Youth Movement: Three Driver Lineup Set For Ole Blue For Two Divisions In 2023 

Jake Johnson (left), Bryan Narducci (center) and Derek Gluchacki (right) will run the Boehler Enterprises Ole Blue No. 3 car in 2023 (Photos: Jim DuPont and NASCAR)

It’s a car that has aged legendarily over decades of Modified action, but in 2023 the “Ole” ride will be piloted by all young guns. 

Boehler Racing Enterprises team owner Mike Boehler confirmed to RaceDayCT his three-driver lineup for the legendary Ole Blue No. 3 Tour Type Modified that will compete full-time on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series in 2023.

Jake Johnson, Bryan Narducci and Derek Gluchacki will make up the driver stable for 2023 in the car. 

The 19-year old Johnson will be in the seat for 14 Whelen Modified Tour events. The 22-year old Narducci will run the other five Whelen Modified Tour races. The 21-year old Gluchacki will run all the events on the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series. 

“It’s a youth movement for us,” Boeler said. “We’re happy to have the lineup set and ready to go for next year. The goal for 2023 is to get Ole Blue back in victory lane and I think we’ve got some really great young drivers to do it.” 

For Boehler it’s a comfort to have the lineup set so early into the offseason. Seven different drivers raced the car in 2022. Johnson and Gluchacki made starts in the car in 2022 along with Ryan Preece, Donny Lia, Andrew Molleur, Austin Beers and Timmy Solomito. 

“I’m thankful for all the help we had in 2022,” Boehler said. “It was a good year and we had a lot of good drivers keeping things going. We never expected to have seven drivers in the car in one season but that was just the way it worked out.” 

Johnson ran six events on the Whelen Modified Tour for Boehler in 2022. In his second series start, he won the pole for the event at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. He ended up with top-eight finishes in four of the six events he ran. He was fifth at Lee, seventh at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H., third at Claremont (N.H.) Motorsports Park and eighth at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. 

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Johnson said. “It’s a great group of guys to work with. We’ve got a lot of cool races to go to [in 2023]. We did a lot of learning together [in 2022] so hopefully [in 2023] we execute a little better. I’m just really excited for it. 

“It definitely has a feeling of prestige to get to drive that car, especially when you consider all the cool people that have been a part of that car’s history. It’s such a cool aspect of the sport and I’m just happy to get the opportunity to be involved with that car.” 

Johnson will also run full-time on the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series in 2023 with a family owned car. 

Narducci, a regular in the SK Modified division at Stafford, will run the five Whelen Modified Tour events that Johnson will not compete, which includes events at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Langley, Lancaster (N.Y.) Speedway and Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway. 

“I’ve never been to any of the five tracks, so that should be interesting,” said Narducci, who has never made a Whelen Modified Tour start. “Richmond and Martinsville are obviously marquee tracks because the NASCAR Cup Series goes there and Modifieds go there. That’s just really cool to be going there and doing that in such a legendary car. It’s definitely going to be a cool experience. 

“Definitely a little added pressure knowing how good their equipment is and to know all the legendary names that have been in that car. But it’s cool to be a young guy looking to make it to the Modified Tour and getting to run a few races in that car. I want to thank the Florida Connection, my uncle Greg [Narducci]. Really my aunt Venetta (who passed last year) and my uncle Greg. He told me he’s doing this because that’s what my aunt wanted.”

Gluchacki had three American-Canadian Tour victories in 2022 and ended up third in the ACT standings. He also competed regularly in the Late Model division at Thompson Speedway in 2022. He made his first career start in the Ole Blue No. 3 car in the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series Haunted Hundred on Oct. 21 at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway, finishing eighth in that event. 

Gluchacki was a crew member for Boehler Racing Enterprises as a teenager. 

“I’m definitely excited,” Gluchacki said. “I traveled around with them for a little over a year when Rowan [Pennink] was driving that car. I was just helping at the shop and all that. To finally be the one driving that car, that’s a really cool thing. That’s such a legendary car, so many cool names have driven that car. It’s very cool. I’m just looking forward to it.”

Gluchacki said he’s confident the team is ready to contend for the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series title. 

