Fictional Significance Of Whelen Modified Tour Unfortunately Can’t Pay The Bills At NHMS

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour takes the green flag for the inaugural Musket 250 in September 2018 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

It’s a topic that pegged the One-to-Ten anger meter for a lot of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour fans to about a 14 this week.

On Thursday New Hampshire Motor Speedway executive vice president and general manager David McGrath announced that the track would not bring its Full Throttle Weekend – featuring the Whelen Modified Tour Musket 200 – back in 2021. He also revealed that as of this week NHMS does not have a Whelen Modified Tour event scheduled for its Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 weekend in July 2021. 

It was news that sent many fans of the Whelen Modified Tour into full-blown nuclear tizzies on social media. 

Much of the anger was directed at NASCAR, with fans critical of their management of the series. But most of the anger was directed at the track for making a decision that apparently a whole lot of Modified racing fans see as a wicked desecration of all they believe in. 

What too many Modified fans are afraid to do is look in the mirror when searching for a place to direct anger at the possibility that the Whelen Modified Tour may not race at NHMS in 2021. 

As the stale cliché goes, New Hampshire Motor Speedway is their Daytona for Whelen Modified Tour teams and drivers. No knock on that, we get it. It’s a 1.058-mile oval where Modifieds put on at times breathtaking shows. 

We’re not knocking Modified racing or the Whelen Modified Tour. In an ever-shrinking landscape of short track racing the regional market for Modified racing seems quite strong as compared to other forms of asphalt stock car racing across the country.

But one must step back and look at the simplest of economics of the racing business. If a race track isn’t bringing in enough revenue to pay for the race to happen then the race will probably not return to the schedule. But that simplest of notions seems all too lost too often on too many race fans. 

There’s a feeling that seems to permeate many short track racing fans that somehow race tracks should be in business simply to provide fans with racing, whether that means turning a profit or not. It’s a wacky sense of entitlement that many race fans seem to carry. It’s as if they believe race tracks should be willing to lose money just to make fans happy. 

And a phenomena that has always seemed to surround many of the fan base of Modified racing is this attitude that since they love Modified racing then everybody in the world should love it too. And for that reason many think track operators should be bending over backwards and be willing to lose money to spread the gospel of Modified racing. 

But it doesn’t work that way. 

Let’s say you have a bakery where you get your favorite blueberry muffins. Well they might be your favorite blueberry muffins, but not the favorite of the rest of the world. And let’s say you’re the only one that ever goes to the bakery and buys the blueberry muffins. Chances are the bakery isn’t going to keep making three dozen blueberry muffins every day if you’re the only customer buying them. Would you expect them to continue to lose money just because they make your favorite blueberry muffin? 

From 1997 to 2017 the Whelen Modified Tour was a support division schedule piece for NASCAR Cup Series events at NHMS. If you’ve been around Modified racing for the last 20 years or so you’ve certainly at one point or another run into that person who would say “If New Hampshire Motor Speedway just gave the Modifieds a stand-alone event again they’d get 20,000 people there.” 

That mantra, or others similar to it, became a refrain among Modified fans with about the same replay intensity as Jingle Bells the week before Christmas. Over and over were the people who just continued to harp on the fact that the Whelen Modified Tour needed their own show at NHMS to prove to the racing world the true and fantastical depth of the devotion of fans surrounding it. 

Then they got their wish and fell on their face. The first Full Throttle Weekend took place in 2018 with the Whelen Modified Tour taking center stage with the running of the inaugural Musket 250. Yup, a 250-lap blowout showcase for Modifieds with a fattened purse and all sorts of promotion. 

And less than 10,000 fans showed up. That crowd got smaller in 2019. And 2020? Let’s not even talk about that crowd. 

The news Thursday of the sketchy fate of Whelen Modified Tour racing at NHMS had the social media howlers barking loud. Just bulldoze the track, they said. Modifieds put on the only good races there ever, they screamed. 

It brings us back to the odd irony about the Modified fan base not exactly overwhelming ticket takers at the gates in Loudon. 

It’s become the cool thing among a segment of short track race fans to trash NASCAR’s national divisions as much as possible. And while there’s no denying the popularity of NASCAR’s big three has fallen tremendously over the last 10 years, there’s still a demand for it that attracts big crowds to events. No, there aren’t many events attracting crowds of 100,000 on the Cup Series schedule any longer, but a crowd of 30-40 thousand for any sporting event is still a huge crowd. 

The reality is, there are still people devoted to Cup Series racing as fans and people still devoted to Xfinity Series racing as fans. And most – one could probably surmise – don’t give a hoot about the Whelen Modified Tour. 

