No Shows: Lack Of Whelen Mod Tour Teams Shouldn’t Have Been Any Surprise At Lee Bullring Bash 100

Modifieds on track May 11 for the Bullring Bash 100 at Lee USA Speedway.

Modifieds on track May 11 for the Bullring Bash 100 at Lee USA Speedway.

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 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.”

Quite shocking?

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.

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  1. mrs crew member says

    well if you think about it mathematically, there are more non full time nascar Tour teams than “big shot” NASCAR tour teams so statistically there shouldn’t have been as many tour teams there.

    I don’t think it’s right for you to call hardworking teams ten year olds compared to the Whelen modified tour teams who are “Michael Jordan”. that’s pretty arrogant and stupid because they all have the same cars. and the drivers are just as good. and the mrs pulls more cars than the tour, puts on a better race in my opinion so I don’t think either is better than the other. they’re different from eachother but equally great series.

  2. Kevin Chase says

    Please pass along the reason(s) that the Whelen Tour teams don’t attend the Open shows.

  3. MRS Crew Member

    “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 “10-year old” in that analogy is the people that were shocked that Whelen Modified Tour teams were not there, not the actual teams that were there.


    This is not 40 years ago when a open show would attract the top drivers and teams, I remember Plainville stadium’s wed’s open shows and they were packed with outsiders and that race only paid $500 dollars at first and later $1000. I’m sure if the drivers had a say in the matter more of them would attend these open shows so I agree it’s the owners that don’t want to race these shows. Really, open shows and weekly racing is
    the root of Northeast modified racing and it’s a shame those pits are not full.

  5. Crazy in NY says

    Shawn did you at any point post race, interview the Maniac? He had verbals from some
    that ended up not showing. There were a couple from upstate NY (non Tour)that didn’t show either. After this dust up settles a good story might be why NASCAR teams don’t
    support their own tour (in the numbers they used to) a < 30 cc for a "National" organization speaks of something. I can see owners being loyal to one tour only and
    forsaking others ( rumors are mother NASCAR doesn't like it either) but these open
    shows are a harm to no one that I can see. At the end of the day they are all Modifieds
    but I think the Tour ends up the loser here. Sad state of affairs in the Modified racing
    world if this is the trend.


    A fan blogger named Jared Echo wrote: “the fact that only one full time NASCAR Modified team showed was quite shocking and downright disappointing.”

    At least Mr Echo has been covering racing way before 1995………… you beady eyed, fat bastard! When you thought about going to the races for the 1st time you had no clue on how the sport worked, some 19 years later you still dont have a clue, go and cover water polo or volleyball and leave us racing fans alone!

  7. Thank you for checking in again Mr. Echo (IP addresses are great) and thanks for your continued reading of the website. Appreciate that.

  8. If the promoter really wanted to know why they didn’t show up, maybe he should pick up his phone and ask them. Seems simple to me but everyone is in such disbelief. I figured more than one team would show as well. BTW The only team that showed up from the whelen modified tour was a team that is stationed in N.C. Freakin 12+ hour ride and teams from less than 1 hour away couldnt be bothered. Everyone complained every year they would reduce and reduce the tour schedule and here is an opportunity to race for a good purse and they dont go.

    It could be a case were one owner asks another and another,and another, to the extent that they talk themselves out of going. The only reason that makes sense is that its not a NASCAR sanctioned event, no points and there not allowed to spend exorbitant amounts of money on tires and entrance fees.. 🙂 Maybe they didn’t want to go and have their butts handed to them by an MRS car or a ROC car, Or don’t want to run heat races, Or even simpler going for 10k they don’t want to bring there car home in box. Don’t get me wrong 10k to win is great and I hope its something they continue to do and grow it bigger. But it has to burn there tail a little bit that large open and sanctioned dirt track shows usually pull in 20k plus for a 50 lap feature. JMO,

