a whole bunch of women read the article and thought it was nice that the linchpin of local racing media actually went to bat exposing something they knew like Mary but dare not say out loud.
    To all the thoughtful people that view this as a performance and not an issue of gender your comments made me pause and question what this was all about. Then again if you’re opening with a cynical reference to the author trolling for clicks for financial gain. Or writing 130 lines of text making subjective points on why this is a performance issue and not a gender issue all the while using the pejorative reference to “Missy”.. Or going way out into left field to haul in a crying, black, female candidate for the presidential nomination to show how open minded you are. All that pretty much is an exclamation point on the authors use of words like “fanatical” and “scorn”.

  49. Breathtaking..truly is. DarealSchiff comes on for some Saturday fire and brimstone off the heels of a
    debate (if you want to call what’s in play here a debate) about whom may or may not “hate” MF over gender vs lack of measurable performance. Hey..I responded so put me in the crazy soup as well.
    I eagerly await your next utterance. LOL This site is Saturday cartoons for adults. :).

  50. Wow for the first time in a long time 100% agree with dareals statement. But 2019 has been coined as year of the women, and I think with everything going on in the world, us racers should prove we are better than that. Wether you travel the region following the tour live, or just visit 1 track, or sit at home watching on TV or the interweb, your still a race fan and each and every competitor out there should have your respect. Fast or slow, without them there is no race. To racer I say 4 laps down and your out Really?. So say a racer goes 20 laps down over a 150 lap race, but on lap 47 a big wreck takes out 8 cars. That’s another 8 spots that the racer picks up by running from green to checkered. Don’t forget there is money involved here. There are backmarkers in every division right up to cup, should they all quit because they aren’t fast enough? Ask Justin Haley, the July Daytona winner in cup, in a care that normally finishes in the 30’s.

  51. Hillary 2020 says

    As to why any father would point her out and tell their kid to aspire to be the next Fifield is beyond me. Hey be like her, slow non competitive, don’t even bother trying, don’t accept any help or guidance from anyone that knows what they’re doing. Don’t even try to earn respect from fellow drivers or fans. Just demand respect ONLY because you’re a pretty face. Oh and you deserve most popular driver because your a girl. Who voted for her anyway? I see maybe five people clapping when she’s announced at driver intros.

  52. The 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920. That gave women the right to vote. Women were given the right to vote by men. There are (as of a few months ago) people still alive that were subjected to intelligence tests, required by law, to be allowed to vote. Those laws were also eliminated.

    This racing deal with Missy has nothing to do with rights. There are no laws in play here that could prohibit her, no rights to be concerned about. Liberties allow her and anyone else to pursue racing, no laws prohibit her, or anyone else, from pursuing racing. So saying she has every right to race is like saying someone has every right to breathe.

    Crazy in New York-Nunes-Jim Jordan-Ratcliffe … what was your point?

  53. Maybe she could ask Erica Santos Pitkat for some setup advice or even ask her to be a coach. If Woody’s already at the track then Erica might be there too. She may find it easier working with another female driver. Personally. I don’t think someone with the financial resources, but not the experience or ability to be there should be allowed to compete in anything just because they want to do it. It’s not just racing either. How many of you know someone who brags about their child playing on an AAA Team, only to find out the parent is financing the whole team through being a sponsor. I respect what the 01 Team is trying to do, BUT. There comes a time when everyone has to look in the mirror and ask themselves, do I really have it, or am I just trying to convince myself that I do? Doesn’t matter what it is.

  54. Bostonian (and this is in response to not just you, but a lot of other commenters here in the last 24 hours),

    Maybe it’s the tone of the comments, but I think a lot of people have lost what the column was about it. The column was NOT about questioning whether Melissa Fifield deserves or belongs to be on the Whelen Modified Tour. And I have no issues with people offering constructive criticism through social media. I think being fairly critical of anyone on the series is fine and social media gives people the channels to do that. The column was about the double standard that exists. The column isn’t about people on social media offering fair criticisms, it was about people using social media in an ugly fashion targeted at one driver on the series. Anyone that follows social media in regards to the Modified Tour has seen it regularly, and that was the point of the column. The double standard that a lot of people have seemingly just accepted is that it’s alright to harass, personally insult and bully a driver on the Whelen Modified Tour, if it’s a woman. Telling someone over and over and over again to “Just quit” or “Stop coming to the races” or saying “NASCAR should ban you” is straight up harassing and bullying. There’s nothing constructive or fairly critical about that. What the column points out is that many male drivers have for many years shown up to events and run at the back and never gotten any better and have been in the way, but none has ever been targeted by the ongoing hate similar to the way Fifield gets targeted.

  55. Hillary, you missed the point. I’m not saying young girls would aspire to be like her, rather that her being out there might give a young kid (boy or girl) the courage to try something, maybe not even racing related. Today, more than ever, our youth needs role models, people who inspire them. Melissa is inspiring because she’s out on track, making an effort, and although she runs at the back, she keeps coming back. She didn’t quit. In all fairness, I believe that a race should be made up of the fastest cars. If there are 24 spots it should be the 24 fastest cars that race. No car should race all year by provisional. This is something only NASCAR can fix. But, again, there are going to be slow cars, it’s a fact, but the slow guys have every right to be on track. Without race cars, there is no race. Plus lapped traffic adds to the race, because the leaders have to figure out how to handle them.

  56. Shawn, agree with you. Through social media there’s allot of bullying going on. I truly hope that Melissa, and others in her position ignore the bullying, and keep coming to the tracks, or the soccer field, or basketball court ect. To the bully’s: shame on you. If you have anything nice to say, just shut up.

  57. Hillary 2020 says

    I agree with Shawn. Wade Cole comes to mind. Seems to me Fifield has much better equipment than Cole. I don’t know that for a fact. I do know one week Fifield had LFR on the car and the next Fury. Now occasionally Cole will get a decent finish and that’s usually a big story. I have watched old videos from Riverside Park and it looks like Cole was competitive back then. Does Cole at least try to race with what he has? In six years Fifield has 0 to show for it. It’s as if every race is her first time in a racecar. Could it be that Cole has been on the tour for so long and had sucked for so long that nobody really cares about him? Like it wouldn’t be a tour race without him. I actually like his solo spins to bring out a late race caution to tighten up the field during a boring race.

  58. Liz Cherokee says

    First off, great article Shawn!

    The rest of you should have a drink and embrace the positive side of what Melissa is doing for the WMT. As the great Rick Patino would say “All the negativity in this forum (town) sucks!”

  59. Wade Cole, sheesh. He was competitive and respected and now he’s a joke. The open car carrier, second only to Fifield in getting lapped, older then dirt and with no future at all on the tour. Talk about being a hazard. What do you think the reaction time is of a 66 year old in a modified. Slow, very slowwwwwwwwwwww. He’s the First Selectman of Hartland, Ct for Pete’s sake out galavanting around the countryside wasting time at races being passed. No doubt wanting to rack up more career starts remaining second to Tomaino. Records that will never be broken. Older equipment you say is the reason he’s so bad. How about if you can’t afford good equipment why are you wasting all that time and money?
    Pretty mean spirited isn’t it and no I have nothing but the utmost respect for First Selectman Cole? Yet just like all the logic you all use for Fifield most of it has a measure of truth. Yet Cole never has to endure the abuse Fifield does.
    Cole same answer as Fifield or anyone else for that matter. They have the money, the initiative, a legal car and NASCAR’s approval all they need to justify being there is because they want to be.
    The idea that the double standard doesn’t exist is ludicrous.

