The Chrome Horn News



   NASCAR Modified racing is the oldest and most history laden type of racing sanctioned by NASCAR, the Florida based racing giant. 2008 marks the 60th year of NASCAR Modified racing and much of the history of this exciting racing division was written at the Thompson International Speedway. Another chapter in that colorful history will be written this Thursday, August 14th, when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Thompson for the New England Dodge Dealers-Budweiser 150.
   From 1948 until the 1984 racing season came to a conclusion, the NASCAR Modified division was a free-wheeling, somewhat independent racing division. The NASCAR Modifieds were the premier weekly division at most tracks in the northeast. Many of the top drivers would compete on both asphalt and dirt tracks in as many as sixty or more events each year. At the end of the season, NASCAR would compile all of the points awarded to each driver and a champion was crowned based on the driver’s overall points total.
   In 1985, NASCAR introduced the Tour concept for the Modifieds and a new era was born. The number of races was brought into a manageable schedule for competitors and the race program was organized so that both race teams and fans could easily understand procedures and follow their favorite drivers. 1985 was a year of change and a year that ushered in an entirely new program for the storied NASCAR Modified division.
   The first race under the new Tour concept was run at the Thompson International Speedway. The date was March 31, 1985 and nine-time Modified champ, Richie Evans won the inaugural event. In its first year, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made five stops at Thompson and four of those races were won by Evans. Drivers who had become Modified legends joined the Tour concept and each race featured the very best of the best. Drivers like Evans, Bugs Stevens, George Kent, Brian Ross, Jimmy Spencer, John Rosati, Mike McLaughlin, Greg Sacks, Mike Stefanik and many, many more thrilled fans at each stop on the Tour’s schedule.
   Since the inception of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, seven-time tour champ, Mike Stefanik tops the list of race winners at Thompson. Stefanik has visited Thompson’s victory lane a total of fourteen times. Jeff Fuller claimed ten Tour victories and his brother Rick and Tony Hirschman each have eight. A total of 103 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races have been run at Thompson since 1985.
   In recent years, young, talented and exciting drivers have joined the Whelen Modified Tour. They have created an incredible amount of excitement as they do battle on the track with some long-time Tour veterans. The last race at Thompson won by a long-time veteran of the Modified wars was back in October of ’06. The driver was Reggie Ruggiero. Ruggiero, as strong as ever, ended his ’07 campaign at Thompson with two second place finishes and will be looking for the top spot this Thursday, August 14th, when the Whelen Modified Tour returns to the high-banked speedway.
   Since Reggie’s last win, victory lane has belonged, almost exclusively, to some of the young, hard chargers on the Tour. Capturing the top spots recently have been James Civali, Donny Lia, Todd Szegedy, Ronnie Silk, and Bobby Santos III. However, Ed Flemke put a stop to that when he won this year’s Icebreaker in April.
   This Thursday, August 14th, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour veterans and young, hard chargers will once again face off for 150 laps. Jimmy Blewett, hot off a win at the Stafford Motor Speedway, will try to add his name to the list of winners.
   As part of NASCAR’s 60th anniversary celebration, former five-time Modified Tour champ, Tony Hirschman, will be honored during pre-race ceremonies scheduled for roughly 6 PM.
   Grandstands open at 2 PM with Modified time trials set for 5:30 PM. Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series “Super Six” divisions will open the night’s activities with their feature races and the Whelen Modified Tour is set to take the green flag at about 8:45 PM. The event’s complete schedule is available on line at


Source:  Russ Dowd / Thompson International Speedway PR
Posted:  August 11, 2008

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