Bonus Round: Extra Points Making Noticeable Difference In Whelen Modified Tour Standings

Grabbing bonus points this season has helped put Ryan Preece at the top of the Whelen Modified Tour standings (Photo: Brenda Meserve/Image81)

Grabbing bonus points this season has helped put Ryan Preece at the top of the Whelen Modified Tour standings (Photo: Brenda Meserve/Image81)

“If the season ended today …”

It’s become common cliché across the landscape of analyzing sports.

But when it comes to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, circa 2015, it’s a cliché that raises an interesting scenario.

For many, the “bonus points” awarded in NASCAR’s divisions up and down the system become forgotten figures in many ways.

But this year on the Whelen Modified Tour, the extra digits are playing an interesting role.

“It’s pretty much a given that these point chases are going to come to down a 20-point battle or less at the end, so if you get five or six bonus points and that keeps you further away from somebody, of course it matters,” reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby said.

Being the king of the bonus points in 2015 has actually put Ryan Preece of Berlin at the top of the standings after three events.

On the Whelen Modified Tour each finishing position is worth one less point starting with a 43-point best scale, meaning a win is worth 43 points, a second place worth 42 points, a third place 41 points, down through the finishing order. There are three bonus points also awarded for winning.

The other bonus points awarded are one point for leading a lap during an event and one point for leading the most laps during an event.

After three Whelen Modified Tour events this year, Woody Pitkat of Stafford has the best average finish at 2.66. Yet, he is third in the standings.

Preece, with an average finish of 3.0 has 130 points. Doug Coby, also with an average finish of 3.0, has 129 points. Pitkat, with the best average finish on the series, has 128 points.

Preece, Coby and Pitkat each have a victory this season. Preece and Coby both got maximum points with their victories. Coby won the season opening Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway on April 12 and also led the most laps in the event, picking up 48 points.

Preece did the same last Saturday in the Mr. Rooter 161 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

In Pitkat’s victory, in the NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 on April 26, Preece actually lead the most laps, to gain that bonus point., along with a lap leader bonus point. And Coby picked up a lap leader bonus point at Waterford. Pitkat’s only bonus points have come in his victory, the three for winning and one for leading a lap.

Preece has 123 competition points, plus seven bonus points. Coby has 123 competition points plus six bonus points. Pitkat has 124 competition points plus four bonus points.

Pitkat went into the Waterford event with 89 points, leading the standings with a three point advantage over Coby in second place. Preece went into the event seven points behind Pitkat.

“It shows that the bonus points are a big deal,” Pitkat said. “You’ve got tell yourself when you’re out there, ‘You might want to think about that.’ You don’t want to put extra pressure to go out there and do something dumb to ruin a good finish. But it stinks to think we went into Waterford, we had a good finish, we went in first in points and we came out third. It’s maybe a little bit of slap in the face. I don’t usually look at the points. I just try to go out there and get the best finishes that I can get. But, we’re seeing how big of a deal those bonus points are.”

Preece said bonus points were actually something he and his team talked about during the event at Waterford Saturday.

“As soon as we got to second with Donny Lia leading my crew chief [Tommy Grasso] came over the radio and said ‘Alright Ryan, if there’s a chance to lead some laps we’ve got to think bonus points, we’re going to try to championship race a little bit.’” Preece said. “I don’t hear that a lot, but it was in a good way because he was telling me to get the lead to get the bonus point. Leading a lap, and leading the most laps, I would say I definitely think about it. As the end of the season, if you win a championship by one or two points, you’ve got to think about those bonus points then.”

Said Coby: “I suppose if Friday was the last race of the season we would have an interesting discussion. But I think about [bonus points] if I’m on the front row when I start the race. You want to make sure you lead one of the laps. I think about it when I win a pole that I have to at least lead the first lap.”


  1. James Osterhoudt says

    The Dirt Modified cars race 16 times a month not 16 times for the year. There is a week in August where the SuperDirt series races three races in one week. I wonder how you can make so much out of the Whelen Tour while the dirt guys race 120 times a year. No wait, costs more to race asphalt, no wait it DOESN’T!
    Should change the name from the Whelen Tour to the Connecticut State Modified Tour.

  2. Chris D. says

    Asphalt mod tour teams probably spend more, but do they have to? $150,00 18 wheel haulers for 15 races that are at what, 7 different tracks?

  3. News flash , They do it because they can ! Most teams have owners that spend the money because it’s there hobby . Some guys do it because it’s like a needle in there arm . Some guys out there have no idea why they are doing it . If a guy wants to spend his money on a hauler that’s his choice . It’s a free country .

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