Showcase Showdown: Could Sunday Whelen Modified Tour All-Star Shootout Be Feasible At NHMS?

By Shawn Courchesne

Whelen All-Star Race LogoLOUDON, N.H. – On Friday New Hampshire Motor Speedway hosted the second Whelen Modified Tour Whelen All-Star Shootout.

The non-points exhibition event gives the drivers of the Whelen Modified Tour an extra chance to showcase their action packed brand of New Hampshire Motor Speedway racing.

The 35-lap shootout event seems to accomplish multiple goals. It gives Whelen Modified Tour drivers another chance to compete at the track many consider “their Daytona”. And it also gives the series chance to play in front of fans that may not have had the opportunity to see them before.

But there seem to be some issues with Friday scheduling of the event.

Friday’s event had a 30-minute time limit. Not a shocker considering a packed Friday schedule in Loudon which also included Sprint Cup Series practice, XFINITY Series practice, Whelen Modified Tour practice, K&N Pro Series East qualifying, Sprint Cup Series qualifying and a K&N Pro Series East feature event.

But that time limit leaves open the possibility that one or two bad wrecks could essentially destroy the event.

Another problem is that scheduling the event the day before a points event at New Hampshire only serves to keep some teams from competing. The reality is, many teams on the Whelen Modified Tour don’t have the resources to have a second car, and going out to run the exhibition event the day before a points event can be a huge gamble.

So how about a radical idea? Call it a pipe dream, because we know it’s probably not something that could ever really happen. But what’s wrong with dreaming?

Run the Whelen All-Star Showdown on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

It would seem the positives that could come out of a Sunday Modified Tour shootout in Loudon would far outweigh any of the positives gained by the Friday event.

First, those teams that are worried about wrecking their primary – or only – car the day before the points event would have no worry about that anymore. That would surely seem an attractive element.

The biggest positive it would seem would be getting the eyes of new fans on the division.

It’s a factor seemingly always talked about with the division. The Whelen Modified Tour has a hearty group of devoted fans across the Northeast, but every racing division needs to make sure that positive gains are being made all the time in creating the next generation of its fanbase.

It would seem in a lot of ways that’s something that may not be happening as well as it should with the Whelen Modified Tour.

Some might argue that the promotion of the division focuses too much on those that are already devoted and not on creating new converts.

The question often is, where and how do you create Whelen Modified Tour fans? Well, really what better place than at a racetrack?

The Sunday crowd at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a different monster from many you’re going to find at most short tracks where the Whelen Modified Tour primarily competes.

It’s a fanbase that in its majority is there because they’re fans of Sprint Cup Racing. The modern age “TV race fans” who have been drawn to the sport for its top level fanfare but may not necessarily realize or understand just what’s going on at short tracks in their area.

So here it is you have thousands of those “TV race fans” strolling around New Hampshire Motor Speedway in anticipation of the Sprint Cup Series event at the track. So take the chance to overwhelm their senses in person.

We are of the belief here that the Whelen Modified Tour events that are broadcast now on NBC Sports Network in the days following their running don’t serve to create new fans. In the landscape of cable broadcasting today, it’s hard to believe many non-Whelen Modified Tour fans are stumbling upon the broadcasts and being converted or convinced to go see an event live.

But on a Sunday morning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway the series has a chance to cram themselves into the brains of people that may never have even thought about going to see them before at say Stafford Motor Speedway or Thompson Speedway or the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

It’s like the free sample booth at Sam’s Club. One probably didn’t go to the store with the idea that they wanted to purchase Thai Chili wings, but darned if that free sample doesn’t have them running to the freezer to grab a big package of them.

And that’s the same philosophy that it seems could work on a Sunday morning in Loudon. The fans are there to see the Sprint Cup Series, but why not try to sell them on the Whelen Modified Tour live and in person?

Though we know, for all the positives, it’s likely a longshot dream. The logistics of a Sprint Cup Series races day and all the pomp and celebration going on through the garage and on the track for much of the hours leading up the race probably makes putting on the event an impossible vision.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming right?

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Comments

  1. Andy Boright says:

    I think the biggest issue standing in the way of your idea is the fact that the track would be “rubbered up” from a modified race right before the Cup guys run their race. The Cup teams would never stand for it.

  2. How about just getting rid of the sprint cup at loudon and force the people to watch the mods ?… One can dream right

  3. I like it the way it is. The Modifieds are the headlining show on Saturday, with support from the Xfinity race. I don’t want to see the Modifieds supporting the Cup cars.

  4. camerissa says:

    Interesting idea but NASCAR would never go for it. If they were to “help” a touring series they would choose the K&N series. They also would not want the fans to see side by side exciting racing with passes for the lead every other lap and then sit through the Cup single file borefest. It would be hard to tell the fans it is hard to pass at this track

  5. NASCAR won’t even run a rained out Xfinity race on Cup day with the same tires used. Nothing shall taint the almighty Cup series. Modifieds on Cup day, less likely than world peace.

  6. I watched the shootout it was good till the halfway brake was dum let them race. Stopping did nothing for the race the race should get more laps and tv time. I was disappointed with it and the way it was handled we go up on Friday for this as we are mods fans thru and thru but nascar has done a poor job with the shootout. Next year I will not be there on Friday only Saturday for the tour race then come home. NASCAR listen to the fans because last you screwed the shootout cutting it short because of tv time if NHMS can’t run it right then bring it to Thompson Speedway where it will be done right. This is and allsatr race get it right it stunk again.

  7. Frank W says:

    How about a 200 lap Tour race and a 100 lap Xfinity race on Saturday? I saw 30 laps of the Xfinity race and had to leave. Far too boring.

  8. So what your saying to the Modified fan base is that we will have to pay full price to a Cup race to watch the Modifieds race. Why would Modified fans want to do that ? Did you watch the stands empty out after the Modified Tour Race ? It would be the same thing on Sunday, everybody leaving after the Mod race. It sure would cost the Modified fan more money.

  9. Frank w , Can’t have a 200 lap tour race the spec motor would be worn out by then .

  10. Jim, that is not far from the truth. The valve springs won’t last 200 laps.

  11. I was involved with the tour at Loudon since the first races were run there .When the format went to the way it is now my involvement was over . I have not and will not go to Loudon as long as they have it the way it is now . I bet there is many more people that miss the pit stops and no longer go .

  12. Jim, the crowds have been rather large at the Modified Loudon events lately. The loss of those that refuse to be subjected to an intermission has not been noticed.

  13. Fast Eddie says:

    I don’t go to Loudon anymore on Sunday. I can’t justify a pricey ticket for a decent seat to see one race even if it is the Cup cars; especially if the traffic jams are twice as long time-wise as the race itself. However, if the modifieds ran on Sunday, I would definitely reconsider. I have passed on FREE Sunday tickets in order to PAY to go on Saturday, when there is a full day of on-track action with practice, qualifying, and two races.

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