Austin Kochenash Looking For First Career Tri-Track Open Modified Series Win In 2021


(Press Release from Tri-Track Open Modified Series)

Austin Kochenash is one of many rising Modified stars who have selected the Tri Track Open Modified Series in 2021. Kochenash, who has been racing since the young age of just six-years-old, is a multiple-time champion in his rise through the ranks of the sport.

He’s raced all across the country, including previously with the Tri Track Series, where he has seven career starts. In 2020, during a shortened season because of COVID-19, Kochenash marked a best finish of eighth at Star Speedway in the annual SBM event. For this year, he looks to attempt to break into the top-five, and hopefully Victory Lane.

“The Tri Track Open Modified Series has probably the toughest competition out of all of the races and series I have ever run,” Kocenhash said. “We are still learning every race out. Not having a manufactured car has added to that learning process, but at the end of last season, I think we got it a lot closer.”

Tri Track confirmed six races for the new season last week, including two stops at Monadnock Speedway (May 1 & August 14), two at Star Speedway (May 22 & July 24) and two at Seekonk Speedway (June 30 & October 23). Kochenash is one of many drivers planning to compete in all six events, where a champion will be crowned at Seekonk as part of the annual Haunted Hundred. Tri Track has built a staple base at some of the regions most historic bullring tracks, where some of the top asphalt drivers in the country come together to thrill race fans.

“The smaller, short-tracks are what I like the most,” Kochenash said. “I feel like racing is better. It takes some factors out, and you have to concentrate more on your setup and tire management. I like all three of the tracks on the schedule because each one is a little bit different.”

Kochenash, a regular on the Race of Champion Modified Tour during this career, finished top-10 in two of the three races he ran with Tri Track last year. He was the youngest driver to compete in and win a Late Model race at Mahoning Valley Speedway at the time. 

“Everyone’s goal on the team is to win, but if we could run top-five consistently, and go from there, that’s my goal,” Kochenash said. “I have to thank Wentz Auto Body, Loikits Oil, Loikits Industrial, Vince with Penske Shocks and my entire team.”

Registration for the 2021 Tri Track Open Modified Series season will open on January 28, where drivers will have the opportunity to either sign-up for a single race, or complete a form for the entire season.

Comments

  1. Fast Eddie says

    I’d really like to see this kid get a Tritrack win. He’s been supporting the series and it’s a long haul for him from PA. (I think). Austin and Andy J. are the two long distance racers I root for.

  2. Good luck with that. The invasion of WMT teams on the TT circuit and their big $$$$ operations is just going to make it that much harder for the small teams to make a race much less compete for wins. We saw that at Stafford. We saw that with Silk jumping ship from the 50 car. It will be an ongoing story with TT in 2021. Be careful what you wish for.

  3. JD, I agree 100%, Tri Track will be Wmt shows this yr. 2 day shows(practice day before)lots of tires, changes in qualifying to more speed based than random draw. The smaller teams have 2 options, match the spending or stay home

  4. He’s on my radar having popped up in the Stafford Open fields for a few years. Started out dazed and confused and took down a nice 9th in the Twisted Tea Open.
    This whole notion of NWMT teams invading and pushing out smaller teams peaked my interest. Having gone back and checked the various races last year I guess you could say if guys like Lutz, Sapienza and Pasteryak show up and take a spot in the starting field in theory they are displacing a smaller team On the other hand it’s not like they are racing like big buck dominant teams. Lutz got a nice win last year in the first race but struggled in others and it’s likely not even his NWMT car. Mostly the NWMT teams end up sprinkled through the results at the end often getting beat by the locals and TTOMS regulars.
    You’d think if the big buck teams and especially the Massa, Stuart and Coby teams were so dominant they would swoop in and consistently take the big money. They don’t because the rules and track configuration make it too hard.
    Horn wouldn’t commit to entire TTOMS schedule so Silk moved to another smaller up and coming team he’d had a few races with that committed to the entire schedule, Horn understood and wished him well. Jumping ship sounds disloyal and that was not the case at all judging from public comments here and on social media.
    The entire story line of the NWMT being big buck and dominating has been around for years. As the opens gained favor from New Smyrna to Tri Track to the Racing Guys to the first Thompson Open at the World Series it has never developed. Many times it’s the same paint scheme and number but not even their NWMT car. The spec is a dying breed in my view. Displaced by all kinds of more affordable and more durable alternatives built by cleaver engine builders. Lutz, Swanson, Goodale, Williams, the 7NY and next year probably Sapienza and Pasteryak all have separate cars and power for non NWMT events……..I’m pretty sure.
    Enjoy the terrific field of cars at New Smyrna this year because like the Stafford Tri Track race circumstances may be making it special. Budgets not used up last year rolled over to this year according to guys like Preece and Hirschman.. Kind of opposite of the economic impacts that were predicted last year affecting teams. Money may not be as tight as was predicted last summer.