“I know the team is,” Gluchacki said. “I hope I can, as a driver, do my part. I know it’s a big learning curve going from [American-Canadian Tour] stuff to [Tour Type Modifieds]. I think [at the Haunted Hundred] at Seekonk I was kind of conservative for the first one. Seat time is going to be huge. Hopefully we can at least put some good runs together and hopefully we can have a shot at [the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series championship].” 


  1. Awesome!!!!

    It’s gonna be great to see more Ole’ Blue!!!!!

  2. Please don’t change the Monaco modified paint scheme! I just finished painting my set of Monaco mods for iracing and I won’t have time to update them for a while!

  3. Sounds more like a version of rent-a-race car then a strategic choice of drivers doesn’t it?
    I’m being glib but that’s what we’re talking about here isn’t it? No one is saying Narducci won’t do well with the big boys but it’s the Florida Connection that makes it possible. At least that’s how I read it. I’d assume the other two have similar financial requirements to contribute to covering basic expenses.
    Nothing wrong with it if it keeps the cars on the track. In fact more if it helps support the sport. Just don’t complain about it in Cup when their same reality may be finding it’s way down to the modifieds we love so much.

  4. Great news, 3 young stars in a legendary ride. Good luck to all.

  5. was hoping to see Johnson full time,, but,, Narducci is very interesting (nice start to top 5 ratio).. know nothing of Gluchacki in modifieds ,,nice to see another driver for tri-track..

  6. Each of the 3 drivers of the 3 car used the word cool 3 times! I guess it’s cool. The people on that team are not wealthy and are real racers. If they didn’t have drivers providing some funding it’s my guess they would not be able to race. And Johnson showed a lot of talent last year. He impressed fellow drivers and it was a pleasure to watch him race hard and clean.

  7. I could be taking out my you know what, but I believe ‘ole blue has pretty much been a pay to drive car for many years now.

  8. “If they didn’t have drivers providing some funding it’s my guess they would not be able to race. ”
    “I could be taking (talking) out my you know what, but I believe ‘ole blue has pretty much been a pay to drive car for many years now.”

    Spot in in my view and nothing wrong with any of it. In fact if you took out the well endowed parents and friends supporting racing at Stafford Motor Speedway they’d be struggling to survive instead of making upgrades every year. Just look as the flashy driver profiles they’re producing on Facebook.

  9. Doug,
    I think anytime these deals come up recently it always sparks this conversation. I think people get caught up in the idea of people “paying” for a ride as if it’s something that’s just started happening in the last decade, when in reality it’s been going on for much longer, just maybe not so outwardly done.
    Yes, there are a lot of car owners out there offering a seat in their ride for a price. I think that practice has become more commonplace in concert with the rise of younger people getting in race cars at the grassroots level. You have families looking to move their kids up the ranks and car owners have a wanted commodity they can offer to help that happen. What’s wrong with that?
    Here’s the reality, 25 years ago, it may not have involved young drivers or a set price tag, but it was still happening. Just back then they called it the driver “bringing something” to the team. The something was usually sponsorship money or a financial backer covering expenses for the car owner. You can be assured if a team owner was looking for a driver, the decision on who got the ride usually came down to who was “bringing more” to the team. People need to not act like this is all of the sudden something new in short track racing.

  10. Great to hear that they will be running. Always liked the car and the drivers that have driven it. Been a MOD fan for over 55 years.

  11. Fast Eddie says

    Narducci looked like he improved a bunch last year in the SK’s, keeping his cool and getting what he could from the car at each race. Looking forward to seeing him run in #3.

