* Whelen Modified Tour Returns To Chemung * Home Tracks: Hanbury Tops Empire State In 2008 * Five Questions: Jamie Tomaino Whelen Modified Tour Returns To Chemung With just three races left in the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, the...
* Whelen Modified Tour Returns To Chemung
* Home Tracks: Hanbury Tops Empire State In 2008
* Five Questions: Jamie Tomaino
Whelen Modified Tour Returns To Chemung
With just three races left in the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, the series will head to Chemung (N.Y.) Speedrome on Saturday, Oct. 4.
The Chemung 120 will mark just the second time in the 24-year history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour that the series has contested a race at the .375-mile oval. Jerry Marquis reached Victory Lane in the only previous race on Aug. 10, 2001.
There are six current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers that competed in the 2001 race at Chemung in Jimmy Blewett, Wade Cole, Ed Flemke Jr., Rick Fuller, Mike Stefanik and Jamie Tomaino. Current part-time competitors Tony Ferrante Jr., Carl and Charlie Pasteryak, Reggie Ruggiero and Rob Summers also participated in that race.
Ruggiero was runner-up to Marquis and Summers came home fourth in the 2001 race.
The race also marked the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut for Jimmy Blewett. The younger Blewett finished ninth in his maiden voyage driving the No. 76 Modified.
"I remember there was one lap to go, I was running 11th and L.W. Miller was 10th," Blewett said. "I passed him on the outside between Turns 3 and 4 and got a top 10 in my first race."
Blewett has reached Victory Lane a number of times at Chemung in SST and SK Modified cars and is fond of the track and the type of racing that takes place there.
"I love it," Blewett said. "It's a beautiful place."
Despite his past success at the track, Blewett thinks fellow competitor Matt Hirschman is the favorite heading into the race.
"The man to beat this week I think would be Matt Hirschman," Blewett said. "He's been running there the last couple years and has some good laps under his belt at that track."
Hirschman has made a steady climb up the season points standings and now sits just 89 points out of first place behind Ted Christopher.
Although he did not compete in the 2001 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Chemung, Eric Beers also has significantly more experience at the track than many of his competitors. Beers has run at a number of tracks in the area in other series and garnered his first career win at Chemung in August.
It is a very competitive race track," Beers said. "There are definitely two grooves through Turns 3 and 4. It's a little tighter through Turns 1 and 2, but it's a two-groove race track and provides a lot of side-by-side racing and a lot of passing. I think for our series [NWMT] going there, it's going to be a great show."
The Chemung 120 will be the third and final "qualifying format" race in 2008. The format will see time trials set the field for two 25-lap heat races. The results of the twin 25s will then set the field for the 120-lap main. Time trials are set for 4:30 p.m., immediately followed by the heat races. The main is scheduled to start at approximately 9 p.m.
The Race: Chemung 120
The Place: Chemung (N.Y.) Speedrome
The Date: Saturday, Oct. 4
The Time: 9 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 0.375-mile oval
Race Purse: $63,165
Schedule: Saturday, Practice: 1-2:30 p.m., Time Trials: 4:30 p.m., Heat Races: 5:30 p.m.
Active Champions To Be Recognized At Chemung
As part of the season-long celebration of 60 Years of Modified Champions, NASCAR will recognize all of the past winners that are entered in the Chemung 120 Saturday night.
The list of past NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champions expected to enter the race includes: Mike Stefanik, Todd Szegedy and Jamie Tomaino.
Stefanik, the all-time series leader for championship wins (seven) and victories (68) was originally honored at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway on May 23. The series champion in 2003, Szegedy was recognized at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 13. Jamie Tomaino, the 1990 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titlist, was honored at Spencer Speedway on July 12.
This Saturday at Chemung will mark the only time this year that the collective accomplishments of each of the active champions will be recognized at the same time.
Saturday will also see the recognition in memoriam a trio of Maryland drivers from the early days of the division.
Ken Marriott became the first driver from Maryland to earn the NASCAR Modified division championship in 1957 when he finished 546 points ahead of Ralph Smith.
Glen Guthrie captured the 1959 NASCAR Modified crown by finishing 458 points ahead of fellow Maryland native Johnny Roberts.
Roberts was able to earn a pair of NASCAR Modified national championships in 1960 and 1961 and in the process became the first driver to earn back-to-back titles. After he finished second to Guthrie in 1959, Roberts outdistanced Bobby Allison by 754 points in 1960 and 1,518 tallies ahead of Ed Flemke in 1961.
News & Notes
The Race ... The Chemung 120 will be the only appearance for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Chemung (N.Y.) Speedrome in 2008, and just the second since the series began in 1985.
The Procedure ... Qualifying order will be determined by reverse order of practice times with the fastest car going last. Time trials will determine starting positions for two 25-lap heat races with fastest odd cars to compete in the first heat and fastest even cars in the second. The top 12 cars transfer from the first heat to the main and will line up on the inside row while the fastest 11 from the second heat will make up the outside row. The final five positions for the 28-car, 120-lap main will be determined through the provisional process.
