FRIDAY FEATURE: 60 Years And Going Strong

FRIDAY FEATURE: 60 Years And Going Strong

Boehler Racing Celebrates Milestone & Looks Forward

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bugsy Stevens, Tony Hirschman and Wayne Anderson. Those are just three of the many historic modified names that come to mind when you think about the history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. 

All three of those drivers captured wins and championships with Boelher Racing Enterprises, while sitting behind the wheel of the famed Ole’ Blue No. 3. The blue paint scheme with the bright yellow number has been a staple in the modified ranks for more than five decades and continues to be today.

“I’ve been around a while. I raced myself and grew up around the sport, but I really started helping my dad Lenny when the tour started in 1985,” current team leader Mike Boelher said. “I was only 13 or 14 years old, but I went to all the races and I helped in the shop.”

breIn 2017, BRE Racing is celebrating 60 years of competition in modifieds. They have built their own cars since the outset and continue to do the fabrication in the shop — even to this day. 

Mike’s father, Lenny Boelher, pioneered the early years of the team, beginning action in 1957 at the Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts with Tony Cortes behind the wheel. He was known for building his own equipment in the shop and bringing it to the race track with the upmost of confidence. Although originally Boelher wasn’t as successful as he would have liked, he quickly was paired with Bugsy and the two started things off well. 

The combination won races and championships in New England, being especially successful at Seekonk in the late 1960s before moving to the NASCAR National level. Stevens and Boelher combined to collect three straight championships at one point. 

Although Stevens was successful with Boelher, the two parted ways and Fred DeSarro took control of Ole’ Blue shortly after, capturing more checkered flags. After that, Leo Cleary, Ronnie Bouchard and Mike McLaughlin teamed with Boelher for runs. Other historic names that have piloted the car include Tom Cravenho, Jerry Marquis and others. 

When Lenny passed in 2001 of cancer, Mike took control of the team and still leads the way today with driver Rowan Pennink.  The team has six NASCAR championships, with the most recent of them coming in 1996. All of them came with Lenny leading the way. The first of the titles came in 1967 – which started a stretch of three straight with Stevens sitting behind the wheel. Once the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was formed in 1985, the success continued for the BRE Racing team.

McLaughlin finished second to Richie Evans in the inaugural NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season in 1985. 

In 1994, Wayne Anderson drove the car into championship glory in his first year behind the wheel – capturing one victory in the NAPA Fall Final at the Arute-family owned Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut. 

After that, Tony Hirschman – who sits second on the all-time list with five career titles – captured two of them with Boehler in 1995 and 1996. The stretch helped Boelher captured his sixth and final title before Lenny’s passing in 2001. 

“Lenny gave me a call when I had nothing going right then. I won two championships in a row with him and it was quite an experience,” Hirschman said. “We went up against a tough field of cars. If you look at what we used and what we had to work with against what we were going up against, everything we did is remarkable.”

Hirschman says that working with Boelher was different than working with other teams. He was successful with multiple car owners in his career, but something about BRE fit him well. 

“They were just so laid-back compared to some of the other teams I drove for,” Hirschman said. “When I was driving for them, Lenny was still doing a lot and the whole team was just old school compared to the other teams. They built their own cars then and they still do.”


Tony Hirschman Jr. won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titles in 1995 and 1996 driving the Ol’ Blue.

Since the last championship, the team has had multiple different drivers sit behind the wheel in hopes of keeping the tradition alive – something that is important to the family. 

“It’s cool. We do it all as a family,” Mike Boelher said. “My cousin is the crew chief and my mom still owns everything – I just help keep it heading in the right direction. There are just so many people involved over all the years to make sure it kept going.”

Over the last decade, names like Ted Christopher and Matt Hirschman have climbed behind the wheel of the famed No. 3. More recently, in 2015, the team brought young driver Troy Talman onto the team and he scored a best finish of fifth that season. 

In 2016, Pennink teamed with BRE Racing and competed in all 17 events — capturing two top fives and eight top 10s behind the wheel of the famed modified. Pennink finished a best of third in the Spring Sizzler at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway last season and was a threat in multiple events.

“We had an up and down first season,” Pennink said. “But I think we have grown a lot together as a team. I feel like we know how everything works now with the setup and they know what I need in the car.”