Here’s a news flash, a lot of the people that show up in Loudon for Cup races on Sunday’s probably can’t name two Whelen Modified Tour drivers. That doesn’t make them any less worthy as racing fans, sports fans or simply customers. They’re still buying tickets to watch a product that keeps NHMS a viably operating facility. And even with the fall in popularity, those Cup Series crowds still far outweigh any crowd that showed up at NHMS in the last three years only to watch Modifieds. 

The simple point is it’s a bad look to trash NHMS for making real world business decisions. And it seems unnecessarily evil to wish the demise of the facility because they don’t want to hold an event that is a money loser just because that money loser is your favorite division. Mythical crowds will never pay the bills needed to put on a show and it’s unfair to expect any business to lose money just to make people happy. 

Comments

  1. Luggage Lady says

    Should have kept race on Fridays instead of changing it !

  2. they took away the sept. cup race. their mistake so they did the modified’s to take it’s place. bring the cup race back in sept.

  3. It was a fantastic idea, and sadly, not enough fans showed up to support it. At least (for now), NHMS is still open, and maybe the track will add the WMT as a support event for the Cup weekend.
    Perhaps the PASS/ACT group will have success with their open show and more modified racing will happen. But it won’t happen if the fans don’t support the races

  4. Very well said, Shawn!!

    100% correct!

  5. Look, the short tracks can hardly fill the stands for a Mod race, how was Loudon supposed to get a crowd big enough to pay the bills for a big time Mod race? Loudon has far bigger expenses than a short track.

    And the commute distance was a factor.

    The constant complaining about the ticket price for a mod event at Loudon was absurd. For an event that is considered the Daytona and Super Bowl of Modified racing, people should be willing to pay a premium. There needs to be a ticket premium for such an event. But no, these people were online bickering over a couple dollars. And complain about the cost of concessions.

    So this is what happens when you don’t want to pay.

    I do think that Loudon needs to stop allowing people to bring in their own beer and beverages. That alone could fund the Mod purse.

  6. Something will surely be up if the Tour is not part of the July Cup weekend at Loudon. Because there is no way that would make less business sense for a track running them on a Saturday than the scheduled Thursday date at Martinsville or the Friday date at Richmond(especially the Martinsville one, because a Thursday night in April at Martinsville is going to be tough sell for any series) That is unless NASCAR is waiving or greatly reducing the sanction fee at the 2 tracks they own themselves. Since NASCAR has said 28 Cup weekends are going to “one day show” again next year, the Mods would be the only on track activity those night at Richmond and Martinsville and there is probably no chance any of the teams for the Cup\Xfinity Series will be even be there yet

  7. WHAT A BUNCH OF STUPID MOTHER”S

  8. I was one saying that if they aren’t going to have modifieds race there they should just dig up the turns and put in a bunch of banking. It’s true, I’ve never heard a cup fan say they like the track, they always complain about the racing and they blame the track. The only ones I’ve seen defending it are modified fans and pretty much no one else.

    Everyone outside of New England doesn’t want a race at Loudon or say the track should be changed somehow. Most want them to turn it into an asphalt Dover. Chase Briscoe said they should put dirt on it instead of Bristol but besides that almost no one outside of New England likes the track at all.

    So removing the only entertaining type of racing from the track removes the only group of people that want the track to remain the same. At that point when there’s no one left to defend it it’ll either change or cease to exist. I think it’s far more likely though that the track goes off the national series schedules than they are to sink the kind of money into it that would be needed to change the track though.

    I think the track’s future relies heavily on the 2022 race, assuming there is one. If the new 2022 cup car doesn’t race well at Loudon and the attendance doesn’t improve then the track is probably done at that point. There’s already a lot of pressure to take it off the schedule or to change the track as is, with a couple more duds and continually dipping attendance it won’t take much to lose the track.

    So yeah if they aren’t going to have any modified races then they should change the track if it’s going to remain.

  9. Can’t blame NHMS, they’ve probably carried the Tour the past couple of years and 2020 in particular was a killer. However, the chickens are coming home to roost with NASCAR. The sanction costs, purses, and endless treatment as third-class annoyances have been burying the Whelen mods for a long time now. Great shows, great sponsors, loyal teams, and awesome fan base …. CRAPPY NASCAR BUSINESS MODEL. WoO, DIRT, and IMSA all seem to be doing pretty well…..

  10. I’m sure you’re going to take a lot of heat from those that don’t understand an opinion piece versus a piece of hard news, but this is well said, Shawn. So many of us love our Modifieds, but there are so many that are blind to the niche segment of an already niche sport that the Modifieds really are.

  11. Ted, you are so right. Nascar doesn’t care. If they did they would have replaced the lost Cup weekend with modifieds. Paid over $20k to win. Maybe have called it the Musket 200. Wait, what? Nascar did all that. Oh, no fans showed up you say? How could that be? That must be NASCAR’s fault too. Fools!

    I’m so over the Nascar doesn’t care argument. It’s tired and old.

