From online racing news sites, to fan blogger pages to all channels of social media, it proved the hot topic of conversation – and more so consternation – in the days that followed the May 11 Bullring Bash 100 Open Modified show at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H.
Where were the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams?
No full-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams showed up for the event. One full-time Whelen Southern Modified Tour team was at the event, the Hill Enterprises team.
“They had nothing to complain about with this race and still didn’t support it,” Brandon Paul of the website Speed51.com wrote of the NASCAR Modified Tour teams missing from Lee.
Facebook and Twitter buzzed for days with folks complaining that the Modified Tour teams disrespected those that worked to put on the event by not showing up.
A fan blogger named Jared Echo wrote: “the fact that only one full time NASCAR Modified team showed was quite shocking and downright disappointing.”
Being “shocked” that Modified Tour teams didn’t show up at Lee is like a 10-year old inviting Michael Jordan to his birthday party and then being “shocked” that he didn’t show up.
The reality is, the fact that Whelen Modified Tour teams didn’t show up at Lee should have been hardly surprising at all to anybody that’s paid attention to the trends surrounding the Modified racing scene over the past five years.
Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway annually hosts a $10,000 to win Modified Open race in July and annually few Whelen Modified Tour teams show up to support it. The same goes for the annual SBM 125 at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H.
Two big dollar open shows that have been around where annually few Modified Tour teams show up to compete.
So why should anybody have expected any different at Lee?
Give all the credit in the world to Jim Schaefer and The Racing Guys group for organizing and promoting a new and attractive special event to the Open Modified event calendar.
Schaefer, a longtime Modified fan from Long Island who has for the past few years helped to raise money to supplement purses for Whelen Modified Tour events at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway, was a promoting machine in the months leading up to the event Lee.
Schaefer deserves all the credit in the world for the passion he exudes for Modified racing and his efforts to help grow events and make them more attractive to teams and fans.
But if the organizers of the event expected NASCAR Modified Tour teams to show up in droves, or even in a trickle, they missed doing their homework in preparation.
If they haven’t showed up at Seekonk in years, and they haven’t flooded into the lineup at the SBM 125, why was there any expectation that they would make the trip to Lee?
The real shocking part of the whole deal is that there were people seemingly in the know of Modified racing that were shocked teams weren’t there.
And then there’s the myth, the ever-popular myth that oozed from many this week. The myth that all the Whelen Modified Tour teams complain that there aren’t enough big money Modified open shows these days.
The question is, who are the Whelen Modified Tour team owners that are complaining about the lack of big money shows these days? Who is hearing that? Are they just whispering?
Sure, there’s drivers that complain that there aren’t enough big money shows. That comes as no surprise, they’re the one’s looking to collect some percentage for their efforts without paying the bills.
Yes, drivers complain there aren’t enough big money Open shows, and sure crew members involved with many teams will also regularly lament the lack of big paying events, and even fans do it too.
But who are the guys who are paying the bills on these teams that are complaining? Aren’t those the only guys that really are a factor in the argument since they’re the one’s making the decisions on where they’re taking their teams? And if they’re complaining, they’re sure doing a great job of keeping that supposed roar silent.
The inaugural Bullring Bash 100 added another quality Open Modified event to the racing calendar in New England and that’s a great thing, but to gripe that Modified Tour teams didn’t show up to “support” Modified racing is as ridiculous as complaining that Jeff Gordon never shows up to Stafford Motor Speedway to race Friday nights in support of the NASCAR brand.
Maybe when the season is over Modified Tour teams will go to the Turkey Derby or the North-South Shootout, but that’s after the season is over. The trend of Whelen Modified Tour teams not going to Open shows during the season is hardly anything new.
And you don’t open a snowboard equipment shop in the Bahamas and then wonder why nobody comes to your store.
The Whelen Modified Tour teams go to Whelen Modified Tour events, and rarely over the past few years do many venture from that standard during the Whelen Modified Tour season. It’s been that way for sometime, it’s nothing new and it should only be shocking to someone who hasn’t paid attention. Anybody shocked by that fact is being ignorant of the reality of the product at hand.