So far in 2017, the 31-year-old from Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, is off to a strong start. He led 38 laps at the half-mile Myrtle Beach in the season-opener and after starting third, he came home with a seventh place finish behind the wheel of the Cape Cod Copper Chevrolet. For Pennink, it’s a dream come true to even sit behind the wheel. 

“It’s been an honor to be behind the wheel of an historic car like Ole’ Blue,” Pennink said. “It’s an honor for them to even consider me to drive the car. I can’t thank all the guys enough. They really put their heart and soul into it for every race. We had a good run down at Myrtle Beach and I’m hoping that we can continue that success for the entire 2017.”

Mike Boehler, who is currently 44 years old, still runs the team to this day and wants to continue to be involved for many years to come. For him and the entire family, it’s about keeping memories alive – and creating new ones. 

“We’re basically doing all of this to keep my dad’s memory alive. We try to do it the same way he did,” Mike Boelher said. “If we had to go out and buy other people’s cars and not make them in our own shop like my dad did we would shut the door. We have basically taken the team to the next-generation but the cars are built in the shop the best we can. We want to remain competitive and run up front.”

BRE Racing will continue their 60th season celebration on April 9, with the running of the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. 


Bugsy Stevens piloted the No. 3 to the NASCAR Modified championship from 1967-69.

An Amazing NWES Season Is About To Begin!

An Amazing NWES Season Is About To Begin!

Extraordinary ELITE 1 Field, A New Wave Of Drivers In ELITE 2 And A Brand New Division

The 2017 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season, beginning next weekend in Valencia, Spain with the Valencia NASCAR Fest, promises to be one for the ages. The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series grew into one of the best touring car championships in Europe and the competition has reached an impressive level across both division.

An extraordinary lineup in the ELITE 1, with a spectacular mix of NWES stars, world-class drivers coming in and young talents coming up ranks pairs with a new wave of promising drivers entering the ELITE 2 division and the brand new ELITE Club Division to deliver fans all over Europe the best racing and the most entertaining american-themed events.


The new Toyota Camry body will make its debut in 2017, joining Chevrolet and Ford among the NWES manufacturers. 28 cars are listed as full-season entries and 14 different countries will be represented on the grid, including the first ever drivers coming from Venezuela, Poland, Luxembourg and Japan to debut in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.

The season is just beginning though and more cars and drivers are expected to join from the second event of the season in Brands Hatch in June. Start your engines, race fans!

ELITE 1 – Top class drivers from all over the world

The ELITE 1 division starting grid never looked so full of talent and ambitions, beginning with 2016 Champion Anthony Kumpen, who is back from a great Xfinity Series race in Daytona with the only goal to conquer a third European crown. He will have a stronger-than-ever group of opponents, starting from his PK Carsport teammate Stienes Longin, the reigning ELITE 2 Champion moving up the ladder with strong ambitions. 

In the RDV Competition camp, two-time Championship runner-up Frederic Gabillon launch another assault to the title, while Marconi De Abreu will return to climb more steps in the NWES rankings. CAAL Racing will field once again three Chevrolets for NASCAR Next driver and two-time Junior Trophy winner Alon Day, veteran Freddy Nordstrom and Salvador Tineo Arroyo, as the Spanish talent moves up from the ELITE 2 ranks. 

Knauf Racing confirmed his young up-and-coming lineup formed by Thomas Ferrando, who will enter both division, and 2009 champion Wilfried Boucenna, while Racers Motorsport, the team born from merge of Double T and Vict Motorsport, will field three Ford Mustangs for rising star Gianmarco Ercoli, 2016 Challenger Trophy winner Dario Caso and newcomer Alessandro Ciompi. Alex Caffi Motorsport will aim straight at the top of the standings with a formidable duo: perennial title contender Borja Garcia and Venezuelan former GP2, F1 and Indycar driver Rodrigo Gonzalez.

After giving Braxx Racing its first ever NASCAR podium, endurance star Marc Goossens will be back to the European NASCAR, while Jerry De Weerdt will drive the #78 Mustang in the Challenger Trophy. GT legend Christophe Bouchut is also returning at the wheel of the #66 Chevrolet for DF1 Racing and Scuderia Giudici will field the #4 Ford Mustang for Claudio Giudice. After making his NWES debut last season, Peter Gross will return with Renauer Motorsport #5 Ford Mustang, while Eric De Doncker and his Motorsport 98 team will take the track in both divisions with the Challenger Trophy in mind, as will Willy Gruber with his Gruber Racing team.

