NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes - Miller Lite 140 * Whelen Modified Tour Returns to Long Island * Past Champions to be Honored at Riverhead * Five Questions: Kevin Goodale * Home Tracks: Park Leads Competitive Mod Division Whelen ...
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes - Miller Lite 140
* Whelen Modified Tour Returns to Long Island
* Past Champions to be Honored at Riverhead
* Five Questions: Kevin Goodale
* Home Tracks: Park Leads Competitive Mod Division
Whelen Modified Tour Returns to Long Island
A staple on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule throughout the series' history, Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway will once again be the venue for some hotly-contested Modified racing on Aug. 2.
The Miller Lite 140 will be the seventh race of the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, and the 47th all-time for the series at the Long Island track. Riverhead, at just .25-miles, is the shortest track on the schedule.
Like the most recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Spencer Speedway, the Miller Lite 140 will be a "qualifying format" race. Time trials will set the field for two 25-lap heat races. The results of the twin 25s will determine the starting grid for the 140-lap main.
This will be the second of three such events in the Empire State in 2008. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will also run at Chemung Speedrome on Oct. 4. Chemung is Spencer's sister track.
There are four active full-time drivers that have reached Victory Lane in Riverhead's bullring before, led by Mike Stefanik's six wins. Ted Christopher has won at the track four times.
With nine of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour's 16 dates in the state of Connecticut, the majority of the series' regular drivers can frequently claim a home track advantage. As the series moves to Riverhead for the Miller Lite 140, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour's Long Island competitors will finally get a chance to race in their own back yard.
Kevin Goodale and Joe Hartmann both hail from Riverhead, while Ken Heagy will make the short drive from Calverton and Glenn Tyler will be close to his Hampton Bays home. In addition to the aforementioned full-time drivers, part-timers Tony Ferrante Jr. of New Hyde Park and Gary McDonald of Ronkonkoma also call Long Island home.
Long Island's Donny Lia, who captured the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title, won this race en route to the championship. The latest Long Islander to achieve NASCAR fame, Jericho's Lia became the first Long Island driver to win a NASCAR national series race since Steve Park. Now a regular in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Lia is unable to run for another title, but he plans to defend his Riverhead win. He will run his own No. 18 car in the event as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has the week off. Lia has four career Modified wins at Riverhead.
In addition to Lia and the other Long Island drivers who have run a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race this year, Riverhead often features a number of the track's regular NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers in the race. Wayne Anderson, Justin Bonsignore, Howie Brode, Dan Jivanelli and Bill Park were among the early entries. Their 'home track' knowledge often puts them on par with the visiting Tour drivers. Park finished second to Lia last year.
The Race: Miller Lite 140
The Place: Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway
The Date: Saturday, Aug. 2
The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 0.25-mile oval
Race Purse: $60,165
2007 Winner: Donny Lia
2007 Pole: Ted Christopher
Schedule: Saturday, Aug. 2, Practice: 2-3:30 p.m., Qualifying: 5 p.m., Heat Races: 6 p.m.
Past Champions to be Honored at Riverhead
1994 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titlist Wayne Anderson will be honored at the Miller Lite 140 on Aug. 2 at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway.
NASCAR will honor each of its 31 all-time Modified champions throughout the season. Anderson, who hails from Yaphank, N.Y., on Long Island, will be recognized for his 1994 title and career accomplishments at Riverhead, his home track.
The 1994 season was a high watermark for Anderson's racing career. In his first year driving the No. 3 "Ole Blue" car for owner Len Boehler, Anderson used a strong start to launch his title campaign as he finished in the top 10 in each of the season's first 10 races.
"I got hooked up with Lenny Boehler because he needed a driver and a motor," Anderson said. "I had my motors so I asked him if he'd put me in the car and see what we could do. Then we went out and won the championship."
In 21 total starts in 1994, Anderson finished with 12 top-fives and 17 top-10s. Although Reggie Ruggiero would finish just 20 points behind in the final standings, Anderson essentially secured the championship with a win in the Fall Final at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway with one race left on the schedule.
In addition to Anderson, NASCAR will posthumously recognize the championship seasons of a trio of drivers from New Jersey. Wally Campbell (Trenton), the 1951 NASCAR Modified champion, will be honored along with 1950 titlist Charles Dyer (North Bergen) and 1958 winner Budd Olsen (Paulsboro).
News & Notes
The Race ... The Miller Lite 140 will be the seventh of 16 races in 2008. This will also be the second of three races for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in the state of New York in 2008.
The Procedure ... This is a qualifying format race. Time trails will determine positioning for two 25-lap heat races. The finishes of those heat races will determine starting positions 1-23 for the 140-lap main. Five provisional positions will fill out the 28-car field for the main.
The Track ... A quarter-mile banked asphalt oval, Riverhead Raceway opened in 1949. The track has held a total of 46 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races since the series began in 1985.
Race Winners ... There have been 21 different drivers to reach Victory Lane at Riverhead, led by Mike Ewanitsko's 11. Of the eight drivers entered in this race who have won at Riverhead previously, Mike Stefanik leads with six wins.
Pole Winners ... Twenty-five different drivers have won the pole at Riverhead, led by Ewanitsko's seven. Ed Flemke Jr. leads active drivers in the category with four.
