Sources: Thompson Speedway Dropping June Whelen Modified Tour Event From 2020 Schedule

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in action at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

Multiple sources close to Thompson Speedway and NASCAR have confirmed to RaceDayCT that the 2020 Thompson Speedway schedule will feature three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events. 

The track will drop its June Whelen Modified Tour event. 

Thompson Speedway general manager Terry Eames was not immediately available for comment. The 2020 Whelen Modified Tour schedule is expected to be released this week. 

Thompson Speedway has hosted a record 146 Whelen Modified Tour events dating back to the divisionโ€™s inception in 1985. 

Over the last decade the track has wavered between three and four Whelen Modified Tour events annually. In 2009 and 2010 the track hosted three events, then went back to four events each year from 2011 to 2012.

Three events were held at Thompson in 2013 and 2014, but the track returned the fourth event in June for the 2015 season. The track had remained at four events annually since 2015.ย 

Next season Thompson Speedway will host the Icebreaker 150 in April, the Budweiser 150 in August and the Sunoco World Series 150 in October.ย 

In July RaceDayCT reported that Thompson would likely go to an all Sunday schedule for the 2020 season, but it has also been learned by RaceDayCT that the August Whelen Modified Tour event next season will take place on Wednesday Aug. 19.ย 

The full Thompson Speedway schedule for the 2020 season is expected to be released within a month.

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  1. WOW!! I don’t think anyone saw this coming! Most people here seemed to think Stafford would be down to two WMT events. I wonder if this means Stafford will still have three? We’ll find out in a week or so, I guess.

  2. Surprising but they have done this before. The crowd was good in June. A Sunday June show would have been even better more than likely. To DaReal’s point, one less race for New England fans. This throws a wrench in the projected schedule. At least we have the Aug date. I can plan my vacation time now. Yet, more breaking news out of the RacedayCT offices.

    Shawn, a certain someone will need names and Social Security numbers of all your sources to verify authenticity.

  3. The Aug 19 date will be a night race, and the Thompson night race is an awesome event. Looks like feedback, discussed quite a bit here, may have had some influence. The Mods under the lights at Thompson is completely iconic.

    JD, fingerprints, retina scans and complete genome mapping required, in addition to complete, notarized, minute-by-minute life experience accounting since turning 12 years young. And this is just the minimum. More requirements will be thought up as needed by the squirming and immediate defense needs.

    Given the general state of decline of motorsports, the Modifieds need to take care of their northeast audience base. Their long time and loyal audience. If the Modifieds allow or cause the well established fan base to be distracted and find something else, it will be the end of the Modifieds. IT IS FAR EASIER TO KEEP A CUSTOMER THAN TO FIND NEW CUSTOMERS. And that has been demonstrated over decades with the Mods.

  4. darealgoodfella says:

    IT IS FAR EASIER TO KEEP A CUSTOMER THAN TO FIND NEW CUSTOMERS. And that has been demonstrated over decades with the Mods.

    i definitely agree with this and your recent sentiments related to this topic in other comments in other threads. HOWEVER, have you looked around the grandstands at modified races, all short track races for that matter? i’m in my 50’s and im a youngster at most of the races i attend. an effort needs to be made to get the younger demographic. i’m not saying that a race in Iowa is the way to cure things, but new fans are needed.

  5. Crazy in NY says

    IT IS FAR EASIER TO KEEP A CUSTOMER THAN TO FIND NEW CUSTOMERS. And that has been demonstrated over decades with the Mods.

    Yet….the world didn’t come end to an end way back in 2014 when there were only 3 races there.
    OMG how will we go on? DGF you can show them though by not attending any Tour events next year
    at Thompson as there punishment. What don’t we know however. Like NASCAR went venue shopping because this date drop has been in the works for awhile. Can’t say for sure but anything is possible.
    Now everybody strap in . His Eminence hasn’t chimed in yet so we will be schooled shortly I’m sure.
    Troll in NY out!!