  9. This Is The Real Me says


    Im not Mr Echo, you have a sick and twisted paranoid persona going on, you have made alot of ememys in the last few months, if i was a track owner i would escort your ass outside, you are not a good example for racing coverage, you are bias, you are crude and your a bully, and your very cruel, i hope i can see you at the SBM event because i will kick you in the nuts if i see you………

  10. Again, thank you Mr. Echo for keeping up with the site, very much appreciated.

  11. Wayne darling says

    52 didn’t go because Matt hirshman was in another car car buti did support it by adding lap money to the leader
    Wayne darling

  12. The Fletcher says

    The whelen tour pays poorly, and has a poor fan count. New tours like the Koma Unwind Modified madness tour pays well and packs the stands like it was back in the old days.

  13. Shawn as someone who is munching on the free spread up in the press box on a weekly basis you’re telling me you have never heard any modified tour teams complaining of purses not being big enough?
    Maybe you should ask a couple of them at the next tour race if they are fine with the purses they are racing for. The lack of big paying races has been a constant complaint of team owners for years. So now they are happy with small purses?
    On a side note, did you go to school for journalism? If so please go back and review some of your curriculum.

  14. Dennis,
    Where in my column did I write anything about Modified Tour team owners complaining or not complaining about the purses with Modified Tour events? I guess I missed that part of the column. Maybe while I go back to college to refresh that journalism degree I have you should go back to second grade and get a refresher course on reading.

  15. Shawn, current owners may not be complaining. Other owners have shown their discontent with the Tour by leaving. 0,1,3 unless someone will pay, 10,14,21,28,36,48,76,77. Can probably add to this list.

  16. This is what I read, I copied it for you…

    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?
    Is this not your writing? If not I apologize.

  17. Dennis, I’ll ask again, where in that statement does it say ANYTHING about Whelen Modified Tour owners complaining or not complaining about purses for Modified Tour events?

  18. okay Shawn, you win, I made it up to make you look bad but I can play this childish game also… where in my original post did I say you did?
    This is the question I asked… “you’re telling me you have never heard any modified tour teams complaining of purses not being big enough?” Let me rephrase it for you.

    Have you ever heard modified team complain of the lack of purses?
    The choices of responses 1.Yes I have. 2. No I have not.

    You need to relax a bit. For the most part I think you do a decent job covering the sport but your personal vendettas make you look very unprofessional.

  19. Dennis, all I was pointing out was that the column wasn’t about Modified Tour team owners complaining about purses on the Modified Tour. The column was about people being surprised Modified Tour teams not showing up and the myth that they’re all supposedly complaining about the lack of big Open shows, which is something they’re not doing. Sure they’d like to see higher purses, but they want those on the series. None of them are complaining about a lack of Open shows to attend. That was the original point that has now got twisted into something else.

  20. Here is another opinion I have on this article and I’m not saying you wrote this because I read on a second grade level but I think James Schafer is disappointed because he has done a lot to support the tour at Riverhead and I am guessing he was hoping for some of them to return the favor seeing it was widely reported this was a big risk on his and the Racing Guys part in staging this event.

    Second I spoke to Dick Williams at Lee Sunday morning and he said to me a lot of guys told him they would be there and they did not show up.
    So I guess they could be considered ignorant because they took people at their word.

  21. As a fan I am more disappointed in fans not showing up at the race track not the modified team owners. I was very entertained by a fast moving exciting event that had some of the top modified drivers in attendance.

  22. The risk all along was running on Mother’s Day. There is a reason why Nascar won’t touch the date. I’m more surprised people are surprised more fans didn’t turn out for it. I’m sure the fan turnout will be better at Star Speedway. I think the car counts will trend upwards there as well. Still a lot of great racing ahead of us.