Two new teams will make their debut in Valencia fielding two cars each. Wiesbaden, Germany based Mishumotors will field two cars, including the 50th NWES car produced by Team FJ, one of which will be shared between Patrick Simon and Renger Van Der Zande. 2010 Champion Lucas Lasserre will return to NWES with French team Dog Racing, which will also field a Ford Mustang for Miguel Angel Dasi Perez.

Two more new Italian teams will join the field with one car each: MRT by Nocentini and The Club Motorsport.

ELITE 2 – One clear favorite, many contenders and new wave of talents

With many of the recent contenders moving up the ranks, the ELITE 2 division title will be up for grabs for a new wave of NWES talents but they will have to deal with Thomas Ferrando. The Frenchman will be the clear favorite as the only past race winner – he has a total of five ELITE 2 wins in his palmares – to enter the division full time for Knauf Racing, which will also field a Mustang for Paul Guiod’s sophomore campaign. 

After grabbing his first podium finish and closing the last season eighth in points, Renauer Motorsport’s Martin Doubek is poised to make the final step towards his maiden win, as is Ulysse Delsaux, who will lead the RDV Competition team with Marconi Abreu. Tenth in points in 2016, Justin Kunz will be targeting wins at the wheel of the #24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS, with promising rookie Guillaume Dumarey driving the other Belgian Chevy. Polish newcomer Maciej Dreszer will be one to watch in the Rookie Cup at the wheel of the #66 DF1 Racing Chevrolet SS. 

CAAL Racing will line up two rookies – Gil Linster, the first NWES driver coming from Luxembourg and Felipe Rabello – and 2016 Lady Cup winner Arianna Casoli. She will have her main opponent on the road to defending her title in Carmen Boix Gil, driving for Alex Caffi Motorsport. The Monegasque team will also field Japanese rookie Kenko Miura on the #2 Toyota Camry. Straight from karting will come Dog Racing’s Evan Pichard Arnaud, who will be flanked by Brazilian veteran William Ayer Jr.

Jerry De Weerdt will defend his Legend Trophy title with his #78 Braxx Racing Ford Mustang while the #70 Mishumotors Chevrolet SS will be driven by Mirco Schultis and Dario Caso will pilot the #8 Racers Motorsport Mustang, with Simone Laureti as his teammate on the #7 Mustang. Eric De Doncker will also be in the mix with the Motorsport 98 Ford Mustang, as will be Willy Gruber on the #26 Gruber Racing Chevrolet SS. Andrea Perlini will also compete in the Legend Trophy for Scuderia Giudici, while Roberto Benedetti will return to NWES with The Club Motorsport.

ELITE Club – Seven new drivers enter the NASCAR world

Eight drivers will enter the brand new ELITE Club Division, based on regularity, seven of which making their NASCAR debut. Luciano Carcheri from Italy and Alfredo Cardoso from Brazil will drive the Alex Caffi Motorsport cars, Austrian Andreas Kuchelbacher will pilot the #5 Renauer Motorsport, while Swiss Yann Schar will be at the wheel of the #31 Mustang for RDV Compétition. Marcelo Silva from Brazil and Eric Muet from France will represent Dog Racing, Austrian Driver / Team Owner Willy Gruber will enter his #26 Chevrolet SS in all three divisions while another Brazilian, Deo Alves, will drive the #66 DF1 Racing Chevy.

Icebreaker 2017 Postponed One Week

Icebreaker 2017 Postponed One Week

Whelen Modified Tour Race Moved To April 9

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – With inclement weather expected in Connecticut this week, NASCAR and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park officials have postponed this weekend’s 43rd running of the track’s Icebreaker.

The event, which is highlighted by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s Icebreaker 150, will be run the following weekend: April 7-9.

The Icebreaker 150 will practice on Saturday, April 8, with qualifying and the second race of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season slated to take the green flag on Sunday, April 9. The weekend schedule also includes the opening races in Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program.

Race Central Live: Valencia

Valencia NASCAR Fest at Circuit Valencia




Gilliland Doubles Up At Irwindale

Gilliland Doubles Up At Irwindale

Paces K&N Pro West Field In NAPA Auto Parts Twin 100s

IRWINDALE, Calif. – It was a clean night at Irwindale Event Center. And that’s just how Todd Gilliland wanted it.