  5. Fast Eddie says

    JD and Rich, just how fast is ANYONE going to go on a 1/4 mile or 1/3 mile bullring? THAT’S the equalizer! The fastest engine you bring won’t get you through the corners faster than a good handling car will Setup and driving consistantly smooth is what wins TriTrack races, unless there’s an “Ironhead” move late in the race. TriTrack doesn’t do two-day shows and had tire limits to better accommodate racers.

  6. Doug,
    Pastriak, Mckennedy, Rameau, Silk, Dowling are all new cars committed to Tri Track 6 shows and there will be others following suit, the cars vacated by Dowling and Silk will still be at the events at well with other drivers so its not like a 1 for 1 gain vs loss of cars, this is 5 cars everyone expects to make the field of 26 cars, so that means take 5 guys out of the line up from previous races. Guys like Austin are bubble guys, sometimes they get in and sometimes they don’t, the bubble is now getting even tighter for the mid range cars. Tri Track posted last yr the avg team purchased 7 tires on race day meaning some only bought 5 and some bought max at 9, that average is gonna go up with these bigger budget teams coming full time. Teams on 9 tires definitely have an advantage over teams on 5, and teams that can afford to run on 4 new tires while testing the day before the Event also have a big advantage. How many small teams are going to buy 4 for test and 9 on Race Day? that’s 13 tires plus travel plus fuel and maybe lodging. WMT teams and Drivers won’t flinch at these costs because its what they spend normally. The Dynamic is changing in the Field, alot of teams run the Tri Track because they could not afford the WMT, but now the WMT is coming to them.

  7. You are 💯. Right. Its a shame. What on e started as a. All around series is turning into who has the deepest pockets. Shaffer and williams. Always. Remember the series needs. The small teams. Like myself and rich. And many more…. o well see what happens. All we can do is try. …….

  8. Fast Eddie,

    What you say makes absolutely no sense, the WMT races plenty on Bull Rings, Riverhead, Monadnock, White Mtn, Wall, Seekonk, etc when was last time a Non Spec Won a Race? Non Specs are sill Nascar Legal but can’t compete, and the Spec is a Handling Advantage on all size tracks, at Stafford Tri Track the WMT Spec Engine was out Powered but Dominated the whole Day even with weight penalty, its not just the HP.

  9. What Rich said. These WMT teams are bringing their tour operations. The 9 and 46 have already won. Justin is coming to win. Silk is upgrading to newer, faster($$$) equipment. The 75 and McMkennedy arrive with speed. The tour guys ran a bunch of bullrings last year including Monadnock and Seekonk in years past. They have a wealth of notes, tons of speed and unlimited budgets in a lot of cases. 26 spots is 26 spots. Everybody hails heat races but when you end up in the B main, not so fun.

    Look at the WMT in years past. The fast cars were fast everywhere. Bullrings or half mile didn’t matter. Expect TT to look like that. WMT 2.0 in 2021.

    The real question is where do the mom and pop teams go?? Ya need a big motor to play in Connecticut. ROC and MRS are in shambles.