  6. Use all the hyperbole you like JD. Fact is in a forum with anonymous contributors sighting sources, especially for events in question is simply good form. You’ve make it clear you think your word is good enough and that’s fine. If I or anyone else links the source and you get a touch of righteous indignation knock yourself out.

  7. Bad news always follows Terry Eames. Not immediately available for comment. What’s he so busy doing, other than losing race events?

  8. Phil A, have you seen some of the recent stuff on virtual racing that Shawn has produced?

    That is what the physical racing is competing against. I said this years ago, that short track racing, and all motor sports, is competing with other forms of entertainment and they need to up their game to get the younger replacement fans as the older fans age out.

  9. “Given the general state of decline of motorsports, the Modifieds need to take care of their northeast audience base”
    I just don’t get this thinking at all. The NWMT from car counts, to new blood to the top tier had a banner year. TTOMS expanded, took a chance on Maine and won. Staffords Opens were successful and their weekly series had the strongest fields in total in years. New young teams everywhere. What about FanChoiceTV.? Proof it’s so awful or expanding the base. Bonsignor and Coby are on record cheering the Iowa race as a means of expanding the base.
    I know racing is failing in some places. I ask the RaceDayCT audience at large. Was the last season on the whole evidence of an obsolete entertainment choice dying out. Evidence of green shoots and hope for the future or was it a success?
    Thompson’s 4 races was too many anyway and the big loser is Bonsignor. What no one knows is, is it a problem or evidence of an opportunity for other tracks to join the series and the base expand. No one will know until the shedule is released.

  10. Crazy in New York, time marches on and is a factor here. Read what Phil A wrote and make sure you understand that. Then read the stuff Shawn has recently produced on virtual racing and how the younger crowd considers that to be real racing. It correlates with what I have been saying for years in that the fanbase for racing is aging out and there aren’t the necessary numbers of younger replacement fans. In a few more years, all those old folks will be gone and the stands will be empty. Look around in the stands. It’s like a geriatric convention, or convalescent home. And I’m one of them. Those people are going to fall off in the next few years, leaving no fans to fill in. The younger crowd are at home playing racing on a playstation.

    That combined with any reduction in races at the home market region can finally be the decline of northeast small track racing.

    I hope Terry Eames has big plans for promotion and getting younger, people way younger than 60, to get to the track.

  11. I have to agree with Dareal and Phil. You just don’t see many groups of young people at the races anymore. They’re occupied by electronic technology, and don’t seem very interested in mechanical technology. Back in the day we counted the days, hours, & minutes until we got a driver’s license. My kids are in their 20’s and about a third of their friends don’t even have a license, just never was a priority. And now they all want to live in the city, so most of them don’t have a car. It seems the more electronic interactive technology involved and shorter event length, the more interested they might be.

  12. Rob,
    Who said it’s “bad news” and who said they “lost” it? I can assure you it wasn’t taken away. My understanding is that it was a choice track management made. What makes it “bad news”. I know there’s a lot of people that think four events at Thompson was too many and have hoped they would drop one of the events. And as far as not being immediately available, it was close to 11 p.m. on Wednesday when I got the additional confirmation to feel I was in a place to write this story with 100 percent certainty it was correct. Not everybody is up sitting by their phone at 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night.

  13. Crazy in NY says

    “I can assure you it wasnโ€™t taken away. My understanding is that it was a choice track management made”.
    I didn’t know that for sure but I would have wagered on that being the case which is what I thought all along. Packed stands make it a curious move however. I’d love to hear from Thompson management on what went into the decision they made. Losing that one date and DRG goes off
    on the sport is losing or not gaining a younger audience which has nothing to with a single event in eastern CT. Everybody take a deep breath already.

  14. Bill Realist says

    Don’t worry the ticket prices will be increased accordingly to make up for it.

