MODIFIED TOUR HAS RICH HISTORY AT
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
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
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
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