In this special edition of Way Back Wednesday, New England Correspondent Kyle Souza takes a look back at the history of the Seekonk Speedway Open Wheel Wednesday $10,000 modified event. The 11th edition of the event is scheduled for Thursday, July 2.
SEEKONK, Mass. — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Nicholas Teto photography —
The battle grounds of the Seekonk Speedway have played house to some of the best open competition modified races that New England race fans have ever seen.
The 10 year history of the Open Wheel Wednesday spectacular at Seekonk Speedway has seen multiple different winners and has also seen some thrilling finishes.
Some fans may say the most exciting part of the night is the qualifying heat races, where drivers are battling each other for a spot in the main event with everything inch of power they have.
Let’s take a look back at the past 10 Open Wheel Wednesday modified madness events and how they ended up.
2005 (1st annual event)
The first annual Open Wheel Wednesday event saw Donny Lia grab the checkered flag in his No. 18 modified and take $10,000 along home with him.
Lia used a late-race move to slide by Ted Christopher, after earlier leaders Kirk Alexander and Eric Beers collided under the yellow flag just after the halfway point.
Lia held off Christopher to the checkered flag and Beers charged back through the stout field to grab third. Eric Berndt and Jimmy Kuhn Jr. completed the top five positions.
Beers lead the most laps on the night, at 78 circuits.
2006 (2nd annual event)
Kirk Alexander took down the second annual modified madness 100 on July 26, 2006 in front of a packed house. The story of the night was the list of drivers that did not qualify, which included some strong names.
Defending race winner Donny Lia failed to make the show, along with Matt “Money” Hirschman.
At the finish of the 100 lap feature, Alexander held off Louie “Lightning” Mechalides to grab the big payday. Andy Suess, Chuck Hossfeld and Bobby Grigas completed the top five.
2007 (3rd annual event)
The home grounds of Seekonk Speedway proved right in August of 2007. After rain postponed the race from an originally scheduled July date, Vinny Annarummo scored his second career modified win and this one probably still stands as the biggest of his career.
33 drivers showed up at Seekonk that Wednesday evening and Chris Pastreyak was the first to chase Annarummo across the line at the finish. Matt Hirschman scored a third-place finish, with Richard Savary and Ted Christopher.
2008 (4th annual event)
After not qualifying for the event just two years earlier, Matt Hirschman scored one of the biggest paydays of his career in 2008’s edition of Open Wheel Wednesday.
Hirschman started on the pole, leading all 100 laps in route to the big score. Just in behind him was former Seekonk Pro Stock champion Dick Houlihan when the checkered flag came down.
Chuck Hossfeld finished third, 2006 winner Kirk Alexander came home fourth and Jon McKennedy finished in fifth spot.
2009 (5th annual event)
Wayne Darling put Chris Pastreyak in his No. 52 Seekonk Grand Prix machine and he payed him back with $10,000. Pastreyak found himself riding inside the top five for much of the event and pouncing when it mattered most right at the finish.
Jon McKennedy came from the back of the field to quickly storm inside the top three when the ten to go signal was given, but he had no time to catch the driver of Darling’s modified.
McKennedy settled in for second, with Jimmy Kuhn Jr. third, Mike Stefanik fourth, and defending winner Matt Hirschman fifth.
2010 (6th annual event)
For a first career modified win, you could not think of a better one. Local favorite Todd Annarummo scored the checkered flag in 2010 and took $10,000 home with him to Swansea, Massachusetts.
Annarummo lead only 15 of the 100 laps after passing leader Steve Masse on lap 85. Masse lead the most laps on the night at 77, but could not hold Annarummo off when it mattered most.
He joined his father, Vinny Annarummo, as the only father and son combination to win the big show.
Masse settled for second and Jon McKennedy notched a top three for the second consecutive year. Jimmy Kuhn Jr. finished in the fourth position followed by Ted Christopher in fifth.
2011 (7th annual event)
Even though Les Hinckley lead five laps of the 100 lap big paying feature in 2011, Doug Coby lead the rest of them.
Coby, driving Wayne Darling’s No. 52 machine, found himself carrying the checkered flag in one of the biggest accomplishments to date in his career. He drove away from Matt Hirschman when it mattered most.
Hirschman continued to show his big money event success by finishing in second and defending race winner Todd Annarummo completed the top three at the finish.
2012 (8th annual event)
For the second time in his career Matt Hirschman took the checkered flag at Seekonk, this time leading only two laps.
Hirschman held off Ryan Preece, who had lead 54 laps on the night to score his second $10,000 payday in four seasons. He had left the Seekonk Speedway with over $25,000 in four seasons.
Preece hung on to grab second spot, with Steve Masse, Todd Annarummo and Chris Pastreyak grabbing the rest of the top five.
2013 (9th annual event)
Doug Coby took the Open Wheel Wednesday for the second time in three seasons in 2013.
Coby, behind the wheel of Wayne Darling’s No. 52, lead 54 laps after passing Todd Annarummo in traffic just before the halfway point.
Connecticut driver Les Hinckley finished second, with Annarummo completing the top three that Wednesday night.
2014 (9th annual event)
Put Tommy Barrett on the big dollar list.
Barrett, driving a family owned No. 9 Dunleavy Truck and Trailer Repair ride, slid by Todd Annarummo in the late stages and held off Matt Hirschman to score the big paying victory.
For Barrett, it propelled him into Bristol Motor Speedway where he grabbed his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win just a few weeks later.
Hirschman settled for second, Todd Annarummo notched third, with Mike Stefanik and Chris Pastreyak fifth.
Who is the favorite going into the 2015 edition of Open Wheel Wednesday?
Many drivers have tamed the Action Track before, but these drivers have consistently run well:
Average Finish on OWW (Minimum Five Starts)
- Matt Hirschman — 3.3
- Chris Pastreyak — 5.2
- Todd Annarummo — 6.3
- Steve Masse — 7
- Ryan Preece — 9
- Jimmy Kuhn Jr. — 9.2
- Dick Houlihan — 9.3
- Ted Christopher — 9.5
- Jon McKennedy — 9.6
- Kirk Alexander — 10.8
Who takes the 2015 edition? Find out on Wednesday night at Seekonk Speedway!