NHMS GM Working On Regional Division Event For 2018; Optimistic Despite Losing Cup Race

Justin Bonsignore celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour F.W. Webb 100 last September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Competitors on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regularly call their events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, their Daytona 500. Twice a year that is.

A day after the announcement that New Hampshire Motor Speedway would lose one of its two NASCAR Monster Energy Cup events, track executive vice president and general manager Dave McGrath sounded optimistic that the Whelen Modified Tour will continue to compete at the track multiple times each year.

“Nothing is off the table,” McGrath said. “… We are already exploring a short track weekend in September and that certainly could be other things as well.”

The Whelen Modified Tour competes as part of each Monster Energy Cup weekend at the track. For many around the series, the assumption was that the loss of the September Monster Energy Cup weekend at the Loudon, N.H. facility would likely mean only one event a year for the Whelen Modified Tour at the track.

On Wednesday Las Vegas Motor Speedway officials announced that they would be adding a second NASCAR Monster Energy Cup event to their schedule for the 2018 season and that event would be transferring from New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. owns both New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motors Speedway. SMI purchased New Hampshire Motor Speedway from track founder Bob Bahre in November 2007.

“We are already exploring ways to bring short track racing, keep our Modified race, work with our American Canadian Tour promoters that promote those two events at our speedway in September, and create a great short track weekend,” McGrath said in a press conference Thursday at the track. “That’s certainly something we’re already discussing.”

McGrathy opened the press conference with a prepared statement saying: “Although our schedule may be changing, the entire staff at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is more committed than ever before to bring the very best in motorsports entertainment to the New England area. We’ll focus on making our July NASCAR race week even bigger and better, showcasing the incredible vacation destination that the speedway and the Granite State offers fans each summer. Our annual schedule will continue to provide the widest range of motorsports entertainment found anywhere in the Northeast. This creates new opportunities for us to explore events such as music festivals, winter events and much more.”

McGrath, who is his second year as the general manager after replacing Jerry Gappens in late 2015, continued an optimistic tone through questions Thursday.

“Change is tough,” McGrath said. “I don’t make any bones about it. But this a change that I know this team and this company is up for.

“Motorsports will continue to be the main thrust of our business, but certainly other events that we’ll look at. … Don’t forget, we still have a July race. It’s going to be here for a long time. We will work as a team to make that race bigger and better than it’s ever been. But more importantly, we are not going to stop there. We are going to find new things to bring to this property. … We won’t stop.”


  1. Suggestion, how about having the race on the Cup weekend that will be in 2018 have just Cup and Trucks or Infinity series with the off guys coming in Sept.? Like back in the day the Busch guys would run in May with the mods and Cup in July with the mods. Mods ran 4 times a year .

  2. Bobby Mac says

    It was only a matter of time that they would loose a date to Vegas. Hopefully have a Modified and ACT tour weekend.

  3. burton smith had this plan all along next he;ll just ciose it down sell off for condos thinks the people in the northeast dont count as cup fans

  4. Maybe a huge Mod weekend in July. An all star race with a decent purse perhaps. Maybe a 200 lapper with a 30 to 35k winners share
    Can dream at least.

  5. Arthur Anderson says

    Bruton Smith doesn’t think that Northeasterners count as Cup fans because he doesn’t count enough of them at his turnstiles. Too many empty seats to not try taking one of his dates elsewhere.

  6. darealgoodfella says

    With all the numerous Modified series, have a big modified race event in Sept. with all the series.

  7. hookhands says

    Get the supermodifieds, modifieds, ACT, VMRS, NEMA, everything!! I want to see street stocks going 4 wide into the corners!

  8. Bill Realist says

    I believe that ACT will be gone after this year. Not just at NHMS but totally gone. I know ISMA tested there years ago and couldn’t keep tires on the cars. NEMA would sure be fast…and dangerous.

