NASCAR TO CELEBRATE 500th MODIFIED
Series Began In 1985
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