Pit Box: Jennerstown Ready For Whelen Modified Tour Opener

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Wadecole 133 White (1)

First it was slated for Virginia. Then it was scheduled for South Carolina. When the long-awaited 2020 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour opener finally rolls around, it will be in Pennsylvania, courtesy of Jennerstown Speedway.

While the site has changed, the familiar faces of the tour are ready roll with the changes and get the season going.

The Morocco Welding/Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair will be held Sunday without fans in the grandstands at the popular Pennsylvania short track.


The biggest change from 2019 actually occurred over the winter, before the COVID-19 Pandemic, when four-time championship car owner Mike Smeriglio III announced his retirement from racing following another championship season with driver Doug Coby.

That means Coby, in a new-look No. 10, will begin chase for his seventh tour championship Sunday, as a newly-minted driver/owner

The Whelen Modified Tour will visit Jennerstown for the first time since 2006, when the late Ted Christopher took the win on the .522-mile oval. Coby was ninth that night driving the No. 77 for Curt Chase. Fourteen years, 28 wins and six titles later, Coby will the tour’s return.

He’ll face a strong field of competitors, as the Modified drivers and teams have been champing at the bit to get back racing. After the original opener at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway was postponed by the pandemic and the rescheduled opener at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway was bumped by the weather, Jennerstown is now up.

Thirty-five entries have been filed for the race, which will honor long-time Whelen Modified Tour veteran Wade Cole, who passed away over the winter.

The tour has run 14 races between 1987-2006 at the central Pennsylvania track, with five-time tour champion Tony Hirschman Jr. winning in 1999 and then again when the tour returned in 2005. He was second to Christopher the following year. Hirschman’s son, Matt, has had his success at the track in the Race Of Champions modified series, and is among those set to challenge Coby this weekend. Another contender for the win is Jon McKennedy, who has won in just about every open-wheel division in the northeast, including picking up an IMSA Super Modified victory at Jennerstown in 2017.

McKennedy was 10th and Matt Hirschman 12th in the tour’s 2006 race at Jennerstown.

Long Island’s Justin Bonsignore, the 2018 tour champion, closed last year with three wins in the last five races. Ron Silk, Craig Lutz and Woody Pitkat all visited Victory Lane in 2019 and will be in the hunt to do so again.

RACING REFERENCE: Previous NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at Jennerstown | NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers career stats at Jennerstown | 2019 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Standings


PLACEJennerstown Speedway
DATESunday, June 21, 2020
TIME12:30 p.m. ET
TELEVISION/RADIOTrackpass on NBC Gold (live), 2:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN — Friday, June 26, 12 a.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT.566-mile paved oval
EVENT SCHEDULESunday, June 21 — Garage opens: 8:15 a.m. ET; Practice: 11:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m.; Qualifying: 1:45 p.m.; Morocco Welding/Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair: 2:30 p.m.
TWITTER@jtownspeedway, @NASCARRoots
HASHTAG#WadeCole133, #NWMT


CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The starting field for the Morocco Welding/Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair is limited to 30, including provisional positions. The field will be set by qualifying (1-24) and provisional process per the entry blank (25-30) for the Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair. In the event that qualifying as stated on this entry blank does not take place for any unforeseen circumstance, the field will be set in accordance with the 2020 NASCAR Touring Series Rule Book.

QUALIFYING: Two consecutive qualifying laps. Faster lap determines qualifying position. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on the vehicle after the vehicle has taken the green flag at the start/finish line. Vehicles will be impounded after qualifying. Vehicle must qualify on race set up.

The Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair will be 133 laps (69.43 miles) and is to be run in two (2) segments. The race will have a halfway break, at or near the conclusion of Lap 70. All participants in the event will be allowed to make changes that would normally occur during a routine pit stop. A maximum of five (5) uniformed crew members in the car servicing area. Teams will be allowed to change all four (4) tires – two change tires and teams may swap front/rear on left side – and add fuel. Change tires can only be utilized during the break. Fuel cannot be added at the same time that tires are being changed.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: Four (4) tires for practice and four (4) for qualifying and to start the race, plus an additional two (2) for a total of 10 (10) tires.


  1. Shawn, any way you could post the entry list? Keep up the great work.

  2. Field of 30, with 35 cars on the entry list. Some of those entries will probably withdraw or no-show. They will probably start >30 cars. Nobody is getting sent home in this climate.

    Weather looks dicey for Sunday, 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Will be hot and humid.

  3. Camerissa says

    So no coming in at a caution on lap 50 or so and putting on your tires? No saving one or both for 30 laps to go? I understand their trying to cut down on crew members. But for the fans it makes for a less entertaining race mandating everyone have the same strategy.

  4. Anarchy 2020 says

    15 cars in the arca race over the weekend. Great success!

  5. Thanks Shawn, keep up the great work.

  6. Anarchy 2020 says

    And somehow Fifield will make the show.

  7. With qualifying set to take place, it should be the fastest 30 cars race, no provisionals. NASCAR needs to rethink it’s provisional process. Only past champion drivers, or car owners should be allowed to take a provisional, limited to 2 spots, and if they don’t use them, the field should be set by time’s. If qualifying is cancelled the field should be set by car owner points, maybe with an inversion or redraw. Maybe expand the field by one spot for the Wade Cole provisional, similar to what cup did for Petty. That spot could be filled by random draw of unqualified cars. The provisional system has caused controversy in the past,and should be changed. Fast cars shouldn’t be sent home so “field fillers” can race.

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