  15. WHYYYYYYYYYYYY??! THEEE best race track for the modifieds besides New Hampshire loses a race?? My favorite track has only themselves to blame for this one. Those stands were packed even on Wednesday nights and they couldnโ€™t get anyone even for the Saturday K&N show that they tried which failed. But, why does this have to happen? I wish there were more tour races at Thompson. We need to stop with the sub-half mile length tracks and race on track around 5/8th- one mile tracks. Cars are too expensive to be beating and banging on 1/4 mile tracks and its soo much more fun to watch the mods race around Thompson and hear those engines really showing what they have, than only being at 3/4. Now, Riverhead, Seekonk, and maybe Wall are fine and Riverhead is a classic so Iโ€™m not trying to say dumb them. But, how can anyone say losing a Thompson race is good? Besides the fact we get to save $45 and gas for a day in June next year.

  16. A shame. Thompson has done this before, and then gone back to 4 races within a few years, so I wouldn’t worry much. It would be nice to see Thompson go to Sunday afternoon, and run a full 18-20 race season. Maybe run the modifieds on the road course, that would be cool.

  17. I agree the big crowds showing up at the track make this a head scratcher for sure.

    I’m impressed with SC burning the midnight oil to break more WMT news. Some old school journalism right there. We are getting fresh news almost everyday. Good stuff.

  18. I would think after being a loyal Nascar supporter for so long Thompson had the choice of 3 or 4 races, maybe when they were at 3 Nascar asked them to step up to 4 , not sure of dates but did they go to 4 when other tracks dropped out ,and now that more tracks are on schedule they are good going back to 3 , Just a thought , I would think if it was a huge money maker they would have kept it

  19. Christopher Pivarnik says

    Dude you had 4 races there. More races at Thompson?? Might as well call it the Thompson Modified Series then. Get rid of 1/4 milers? Smh

  20. Let’s see what Thompson has in store, and what they do in place of the NWMT.

    We are just not a car-centric society anymore. The new Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro are not selling to the young crowd, but grey or bald old geezers. Our automobiles have become practical and utilitarian, no longer racy and sporty. Pickup trucks are a huge segment of the market. That isn’t going to inspire people to go to a race track.

    Nice job on the scoops, Shawn. Looking forward to see what else you uncover over the off-season.

  21. The crowds at Thompson have been exceptional this year. Is Thompson management upset or embarrassed at making too much money?

  22. Maybe the road race circuit is producing more than enough revenue and they donโ€™t want to invest in the purse needed to support multiple WMT races. Maybe a business decision?

  23. Perhaps Thompsons thinking is if you have the modified tour race there 4 times it loses its uniqueness, becomes routine, isn’t as special. The decision surprises me because it looked like the Nascar Modified tour shows were well attended especially compared to a regular show.. Maybe they are going to go the way of Stafford and run a open Modified series for less money. Stafford seems pretty happy with what they have there. Maybe its time to try that open mod shows they ran several years ago. I hope this doesnt mean they are cutting back on oval racing after just increasing it last season. We shall see when the schedule comes out.

    Between the tour, MRS, tri track, Stafford opens, the bull ring series, and waterford Mod series the area was over saturated with Modified races. You could go see a Tour Type mod race pretty much any weekend of the summer, and that is with the bullring folding after 1 event and the waterford mod series never opening. Maybe less is better.

  24. Gotta agree with cgs there is enough modified racing for the die hard mod fans to get their fix just about every week, but it’s not all NWMT events, which is where the problem lies. The other touring series are full of talented drivers, some also compete on the NWMT, and it’s just the cost that keeps them away. Personally I’d like to see super late model racing more in New England, or some big dollar ($$50,000 to win) races. Dirt racing has some big money events that draw talent from all over the country, but don’t see many high dollar asphalt races especially in the north east. It’s time a track like Stafford or Thompson step up and host a big dollar open event. Maybe Thompson could host an open event, seemed to work for Stafford. Plus they should go back to Sunday afternoon, midweek shows make for a long day at work the next day, where Sunday afternoon shows get you home early evening. Just my opinion.