The Track ... Chemung is a .375-mile semi-banked oval that reopened in 2000 after sitting idle since 1978. The facility was originally founded by the Bodine family as a dirt track in 1951.
Race Winners ... Jerry Marquis won the first and only NWMT race at Chemung on Aug. 10, 2001.
Pole Winners ... Tony Hirschman was the Coors Light Pole Award winner for the 2001 Chemung 150.
Most Popular Driver Voting
Time is running out for fans to vote for their favorite NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver. There are just three races remaining on the 2008 schedule and just more than three weeks left to make your vote count. Fans can log on to nascarhometracks.com and vote once daily from now until Oct. 19. The top vote-getter from online balloting will be named the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Most Popular Driver at the series' postseason banquet on Saturday, Dec. 13 at the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Uncasville, Conn.
Hanbury Tops Empire State For NWAAS Title In 2008
For the second year in a row Tony Hanbury is the Chemung Speedrome NASCAR Weekly Modified track champion.
A resident of Owego, N.Y., Hanbury registered nine wins and 16 top fives in 17 starts in Chemung's featured division of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. He finished with a 1062-914 edge in season points against JR Kent.
Hanbury also captured the Tour-Type Modified championship at Spencer Speedway--Chemung's sister track--in Williamson, N.Y. At Spencer he recorded a 357-314 points advantage over Mark Tychoniewicz.
Hanbury also finished second in Spencer's NASCAR Weekly Modified division, just two points behind Buck Catalano.
All told, Hanbury registered 13 wins and 29 top 10s in 33 starts in 2008. As a result, he will be crowned the NWAAS New York State Champion. He finished 210 points ahead of Catalano in the state standings, and came in 28th in the NWAAS Top 500 national rankings.
Five Questions: Jamie Tomaino
How did you get started racing?
Wall (N.J.) Stadium was about five minutes from my house. My mom worked at a restaurant and the drivers used to go to that restaurant. She brought me to Wall Stadium one day and I saw the cars going around and thought it was neat as hell and I said "hey, that's what I want to do when I get older."
What has been the highlight of your racing career?
Of course it would have to be winning the championship in 1990. I was one of the few drivers back in the 1970s and 1980s from the New Jersey area that got up and left Wall Stadium to go race other tracks. Because I did that every week I was never able to stay at Wall Stadium long enough to win a championship, so the only championship I've won in my whole life was the biggest one that you could ask for.
You've only missed four races in the history of the NWMT. Is that something you take pride in?
They make a big deal about Brett Favre. Yeah, I'm not a quarterback and I don't get hit every two seconds, but in my 34 years of racing I've crashed cars as good as anybody else has. I've been on fire on the highway with my truck and trailer and was still able to make it to the race, so to me it seems like a big deal not to miss races.
What is the biggest change you've seen in the series since it began in 1985?
In 1985 there were groups of cars. You had 10 "A" cars, 10 "B" cars, 10 "C's," 10 D's'" and probably a couple "E's" back then. In the year 2008, there's only "A" cars. There's no such thing as a "B" car. Everybody's got the same equipment, everybody runs on the same tire.
Your son, Jamie Jr., has made a couple starts this year. What's it like competing against your son?
I think it's neat. The Hirschman family has a good rivalry going. To let my kid get in the race car, I think it's great, it's just that it cost so much money to do two cars. I hope I can get him to race a lot more next year.
Season Quick Recap
* Last week's CARQUEST Fall Final at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway was rained out and rescheduled for Oct. 11-12.
* Ted Christopher assumed the season points lead for the first time at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park when he captured the Whelen 150. He also won the Tech-Net Spring Sizzler at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway and the New Hampshire 100.
* Jimmy Blewett, Chuck Hossfeld and Ronnie Silk have won two races apiece in 2008.
* Ryan Preece was credited with his first career NWMT victory in the most-recent race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
* Matt Hirschman earned his first career NWMT victory at Spencer Speedway on July 12.
* Ed Flemke Jr. and Todd Szegedy have each recorded single victories in 2008, both at Thompson.
Up Next: CARQUEST Fall Final
The fourth and final trip to Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway in 2008 will take place on Sunday, Oct. 12. The CARQUEST Fall Final, the track's traditional season-ending show, will see the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour go green at 3 p.m.
Originally scheduled for Sept. 28 but cancelled due to rain, the 150-lap race will be the 15th of 16 dates on the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule. In the first three trips for the series to Stafford this year, Ted Christopher, Chuck Hossfeld and Jimmy Blewett have registered victories.
Mike Stefanik captured the 2007 Fall Final to extend his series record for wins at Stafford to 19. Stefanik, who has registered wins in 20 of his 23 seasons in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, has yet to reach Victory Lane in 2008.
The two-day show will feature practice and qualifying on Saturday with the race on Sunday. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be joined at Stafford for the weekend by the NASCAR Camping World Series East.
As part of NASCAR's celebration of 60 Years of Modified Champions, two-time (1964-65) winner Bobby Allison will be honored in pre-race ceremonies.