Green Flag For Whelen Modified Tour At Jennerstown Speedway

Last November Jennerstown Speedway general manager Bill Hribar was ecstatic to announce the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour would return to the Pennsylvania facility in 2020 for the first time in 14 years. 

For Hribar it was huge to get the series back to the track, but never could he have envisioned the magnitude of how huge the track’s return to the schedule would ultimately be in the big picture of the series moving forward in the midst of a global pandemic. 

Jennerstown now will serve as the site of the 2020 season kickoff for the Whelen Modified Tour. 

Jennerstown Speedway will add a second Whelen Modified Tour event to its schedule for 2020 by hosting the Whelen Modified Tour Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair on June 21.

“It’s actually a little bit of mixed emotion,” Hribar told RaceDayCT Friday. “Our sentiments go out to those tracks that were scheduled to have races and weren’t able to do so as everybody is working their way through the COVID-19 issues. The fact that we were able to be the Whelen Modified Tour season opener, for as much as the series history has been at Jennerstown Speedway, it’s really exciting to not only have them back in 2020, but have that first race of the season.”

The event will be held without fans in attendance.

NASCAR did not officially announce broadcast details for the event, but Hribar said the event will be broadcast live as part of the TrackPass streaming package through NBC Sports Gold.

According to a NASCAR release: “Event procedures for June 21 will be significantly modified in accordance with CDC, OSHA and state and local government recommendations – teams will be limited to eight people per car number. That will include all members of the team, from driver to crew members to car owners. The event will include practice and qualifying, and the race will not have pit stops. In addition, NASCAR and the track will be maintaining social distancing protocols throughout the event.”

NASCAR had attempted to run a season opening event at Myrtle Beach Speedway which was scheduled for tomorrow. After announcing that event offically last Friday the race was called off due to a forecast for rain. Myrtle Beach Speedway was not on the original 2020 Whelen Modified Tour schedule. Friday’s announcement from NASCAR did not address whether or not the series would look to reschedule the event at Myrtle Beach.

Jennerstown was originally scheduled to host the series on May 23 and was set to be the fifth event of the season for the Whelen Modified Tour before the COVID-19 global pandemic forced the shutdown of live sports across the country.  That event will now be run on Aug. 22.

The Whelen Modified Tour was originally slated to open its 2020 season at South Boston (Va.) Speedway on March 21. That event was postponed indefinitely. 

The series was then scheduled to run the Liquid Death Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway on April 5. The event was originally postponed to May 16th and then postponed indefinitely. The NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 was originally slated for April 26, was postponed to May 31 and now remains postponed indefinitely. 

The May 8 event for the series at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway was supposed to mark the fourth event of the season and the division’s first event at the track since 2010 before NASCAR announced the cancellation of the Martinsville event. The sanctioning body also has announced the cancellation of the July 31 event at Iowa Speedway, which would have marked the debut for the series at that facility.

The Whelen Modified Tour also postponed an event scheduled for June 6 at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway and the event scheduled for June 20 at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway. 

New Hampshire Motor Speedway executive vice president and general manager David McGrath told RaceDayCT earlier this week that his hope is still have the Whelen Modified Tour racing as part of the track’s July NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 weekend.

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  1. Great to have the modified back on track. Sucks that there will be no fans in the stands. Still think any memorial for Wade Cole should be held at a Connecticut track, and hope that once racing is allowed there will be a Wade Cole memorial race at Stafford or Thompson, maybe even Waterford.

  2. Rob P.
    We’re living in some crazy times now and you never know what to expect, but if there’s one thing I can say with almost 100 percent certainty it’s that the Whelen Modified Tour will not run this year at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

  3. I lost count of all the season openers we’ve had so far.

  4. Suitcase Jake says

    I am glad to see a Race on Trackpass with the Modifieds. But ” NO PIT STOPS ” You gotta be Crazy ?
    You haul all the way to Jennerstown and have your crew with you, But you cant make an adjustment ?
    You have a Flat tire , You cant change it ????? Sometimes as we all know the pit strategy plays an
    important role in most Tour Races. Say it a few times “No PIT STOPS ” makes no sense …..
    Pit Stops were done for last few weeks with no issues in Cup , Xfinity & Truck races. ??? You need to
    c slap on fresh tires on to adjust stagger or soft option tire for a run to the front… ?? There is no way you
    can have a Professional Race without PIT STOPS…NASCAR this MUST BE FIXED !! Why pay for a
    crew if you cant use it ??? Common Sense People…. A race without pit stops is no race at all….
    Suitcase Jake ..

  5. The latest hot spot states are California, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Arkansas ands Alabama.

    You do remember that COVID-19 pandemic, right?

  6. June 21 is a long ways away.

    How many openers have we had so far?

    What a difference a day makes.

  7. so 2 races at Jtown June 21 and August 22nd. Will there be more races at Jtown this year then say Thompson or Stafford? I am surprised by the no crowd. I know a few PA tracks have run with fans. Roaring knob has run a couple of fan attended shows already though initially it was against state guidance. I believe Lincoln had a show with fans and maybe selinsgrove has either a show completed or one scheduled for this weekend with fans. No idea the location of these PA tracks in relation to Jennerstown. Good to see something on the schedule. I think this race will be better received by the drivers and team owners. There is 3 weeks notice and less travel for most of the teams.

  8. Shawn, brought up Waterford because Wade was more of a bullring driver. I might be wrong but I think his only wins came at Riverside. Don’t remember if he ran at Monadnock, or Stafford, when they ran tour type miss as a weekly division.
    Besides, one can dream… anything is possible.
    Thanks again for this site, great job, keep it up.

