Monday, September 18, 2017

JACOB PERRY - ONE BUSY DRIVER

(by Alan Piquette / The Racing Times)

Photo From Jacob Perry Facebook
Jacob Perry is not only making a name for himself at The New London Waterford Speedbowl, but he's turning into one very busy driver as well. The Pawcatuck, CT resident is entering his second season in the Mini Stock Division and as of late has entered his family owned (Norm Perry) SK Modified to his NLWS resume. If that's not enough the Pro-4 Modifieds are running a four race Connecticut Championship Series at The Speedbowl where Perry is entered in a Mark Charette owned Pro-4 Lite Modified, so race day is a pretty busy place for the fifteen year-old.

Talking with Perry about getting into three different types of cars in one night, what would be his biggest challenge? The answer he gave me was a little shocking, Power Steering. The Mini-Stock and his Pro-4 Modified, neither has power steering so when he gets into the modified it takes a little adjusting on his part to get use to it.

Perry made his racing debut when he was only five years-old at the Little T Speedway where he finished second. From that point on Perry has taken many accomplishments in racing at a early age that many competitors are still striving for. Perry has won the Lou Sherman Memorial in his Quarter Midget years as well as winning the very first Cup race in the Bandoleros at the NHMS. Or how about starting last in his very first Pro 4 race and driving away with the win,

Mod Squad Racing Media Photo
The wins started to rack up quickly and  sat in Victory Lane at eight different race tracks through out his career (NHMS, Star, Lee, Waterford, Thompson, Little T, Bethel and Monadnock). With the wins came the awards, such awards being a 4-Time Inex State Champion, 2016 NASCAR Whelen Rookie of the Year and taking  the 2016 UNOH Youth Award just to name a few. On a bigger scale Perry finished in the top-25 NASCAR National 4 Division. So to say Perry is on his way is just an understatement, just look at what Perry has chalked up in such a short period of time.

To say its a family affair for Perry is a understatement, just stop by his pits and its like a Perry family reunion.  Norm, Dennis (Father), Cheryl (Mother), Roger (Grandfather), Wendy (Grandmother) and Shelly Perry. Joining the group in the pits are George Wilkinson, Jesse Hunt and CJ Botelho.

Mod Squad Racing Media Photo
Perry has very unique paint schemes for his cars. First the Mini Stock is painted with a former Kevin Harvick paint scheme (White, Fluorescent Orange and Camouflage), the Pro-4 Modified is painted all black with yellow numbers and the SK Modified is White, Pink and Black, which he dedicates to all Cancer Survivors. Another unique item for Perry is that all his cars are numbered #21. The reasoning behind that was just watching his dad growing up racing the #21 and just liked the number and continued the family tradition.

One thing Perry has going into the 2017 season is a strong series of sponsors helping out. APE, Tick Free Organic Tick Control, Mad River Construction, Shea's Auto Body, Critical Signs, The Racing Guys, PMW Marine, Mystic Paint, Town and Country, Schilke Realty and Jeff's Custom Graffix.

Away from the track the 15-year-old has a full plate. Beside going into his Sophomore year at Stonington High School, Perry could be found around cars, either detailing them (Valenti Auto Mall in Westerly) or working on a different type of car, a race car.

Mod Squad Racing Media Photo
On race day there is two rules that Jacob follows, no green clothing and he has to listen to "God Bless Saturday" by Kid Rock. Perry also wanted his fans to know that he is very approachable and loves his fans. If you have a chance to talk to Jacob he's very down to earth and well respected by many. There was a Facebook picture a few weeks back that earned a lot of likes, Perry had his hand on his heart during the National Anthem while buckled up in his Mini-Stock. No matter if it's talking in person or over the phone, Perry will always show you the respect you deserve. That's just the way Perry is.

Perry wants to be where every up and coming driver want his career path to end up, one of the three NASCAR's premiere divisions. One thing that Perry would like to change if he could is picking talent over money in racing, But that choir is little to slim to get around. There is only a handful of drivers that has the raw talent that Perry has. No matter what car he is driving at the time, look for him towards the front or even battling for the lead, he's that kind of driver.

