Q&A With Tri-Track Open Modified Series Managing Partner Ed Bennett

After a two-month delay due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Tri-Track Open Modified Series is set to kick off its 2020 season with a 100-lap event on Sunday at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. 

The series had originally been scheduled to start the 2020 season on May 2 at Monadnock. 

RaceDayCT spoke with Tri-Track Open Modified Series managing partner Ed Bennett Thursday about the issues being faced with the season opening event and a number of other topics surrounding the the 2020 season. 

RaceDayCT: Like some tracks that have opened recently and series’ that have already begun racing, the Tri-Track Open Modified Series has put in place numerous guidelines for teams on Sunday at Monadnock, including the wearing of masks while in the paddock and away from pit areas. How did the process of setting guidelines and protocols for this event go? 

Ed Bennett: Well we did our best to honestly look at what other people were doing and what the state regulations were and had some help from some people and put together these guidelines. We talked to our series officials and we felt pretty strongly that the officials all want to wear masks. Nobody really wants to be engaged with any competitors or crew members that don’t respect this. We’re all older. Myself, I may be compromised, I’m a cancer survivor. We’ve just got to be really careful. I’m hoping everybody is really compliant and I’d like to see pictures of the Tri-Track looking good with masks on compared to getting some really bad publicity like other places got for not doing the right things. And hopefully the fans will follow suit. 

RDCT: There has been some worry that the economic issues created by shutdowns could have had an adverse effect on some lower budget teams in short track racing. It looks like you guys will have upwards of 40 plus cars at Monadnock. How encouraging is it to see that much interest after all that has happened? 

EB: I think it speaks for volumes for how resilient everybody is. There’s a huge love for short track racing. People mortgage their houses to go racing. It’s how they feel about it.

RDCT: The rescheduling of the Monadnock event was originally for July 4, but that changed after the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour announced an event at White Mountain Motorsports Park for the same day. What went into the decision to reschedule the event from July 4 to July 5? 

EB: There’s a finite number of full-time Modified drivers. To divide that group up doesn’t work for anyone. Talent wise we’re all fishing from the same relatively shallow pond. And we didn’t think it was fair to the fans. You can’t be in two places at one time. Jeff Zuidema and Norm Wrenn III [from the Monadnock management staff] were great to work with and we have flexibility in our group, so [Tri-Track Open Modified Series managing partner Wayne Darling] and I made a decision to do that. We actually had looked into the following weekend but we checked in with [the Arute family, who own Stafford Speedway] and at that point they were still on schedule for that weekend for an Open 80 event. We have an agreement with them not to step on each other, so it made more sense to go on July 5. 

RDCT: How surprised was management of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series to see the Whelen Modified Tour schedule a Fourth of July event at White Mountain Motorsports Park?

EB: It wasn’t shocking to see that happen only because they just do whatever they want to do. We don’t hear from them. When we do our scheduling in the offseason we wait until the [Whelen Modified Tour] schedule comes out and we talk to [Stafford Speedway management] about their Open 80 schedule. We try to fit in and find a niche for ourselves. Clearly that group there with NASCAR just does what they want to do. 

RDCT: You will have a number of unexpected driver and team entrants at Monadnock because they are competing at White Mountain the day before. Do you think that ultimately NASCAR putting on the White Mountain event has helped you?

EB: I don’t think it’s hurt us at all. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the Fourth of July anyway. I think it may in general help. I think [Monadnock Speedway] will enjoy a large crowd at 50 percent capacity and I think it’s going to help our pay per view. I think people will more likely be around to watch it on Sunday. 

RDCT: Series management has held off on releasing an entry list for the Monadnock event. Is there a reason for that? 

EB: We decided to put out the entry list early Friday so it’s the most complete and accurate list we have. There’s no sense in putting an incomplete list out. The most accurate way is to wait until the Thursday before the event when everybody has ordered tires and you know they’ll be there. We just want accuracy. We just don’t want to put out an entry list with names on it unless we’re sure they will be at the event. 

