Filling Out The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Lineup For The 2016 Season

Woody Pitkat is one of a few drivers that will be moving to a different team in 2016 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Woody Pitkat is one of a few drivers that will be moving to a different team in 2016 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

With engines fired on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and temperatures stretching to the realm of spring-like locally, it’s hard not to ponder the idea that the Northeast racing season is just weeks away from kicking off.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour kicks off its 2016 season on April 10 with the running of the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway.

So what will the lineup be looking like when the garages at Thompson start rumbling to life with the pounding music of motors winding?

There are still quite a few questions marks remaining, but check out the list of cars/teams below to see where things stand for the lineup heading into 2016.

        • 0 – Tommy Rogers Jr.: Looking at possible part-time run.
        • 01 – Melissa Fifield: Expected to run full-time
        • 2 – Doug Coby: Expected to run full-time in defense of 2015 championship.
        • 3 – Rowan Pennink: Expected to run full-time in first season partnership with Boehler Racing Enterprises in the iconic Ole Blue ride.
        • 4 – Unclear at this point if the Bob Garbarino owned Mystic Missile will be competing in 2016 or who could be driving.
        • 6 – Ryan Preece: Preece – running full-time with the XFINITY Series in 2016 – expected to run part-time schedule for Whelen Modified Tour team owner Ed Partridge.
        • 7 – Ryan Newman: Expected to make select starts in Sprint Cup companion events.
        • 07 – Patrick Emerling: Expected to cut his schedule back to part-time.
        • 8 – Donny Lia: Returns for a second full-time season with the Mark Sypher owned team.
        • 9 – Chase Dowling: Dowling expecting to run full-time in partnership with team owner Bob Katon after winning series Rookie of the Year title in 2015.
        • 14 – Max Zachem: Expected to run full-time.
        • 15 – Rob Fuller Motorsports expects to enter selected events with a driver or drivers to be named.
        • 16 – Timmy Solomito: Will run full-time in second season with Flamingo Motorsports team.
        • 18 – Ken Heagy: Expected to run full-time or close to full-time.
        • 22 – Chris Our owned team shut down following the 2015 season.
        • 22 – Chuck Hossfeld: Expected to run part-time.
        • 26 – Gary McDonald: Expected to run full-time or close to full-time.
        • 31 – Steve Masse: Expected to make selected starts.
        • 33 – Wade Cole: Expected to run full-time or close to full-time.
        • 36 – Dave Sapienza: Expected to run full-time.
        • 37 – Dave Salzarulo: Expected to run part-time.
        • 44 – Bobby Santos III: Returns to full-time ride with Tinio Motorsports.
        • 46 – Jeff Goodale: Expected to run full-time.
        • 51 – Justin Bonsignore: Returns for another full-time season with the Ken Massa owned M3 Racing team.
        • 56 – Craig Lutz: After making four starts in 2015, Lutz family owned team expected to attempt to make full-time run in 2016.
        • 57 – Keith Rocco: Expected to make selected starts.
        • 58 – Eric Goodale: Expected to run full-time once again for family owned team.
        • 59 – Nick Salva: Expected to run at least seven events for team that involves ownership interest from Wayne Darling and Ed Bennett.
        • 64 – Rob Summers: To run full-time in first season for the Mike Murphy owned KLM Motorsports team.
        • 71 – Jimmy Zacharias: Looking at possible part-time run in family owned ride.
        • 75 – Shawn Solomito: Expected to run full-time in second season for team owner Wayne Anderson.
        • 76 – Jimmy Blewett: Expected to attempt selected events for family owned team.
        • 82 – Ron Silk: Expected to run part-time for car owner Danny Watts.
        • 85 – Woody Pitkat: Expected to run part-time for Lowell, Mass. team owner Kevin Stuart.
        • 88 – Buzz Chew owned team shut down following the 2015 season
        • 89 – Matt Swanson: Expected to run full-time for family owned team after competing in five events in 2015.
        • 93 – Rowan Pennink Motorsports team shut down with Pennink move to Boehler Racing Enterprises ride.
        • 99 – Jamie Tomaino: Expected to run full-time once again for family owned team.

