Solving The Puzzle: White Mountain New Look For Whelen Mod Tour Rebuilding Schedule On The Fly

Before the COVID-19 global pandemic turned racing schedules for 2020 into a jumbled mess of postponements, cancellations and newly added events, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series director Jimmy Wilson was already looking ahead to a 2021 schedule for the series he oversees. 

Wilson said he had been in conversations with the ownership group operating both White Mountain Motorsports Park in Woodstock, N.H. and Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, Vt. about possible additions for 2021 before the pandemic overtook. 

And when it looked like regulations would keep the Whelen Modified Tour out of many traditional venues already on the schedule, those chats about White Mountain in 2021 got fast forwarded. 

On June 16 Whelen Modified Tour management shocked many when it was announced that the series would make its first appearance at White Mountain for the Independence Day 200 on July 4. 

“We’ve said from the onset with everything that’s been going on with COVID-19 that all options were on the table to get us to racing and keep us racing,” Wilson told RaceDayCT. “And we had started the conversations with the ownership of White Mountain – that also owns Thunder Road – of potentially doing something up there in 2021. Then when all of this came about, and through the communications that we’ve had back and forth, one thing led to another and when the state of New Hampshire said they could open up to 50 percent capacity we were on it to add another date to the Whelen Modified Tour schedule.” 

On the morning of June 16 management of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series announced they would run their season opener on July 4 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. Later that day NASCAR announced their event for the same day at White Mountain. Tri-Track Open Modified Series officials announced the next day that they would move their event to Sunday July 5. 

Wilson said Whelen Modified Tour management did not purposefully look to schedule on top of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series. Numerous drivers compete regularly with both divisions. At least nine drivers are expected to run the White Mountain event Saturday and the Monadnock event Sunday. 

“It’s very hard right now,” Wilson said. “As an industry we have to do everything we can to work together to not hurt one another’s events. We certainly never intentionally try to schedule on top of one another. All of us try not to get into that position. But as dates become thin and everyone is trying to manage their own series’ and their own race tracks, yes it’s going to get tough. We’ll certainly do everything we can try to mitigate that and keep that from happening as much as possible, but we’ve all got obligations to our sponsors, to our race teams, to everyone within the industry to do races. And we’ll do what we need to do to achieve that.” 

White Mountain is a quarter-mile high banked track that is not a NASCAR sanctioned venue. The track last hosted a Tour Type Modified event on Aug. 10, 2019 with the running of a Bullring Bash event. Anthony Nocella, who plans on running the Whelen Modified Tour Fourth of July event, won the Bullring Bash race. 

“It’s a pretty fast little place,” said Nocella, who plans to run at White Mountain and Monadnock this weekend. “I think it will be pretty good racing. It’s a pretty racy track. There’s two grooves. You can really race side-by-side there. It’s a pretty quick place for a small track.” 

Whelen Modified Tour regular Matt Swanson had the fastest car in practice and qualifying for the Bullring Bash event, but got wrecked on the first lap of the feature. Swanson also runs full-time with the Tri-Track Open Modified Series and will run both events this weekend.

“White Mountain is definitely an interesting place,” Swanson said. “I’ve been there multiple times before in the past because when my father used to own Super Late Models we used to go race there quite a bit. It’s a place I’m familiar with just from being in the grandstands. To finally turn laps on it, it’s one of those places where to watch and race and actually drive around the place is two totally different animals. From the grandstand it looks like a nice smooth quarter-mile with fast corners. And that’s really what it is when you drive it, but the biggest difference between watching and actually racing on it is the fact that the backstretch actually has on it what racers refer to as a crown. It kind of slopes off on the backstretch and it will catch you off guard if you don’t do it right. It’s definitely one thing I noticed and kind of took notes on when I went there … last year.” 

Whelen Modified Tour regular Woody Pitkat finished sixth in the Bullring Bash event last year and led just over a quarter of the 100-lap event driving for team owner Stan Mertz. Pitkat, who also plans to run both events this weekend, has made two starts at White Mountain this year, once with track’s regular Late Model division and once with the American-Canadian Tour. 

“I think it’s going to be an awesome race,” Pitkat said of the event at White Mountain. “When I ran there last year with Stan’s car for the Bullring Bash race I thought it was really cool. It’s a great little track. It’s racy. You can run two-wide at times for multiple periods of time. It’s definitely a two-groove track. To me it feels kind of like a mini-Bristol [Motor Speedway] with the banking. Once you get your momentum built up you’re pretty much hauling the mail around there in a Modified. 

“I said last year that if the Tour could ever go there that it would be an awesome race. But I never thought it in a million years it would happen. I think it’s going to be good.” 

Said Wilson: “I think it’s a beautiful little facility. Looking at the track itself, having never seen a lap turned on it, it just looks like a great track.  I think we’re going to put on a great show up there.” 