You can connect with Jacob on any Social Media platform.
Facebook: Jacob Perry Racing
Twitter: @Perryracing21
Instagram: @jacobperryracing21
Team Website: jacobperryracing.com




Tuesday, September 12, 2017

COLIN HALEY THE "PEOPLES RACER"

(by Alan Piquette / The Racing Times)

For Colin Haley (Ashford, CT) it started at the age of eight at the Stafford Motor Speedway in the Tiger Sprints. Even though he had many wins and successful seasons, it was all about learning the fundamentals of racing. So as Colin makes the transition in racing, so did the knowledge of racing. His skills in the Junior Outlaws Karts showed just that as he now makes the Legends division his new home.

Colin like many races got hooked as soon as he was exposed to it at the Stafford Motor Speedway. So with the knowledge he gained, the success started showing in his finishes.


For Haley what he thrives on is the people around him that enjoys racing as much as he does. Looking around the pits it's hard to find a more passionate person in the sport that he loves.  But what impressed me about Haley was how dedicated he was, not just with racing but in life. Colin is in his second  of a four year electrical apprentices (with Mac Electric in Coventry)but he's looking to get his masters in electricians license so an additional two years will be included to his career goal. With his career being his main priority, Colin also knows to be competitive on the track, you need time in the garage to get things ready. So for Haley all his extra time will be spent in the shop with his car.

As time may be limited for Colin on some weeks in the shop, he does have a major contributor.  That help comes from his girlfriend, Morgan Keegan. During the week its not uncommon to find her under the car changing gears or making spring adjustments. Throw in the regular maintenance and the cars set-up, its a full week for Morgan.

Usually when you ask a driver about his most memorial moment in racing its usually the wins or championships that comes up, but for Haley its all about the young fans. For the young fans that stops by to see Colin's car he always invites them to go and sit in the car. So what is Colin's most memorial moment in racing? Seeing the smiles of the young fans as they exit the car. This is why Colin's pit stall is one of the most popular stops on race day.

For Haley (whose 19-years-old) is starting his fourth year at The New London Waterford Speedbowl in the Legends division. The only question that he needs to figure out before heading to the track is which car to bring with him. Haley has a red and blue 34 Ford Couple numbered #08 at his disposal. Both cars have Inex chassis and powered by 600 Racing along with sponsorship from Mac Electric (Coventry, CT) as well as Northeast Truck and Off Road (New London, CT). Colin wanted to explain just how important Todd MacDonald is not just to his team but in life. "Todd has been very special to me as he's the one giving me the chance with the apprenticeship but includes me in many family functions and is responsible for the horsepower under the hood," Haley explained. Also his second sponsor Jeff Mazzella from  Northeast Trucks and Off Road is responsible for the truck suspension upgrades as well as accessories to haul the car to the track, not only once but Haley may run twice (Wednesday and Saturdays) during the week at The Bowl.

When Colin is away from the track you can find him either  riding his motocross bike or fishing and in the winter months snow boarding. If time allows Haley likes to travel to near by states to check out other forms of racing like  the Midgets, Sprints and Modifies run on dirt.

For the 2017 season the team has set up realistic goals, winning or finishing up front is really not important, but I'm sure sitting in victory lane a few times will change that, but running the best he can do with the car. But the main factor is being about the team and lastly having fun. So with no pressure on Haley he can just go out and have fun, which most likely put him into victory lane.

So for Haley its all about family and friends, which is the main ingredient to a successful season. If your ever in the pits, stop by the #08 and check out his car. Colin will be easy to spot, he's the guy with the smile from ear to ear.