    I agree with Rob A to a point. I don’t think ownership will invest in any changes though because there hands are handcuffed with the no lights agreement. You can change the track but if the race is still run under the July sun you still won’t draw the big crowds. There is indeed a big call to change the layout. I do think the July date will be gone in 2022 or 2023. TV helps a little as Nascar really does want a date in the northeast market but times change eventually.

    I also think and this is my own opinion, Dave McGrath is not the right guy to lead the effort to save the track. He’s a marketing guy. The track needs a racing guy right now. The track needs someone with a vision.

  12. Ok, I’ll ramble on a bit. So, for anyone that doesn’t like rambling, just hit the next post, I won’t at all be offended.
    Shawn, nail on the head. It is what it has always been. Tracks have to make money. That only happens, if there are enough butts in the seats.
    Seems to me that nhis stuck its neck out the last couple of years, to promote the modifieds up there with marquee events. Were the butts in the seats to support them? Not from my seat.
    No one really knows what nhis needs to make an event like that financially viable. Well, at least I don’t anyway. I just know that it can’t bleed red ink, or it’s a goner.
    Does it cost way more to have a modified event at nhis vs Thompson, Stafford and seekonk, et al?
    I don’t know, but I imagine it must, just due to sheer size of the venue alone! Personal, insurance, ect, who knows?
    So that means, a packed house of 5 to 7 thousand ish at Thompson, Stafford, doesn’t translate at nhis maybe. And Dareal, I agree. As much as I love bringing my own cooler of beer into nhis, they lose a lot of revenue when I (and my buddies) do the same. But that’s a holdover from Bob Bahre. He knew, that racing fans and beer go together, but he would never allow beer to be sold there while he owned it, because he did not condone alcohol and selling it. But he stopped short of banning it at races. Smart guy.
    We have talked about this topic before, namely, the demise of short track racing. In particular, our beloved modifieds.
    We have bemoaned the fact of not seeing the stands filled with new, younger fans, to complement, and carry on the legacy of us ole’ timers, lovers of all that is short track grass roots racing.
    I am retired, but still teach apprentices in a school setting in my discipline. I regularly see total class years of 100 or so of these fine young people a year. When finals come, I will always say to multiple classes.
    “Hey, if anybody can tell me who the nascar modified champion was last year, I’ll ace you and you don’t have to take the test”
    You know, been doing that for over 15 years. No takers. Moreover, I am always asked after posing the the challenge, “What’s a modified”?
    I have actually have taken time to explain, and show a few slides in class. A lot of rolled eyes.
    My droning point? That’s the issue. And has been the issue. Short track racing, particularly asphalt modifieds, is a cult discipline. Very few new, young fans. Fans are mainly older generations. Like me.
    I know I’m going to get a bunch of flack for sounding negative, but the point is, and has been discussed before, you have to have stands robust-fully filled with paying customers for it to survive.
    Us old guys chasing the love, the old memories mixed with new ones in the sport we love, is getting to the point where there is going to come a time, that it won’t cut it anymore. And no one is more disappointed than me.
    Blame NASCAR, blame nhis, but the glory days are gone. And the “glory” steadfast fans supporting it, are starting to thin. Only new fans (including pay per view) can rescue it. To me, having no modifieds at nhis is a real wake up call, in more ways than one. That was modified Daytona, and now, a very real threat of being no more. A terrible sign for all sanctioning organizations up here.
    You know, my parents loved swing bands and the big band era. “That will never go out of style and die” they told me. And unfortunately, as they passed, so did the big bands. They could not convince me, or anyone my age at that time, how truly great and talented those bands were. Us ‘younguns, just could not identify with it. I hope, (and pray) that is not true for our beloved modifieds and short tracks, and a new, robust dedicated crop of supporting fans, emerge.
    I’m taking this shot across the racing bow, very seriously. It’s sobering if you are a dedicated fan this year, for sure. Yeah, you guessed it, I don’t have the answer, other than full stands, however that happens. Bottom line$$. Or Home Depot’s.
    Thanks to those of you who made it to the end of this drone. Jmo.

  13. Great job Shawn, sometimes the truth hurts.

  14. Throw some good clay down and we can have Super Dirt Week there next year . Dirtcar has plenty of race teams and corporate sponsorship . Dirtcar looking for a 1mile speedway to run there event in october sense the closing of Syracuse . Thanks governor Cuomo

  15. Walter A Fike says

    I have been a mod fan for a long time I respect nmhs but this goes a long way back before they even put a shovel in the ground to build the place I said in 1985 when the tour began and they cut the racing down from what it was than it would hurt the series it has yes and no you just have to look at the teams that have left in the last 5 years and counting and wonder how much longer are the modified going to be around

  16. The idea the tour is dying is a bit silly, racing in general across the country is dying, but regionally modified racing seems to be strong. Open shows are drawing big car counts, Stafford has deep strong fields and the fan base is passionate. Yes some teams have left the tour, older teams that are ready to do other things but young teams have taken their place. That is the natural order of things. Car counts in the tour actually seem to be as high as they have been in a while. While Louden is their Daytona obviously most fans don’t see it as a marquis event, why on a cup week end is a parking lot full of campers with people partying while the best race of the weekend has been going on. Modified fans love it but it has proven to be a niche division at Louden. For the track they have to see most people aren’t willing to walk through the gates to see Modifieds no matter how exciting a show they put on.

