NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes - New England 100 - Whelen Modified Tour Makes First 2008 Stop at "Magic Mile" - Past Champion Spencer to be Honored at New Hampshire - Southern Champ Miller Brings SPEC to Loudon - Five Questions: Ed ...
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes - New England 100
- Whelen Modified Tour Makes First 2008 Stop at "Magic Mile"
- Past Champion Spencer to be Honored at New Hampshire
- Southern Champ Miller Brings SPEC to Loudon
- Five Questions: Ed Flemke Jr. #- Home Tracks: Weekly Racing in the Granite State
The Race: New England 100
The Place: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
The Date: Saturday, June 28
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 1.058-mile oval
Race Purse: $170,245
2007 Winner: Donny Lia
2007 Pole: Ted Christopher
Schedule: Thursday, Practice: 11:15-11:50 a.m., 12:55-1:35 p.m., Time Trials: 3:20 p.m.; Saturday: Practice: 8:15-8:55 a.m.
Whelen Modified Tour Makes First 2008 Stop at "Magic Mile"
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will make the first of it's two annual stops at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend for the New England 100.
Each trip to the "Magic Mile" is a highlight on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule as the races regularly attract the largest crows and the biggest entry list. This Saturday's race will be no different. As of Monday there were 44 posted entries
The largest venue that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will visit in 2008, New Hampshire's 1.058-mile oval has served as host for the Modifieds since the facility opened in 1990. In all, there have been 46 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at New Hampshire.
Donny Lia captured the New England 100 a year ago en route to the series title. His departure to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series leaves Victory Lane open to the field, which is expected to include at least five drivers who have won there before. Among that group is points leader Chuck Hossfeld, who has taken over driving of Lia's No. 4 Dodge.
The June 28 race will be the first of two stops for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at New Hampshire. The Modifieds will return on Sept. 13.
Past Champion Spencer to be Honored at New Hampshire
As part of a season-long celebration of 60 years of Modified champions, two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titlist Jimmy Spencer will be honored at the New England 100 on June 28 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Spencer, who currently works for SPEED as a co-host for "NASCAR Raceday" and "NASCAR Victory Lane," became the first driver to earn back-to-back NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championships in 1986 and 1987. He is one of just three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers to capture consecutive titles.
Although the Berwick, Pa., native competed on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for just four years, Spencer left an indelible mark on the division, and the success was immediate. Spencer finished third in the inaugural NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and reached Victory Lane in the fifth event of the season.
He wound up with four wins and finished eighth in the season standings. The table was then set for a dominant two year run.
"I owe a lot to the Modified Series because it's what gave me notoriety and exposure," Spencer said. "Because of my Modified career, people recognized me the minute I moved south to race. They knew who Jimmy Spencer, 'Mr. Excitement,' was because of what I'd done up there."
Following his success in the Modifieds, Spencer he went on to become one of the few drivers to earn a victory in each of NASCAR's national series. All told, Spencer compiled 15 victories during his four seasons on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, a total that still ranks 12th all-time.
NASCAR plans to honor each of its 31 all-time Modified champions throughout the season.
Southern Champ Miller Brings SPEC to Loudon
The SPEC engine, a motor developed by Carl Wegner of Wegner Motorsports that uses a specific recipe of components, will make its debut in a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race this week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The SPEC, which was first presented as an option to NASCAR Camping World Series race teams in 2006, became an eligible engine to run in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this year. After seven total Modified races this year between NASCAR's two divisions, defending NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion L.W. Miller will be the first to employ the Wegner power source when he heads north to compete in this weekend's New England 100.
"Nobody had really stepped up and ran the SPEC motor, and in our situation we thought it was pretty good for us to go up there and try that deal out," Miller said.
Miller, who sits atop the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour standings after three races, is more concerned about seat time than points at New Hampshire. That series' last race was on April 19.
"It's not going to be a points race for us where we would be contending for a championship with something we're not sure of," Miller said. "[Instead] we can go up there and try a few things we typically wouldn't, and the SPEC motor just seemed to fall into place for us to try up there."
The SPEC engine was developed as an economic alternative, with savings of at least $10,000 compared to a built engine. Each of the components are encrypted with serial numbers to determine their authenticity and legality.
"With the help of Wegner and everyone involved that put the whole deal together, we really look forward to coming up there and running," Miller said.
In the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Miller has a 36-point lead over Ronnie Silk. Silk, a Connecticut native who runs regularly in both series for North Carolina-based Hillbilly Racing, won last week's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.
Prior to the formation of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Miller was a regular on the northern circuit. Originally from Dunshore, Pa., Miller debuted in 1998 with four starts. From 1998-2002 he made 71 starts, highlighted by a trip to Victory Lane at Martinsville on Oct. 19, 2002.
Miller's connection to Modified racing in the northeast goes back even further than his career in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. His father was once a team owner of various Modified drivers, including Jimmy Spencer, who will be honored prior to the New England 100 as part of NASCAR'S celebration of 60 years of Modified champions.
Up Next: Mason Farms 100 at Spencer Speedway
After a 14-year absence, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to Spencer Speedway for the sixth race of the 2008 season on Saturday, July 12 for the Mason Farms 100.
Spencer, a half-mile oval in Williamson, N.Y., has played host to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour four times in its history, but this will be just the second race there in the last 20 years. In its inaugural year, 1985, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour visited Spencer for the first time. The upstate New York venue also held Modified races in 1986, 1987 and 1994.