Check out Colin on Social Media:
Face Book: Colin Haley

Photo credits: Passing Bird Photos


 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Kaylee Symonds "Her Passion For Racing"


by (Alan Piquette / The Racing Times)

Passing Bird Photo
Becoming a driver at a local speedway usually starts off generally the same, having somebody either bring you to a track to drive a racecar or showing up with one at home. For Andover, CT’s Kaylee Symonds there was a little twist to the story on how this 20-year old started her racing career.
Kaylee has a cousin that worked at The NLWS about six years ago. It first started off by visiting her to watching the races and after a couple times she was hooked. Kaylee kept coming back to The Speedbowl to watch as a spectator. It was then that she wanted to try racing herself, but her maiden voyage was going to be the Stafford Speedway. Her dad was friends with Dave Miller (Auto Machine) who is associated with a Late Model Team. In 2013, she joined Kevin Gambacorta’s #23 Late Model Team.
Working with Gambacorta’s Team is where the passion of racing really developed. This is when Dave Miller gave Kaylee a Saturn to learn how to drive standard and to start practicing with. Now it was time to build a car for her to race, but unfortunately the funds were not there yet so Kaylee continued to go to the race tracks in Connecticut to watch her favorite sport.  In the beginning of 2017, she learned that Gambacorta was injured and didn’t know if he was going to race. Possibly not being able to be part of a full time race team as a crew member, she decided it was time to pursue her dream and began building the Saturn that she was given into a X-Car.
Kaylee Symonds Photo
So, turn the clocks to 2017 and now you can find Kaylee behind the wheel of the #29 X-Car that’s a part of the Wild -n-Wacky Wednesday night program at her new home, The NLWS. Her weekly schedule is full as she attends Manchester Community College to work on a degree in Business Entrepreneurship as well as working as a Cashier Supervisor at Highland Park Market.
So only having a handful of races under her belt, her most memorable moment or I should say was what stood out the most to date for Kaylee, was when she blew her motor at The NLWS open practice before the season started. It happened in her third round of practice after completing her first two rounds ever at the Bowl. With now not having a motor, she scrambled to find a new one.  Kaylee found an engine in Massachusetts and her, her dad and Chuck McDonald worked to remove the old engine a few days later. The process continued the sunday before the opener at Waterford to put the new engine in the car. Kaylee was joined by her dad, Glenn Korner and Mitch Bombard to help put the new one in. This whole process finished up the morning of her first race that night. The motor that was put in had a tick and Kaylee was only able to complete one lap in her feature event that night.
Passing Bird Photo
After her first event and still having motor woes, Kaylee decided to use the motor that was in the parts car she purchased from Kyle Gero. She, with the help of her crew, took the motor from there,  cleaned it up, put it in her car, and her journey was finally started. This whole experience that Symonds went through really showed her how racing could be and I’m sure as a racer it was well worth it.
Being a rookie driver looking at the goals she set for herself shows she really gets it as a driver. She wants to finish every race, become more comfortable in her car and to finish all the races and finally to finish in the top ten for at least one race. Being a first-time driver, she set herself reasonable goals and I think she’ll be able to accomplish them this year.
Away from the track you can find Kaylee baking in the kitchen. Baking is her other passion. She would like to run her own business which would be either a bakery (she bakes a dessert every Friday night for Stafford) or breakfast restaurant. But even if she wasn’t a driver she would still want to be a part of a race team as she wants to follow her dream.

Kaylee in a few years would like to move up to either a Dare Stock at Stafford or to continue at The Bowl in a Limited Sportsman.
Kaylee Symonds Photo
In her maiden voyage, she has many people she wanted to thank starting with of course her mom and dad and her family. The next group is like a starting line up at The Speedbowl. Justin Bren, Glenn Korner, Josh Wood, Frank L’Etoile Jr and Sr, Mitch Bombard, RJ Surdell, Kyle Gero and Chuck McDonald. Others she wanted to thank were Megan Surdell, Dave Miller, Maryann Gambacorta, Austin Ashwell, and Nick and Joey Fraulino.
Her black and powdered blue Saturn SL2 #29 was put together by Frank L’Etoile (who built the roll cage). The engine is a stock engine and supporting her as sponsors are East Pine Bush Equipment, Highland Park Market and Right Image Signs. Helping her out on race day she has Justin Bren, Josh Wood, Glenn Korner, and her dad who help set up the car, give advice, and carry out normal race day procedures. Kyle Gero who has three wins to date and is not too far from where Kaylee sets up in the pits and his dad are there for her as well.
You can follow Kaylee on her Facebook page (@Kaylee Symonds)
Come check out Kaylee every Wednesday night as she battles others in the X-Car division. She may only be a rookie but she’s learning quickly, putting others on alert.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Andrew Molleur "The 14-Year Old Veteran"

(by Alan Piquette / The Racing Times)

Crystal Snape Photo
I had a chance to chat racing with 14-year old Andrew Molleur and one thing you tend to forget is that he’s only 14-years old. The way he handled himself was like he was a seasoned veteran.