The only event the Whelen Modified Tour has run in 2020 was the Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer on June 21 at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway. That event was added to the schedule, with the originally scheduled May 23 event at Jennerstown postponed to Aug. 22. 

COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns have decimated the original 2020 Whelen Modified Tour schedule. 

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. That event was originally postponed to May 16, then postponed indefinitely and ultimately cancelled. 

The originally scheduled third event of the season, the NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 at Stafford Speedway, was originally slated for April 26, was postponed to May 31 and now remains postponed indefinitely.

Stafford Speedway kicked off its season last Friday operating under a 25-percent capacity reopening guideline from the state of Connecticut.  It’s unclear if Stafford Speedway will reschedule the Spring Sizzler 200 or will host the two other Whelen Modified Tour events scheduled for the track in 2020. Stafford is scheduled to host the Whelen Modified Tour on Aug. 7 and Sept. 27, though the current 25-percent capacity limit likely makes hosting those events economically unfeasible. 

“We’re still currently in discussions,” Wilson said of the situation with Stafford Speedway. 

It was announced earlier this week that Thompson Speedway will host the Whelen Modified Tour on Aug. 19 and Oct. 11 with the events run by a new operational group led by the track’s former general manager Terry Eames. 

“I’m certainly glad to hear that something is moving forward there,” Wilson said. “I look forward to working with Terry and getting everything solidified.” 

The Whelen Modified Tour had added an event to the schedule to be run May 30 at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway but it was ultimately postponed due to weather. NASCAR has not rescheduled that event.

Whelen Modified Tour events at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (May 8), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 18) and Iowa Speedway (July 31) have all been cancelled. 

The June 6 event Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway and July 11 event at Wall (N.J.) Stadium have been postponed indefinitely. 

The event scheduled for June 20 at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway has been postponed to Oct. 17, with Riverhead still scheduled to also host the series on Sept. 19. 

The Whelen Modified Tour Musket 200, as part of Full Throttle Weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, remains scheduled for Sept. 12. A Sept. 5 event at Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway also remains scheduled. 

Outside of Saturday’s event at White Mountain, no other events are currently scheduled for the Whelen Modified Tour in July. 

“We’re looking at anything and everything to try to fill in the gap from July 4 to get us to the month of August,” Wilson said. “But there’s nothing that I can really speak to right now that is there.” 

Wilson said series officials are keeping a close eye on travel restrictions being put in place in certain states. Governors in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey issued a travel advisory last week that requires individuals arriving into those states from states with high coronavirus rates to quarantine for 14 days. North Carolina and Florida – where some Whelen Modified Tour officials and teams are based – are included in those travel advisories. 

“We’re keeping an eye on all of that stuff and figuring out what we can do to make sure that we are in compliance with state mandates and doing what we’re supposed to do,” Wilson said. “NASCAR led the way in getting sports going again with the Cup Series back at Darlington [on May 17]. And that trickles all the way down to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. We owe it to the competitors and fans to make sure that we do it right and get it right and we will continue to do that.” 

Said Swanson: “It’s tough to kind of not know what’s next. Luckily we now have some races solidified over at Riverhead. We’ve got the race over at White Mountain and we know we have another trip to Jennerstown. At least you know there’s something coming up. It’s just a matter of if we can see some fillers in the middle, which would definitely be nice to see. Jimmy is doing a good job with NASCAR trying to find us race tracks to go to. Seeing as he got us a race at Riverhead the week after what is supposed to be the World Series at Thompson, so I think they’re definitely trying to take advantage of that time after the World Series that we can still be racing and try to get more of our schedule in.” 


  1. RaceDayNH says

    Thunder Road is bananas… I would be there in a heartbeat to see the tour

  2. Very interesting read. A lot of good info.

  3. Hmmmm… sounds like Jimmy Wilson is looking for a Thompson replacement.

  4. wmass01013 says

    Finally some real answers from Mr. Wilson instead of NO NO NO NO AND NO, everything he said makes sense, THE NASCAR haters will find ways to poke holes in the article but seems pretty open and believable to me!

  5. NH MOD CHASER says

    Would love to see a TOUR race at Star Speedway !!!!

  6. I agree it was more informative than the last time Mr Wilson graced this website. I learned just as much about the whelen mod tour talking to my dog in the back yard. The optics of scheduling on top of Monadnocks tri track race certainly doesn’t look good after scheduling a race at myrtle beach on top of Fullers open mod show in SC. Honestly its a difficult situation. Wiith limitations put in place by state authorities, I believe it would be nearly impossible to turn a profit on a regular priced Whelen show which is why Stafford and Thompson haven’t been too quick to reschedule their postponed tour races. Further stacking the deck against them is their deal with NBC sports which owns the web broadcast rights to all the tour races. I just hope they don’t rain out Saturday at White Mountain and decide to run Sunday against the tri track with the entire month of July empty. That would be something.