Leading the field from pole, and hot off a win in the first NAPA Auto Parts Twin 100 feature, the 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, held off a hard-charging Chris Eggleston to win for the third time in 2017 and 10th time in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West career.  

The victory, his second at Irwindale, also awards him a $10,000 prize for finishing in the top-three spots in the four-race NAPA 500 Challenge Series.

The NASCAR Next driver’s win also marked Bill McAnally Racing’s 14th victory at the California short-track.

With only one caution in the opening 92 laps, it looked as though it would come easy to the reigning K&N Pro Series West champion. However, a spin from Takuma Koga set up a mad dash to the checkered with four laps to go. 

Eggleston, diving his No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota into Turn 1, grabbed the race lead for the first time of the night from Gilliland… for about 40 feet. 

A swift over-under maneuver from Gilliland and his No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota quickly gave him the lead back by the time they reached Turn 3.

Repeating the show with two laps to go, Eggleston was unable to make the move work for the win. A second-place finish marks the fourth straight top-five finish for the 28-year-old Erie, Colorado, native. 

Michael Self, 26, from Park City, Utah, was the only other man to win anything Saturday at Irwindale, as he took the top spot in final practice in his No. 9 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Springs/Lucas Oil Ford. In the race, Self grabbed a third-place finish followed by Derek Kraus and Will Rodgers, who earns a fourth straight top five, in fifth.

Julia Landauer finished sixth with Garrett Archer, who rebounded from a start-line violation, Nicole Behar, Blaine Perkins and Todd Souza completing the top 10.

The NAPA Auto Parts Twin 100s will air on NBCSN, Saturday, April 1 7p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be back in action May 13 at Washington’s Spokane County Raceway.


Gilliland led a total of 82 laps en route to his third K&N Pro Series West victory of the season. Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images

Gilliland Wins NAPA Auto Parts Twin 100

Gilliland Wins NAPA Auto Parts Twin 100

Takes Home First K&N Pro West Win Of The Night At Irwindale

IRWINDALE, Calif. – Todd Gilliland had them covered in the NAPA Auto Parts Twin 100 at Irwindale Speedway.

Winning a third straight pole in his No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, Gilliland swept the show with the race to win the first twin event of the night. The victory stands as the 16-year-old’s ninth NASCAR K&N Pro Series career victory and the Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, native’s second of 2017 and second at Irwindale overall.

Finishing 2.4 seconds in rears of the defending champion, Chris Eggleston put up a fight in his No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota. Taking the lead on Lap 50, Eggleston lost the top spot to Gilliland with 33 laps to go. Still, the Tucson winner grabbed his fourth straight top-five finish with a second-place finish.

Garrett Archer came home third while Nicole Behar, who started from the rear, rallied back to finish fourth. The 19-year-old was followed by Will Rodgers, Solvang, California, native earned a third straight top-five finish in fifth.

The 100-lapper wasn’t as easy for some competitors, however. Derek Kraus, who finished second to teammate Gilliland last time out at California’s Kern County Raceway Park, cut a tire and crashed on Lap 17. The 15-year-old, Wisconsin, native finished 18th, nine laps down.

Jesse Iwuji retired due to engine failure while a two-car crash on Lap 58 collected Dan O’Donnell and Stafford Smith. Rookie Kody Vanderwal also spun in Turn 2, suffering no damage.

Michael Self, who won practice, finished sixth with Blaine Perkins, Johnny Borneman III, Matt Levin and Julia Landauer completing the top 10.

The NAPA Twin 100 will air on NBCSN Saturday, April 1 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be back in action March 25, 2017 at 9:30 p.m. PT for the NAPA Auto Parts T-100, the second feature event of the night at Irwindale Event Center.


Gilliland and his BMR teammate battled for the top-spot throughout the first NAPA Auto Parts Twin 100 win. Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images

Gilliland On Top Again At Irwindale

Gilliland On Top Again At Irwindale

Collects Third K&N Pro West Pole Of The Season

IRWINDALE, Calif. – For the fourth consecutive time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Todd Gilliland will be the first under the green flag.

Turning the quickest lap of the day at 18.054 seconds [99.701 mph], the reigning West Series champion bested Bill McAnally Racing teammate Chris Eggleston by only 0.006 seconds to earn the 21 Means 21 Pole Award at Irwindale Speedway. 

The result stands as the ninth pole for the Sherrills Ford, North Carolina native and third straight to start the 2017 season.