Well if you look at his stats he’s kind of a seasoned veteran. Being only fourteen and he started his racing career at the age of four he’s got years under his belt on the track.

What can you accomplish in ten years of racing? For Molleur try 286, A Main Feature wins, USAC and QMA National Championships and an INEX State Championship. That’s just a start, add to that list a Little T Novice Cup Race win, an NC National LT A win and he even kissed the Bricks at the Indianapolis Speedway by taking a win there.

Let’s turn back the clock and see how Andrew got involved in racing. It started when Andrew’s dad took him to a local dirt Go-Kart track and basically got hooked. Andrew took his first green flag at the age of four at the Richard Shelton Speedway in a Kid Kart, the outcome was a third-place finish.

In 2017 Andrew is having a banner year. He got two wins in the SK Lite Modified Division at The Speedbowl which he considers his home track. Andrew is leading candidate for Rookie of the Year honors in the Exit Reality Modified Touring Series and is also in contention to be one of the five drivers to compete in the “Sunoco Quest for The Cup” in the series. Also depending on his schedule, he does run the Valenti Modified Racing Series as well.

Keith Cyr Photo
In the Exit Reality Modified Touring Series, the series has four more events on their schedule, with two of them being at The Speedbowl. This could fall right into Andrew’s plans. He has multiple wins there and countless laps around the shoreline oval can only help him along in the series.

Andrew will be attending Amity High School this fall but with racing taking up about ten months out of the year, Molleur is really limited on outside activities. When he can squeeze it in you can find him playing basketball, bowling or even mountain biking but leave it up to Andrew, the race track is where he wants to be. When asking Andrew what he would change in racing, he responded: “Add more races”. So, if anything Andrew is a true racer and like any driver is looking to move up in the ranks of auto racing.
Andrew who is following in his dad’s footsteps in racing shared the #35 that his dad ran. The Black, orange and yellow colors are considered Team colors and that’s the scheme Andrew runs. The car is a Spafco built with the horse power supplied by RAD. Kenny Barry calls the shots on the Mike Molleur owned modified. Helping on both cars (SK Lite and Modified) are Joe Turiano, Tom Franciome, Tyler Barry, Steve Butova, Kyle Traynoe, Joe Campbell. Matt Swanson, Bernard Molleur, Benarhi Tovar and Mike Chauvin.

Crystal Snape Photo
What’s surprising is the team really doesn’t have any sponsors, so if anybody wants to sponsor a car, check out Andrew Molleur before going to somebody else, he’s the driver people are talking about.

Talking goals with Andrew, which his responses were reasonable. “Finish every race, to run nice and clean (the way I want others to race me) and a few more wins and championships as well as taking the Rookie of the Year award in the MTS.

The run you clean part is true; this past weekend Andrew was battling with another driver (who was also 14-years old) for the win. Andrew racing on the outside and Ethan Durocher running the inside. The duo battled lap after lap as the two never touch or banged. You would never know the ages of the two after seeing them run.
Earlier I talked how Andrew and how he handles himself, and when we discussed what he wanted the fans to know about him, his response was “I love what I do, and racing is all I think about. I’m also very fortunate to be in the position I’m in to do what I love,” explained Molleur.

There are several ways to follow Andrew on Social Media:
Personal Face book Page: @AndrewMolleur
Team Facebook Page:      @ABLE Motorsports
Instagram Page:                racer35amm
Team Website:                 AndrewMolleurRacing.com

Next time you’re at The Speedbowl or a Series event check out the moves of the black #35 modified and no he’s not a veteran. He’s only fourteen running like a veteran.