Other selected drivers:

        • Ted Christopher: Plans unclear.
        • Ronnie Williams: Plans unclear.
        • Tommy Barrett Jr.: Plans unclear; current eligibility status with NASCAR unclear.
        • Andy Jankowiak: Expected to run part-time
        • Anthony Nocella: Plans unclear.
        • Troy Talman: Plans unclear.
        • Johnny Bush: Plans unclear.
        • Derek Ramstrom: Returning to PASS full-time, will not compete with the Whelen Modified Tour


  1. Will Ed Partridge put another driver in the car to go for the Owner Points Championship, when Preece can’t drive?

  2. darealgoodfella,
    Ed has not indicated that he will have anybody else driving this year besides Ryan Preece.

  3. ModFan Homtracks says

    The tour is hanging in there and I think there still will be some good shows coming in 2016 especially with the “new” tracks. The elephant in the room is Woody with a PT ride, TC unsure, Silk unsure and the 4 team with no plans to run yet. That is AWEFUL for our sport. In the best scenario, NASCAR should do all they can to keep the talent that has brought them to the dance be able to stay and continue to open the door for the newer, younger exciting drivers/talent want to come up here and race. I’d like to know what plans Ronnie Williams has this year. That kid would be great on the tour. He ran for Jenkins in his MRS ride at Stafford and in TC’s car at the Fall Final. Is he doing anymore with them this year or is he going another direction? If also love to see if Rocco could run more or is his schedule just too tapped out? Counting the days to the opener. Thanks for the update Shawn.

  4. Any word on the equipment of the former 22, 88 and 93 teams? That is quite a bit of top notch stuff, anybody bought it?

    What about LFR, will they be campaigning a house car in any capacity?

  5. Sharpie Fan says

    Thanks for your “Silly Season” List.

  6. Thanks for the updates!

  7. The 6 is one of those legendary cars… not many left on the Tour. Would like to see it going for a championship. But understand the situation.

  8. Shawn –

    Love this Roster rundown article!

    Would be cool to see a similar article(s) for the VMRS, Stafford SKs, Waterford SKs and Thompson Sunoco Mods in the near future.

  9. Good to know who’s doing what, thanks Shawn! It would be nice if NASCAR could see it and notice the number of part time teams, particularly the previous full time one who will now be part time. Maybe NASCAR could connect the dots and supply more money to their oldest (and most competitive in my mind) division. Then maybe more of the part-timers could be full-timers. Oh well, it ‘s a nice thought, anyway.

  10. Andy Boright says

    Just a sad state of affairs. Instead of one strong modified series, the Northeast has 5 weak tours.

  11. Thanks for this, Shawn! We’re all going to need programs to keep up with all the changes. This is a nice help.

    On the Stafford “teams” pages, it looks like there’s quite a bit of movement in the Stafford weekly mod divisions, as well. The late model divisions seem to be dying…

  12. NASCAR only TAKES money, not supply money. ( i.e. sanction fees, entry fees, licenses, etc). That’s why we have independent series (VMRS, Tri-Track etc)

  13. Thanks for the update. NASCAR needs to put some of those dollars here in the north. Teams just can not continue with the money that is being paid per race. The dollars they are putting up is not much more if anymore then it was 10 years ago. The 4 continues to be who or if anyone one will have the opportunity to drive for Bob. I know their are many that would like to have that ride and I am sure Bob has a list. I hope they do run this season we need more not less per race.

  14. Andy, I hear what you are saying however, NASCAR in their infinite wisdom will always do something different to separate themselves from the rest of the tours (NASCAR spec engine, certified seats, etc.) thus forcing competitors to look at alternative series that are less expensive to run. Promoters knowing this will take advantage of the situation and offer alternatives and frankly I don’t blame them. And unless you last name is Trump, I don’t know how you can afford to run the WMT competitively.