  17. David Fisher says

    Great article, and true to every point. Same thing happened down here with the South tour. NASCAR took it, the fans were all fired up, then didn’t come. The cars eventually didn’t come either, but the crowds were never great. Having grown up next to Martinsville, I know what it is like to see the big races there. When the mods left, it was a downer, and when they returned, it was heaven on earth. Except after the first year, it wasn’t profitable, so they stopped it again. We as fans can’t count on the races we love if we aren’t willing to go and pay for them.

  18. That qualifies as both barrels. A lot of anger. Or perhaps frustration with the unrealistic expectation of fans on a number of fronts funneled through one topic.
    Unrealistic expectations and fantasy are part of the sport. We have emotional investments in various aspects of local racing accumulated over decades. The lines between the fantasy and financial realities get blurred. It’s no one’s fault really. It’s the job of racing content providers to create the fantasy and part of that is to shield us from the challenges. All we end up seeing is the fall out after the decisions are made.
    It was a good rhetorical smack in the chops. I’m unfazed and appreciate the blunt assessment.

    What a terrific entry by Bobf. New content as many of us drone on with the same themes endlessly. How refreshing.
    Regarding this show and tell in the classroom setting and deriving conclusions about the state of modified racing one observation. As a “ute” in the hay day of local racing weekends were dominated with the sport in my clan. However it was not on the radar at all of my circle of friends of classmates in school at pretty much any level. Sex, drugs and rock-in-roll was. And athletics for some of us. Andy said it best using the word niche. It’s always been a niche short.
    On the one hand there is the visual of the bleachers at Stafford as the regular crowd filters in that looks like a Medicare Advantage information seminar. On the other the drivers and teams loaded with younglings backed by serious money and dominating some divisions.. Interest in sim racing dominated by the younger set some of whom have transitioned to the real thing. Kart racing, Legends and Bandalaro’s with robust fields. And a greater presence of younger fans and families at the larger premier events.
    Is this about the state of racing in general or the state of racing at cavernous tracks that have no relationship to the roots of the sport? That fans of the sport appreciate for the racing on the track while those that come upon the visual of empty seats interpret as a loser and move on.

  19. They can’t draw enough fans for 2 cup races Why did they drop one? It’s not the Tour that’s the problem ever look at the stands when they have there one cup race now? It’s allways nobody wants to go to a Modified Tour Race the Tour is done that’s NOT going to happen.

  20. Ron Magrino says

    In my mind it started in I think 2018 when there was an awesome battle for the and a caution came out with a few laps to go. The race ended under yellow without any attempt to distant the race. I understand it was because the modified race if continued would have broken into the Xfinity TV time. If you where there you would have heard he boos. Most of the crowd left. NASCAR showed just how important the modifieds are. Also did the track ever think to raise the price. I would pay $90 to se good had modified racing or do they they keep the price down so fans will come to the Xfinity race?

  21. “ Then they got their wish and fell on their face. ” I would say that is slightly an overstatement. The press after the first race as I remember it had track management saying the response exceeded expectations. I remember that they ran out of food as well. 2020 could have a lot to do with peoples economic situation as well as fear of being in public… I don’t think 1/2 the people go to nhms to see the mods or anything like that. I’m just saying that the pull the mods have for being a regional series is fairly impressive. Not sure how many cup tracks could get close to 10k people to show up with only grassroots racing on the schedule

  22. NHMS did not drop a race. The city of Las Vegas bought the race. They are paying Bruton millions annually for that 2nd date. Now they race in front of empty stands in Vegas but the owners are making a lot more money. From a business standpoint it was an easy decision. People don’t seem to understand sports are about money.

    Phoenix just spent $300 million to revamp their track. California is doing the same next year. The TV money these tracks get is unreal. That $300 million bought them the Nascar Championship race which is huge in a normal year. Spend $300 million to make $500 million. That’s business.

    To be clear once again. Nobody has said that the WMT won’t be at Loudon on July 17th this year. Only the Musket is gone.

  23. Shawn, great piece. But then, you know I love facts.

    Bobf, not just big bands, rock and roll 🎸 has also been replaced with other genres of music.

