Mike Joy, Rich Keator, Angry Social Media, Bowl Chatter, Country Roads And More On The Latest Unmuffled

On Episode 120 of Unmuffled we catch up with Fox Sports NASCAR announcer Mike Joy to talk some about the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series events, the NextGen car and Mike Stefanik’s induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. We also talk with NASCAR national series official Rich Keator, who grew up around the short tracks of Connecticut before going big time with NASCAR. And as usual we have our wildcard chatter segment with some talk about the Speedbowl, angry people on social media, the rumor mill meanderings and even a take on John Denver’s Country Roads and West Virginia football.

Episode 120 of Unmuffled is presented by our Patreon marketing partners from New England Racing Fuel, Swanson Buick/GMCLifeCare Family Chiropractic, Mid-State Site Development, SAFCO Foam, Broad Brook Brewing Company, Tick Mike’s Organic Tick & Mosquito Spray, Mid-State Site Development, Tri-Track Open Modified Series, Compressed Air USA, Hoosier Tire EastMidState Compressor, Casagrande Builders, Falmouth Ready Mix, Coastal 181, Wheelers Auto, Rent A Race Car New England, Sign Pro, North End Auto PartsMagna Steel Sales, New Hampshire Motor SpeedwayRiverhead Raceway, Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway.


  1. We’re all mostly hunkered down now with this particular weather event and I’m betting a lot of us share the same feeling about losing power. The snow to be removed that won’t be 8 to 24 inches but zero to 45 inches once the wind has done it’s work can but whatever can be removed in short order. Losing power a whole other level of misery even if you have a backup generator the only line of defense between your home and frozen water pipes. Bad as it is, it’s always worse for someone else so best of luck to all you in points east of Enfield, Ct that look to get the worst of it.
    Prattling on when one is nervous is one way to kill time. This being a racing site why not prattle on about things happening or might be happening in the new season just a couple weeks away.