* Chuck Hossfeld is the current points leader and the only repeat winner so far in 2008 ... He has victories at Stafford (5/23) Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway (6/28).
* 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.
* Ronnie Silk won the 75-lap green flag-only race at Thompson for his second career victory.
* In the first qualifying format race of 2008, Matt Hirschman earned his first career NWMT victory at Spencer Speedway on July 12.
* James Civali, Bobby Grigas III and Ryan Preece have earned their first career poles in 2008.
Lia to Host RC Race ... 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion Donny Lia will welcome a handful of former competitors to his West Babylon, N.Y., business for a remote control car race this Friday night in advance of the Miller Lite 140 at Riverhead Raceway. Lia owns 360 RC Speedway & Hobbies, a venue that has an indoor remote control race car track and hobby shop. In addition to 360's regular Friday night RC action, Modified drivers in attendance will compete in an IROC-style race.
Preece, Szegedy Take on Radio Hosts ... NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regulars Ryan Preece and Todd Szegedy stood up to the challenge of a pair of radio hosts and took to the track for a friendly race on July 27. Matt Carey and Jay Coffey, co-hosts of the Carey & Coffey Show which airs on Sunday mornings on 940/1510 ESPN Radio and online, took on the Modified drivers at Grand Prix New York in Mt. Kisco, driving go-karts. Taking advantage of a late race crash, Carey was the first to the checkers followed by Szegedy, Preece and Coffey.
Your Vote Counts ... For the first time, fans have the say in which racer is named the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Most Popular Driver. Fans can vote once a day for their favorite Modified drivers from now until October 19 by visiting nascarhometracks.com.
Results of the balloting will be announced at the postseason banquet.
Whelen Online Store ... Fans are encouraged to visit the Whelen Motorsports store online at whelen.com to get NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour gear. The latest addition to the store are items that feature the 60 Years of Modified Champions logo.
Condolences to the Pack Family ... NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver Brian Pack suffered fatal injuries from a motorcycle accident on July 25 in his home state of North Carolina. Pack, who drove the No. 81 B&J Builders Chevrolet, had eight top fives and 21 top 10s in 38 career NWSMT starts. The 34 year-old also competed regularly in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at Bowman Gray Stadium.
Five Questions: Kevin Goodale
A resident of Riverhead, how nice is it to have a race in your hometown? Logistically, it's the best race of the season for me. I'm only about five miles from the track. So all of the planning with the ferry rides and travel time aren't a factor. It's nice for my family and friends.
How important was Riverhead Raceway in your development as a driver? Before I jumped to the Modifieds, I really hadn't raced anything, just a couple go kart races and some off-road stuff. We built the car and went to Riverhead and raced there for one full year with Chris Young. Riverhead is really good on teaching reaction time because stuff happens fast on the track.
What is the highlight of your career so far? Making my first Tour show was the first thing. Also, winning a qualifying race at Martinsville. Seeing the progress every year, and now being able to race at the front, is probably the biggest highlight.
Currently 12th in the standings, and with a career-best finish earlier this year at Thompson, how do you evaluate your season so far? This year is going well. We had our first DNF at Spencer, which put us back to 12th. Qualifying-wise, we've only qualified outside the top 10 once so far, and we've had a real consistent car. We've got some good guys on the crew now that are really working well together. We don't get to work on these things in the day so we've just been putting the hours in at night, and it seems to be paying off. Every year you learn so much, but this year is definitely a step in the right direction.
How are wedding plans coming along for you and your fiance, Becky? Right now we've got a lot of wedding plans going on. We're having a local wedding here, and we're doing it in the racing offseason in December so that we'll have plenty of time and don't have to worry about my racing schedule. We'll have the ceremony and hopefully be able to take a good honeymoon before New Smyrna starts.
Home Tracks: Park Leads Competitive Riverhead Mod Division Each Saturday night during racing season the ground rumbles on the eastern edge of Long Island as six divisions of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series compete at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway, a .25-mile banked oval. As with many northeast tracks, the Modifieds are the main attraction at Riverhead, and the Long Island bullring features tight competition on the track and in the standings.
Through action on July 26, veteran Bill Park leads the way with a slim 10-point lead in the season standings over John Fortin. Howie Brode is just six points back of Fortin in third place. Dave Brigati (380) and Dan Jivanelli (370) round out the top five in the standings. The competition is so close that Tom Rodgers Jr., in ninth place, is still less than 100 points back of Park with 340 on the year.
A number of Riverhead's Modified drivers plan to put their skills at the track to the test when they compete against the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour's regulars in the Miller Lite 140.
Up Next: New England Dodge Dealers 150
The third race this year for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway will take place on Friday, Aug. 8.
Following the Tech-Net Spring Sizzler on April 27 and the TSI Harley-Davidson 150 on May 23, the New England Dodge Dealers 150 will be the third of four stops for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at the historic half-mile. Ted Christopher and Chuck Hossfeld took the checkered flag in the first two shows of the season at Stafford.
Stafford has played host to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 88 times since the series began in 1985. During that time there have been 27 different race winners. Christopher was able to nab his eighth series win at the track in April while Hossfeld gained his first Stafford win in May. Mike Stefanik leads all drivers in Stafford wins with 19.
The New England Dodge Dealers 150 will field a starting lineup of 31 cars and time trials are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Following Stafford's five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will take to the track at approximately 9:15 p.m.