Modified Racing Association Celebrates their Inaugural Season
Last night the newly formed Modified Racing Association celebratred their inaugural season with a banquet at Crabby Joe's in Strathroy.
It's been an interesting year for the modifieds, considering that during the off season it was suggested that their days at Delaware may be numbered and that their event schedule could be greatly reduced. Not a group to shy away from a challenge, the drivers decided to regroup and form the MRA. Under the guidance of board members Bill Robinson, Kim McCullough, Jamie Cox and Leon Manning, the organization extended a hand to the other tracks that run modifieds, and opened up dialogue with other drivers in hopes of seeing everyone do a little touring. They turned the situation at Delaware around and enjoyed some great successes in the 2010 season, including a very well recieved and attended set of invitationals; one at Delaware on Labor Day weekend and a wildly successful outing at Sauble, both with over 20 cars participating.
Said MRA prez Bill Robinson, "We were happy with the way things went this year. Sure there's were mistakes but they were far outweighed by the successes. Now 2010 is over and we're onward and upward to 2011. The main thing we're working on right now is getting the Varney and Mosport cars and the Delaware cars a little closer rules wise. The Delaware cars, and the teams themselves, have always been ultra-competitive. Now we need to level out the field a little bit and that's where the bulk of our efforts are being directed."
The MRA used a few innovations and a few older ones too to increase their profile at the track this year. On track, they experimented with straight up double file restarts at all points in a race, as well as instituting a heat format that saw all cars competing in each heat. Off track, they were well represented at the top of the hill on off-nights where, at any one time, there were one or more modifieds parked at the top of the hill. These displays were complete with information, prize raffles, t-shirts and hats for sale, as well as a kids bike draw - not to mention having the driver there to sign autographs.
They also instituted a new/old tradition where at the beginning of the evening, the modified drivers went to the front straight and flung frisbees over the fence to the kids. Each frisbee had an MRA driver's name and at the end of the night, if the kid was holding the frisbee with the feature winner's name, there was a prize there as well. Bill let us know that these special additions were well recieved and will continue next year.
Prize Winners NOTE - This banquet and these prize awards are the club's own and independent of Delaware's year end awards.
Ultimate Sandblasting and Coatings Rookie of the Year - Justin Demelo, L82 Construction car number 82
BDS Enterprises Hard Luck Award - Dean Scott, car 19 (Who's car was competely destroyed after a wall-hit during practice one night)
Matco Tools Mechanic of the Year - Roger Newman, Vipond Sprinkler Systems car number 1
Ultimate Sandblasting and Coatings Best Appearing Car - Tyler Hendricks, car 38
Special Awards from Knott Fiberglass - Tony Vieira, car 6: Justin Demelo, car 82; Darrel Limon, car 54, and Barry Newman, car 1.
All in all there were about 50-odd door prizes handed out by various sponsors, including:
-London Drive Systems
-McDonnell Motors in Strathroy
-McColl Racing Enterprises
-South End Truck Center in Parkhill
-All Around Auto Care in Nairn
-Woody's Speed Shop in Mt. Brydges
The MRA wishes to thank all prize sponsors for the evening, as well as the Newmans for donating the kids raffle bike.
Hats and TShirts
They also wish to thank the following for the t-shirt sponsorships, as well as another huge thank you to the Demelos/L82 Construction for their generosity with the ball-cap sales :
-Ultimate Sandblasting and Coatings
-John Saunders Racing
-Hosie D's Donuts in Glencoe
-Mike Laur Automotive in Springfield .
Another big thank you to Delaware General Manager Joe Czenai, both for the banquet facility, and for his continued support of the modified division. Bill Robinson stated that "We can't thank Joe enough. He's been behind us when not everyone was, and whenever we wanted to talk or ask him for something, he always obliged us, whether it was for space up top to promote, or a set of tickets for us to raffle off. He was a big part of why we're doing as well as we are."
One final thank you goes out to every fan that came out to watch. "And this isn't a general thank you either." said Bill. "We didn't start out the year with a whole lot, and every T-shirt/hat/raffle ticket bought went right back into the club to help us survive and keep us on the track. The fans helped more than they might have even realized at the time, and we thank them in a big way for that."
So that's a wrapup for the 2010 season. The MRA is one of the year's feel good stories in this reporter's opinion. From a situation where it looked like the modifieds were pretty much done at Delaware, to the community rallying around and helping them help themselves acheive an amazing first year success....as well as seeing a raft of new cars in the ranks for those invitational races, was just excellent. And the group, IMO, should be commended on the tremendous accomodation of kids and families at the race tracks. The inclusion of bike raffles and frisbee tosses etc is, to me, what sets the MRA apart.
I congratulate them for their success.
So, in closing, the MRA will be back, loud and proud, for the 2011 season. Schedules are yet to be determined but they'll be doing more of the same, and are hoping to run a couple more of the bigger invitationals.
They're looking forward to seeing you all next year!