Despite the 14-year absence from Spencer, current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers Ted Christopher, Tony Ferrante Jr., Ed Flemke Jr., Rick Fuller, Carl and Charles Pasteryak, Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Stefanik and Jamie Tomaino have previous experience at the track. None have reached Victory Lane. Tomaino is the only driver who has participated in each of the previous four races.
The 1990 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, Tomaino, will be honored prior to the race as part of NASCAR's celebration of 60 years of Modified champions.
Spencer, which runs its regular NASCAR Whelen All-American Series on Friday nights, will move its weekly race program to Saturday for the special event.
This NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race will employ two 25-lap heat races to determine the starting grid for the 100-lap main. Group qualifying will determine heat race lineup.
This will be the first of three such events in the Empire State in 2008. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will compete under similar formats at Riverhead (Aug. 2) and Chemung (Oct. 4). Chemung is Spencer's sister track.
Home Tracks: Weekly Racing in the Granite State
This week's venue, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, may not host NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action, but the state of New Hampshire has a strong weekly racing presence.
There are currently four short tracks in the "Granite State" that are hosting NWAAS competition in All Star, Lee USA, Monadnock and Twin State Speedways.
All Star Speedway in Epping runs their five-division NWAAS program on Saturday nights with Super Late Models as the premier draw. Current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Kyle Busch will compete in this Saturday's SLM feature at the .25-miles high-banked oval.
Lee USA Speedway, a .375-mile high-banked asphalt surface in Lee, plays host to six NWAAS divisions and holds their program on Friday nights. The top two divisions at Lee USA are Late Models and Small Block Supermodifieds.
Like All Star, Monadnock Speedway in Winchester is also a .25-mile banked circuit. Monadnock features six divisions in the NWAAS with the Outlaw Pro and Late Models as headliners. Monadnock runs their program on Saturday nights.
Claremont is home to Twin State Speedway, a .333-mile semi-banked oval. Modifieds are the regular feature among the six divisions of the NWAAS at Twin State. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour visited Twin State a year ago.
Five Questions: Ed Flemke Jr.
What are your thoughts as you prepare for your 300th-consecutive start
I'm kind of shocked it's been that long. I knew that it had been a long career, but I didn't know it had got to that point. I've got a long way to go to catch Jamie [Tomaino] though [for total starts]; he's got a lot more. It's an honor, and I love this series. I hope I have another 100 [starts] here.
Your father's nickname was "Steady Eddie." Are you following in his
footsteps with this milestone?
It's taken me a real long time to become anything close to "Steady Eddie." At one time, I was very unsteady.
What do you think about being referred to as one of the series' elder
It's a weird position to be in now that I'm one of the elders of the group. In my mind, I'm not saying that I'm young still, that's not what I'm implying, but I'm still trying to catch the Reggie's [Ruggiero] and [Mike] Stefanik's. In my head, I'm still trying to get there. So it's funny when people say 'you're the elderly statesman of the series' and I'm like, "I am? When did that happen?"
You won the season-opener, but it has been a bit of a roller coaster
since. What are your goals heading to Loudon?
Obviously the No. 1 goal is to try and win at that place. That place has kind of alluded me. The best finish I think we've got is a third up there. Bottom line is, we'll try to turn the season back around.
What is the one thing that stands out most in your mind about racing at
How we've always been treated up there. The atmosphere up there is what racing has always been about in my life ... the only thing in our lives. When you're up there, that's what you feel like. Everybody up there in the past has been very accommodating, very appreciative and made you feel like a million dollars. It brings back the passionate feeling that we've always had in the Modified series.
News & Notes
The Race ... The New England 100 will be the fifth of 16 races in 2008. This will also be the first of two stops for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The Procedure ... Starting Positions 1-33 will be set from time trials with an additional five provisional positions rounding out the field.
The Track ... A 1.058-mile track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway supplanted Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway as the largest oval in New England when it opened in 1990.
Race Winners ... There have been 15 different race winners at New Hampshire, led by Tony Hirschman's seven victories, which is one more than Reggie Ruggiero and Mike Stefanik. Donny Lia (June) and Todd Szegedy (September) won last year's races.
Pole Winners ... There have been 20 different pole winners at New Hampshire, led by Ted Christopher's and Jan Leaty's seven. James Civali won the pole in the first race at Thompson this year. Christopher (June) and Todd Szegedy (September) captured the 2007 poles.
Track Records ... Mike Ewanitsko set the 100-lap race record at 58 minutes, 15 seconds (108.979) in 2000 and established the qualifying record of 28.693 seconds (132.743 mph) in 2001.
- In four races so far this year, there has yet to be a repeat victor or pole winner.
- Ed Flemke Jr. captured the season-opener at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway, his first victory since 2004.
- Ted Christopher won the second race of the season at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway to move into a tie for fifth place on the all-time wins list.
- Chuck Hossfeld won the third race of the year, also at Stafford, from the pole. It was his first victory since 2004.
- Ronnie Silk won the most recent event in the season's second trip to Thompson. It was his second career victory.
- James Civali, Bobby Grigas III and Ryan Preece have earned their first career Coors Light Pole Awards in 2008.
- Ed Flemke Jr. is slated to make his 300th consecutive start in this race.
- Ted Christopher's next victory will put him in sole possession of fifth place on the all-time list.
- Christopher will make the 250th start of his career.
- Chuck Hossfeld is set to make his 100th career start.