Setting The Scene: Whelen Modified Tour 150 At Seekonk Speedway

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Justin Bonsignore celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Riverhead 200 recently at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway (Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Justin Bonsignore celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Riverhead 200 recently at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway (Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

For the second straight weekend, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to a track after a long hiatus when it rolls into Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, Massachusetts, for the 150 on Saturday night.

While there have only been six Whelen Modified Tour events ever held at Seekonk, the southern New England track is no stranger to open-wheeled racing. The flat and narrow “Action Track of the East” has held a number of open shows for Tour-type Modifieds, including one in July won by current point leader and most recent winner Doug Coby of Milford, Connecticut.

Seekonk Speedway has been continuously operated since it opened in 1946, but like Oswego a week ago, it is an intriguing late-season addition to the championship picture. Coby enters with a 20-point lead over Justin Bonsignore heading into the final four races of the season, but the stretch run is proving challenging for teams with this year’s schedule featuring 17 races and including tracks where teams don’t necessarily have the detailed notebooks they do at some of the Tour’s hubs.

A new track on the schedule didn’t slow the championship contenders last weekend, and it shouldn’t this weekend, either. While Seekonk hasn’t been a fixture on the Tour schedule over the last decade, recent Modified events at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track should have the Whelen Modified Tour teams on their game as the season rounds its final corner on a track that historically produces extremely tight-quarters, two-groove racing.

RACE: 150
PLACE: Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Massachusetts
WHEN: Saturday, September 10
TIME: 8:30 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .333-mile asphalt oval
2015 WINNER: 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:
TWITTER: @SeekonkSpeedway
EVENT HASHTAG: #AnytimeRealty150

The Race: The 150 is the 14th of 17 championship points events in the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. It is the first and only race of the year at Seekonk.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 28 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will have secured starting positions through two-lap time trials while the remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (50 miles). The tire change rule is zero (0) tires, any position.

The Track: A .333-mile asphalt oval, Seekonk Speedway has operated continuously since its opening in 1946, and original builder and owner D. Anthony Venditti ran the speedway until his passing in 1991. For the next 14 years, it was operated by his wife, Irene, and now it runs under the guide of Francis and David Venditti. Billed as the “Action Track of the East,” the track surrounded on all sides by concrete grandstands runs as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with Pro Stocks and Late Models as its premier divisions.

Race Winners: There have been six different winners in six races all-time at Seekonk Speedway. Reggie Ruggiero won the inaugural Seekonk race, in 1987, while Jerry Marquis, Chris Kopec, Ed Flemke Jr., Chuck Hossfeld and Eric Beers also have wins at the track.

Pole Winners: Like the race winners, there have been six different pole winners in six races at Seekonk. Tommy Cravenho holds the track qualifying record of 102.121 mph, set in June of 2000, while Ruggiero, Mike Stefanik, Donny Lia, Eric Beers and Joey Caraccia also have won poles. 150 Notes
Wild Card: Doug Coby hadn’t seen Oswego Speedway until he rolled into the track on race day, but the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour point leader made sure it wouldn’t slow his march toward a fourth series championship. Coby led 129 laps of the Toyota Mod Classic 150 at Oswego en route to his fourth win of the season. While Seekonk isn’t quite the unknown that Oswego was, it’s been 11 years since the Tour competed at the track. Coby, who leads Justin Bonsignore by 20 points with four races remaining, won a Tour-type Modified race at the track in July.

History Lesson: The first Seekonk Speedway win in history went to a driver whose name — and team — were synonymous with the Whelen Modified Tour for decades. Reggie Ruggiero won the inaugural event at Seekonk in 1987 for car owner Mario Fiore, one of Ruggiero’s 44 career Whelen Modified Tour wins, which ranks him second behind Mike Stefanik on the all-time list. Ruggiero led 135 of 200 laps in that event on August 30, 1987. Jerry Marquis won at Seekonk in 2000, one of his five wins en route to the championship that season. Saturday’s race will be the Tour’s first visit to Seekonk since 2005.

One-Two-Three: The top three drivers in the Whelen Modified Tour standings are providing a championship battle for the ages in the season’s stretch run. Coby (leader), Timmy Solomito (third) and Bonsignore (second) finished one-two-three in the most recent race at Oswego. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve combined to win five of the last seven events on the schedule, with Coby winning twice (Loudon, Oswego), Bonsignore winning twice (Thompson, Riverhead) and Solomito winning once (Monadnock). After Seekonk, where none of them have won in their careers, at least one of the three drivers in title contention have won at either Loudon, Stafford or Thompson this season.

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 13 races. He also finished second in his first career start at Seekonk in 2004.

Winning: Doug Coby, Timmy Solomito and Justin Bonsignore are the only Whelen Modified Tour drivers with multiple wins this season, with Coby having a Tour-leading four wins through the first 13 races. Solomito has three wins, and Bonsignore has 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

NASCAR Home Tracks: Pro Stocks at Seekonk
Seekonk Speedway’s full slate of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will be on the same card as the 150 Saturday night. The Pro Stocks, Late Models, Street Stocks and Sport Trucks will all hold qualifying and feature events.


  1. Seekonk fan says

    Unless there has been a last minute schedule change, the pro stocks will not be running this Saturday night.
    For some odd rea$on whenever there is a touring division racing (ACT,MRS , Whelen mods), Seekonk chooses not to showcase their premier division to the tour fans.