  7. It is not going to rain on Saturday. This race is happening. If it did rain why in the world would they not run on Sunday when everyone is already there? Makes no sense to come back another weekend. We got cars coming from NC,SC, PA and LI. Would it stink for everyone involved with TT? Sure would! But I couldn’t fault Nascar if that is what they did in a rain situation. It’s a mute point though, weather looks great. I’ll be at the pool until right before qualifying.

  8. Fast Eddie says

    Jimmy Wilson: “I’m certainly glad to hear that something is moving forward there,” Wilson said. “I look forward to working with Terry and getting everything solidified.”
    Dareal, I’m curious. What makes you think NASCAR is looking to replace Thompson? The above sounds more to me like they are happy to be having races there.
    NH MOD CHASER, Star and NASCAR had a difference of opinion as to what category was going to be their top division. That’s why Star dropped NASCAR. It still would be cool though!
    RaceDayNH, I think Thunder Road would be definitely be another great place for the WMT.

  9. Fast Eddie, Thompson doesn’t want anything to do with the oval. That’s clear. The oval track surface is old, and about at the end of its service life. It will not be race-able soon. Thompson made it clear they were not going to spend the money 💰 💵 to resurface the non-road track surface. Can only conclude that NASCAR has to be looking at replacing Thompson in the near future.

  10. It’s not only weather and Thompson’s future that are moot points. This article is kind of a time out before a big racing weekend to take stock of what is happening making most everything past the immediate moot.
    What happens at Thompson or any other track next year isn’t the point. It’s what is doable now. The topic is the NWMT but really it could apply to the New Hampshire tracks, Stafford, TTOMS, NWMT and The Racing Guys at Clairemont cobbling events out of the ashes of 2020. Resilience is the word. Not even the wisest of fans with the clairvoyance of a soothsayer could have predicted any of this. No fan’s, 25%, 50%, PPV, NWMT races at non scheduled tracks and even a non NASCAR track. It’s fun just to see what event pops up next on RaceDayCT.
    The Terry Eames group, Wilson/NASCAR, The Racing Guys, the Arute’s, TTOMS management, managements of all the New Hampshire tracks, the Partrige’s at Riverhead et al all deserve credit this year for resilience and creativity. Oh and one more thing, risk taking.
    It’s redundant but still worth a shout out. Folks in the Northeast lead by Governors of both parties made it happen while people in other states are still debating what wearing a freakin mask means to their political prospects.

  11. wmass01013 says

    Please CARNACK tell us why Thompson doesn’t want anything to do with the oval?????????
    Y ou just think you know everything and spew yur wisdom of nothing daily
    IF they didn’t want anything to do with the oval then they would just keep the road course thing going and not bother to lease the track to EAMES group, wel ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL NEED THOMP[SON to continue to be the STAPLE of the WMT, do whatever it takes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Fast Eddie says

    I think Thompson all comes down to $$. The current management unfortunately doesn’t care about their family’s and racing’s history with the speedway. Hopefully if the August WMT race and the World Series make $$ for the track and the Eames group, this may continue, maybe with only special events on the oval for a little while longer. It sure would be terrible to lose it!

  13. Doug, there was at least one soothsayer who predicted racing. Nobody predicted White Mountain, I’ll give you that. I wouldn’t expect too many more surprise race announcements. Maybe some rescheduled ones.

    DaReal predicting doom and gloom for Thompson is the the best thing for the track.

  14. For all you arm chair 🪑 financial wizards… if running the Thompson oval was a cash cow, then Thompson would gladly be running frequent oval events. Does that make too much sense? Too obvious? The thing is, if a product is not lucrative, it gets cut or replaced. Where is Captain Obvious? Would you agree that cutting a lucrative product is just plain stupid?

    Thompson published a letter explaining all this, and the return on investment just did not substantiate the cost to repave the rest of the oval. The car counts and fan turnouts are just not good enough to pay for the rehab of the rest of the oval. Need more fans and cars.

    For whatever reason, the car counts and fans aren’t showing up at Thompson like they used to. The melees that were happening were not good for the place. That crap should have been stopped when it first showed up. But it was allowed to go on and on.

    So now with ECONN running the oval, ECONN is probably just renting the track, Thompson probably gets a guaranteed minimum to cover expenses, and ECONN takes on all the risk. Expect even smaller purses and payouts.

    If you don’t patronize the track, the track shuts down. If the track does not have a product good enough to entice you to attend the track, don’t complain about the purses, prices, car counts, etc.