  60. If you’ve got nothing nice to say… shut up!

  61. I read the comments fairly carefully. Inevitably the criticism starts from the time the hauler enters the back gate. Pathetic qualifying times, never a competitive pass, mysterious DNF’s, being lapped at record rates. With the exception of Rob p not one of you give her credit for getting to the back gate. Getting to the back gate and everything that it entails is the overwhelming majority of the challenge of racing. You guys that race or have raced know it. The folks that have never been more then fans have no appreciation for anything that happens before the back gate.
    What I see when I see the 01 getting lapped is a gal that has shown more grit, more determination, is willing to invest more time and money and take more abuse then all of we so called true fans. I know she started a car dealership and has the challenge of building that business in addition to getting a car ready for next year. The volunteering and public relations exposing people in her area to a sport they might not even know exists.
    She’s more then a lap time she’s a woman of substance.
    Trying should count for something. Certainly more the those then those that never tried.

  62. JD said it… Missy is a three-time Most Popular Driver award recipient. Shawn, you need to do an article on the termination of the Most Popular Driver award for the NWMT. That could easily explain some of the ire focused on Missy. When driver introductions take place, there is silence, no response from the crowd when Missy is announced. How could that be for the 3x Most Popular Driver? Where are all these fans? Shawn, why was the MPD award terminated?

    Like Burt Meyers credits God for his outstanding driving ability, and makes God look good by soaking his tires, perhaps it was God’s will that Missy won the MPD award three times. Nah, just kidding.

    Shawn, you need to address the elephant in the room, and do a complete article on why there is no more NWMT Most Popular Driver award anymore.

    People that are still upset over Missy winning the MPD award three times, and that the award has been terminated, could have a rather large and legitimate axe to grind.

  63. Rob p. wrote, “If you’ve got nothing nice to say… shut up!”

    And of course, you are going to be a stellar example of practicing what you preach.

  64. So are we saying the WMT is going to turn into a series of has ben’s and never will be’s? Interesting perspective.

  65. Bristol… that was a track that absolutely convinced me that the 01 was a hazard. You have to go to Bristol to understand. The cars run flat out… most of them. They like to get very low in the turns, swing up high in the straights and sweep back low into the turns. They get a rhythm going that is incredibly fast. It also requires a lot of crossing up and down the track. The slow cars get in the way at Bristol to the point is is scary. There is no place to hide at Bristol. The 01 was scary slow and I cringed 😬 watching anything going on near the 01. The 01 does not like going fast.

    Shawn, double standards exist in our society. Some people will use them opportunistically. You should know that I have let rip on many cars, the 18, 26, 2, 58, anything TC drove, and others that were hazards or did excessive stupid. Like I’ve said before, I’m a customer and there are CARS that are not adding value to the racing product, and/or they are detriments. I don’t get to know many drivers to determine if I like them personally, so all I go on is what they do or don’t do on the track.

  66. OMG DOUG I am going to try to calm down and I don’t usually hammer the BEING AT THE TRACK to see things for yourself like others do to you BUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT who the hell are you to talk about double standards about drivers when YOU DONT go to any WMT races, WADE COLE while surely no contender to win is NOT IN HIS EARLY 20’s AND DOES not have a NEW LFR/FURY car to drive, so why doesn’t WADE live in a cardboard box and buy a new LFR TO RACE?
    MS Fifield can enter every WMT she chooses, not here to ban her or tell her go away but she COULD drive MRS, SK, SK LITE to IMPROVE her skills and compete level, NOPE just continue for 88 starts to show NOTHING, just be lapped and lapped every race and THEN BRING UP THE GENDER CRAP.
    WADE COLE is NOT A JOKE and he just racking up stats? so tell me DOUG how many WMT races have you been to the last 6 yrs to see Ms Fifield race?????????

  67. Hillary 2020 says

    To add to dafellas point, not only is there silence when she’s introduced,there is not a peep from the women in the crowd. I think it would be great to see a female win on the tour. I bet it’ll never happen though. I’m just glad I was able to witness Nicole Morgillo’s win against the great TC at Waterford a few years back. And Victoria Berganty in the lites on the same night. One of the best nights in the history of the place and the crowd loved it. You think Fifield could ever accomplish anything like that? Very doubtful.

  68. True story. My wife, who is a few years older than me, was an iron worker. In fact she was the first woman iron worker in New England. When she started, she was told time and time again that she didn’t belong there. The men used to make all sorts of sexist remarks, and at times worked harder to discourage her than they did on the job they were doing. Little did they know, she had determination, and turned their negativity into motivation. She ended up working a 25 year career, and worked on allot of iconic jobs throughout New England, and the country. She encouraged young women to join the trade and was even given an award, and pink hard hat by the late senator Ted Kennedy. But imagine if she had walked away way back in 1974. Just saying. Today, in 2019, sexism has no place in society. Those who encourage it should be ashamed. In a perfect world it wouldn’t exist, but our world is less than perfect. I truly hope that Melissa reads this, and she uses all the sexism, and bullying as motivation to keep racing. Going out there and giving it her best, because in the end that’s all any of us can do.

  69. I try really hard to embrace the positive dareal. Just sometimes you bring out the bad in me. As you’ve call on Shawn to do an article on the MPD as you call it, another good piece would be on qualifying procedure and provisionals, and why NASCAR continues to use an apparently broken system. It’s great that Shawn gives us this forum to debate issues, and throw our two cents in. Maybe we can use it, to do some good and inform people, rather than trying to tear each other down.

  70. I watched Rob Fuller at Stafford spot for her in practice. She was on the track by herself and he actually was very tough on her but she got up to speed. She was actually running very well. Then Fuller had Chase Dowling get her car at a Thompson year and she ran good again. Way better than any time she was on the track. He set up cones for her at the test and she actually looked good. My point is she needs a driver coach or someone who knows what’s going on to help her.

  71. Hank I listen to allll teams on the scanner every race I am at, she actually does give good info about the car back to dad/crew chief, she is not at all dumb about what the car is doing but that’s why I say WHY the WMT, drive a SK OR SK LITE WEEKLY and learn to pass and compete in races, not just drive slow and get lapped, I root for any 1st time winner, KYLE BONSIGNORE, CRAIG LUTZ, even Dave Sapienza as a car owner while hurt, I hope and pray Megan Fuller in yrs to come will be a WMT driver like her Dad.

