Bryan Narducci, Stephen Kopcik, Speedbowl Drama And A Side Of Shawn Monahan Delusion On The Latest Unmuffled

On Episode 129 of Unmuffled we’ll catch up with Stafford Speedway SK Modified division points leader Bryan Narducci. We’ll also chat with the guy riding a two-race winning streak in the SK Modified division at Stafford, Stephen Kopcik. And we’ll devote our wildcard ramblings to the never ending drama that is the Speedbowl, with a little side of the inane delusional weirdness of Shawn Monahan. 

Episode 129 of Unmuffled is presented by our Patreon marketing partners from New England Racing Fuel, Swanson Buick/GMCLifeCare Family Chiropractic, Mid-State Site Development, Monaco Ford, SAFCO Foam, Broad Brook Brewing Company, Tick Mike’s Organic Tick & Mosquito Spray, Mid-State Site Development, Monaco Modified Tri-Track 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, Mark’s Northeast Motorsports Expo, JDV Productions, NASCAR, New Hampshire Motor SpeedwayRiverhead Raceway, Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway.


  1. I just wish we could retire the use of the word “hater” with regard to racing. The Ukrainian’s hate the Russians and with good cause. I don’t believe anyone “hates” anyone in racing and if they do they should find another past time. “Naysayer” is the proper word and fits like a glove.
    I was a “naysayer” of Narducci’s driving style for years and with good reason. And part of the reason I believe I was spot on is because I knew what I was seeing a major change in the battle against Owen in the first SK race and said as much. That’s all been reinforced in subsequent races. In the interview here you can hear a more mature, sophisticated thinker that chooses his words very effectively. The driving style and the words in perfect sync it was a wonderful thing to hear.
    On the other side of the coin is Kopcik. Who apparently feels the reaction to his disqualification at the end of last year reflects badly on the people that criticized him at the time. I’d like to know why. Why when you get caught with illegal parts somehow it reflects badly on everyone else. How exactly did Stafford tech get it wrong? We fan’s aren’t as stupid as you may think. Offer a brief technical blurb about why Stafford made the wrong call and it boils down to judgement not a calculated decision to get an unearned competitive advantage… closed. As it stands Kopcik could be perceived as more the arrogant, know-it-all that won’t take responsibility.
    Finally a note to Ben Dodge if you read the entries from the great unwashed in this forum.
    This Friday Chase Dowling will be driving your car in the Stafford open. While it may be hard to announce yourself as the owner that has to be overcome. At this stage it’s getting silly hearing all the minutia provided on teams including ownership but when it comes to the 9ct it’s always the S&S Asphalt Paving, Call Before You Dig 9ct driven by Chase Dowling. Repeatedly at Thunder Road it was weird than you show up in victory lane and some fans are wondering……..”Does Ben Dodge own the 9ct?”
    I could write it so I know you can. Make yourself part of the racing human interest story. Mention your ownership then some sappy observations about enjoying announcing but also loving being a part of the sport from the competitive side. Then a self effacing bit of humor about promising not to show bias in the call.
    30 seconds and accuracy box checked.
    Sound good?

  2. Rafter fan says

    Yes – Ben’s refusal to acknowledge his ownership of the “S&S Paving machine” was surreal during the Thunder Road broadcast. Kudos to Kyle Rickey for prodding Ben about owning the 9 during Friday’s show at Stafford.

  3. Getserious says

    Even more annoying to me, during the Thunder Road call, was Dodge repeatedly calling Sammy Rameau as “Ramos.” How How How in the world can you be one of the voices of the series, actually OWN a car that competes in the series, and not know the name of one of the top runners; a guy who has WON a couple Tri Track races ?!?!? And that’s just this week’s highlighted nonsense.
    I think Dodge is like Richard Petty in the ealy 90’s; a one-time great that is too respected for anyone to step up and point out his collapsing ability at his craft.

  4. I found it funny that the S and S paving call before you dig number 9 ct was the only car that had its sponsors announced several times during the broadcast. It was the only car I knew the sponsors after the race,. Ben Dodge is racing royalty but his overuse of phrases during the race call gets annoying to me at times. Listen to his broadcast he will say’ meanwhile’ for almost every transition. He uses the following phrases allot; Spinning like a top, going going gone even if the pass isnt completed he is already committed to it, racing closer than most people park, and the car just got evil. Those are just off the top of my head having not heard a broadcast since Memorial day. I had the Stafford broadcast on mute last week listened to either Lucas or WoO. I do that frequently as I know more about Stafford than most other tracks so I choose to listen to a different broadcast.
    I typically have 4 or 5 races on during Friday and Saturday nights. Everyone has their catch phrases they are so ingrained in the broadcaster they probably dont realize they say it as often as they do. Maybe I just notice it more with Ben as he does a lot of the races I follow.