  2. THANK GOD !!! They have a showcase division ? dear god !

  3. It’s Coby all the way from here. They ran at the ‘konk for R&D, it worked at Oswego. Oswego is the Big ‘O’, Seekonk is the Little ‘o’.

    The rest of the field is running for 2nd place in each event and the points.

    It’s over, shut the door.

  4. Seekonk is the only track in Southern N.E. still headlining Pro Stocks. Having them run when the tour is in town would not bring any of the tour fans back.

  5. Coby is taking the weekend off, will not be running at Seekonk.

    Then all he has to do is dump the 16 and 51 some time in the last three races.

  6. I heard he’s spending the weekend with Liz,wants to get his blini polished.btw areal its kolbee not coby

  7. Darealgoodfella …. Use to like you ! Your a Coby fan and counting your chickens before they hatch . The 51 & 16 will finish ahead of him Saturday . And yes he is a dirty player at New Hampshire … Seen it couple times . Will bite him in the ass soon . And lucky for him the point system for the tour sucks ! I will be laughing come Thompson and beers on you if you have any pocket change left !

  8. Art nice … Am wondering about our girl Liz … Is there a lucky man when the wine is flowing and a room with a view ? Let us know ! LOL. Just hope it’s a good race Saturday and may the best car win …. Not the officials 🏁🏁🏁

  9. Seekonk runs Pro Stocks every week successfully. They run the tour once every ten yrs. Let’s not make this about modified people. They just build in opportunities to give the guys some time off. They put on a great weekly show. You should go sometime. Sounds like tour will go green about 8pm. That’s a good thing.

    Mod man, now the points system is rigged because Coby is out front? Let me guess, the point system will be fine though if 51 or 16 pull it out. I’ve heard it all now.

  10. Mod Man… I can assure you I am not a kolbee fan. You need to be a bit more perceptive to catch the humor, sarcasm, etc.

  11. Never said rigged , just look at the breakdown of points in each race , honestly if it was done right Coby could have a larger lead. Rusty Wallace said it years ago you should be rewarded for your wins with more points and I agree……dareal, your still an ok dude

  12. There isn’t enough room in the pits for the tour teams plus all the weekly divisions. Thus the Pro Stocks get the week off.

  13. Mod Man, the 2 has 25 bonus points, the 16 and 51 have 15 bonus points. Keep that in mind as you review standings.

  14. This will be my second tour show attending this year.Oswego was my first only because of the super modifieds.I will however bring Queen Melissa a box of Depends as that is what was needed last week for her.The Old Steel Palace was just a wee bit too intimidating for her.Hopefully this week she’ll make the race.

  15. Dareal ? Wasn’t getting Into bonus points . Was keeping it simple , not enough space in points between positions is all I was saying and you get all angry . Liz say no to your date offer for Saturday ? Wins should be way mod than a mid-pack guy …. Guy wins and other finishes tenth you really don’t gain much . And I hate Coby and have every right . Believe you said I was a paying customer correct ? And said your boy should have more points than he does now cause of wins ! So review that . Be good all 🏁🏁🏁

  16. Liz Cherokee says

    Does anyone know if Seekonk has a bar/stand that serves wine and/or cocktails or does the so called ‘Action Track of the East’ just have ordinary beer stands? Say what you want about Tony Stewart, but nothing beats Eldora for its fine selection of elixirs!

  17. LIZ plenty of beer available ….and men too. good luck to you and Melissa … lap down by lap 6….. sorry LIZ

  18. Tyler Bonenfant says

    Seekonk Speedway is not a flat track, I don’t know the degree of banking but I do know its seven feet, whatever that means, and you’re walking up a hill if you go to any of the turns and walk from the bottom of the track to the top of it. Moderately banked is more suiting.

    As said, there isn’t enough room in the paddock area even with the recent expansion to accomodate all four weekly NWAAS divisions and the touring series that visit, so one division has to go. For some reason which I do not get at all its the pro stocks (super late models for those not from around here), when it should be the sport trucks if anything, since that’s more of a Friday night division anyways.

  19. Mod Man, I’m not angry. The bonus points are a big part of why the top three cars are where they are. The 2 has 25 bonus points, the 16 and 51 have 15 bonus points. The next best bonus points earners are the 82 and 58 with 6 bonus points. There’s 20 points between the 1-2, 2-3 and 3-4 place cars. That’s a HUGE gap that can only be overcome by bad luck and DNFs.

  20. Liz Cherokee says

    When did pit areas become paddocks? When I hear someone say paddock I think I’m at an European equestrian event watching dressage or at Churchill Downs watching the Kentucky Derby.

    I’ll make it simple using analogy notation:
    pit area : race cars :: paddock : horses

    Speaking of the Derby, I think I’ll see if this lovely bartender down here in Newport knows how to properly muddle the mint… In case you all haven’t heard that slang before, one who can properly muddle the mint is one who knows the proper way to make a Mint Julep. I love them!

  21. It still would be nice to see the Pro Stocks be part of the program. The DAV Memorial used to have the Valenti Modifieds with there weekly categories which included some out-of-towners due to extra $$ up for grabs. They “borrowed” some of the front parking lot for pit space and had room for everyone.

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