  72. A driver coach would probably go a long way to get her up to speed, along with getting the car properly set up so she’s comfortable with it at speed. Other posts have stated that she has rejected help, which may or may not be true. Back in the day, the veteran drivers would advise a struggling driver, don’t know if that’s the case here. As Doug stated, allot of people judge her by what happens on the track, ignoring the efforts it takes just to get to the track. Bottom line; she’s struggling with performance, which leads to bullying on SM. Does she belong there? Absolutely! As far as I know it’s still a free country. Slower cars are a fact of racing…deal with it. Encourage don’t discourage. There is so much hatred and division in this country right now, that was never there before. Let’s band together and change the conversation to a positive one, otherwise the haters win, and losing sucks

  73. Liz Cherokee says

    dareallywounduoguy,
    Are you still upset that Melissa won the Whelen Modified Tour Most Popular Driver Award three consecutive times? 🏆🏆🏆
    Apparently so if you are calling for Shawn to do an article specifically about it. I didn’t know that Shawn was your personal journalist…
    Since you are so obsessed, 🏆🏆🏆, how about you take off your Lionel train engineer hat, grab a pen and notebook, and try to become your own investigative journalist. Hunt down your own sources and be sure to confirm your facts with multiple sources because we are going to hold you up to the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Of course, you know that because you know everything!
    Then, please set up and publish your own findings on your own site.
    I think you’ll learn that it not easy, just like Melissa’s efforts to compete on the WMT or Shawn’s journalistic and web publishing efforts aren’t easy…
    BTW, as much as you can be darealfeatherruffler, I still like you big guy! Have a drink or two every once in a while, it will be good for you! 🏆🏆🏆

  74. In every division at Stafford that had a woman competing in 2019, a woman won the Most Popular Driver Award. It would appear the default of many fans is to admire women that mix it up in a predominately male sport regardless of how successful they are on the track. It is after all the most popular and not most capable.
    Whether it’s Fifield, Megan Fuller, Alexandra Fearn or Sammi Anderson people including me vote for women when we get the chance mainly because of their courage to be different. Who doesn’t appreciate a unicorn when they see one?

  75. And there it is. You are a sexist Doug. You just admitted it. I’m not trying to pick on you either. I’m just going off what you said. Why not vote for any of the other low budget teams that make the same effort? You could also vote for one of the drivers that wins all the time. Simply voting for all women because they are women is equally wrong.

    For me it still goes back to the MPD awards. If you seek out the award, attend the awards banquet and accept all the accolades that go along with it then you are held to a different standard moving forward. Now if the 01 were to win a race and then got bashed that would be different in my book. I don’t think that would be the case though.

    For the life of me, why not accept the help offered by other drivers? Not trying get to get better is the real sin here.

  76. Folks, this is not about trying, visiting elementary schools, etc. This is about the racing product on the track, what we pay to see, what we race against. This is not about trying, it is about achieving. Racing is about achieving and finishing in first place. When drivers visit schools, they are doing it for themselves and trying to create a public image, perception and persona for themselves. They want to be liked. Go to schools, give away decals and PRESTO!!!!

    Look at how much the start-and-parkers are bashed. They aren’t trying, they are just showing up. No set up required.

    Hey, I often ask about that LFR house car and how important it is and how it doesn’t exist. How about that LFR Driver Development Program? Anybody have a list of participants? Graduates? How are the graduates doing today? Did they move on to Trump University? 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡

    It’s been 6 years of doing the same thing, the wrong things, no signs of improvement. Looks like pure insanity, unless this what they set out to do. In 6 years, finishing on the lead lap just once. If they really are trying, they need to find another hobby. How about a 4-cyl with fenders? Something very slow.

    Since what women are thinking has been brought up, I know women involved in racing. They are brutal about this. This does not help the girl power movement. Missy is showing that the stereotype that girls can’t do it is true. It is a very non-competitive entry that does not help the Tour.

    It’s not equipment, it’s not the car. That team has used every car available. No change at all. It’s been six years and no change in the on-track performance, and the on-track performance is what it is all about. She drives so slow it can’t be the car. Does daddy make sure the setup is such a disaster so Missy can’t go fast? Finished on the lead lap ONCE in six years. Off the track in ¾ of the races well before the finish.

    For those of you bringing up that she should go to the SK Lites or SKs, please think. She’s still slower that that. And if she could run with them, she’d be in traffic… bumper-to-bumper, nerf bar-to-nerf bar, wheel-to-wheel. Do you really want that?

    Is this about awarding participation? YOU get a medal, YOU get a medal, YOU get a medal, YOU get a medal…

    So glad some have mentioned that Missy has opened a USED car dealership. I’m sure it is dealing in only the finest and carefully hand selected previously owned cars. Last I saw, used car sales people were still the butt of jokes, still slithering around in the primordial soup. 🤣🤡

    Liz, so glad you are back. 🥃 🥃 🥃 No, I’m not upset that Missy won the MPD award, I am upset that the award has been terminated. What did the fans do such that they are being punished? The way the vote was setup was rife for abuse. I guess trusting that people would behave is not an option. It is a representation of the team that does so. Design the vote to deprive the unscrupulous and deceptive. Until Missy won, it seemed that indeed the MPD was winning the award. Is Missy really in the same class of Stefanik and Christopher? How can a driver that has no fan support at the track win the MPD award three times? That the media has stayed away from publishing the story behind that is chilling. Depriving the fans of voting for their favorite driver is rather severe and drastic. It’s not the fault of the regular, genuine fans. Don’t blame the fans. I’ve asked about the MPD award on these forums numerous times and it was pure silence for a response. That just brings more attention to the situation. Bigly SAD!!!! The MPD was a great way to get the fans involved, especially the younger fans, the future of the sport.

    If you are going to pursue the MPD award, you need to live up to the MPD award. If you want to reap the accolades and benefits of the MPD award, and for the 01 team, that can be converted into 💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵💰 💵 through sponsorship, you need to live up to the award. Right now, the only interest in the 01 is discussing how bad the performance of the car is, which is the opposite of what is needed for an MPD award. That ain’t gonna earn a MPD award. The 01 is popular for all the wrong reasons, and getting the MPD award three times is all of that. If she never won the MPD she would probably simply be another backmarker like the 18, 26, 33, and 38. But Missy brought it upon herself with the multiple MPD awards. Missy was never an option for an MPD award. She gets no crowd response.

    So looking forward to this conversation during the race and football. 🏈

  77. Christopher, Stefanik, Really? NO driver measures up to Ted and Mike. Doug a sexist? Don’t think so. Megan Alexandra and Sammi would get my vote too. Those girls are out there week after week performing well, and deserve the awards. As far as Melissa not performing well, I’ve said it before having the best equipment does mean squat, if you can’t set it up. Look, Woman in short track racing may be rather new, but as the years go on there will hopefully be more of them racing. Are they all gonna do well? Probably not, but they’re putting in the effort, which is all any of us can do. Stop hating. And yes I too would love to see Megan Fuller compete in a modified as her dad did, and maybe in the near future it will happen, but if it doesn’t I wouldn’t hold it against her.

  78. Well maybe if they stop turning down the help that is offered by individuals then maybe they will figure out how to set it up. And when and if they figure it out then it will be up to the driver to produce.

    It has been broke for 6 seasons now so when is someone going to take control and right the ship? The excuses just keep piling up.

  79. Shawn, you should have mentioned the Most Popular Driver award in your article. How could a driver that has been on the Tour for six years and received the Most Popular Driver award THREE TIMES be the focus of such wrath? What is it about her that draws such wrath? She’s supposed to be the MOST POPULAR DRIVER.

    Renee Dupuis was never subjected to such ire. And that was long ago when we weren’t as evolved as we are now. Renee was racy. Renee’s stats are far superior to Missy’s.

    Other girls that are racing are not getting this wrath. I’d go as far as saying the other girls are producing excitement.

