50 Greatest Modified Drivers – Brian Ross
Brian Ross was the 1984 Modified Track Champion at Stafford and has 12 wins to his credit. His wins include the Spring Sizzler in 1986, the Ferrara 100 in 1975 and 1984, and the Winston 100 in 1984 and 1985. His first Stafford win came on August 2, 1975 while driving the Bob Garbarino Mystic Missile. He was also a regular competitor on the NASCAR Modified Tour from 1985 to 1988 where he recorded 7 wins.
Ross was a regular weekly competitor during the 1970s and 1980s. He began his racing career as a teenager racing on a dirt oval near Saranac Lake in upstate New York. In 1964 he got badly hurt at Fonda and gave up racing for three years. He got back into it in 1969 with a charger car that he raced at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway and at Airborne Park. He built his first Modified one year later. When Canadian star Denis Giroux moved south to seek his fortunes, Ross was in the right place at the right time and got the ride in the Emrick No. 50. With that car, he ventured outside of New York State to run in special events at Stafford and Thompson. During the early 1970s Modified competition at Stafford was at a fever pitch and Ross wanted to run there weekly. He took over the Chuck Rubbucca-RGM Speed No. 87 and recorded many top finishes.
Bob Garbarino was without a driver and Ross ran a few events down south. By the end of 1974, Ross left the RGM car and moved into the Mystic Missile. That relationship lasted until early 1983. As a team, Ross and Garbarino were extremely competitive and recorded wins at Seekonk, Manadnock, as well as at Stafford.
In 1984 Ross went into partnership with Dick Didarrio with his own car and his career hit full stride with wins coming on a regular basis. He also drove for Ed Cloce and won the prestigious Race of Champions at Pocono and a handful of special events at Oswego. It was early in 1989 when Ross decided to call it quits in the Modifieds. He built a Busch North Series car and after taking a win, called it quits again.
A promoter’s dream, Ross was a great spokesman for the Modifieds. Ross is truly deserving to be among the Fifty Greatest Modified Drivers of All-time as voted by the public, part of the Stafford Salutes NASCAR at 50 program.
By: Phil Smith