Powered Up: No Slowing Down For Whelen Modified Tour Elder Statesman Jamie Tomaino

By Shawn Courchesne ~ RaceDayCT

Whelen Modified Tour veteran Jamie Tomaino prepares his car Friday in the garage at Thompson Speedway

Whelen Modified Tour veteran Jamie Tomaino prepares his car Friday in the garage at Thompson Speedway

THOMPSON – The talk of motors came up and a smile cut across NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Jamie Tomaino’s face like he had just hit the lottery Friday afternoon at Thompson Speedway.

The 58-year old Tomaino said he still gets excited for opening weekend like he’s a first year racer, but this year’s edition of the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway had the Howell, N.J. driver showing a little extra giddy-up in his step.

Horsepower always seems to have a way of making drivers happy. And the way Tomaino figures it, the new horsepower he’s found is the perfect way to even the playing field and put him back at the front.

What has Tomaino bursting with optimism is a brand new spec motor under the hood of his familiar No. 99 Whelen Modified Tour ride.

“I know you’re not supposed to be as good when you get older, but this weekend is going to tell the tale of where I’m at,” Tomaino said. “[Sponsor Doug Dunleavy] got me a motor that I know now that I have no motor or horsepower issues with this new spec motor. Everybody that has one of them is on the same page.

Practice and qualifying for Sunday’s Icebreaker 150 at Thompson is Saturday and Tomaino was giddy Friday with the thought of cracking the throttle for the first time on track in 2015.

“In 2009, Howard Harvey and Eddie Harvey gave me a ride [for the Icebreaker] and they gave me the best money could buy,” Tomaino said. “That particular day I should have won the race here at Thompson. We pitted at the wrong time and we didn’t win. That day I had a motor as good as anybody’s. This weekend I’ve got a motor as good as anybody. So we’re going to see if a 59-year old guy has still got it in him.

“I’m really anxious to get out there tomorrow [for practice] and hit the gas pedal. All I need is to go down one straightaway and it will tell me if I’m in the ballpark.”

Tomaino, who started racing at 18-years old at Wall Stadium in Wall, N.J. in a Sportsman Modified, said he has no timetable for walking away from the driver’s seat.

“The craziest thing, when I was 13 years old I saw a Modified go around the track and said that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life,” Tomaino said. “When I told my mother she thought I was crazy. I was so amazed at a Modified Stock Car. And I haven’t stopped yet. I’ll be 59 this year and I still get a big thrill about the whole deal. Driving here to the track, the whole weekend, and then of course when the big race comes around.

“[Quitting driving is] not even a thought in my mind. The only thing I will say is that I’m very fortunate to have two grandsons, they’re five and six years old. And when one of them sits in my car and says ‘Grandpa I want to drive your car,’ I’m done. But I think I’ve got at least another eight years until one of them says they want to race.”

Tomaino has been competing full-time on the Whelen Modified Tour since the series’ inception in 1985. He won the series championship in 1990 and has three career victories. He has started a record 582 series events. This season Tomaino will also be fielding a car out of his stable for 17-year old series rookie Chase Dowling of Roxbury.

“When the deal came up with Chase Dowling, him being a 17-year old kid, a lot of people thought that I was going to not race this year and just let him race,” Tomaino said. “I actually had to tell people that wasn’t the case. I’ll do everything I can to help Chase 100 percent, but I still want to race. I get a lot of enjoyment out of it and it’s been my whole life. I still get the adrenaline going out there and I don’t want that to end.”

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  1. would be nice to know how many spec motors at thompson this weekend ….looks like its the next fad …like pro shocks were or ohlins back in the day ….one guy runs good everyone wants them….lol…

  2. Rafter fan says

    Can anyone share the frequencies for Race Control and teams for the Icebreaker?

  3. mare harlow says

    I think Jamie is AWESOME!!

  4. I remember that 2009 race like yesterday. Jamie had the field covered. TC caught him at the end on fresher tires. It would be awesome to see him back out front again.

    The spec motor was a fad 3 yrs ago. Its here to stay now.

  5. only till the open engine builders eat crow and sell there motors at the same price ….but they first have to stop living off 15 year old designs and go back work to make a faster motor than that spec.!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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