    If sexism were that bad, all the girls would be getting the same treatment. Right?

    Why is Missy the one being picked out?

    I’d have to recommend that one look at Missy when trying to understand why she is receiving such wrath.

    Discuss the Most Popular Driver award.

  80. Woman in racing: Erica Enders 2019 NHRA Pro Stock Champ. You go girl!

  81. Britney Force, Courtney Force, Melony Troxel, Danica Patrick, you go girls! Melissa Fifield, who? And your point? As my boss says, no more excuses, I want a reason!

  82. This is out of control!! Shawn is doing his job doing profiles on all drivers {male or female} stop being such haters! we need all the cars on the track we can get lately. she’s out there and i am not, i’m sure shes a better driver than i am. if it were’nt for Shawn , we wouldn’t have this website, I for one look forward to Raceday!!!

  83. Good point Earl, women have been around the NHRA a long time and if the sexism was as bad as this article makes it appear, we would have been reading about it often.

  84. This is not a driver profile. It’s an opinion piece that was sure to draw debate. We are now debating. Whats the complaint Reg?

  85. Look, there isn’t much here that couldn’t have been helped by a couple all-day track rental sessions… if the driver had the talent to begin with, some 6 or so years ago. Clearly that team can afford to rent a couple tracks for a full day to get the car dialed in and give the driver plenty of seat time. I do believe they have attended group track rentals. I may recall having seen them at a NHMS session. It’s been 6 seasons and there is no progress.

    So, are we doing this to be competitive and win, or to get participation ribbons?

  86. I’d have to go with the ribbons dareal. But who are we to judge. She’s out there, making the efforts?, And she has every right to be there. Track rentals might help though, a driver can’t perform if the cars not there.

  87. My complaint is your calling out the journalist who writes this website that we all love. I’m a huge NHRA fan. I go to New England Nationals every year!! Straight line racing is different than oval racing (lap after lap for miles at a time,) Not 4 seconds at a 1000 feet! No disrespect to Erica, Brittany, Alexis, Angelle, and definitely not Shirley !! That racing is split second decisions .I think Meghan Fuller is gonna do well!! Look at her bloodline. I’m not out there, so again I say Hats off to those that are so we got someone to watch!

  88. I’ve been going to Riverside,Stafford,Waterford, Thompson since 1970.

  89. Watch the 01, particularly on the end of a straight and into entry. It’s like she’s in a panic. 😱 Very unsmooth. And yet, she is very slow 🐢. This goes directly to the skills, talent and capability of the driver. After 6 seasons on the NWMT, the 01 continues to look like every outing is the first time ever on the track. She looks like she is afraid 😱 to go fast 💨.

  90. I think perhaps her track times were helped by working with Rob Fuller. The last couple of times I was able to watch her run she has been faster through the corners than previously. At Thompson’s last race, she was definitely getting into the corner a little deeper and on the throttle a little sooner than in the past. She may still have a long way to go, but I think there has been some progress with her driving this year.

  91. A race driver should inherently want to go fast, faster than the equipment can take them. And they have to learn where that edge is to make sure they don’t go over it. What happens when a driver goes over the edge? They lose the front and plow into a wall, they lose the rear and spin around. They enter too fast, they exit too soon, too hard. In 6 years, nothing like that has ever happened with the 01, at least that I saw. Not even close. 😴 💤

    When I’m watching cars, I’m looking to see if they are pushing it, if they are on the edge, getting loose in the corners, how deep they drive in, how soon and fast they get in the throttle. The 01 is the slowest. It’s as if she’s trying to go very gentle on the car. That ain’t racing. The 01 has to be the quietest car, indicating the driver is in the throttle the least and lightest.

    If this were not a family operation, Missy would have been fired a very long time ago, years ago. If Missy didn’t run her own car, she’d never get a ride on the NWMT.

  92. Fast Eddie 7/11/19
    “Doug, I would be willing to wager a fair amount that if Rene Dupuis or Amy Catalano were driving the 01, either would be substantially quicker and faster in it than Melissa Fifield. This for me has nothing to do with gender. At the drags, I always enjoy seeing the girls beat the boys occasionally. It’s one thing if someone is doing their best with limited funding and older equipment. It’s another thing entirely if someone seems to be afraid of the car and is driving well below their potential. IMO, that creates a potential safety problem for all the other drivers. And for the record, I agree with the slogan but am not from the “show me” state.”

    Apparently not from Missouri but subscribes to the “show me” mentality and Fifield showed Eddie a little improvement it would appear between July and later in the year.

  93. Once she stuck those FURY decals on the car, any hopes of help from Fuller went out the window.

  94. Those FURY decals were more helpful.

  95. You talked about her looking panicked on entry. That tells me the car ain’t right. Entry sets up the whole corner, if you don’t get in, you don’t roll the center, and forget about getting off the corner therefore you would be slow. Sounds to me more a problem of car, not driver. And yes she may have the best money can buy, doesn’t mean it’s set up right.

  96. Brian Raymond Nye says

    I’d say it’s more that she has not earned a seat with the top modified driver’s in the country and diehard racers do not respect a person who buys they’re way into a seat vs. earning it threw skill,seat time in lower divisions any racing at all ??? Women like Meg Fuller have driven quarter midgets for years and then stepped up to limited sportsman to hone there skills to hopefully some day EARN a seat in mod tour racing. NOT SEXIST!!!!

  97. Nah… at those slow speeds, any car and any setup works. If they haven’t gotten entry figured out by now, they have no place being on the NWMT. The driver should have been able to communicate that. How can the slowest car have glowing red brakes on entry? And the competitive cars are gliding in and through the apex with hardly any brake?

  98. Feeling comfortable equates to going faster. But again if you don’t enter the corner correctly it screws the whole corner up, hense slow laps. A driver has to have confidence in their car to go fast. There are allot of variables, which would take way too long to try to explain to someone who believes that setup has no relation to lap time. You have your beliefs having never touched a race car, I’ve got mine after spending 25+ years in the sport

  99. As Hall of Fame member Janet Guthrie replied when a fellow racer made a reference to make anatomy, she stated ” I don’t know what that particular appendage has to do with driving a race car, seems to me it would just get in the way” Best comeback ever. To all you sexists who think a woman should be barefoot, pregnant and cooking dinner I say this; CRAWL BACK INTO YOUR CAVE. Women have been involved in just about every form of Motorsports for decades. Some successful, some not, deal with it. They are here, and they are welcome here. DEAL WITH IT. sexism and hatred have no place in the America I believe in, and hope allot of people feel the same.

  100. Take it a step further; nowhere, in any NASCAR rulebook, for Any division, does it say that women are not allowed to compete. Might as well be the words of god. To any woman who races ( or competes in other sports), and may read this I say; keep coming to the races ( or games), do your best (because after all, that all any of us can do) and don’t let anyone discourage you, or discriminate against you. And know that there are people (like me) who absolutely 100% believe you belong there.

  101. A lot of us say the same thing over and over and over and over again. Every now and then like with Liz Cherokee and that quote from Guthrie someone hits it out of the park.
    Dad gum Rob p when you get lit up it can be down right inspirational at times. Very refreshing and forward looking. Positive waves…..thanks!

