Setting The Scene: Whelen Modified Tour Performance Plus 150 At Myrtle Beach Speedway

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Whelen Modified Tour driver Chase Dowling

Rising Stars Set Aim For Doug Coby

As the green flag gets set to fly on the 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, all eyes are on the fight for the championship. Doug Coby enters the new campaign having won the last four titles, and five of the last six, as he continues to shatter the record books on NASCAR’s oldest touring series.

However, when the season revs up on Saturday at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway, Coby has a long list of rising talent looking to chase him down and make a name for themselves in the process. An early-look at the season shows that some of the youngest drivers in the history of the series could be the ones challenging Coby for victories through the 16-race points schedule.

Take Roxbury, Connecticut, driver Chase Dowling as just one example.

Dowling is ready for a full-time effort with LFR Chassis and Rob Fuller in 2018, and has plenty of momentum on his side. He finished second in the SK Modified points standings at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway last year, and captured his first career pole award driving for Fuller in the Whelen Modified Tour finale at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

That front-row starting spot helped propel him to a second-place finish in the Sunoco World Series — his best in his 41 career starts.

“I’m really looking forward to this year,” said Dowling, the 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year. “Rob Fuller is giving me one of the best opportunities I have had in my racing career. Last year, being a part-time team, we got some top fives and we were close to winning a few races, but we just had some bad luck. That pole at Thompson was a really good way for us to finish the season. I think we have a good team together for this year.”
For the 20-year-old Dowling, the combination with LFR and Fuller may actually be the perfect fit. When Coby won the title in 2015, in his first season with LFR, he scored seven victories, and has followed it up with six more since driving for the company. Last year, Bobby Santos III swept both races at New Hampshire driving for LFR, and the team has also added Justin Bonsignore to their stable for this year.

In nine races driving the car last year, Dowling scored five finishes that were inside the top five.

“I think we’ll be pretty good, we need some luck on our side,” Dowling said. “I think we will be able to pull of a couple of wins, I know that’s the expectations for Rob as the owner. We tested a lot last year and we had some good solid runs. We feel prepared for this season. I think we will be up front.”

And in some ways, this is everything Dowling could have hoped for on the Whelen Modified Tour. Dowling has been successful at Stafford for many years — both in the SK Light and SK Modifieds — and he is hoping that valuable experience will help him get going on the right foot.

“All of the SK guys at Thompson, Stafford, they are all basically trying to get into the Whelen Modified Tour at some point in their career, and I’m there now,” Dowling said. “I’m pretty fortunate to have what I have for an opportunity.”

And much like Dowling, there is another former Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner looking to take his game to the next level this year. Calvin Carroll, who won the Sunoco Rookie award just last year, has a brand new car and a brand new crew chief with hopes of contending for his first win in 2018.

“We’ve done a whole lot to prepare for this season, with a new crew chief, I think it will make a new difference for us,” Carroll said. “We have a brand new car, brand new spec engine and a brand new Troyer chassis. I think the new crew chief, new car, it’ll come together and make a big difference for us. We are all really excited and we think we will do 10 times better than we did last year.”

Although he failed to finish four races last season, Carroll still earned a 12th place finish in the championship standings, and scored a best finish of 13th during points-paying races. However, in October, Carroll finished third in the non-points event at Charlotte, which he is hoping helps give him a little bit more motivation and momentum going into the new year. The 17-year-old is expecting to get to the front of the pack right from the drop of the green flag at Myrtle Beach.

“I think we’ll be good coming straight out of the trailer,” Carroll said. “I want to win races. I think we will have a good finish in the points, I think we have a great combination here.”

And right alongside Dowling and Carroll, Craig Lutz is another driver who will be putting his foot to the floor looking to make a name for himself this season. After driving his family-owned modified for much of his career, Lutz connected with Goodie Motorsports halfway through last season, running the final nine races in the No. 46 Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet.

Now, with some experience under his belt at just 23-years-old — including a pole award at Stafford in just his first start with his new team last August — Lutz is ready to see the green flag on a full season.

“My crew chief prepares awesome race cars, and we’ve been really close right off the trailer. It just makes everything easier,” Lutz said. “Everyone is always going to be pumped up when you’re fast. If we keep unloading close and we make the right calls, we can be there at the end of these races.”

Lutz got the season started in February when he traveled to New Smyrna Speedway for the 52nd annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. The opportunity to compete at the half-mile opened the door for him to knock some offseason bugs from the car, and help for the team to continue to gain confidence in preparation for the Tour kick-off.

“I think it’s an advantage, just being able to kick the season off before you go and run full-time on the Tour,” said Lutz, who enters the year with a best career finish of seventh. “We were lucky enough to run down there. We had some really fast cars, we had some good runs, and we had some tough breaks. I’m really excited to start the season off.”

For Lutz, the opportunity with Goodie Motorsports gives him the best chance to win races he has been given in his career.

“We just try to do our best every week, the goal is to finish races, and hopefully be able to contend for some wins this year,” the Miller Place, New York, driver said. “We had fast cars last year, I just couldn’t put the whole race together. I hope that’s something we can work on this year.”

Along with these three rising stars, NASCAR New York state champion Tommy Catalano will make his Whelen Modified Tour debut on Saturday. Catalano is coming off championships at Holland and Spencer in the Empire State last season. As of Wednesday, there are 30 cars entered for the season-opener.

