NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes - Mason Farms 100 - Whelen Modified Tour Returns to Western New York - Past Champion Tomaino to be Honored at Spencer - Hossfeld Returns to His Roots at Spencer - Five Questions: Eric Beers - Home Tracks:...
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes - Mason Farms 100
- Whelen Modified Tour Returns to Western New York
- Past Champion Tomaino to be Honored at Spencer
- Hossfeld Returns to His Roots at Spencer
- Five Questions: Eric Beers
- Home Tracks: Leaty's Return to Tour
The Race: Mason Farms 100
The Place: Spencer Speedway, Williamson, N.Y.
The Date: Saturday, July 12
The Time: 10 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 0.5-mile flat oval
Race Purse: $63,165
Schedule: Saturday, July 12; Practice: 5:30-6:15 p.m.; Group Qualifying: 7:30 p.m.; Heat Races: 8:15 p.m.
News & Notes
The Race ... The Mason Farms 100 will be the sixth of 16 races in 2008. This will also be the first 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. Group qualifying will determine positioning for two 25-lap heat races. The finishes of those heat races will determine starting positions 1-27 for the 100-lap main. Five provisional positions will fill out the 32-car field for the main.
The Track ... A half-mile flat asphalt oval, Spencer Speedway opened in 1955. The track has previously played host to four NWMT races, the most recent in 1994.
Race Winners ... In four previous NWMT races at Spencer, there have been four different winners. None of those winners are still active in the series.
Pole Winners ... There have been three pole winners in four race dates at Spencer, with Jimmy Spencer capturing two. Jan Leaty, an entrant in this race, won the pole in 1987.
Whelen Modified Tour Returns to Western New York
For the first time since 1994, and for just the fifth time overall, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will bring its show to Spencer Speedway for the Mason Farms 100 on Saturday, July 12 in Williamson, N.Y.
In its inaugural year of 1985, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour visited Spencer, a half-mile flat asphalt oval, for the first time. The western 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 current full-time driver who has participated in each of the previous four races at the track.
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.
The Mason Farms 100 will be the first of three "qualifying format" races in 2008 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Two 25-lap heat races will determine the starting grid for the 100-lap main. The same format will also be featured at Riverhead Raceway (Aug. 2) and Chemung Speedrome (Oct. 4). Chemung is Spencer's sister track.
Unlike similar races held last year at Riverhead, Twin State Speedway and Wall Township Speedway, these "qualifying format" races will use group qualifying to determine the starting order for the twin 25s. Last year's format used point standings to set the heat race fields.
Action on the track is scheduled to begin for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with group qualifying Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Past Champion Tomaino to be Honored at Spencer
As part of a season-long celebration of 60 years of Modified champions, 1990 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titlist Jamie Tomaino will be honored at the Mason Farms 100 on July 12 at Spencer Speedway in Williamson, N.Y.
Tomaino, who has run more races than any driver in the history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, was a model of consistency during his championship season of 1990. Of the 23 races on the schedule, Tomaino finished in the top 10 a remarkable 18 times. He had 10 top-fives, and won at Monadnock Speedway.
Despite the success he found in 1990, the prior season provided Tomaino with a lot of uncertainty. He and car owner Bill Potts parted ways in 1989, but he was able to hook up with Danny Ust and things took off from there.
"I found a guy [Ust] that had a race car in his garage and I asked him if I could use it," Tomaino said. "One thing led to another and the season was a Cinderella story."
The Howell, N.J., native will enter the Mason Farms 100 at Spencer with 490 career starts under his belt, and has missed just four races in the 24-year history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He is slated to become the first driver to make 500 starts at Spencer's sister track, Chemung Speedrome, on Oct. 4.
In his 23 seasons as a regular on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heading into 2008, Tomaino finished in the top 10 in the points standings 13 times, and was the runner-up to Jimmy Spencer's title in 1986.