    I don’t know if you know this but the MRS is now going to Tri Y headers for 2016. If you currently have a set, no matter what manufacturer, you will be able to run them until they get wrecked. However, you will have to purchase the replacement set from the series owner to make certain he gets some of the action ($$$$$$). And why do you think they are doing this? I think it is because now he will get the lower buck teams on the WMT who run an 18 degree to join his series since Tri Y headers are legal in both. I also heard that they are doing something with the NASCAR spec engine to take a little bit of sting away from that (possibly gear or something) to give the 18’s a fighting chance for those that can’t afford the spec.

    The hand writing is on the wall for the WMT, I don’t like it, heck no one likes it but is a fact of life. Tri Track is gaining momentum, should be interesting in 2016.

  15. Shawn, nice compilation, good idea! 😉

    humphry, what are you talking about: ” … to give the 18’s a fighting chance for those that can’t afford the spec.”

    The spec was supposed to be the “chicken in every pot”. Everyone was to be able to afford it. LOL!!! Only the teams that bought the newest, latest and greatest built motors are running the spec. Go figure. The spec was supposed to bring about parity, and again only three cars were vying for the championship.

    And if NASCAR does do something that takes a little out of the SPEC, the folks that bought all those spec motors are gonna be pissed. They had to junk all their big dollar, super durable built motors for pennies on the dollar for glorified crate motors, and in doing so lost a small fortune. The spec motor cars have a pretty big weight break over the built motor cars.

  16. This is what I am talking about dareal…………

    You must be living in a cave since it is quite obvious there is no parity between the NASCAR spec and 18 degree engines. Why do you think NASCAR wants everyone in their spec engines? Like Bob Npt writes, “NASCAR only TAKES money, not supply money” and they are getting a cut out of every spec engine sold. Do the math, about 28k for the spec engine that you have to freshen at about the 6 race mark, so now you will need a second to use while your primary is out being freshened (another 28k) so we are up to 56k; never mind the cost per freshen at around 8-10k per engine, figure at least 2 per year (1 for each engine) for an additional 16-20k. You invest 56k in 2 engines, two freshens @ 16-20k so potentially we are looking at 72-76k to own spec engines for the first year. And who is the only one who can freshen it, the certified engine builder who is associated with NASCAR so they get some cake also. Of course they are giving a weight break for the spec engine (which does not make any sense since the spec engine has an aluminum block and the 18 degree has a steel block) why, so they sell more and get more MONEY. NASCAR does not care about the competitors they just care about MONEY.

    The 18 degree cost about 40k and will go the 14-16 race season with a freshen at the end of the season for about 8-10k. The cost to own the 18 degree is around 48-50k for the first year. So when it comes down to it after the initial purchase, it costs about double to maintain the spec engine vs the 18 degree per year. The figures I am quoting on both engines may not be exact but should be pretty close and I welcome anyone that has more exact numbers to chime in. It does not take a brain surgeon to figure this out that something has to be done to help the 18 degree engines run against the spec engines or that field of WMT cars is going to get smaller because believe it or not money does not grow on trees.

    And OH by the way this “chicken in every pot” has turned out to be one expensive chicken for the owners and a nice source of revenue for NASCAR!

  17. humphry, you are the one that has been living in a cave.

    I have been championing the SPECisSTOOPID campaign since the SPEC engine came out. The SPEC has some advantages over the built motor: ~70-80# lighter, the SPEC motor car has a weight break, and the weight from the motor gets put back in the car down low, to name a few. The SPEC has a performance advantage. If you aren’t running a SPEC, you have NO CHANCE AT WINNING, and NO CHANCE OF A CHAMPIONSHIP.

    The SPEC motor block is disposable, more cost. They should used the steel/iron block, even lower cost. There are some built motor blocks that have been around for many, many, many years.

    Dude, what you just posted was nothing compared to what I have been posting for almost three years now, since the 6 & 51 first ran the SPEC.