RDCT: Despite the fact that most tracks are having to operate with limited capacity regulations in place, unlike other divisions, the Tri-Track Open Modified Series has been committed to keeping full purses in place for all your events. Why is that?

EB: Wayne and I had talked about it earlier in the year and we would have just taken the year off rather than having races for cut purses. We are absolutely committed to paying full purses. If we can’t pay a full purse we’re just not going to have a race. We’ve actually been able to get some other sponsors to come on board and increase our awards. Mark Green stepped up, Ted Anderson stepped up, Dillon Chevrolet stepped up. We’re actually hoping to raise our purses through the year.

RDCT: There will be a live streaming option available for the event at Monadnock Sunday. Is the Tri-Track Open Modified Series intending to do a live streaming option for all events this year? 

EB: Yes we are. We are going to see how it goes with Speed51 and hopefully we can continue the relationship through the rest of the year. I don’t foresee race tracks being allowed to have full crowds this year. I think what everybody has now is about what they will have for the rest of the year. It just helps to make everything work. 

RDCT: There was a Tri-Track Open Modified Series event scheduled originally for May 24 at Claremont (N.H.) Speedway. Will that be made up? 

EB: No that will not be made up. [Claremont Speedway operator Mike Parks] offered to move the date to September but he wanted us to basically race for a cut purse and we declined doing that.

RDCT: Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway was rescheduled to Aug. 26 and the series has the Haunted Hundred scheduled for Oct. 24. How concerned are you that regulations are still pretty stringent in Massachusetts and could affect plans there? 

EB: We just have to take that day-by-day and week-by-week. [Seekonk Speedway operator] Ed St. Germain is working really hard with the town of Seekonk and the state of Massachusetts. He believes he’ll have crowds by early August. And he has a very large facility. Even if he is on 25 percent capacity we believe the events will work. 

RDCT: How tough is it working in this environment having to stay on top of ever changing state and local regulations in scheduling events? 

EB: Every event is literally, you just don’t know what can happen to it. I know that on Friday afternoon that we could get cancelled out of Monadnock because of somebody else’s decision with the government. It’s just something that everybody has to be aware of at this point. I think it’s just going to be part of the whole process this year. 


  1. wmass01013 says

    Thank You again Shawn!,1st we heard from Jimmy Wilson now Ed Bennett on the thinking of the 2020 season, its not easy for any Tracks, Series or Teams and being able to find out the thought process of the Heads of each series gives us fans some insight of what is Happening, I hope all goes well for ALL Series, good weather, great racing and if u cant go to the tracks PPV should make for a better 2nd half of 2020.

  2. More great insight. Some good interviews this week.

  3. Very good article. A few thing I learned from reading it. That organization (Nascar) just does whatever they want to do. Well I knew this already I just like to hear someone say it. They care about the drivers and teams: We decided against running Claremont for a cut purse. We are working with additional sponsors and hope to increase purses throughout the year. Seekonk believes they will have crowds by early August. Good stuff thanks for this article. I am looking forward to Sunday.

  4. Another home run Shawn.Ed Bennett gave some great answer and insight into the promotional side of modified racing. Tells it straight off the cuff too, not dodging any questions.
    Thanks again Shawn for another great interview 👍👍

  5. Great article. See you all on Sunday. 😷😊☹️

  6. Fast Eddie says

    Shawn, thanks to you and your interviews, we all have a lot more insight into a number of things about this season the majority of us would probably never know. THANK-YOU for all the info from racers, owners, and management of series and tracks!!

  7. chicken coop says

    credit where credit is due, Great article, seriously, very informative, puts alot of things in perspective, and answers alot of questions, we all have been wondering, concerning local racing.

  8. knuckles Mahoney says

    Just shows you where they are, compared to NWMT. We will not run for a cut purse, in fact want to increase our purse. NWMT want teams up here to go down to Myrtle Beach for peanuts. Tri-Track is killing it. I was so impressed last year at Seekonk when a team did not qualify, and Wayne went up to the team and said “hey, you guys wanna run tonight”. The team scrambled and put the carb and tires back on the car, and finished 11th I think. Hats off to Tri-Track, screw the NWMT.

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing