Waterford Speedbowl Rocks With Return Of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Saturday

WATERFORD – When it was announced over the winter that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour would return to the Waterford Speedbowl this season for the first time since 2006 there were those around the local racing scene and the series that said the division shouldn’t return.

(Photo: Corey Sipkin/NASCAR)

Those same people would have been hard pressed to still have that opinion following Saturday in Waterford.

The return of the division to Waterford was celebrated Saturday with a standing room only crowd that got to witness dramatic racing from start finish of the Mr. Rooter 161.

Hours before the start of the event track officials had to begin turning cars away from the parking lot because town officials deemed it over capacity.

During Whelen Modified Tour practice from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., eventual second place finisher Justin Bonsignore was a little worried.

“Awesome to see the place packed like it was,” said Bonsignore, who was competing at the track for the first time in his career. “I was a little worried during practice, the place wasn’t that full. I was hoping they would pack it out because we want to keep coming back. It’s a blast to race here. I really love the place. It was pretty racy tonight.”

Mr. Rooter 161 winner Doug Coby of Milford has competed for years at the Speedbowl and has long championed how great the competition at the track can be.

“This is a track where a Modified Tour race should be,” Coby said. “Some of these other smaller tracks can’t seat as many people as this and for some reason they just can’t draw a crowd like this. This is awesome.

“They did a great job. They made upgrades to this track just for this race. They paved that back pit road just so that the Tour could be on it for the first time. I know that it was a struggle for them to get that done otherwise they would have done it years ago. The track is clean. Everybody says ‘Waterford this and Waterford that.’ This is an awesome little racy track and no matter what anybody says, this is a track that needs to be around with SK [Modifieds], [Whelen Modified Tour], [Valentie Modified Racing Series], all that needs to be here. It’s an awesome place and the racing here is just phenomenal from top to bottom.”

Third place finisher Ryan Preece was in awe when he pulled onto the track for pre-race ceremonies.

“You’ve got to give it to the Waterford promoters and everybody involved in putting this race on.

“It takes a lot to get a race going on. … I know how hard people work to promote these. I was amazed with crowd and how they filled the parking lot and had to shut the place down. That’s unbelievable, and it’s great for short track racing. You can’t even describe the feeling when you pull out on that frontstretch, get out of your car, and you see this place packed. That was just awesome.”

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