  102. “Feeling comfortable equates to going faster. But again if you don’t enter the corner correctly it screws the whole corner up, hense slow laps.” from Rob P.
    Although I’m only a fan, I can from very limited experience second your above statement. I drove a late model during a driving school at Stafford over the summer. I learned in a big hurry just how different turns 1 & 2 were from 3 & 4.With no prior circle track experience, I think I was doing o.k. through 3 & 4 but couldn’t get turn 1 entry decent most of the time, which of course messed up turn 2.

  103. Personally, I believe Its better to finish last every race and know you did something than to pretend like you’d win every race and never get to sit in the driver’s seat. The experience, the team / family aspect of the sport, the friends and community outreach that this opportunity has given her is one that not many people have had the privilege of sharing in. Good for her.

  104. Six years of not learning… S-I-X YEARS… no improvement.

    I can teach, but I can’t make you understand.

    If you think sexism is why a car, team or driver can’t improve, please explain.

    There is dislike for sure, but not the extreme sexism as some may think. Missy is definitely not getting the love 💕 💖 💗 you would expect for a 3x Most Popular Driver 🤣🤣🤣🤣 that has been on the Tour for 6 years. Why is that? Imagine that… on the Tour for 6 years and won the MPD award for three years. Actually, Missy won the MPD award her FIRST THREE YEARS on the Tour. Missy who???? Yeah, exactly. Who??? That’s some rarified air. Amazing!!!!! 😉 First three years, three MPD awards. AMAZING!!!!! She must have some outstanding statistics and must be a real dynamo. Nope. New Englanders are known for good memories, pragmatism, and steady habits. If the 01 team doesn’t like it, they need to get over it. No sexism here. Fans are pissed 😤 😡 😠 that the Most Popular Driver award was terminated. That ain’t sexist. Get over it. Missy will never get the love on the NWMT. The modified fans miss the MPD award.

    There is tremendous value in the NASCAR Most Popular Driver award. It enables credibility when soliciting sponsorship.

    Look at the list of previous winners of the MPD award. C’mon… Missy has no place on that list. And that she was on the list in her first three years on the Tour is laughable. Not a single lead lap finish in those first three years. Two DNQs. Who is this?

    Sexism is not the explanation. Sexism as an excuse is disingenuous and hurts the #METOO, equality and anti-misogyny movements. Playing the sexism card for opportunistic personal gain is pretty sad. 😔 😞 Even worse in the absence of outstanding talent and performance. Sexism is not the reason why the 01 sucks and is not improving. It would be sexist if a woman truly had outstanding talent and was suppressed and oppressed. That’s not happening here.

    Did you see the movie “Hidden Figures”? Well, my wife is a professional in a historically male controlled and populated field. My daughters are professionals in historically male controlled and populated fields. My wife and daughters are in the same conditions as the three lead roles in the movie.

    I am very aware of and sensitive to people inappropriately playing the sexism card.

    Does the 01 get criticized? Yeah, sure. And rightfully so. All backmarkers are pointed out at some point, and then some. They get in the way, cause yellows, etc. Some more than others. How many backmarkers won the Most Popular Driver award their first three years on the Tour? I know of just one… Missy. The stats of the 01 are horrible. Perhaps the worst ever on the NWMT. And Missy won the MPD award in the first three years on the Tour. Did Missy win the RotY award?

    For those of you that think this criticism of the 01 is rooted in sexism, I ask “Why?”. If sexism were to be real, the women that are not backmarkers, competitive and running with the big dogs would be targeted. But that is not happening at all. Those women are not getting this type of treatment. Why attack a harmless back marker, and not the competitive women? Or at least, equal opportunity sexism?

    In conclusion, the treatment Missy gets is not rooted in sexism. Keep looking for the real reason. Consider the Most Popular Driver award debacle. There are sexists out there, but this situation is not, and far from, dominated by sexism.

    So I ask again, why is Missy criticized like this? What is it about her that draws this response? Why aren’t all women we know in racing treated like this? Perhaps the Most Popular Driver award debacle? She is not and will not be allowed to distance herself from the MPD award.

  105. So are you saying Evan that some of the folks demanding the most have demonstrated the least. That would be all hat, no cattle I believe.

  106. Thanks to Doug for your kind words. It’s people like you who actually make a point that keep me interested. Thanks to Fast Eddie, for understanding the point I was trying to make, bet that school was a ton of fun. Evan, thanks for backing up what I’ve tried to say for the past few days. You folks are the reason I comment here, you get it. It’s great to have a place to debate the issues pretty much without bias. Doug, this is the kinder gentler me. Allot has happened in the last year that has made me realize that life is precious, and there’s no room for hatred. My defense of Melissa, and others, comes from dealing with the sexism my wife endured her whole career, the article really hit home. Dareal, well I said if you have nothing nice to say…shut up. So concerning you, I’ll just shut up. I truly hope all the female athletes out there defeat sexism, and encouraged, rather than discouraged. And most of all, I hope these athletes realize that there are allot of people (like me) who truly know you DO belong. God bless all.

  107. Is the “most popular driver award” still given out for the NWMT? If it is, how is the winner determined. Years ago Woody Pitkat repeatedly won the award at Stafford. At the time it was determined by ballot, which was found in the tracks “pitstopper” program. At the time Woody was accused of having his grandma purchase the unsold programs for that ballot, an accusation which was later proven wrong. I’m guessing that the NWMT Award is most likely determined by social media, but would like to know the actual process.

  108. Well, it’s close to 3am Thursday the 21st. I go under the knife in a few short hours. So at this time I’d like to thank everyone who visits this site, and takes part in these sometimes heated debates. This site has led to me feeling as though some of you are friends even though we’ve never met (or maybe we have, might have sat near some of you at Stafford this past season) I’ve no idea what the immediate future holds, and how long my recovery will take. The past few days this site has helped keep my mind occupied, and not worrying so much. I’ve no idea how long I’ll be down so I’d like to take this time to wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Have fun with your families. And once again THANK YOU Shawn for this awesome sight. God Bless you all, and I hope to debate with you soon. Remember life is precious, don’t spend it full of hatred.

  109. Rob P.,
    Prayers for all that you’re going through. I wish you a full and quick recovery. I’m glad to be have been able to have this site here for you. Wonderful words here. Get back here soon.

  110. OK then that’s right up on the suck meter.
    Remember Rob p, positive waves. Good luck and read you soon!

  111. Rob,

    Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  112. Hillary 2020 says

    Good luck Rob p. I disagree with you on this subject but wish you all the very best.

  113. Rob, so sorry to hear about your circumstances! Hopefully you and the “Crew Chief in the sky” won’t be meeting anytime soon! Hopes and prayers are with you!
    P.S. I probably ran mediocre street stock times in that Late Model at best, but it was indeed a blast!!

  114. So what’s percentage of all the people that follow racing have actually strapped themselves into a race car and tried to get the car to perform at it’s maximum in competition or simply taking hot laps? 3,5,10%. Whatever it is you have the perspective relatively few have. Undoubtedly your instructors gave you insights in car handling characteristics, cornering strategy and chassis dynamics that you may consider incorporating in your race commentary in the future.