  12. I think most fans understand that drivers bringing financial resources in some form to the ride they’re getting has been a well established fact for a good long while. Although there’s no way we can know it since it’s all very private. If 1995 is a reference point Tony Hirschman won the NWMT championship that year in the BRE 3 and the next year as well. There’s no way we can know what the relationship was beyond owner and driver but it’s probably a safe bet it was more a partnership then a hired gun situation. Perhaps I expressed it badly but my point was more about how the age demographic has changed and entry level experience for that matter.
    Since I have the greatest familiarity with Stafford I look to the SK Light division as a canary in the coal mine for modifieds. Of the top 10 in the final standings 8 of the 10 list their occupations all or in part as “student”. All that youth filtering up to SK’s and tour modifieds at light speed many of which still retaining their status as students.
    OK then what’s my point, what’s different now.
    I’d say first is the expansion of full package race car suppliers that can offer any person with the financial resources the opportunity to step into a really good race car and be limited only by the drivers ability to ascend the learning curve. Young drivers nor their family members needing to know much more then the basics of race car construction and dynamics going in. Instead of toiling in the shop all week many young drivers spending most of their time developing their driving skills via sim racing. That’s all a relatively recent phenomenon gaining more and more momentum.
    Tony Hirschman was around 40 when he stepped into Ole Blue. Jake Johnson is 19, Gluchacki 21, Narducci the old man at 22….. all ages approximate. Narducci has seen spot starts in tour modifieds, Johnson made waves with his success in the MMTTS last season, Gluchacki very minimal experience in tour modifieds. To me that’s what’s new. Turning an iconic car with decades of experience, in a program valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars over to inexperienced tour modified drivers excepting perhaps Johnson.
    Ryan Preece drove the 3 to a stunning second place finish in the Sizzler a pretty big accomplishment considering the quality of the field. That’s just how good that car can be with a top driver. Now a cast of young drivers will be taking over and one can presume they were judged to be young drivers with a high ceiling once given enough seat time. But at some point someone had to say show me the money and each was able put it on the table from a source other then themselves.
    I believe you can make the argument that switching inexperienced drivers through the season each with their own driving styles doesn’t maximize either their learning experience or the teams ability to set the car up properly. Then again if it’s necessary to get the car on the track for a full season accumulating owners points that’s a drawback you deal with.
    My mention of the SK Lights relevant as representative of the roots of the youth movement as I see it. This announcement unique in that it brings the youth movement into the top tier of modifieds in a really big way and in my view with a substantial amount of risk.
    Bottom line young drivers with families willing to allocate tens of thousands of dollars to their child’s racing entertainment. Race car suppliers able to supply safe and fast race cars and their racing expertise. And lets not forget sanctioning bodies that have owners championships that don’t get penalized for driver roulette. All arguably about the best thing that could happen for the sport and we fans.
    But it is very different in my view.

  13. Unfortunately, the sport is so expensive these days car owners need additional funding from drivers to make it work. I really dont see anything wrong with it. These drivers are talented enough to belong in the sport. They are all good drivers and will do Ole Blue proud. My only complaint, I wish Jake Johnson was running full time on the tour. I think he could be a contender for the championship. Maybe he breaks out the family car for a few of the shows he isnt running in the 3.

  14. CSG,
    Pretty sure Jake is not doing the full schedule due to his commitment to his college studies. Those five events he’s not doing conflict with classes. He’ll be running the family car full-time with the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series

  15. Thanks Shawn that makes a lot of sense. You cant be disappointed with Jake making his education a priority. Best of luck to him in his studies and behind the wheel of a racecar. Anyone know what college/university he is attending?

  16. I can’t believe there is discussion of drivers bringing 💰/sponsorship. It’s been that way since the big bang.

  17. Getserious says

    Who drove it, and when and where was the #3’s last win? Just curious. I’m thinking it will be a pretty big deal to bring this team its next win.

  18. Getserious,
    The last Whelen Modified Tour win for this team came with driver Rowan Pennink in the 2017 Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway.

  19. Getserious says

    Thanks. That’s soon to be a six-year stretch.

  20. Mike Josefek says

    A lot of financial stress could be alleviated if NASCAR stopped treating the “modifieds” as the ugly stepchild in the family. They were the “first born” and were pushed aside by France early on to get manufacturers on board with “stock looking cars not more than 2 years old” on the track so people would go and buy their “favorite” model.
    So just my opinion, if they did more for the Tour, maybe some real network TV time, or some print in sport magazine ads, and throw some bigger purse money, maybe they can recapture the glory they deserve. Ive been a fan of the Mods for over fifty five years, and hope my grandsons get to watch them fifty years from now! NASCAR execs,,, wake up!

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