Doug Dunleavy Puts His Passion Behind Whelen Mod Tour Wade Cole Memorial 133 At Jennerstown

Doug Dunleavy (right) works with his Eddie Harvey Racing team last October at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour kicks off its 2020 season on June 21 it will do so with an event bearing the names of a series legend driver and a man who’s passion for Modified racing has become legendary.

The Whelen Modified Tour will see its first action of the year with the running of the Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair. 

For any business owner, putting the name of their business on a race as a sponsor would stand as a point of pride. For Doug Dunleavy, it’s a return he can make in pushing as hard as he can to get the series he’s so passionate about back on track after a three month delay because of COVID-19 global pandemic shutdowns.

Dunleavy’s passion and support for short track racing, Modified racing and the Whelen Modified Tour seems to know no boundaries in recent years, but getting the series back on track in 2020 is a dedicated mission for him.

“This is needed right now, we need to do this,” said Dunleavy, who is a partner in ownership of Eddie Harvey Racing with the team’s namesake Eddie Harvey. “ This one race means a lot to me because Wade Cole is part of the family of the racing world and we need to do this for him and we need to do it to get this series back. … We’ve got to get the race cars on the tracks. We’ve got to get that first race in. These guys don’t realize how important it is. NASCAR has got to get that race in to prove a point that we can do it.” 

The June 21 event at Jennerstown, which will be contested without fans present, is an addition to the 2020 Whelen Modified Tour schedule. The originally scheduled series event at Jennerstown has been rescheduled from May 23 to Aug. 22. 

“Anytime you have someone like a Doug Dunleavy behind what you’re doing it’s a huge advantage, Whelen Modified Tour series directory Jimmy Wilson said. “Doug loves Modified racing. He loves being a part of it. He loves helping people out and it’s just perfect the combination for a series like this to have somebody that has got that much love for the sport and is willing to give back to it and do everything that he can in his power to keep it healthy. It’s something that all of us should be very appreciative of. I know I am.”

With continued government restrictions in Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts it’s unclear when the series will get back to competing at any other venues besides Jennerstown that were on the original schedule. The series was originally scheduled to run 17 events in 2020. Two of those events – at Martsinville (Va) Speedway and Iowa Speedway – have been cancelled. 

Of the first seven scheduled events of 2020, five have been postponed indefinitely. Those events were scheduled at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, Thompson Speedway, Stafford Motor Speedway, Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway and Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway. 

Dunleavy didn’t want to see NASCAR wait to try and get back on track with the original 2020 schedule. 

“It’s more that I knew if I stepped up to the plate it would help others step up too,” Dunleavy said. “It takes that first step. We’ve got to get that first race in more than these guys realize. They’re all like ‘Wait until we come up to Stafford.’ Well what if we don’t get to Stafford this year?

“Now we can go out there and hopefully people can say ‘Hey, we ran Jennerstown and it was no problem.’ It’s just better. It opens the door for like Stafford or Thompson to say ‘We can run them too and do televised racing or pay-per-view or something. It’s all a temporary pain right now to get things going. The guys have to show their true colors right now is what’s more or less what’s going on. I’ve discussed it with certain drivers that didn’t want to go. I said ‘You’ve got to look at that everybody has it tough right now, in tough times, it’s my business, it’s everybody’s businesses and then there’s the ones that are closed down.’ If we can all come up and get through the first race, at least we’ve got that one in to get options.” 

For Dunleavy there’s also the matter of ensuring everything is done right and within the scope of safety and regulations. There have been some short tracks in different regions of the country that have opened their gates in defiance of state orders. Many of those tracks garnered plenty of attention doing that, though mostly negative attention for that defiance.

Ace Speedway in Elon, N.C. ended up featured by numerous national media outlets for packing their grandstands with fans two weeks ago in defiance of orders from North Carolina governor Roy Cooper. Dunleavy is all for society and the business world getting back on track and back to normal life in the face of the pandemic, but he wants it done right when it comes to racing. 

“It is killing me,” Dunleavy said. “And then I get hurt because we’re professionals in the world of NASCAR. We’re the elite group, yet you know like certain tracks like Ace and stuff like that go out and do that, that harms me. That upsets me in part because that’s just sloppy. We want it done right. NASCAR is safety first and I see it today boy. We will do it the right way and it’s going to be great.” 

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  1. THANK YOU Doug Dunleavy. Although I still think the Wade Cole Memorial should be held in Connecticut

  2. The guy is a bull. Took some heat for the Myrtle deal so what did he do. Pushed for something somewhere else and here we are with Jennerstown. That’s got to be a clue why he is such a successful business man. Relentless and thinks outside the box.
    These are hard times and will be hard times for the foreseeable future. I don’t know if a call to arms is really necessary. People need to make decisions based on their own personal circumstance. However even in hard times people need entertainment and s sense of normalcy. Dunleavy bless his soul is actually doing something while most of us are sitting around waiting for something to happen or hoping nothing happens.
    It does not appear that there will be any season in the traditional sense and it’s a bummer for a lot of people. The fanless/streamed model is weak so we fans have to take what we can get when we can get it. The great news is each race that does come off should contain the same excitement, emotion and anticipation that are staples of any single race.
    Starting with Jennerstown that is a change of venue for the series. An unknown and track that is really happy to host the race. Aren’t the fans chomping at the bit to see the new Coby team and how they will compete? Timmy Solomito has a new car and team and must be calculating his part time opportunities are limited with everything part time now so he may be there. How about Preece? You never know when he’ll show up. Rameau has got that new old 2 equipment so keep an eye on that. No 85 or 36 at Myrtle but how about Pa. Two really good cars may now be back in the mix.
    All that drama just waiting to unfold and we can thank Dunleavy in large part for making it happen.

  3. Anarchy 2020 says

    I hope Dunleavy gave dafella a call before moving forward with this on his own.

  4. knuckles Mahoney says

    I understand passion for something, but this sounds like a bully trying to tell the kids what to do.

  5. Doug Dunleavy is a great guy giving money to help the sport he loves. He sponsors street stocks to tour modifieds, as well as sponsoring races at tracks as far away as South Carolina. He’s a great guy , who loves and supports the sport.

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