  10. Stafford’s longer turns create a completely different circumstance for a spec engine car than on a tighter short track. Plus the tire allotment for WMT is more than TriTrack. All of the above mentioned driver names ran TriTrack before running WMT, not all with the same team. Some haven’t maybe been running TriTrack full time since committing to the tour, but they have still been there. I don’t think you’re going to see full blown WMT teams come to TriTrack and dominate the series, although the increase in car count will make it tougher for the low budget teams to make the field. The increased car count might develop into having more non-qualifier races at events. TriTrack has had them before on occasion.

  11. You make your point well Rich.
    We’re both saying that tour guys are bringing open specific cars to Tri Track races and I agree with your point they are taking spots previously earned by lower budget teams. You and others are saying that it’s kind of unfair since Tri Track previously was heavily populated by lower buck teams and provided them an opportunity to be competitive.
    There’s another way to look at it. The series competition is getting better with better funded teams. Why does that have to be a bad thing? Goodale has been doing it for years, now more are it is what it is.
    Look I get it. I spent several years in an underpowered, under funded Street Stock getting run over by TA Engines mostly. It’s just the way it is. There’s no rule that ever said Tri Track was for low buck teams. I don’t know if you consider Hirschman high or low buck. If he’s high buck now he will have appropriate competition. If he’s low buck he won being low buck so others can compete as well. In any event he’s not complaining.
    We saw it last year. Little guys frequently finishing better then bigger names. It may be harder to compete but it’s not impossible.
    If you didn’t see this coming you were kidding yourself. The NWMT schedule has less races where did you expect these guys to go to fill out their schedules?
    You want easier fields MRS had mid teens in a couple of their races. Woody/Mertz won at Stafford as did Rufrano and the main competition is SK guys dabbling not NWMT guys. Austin came in 9th at Stafford. Drop down to the growing sportsman modified. Race what you can afford, don’t expect the tour to stagnate and accommodate your budget.
    It’s tough for some teams but in most cases stronger fields with stronger competition should be looked on as a good thing until the small teams are priced out and the fields diminish. So far there is no evidence of that happening with Tri Track.

  12. Is the Dowling 9 team a “big budget WMT” operation?

  13. Doug that point of view is exactly what is killing racing everywhere form Local Level to Cup Level, if you have sport where only the wealthy can compete what good is that? Tri Track was built on Smaller Teams backs, we used to have a no practice rule within same week of Event, a no Spek motor rule, the tire allotment has always been the same but it was so if I bought 9 tires and only used 4 cause of wreck or not qualifying I could bring the remaining 5 to race on at next event, now I cant, those Tires are junk tires now, only used for practice. But you are right the series has been heading this way now for few years with the rule changes and so on, the WMT Chaos is just expediting the transformation. Just my opinion, I wont comment about it further, cause I know several Teams like mine agree and I also know several other Teams that like the way things are headed. Kinda like Politics I see on Tv

  14. Its great. Mote cars. But. Keep it. The way it has been with pill draw. And. 5 tires. I do t care what kind of trailer or how many cars or who you are. But. Myself as is many others. To spend only way too keep the playing field. Fair for everyone. Is limit the tires guy who can afford 9-12. Deff had upper advantage. Most these reams can throw 100 dollar bills away. Like its nothing. But like my self. And many others. $$. Is killing. It for us low end guys. And like schaffer and williams. Preached. You need the low guys. As well as the money. Bag guys. Just my 2 cents.

  15. Competing with the big buck guys is always a pisser. Thanks guys for the insights.

  16. “The invasion of WMT teams on the TT circuit and their big $$$$ operations is just going to make it that much harder for the small teams to make a race much less compete for wins.”

    I think this may prove true.

    Some of the normal favorites in TT happen to be the bigger money TT teams. We may see an interesting battle between TT and WMT money. Some of the smaller TT teams who normally expected to make the feature may get squeezed out by teams that formerly ran the WMT and not TT events. I think the better WMT teams who previously did not run TT events will easily be top half teams, as well as moving the “half” bar a lot higher.

    This is bad for some small teams, but may make TriTrack events even more exciting for modified fans with more teams competing for Matt’s money.

