Martinsville to host series 500th race

NASCAR To Celebrate 500th Modified Race at Martinsville Series Began In 1985 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 16, 2008) -- When the green flag drops on the Made In America Whelen 300 on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, it will be...

NASCAR To Celebrate 500th Modified Race at Martinsville
Series Began In 1985

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 16, 2008) -- When the green flag drops on the Made In America Whelen 300 on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, it will be a historic marker on the timeline of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour: the 500th race.

Formed with the purpose of formalizing the procedure to crown a Modified champion, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour's first race took place at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on March 31, 1985. Fittingly it was Richie Evans, who is widely considered to be the greatest Modified driver of all-time, that took the checkered flag in the first race.

The Modified division is the oldest in NASCAR. The first NASCAR-sanctioned event was a Modified race on the beach and road course in Daytona in 1948. For the first 38 years of the division, competitors chased a national title by racing three or four nights a week at numerous tracks throughout the eastern seaboard that held championship races. As 1985 rolled around, the formation of today's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour brought the historic division together as a regional touring series.

In the first 499 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races there have been 56 different race winners, led by Mike Stefanik's 68 victories. That 23-year span has seen 12 different championship winners, led by Stefanik's seven, and the series has visited 35 tracks in 12 states.

Martinsville, the site of the upcoming milestone event, is a marquee stop each year for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The series has held at total of 31 races at the historic track and the all-time winner's list includes such Modified legends as Tom Baldwin, Brett Bodine, Jeff Fuller, Mike McLaughlin, Reggie Ruggiero and Mike Stefanik.

Ed Flemke Jr., who is the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour record-holder for consecutive starts with 307, looks forward to continuing his streak and participating in the milestone event.

"To be part of the 500th race is going to be quite a feat," Flemke said. "It's going to be really special to be a part of that -- the 500th -- that's a pretty big number."

For the fourth year in a row, the Made In America Whelen 300 will be a combination race with the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Ted Christopher, the most-recent race winner at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 13, will bring a 99-point lead in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season standings to Martinsville. Christopher won the inaugural Made In America Whelen 300 in 2005.

To mark the historic event, all fans attending the event will receive a commemorative 500th race souvenir. For ticket information for this historic race, please visit Martinsville's official Web site (martinsvillespeedway.com).

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Brett Bodine , Mike McLaughlin