Setting The Scene: Whelen Modified Tour Toyota Mod Classic 150 At Oswego Speedway

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Doug Coby (Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Doug Coby (Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

It’s been 27 years since the NASAR Whelen Modified Tour tackled Oswego Speedway, but the track in upstate New York will again play a role in the title race when it hosts the Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s this Saturday night.

There may not be a long history of Whelen Modified Tour racing at Oswego when compared to other tracks, but the history which has been made there played significant roles in determining the Tour championship. This weekend should be no different as the season heads into a hectic stretch run.

Nestled along Lake Ontario, Oswego is steeped in open-wheel racing tradition as the hub of Supermodified racing in the northeast. The .625-mile oval has played host to eight Whelen Modified Tour races, four each in 1988 and 1989, with five-time champion Tony Hirschman of Northampton, Pennsylvania, winning three times at the track. But for all of Hirschman’s dominance there, both Mike McLaughlin and Mike Stefanik won August stops at Oswego en route to their respective championship years in 1988 and 1989.

This season’s race at Oswego could be just as important to the championship for both Doug Coby and Justin Bonsignore. Coby, of Milford, Connecticut, is nursing a 13-point lead over Bonsignore with just five races remaining. Neither driver has competed at Oswego, but both have had plenty of success at the other .625-mile track on the circuit — Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Coby has five career wins at Thompson, while Bonsignore has four.

Race: Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s
Place: Oswego Speedway, Oswego, New York
When: Saturday, September 3
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .625-mile asphalt oval
2015 Winner: N/A
2015 Pole Sitter: N/A
EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday, September 3 – Garage opens: 11 a.m.; Practice: 1:35-2:20 p.m., 3-3:45 p.m.; Qualifying: 5:30 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session: 6:30 p.m.; Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s: 7:30 p.m.
TWITTER: @OswegoSpeedway
EVENT HASHTAG: #ToyotaModClassic150

Fast Facts
The Race: The Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s is the 13th of 17 championship points events in the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. It is the first and only race of the year at Oswego.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 31 cars will qualify through two-lap qualifying time trials. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (93.8 miles) and the tire change rule is three tires, any position.

The Track: A .625-mile asphalt oval, Oswego Speedway has operated continuously since its opening in 1951, when a .375-mile dirt oval was built out of an existing track for horses. It was paved a year later, and in 1961 it was expanded to its current size. Considered by many to be the “Indy of the East,” the track’s Supermodifieds have seen Indianapolis 500 winners Gordon Johncock and Mario Andretti compete. The speedway played host to eight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races, four each in 1988 and 1989.

Race Winners: There have been five different winners at Oswego, led by Tony Hirschman’s three career wins at the track. Brian Ross won the first two races held at the track, both in 1988, while Mike McLaughlin and MIke Stefanik each won a race there during their respective championship seasons of 1988 and 1989.

Pole Winners: Five different drivers have won poles at Oswego, with Mike McLaughlin winning the pole four times to become the only driver with multiple poles at the track. The track qualifying record of 123.226 mph was set by McLaughlin on Sept. 3, 1988.

Toyota Mod Classic 150 Notes
Hot Streak: Six races ago, Justin Bonsignore sat third in the Whelen Modified Tour standings, 38 points behind leader Doug Coby, and still in search of his first win of 2016. But Bonsignore has rebounded in a big way in the second half of the season — winning two of the last three races to move into second. He’s whittled Coby’s lead down to just 13 points with five events remaining, and he won the most recent stop at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Bonsignore has posted four top fives in his last five races to inch closer to his first career championship.

Second-Generation: Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pennsylvania, returns to the Whelen Modified Tour this weekend for the Toyota Mod Classic 150. Hirschman last competed full-time during the 2011 season, when he finished sixth in the final standings. Owner of two career Whelen Modified Tour victories, Hirschman is the son of Tony Hirschman, the five-time Whelen Modified Tour champion who has three career Oswego victories.

Old Guard: While most of the starting field in the Toyota Mod Classic 150 has never been to Oswego before, Jamie Tomaino has experience on the track in a Whelen Modified Tour car. Tomaino, the 1990 champion who has a Tour-record 609 career starts entering the weekend, competed in all eight previous races at Oswego. Tomaino has two podium finishes and three top fives in his eight starts at the track.