  9. Goodfella You do remember that COVID-19 pandemic, right?
    Sure and go to the Flu shot website or some place called the CDC
    Fluzone flu shot has a .5 percent death rate connect the dots.

  10. @Suitcase Jake There will be a 1/2 way break to change tires, make adjustments and fuel (if needed) just like they’ve done at Loudon. You will be able to make a non midway tire change only if you have a flat.

  11. I’m having another deja vu all over again.

  12. Sunday, that’s a interesting choice. Kind of eliminates the next day rain date and makes getting home for working folks a bit more problematic. I’ll bet they had a reason like it’s the best day for streaming viewership. Hope they get a robust streaming turnout.Good move saying up front it will be available.
    Rob Fuller made the point in a recent Unmuffled that pit stops are a tremendous burden on teams. Expensive and dangerous for guys that are not professionals I believe were the main points and more dangerous in some places like Stafford. For fans it;s popular for sure.. Maybe under the circumstances having the mid race stop will be fine taking a bit of pressure off teams that have enough already.. Adjustments and tires mixes things up so that alone could provide some drama. Nursing tires for extended runs is the biggest turn off like in VMRS races.
    Not seeing an angry backlash on social media like for Myrtle. Hopefully this will not end up a Hatfield’s and McCoy’s deal like the first go around
    Well done NASCAR. You got a bloody nose but got back on the horse and came up with a better alternative in CrackerJack time. Can we assume the purse will be shaved in this race as a fanless, streaming only race?

  13. solsticeson says

    Im sure not holding my breath waiting for the Mod tour to start. I still like to breathe, feel bad for all the ppl trying to breath in foolish masks, if someones sneezin coughin havin a fit bk the heck up mebbe, the CDC seems to be taken over by the Chinese, have a nice day,

  14. Solsticeson, it’s idiots like you that ensure this virus remains uncontrolled.
    It’s a simple face mask. My wife has COPD, and she manages to use one. The masks protect others from you, and you from others. The sooner people get on board with these simple steps to slow the spread, the sooner we’ll be able to go to the races.

  15. You know it’s funny, my daughter and a good friend of mine both nurses in two different major hospitals are telling me they want you to believe what the press is telling you. Don’t believe everything you are being spoon fed. There are new cases coming in every day, this is not ending any time soon.

    It’s up to us to determine our own destiny, live or die, use masks, practice social distancing, throw 2020 to the wind and let’s come back strong in 2021.

  16. Earl, the press I believe has been and is saying this is not over, and there’s no definite end in sight. The statistics show worldwide INCREASE in cases. Some 24 US states have increasing cases. It ain’t over at all. The US is still experiencing 1,500 to 2,000 deaths per day, and 20,000 to 25,000 new cases.

  17. With all due respect to the medical professionals that are in the eye of the storm doing their great work every day, taking the real risks and making the biggest sacrifices I don’t see how using them to promote a conspiracy of false information is helpful. For this news conspiracy to have legs the steady decline in Covid19 hospital cases from 2000 at the peak to 530 as of a few days ago would have to be completely bogus. The declining cases and deaths as well as projections of continued declines would need to be bogus. Lamont opening the State for business would have to be a conspiracy of lies based on a dangerous cover up.
    Masks, hygiene, testing and distance is the key and it’s working.
    There will be racing in Ct in 2020, most likely at Stafford and it will be great no matter what they decide to do or how different it is from what we are used to.

  18. Dougie, put your bong down, whatever your smoking is rotting your brain.
    Covid 19 is far from done. Medical proffesional say that if was a baseball game, we’d be in the top of the second inning. New reports are saying that even if a vaccine is found, and goes into production by the end of the year, it won’t be until late in 2021 before vaccination begins, and late 2023 before everyone is vaccinated. That’s IF they find a viable vaccine. Unemployment continues to rise, even as things reopen. Unemployment could reach as high as 28-30% before this is over.
    And all this is taking into consideration that everyone continues to social distance, wear masks, and practice good hygiene.
    If you, or anyone else thinks this is over, your sadly mistaken.
    To everyone who continues to social distance, wear a mask, washing hands, and staying home when possible, I say THANK YOU. You actually get it, and know that your actions and sacrifices are making a difference. In a time when our country is leaderless, it’s up to us to help and look out for each other. Together we Will beat this virus.

  19. So, Jennerstown is opening this weekend with fans at 50% grandstand capacity. No fans for Nascar Modified tour In June. I guess we know it’s nascars fault, not the track… NASCAR should use this modified event as a test, before allowing fans in at cup venues. They could try out any new policy that they may wanna do for cup events. Such as mandatory masks, spacing of crowds, taking temperatures… what is the point of doing it with no fans ? especially when it’s apparently allowed in PA. Multiple tracks there are opening up with fans

    Sunday, June 21:
    2:30 PM NWMT RACE (133 LAPS / 69.43 MILES)

  21. RickyinMass says

    u tell hmm robpee. sibles numbirs meen nuthin. its worss. robpee knows is trumps falt. we al goin tu get sik if bidin not eleckted.

  22. Talladega overlapping on the same day. Oh well. That’s what DVR’s are for.

  23. Talk about the difference a week or two makes as well as a rethink on location. They’re racing with fans at Jennerstown this Saturday and the NWMT is getting close to zero blow back on this race. I assume the teams know the purse at this stage and no one is saying boo. Thank goodness.
    Masks optional Saturday night is a bit disappointing.

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