RING: There’s Nothing ‘Modified’ About Modifieds Anymore!

Thom Ring Asphalt Modifieds, Staff Columns, Thom Ring Blog 3 Comments


Doug Coby (2) leads Rob Summers during NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour action. (Getty Images for NASCAR photo)

I decided to run my idea past someone who knows mods and who knew them when they really were. I contacted Ken Barry, builder of the popular 21st-century Spafco mods, who can recall the days when mods came out of junkyards. I was sure he’d be intrigued.

“I don’t know if this is something that’s possible,” was his response. But his reaction went beyond that. He saw no contradiction in calling the cars racing today modifieds. To him it’s a natural progression.

“The attraction to modified racing is exactly what the name says,” Barry said. “They are unique (because) there’s nothing stock about them.”

Now, of course, Ken has an interest in seeing mods remaining as the thoroughbreds they are. After all, the mods he builds are some of the best racing today.

I thought Dave Berghman might have a more favorable perspective. After all, that “Woodchopper” Koszela-built coupe I admired at the Pro Nyne museum was driven by his dad, Carl “Bugsy Stevens” Berghman.

Dave has raced a modern modified many times, as well as pro stocks and other variations of stock cars. His wife Robin was a top contender in Seekonk’s sport trucks. Besides, he’d recently taken over his dad’s business, Bugsy’s Freetown Auto Parts. That’s auto parts as in used auto parts. In other words, it’s a salvage yard. Surely, there were enough pieces of old car there to build some sort of modified.

“I don’t think there’s much stuff to work with out there, now,” he told me. “Its kind of a lost art.”

There are modifieds built as economical versions of a mod. But they’re still being built by processionals and offered up as items from a catalog.

“The IMCA mod is a similar concept,” Ken pointed out, “but there’s not much stock about them.”

Our conversations were short. I have to admit, I was surprised that the subject didn’t even seem to interest these long-time racers.

As Dave concluded, “It doesn’t turn me on that much any more.”

Gee. I guess I better get used to little eco-boxes scampering around the track like gnats chasing an odor. The days of “crude but effective” are over.

And in closing, a correction from my last column: I spoke of the owners of Whip City Speedway, the dormant dirt track in Westfield, Massachusetts, as Ray Ferrara and Steve Pighetti. It should have Dave Pighetti. Steve is his son. My apologies for the error.

The opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Race Chaser Online, the Performance Motorsports Network, Scorpion Radio Group, their sponsors or other contributors.


About the Writer

Thom Ring has over 25 years experience as a syndicated columnist and reporter, and is the author of the Red Racecar series of novels for young motorsports fans.

The former publisher of Shorttrack magazine, which featured the sport in the New England region, Ring currently contributes to Late Model Racer as a senior editor. He’s also served as the Technical Editor for Trackside magazine and as a New England correspondent for Late Model Digest, all while covering racing for a number of daily newspapers across New England.

Additionally, Ring was the color commentator for Speedway Heat, which formerly provided TV coverage of NASCAR Busch North (now NASCAR K&N Pro Series East) events in the past.

He was a race-winning kart driver and was solidly mired in the pack in a dirt midget.

As a freelance writer, Ring has been published in numerous magazines, including Stock Car Racing, Cycle, British Car, American Women Motorscene, Short Track Racing & Technology, Flat Out, and Classic Bike Review.

Email Thom at: email@theredracecar.com

Visit his website: www.theredracecar.com

Visit his blog: “If It’s Got a Motor…”

Email Race Chaser Online: news@racechaseronline.com

Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews

Comments 3

  1. So, I just read your article…..and though I can not disagree with it, I don’t totally agree with a certain point of it that you were trying to make! Particularly, about, “little eco-boxes scampering around the track like gnats chasing an odor?!” I’m sorry……I happen to race one of those little, so-called “eco-boxes” as you put it and, happen to love doing so?!! Do YOU race?! Who are YOU to judge what kind of cars we race?! We started out in an enduro division. Ran there for a couple years than our hometrack bumped our division up to Mini Stock status! Now, our cars both have roll cages, racing seats with 5 point harnesses, cold air intakes, Bassett racing rims, window netting, transponders, mounted fire extinguishers, fuel cutoff switches…..and this is to just name a few things!!! Our rules package has changed drastically, we get to practice before race time, we time trial and Now, this coming weekend, May 6th, we have heat races as well…..cause our division is growing fast! With all that said, when someone like you comes along and takes a “vocal dump” all over us because we don’t have 8 cylinder under the hood….it’s insulting! We work just as hard, try just as hard and play just as hard as everybody else in the racing community! I know we are not as popular or important or just plain cool as everything else out there……but we are making a go of it……and we’ll have FUN……regardless of what people like YOU will EVER say about us! Remember……gnats are annoying……and they are EVERYWHERE!!!

  2. Seems to me that the current mods are not much like the originals just like stock cars are not even close to stock. Not that I consider that a bad thing.

    1. Yes, that’s the way of the world. Still, I’d like to see some divisions where you still build a car from scratch. These days it’s like building a model. An expensive model.

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