  25. Also they should bring back the 300.

  26. One thing on my mind… provisional starters. There should only be 3 provisionals per event. Past championship driver, and car owner being two, because you’d think they’d rarely get used, and 1 general provisional of which each driver would only get to use 3 times per season. Any provisional not used would go to the faster car, and the general would go by postmark on the entry form, or to the fastest unqualified car. There are drivers who used provisional starts all year long while faster cars were sent home spawning a few WTF situations. If your running times at Stafford that place you mid pack in their late model division, you shouldn’t be out there. Just my opinion

  27. Big dollar Super Late Model races in CT? Yup, that sounds like a great idea said nobody ever.

    SC touched on the 300 last week but unless they plan on running 300 laps on a Wednesday night in August it isn’t happening in 2020. At least not at Thompson.

  28. Crazy in NY says

    We are just not a car-centric society anymore. The new Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro are not selling to the young crowd, but grey or bald old geezers.

    Huh?? I just rode the other day in a brand new Challenger SRT (with the 717 hp) that’s owned by a
    24 year old. An awesome machine btw but don’t make blatant statements that are not true. No I’m not going to get into long debate on the demographics of who is buying what cars and the percentages. In general I agree with your point however racing in general can do much better in generating interest to people of all ages. Factory muscle today is spectacular and helps feed an interest in motorsport I think. It would help if our Modifieds actually looked like cars you can buy. (Like they used to) I digress. Rob p I wish I could agree with you but the races would be better if they were shorter IMO. ( lets hash the Sizzler 200 vs the original 80 lapper again). Ut oh.. why did I type that.

  29. Feels like a great day for schedule release…

  30. “The new Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro are not selling to the young crowd, but grey or bald old geezers”

    It’s no accident two of these cars are styled to look like the 60’s versions, when the geezers were young. The Camaro can play off Corvette performance, another geezer ride.

    A great majority of the young folks I know who actually care about cars are more into Subaru, Honda, or German hot rods than V8 RWD American cars. The young American brand fans are often more interested in pickups.

  31. CiNY, I have yet to see a new Challenger, Camaro, Mustang or Corvette driven by anything other than an old, grey or bald guy. I make it a point to see who is buying these cars. Your datapoint may be real, but it is an outlier. Even at local car shows, the American muscle car owners are geezers. These retro reproductions are aimed at old guys that have the means to buy these cars. Not too many 24 year olds can afford these cars. Find a 24 year old that can afford one and is interested in American muscle cars is extremely rare and not the norm.

    As Barry said, young guys at the car shows are there with Subies, Hondas, VWs.

  32. I suggest those who are interested in demographics attend an IMSA (Weathertech series) weekend at Lime Rock.

    You will see TONS of young men and women at the race track, as well as plenty of grey and white hair. Walk through the open paddock and note the demographics at different trailers. The Japanese, Korean, German, and exotic locations will be surrounded by 20 and 30-somethings, Corvette Racing and the Ford GT will be primarily 50+. Even the grid girls are targeted towards who they expect to visit each area. BTW, Chrysler rarely participates…

    Similar examples can be seen at the annual auto show held at the Javitts Center in NYC.

    Why do you think Thompson is having so many road course and drift events, and Stafford hosts the Subaru Wicked Big Meet?

  33. Crazy in New York, the lowest level SRT 717 HP model STARTS at a $61,000. How many parents will go out and buy that for their 24 year old children? How many 24 year olds can afford to buy that for themselves? Do you now agree that your datapoint is an anomalous outlier?

  34. Thompson is about the only track for its size to fight off putting up a soft wall maybe since they donโ€™t have to pay Nascar for a race they can think of coming up with some money like thatโ€™s going to happen poor Thompson.