  115. Hillary 2020 says

    While we’re on the subject did anyone happen to see the interview with Sami Anderson at the awards banquet? She pulled out the gender card like it was going out of style. Does Stafford have a sexism problem? She should be happy to have gotten the MPD award. Nothing to do with her gender I’m sure.😒

  116. Rob P. Good lord willing we will hear from you again soon, good luck and God bless.

  117. “So what’s percentage of all the people that follow racing have actually strapped themselves into a race car and tried to get the car to perform at it’s maximum in competition or simply taking hot laps?”

    I’ve often thought that 10 Rusty Wallace or Skip Barber laps should be a prerequisite to slamming a competitor online… It’s all far harder than it looks.

  118. Barry contributed, ” “So what’s percentage of all the people that follow racing have actually strapped themselves into a race car and tried to get the car to perform at it’s maximum in competition or simply taking hot laps?”

    I’ve often thought that 10 Rusty Wallace or Skip Barber laps should be a prerequisite to slamming a competitor online… It’s all far harder than it looks.”

    So this also goes for baseball, hockey, cricket, poker, swimming, football, skiing, curling, …

    🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    Look, you have implicitly said that only a driver can critique another driver. WRONG!!!

    As I and every other person in the stand can see, some drivers are at one end of the talent spectrum, and others at the other end, and many in-between. I can do that even if I never turned a lap. By asserting that only a driver can critique another driver mans that only drivers or former drivers can be owners that can hire and fire drivers.

    And let’s make something clear… drivers are not experts on what it takes to get a car to go fast. Some have no idea and make that clear. One guy is Kyle Larson. He has no qualms whatsoever saying he has no idea what the crew does to his car. He knows his job is to report what the car is and is not doing so the crew can determine what the car needs. I’ve known drivers that thought they knew what to do, and they dictated what changes to do to the car, and it didn’t work. They refused to report the handling of the car and dictated the explicit changes. So your implicit attempt to make it look like only a driver can contribute to these convos is pure 🐂 💩.

    Just because somebody does it does not mean they know what they are doing.

    There are good doctors and there are bad doctors.

  119. It was 1980 something and as the family and I sat in the stands at Stafford Motor Speedway an epiphany washed over me. The steady drum beat from Ben Dodge saying that the Streets were the future stars of racing, an affordable division finally lead me to conclude that this was the time to take the plunge. After all it was in my blood having family that raced. OK family by marriage but family nonetheless. What followed was a series of conversations with my reluctant but good natured spouse where I rationalized so many points that racing would provide affordable yet exciting entertainment for the entire family.
    Clearly the smart thing to do would have been to do like Rocco did. Crew for someone, learn the ropes, what to do and not to do then build your own car if you still have an interest. I didn’t do that. What I did was get a driver that had relatively modest success to build a car in which he could sell me all his old parts he learned didn’t work. What I ended up with was a stripped car with a roll cage attached to the chassis with dangerous welds, no motor, transmission or electrical and a locked rear end loaded with slag from welding that wouldn’t survive 5 laps. As the car sat in my garage I could only think how wonderful it all was. The blank canvass we would fill with magnificent adventures, success and maybe a rookie of the year trophy if things went well.
    After a good amount of stalling, misfires on the tow truck and trailer it was my first night and the nerves were singing a merry tune. What is routine for most in the drive up, entering the pits and getting unloaded is an mystery fraught with the unknown for a first timer. After getting unloaded I asked a fellow competitor what the procedure was for inspection before practice. He said not to worry. Just go out for practice and they’ll find you afterwards. They did find me throwing the black flag in practice, bringing me in and giving me an ear full. Thus ended my first lesson in the fellowship of competing teams.
    I did have modest yet hopeful expectations the first night. Having seen the really slow cars week after week from my perch in the stands including a couple old Fords in the field where Chevelle’s were the car of choice modest success was virtually certain. I knew for sure my beautifully prepared 69 Chevelle would take those pathetically slow Fords in short order. After all I did take my machine it to Raceworks who checked the set up and seemed satisfied that it would be a good starting point for a novice. So I strapped in for the first heat, took my place in the rear of the field took the green and proceeded to watch the old Fords pull away from me with alarming speed. It was a time when the pits were loaded with Streets and in the consi I vowed not to embarrass myself again in a field of the slowest cars. What followed was a series of three spins, all in the third turn in succession and the crowd no doubt getting pissed at the knucklehead that was delaying them from seeing what at the time were the best Modifieds the Northeast. We loaded up sadder by wiser knowing that there would be no succeeding night that could be more disappointing then this. That also turned out to be wrong.
    I’m not going to pretend I was anything but naive and bone headed in my approach to racing although I don’t think I invented being ill prepared. What I can say however is it was far easier to judge those old Fords from the stands where there is no competition. As opposed to the track filled with cars going in the same direction with no lanes, little concern for hitting each other in a form of controlled chaos and singularly dedicated to finishing ahead of you.

  120. We’ll dareal I got a good doctor, female to boot. Home resting, want to thank Hillary, Shawn, Doug ,Barry and Earl for your kind words, believe me they helped. This has been one of the longest lasting treads I’ve ever witnessed here. Hopefully it’s opened people’s eyes. Didn’t see Sammie’s remarks at the banquet, but if she crossed the line shame on her. Sexism has no place anywhere, but unfortunately it’s become a fact of life. We can change that, it might not happen overnight, but with support it will happen. Let’s do this and show the world that we are better than that. God bless, and thanks for your support it means allot.

  121. Rob P.,
    Great to have you back !

  122. Thanks Shawn great to be back. Forgot Fast Eddie, so thanks. Crew chief gonna have to wait. Still running laps, although slower these days. I’ve gotta say this must have been one of the most difficult articles for Shawn, and I thank him for publishing it, it’s a subject that shouldn’t be swept under the rug, so thank you Shawn, keep up the great job you do.

  123. Hey Rob, it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you may be running as long as you are indeed running! Glad to hear your procedure went well! Hopefully your recovery does the same! As my 85 year old father says, “I’m on the right side of the grass, so it’s a good day!”

  124. Wade Cole

    Races: 371, since 1985

    T10: 7

    Rank (Avg last 3 years) : 14.67

    Running at Finish: 45 (12.13%)

    Lead Lap Finish: 91 (24.53%)

    Laps Completed: >> 50%

    Most Popular Driver Awards: 0

    🏎.
    .

    Calvin Carroll

    Since 2016, on the Tour full-time 3 years, 2 races in ‘16

    Races: 50

    T10: 1

    Rank (Avg last 3 years): 15.33

    Running at Finish: 33 (66%)

    Lead Lap Finish: 6 (12%)

    Laps Completed: >> 50%

    Most Popular Driver Awards: 0
    🏎.
    .

    Melissa Fifield

    On the Tour 6 years

    Races: 88

    T10: 0

    Rank (Avg last 3 years): 20

    Running at Finish: 22 (25%)

    Lead Lap Finish: 1 (1.14%)

    Laps Completed: ~ 50%

    Most Popular Driver Awards: 3
    .
    🚗
    .

    The record of the 01 is the worst, by far.

    Quick, fire up the sexism smoke screen machine.

    Notice the 01 had sponsorship when it was obtaining the Most Popular Driver awards. No sponsorship has been on the car the last couple years since the MPD was terminated.