"I was fortunate enough when the Tour started that Bill Potts gave me the best equipment there was back then and I consistently ran up front, then I was able to pick up the ride with Danny Ust to win the championship," Tomaino said. "Since the championship, things aren't that simple anymore. I've struggled to stay alive in this sport as of 2008, but I'm lucky enough to still do what I love."
Hossfeld Returns to His Roots at Spencer
For current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points leader Chuck Hossfeld, a trip to Spencer Speedway will be like a homecoming.
Hossfeld, who regularly travels between 800 and 1,000 miles on NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race weekends, will get a break on the schedule this week with the Mason Farms 100 at Spencer. Williamson, N.Y., home of the half-mile oval, is just 90 miles from his hometown of Ransomville, N.Y.
"I'm thrilled," Hossfeld said. "Its going to be a fun time to be able to race a little closer to home."
Proximity won't be the only luxury for Hossfeld this week, however. A veteran of Modified racing, Hossfeld has run many times at Spencer, and was the track champion there in 1999.
Couple Hossfeld's experience at the track, and his high level of success through five races this year, and you have a combination that puts him atop any list of favorites to win the first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Spencer since 1994. Through five races in 2008, Hossfeld has yet to finish outside the top five.
One thing is for sure, no matter what transpires on the track, Hossfeld is intent on enjoying his return to Spencer.
"I'm taking my camper and win, lose or draw, I'll have a party."
Tour Drivers Get Practice in Spencer Weekly Series
With the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour last racing at Spencer Speedway in 1994, there are plenty of unknowns for many of today's current drivers. A few drivers have taken the opportunity to race the track prior to the Mason Farms 100.
Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Todd Szegedy ran at Spencer on June 13 and won his heat in the NASCAR Touring Modified division. Jim Storace, a part-time NWMT driver, also won a heat race that night, but the two were unable to compete against each other when the twin-25 features was rained out.
"It was a pretty interesting track," Szegedy said. "I think it's going to be challenging because it's so flat. Stafford we consider a flat track, but when I say this is flat, this is FLAT, no banking whatsoever. I think having a good setup is really going to be the key to winning this race."
Storace eventually finished 12th and fifth in the twins, which were rescheduled for June 27. Szegedy was unable to return as he was in New Hampshire for the New England 100.
Erick Rudolph, a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, was able to reach Victory Lane at Spencer on June 20. Driving in the NASCAR Weekly Modified Division, Rudolph captured the 75-lap race as be beat the division's points leader Kevin Timmerman to the checkered flag.
Up Next: Miller Lite 140 at Riverhead
A staple on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule throughout the series' history, Riverhead 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 this week's race at Spencer Speedway, the Miller Lite 140 will be a "qualifying format" race. Group qualifying 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. Following Riverhead, and this week's race at Spencer, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will also run at Chemung Speedrome on Oct. 4. Chemung is Spencer's sister track.
Long Island's Donny Lia, who captured the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title, won this race en route to the championship. 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.
There are four current full-time drivers that have reached Victory Lane at Riverhead before, led by Mike Stefanik's six wins.
Five Questions: Eric Beers
You've raced at Spencer Speedway before. What's the track like?
It's a pretty tough place. It's flat, tough to pass on and it's real hard to get a rhythm there because both ends of the track are different. Guys that have run a lot of laps there like Jan Leaty and Chuck Hossfeld are going to have a little bit of an advantage.
How has the transition in car ownership from the No. 94 to the No. 46 worked out?
It's going rather well. We brought a bunch of different guys together this year. We've got some of the old 46 crew that worked last year with Dick Houlihan, some of the guys that helped me on the 94 last year and a couple of new guys. Everybody is meshing pretty well right now and I'm pretty satisfied with the direction the team is going.
You're fourth in the standings after five races. What's in store for the No. 46 for the rest of the season?
I definitely think we can win some races and finish inside the top five in points, maybe even challenge these guys for a championship.
Have you ever seen a race finish as close as the New England 100 at New Hampshire?