  17. Yes,the 9 is a big dollar WMT team. They showed up at Loudon fresh from the factory and almost won. Then they won at Stafford in October going away. I fully expect that team to dominate in 2021. I think the 51 team is the only other car in their league. I’m counting all cars, all modified series when I say that.

    If you want a bold prediction for 2021 here it is. Matt H. will not win a TT race in 2021.

    The SMART tour put out a nice little schedule for 2021. Should be a fun season for our southern friends. BG also put out a 2021 schedule. The Madhouse is back! 2021 is trending upwards my friends.

  18. 🌈JD🌈 posted, “2021 is trending upwards my friends.”

    Who wants to tell him?

  19. ‘Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’ -Mike Tyson

  20. If we’re gonna be WMT of New England let’s start 33 cars like the Tour does,not this 26 car limited field, I think that’s the only way to balance out big team optimism and small team loyalty.

  21. Fast Eddie says

    That’s a good idea Rich, however 33 cars on a bullring might get real ugly real quick. I don’t think they can go more than 26-28 on the small tracks. Starting that many at Stafford or Thompson might be cool, although I think “big track experience” comes into play, which we’ve seen caused havoc with the MRS at Thompson before.

  22. Not a bad idea Rich but that would increase the purse by $7k or so I would think. In theory I like the idea though.

    New Smyrna gets another entry everytime DaReal opens his yapper. Stop already. You are embarrassing yourself.

  23. Doug, I remember those T/A days, we we’re lucky enough to have one. Nobody’s hit on the fact this kid is running a home built car. That puts him behind the 8 ball before the race even starts. That he’s managed to scrape together some good finishes says something.

  24. Track size determines starting car counts. Can’t start that many cars on itty-bitty bullrings. It becomes a demolition derby.

  25. Err, they started 32 at Stafford. There’s that option in the future.
    No race started 26 cars last year. 27 was the lowest and one Monadnock race started 28.
    You don’t have to hit home runs all the time. Perhaps they could consider starting 29 including the provisionals. Maybe they could cut the tire limit by at least one tire. Over the course of six races even one tire less would be a substantial savings and may have a marginal leveling affect.
    It’s tough to say they should take a winning formula that is gaining popularity by the season and make wholesale changes to it.
    And there’s the tech issue that some of the guys that don’t make the podium have mentioned.

  26. It’s too easy to say someone is cheating after they beat you, especially if your cheating yourselves. There’s always those cheater parts, that cost 10 times what the real one cost and are ” guaranteed to pass tech”. There’s no better feeling than winning with a 100% legal car.

  27. wmass01013r says

    MOST OF YOU GUYS WANTED OPEN RACES because NASCAR is greedy and does NOTHING for mods, NOWWWWWWWW u dont want WMT teams coming to open races because its NOT FAIR, yet EVERYONE LOVED 51 CARS 6 HEATS and 2 consis at STAFFORD, BIG $ SMALL $ so what? Are we supposed to have same teams just run WMT, TRI TRACK AND OPENS and mix NONE??????

  28. Liz Cherokee says

    DaRealBoy, I have a very sensuous plan for you!

  29. Liz, my heart belongs to someone else.

  30. “MOST OF YOU GUYS WANTED OPEN RACES because NASCAR is greedy and does NOTHING for mods, NOWWWWWWWW u dont want WMT teams coming to open races because its NOT FAIR, yet EVERYONE LOVED 51 CARS 6 HEATS and 2 consis at STAFFORD, BIG $ SMALL $ so what? Are we supposed to have same teams just run WMT, TRI TRACK AND OPENS and mix NONE??????”

    He’s right…

    So often, I’ve seen comments here about open mod races being better than the WMT, and the WMT teams couldn’t keep up if running heats, restrictive tire rules, etc… Naturally, WMT teams showing up at open events shouldn’t be a problem then, right? One way or the other, we shall see…

    If all the top WMT teams suddenly decided to run all the open events, I think a good number of the WMT teams would be quite successful. Either way, it’s probably going to make for a better show than past TT or WMT races, so I’m there!

  31. What Barry said. 👍

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