  35. Racer,
    โ€œThe only track for its size to fight off putting up a soft wallโ€. From where did you acquire the fact you just stated? I feel like you just made it up in your head. Can you back up that fact with some evidence to prove it?

  36. Crazy in Ny says

    My datapoint is an anomalous outliar? Is there a pill I can take for that? ( yes Doug that was a snarky retort from me…my specialty right?). You got me on that one DGF..go help yourself to a cookie. I just don’t have the time with work and racing and other life needs to check out the demographics of who buys what when and the exact numbers. I defer to your expertise on that. Doug if you leave your address I’ll start mailing you my wristbands from the races I attend so as to build my cred. Good Lord couldn’t live with you thinking I’m a ghost.

  37. Crazy in New York wrote, ” An awesome machine btw but donโ€™t make blatant statements that are not true.”

    Then Crazy in New York followed that up with, “I just donโ€™t have the time with work and racing and other life needs to check out the demographics of who buys what when and the exact numbers.”

    Squirm much?

    Don’t really need much time, just pay attention. Be observant and perceptive.

    Well, apparently you do have time to then accuse others of making untrue statements. Use that time to pay attention, focus your attention. You can do it.

  38. It’s human nature to try to simplify things. Racing is dying, there aren’t enough young people interested, young people don’t drive and the ones that do drive own generic cars because they aren’t interested in cars in general. Young people are media addicts that eschew live events for media based entertainment. There’s a kernel of truth to it all but itโ€™s misleading as a generalization as Barry made clear.
    Devils advocate. Who said young people as a group were ever a major part of the racing audience and the stands dominated by young people and young families? Who said that young people have to be brought up in the racing culture to enjoy it when they get older? Who said that racing now has to be like it was decades past to be successful? Who said that the cars appearing on the track have to be intimately relatable to what people have driven in their past?
    The history of LOCAL circle track racing isn’t one of win on Sunday, sell on Monday like NASCAR. It originally was about low cost parts. If you were sitting in the stands in the 50’s and 60″ you weren’t there because you related to coupes from the 30’s. If you were in the stands in the 80โ€™s and 90โ€™s you likely werenโ€™t their to see the Chevelleโ€™s and Monte Carloโ€™s. You were there to see modifieds, you didnโ€™t care much what brand it was and the Chevelleโ€™s and Monteโ€™s werenโ€™t relateable so much as cheapest parts for the entry division. Now Karts, Legends and Streets that are mostly fiberglass are available and people are still in the stands to see the modifieds for the most part. In modified country that is.
    Think back to High School. Was the local race track the place to be for a significant portion of your class or school? Probably not. More likely you may have been more interested in sports, having a steady girl, being naughty with your girl, drinking, partying and being young. When you left High School for college or work was it a priority in your life along with all your friends. Maybe as you raised a family it was an expensive extravagance you took a pass on. Face it the younglings never liked it anyway since to them it was just noise and colors flashing by. Maybe older people come back to when there are less tickets to be responsible for. Whoโ€™s to say the video watching young folks of today arenโ€™t the race teams and fans of tomorrow when they have more money and time to fill.
    Maybe racing is more about pockets. Pockets of success and those not so successful. Pockets that are evolving and changing offerings to be more in line with the current interests of the racing public. Pockets that have the resources to cope with the added expense of insurance, security and safety and those on the margins that have to fold. Pockets where property value are high and race tracks noisy, part time and expendable.
    Staffords weekly series a little anemic attendance wise so they go to Opens, the SK5K and with the NWMT load the schedule with more specials that are better attended with higher ticket prices. Thompson isn’t Stafford. It’s a multi faceted entertainment venue of which circle track is only a part. Road racing and flat track seem to be gaining strength. NHMS is evolving with their new flat track. VMRS dying perhaps, Opens gaining strength.
    Dying for sure in some places. Strong or evolving in others.
    Thompson losing or dropping a race could be a bad sign. Or it could be the track continuing to evolve and/or NASCAR needing a date for another opportunity or all of the above.

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