    Many idiots here simply say things like NASCAR needs to increase the purse, increase all sorts of things that means the tracks, sanctioning bodies, sponsors, promoters, etc. have to pay more. All while complaining about ticket prices and the ticket prices need to be much lower. And these dolts complain that concession stand prices are way too high. Idiots. Same idiots that then call others out about “supporting your local short tracks”. Complete total stupid idiot moron hypocrite whining crybaby petulant dolts.

    Just like we are no longer in a big band era or the rock and roll era, we are no longer a car centric society. Back in the days, starting in the 40s or 50s, cars were the factor that shaped and changed the USA. Mobility was the thing. Then cars became a status symbol, then items of obsession, with the big muscle cars. That era is gone. When I was a kid, the roads were covered with the GTOs, ‘cudas, Camaros, Mustangs, Chevelles, Novas, Challengers, Satellites, Super Bees, Chargers, Cougars, 442s, etc. There is nothing like that on the roads anymore to get kids excited about cars and motorsports. Kids are into so many other things than motorsports nowadays.

    And motorsports, especially our beloved short tracks, are taking a hit from this #TrumpPandemic that will be difficult to recover from. Many people will find something else to entertain themselves and never come back.

    This #TrumpPandemic could not have happened at a worse time.

    Hey you dolts, you know who you are, open your damn wallets, go to the tracks, eat track food, and support your local tracks, take in the experience of being there, the sights, the sounds and the smells. And travel to some tracks that are far away for the adventure and see how other tracks do it. Support your sport. Stop complaining to others to do it for you so you can live vicariously through others. If you don’t buy it, the seller has no reason to participate anymore.

  24. it doesn’t surprise me a lot, and you’re right on the money, shawn. good point. how to get enough fans to show up to pay the bills at nhms is a tricky one, though. the idea of a standalone race is a good one, it might draw better if it was held on a saturday in may or june, although that’s not a sure thing either. all the northeast tracks have older crowds, and less folks in the grandstands these days. i think running a 100 lap modified race, and a 75 lap pass race might help with the kids, they’re not likely to show up for a show that’s 200-250 laps and it costs a lot more to run as a competitor. the idea that ticket prices can’t go up is unrealistic as well.

  25. Martinsville gets close to 30,000 every September for their Late Model race. 2020 aside. BG gets 15,000 weekly!

    Cancel all live TV/Internet feeds too. Sorry, buy a ticket or go without. NHMS tickets are $35. That includes an Xfinity race and more in July. Less than a lot of Connecticut races.

    Maybe Teddy B can get the WMT buses rolling again for the far away tracks.

    All the people complaining the most are the fans spending the least. Buy a ticket, eat a track burger, drink a track beverage. Throw a little cabbage the tracks way and enjoy the show.

  26. This has become a haven for tour hate, lead by Shawn.

  27. Rob, can you even fathom how ignorant that statement is? I cover short track racing in New England as a business, you really think I want to see races go away? Here’s the deal, I cover the sport and I cover it objectively. I’m not operating a Facebook fan page where only positive sugarcoated happy news is allowed. I operate an objective news website. Sometimes news is good, sometimes news is not so good. But I’m not doing PR for the sport. I’m not here to ignore negative news to just put on some false front that everything is lollipops and sunshine in short track racing. It would do no service to the sport or to readers to just ignore everything that is negative. But yeah, keep sticking your head in the sand and act like everything is perfectly wonderful, that should fix all the issues.

  28. I’m more bullish on regional racing in general than most here, I’m just not so sure nhms exists as is 10 years from now. I think some of this new media stuff is helping short tracks gain and maintain local interest better than in even the most recent past, it’s part of what pulled me back in.

    I like what carl block said above, if dirt ever does get put down on the track dirt modifieds will be a good replacement but I think the chances of it happening are extremely slim. I do think there were some dirt events originally planned for the flat track this past year that didn’t end up happening because of the virus, it’ll be interesting to see if those come back at all.

  29. It’s cold but an absolutely sparkling day at Riverhead. No heats, time trials but there’s a lot of laps to run so in this case it’s a good thing.
    No surprise Kyle Soper takes the pole followed by the 7ny and Rogers. Preece in 5th and looking sharp only a half a tick off the leader. A repaired 6ny from Stafford or another 6 who knows but he’ll be competitive. Bonsignor in 8th and Sapienza in 18th.
    29 cars ran qualifying laps.
    No screwing around at this event as masks are up as are spirits to enjoy a great race.
    It’s feature time.
    Sorry you’ll miss it.

  30. Shawn, you do an amazing job of covering the racing scene, and the people in and around it, here in New England and beyond. In addition, you give us a forum to express our views about racing and other subjects. I’ve been in and around racing a long time, and RacedayCT is by far the best racing site I’ve found. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and underlying health problems in my household, I was unable to attend any races this season, but knew I could count on RacedayCT to keep me informed. Keep up the awesome job you do, I look forward to your reporting.