Lia Remains Consistent: Donny Lia doesn’t have a win yet in 2016, but the two-time Whelen Modified Tour champion has been one of the Tour’s most consistent drivers and is still within striking distance of the championship lead. He’s the only driver in the top four in the standings who hasn’t won at least two races this season, but his eight top 10s in 12 races.

Winning: Doug Coby, Timmy Solomito and Justin Bonsignore are the only Whelen Modified Tour drivers with multiple wins this season, with Coby and Solomito having three wins apiece and Bonsignore two. Ron Silk, Bobby Santos III, Jimmy Blewett and Eric Goodale won the other events on the schedule. Santos also won the non-points Whelen All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July.


  1. Road trip!!!!!

    Maybe some fresh apples will be ready at the many orchards along the way.

  2. Should be a good one. For those making the trip, watch your speed. The cops are all over Interstates and main roads into Oswego. 15 over limit will cost you $300-$350. No joke! $100 “admin fee” even if you are not guilty of anything. I was nabbed a few times in recent years out that way. They show no mercy on out of towners. Speeding ticket revenue fuels the local economy. It’s bad and they know it’s a big race weekend in Oswego. Lancaster had a real issue with cops a few years ago. I hate that region with a passion. Forget your wine country. I’ll stay home in beer country. Rome NY isn’t all that far away though.

  3. NH Mark is correct. Out of state plates are $$$$$$$ in the coffers. They have had this race on their calendar as a major fund raising event. They are just gonna shoot fish in a barrel. It would be a good idea to run a GPS enabled dash cam, to refute a citation.

    Be careful. You have been warned.

    I doubt any of the Tour top ten have been on this track, so it will be interesting.

  4. Crazy in NY says

    NH Mark speaks the truth. I’m from up this way and the NYSP on I 481 are on the prowl especially
    holiday weekends. DON’T drink and drive in NY either. They show NO mercy. If you want to stay over
    and head to Perry,NY the next day there is an American Racer 75 lapper for Mods at Wyoming County International Speedway. Nice racy little bullring. Also new blood on the Tour to debut at the Palace as PeeDee Motorsports has filed an entry with Mod standout Matt Hirschman behind the wheel at a track
    he is totally comfortable with. Coby is going to have his hands full.

  5. Don’t forget NY’s statewide 55 MPH limit. Other states might hang 70 signs along interstates similar to upstate NY, but not NY. It’s a cash grab.

  6. Emerling and Hirschman are probably the only drivers with recent experience at Oswego. Practice will be interesting and exciting, two sessions. Tour was last there in ’89, 27 years ago.

    It will be a holiday weekend, and a special event… NYSP/LEO hate working holiday weekends. They will make sure you know that.

  7. just a fan says

    so those signs that say welcome to new york are a lie ?………lol

  8. Emerling is a real shoe. Ive been very impressed with him over the last few seasons. He will be in the mix at the end. I was hoping Hossfeld would enter. Now that Hirshmann has a NASCAR license might we see him a few more times on the tour this year?

  9. I outrun them
    I have a lamorghini
    So I don’t stop till I see welcome to canada

  10. Barry: New York does have 65 mph speed limits.
    Also be ready to pay tolls if traveling I87 and I90 coming from NYC or CT/MA

  11. Crazy in NY says

    Now that Hirshmann has a NASCAR license might we see him a few more times on the tour this year?

    Mark I believe he’s slated for Seekonk on the 10th. NH I can’t say for sure.

  12. Been going to Oswego since the late 80’s. Those NASCAR shows on Classic Weekend were great memories with the likes of Brian Ross, Reggie, Stefanik, McLaughlin, Spencer, Evans Hirshman, etc.

    The winner will the guy that can figure out the outside pass coming out of turn 4 . Expect to see a lot of single file racing up front.

    Of those who have never raced at the Big “O”, it will be interesting to see them adjust to the inside wall in the turns.

  13. Crazy Larry says

    The past two races here have been the greatest in years they use the traction compound from VP rubbed it into the track in the turns to make for a two Lane track so I don’t think that the single file will be such a problem I believe the people that stayed home are going to miss a great event

  14. Crazy Larry says

    Wake up Stafford ,Thompson you might need to be buying some compound from VP that taxicab racing’s has to go you still have a couple of weeks to purchase it and apply it fans would appreciate a good race they haven’t been in a while

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