Friday, August 4, 2017

TYLER ALKAS CARRYING THE FAMILY NAME

(By Alan Piquette, The Racing Times)

Passing Bird Photography Photo
Walking around the pits at The NLWS on a Wednesday night (Wild and Wacky Wednesday) a certain name and number catches your eye. Alkas, and the number #89 caught mine. Seeing Fred Alkas running around of the famous blue #89 brought back memories for me. Fred was a hot shoe at the Plainville Stadium. On this night, he was running around and getting his Grandson’s (Tyler) Bandolero ready for that night’s action.

Tyler is a third-generation driver as his dad is busy circling the Stafford Speedway on Friday nights in his SK Light. Tyler who is 11-years old is no stranger to racing. The youngest Alkas started his racing career at the young age of five. To say the Alkas Racing carries on in racing, Tyler won two-track championships in Karts, earned the Jr Rookie of the Year in Karts (Both at the Berlin Fair Grounds) and on this night, I got a chance to talk with the family, as well watching Tyler going out and winning his first career Bandolero win.

You can tell Tyler has it as in victory lane  as at The Speedbowl, the first people he wanted to thank was his Grandfather and father (family), then his sponsors rolled right out Acculift, Avery’s Soda, B&C Power Coating as well as Critical Tint. You can see he’s going to be a natural in Victory Lane.

Tyler has the right mentality to be a racer. When you ask him what his plans are he responded, “To go faster each week and to finish up front weekly”. Tyler’s goal in racing is to step up and to race his Dad’s SK Light Modified when he turns of age, so his future is looking bright.
Passing Bird Photography Photo

Talking to Tyler about his Bandolero, again it goes back to his Grandfathers days at Plainville Stadium. “The number 89 was my Grandfather’s number when he raced and the blue and yellow was his colors so that’s why I wanted them,” explained Tyler.

Growing up in a racing family, you just had to wait and you know it will come. For Tyler, it was when his Grandfather showed up at home with a Go-Kart. He started racing at their local kart track and like most kids they were hooked. When Tyler started racing for points he went out and won the championship and the Jr Rookie of the Year honors in year one, the second year he picked up where he left off and won the points again.

When off the track you can find him playing football and baseball or watching his favorite drivers like Ryan Preece, Kevin Harvick and Tyler Hines. Watching the New York Yankees is also high on Tyler’s list.

Passing Bird Photography Photo
Tyler is set to attend McGee Middle School in the sixth grade as the summer winds down but for now it’s all The Speedbowl. You can always stop by and see a great racing family and to see that priceless smile as Tyler removes his helmet. Joining Fred and Mark helping on the #89 (600 Racing as the chassis builder and provides the power) Bandolero is Ron Schyed and “Quick” Rick Smilnak.

As of this story Alkas in working on putting together Social Media sites so you can stay informed about Tyler and his Alkas Motorsports Team.

One thing Tyler wanted to say before closing this story was to let the fans know that he appreciates them coming to watch him and to support his sponsors as well, “It makes racing a lot more fun looking in the stands and seeing a lot of people there,” finished up Tyler.

Watch Tyler as he will be climbing up the ranks in racing as well as carry the Alkas name for many years to come.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