    -One of the newer benefits of Unmuffled is email drops with Mr. Courchesne’s inklings, hunches and gleanings. Not reportable events with confirmation but things that may be happening or perhaps things to look for. Good stuff in my view. If he’s passing it on it is probably based on off the record conversations or some other source or sources that give it credence. You can’t take it as gospel but it does give you more of a sense that you are getting insider information which is what the whole Unmuffled thing was always supposed to be about.
    -Sapienza has all but said he we recommitting to a stronger effort this year. Not to say he was racing the entire NWMT schedule but when he’s entered in an event he’ll have the best unit possible to compete. Then we see the car being scaled up at TFR so it’s pretty clear he’s going into the new season with his A game.
    -No idea what the entry list is for the NWMT opener at New Smyrna. However the list for the opens the following week has 40 cars about the same number as last year. Every conceivable level of tour modified team from the biggest of names to a Florida modified team moving up to take on the big boys. Not the Chili Bowl by any stretch but the field of cars and quality of some of the cars daunting for the newbe’s and lesser resourced teams.
    -There will be a full field of Catalano’s at New Smyrna. Tommy Catalano who retired early last year from the NWMT because of a series of expensive wrecks and equipment failures is back. Back with a vengeance and his car decked out in chrome to beat the band. Why someone has nerf bars and bumpers chromed who knows. It’s an expensive process with no chance of survival but does shows Tommy’s commitment to perfection this year so fingers crossed he can turn in some great finishes.
    -we all would love mom Catalano to get one of the A cars but that usually doesn’t happen. Momma and poppa bear give the cubs the best stuff. No matter we all will keep our eye out for 56 with the pink highlights hoping she can skill her way to a good finish.
    -So what’s the deal with BRE? They usually aren’t this secretive. Maybe they are because at this stage they don’t even know what 2022 has in store for them. Could be limited, could be something new and extensive. Don’t bet on the former.
    -Emerling has turned into a real pisser. Last fall he’s saying they’re getting ready for New Smyrna and a full NWMT season. Next he’s got the Xfinity deal and saying he’ll be committed to that so modifieds were taking the back seat. Now it appears he will be at New Smyrna and ready to race in all 6 events unless mishaps or equipment failure take him out. Racers race, Emerling love modifieds, the cars were ready so it is what it is and what it is, is a very good thing for modified fans.
    -27 cars so far entered for the Sizzler. How are we feeling about that? I’m a bit concerned. There are some big names on it or are on record committing to the event but a lot not on it and the top line number clicked up only one Blewett in weeks.
    -The guys over at Making Laps are Thompson mostly but they do have their pulse on the Speedbowl. They are saying rules and a schedule are expected at the end of the month. Other chatter has a completely new management team coming in a fact not yet established but if so how long would it take them to get up to speed. Meanwhile the Speedbowl is laying down crumbs on social media showing they are still in the game and stalwarts like Timmy Jordan completely unfazed preparing their cars. Thinking there will be a season May to fall so preparations continue. Outsiders like me thinking it’s team abuse but insiders that are ready to race on two weeks notice know it to be the Speedbowl way.
    -The notion of the Speedblowl employing an outside management group. What exactly would that look like? A real separate and distinct entity calling their own shots. Changing access for the media and acting like most tracks promoting a product. Or simply another extension of Comrade Creepy designed simply to provide the illusion of distance from a disreputable character.
    -Back to Vault Productions Making Laps. Check it out if you haven’t done so already over on Youtube. It’s local racing viewed primarily through the eyes of two brothers that are Thompson focused but they hit on all local racing as well as major national events. If you have the patience to watch the entire hour and a half of far too much meaningless banter you’ll come away with some real insights. You’ll also get to hear Jesse Gleason go on one or more of his Jesseisms that can take a valid point and frame it in a way few would think. Like this one particular person that failed to make weight post race and complained about it.
    “Well maybe you should have taken a dump and stop eating 5 or 6 infield cheeseburgers and chili fries and some of that fried chicken and you wouldn’t been heavy on weight”.
    -SRX- We’re past the point of wondering if the SRX series will return in 2022 it’s all but confirmed. Especially with the SRX series site saying the schedule will be released soon. We probably will find out that we’re past the point of wondering if Stafford will return as one of the sites. If you pay attention to the chatter the preponderance of opinion is that it’s all but a done deal.
    -58 numbers registered in the SK’s at Stafford, 51 for the SK Lights. 22 Late Models, 18 LLM’s and 23 Street Stocks. Take out 5 or 10 modified registrations that are more hope then substance and it’s still pretty clear this is modified country. Late Models not loaded in numbers but the drivers loaded in quality and experience. LLM’s and Streets inhabit the same place in the racing hierarchy and are redundant. Each taking strength from the other but it doubles the opportunity for podium visits while increasing the breadth of the show. Were it one Limited Sportsman division it would compete with some of the best racing in the region and invite the growing Street Stock touring series for invaders vs home boys battles. It is Stafford so oh well, it is what it is.
    -Limited Sportsman or Streets the one driver that is everywhere and looks to emerge in
    2022 as a force is Nick Hovey. One of his cars fresh from the paint booth which raises a question that begs to be asked. What percentage of team paint vs wrap and what is the cost differential?.
    -If you want to get to know about the passion of a grass roots level racer look no further then the host of the Making Laps podcast Jesse Gleason who also has a series of his own. A multi talented guy with real trades skills with communication skills to pass on what it’s like to racer that can do it all. He only has 6 Thompson races to compete it but he’s a contender and does most of the work on his own. Surprisingly he’s successful on a very limited budget getting the most out of each investment he makes. His shop which is more bare bones garage then anything a mass of confusion and clutter but perfectly organized to him with most everything he needs to turn out a podium car. He shares much of that work on video as well as the myriad of other things he takes on that would twist most of us into a panic. Think about watching his very watchable and reasonably timed out entries and clicking to become a subscriber. It costs nothing and the guy more then deserves the support.

  2. I know that was too much and it won’t be read so when I add this it won’t make much difference.

    -Mike Joy. A local guy that made it too the big time. getting older and just a place holder at this point or does he still have the juice. Question answered. No offense to the Unmuffled product but it is local with a limited audience. Made no difference to Joy. He was informative, enthusiastic, had something importance to say on everything. He promoted without being shamelessly promotional. It was as if he was speaking to a national audience.
    Near as I can see Mike Joy has no off button nor dimmer for that matter.
    If you want to know what the best in national media racing coverage looks like Mike Joy is in that elite group and has lost nothing as far as I can see.

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