Not really. I've never seen a photo finish that close. I didn't get to see the finish [live] actually, because I was trying to pass Eddie Flemke for third, but I did see the picture in the NASCAR trailer afterwards. I could not believe how close that was; that was unbelievable.
You coach your daughter's softball team. How did the season turn out?
We ended up taking a team that was 1-15 last year and went 17-4 and won the championship this year. It was a pretty big turnaround, and that's pretty much what my season is going to be this year, I'm hoping. Last year we had one top five and a couple DNF's. Hopefully my season will be the same as hers and we keep getting top fives and hopefully contend for the championship come September.
Leaty's Return to Tour for Hometown Race
For those familiar with the history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the name Leaty is a familiar one. This week's race at Spencer Speedway in Williamson, N.Y., will feature two.
Jan Leaty, who recorded nine NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victories in a 15-year span from 1987-2002, has entered the field for the Mason Farms 100 at Spencer in the family's home town. He will be joined at the track by his son, Mike Leaty, who has developed a name for himself in Modifieds.
Mike, who will turn 28 five days after the Mason Farms 100, calls Spencer Speedway his home track. The younger Leaty is coming off of two straight track championships at Spencer, and is currently seventh in the 2008 season standings.
Mike's first exposure to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour came on his father's team when he served as a mechanic from 1996-99. These days, the tables have turned and Jan is now a member of Mike's crew.
Jan, who ranks fourth in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour record book with 26 career Coors Light Pole awards, last ran full-time on the tour in 1999. His last start was an 18th-place finish in the Sunoco 300 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on Sept. 12, 2004.
Like his son, Mike, Jan will have more seat time at Spencer than many of the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers. Jan finished third in the 1986 NWMT race at the track, then came in fourth the following year. Jan and Jamie Tomaino, who will be honored prior to the race for his 1990 title, are the only drivers entered in the Mason Farms 100 to run in all four previous NWMT races at the track.
The Mason Farms 100 will be Mike's NASACR Whelen Modified Tour debut as a driver. He also plans to run the NWMT race at Chemung (N.Y.) Speedrome, Spencer's sister track, on Oct. 4.
Welcome to the Family ... Jimmy Blewett became a father on June 29 with the birth of son James Dennis Blewett. The seven-pound, four-ounce boy came into the world for Jimmy and mother Katie at 10:24 a.m.
Fantastic Finish ... Chuck Hossfeld's .001-second margin of victory at New Hampshire was the smallest possible. NASCAR only counts to the 1/1000th of a second.
Commendable Return ... 1992 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion Jeff Fuller returned to the seat of a Modified for the first time in five years when he ran Kevin Manion's No. 7 entry at Loudon. Time away from Modified racing didn't appear to be an issue for Fuller, who came home ninth after starting 38th to capture the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award.
Southern Flavor ... NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour regulars L.W. Miller and Brian Loftin ran in the New England 100 at New Hampshire and finished 19th and 11th, respectively. Both tentatively plan to run with their northern counterparts again at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park on Aug. 23.
Pauch to Run at Pocono ... NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Billy Pauch Jr. will miss the Aug. 2 Riverhead Raceway date to run the No. 09 Evernham Motorsports entry in the ARCA Pennsylvania 200 at Pocono International Raceway. He considered doing double duty, but it wouldn't be possible for him to make it to Riverhead in time for qualifying.
- Chuck Hossfeld became the first repeat winner of the 2008 season when he won the last time out at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
- 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 ... He then won the fifth race in 2008 by edging Ted Christopher by .001 seconds.
- Ronnie Silk won the 75-lap green flag-only race at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway for his second career victory.
- James Civali, Bobby Grigas III and Ryan Preece have earned their first career poles in 2008.
- Ted Christopher has 28 career victories ... The next win would put him in sole possession of fifth place on all-time list, breaking a tie Mike Ewanitsko.
- Mike Stefanik has 40 career poles ... The next would place him in a tie with Tony Hirschman for the all-time lead.
- Jamie Tomaino will extend his own series record by making his 491st career start.
- Todd Szegedy will make his 100th career start.