Eggleston, who was among the quickest in both practices, will start second for the third straight race and fourth in the last five races. 

Behind the BMR duo is Michael Self, who led the way in practice, however, came up short of the pole position. He lines up third ahead of Sunrise Ford Racing teammate Julia Landauer, who grabs a career-best qualifying spot in fourth.

Garrett Archer completes the top five while Derek Kraus, Matt Levin, Nicole Behar, Will Rodgers and Ron Norman round out the top 10.



Preliminares viernes 24

Gilliland Goes Back-to-Back at Kern County

Gilliland Goes Back-to-Back at Kern County

Picks Up First K&N Pro West Victory Of 2017

Bakersfield, Calif. – It wasn’t easy, but Thursday was Todd Gilliland’s day at Kern County Raceway Park.

After winning the only practice of the day at the California track, the 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, piloted his No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota to his eighth career 21 Means 21 Pole Award in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. He then backed it all up with the victory in the NAPA Auto Parts 150.

The win, his eighth in the series, keeps his chances alive to compete for a $10,000 prize in the NAPA 500 Challenge. He must finish in the top three in the next two races at California’s Irwindale Event Center to win the bonus money.

Going into overtime after multiple late-race cautions, the 156-lapper came down to Billy McAnally Racing teammates Gilliland and Derek Kraus. Though 15-year-old Kraus made some gutsy moves to get his No. 19 Carlyle Tools Toyota alongside Gilliland in the closing stages, the Stratford, Wisconsin, driver came up short, finishing second in only his second K&N Pro Series West start.

Kraus was not the only one to contend with Gilliland, however, as Michael Self was the top driver for the first half of the race in his No. 9 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Springs/Lucas Oil Ford. Leading 84 laps, the early pace soon atrophied for the 26-year-old from Park City, Utah, as he lost the lead to Gilliland on Lap 95 and fell outside the top three. Shortly after, the six-time K&N Pro Series West race winner battled with Chris Eggleston and Will Rodgers to come home in sixth.

The night went much worse for a few other series talents, as Brandon Schilling brought out two cautions throughout the night after losing his No. 30 Family Air/Tucson Speedway Ford in Turn 2. Julia Landauer, who qualified seventh, ran as high as second in her No. 6 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Springs/Lucas Oil Ford. The run came to an end on Lap 97 when she crashed with Matt Levin, later ending her night in the12th spot.

Rounding out the top-five behind Rodgers and Eggleston was 10-time series race winner, David Mayhew. He was followed by Nicole Behar, who rallied from the rear of the field after an unapproved adjustment, in seventh with Blaine Perkins, Kody Vanderwal and Todd Souza completing the top-10.

The NAPA 150 from Kern County Raceway Park will air on NBCSN Tuesday, March 28 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be back in action Saturday at Irwindale for the NAPA Twin 100s. 


Todd Gilliland parked his No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota in Victory Lane for the first time in 2017 after leading a total of 72 laps. Courtesy of Sal Sigala Jr.

Gilliland Wins Second Straight Pole At Kern

Gilliland Wins Second Straight Pole At Kern

Earns Second Consecutive K&N Pro West 21 Means 21 Award

Bakerfield, Calif. – 2017 just keeps getting better for Todd Gilliland.

After leading the lone practice session, Gilliland backed the result up with the pole position during group qualifying at Kern County Raceway Park.

With an 18.210-second lap, the reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion scorched the field by beating second-place Chris Eggleston by 0.215 seconds.

For the 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, the 21 Means 21 Pole Award is his second straight at Kern County, his second straight of 2017 and his sixth in the last nine West Series races.

Eggleston, who won last week at Tucson Speedway, is the only driver eligible for the $100,000 prize if he can win at Kern County and the twin races at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday. He wont be far from the front, as he earned his third runner-up qualifying effort in the last four races.

Behind the familiar front row is Will Rodgers, who is hot off a career-high finish of fifth last week at Tucson Speedway, in third followed by Matt Levin and six-time series winner Michael Self the top five.

With Derek Kraus in sixth, Julia Landauer, Blaine Perkins, David Mayhew and Nicole Behar completed the top-10 starters.

Justin Funkhouser experienced the only significant issue of the session when the hood of his No. 5 Chevrolet came loose while entering the half-mile track. He was unable to complete a timed lap.


Print This Post Print This Post