  31. Rob P.,
    Thanks for the kind words. I don’t know who that other “Rob” (Rob Gabes) is, but apparently he doesn’t much like what I do. He spews the same stuff over on Facebook. Some people just want everything to be happy happy joy joy. That’s not reality though. Oh well, oddly he keeps coming back to read everything here.

  32. “It’s a wacky sense of entitlement that many race fans seem to carry. It’s as if they believe race tracks should be willing to lose money just to make fans happy.”

    These are the same people who think socialism is a good idea.

  33. GP, BAM there it is. Could not have said it better myself. Business is business and race tracks are not in the business to loose money. Entitlement, that’s the problem with this country, some people think they are entitled to everything.

  34. WOW,It’s 6:45 Saturday night. Just got off the phone with a long time friend. I hadn’t heard from him since late June. In mid July, he was hospitalized with Covid. He ended up in a coma, and on a ventilator. He was taken off the ventilator October 25th, and released from the hospital yesterday. He’s in a wheelchair, and will have to learn to walk again. He gets tired quickly, and has trouble talking. He’s lost about 75 pounds. But, he’s alive. Doctors have told him he’s got a very long road ahead of him, and advised him to stay at home, as they don’t know if he has any immunity from the virus, and if he gets it again it will most likely kill him. But, he’s alive. MASK UP

  35. As a local modified fan for well over 50 years I have witnessed a lot of change for this division. Overall modified racing is strong for the most part. It is the WMT that has been on a downhill trend in regards to car counts and lack of high paying events. I notice that many on this page like to blame the economy for the current trend.
    I also have become an avid fan of Sprint Car racing at the Pa. tracks in recent years. I usually make 2-3 trips there each year to events with huge crowds and purses. There is no lack of cars, fans, and events paying $20-$50k to win. Their events on average charge just over 1/2 the cost of admission to a Ct. WMT event. Pa Speedweek gets SRO crowds every year. The economy is not killing the WMT it is a lack of proper management and promotion by NASCAR. Racing for Sprint Cars and Dirt Modifieds are doing quite well even with COVID restrictions.

  36. Yeah, I hate socialism. In the agriculture sector, 40% of the revenue is Government subsidies. The farm system is heavily subsidized and socialized. The rest of us pay for it. But then, these folks have a sense of entitlement to these subsidies.

  37. Eric Dawalga says

    Governor Cuomo sucks. Bring Super-DIRT week to Loudon.

  38. Before I start, Rob p., sorry to hear about your friend, hope his health continues to improve.
    Shawn, a great job as always with this article, an unfortunate but true assessment of the NHMS situation. I was rather surprised at the small fan turnout for this year’s Musket race. I figured that would be the one event that would have a decent crowd with no head count restrictions and a reasonable ticket price. What if there was an awesome Modified race at NHMS and only a few people showed up? It unfortunately doesn’t continue! How do we fix that? Right now the answer would be to get as many fans as possible to the Northeast Classic at NHMS! If there is decent fan support for that event, maybe there will be more of them down the road. Going to races is my favorite pastime, and I go to as many as I can. This year despite COVID I made it to 21 circle track events, 17 of them with Modifieds. I’m not making a big deal out of my racing attendance, I’m just saying the tracks need at least that ticket sale from as many of us as possible to survive.

  39. FOR 35 PLUS YEARS i have heard how GREAT DIRT and sprint car races pay 20 to 50 k to win BUT NASCAR SUCKS AND IS ALL ABOUT FEES N $$$$, SO I SAY go to DIRT CAR RACES and stop complaining about it, STAFFORD had 4 open shows that PAID $3500 to win and had very good fields and SELLOUTS with restrictions, a TRI track race that paid 10k to win and had 51 cars and if no Covid 19 i would have liked to see the crowd on that day as packed as it was with restrictions, Thomspon cant make $$$ WITH NASCAR but has anyone seen the crowds at $55 TO $75 TO Enter and WORLD SERIES THE LAST 5 YRS?
    GO to you tube and enter MRS at LOUDON and see the 500 people in the seats for those races the last 2 years and THE MUSKET 250/200 was not PROFITABLE to NHMS, Dave McGrath is NOT PROFITABLE to NHMS

  40. TV and live streams hurt ticket sales, lack of stars in the Modified Tour are some of the problems. Can’t blame it on all on the fans. I used to go to Loudon because the races weren’t on tv, got to see Local greats battle it out on the mile in modifiieds an late models plus got to see the truck series when it was full of NASCAR greats like Harry Gant and a few others.

  41. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again.The tour is not all that it is made up to be.I live 20 minutes from Thompson and many times have driven right past it to go to Lebanon Valley.If the fans do not support the race,I cannot blame NHMS to drop this show.I do not however understand why they drop them on Cup weekend.Tickets are paid for by most for the weekend and the pits are jammed on Saturdays of Cup weekend.I think there is more to this .