  9. Major modified show…..tweak rules to bring in other series’ cars. This region loves modifieds and we haven’t seen a big show like that in years. I stopped going to NHMS because I did not want to pay for the boring cup and truck races that I didn’t watch. If they try to run a K&N race with mods as a support division I will go somewhere else. Modifieds should be the headliner.

  10. How about bringing back the Thompson 300 and the heck with NH. Let them fend for themselves with the taxi cab divisions!

  11. darealgoodfella says

    humphry, I second that emotion.

  12. Holy cow batman, dareal you and I agree on something! I knew we could find common ground. Lets make it happen I can see the headline now for 2018 “Thompson Speedway brings back the greatest race in the northeast the prestigious Thompson 300”. This could potentially be the biggest event that happens in modified racing in a long long time.

  13. wmass01013 says

    The biggest reason the 300 has never returned to THOMPSON is that DON HOENIG wanted the june/july race winners TO BE THE POLE AND OUTSIDE POLE spots LIKE it was when the 300 was run every yr and NASCAR has the time trial rule THAT THE winner of time trials starts on the pole NOT 3RD

  14. darealgoodfella says

    wmass01013, but that rule did not seem to apply when NASCAR was doing that stoooopid draw to mix up the top qualifiers as standard operating procedure. The fastest car in qualifying rarely started on the pole.

  15. Who says it has to be a NASCAR event? If you remember the area tracks also had certain nights where the their feature winner was a guaranteed starter.

    With all the touring series; WMT, MTS, MRS, ROC and the LI contingency (and that is just in the North never mind down south) does anyone realize how many cars this could be? And if you could put a purse of say $125,000.00 together (or more) then add lap sponsors…………….

  16. wmass01013 says

    True dareal BUT the pole winner wasn’t decided by a previous race but that same race time trials and redraw

  17. darealgoodfella says

    wmass01013, did you see that practice speeds are being used to set qualifying order at Myrtle Beach? That will mix things up a bit.

  18. darealgoodfella says

    Geeez, that’s some really stubborn and petulant people if the starting grid disagreement put an end to the Thompson 300.

  19. wmass01013 says

    I think they are doing the same qualifying for the icebreaker
    yes Don Hoenig WAS VERY STUBBORN about that
    and I don’t care if 300 NASCAR or not I would have gone non nascar to do it long ago

  20. Dareal, did you see the rule on tires and pit stops for the Myrtle Beach race? They are giving the teams 4 new tires to change for the race, you can only change 1 tire per pit stop and only 3 over the wall.

  21. Andrew B. says

    Back to the NHMS dilemma:

    IndyCar and WMT – give it another try.
    Back in 2011 they said they needed 40k to make it worthwhile and they got close to 30k on a rainy day with no walk-up. Run the Mods on Sunday instead of Saturday, maybe add a 3rd and 4th division (Indy Lights and another regional series) and make Sunday the day for all features.

  22. Fast Eddie says

    Andrew, I think it was 2012 and they did run the Indy Lights before the main event on Sunday. And I fully agree; they need to give that another try. Maybe they could switch the days for Mods and Lights. The weather certainly didn’t help the crowd. I was there and was absolutely amazed! On a misty day with slicks on a 1-mile track, they were making laps averaging 165 MPH!!

  23. Andrew B. says

    Eddie –
    It was August 2011 (last year of the previous IndyCar chassis). I agree that the IndyCars at Loudon are something to see. Personally, I’d like to see all the features on Sunday. If they could draw 28k on a lousy day with no Modified race, they could easily (IMO) surpass the break-even point with the same races PLUS a modified race and maybe one other more “local” race.
    Certainly seems like a better idea than running some street stock tour in front of 2,000 fans like they will probably do this year. They need a higher-profile event to satisfy the shareholders, considering they just lost a mammoth TV check with the second Cup weekend going away.

  24. Michael Poirier says

    I agree that we should have either Mods or Indy as the headliner in September. The mods have always been the best race at NHMS anyhow. If you can guarantee a great headliner, you will still pack in the campers. I for one would come for the whole weekend if you make it worth our while.

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