Rumors Of Teams Departing Dominate Early Offseason For NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

The internet chatter began it seemed even before the track lights had been turned off following the final NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event of the season on Oct. 14 at Thompson International Speedway.

The rumors flew of multiple top-level teams in the series having already made decisions to shut down their operations.

The three teams that have dominated much of the rumor mill material involved the drivers that finished fourth, fifth and sixth in the Whelen Modified Tour standings in 2012.

Two-time series champion Donny Lia of Jericho, N.Y. drove Bob Garbarino’s Mystic Missile ride to a fourth place finish in the standings. Todd Szegedy of Ridgfield was fifth in the standings driving for longtime team owner Mike Smerigilio. Eric Beers of Northampton, Pa. was sixth in the standings running for team owner Dave DeLange.

Garbarino said there is no validity to rumors that his team is shutting down. He said he thinks the fact that his team was looking to sell a car may have sparked the rumors.

“I don’t know where they get that from,” Garbarino said when asked about rumors that his team was ceasing operations. “I don’t know where that came from. I had a car for sale. But I usually rotate one a year or every other year, so I’ve talked to some people about that.”

Garbarino said as of this week the team plans to return to competition in 2013 with Lia behind the wheel of their car again.

Szegedy, the 2003 Whelen Modified Tour champion, said that rumors that Smeriglio has already shut down his operation are false, but he said the team could face that possibility if the financial state of the organization doesn’t improve. Szegedy and Smeriglio have run full-time on the series together since 2006.

“Nothing has happened,” Szegedy said. “But the fact is we do need a sponsor, like any team. Basically we need a sponsor to keep going and we’re working on stuff and we’re hoping stuff is going to come up. Obviously I want to keep racing and [crew chief Phil Moran] wants to keep racing and the guys on the team are dedicated to racing. But you can’t expect Mike to keep pulling money out of his pocket. It’s not cheap to go Modified racing. So, as of right now, we’re still in operation, but we’re trying to find sponsors to go racing. Hopefully we find someone.”

Attempts to reach Beers or DeLange were unsuccessful.

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  1. Rumors came out about Garbarino likely because of the spec engine deal where he said he would close shop if they enforced that motor program.

  2. I can understand anyone needing to scale back or even quit.Costs are going up across the board on everything & Nascar can say what they want but ther're not helping.I know at least 3 or 4 teams in the south that aren't coming back.We had the biggest car counts on the south tour this yr.since nascar took over & that's not going to happen next yr.because of the new rules costing us more money.You could win every week & not break even.I'm sure I'll get some flack because of this but this is my opinion on the sudject & I'd be willing to bet that I'm not the only one that thinks like this.

  3. tommy that is in every class an at every track you go to an has been every since i started racing

  4. Economy;Thanks as always Shawn.Good piece of reporting the facts, just the facts.(Joe Friday).

  5. Mr lythgoe please report to the nascar hauler

  6. While the above rumors may or may not be fact, I can tell you one for sure. Any team that doesn't own a quick change rear will be faced with that, plus the SFI 39.1 seat plus the SFI head restraint along whit a half dozen or so rule changes for 2013. Bottom line.. about $8000 in cost per car to the car owner. While I enjoyed the last two races of the season these set backs will result in a 12 car race for the championship and a handfull of part time racers at best. MRS, better plan on gearing up your marketing program and your operations.

  7. Speaking the truth, no matter if it's the popular thing to do or not, is still speaking the truth. You are correct sir, stand your ground and I wish you the best, because mine is one of those teams that is not coming back next year. It's not out of spite, just simply cannot afford to lose money and put my guys through the same kind of things they had to endure over the past 2 years.

  8. Gary let me know if you need a seat. I have a great friend who runs butler seats

  9. The only team that is done is the Eric Beers car.
    is what I have heard.

  10. more to come

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