    And if and when NASCAR decides to “take something out” of the SPEC motors, there will be lots of pissed off top dollar team owners. They bought the “low cost” SPEC engine because it was a clear PERFORMANCE ADVANTAGE. Now if the SPEC is going to be detuned to finally bring about parity with the built, I can see NASCAR officials getting tarred and feathered. Millions of dollars, modified team owner dollars, were wasted on these SPEC motors and all that it took to incorporate them. The SPEC motor was competing with the secondary (used) built motor market. And then the owners lost HUGE $$$$$ on the depreciated value of their built motor inventory. Talk to an engine builder… they haven’t sold many built engines the last 3 years. The SPEC motor was supposed to benefit the shoestring budget teams and help make them competitive. Geez, there isn’t even parity amongst the SPEC motor cars, not even close.

  18. Dareal… Do you know what full-time teams still run built motors?

  19. Humphry and Dareal are saying the same thing.i don’t know what the fight is about .Its Nascar and their spec engines,officiating,and payment practices that are the problem.The Whelen tour is the big leauges of modified racing and the owners should talk turkey to nascar and if it doesn’t work out be prepared to get sponsorship and have their own tour.That is in addition to Mrs tritrack ROC or whatever.The owners are what makes this happen not nascar.They need more of a say.United we stand me thinks should be their motto.

  20. NASCAR needs to do a better job of protecting the little guys wallet. I don’t buy into the idea that since nascar sanctions a track or series they’re doing them a big favor because they’re not. They advertise the mods as their oldest division but in all reality they really could care less they just let the division suffer from all these rules they implement that end up backfiring. I think the spec motor was a good idea until they said it was gonna be 30 grand and then moved it up to 35 grand.

    Say what you want or call me a dirty liberal but it’s nascars responsibility to take care of its tracks and series and most importantly it’s racers like somone said nascar “takes mone”y and I agree with that 100%. NASCAR barley pays, for a series as awsome and competitive as the NWMT every race should pay at least 5 grand to win. I don’t care wht you have to say nascar CAN afford that and as the sanctioning body they should foot the bill. Also I’m not just talking about the mods im talking about all over the country but as premier a series as the mods I think they deserve it

  21. RaceDayNH, not anymore I don’t know what full time teams run a built motor. I think the 4 was the last of the competitive full-time cars to convert to a SPEC. Walk through the pits and you’ll see that the full-time teams are all now running the SPEC. The cars that run the built motors are the part-time and Riverhead cars.

  22. Thanks dareal… The only one I thought that still might have a built motor was Santos in the #44. Do you know about that team?

  23. RaceDayNH, I’m pretty sure the 44 has been running the SPEC.

    I think the 4 was one the last hold outs of full-time competitive cars to switch to the SPEC motor. It made big news when the 4 finally put in a SPEC about half way through last season.

    The 3 was still running a built motor last season, and will probably be running Pennink’s SPEC motors this year. If the combination of those teams work, the 3 will be a huge threat. Pennink runs great in other people’s cars.

  24. I saw an article recently about bobby Santos running the tour full time again this year; I think it said the team would have spec motors.

  25. Seekonk, I agree with you. The price of the spec engine is getting right up there with built however, it is more expensive to maintain. NASCAR’s clever way of marketing the spec worked, and now that they have people hooked, up goes the price. That is why there are still full time cars that are running the built because they can’t afford the spec. There are also many part time teams running the built and they pick and choose their battles against the spec, again can’t afford one. And you are correct it is NASCAR’s way or the highway, they really don’t care what anyone has to say they only care about themselves.

    Maybe the guys with the built engines should just boycott and see how many fans show up for a 10-12 car race. I’ll bet that would get somebody’s attention.

  26. Good list.

    Now we can just sit back and wait see who shows up at the IceBreaker.

  27. There is a preseason track session at Thompson coming up soon, that could reveal some other cars and drivers.

  28. Anything new here?

  29. It appears that TC may be driving the Brady 00 in some Tour events, unless he makes a deal to drive the Mystic Missile??

  30. TC entered in the 00 at Concord this weekend.

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