  42. Steve, you make a good point about TV, PPV, live streaming hurting ticket sales. Why spend $100 (fuel, food, ticket, tolls and 5 hour round trip) to sit in the stands sweating when you can sit home in the comfort of your air conditioned house, in your favorite easy chair with a cold beer watching the modified race for about 1/4 of the price. Seems like a no brainer to me.

    As much as I hate to say this, I am beginning to agree with Dougs approach, LOL…….

  43. they took down the laconia stands,, it’s only way they can fill the stands for a cup race. They put over priced camping track side in the laconia grandstand area. after losing races after races year after year losing September race and moving the June race to July it Might be time to try another track, it’s too bad, loundon is in my backyard and I have worked at the track and camped at the track for several years

  44. Because it is, in large part, about the experience, as it should be. Live streaming, ppv, etc. in my opinion, did not build the modifieds and tracks; it certainly will not sustain either of them. As one contributor here or to the other article on this subject mentioned, either attend or forego.
    How can you, honestly, expect to develop interest among young fans when you advertise it as just another app? You will not. If you do not invest time as fan in the track, why should you expect the track to survive? Forgive me, but I enjoy driving to the tracks I attend infrequently, hearing the sounds, talking with fans, learning something I didn’t know about the cars, drivers, etc.
    I acknowledge I represent the minority position. Discouraging in-person attendance ranks as the last thing the modified community needs.
    I guess working, shopping, and attending school from home does not satisfy our slide toward a culture of automatons, then let’s listen to the raw power and excitement of modifieds, the best racing anywhere, through an electronic device.

  45. Live streaming, or Tv will never compare to being at the track live. TV does not capture the speed at which most cars are running, nor does it capture the sounds. The smells, and the feel of the breeze as the cars go by. Plus being there allows you to watch the whole race, not just the leaders.

  46. George Wilbur says

    Other than having to listen to the cliché machines that Buckler and Dodge are for some of the races, I was very happy with the $2.99/mo NBC Track Pass. Having the package had me more intersted in and watching more of the WMT than I otherwise would have. I hate the 10% admission tax charged at Connecticut tracks.

    I am extremely happy with Flo Racing and Dirt on Dirt packages. How and why do they deliver far more value than the Stafford and Speed51 productions?

  47. In the latest episode of Stafford Speedways Bottom Shot with Jackie Arute as the guest they touched on their streaming product and seem happy with with results. They also touched on how teams have “bought into” the Stafford system of which returning pay-per-view money to teams is a part. I’m happy to report they seem very satisfied with the results and it appears it will be a fixture going forward if I read in between the lines correctly.
    They also touched on the inability of the fan base to adjust to change and how the older fans find it difficult to accept new things. That appears to be in play here.
    I can’t speak to the ridiculously low price of NBC Sports Gold providing viewership that would appear to undermine in person attendance. However for StaffordSpeedway.TV, RiverheadRaceway.TV and Speed51 buying streaming access is buying a ticket…..period. Making racing accessible to those not in a position to go to the races by geographic location or personal circumstance. It’s not a threat to in person attendance. It’s an additional revenue stream from people that most likely would not have gone.
    Many in RaceDayCt nation had a chance to support modified racing by purchasing a streaming ticket to the Islip 300 and chose not to. It was an opportunity to see a race with the teams you know and enjoy at a place that was not geographically convenient to get to at a historic track. All you had to do was buy a ticket and most didn’t which is fine. But I fail to see how that makes the person watching reruns of He Haw instead the linchpin on modified racing.
    Another thing I gleaned from the Bottom Shot podcast was the complete absence of disappointment or negativity about how the shortened season turned out. Quite the opposite. The mood seemed to be almost upbeat about what they accomplished and prospects going forward. Going so far as saying the footing of racing at Stafford at this point in time is on solid ground. That’s right even in the year of the pandemic. I could be reading too much into it but it may be that the streaming product was helpful in saving the season and that management sees it as a real benefit moving forward. We’ll see how it plays out in the months to follow.
    No doubt when Netflix came out folks said it was an insult to cinema to give people access to great movies that didn’t earn it by going to the theaters. Look how that turned out.

  48. Seeing a race on TV makes me want to go to the track. Nothing like being at a track.

    I prefer being at the track. Watching race on TV lacks the rich experience.