The 16-race schedule for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour gets underway Saturday at Myrtle Beach, with the running of the Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety-Kleen. The green flag is scheduled to fly at 5:35 p.m.


Five-Time: Doug Coby enters the new season having won four straight championships, a record for the most consecutive titles in the modern era. The Milford, Connecticut, driver begins his quest for a fifth straight and sixth overall triumph on Saturday. Coby finished 13th in the Tour race at Myrtle Beach last season, but is hoping to get things started on a better note in 2018. In the last six years, Coby has 21 wins behind the wheel.

Solomito’s Time To Pounce: After coming just six points short of the championship last year, Timmy Solomito is back with a ton of momentum on his side entering the new campaign. Solomito returns to Flamingo Motorsports with Starrett Tools back as his primary sponsor coming off a year where he won five races. The Islip, New York, driver will look to capture the checkered flag for the second straight year at Myrtle Beach to start the season.

Pasteryak Is Back: Chris Pasteryak is returning to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for the first time since 2010. After departing from tour competition, Pasteryak put together plenty of successful years of racing in New England tour-type modified racing. Entering Myrtle Beach, Pasteryak has 30 career starts.

McKennedy Ready For New Challenge: Much like Pasteryak, Jon McKennedy has been having plenty of success in New England modified racing. But now, he’s ready to take his talents to compete for victories on NASCAR’s oldest touring series. McKennedy teamed with Tommy Baldwin over the offseason for competition behind the wheel of the No. 7, with new sponsor Accell Construction.

First of 16: Saturday’s season-opener is the first of 16 points races on the 2018 Whelen Modified Tour schedule. There will also be one non-points event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July. NBCSN will air 11 tour events, starting with the Myrtle Beach race on Wednesday, March 21 at 6 p.m. ET

Up Next: Following Myrtle Beach, the Whelen Modified Tour will return to the track at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for the annual Icebreaker on April 8.


  1. I’ll admit to having only a passing interest in the NWMT in the past. But is this field at least at the start considerably deeper in potentially really good teams then last year? And in the way of out of left field no one ever pays any attention to Wade Cole as a full time participant but rare top 10 car. Looks like he switched from Ford to Chevy. It it significant? Spec engine now?

  2. GOOD LUCK TO ALL NWMT DRIVERS AND TEAMS FOR2018. May the best team win. As for this weekend going with Tim Solomito for the win and hoping he can carry it all the way to a championship. Also need to shout out to Woody Pitkat still remember his dare days so GOOD LUCK WOODY . to all the drivers two words : HAVE FUN.

  3. Doug wade is a gentleman he’s been around the sport for a long time the racing should be good this season if you ever get the chance watch wade load his car on his hauler after the race a sight to see I think hirshman has a very good shot this weekend track is all about tire mangment

  4. Liz Cherokee says

    I won’t be there this year, but I’ll surely be following the coverage on from the St Patrick’s Day festivities in Boston! I might have a Guinness or two or three or…! Go 01, Mr. Handsome Stash, and Stolimoto!!!

  5. I don’t know Wade Cole personally but know he is the elder statesman of modifieds that goes way back to Riverside Park. On the NWMT he’s like the invisible man. How special would it be to see him get a little attention with some surprising finishes.
    Youth and big time NASCAR names will crash the party this year in SC. Baldwin’s 7ny to win and Fuller with Chase at the wheel for second.

  6. Doug I was just gonna refer to the article on speed 51. Things ain’t looking so good for the NWMT don’t look like a full field again this year. I think allot of guys are fed up with the B.S. from NASCAR and are choosing to run other touring series instead.And I think Wade Cole invented the modified that guy’s been around forever in that yellow and black 33.

  7. Forget the mods would love to see super late models at Stafford or how about big block dirt mods on asphalt they did it before. That would be cool

  8. Man you guys are being harsh on the NWMT. It’s South Carolina. A long trip and they still have a good field. We’ll have to see how things play out but I still think at the top of the field this is a much stronger top echelon of teams. Come on now, Rob Fuller full time and Tommy Baldwin. How does that not add up to more strength at least on paper.
    As for Stafford they already have what they need in the way of strong divisions. They’re called the SK’s and SK Lights. Athough seeing 30 ACT LM’s take the green at Stafford in a special race would be interesting.

  9. Liz Cherokee says

    What is a big block? When I hear that term, I think of the vodka ice luge that one carves into a big block of ice…

  10. Fast Eddie says

    I always like when guys like Wade Cole, Gary McDonald, and Ken Heagy get a top ten, which they do once in a while. To me it’s always cool to see any of the low budget teams have a good day!

  11. Put a pin in it. Wade Cole switching from Ford to Chevy. One top ten last year. We see more and we’ll know why. Impossible no the root for the guy.

  12. That Speed 51 article was 100% written off this week’s entry list and rumors. It is factually incorrect in so many ways it’s not funny. Zero research went into it. They didn’t speak with any of the teams. They didn’t even read the press releases already put out by several of the teams.

    30 cars in SC is outstanding and people start with the same tired complaining. Whatever.

  13. I do believe there were a good deal of new kernels of information in the Speed51 article as well as information already known. Racedayct was attributed as a source. At the least its a nice compilation to refer to and that is a good thing. Maybe it’s redundant to those with an intimate knowledge of the tour but most of us don’t fit that description. Otherwise the tone has been pretty upbeat about the NWMT seems to me. Definitely a stronger field then last year with a high potential for surprises.

  14. darealgoodfella says

    NH Mark, I second that emotion.

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