    The 01 is indeed criticized for its lack of performance. I’m not seeing the connection to sexism. So I’d like to request further investigation into the Most Popular Driver award, and why Missy appears to receive such wrath that is said to reek of sexism.
    .
    🎪
    This is about RACING, which is going fast on the race track. This is NOT about what people do off the track, and what they do to get on the track. To try to use a good deed from off the track as some sort of leverage to assuage other issues, ignore or dismiss unacceptable behavior, play a victim card, or to distract from pitiful on track performance, just isn’t working.

  125. Nice to see you back Rob P.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  126. The article isn’t about sexism it’s about a double standard.
    I believe that were there a large audience of highly opinionated women in the RaceDayCt audience and were they mean spirited and vindictive they could go after someone like Wade Cole relentlessly based on any number of things from performance to age. But there aren’t a large number of women in this audience and they probably wouldn’t be as singularly dedicated to attacking anyone in the manner we guys do because they just aren’t built that way as far as I can see.
    One thing I’ve pondered is whether the NWMT is an amateur series or professional. We like to think of it as the top tier in modified racing and it’s a big deal with us. However in the vast landscape of racing it is essentially a grass roots, amateur series several rungs down from the pro’s and for the most part populated by people who do it for love and not as a means to make a living. It therefore follows that while we as fans may project our own ideas of performance and worthiness it’s really irrelevant. It’s an amateur series where a governing body establishes rules and the only criteria to qualify is the rules the governing body sets. You can argue the wisdom of why a person that doesn’t improve in any endeavor continues to participate in it but if they qualify by the rules in affect then there’s nothing more to consider.
    What could be a better discussion is not the worthiness of people like Cole or Fifield to participate in the series but the wisdom of each to spend massive amounts of money in essentially an utterly fruitless endeavor. I think it makes about as much sense as owning a boat, taking a European vacation or any other means of entertainment people waste money on. It’s just folks taking the money they’ve earned and spending on the things they love.
    God Bless America!

  127. Title of the article: “Don’t Hate the Player: Scorn Aimed at Fifield Reeks Of Sexism With Whelen Modified Tour”

    Not just your regular everyday, run of the mill sexism, but “REEKS OF SEXISM” sexism.

    Doug wrote, “The article isn’t about sexism it’s about a double standard.”

    Doug, let me help you out here… sexism is a double standard, sexism is synonymous with double standard, sexism is a form of a double standard, sexism is an example of a double standard, sexism = double standard, sexism infers a double standard, etc.

  128. Doug scribed, “God Bless America!”

    When you run out of 🐂 💩, invoke the God card.

    When all else fails, invoke the God card!

  129. darealgoodfella,

    I’ll post essentially the same comment I’ve posted previously here. This column was not about defending Melissa Fifield’s right to be on the Whelen Modified Tour. It was not about comparing her talents, abilities or accomplishments with anyone else. It was about the double standard that exists on social media that people think its alright to use ugly and despicable behavior to bully and harass her on social media because she is a woman.
    I think being fairly critical of anyone on the series is fine and social media gives people the channels to do that. But the column isn’t about people on social media offering fair criticisms, it was about people using social media in an ugly fashion targeted at one driver on the series. Anyone that follows social media in regards to the Modified Tour has seen it regularly, and that was the point of the column.
    The double standard that a lot of people have seemingly just accepted is that it’s alright to harass, personally insult and bully a driver on the Whelen Modified Tour, if it’s a woman. Telling someone over and over and over again to “Just quit” or “Stop coming to the races” or saying “NASCAR should ban you” is straight up harassing and bullying. And those are the “family friendly” insults and bullying that are regularly out there. I won’t even get into the other stuff, that you know exists. There’s nothing constructive or fairly critical about doing that, it’s bullying and harrasment, plain and simple.
    What the column points out is that many male drivers have for many years shown up to events and run at the back and never gotten any better and have been in the way, but none has ever been targeted by the ongoing hate similar to the way Fifield gets targeted. Not even close. And that’s the double standard.

  130. So here is the perfect opportunity for team 01 to prove they can get it done. Purchase one of the #2 cars that is for sale; 6 championships, race winning proven cars, proven components meticulously maintained, best money can buy, climb in and go. Heck, I am certain Phil will even set it up and Doug will shake it down. Enough of the BS and excuses, golden ticket at their fingertips. Make us all proud and win a race, I honestly would love to see it happen and I really, truly mean it.

    If I were going to go tour racing this is absolutely the car I would buy.

  131. First off, great recollection by Doug, those never get old.Dareal,seriously, the horse was dead 10 beatings ago. Shawn , thanks for your patience. Earl, food plan provided MS3 would break up the equipment, but she doesn’t need to buy it, just strap in and run some laps, see the results. And Fast Eddie, thanks for the encouragement, I’ve got a ways to go yet, another procedure Dec. 5th but not worried heaven don’t want me and hell’s afraid I’ll take over. Besides too many people to make miserable. And with support from my Raceday CT pals, I’ll be fine. Thanks and God bless.

  132. To be clear, this is what the column was all about:

    “It was about the double standard that exists on social media that people think its alright to use ugly and despicable behavior to bully and harass her on social media because she is a woman.”

    Shawn, I understand your position. I hope you realize I have been an equal opportunity source of feedback, regardless of gender. Several years ago, the 18 was a disaster for quite a while. I wrote about it, and boy-oh-boy did I get replies. Every reason, explanation and excuse possible, and just rage. There was no legit explanation possible for the mess that car was causing. As if the 18 was above reproach. Just because they were trying hard, criticism was not allowed. I’ve also commented on the 2, 26, 36, and others when they were detriments to the racing product. After all you have seen, you know the cars that are scary, that when the competitive cars are getting ready to pass, you cringe while hoping that all the passing goes well. Even some high powered cars that are high risk. When Preece was driving the 3, he was blowing down the backstretch at NHMS and one of these notorious cars drifted up into the racing lane as Preece was bearing down and Preece had to slam on the brakes to prevent being pushed into the wall at end-of-the-straightaway speeds. The 2 is infamous for its brainless disasters at Loudon. It caught quite a bit of flak too. And recently when Goodale tried to make like a tank and drive over Silk. Goodale was savaged. And the Hirschman debacles, and he was savaged by the paying fans. I could go on and on.

    And to address the gender issue. My wife and daughters are in professions have been male dominated and controlled. I am extremely sensitive to the application of the gender card. The worst thing that can happen to the gender equality movement is to abuse or misapply an accusation of gender bias when there isn’t one. Playing the victim when not a victim is damaging to the cause. Therefore, if there are holes in the argument, those holes need to be addressed. And needs to be addressed to provide credibility to the bias claim.

    But… there are aspects of the subject as you just expounded upon that were not covered in the column that need to be addressed for I do believe are part of the issue, and perhaps add more to explain the condition you proffer. Such as but not limited to:

    1. Why does Melissa receive this treatment when other females do not? This is crucial. If this was pure sexism, a narrow form of a double standard, then all females would be getting this treatment with similar vigor. This article would be about across-the-board sexism. Isolating this alleged double standard to the Whelen Modified Tour does not add or detract any value from the discussion. What is it about Melissa that draws those responses? Other female competitors presented on these forums get lauded and lovely posts. There is the likability factor. Mike Stefanik and Richie Evans were adored as a drivers and tremendously respected as people. There are many that are jerks and court jesters, and are not beloved no matter how good they are on the track, and these are men. Many didn’t last long on the Tour. And they get treated harshly on social media. This is crucial, and goes to your comment. Why does Melissa get the volume and intensity of SM comments while other females do not? Hence, I would be inclined to think that it is not a reason based on gender that could also apply to a male. She has been black flagged, so the “NASCAR should ban you” comment has been in play.