  49. Great Article.. Great Opinions..Bobf really laid it all out there.. Kinda hurts that the Cars that made my whole body shake as they roared by my seat on the rails are a dying breed.. Truth does hurt… Cars on open trailers pulled in to fill up on gas, and small crowds gathered to take a peek or picture.. Times have changed… Enclosed Trailers .. Big 18 Wheel Rigs with 2 cars with lifts.. Hidden Treasure just inside out of the Public eyes.. How About Running 35 lap Feature on Sunday along with Cup Race and get your product in front of more fans and TV Land too boot… More than likely a great Modified Finish would happen and the Sunday crowd would take notice. Friday Shows at NHIS are REALLY BAD TIME SLOT..
    Most have to work FRIDAY !! PUT MODIFIEDS ON SUNDAY !!! SEE WHAT HAPPENS!! The other fact is this … If you READ HUMPHY’S Wheelers BOOK . We need REAL PROMOTER’S TRY SOME DIFFERENT THINGS, RECRUIT SOME NASCAR STARS AND PUT ELLIOTT AND HARVICK IN WITH SANTOS AND COBY LOGANO, mix it up a little .. CREATE SOME BUZZ !!!

  50. How about Jack Arute talking about the huge NASCAR fees on the podcast…….shots fired???

  51. I don’t think NASCAR would allow Modifieds to run on Cup days. I’d bet they would be afraid the Modifieds would be a better event and take away from the Cup stature and status.

  52. If you owned a Company <> You also owned another Product of that Company
    The Modified Tour.. Wouldn’t you want to SHOWCASE and PROMOTE the lesser known product alongside your TOP PRODUCT ON NATIONAL TV ???? Run a 35 LAP Feature Sunday at lets say NHIS , DOVER and MARTINSVILLE JUST 3 RACES A YEAR … BILL IT AS THE OLDEST DIVISION IN NASCAR !!! Run it at least 3 seasons in a row and see what happens ??? It would be interesting to see how many CUP DRIVERS & CUP OWNERS WOULD FIELD A CAR FOR THOSE 3 RACES ..!!?? Maybe WOOD BROTHERS , STEWARD HASS, PENSKE, HENDRICKS WOULD FIELD CARS FOR THOSE 3 RACES ONLY … I believe it would take off and new fans would enjoy it along with the old fans. SHOWCASE YOUR OLDEST DIVISION .. RAY EVERNHAM MAY EVEN OWN A CAR.. By the way i guess Tony Steward and Ray Evernham new racing league went away before it even got going due to COVID -19 … Curious how that series was going to generate a following with NASCAR shadow standing over it ..???

  53. That “OLDEST DIVISION” hook is first rate.. Other wise it presupposes that NASCAR has a goal of elevating a regional series. One that a large percentage of the fans in that region have nothing but contempt for. and advocate for competing series.
    A search shows the Superstar Racing Series may have been slowed by the pandemic but not erased.
    https://www.thedrive.com/accelerator/37496/update-the-new-iroc-series-is-still-on-for-2021

    Oh Jackie what have you done.
    “I really don’t see a need…..to pay the NASCAR mandated, exorbitant purse money for……for the most part a lackluster Whelen Modified Tour”
    He went after the purse not the fees.
    And that’s not all you can judge for yourself going to about the 46 minute mark of the Stafford podcast.
    Bet there are a few that would agree in this forum but here’s the thing. He did it AFTER Stafford signed the NWMT to the full three races as the tour struggles to put together a schedule. My view he felt empowered because Stafford just cut a deal in which NASCAR wasn’t calling the shots. You can bet that with Jackie’s standing his comments were heard by more then the modest audience on a homey little local podcast.
    It wasn’t a shot across the bow. it was a broadside. There was a day when people associated with tracks would not dare say things like that publicly. That’s over.

  54. I don’t see why having a support race on a Cup day is that big of a problem if the Cup goes back to multi-day events.

    Pretty much every other sanctioning body in the world does it. Just like concerts have opening acts. I’d much rather see another division run a short race instead of a concert or some other pre-race activity.

    Another option might be having Cup continue to qualify and race the same day after the pandemic clears up. More to watch on race day, and everyone deals with the same schedule. It could save teams a ton of money, too… possibly increasing the number of teams who can compete for the full season.

  55. Anybody remember way back when the modifieds first started racing on cup weekend? The mods were 2- 2.5
    second faster than the cup cars and put on a better show. Then they made the mods run restrictor plates. They were still faster, still stunk up the show. More recently, with the spec motors, I think they went to tapered spacers. Still faster ,still a better show, so they got rid of them, so the cup guys would be the better show compared to whatever ran on Saturday.
    The Musket race just didn’t have the fan draw and sponsorship to support it in 2019, and 2020, although 2020 shouldn’t count toward any decision making

  56. “Anybody remember way back when the modifieds first started racing on cup weekend? The mods were 2- 2.5
    second faster than the cup cars and put on a better show. Then they made the mods run restrictor plates.”

    I do!

  57. The way the Mods run at NHMS is the same reason I wish Indycar would come back.

    The flatish turns and overall layout really showcase light, high downforce cars with lots of rubber. Indy’s last visit was destroyed by an awful call from race control, which I seem to remember cost a race director his job. I wish they’d give it another shot.

    Maybe a Modified / Indycar day might be cool?

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