DYLAN IZZO RETURNING TO THE SPEEDBOWL IN 2017



A couple of weeks back, Dylan Izzo was contacted by Prestige Motorsports owner Doug Dipisa to warm up his car for that night's racing action. The plans were to have Dylan shake down the car while its regular driver Teddy Christopher was running his Whelen Modified Tour car at the NHMS. Izzo, shook down the car and to be honest did a great job. “I contacted Izzo during the week and asked if he wanted to come down and help us out,” said Dipisa. “He’s a great shoe and I actually had tons of phone calls coming in and asking me about the ride, but we wanted a top tier driver and we wanted Dylan,” finished up Dipisa.
Dylan Izzo Motorsports Photo
Well, it turned into more that night for the Monroe, CT driver. The twenty-one-year-old now had a task on his hands. While Teddy was racing in the Whelen Modified Tour race in New Hampshire, he ended up breaking a bone in his wrist and couldn’t get to The Speedbowl. Dylan jumped into the Smedley Cranes sponsored SK and ran the heat. He finishes 3rd but what opened everybody’s eyes was the fact he started last on the field.
Now with the crew setting up the car for the 35-lap event for the SK’s later that night, it was now Izzo getting to show what he can do? What’s so ironic about this was Izzo took down a victory at The Speedbowl. “I led the first 29-laps of the SK feature and a caution came out with six to go and I had to hold off Teddy to win the race and now I’m driving Teddy’s tonight,” commented Izzo.
“One of our team goals is to win races but as for running our Dylan Izzo Motorsports SK, we are underfunded. Our focus is to get to as many races as we can and to be competitive,” calmly explained Izzo.
When Izzo was asked about his five-year plan he responded, “Being a limited funded team, I would like the chance to drive for a top team and be able to showcase my talents and show what I can do against the best of the best,” explained Izzo. What Izzo was hoping for in five years was getting ready to happen this night for Izzo. On this night Izzo didn’t let anybody down his first race in a competitive modified like Doug’s car, Izzo used a last lap pass on the inside of Kyle James and finished in a podium spot (3rd Place). It was the talk of the pits that night and Dylan got to showcase his talents and didn’t send anybody home upset.
Dylan Izzo Motorsports Photo
Now turn the clocks forward as this week Izzo will be debuting back at The Bowl but in the #04 Dylan Izzo Motorsports SK. Izzo has the talent to be a great shoe but wanted the fans to know the passion and love he has for racing. “I pour my heart and soul into it. I’m grateful for every opportunity I get and will never take anything for granted,” expressed Izzo.
Izzo was only five years old when his brother, who was 13 at the time had his dad by a kart for him. “Me being the youngest I got jealous and had to have one as well. From that day I was hooked,” chuckled Izzo. He made his first race start at Nutmeg Speedway. “I was so scared I got lapped like five times,” Izzo explaining his first race ever.
From that point, Izzo went on to win three Championships in WKA Karts. He quickly moved into the Legends Cars and excelled by winning the Championship, taking down 11 wins and setting numerous records at both The New London - Waterford Speedbowl as well; as the Seekonk Speedway. He moved to the SK was no different for Izzo. He won “Rookie of the Year” honors and took down a win in 2006.
So Izzo will be back at The Bowl in his black and orange Troer built #04 SK modified. Sponsorship will be provided by Joe Maclean Woodworking, LLC and Pettit Racing Engines will provide the power under the hood.
When asked about his number choice, Izzo explains “I was a Jeff Gordan fan and ran #24 in karts. Then throughout the years the tracks we went to already had the #24 taken so we went to the number #4 then the same thing happened so we to #44 a yet again we ran into the same issue at other tracks, so my dad helped out the great Corky Cookman in the modified whose number was #04 so it stuck.”
Dylan Izzo Motorsports Photo
So as Izzo is getting ready to start his 6th season at The New London – Waterford Speedbowl, his second in an SK modified. Uzzo is looking to make his name known, and after his first race of the 2017 season, Izzo did just that.
Off the track, you’ll find Izzo either on a golf course or on a baseball diamond or basically participating in any sporting event. Izzo also enjoys watching NASCAR and his favorite driver Dale Earnhardt Jr or even watching The New York Jets. Dylan attended SCSC for two years and works in the electrical field.
One thing I always enjoy asking is about superstitions at the track and Izzo opened up and explained that he always puts on his safety equipment on in the same order no matter what, and always has a black shirt on.
Before concluding our chat Izzo had this to say “First I need to thank my Dad for everything he’s done and what he sacrificed for me and to be where I’m today. My Mom for always supporting me in racing (even though it scares her to death. Joe Maclean for not only being a sponsor but supporting and believing in me since day one and doing what ever he can to make sure we get to the track and finally to everyone who helped me get to where I’m today,” Izzo said gratefully. 

To learn more about Dylan Izzo you can visit him on:
Facebook (Dylan Izzo Motorsports)
Twitter (@dizzo04)
Instagram (dizz04)
Enclosed pictures from: Dylan Izzo Motorsports (Facebook)

(Story by Alan Piquette, The Racing Times)