  5. Racer NC says

    I thought I was the only one that grows very tired of Dodge’s verbal tics. Someone please tell him that in fact can be a “question about it” and it'[s not “magic”.

  6. Sharpie Fan says

    You could do a drinking game on how many times Ben says “literally””.

    And if you want to talk about mispronouncing names, he has been calling Joey Ferrigno “Joey Forino” for over 10 years!

  7. Fast Eddie says

    I guess I’m an old guy. I think those catchphrases are part of the announcer’s personality, seperating them from the others. Just like listening to Ken Squire, Ekonomaki, Cosell, Johnny Most, Gil Santos, Madden, etc., it’s part of their personality and character. To Ben Dodge and all the announcers, you keep doing you!

  8. I’ll take the other side of that argument.
    I’m old but believe in turning the page. The racing community is extremely loyal to tradition so it’s hard to accomplish. The country is as well. The last two presidents and most of the leadership in Congress really old. Keep getting reelected by their constituencies and with seniority and a lack of gumption to turn the page they never change. Some Senators with one foot in the grave still get reelected. Why do we do that?
    In the 1970’s Stafford turned the page and hired a sharp new talent named Ben Dodge. I have to say I fell in love with that mellifluous voice the first time I heard it and remained in love for decades after.
    That was then and this is now. I don’t think it’s in racings best interest to keep announcers in their place, provide all kinds of accommodations and look past the mistakes until they physically can’t do the job any more. My view fans should be more understanding when a track does make a change like Stafford recently did.
    Announcers are paid professionals. They won’t get rich announcing local races but it’s not an insignificant amount of money. It was one thing when you only heard 50% of what they said the other 50% drowned out by the roar of engines. Now with more people watching at home then at the race hearing every word it’s just a fact the job is more demanding. Physically and mentally especially for those really long special shows at the beginning and ending of the season. You can’t be making it sound like it’s a close battle on the last lap when there is a 5 car length lead in turn three and people can clearly see what you are saying is not accurate.
    Demanding yes, need to be accurate yes but the opportunity for sponsors to get their products and services out there to a wider audience trumps everything.
    If an announcer has his schtick that includes repeating the same pat expressions over and over to the point of abuse that’s his signature and he’s entitled to it. Getting the call wrong, making mistakes on what’s happening and mispronouncing names there is no excuse for. I don’t know Dylan Izzo doesn’t pronounce his last name Izz-ee-o but I suspect not. I do know how to pronounce DESAULNIERS having gone to school with one. A tough name to get right and one that the announcers have consistently butchered only recently coming close.. The way it works is teams lose money putting on the show, announcers make money. If you don’t know how to pronounce a new name you get your butt down to the paddock, ask them how to pronounce it then pronounce it exactly as they do. Being old or having the racer be less competitive is not an excuse you’re a professional, pronouncing names correctly is at the top of the list in the job description.
    Kyle Rickey deserved his spot in the booth he just does so much including announcing Kart races with no fans in the stands for the most part and all the promos. Joe Coss last Friday one of my favorites always makes the race more interesting to watch.
    I suspect with the fan base being as loyal as it is Ben Dodge will go on until one Friday afternoon he just is not physically up to calling the race. That’s a mistake in my view if local racing is to get to the next level it requires new blood at all levels. I’d like to see Dodge step back into a new, less demanding roll. Perhaps a podcast or special segment in the FloRacing race night presentation. Up and close segments on the drivers, reports from the paddock, insights on being an owner himself all on the diamondvision screen and on FloRacing. It would be honoring tradition, making the program better and turning the page all at one time.
    Bonsa Tufaa doing bits that appear on the diamondvision screen and social media a step in the right direction. Given the nature of the racing demographic finding a women with announcing aspirations might not be easy to find but that is something that would be next level and will come at some point. Start by having one women that knows racing like perhaps Sami Anderson who has been in only one SK Light event this year come into the booth for the SK Light feature.
    My point that started it all was about the 9ct ownership nothing more. The other observations came on their own. If they are on the table and expressed by a number of people at the very least it’s time to start thinking and planning to turn the page because it will get turned one way or the other.

  9. Suitcase Jake says

    Best announcer.. Best Pipes… always on top of whats happening on the track The Great Russ Dowd …. I can still hear his voice… Silky smooth deep tones.. Thompson Speedway. Kevin Boucher is Fantastic at Seekonk … The man in the Cowboy hat is super good….

  10. I just had a moment and thankyou. Yes, Russ Dowd, everything you said, the consummate professional. Always in the paddock at Stafford before the event getting information on the teams for the nights event even the back of the packers.

  11. Rafter fan says

    A Dodge/Rickey combo (now in place at Stafford) or a Dodge/Coss pairing work well, as we can experience a blend of old and new. Ben and Matt Buckler are CT racing institutions who should still have a place in local race broadcasts, even if that role is a bit less than it once was.

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