  15. NH MOD CHASER says

    Hey Fast Eddie I don’t think White Mountain is a NASCAR sanctioned track so maybe their is hope for Star this year.I can dream can’t I… LOL

  16. This isn’t the first time Thompson as gone the rental route. Remember the “New” Thompson Speedway years??

    Star would be great but Star’s main advertising line on their website is No Brand Name needed. A direct shot at Nascar after their falling out this winter. Never say never though in this sport.

  17. The Southern NY Racing Association rented Thompson after the Danbury RaceArena shut down. Perhaps not a precedent to engender optimism. On the other hand it’s NASCAR, the Ice Breaker and World Series are iconic and popular and the track still has a few years in it before it is not serviceable.

  18. Thompson rented it again about 20 years ago. They changed the track name. Wasn’t it the guys connected with Polar beverages?? I could be wrong on that. Don handed over the oval operation to them for a year or two.

  19. JD,
    Yes you are correct. It didn’t go well. My lasting memory of that time was their “Racin’ and Wrasslin’” promotion featuring “professional” wrestler Lobsterman.

  20. They should add another race in July and there’s tons of tracks in northern New England they could go to. I know Vermont just started allowing fans but I’m not sure how many but thunder road would be a historic thing.

  21. The WMT tour needs to be in Maine. Either Beech Ridge or Oxford. Not saying this year but in general.

    MRS went to Thunder Road. It didn’t really take. Not sure why. Haven’t been back in a while now.

    Lobsterman was maybe not the best idea but I do enjoy listening to Humpy Wheeler talk about race promotion. Once he had the race scheduled he worked at all kinds of gimmicks to put people in the stands. I recall seeing a stuntman blow himself up at Thompson many years ago. Anything involving a ramp is interesting.

  22. Does anyone know when Thompson was last paved? I can’t seem to remember the year.

  23. wmass01013 says

    I think Most people go to WMT races to see racing NOT GIMMICKS, even more now with all the rules of pandemic, Thompson had the drifting thing a couple times last few yrs, after 1 or 2 passes I think it gets real boring, lets race not play games, again if u want that stuff go back to FAMILY fun nights with all that stuff, they used to get 12000 plus people for those events at VERY LOW PAYOUTS.
    I think the WMT has a natural biigger draw than MRS so maybe THUNDER ROAD will work STILL A TOUGH SELL UP THERE just as K AND N WAS at Thompson on sailfest weekends

  24. I seem to recall the Pasteryak’s doing some paving at Thompson 15-20 yrs ago. Maybe that was the pits. I can’t quite recall. It wasn’t all that long ago that the oval was done.

    The WMT doesn’t need gimmicks but it couldn’t hurt any of these weekly shows. Look at Seekonk, their thrill shows kill it at the box office. Obviously this year is a lost cause but moving forward, why not. The kids might dig some of this craziness.

  25. 🌈JD🌈 posted: “I seem to recall the Pasteryak’s doing some paving at Thompson 15-20 yrs ago. Maybe that was the pits. I can’t quite recall. It wasn’t all that long ago that the oval was done.”

    Huh? What the hell does that mean?

    Some paving was done 15-20 years ago? It wasn’t that long ago that the oval was done?

    WTF does any of that mean?

    Is 15-20 years ago longer or shorter than “that long ago”?

    Turn 3 & 4 have been repaired in sections the last few years. It’s quite easy to see the different colors of the different repave jobs. The exit of T2 still has more waves than the Atlantic in a Cat 5 hurricane.

    But what does “that the oval was done” mean?

  26. This may be a dumb query, but with NH being a feasible playing ground for the NWMT at the moment, and Lee being the only NASCAR sanctioned track in NH (other than Loudon of course), why has there been no mention of talks with their management?

  27. WeldingWonders says

    “Well, I hate to say it again, but I WAS RIGHT!!!!! I’M RIGHT AGAIN!!!!!”



    darealgoodfella says
    December 28, 2019 at 9:12 pm
    For me, Thompson is the center of the Universe of Modified racing. It is THE track


    😷😷😷 darealgoodfella 😷😷😷 says
    July 4, 2020 at 12:24 pm
    🌈JD🌈 posted: “I seem to recall the Pasteryak’s doing some paving at Thompson 15-20 yrs ago. Maybe that was the pits. I can’t quite recall. It wasn’t all that long ago that the oval was done.”
    Huh? What the hell does that mean?


    “Some paving was done 15-20 years ago? It wasn’t that long ago that the oval was done?
    WTF does any of that mean?
    Is 15-20 years ago longer or shorter than “that long ago”?”


    “Turn 3 & 4 have been repaired in sections the last few years. It’s quite easy to see the different colors of the different repave jobs. The exit of T2 still has more waves than the Atlantic in a Cat 5 hurricane.”


  28. Steve M Bailey says

    I don’t know why the tour does not go to Dominion Raceway in Virginia. It close to DC and Richmond and a Nascar weekly track. It a nice facility and would draw a big crowd.

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