  23. Mark,

    I think discounting Mother’s Day was a huge mistake. A good friend of mine named Peter Zanardi once told me a long time ago that you don’t mess with Mother’s Day in racing, and I don’t think that’s changed at all. There are way too many wives of crew members (and Mothers of those crew members’ children) who basically become widows for the length of racing season. Skipping out on their day is bad news. It might sound simple, and it might not be something that holds weight in other sports, but its a fact that is absolutely true in racing.

  24. justafan says

    why should anyone be surprised the whelen tour cars didn’t go? they cant even get a decent field for a true whelen tour event. While I respect the promoters of the event a 5k to win race is hardly a big money race. Waterford runs a 5k to win SK race and cant get a good field and those are SK’s.Fuel,tires,travel costs,entry fees,and a 50k plus race car for 5k to win is just not gonna pack the pit area. isn’t gonna happen.seekonk pays 10k to win and nobody shows, granted its a lousy mod track but still if they don’t show for 10 why on earth would they show for 5???

  25. My opinion: I saw a very exciting day of racing at Lee, with almost three dozen modifieds. Four heat races, a consi, a “B” main, AND a feature! What more do you need? Sure, it’s always better to have more cars, but my guess is the costs of the tour are such that they may not want to risk tearing up equipment and jeopardize their chances at the next tour race. I don’t believe any team has 3 or 4 spare cares laying around that they can play with. And there were a few torn up cars at Lee by the end of the day. I’m sure Mother’s Day was also a factor, picked due to the only available weekend without a major modified event between now and SBM 125. Shawn, I completely agree with your assessment. I have been to most of the Open Wheel Wednesday shows, and rarely saw any NASCAR modifieds. However, I still saw a great modified race at a reasonable ticket price! And as a fan, that’s the important part, isn’t it?

  26. Shawn, Do you post anything positive or is it always to tear people down and look like a big shot? It has become absolutely ridiculous for a guy who was forced to go to a race and not their because he wanted to be. Bashing people who have been around for 30,50,50 years is just pathetic in my eyes. Why did you go anyway? You said you only cover CT racing didnt you?

  27. darealgoodfella says

    This was never news, still isn’t news, and will never be news. It’s only news if you are new to the sport.

  28. I don’t understand people explaining their “embarrassment” and “disgust” from the lack of attendance. I can understand racing people and their strong emotions for the sport but let’s try a positive attitude. Do your part and spread the word, tell people that the first open show of the year was a hit and the rest should only get better. Everybody is trying to fight the facts. Fact is… local racing has lost its popularity. IMO, showing a negative attitude isn’t a way to help bring it back. Either way, hats off to the promoters because 2014 open show #1 was supposedly a success and I plan on making it to open show #2.

  29. darealgoodfella says

    Never go up against Mother’s Day, never.

  30. Kudos to SSF!! I agree completely! We all need to do what we can to HELP the sport! It’s easy to sit back and moan & groan. Use the thing between your ears to find the positives and spread the word! Maybe we can get a few more people to show up. More people means more income, which may bring better purses, which may mean more contestants.

  31. 5parts2ahorse says

    Steady Eddie Fan has a point, as others here in looking to the past and local New England roots for the sport. What was the largest entertainment and roots based sport in our area, as anyone can research from the history of the sport may be coming full circle…in that it may be time to look back, there were; more fans, local, regional and the support by the developers of “equipment/engines/technology/parts/fuel additives,ect all located in the New England much of what created the industry of today began right here in New England- although not sanctioned…Look back to Ralph Moody’s roots & career, for one.
    Interestingly, sometimes as in the past, a local fan base and sponsorship for area track business results in MORE income and sustainabilty, leading to purses from attendance of the fan base (that is really how it began) – it worked in Norwood, Seekonk, Thompson & others for years and local people could not wait to get there weekly and root for someone they had an identity with from their local area (that mattered, the hometown hero)
    Just a thought, maybe this is a time to revisit local relations.
    Where is our HUGE aerospace industry sponsorship, by golly there sure are enough of those entities still here in New England- to place their support and name on the race program!

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