    2. The Most Popular Driver Award. This is the huge elephant in the room. The biggest and most beautiful elephant ever. How does a person that wins the MPDA in her first three seasons, an unknown entity at that, and an extremely uncompetitive entry, win three MPDAs in her first three seasons? She’s not known for her driving ability or a stellar statistical record. And that record is not going to attract fans. I’m sure she has a few legit fans, like her family and crew. She has been left off the pre-race introductions, and when she is announced, there is no response from the crowd. It would seem reasonable, that as a 3-time recipient of the MPDA, that the little girls and women in the stands would make some noise, but no, it just doesn’t happen. It appears that Missy is just not well liked. How could that be? She obtained the MPDA her first three years on the Tour. I have asked about the MPDA since the last one was given out, and that subject is treated as totally taboo, the proverbial hot potato. The MPDA was dropped, and I never saw an explanation. It was dropped, made like it never happened. And when Missy won the MPDA, there was rather heated and disgusted discussions about it on social media. There is no way Missy belongs on that list of drivers, no way. She’s just NOT POPULAR. And it appears could be quite the opposite.

    Shawn, #1 and #2 above crush, kill, destroy, eviscerate, annihilate any claim that Melissa is treated the way she is because she is a woman. You can not ignore away what I brought up in #1 and #2 above.

    Shawn wrote, “What the column points out is that many male drivers have for many years shown up to events and run at the back and never gotten any better and have been in the way, but none has ever been targeted by the ongoing hate similar to the way Fifield gets targeted. Not even close. And that’s the double standard.”

    Shawn, Melissa does not attract the love at all on RaceDayCT, that is true. But she appears to be the ONLY female that gets treated that way, at least what I see on your platform. Other women are lauded and encouraged. If this double standard that you proffer was indeed endemic or systemic, then all females featured on your platform would be treated the same as Mellissa. But that is not happening. Therefore your claim that Mellissa is bullied and harassed per the alleged double standard, “sexism” as you used in the title of this column, is null and void. Mellissa is a singularity, and if you want find out why she attracts the treatment she gets, you need to dig into her situation and reveal the cause. Mellissa gets raked through the coals and other women are lauded on your platform. Don’t you see that?

    How many of those back markers won the MPDA three times, their first 3 years on the tour? How many times did any other back marker win the MPDA? Back markers, nimrods and others get slammed on social media… and they are men. But Missy seems to have some circumstances, most likely brought on by herself, that others have not had. For some reason, she is just not liked. If this were indeed sexism, I’d expect the Neanderthals and troglodytes to troll all females rather equally, and that is not happening. Other females in other series are talked up rather nicely on these forums. For some reason, Missy is not attracting the love. Melissa did something to draw this response from the public. The other women aren’t getting treated like this.

    Shawn wrote, “Telling someone over and over and over again to “Just quit” or “Stop coming to the races” or saying “NASCAR should ban you” is straight up harassing and bullying.”

    Those quotes you provided are not very nice, but were they accompanied with something like, “…because you’re a girl…”? If those comments were directed towards a man, it would just be regular trash talk. Those comments alone directed towards a woman does not conclude sexism or a double standard.

    Sometimes I think if Missy just came on the scene and ran, and did not obtain the MPDAs, she would not be getting this much limelight. She’d just be another back marker out there. As long as she doesn’t cause trouble, things should be okay. BUT… she is the slowest out there, with what should be very competitive equipment. So this is no low budget story.

    Missy was born in 1992, so let me list the Modified drivers that won the MPDA, starting from 1992:

    1992-’94: Jeff Fuller
    1995-’96: Steve Park
    1997-’98: Mike Stefanik
    1999: Reggie Ruggiero
    2000: Rick Fuller
    2001: Mike Stefanik
    2002: Ed Flemke Jr.
    2003-’04: Tom Baldwin
    2005-’06: Tony Hirschman Jr.
    2007: Todd Szegedy
    2008-’10: Ted Christopher
    2011: Justin Bonsignore
    2012: Ryan Preece
    2013: Mike Stefanik
    2014-’16: Melissa Fifield

    The MPDA was no longer awarded in the NWMT after 2016. Other series still have the Most Popular Driver Award. The MPDA is a big deal.

    Until Melissa entered the picture, the MPD was a highly competitive, championship contender.

    Also note that Doug Coby is not on that list. Doug Coby has never won a MPDA.

    You would think that NASCAR would just LOVE that a female was getting attention. Perhaps it was attention for all the wrong reasons.

    I’m not seeing sexism, but a likability factor. Missy just does not bring out the love. For some reason(s), she is just not liked. This could be an Eddie the Eagle or Jamaican Bobsled deal, or she could just blend into the background and be a backmarker. But for some reason, the fans can’t let that happen with her. Nah, the fans aren’t having it.

    So we have Missy, the Red Lantern of the Tour obtaining the MPDA her first three years on the Tour, which is also the last three years the MPDA was available. Those same years, Doug Coby, who should never be allowed near a microphone, was winning the championships. Quite a dichotomy.

  133. Dareal. What is this observation you have with the most popular driver award MPD for short? More often than not MPD isn’t even the MPD. With social media, in most cases a few people who sit there and vote hundreds of times. Get over it dude, you’ve beat the horse dead with this after beati g the horses brother to death before him chill out, go to social media and start voting.

  134. You could always call Donald Trump (or tweet him) and tell him if he gets rid of the MPD Award, you’ll give him dirt on s political opponent LOL

  135. Rob p., what kind of meds are you on?

  136. Not as many as you. You’ve beat the whole MOD award thing to the edge of insan. If you want to change the system bitxhing about it here ain’t gonna work. I’d suggest that when voting starts, get online and vote, because I don’t think the process will change.

  137. Rob p., what Universe are you living in? Do you have any comprehension or cognitive ability? The year 2016 was the LAST year of the NWMT Most Popular Driver Award. That means it is no longer possible to vote for the Most Popular Driver Award. Haven’t been able to vote for it the last three seasons.

  138. Then why do you keep bringing it up? It’s in the past, she won it 3 times. Get over it.

  139. By the way, I’ve got a 178 IQ. I’ve got degrees in both mechanical, and electrical engineering, and build specialized hydraulic machinery, and controls for a living.

  140. Rob p., the only degrees you have are 98.6ºF. Maybe a couple more when you have a fever. 🥵 🤒

  141. So funny, forgot to laugh. If you knew half of what I do your head would explode

  142. Rob p. scrawled,

    “By the way, I’ve got a 178 IQ. I’ve got degrees in both mechanical, and electrical engineering, and build specialized hydraulic machinery, and controls for a living.”

    An IQ of 135 puts a person in the 99th percentile of the population. Rob, you are still floating in the primordial soup, waiting for a lightning bolt to jump start some semblance of life. Einstein was believed to have an IQ of 160.

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