What’s Next? Plenty Of Questions Remain Regarding Whelen Modified Tour Schedule For 2021

Sunday NASCAR confirmed that the south will rise again when it comes to NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events for the 2021 season. 

NASCAR announced Whelen Modified Tour events at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (April 8, 2021) and Richmond (Va.) Raceway (Sept. 10, 2021) as part of the 2021 schedule for the series. 

The question many have though going forward is where do things stand when it comes to the Northeast portion of the schedule, where most teams are based? 

All indications are that a seismic shift in scheduling is afoot for the Whelen Modified Tour in 2021. 

Thompson Speedway and Stafford Speedway have been the cornerstone facilities for the Whelen Modified Tour going back to the series’ inception in 1985. Before crowd restriction mandates due to the COVID-19 global pandemic decimated the original 2020 Whelen Modified Tour schedule, the series had been scheduled to have six of 17 events at Thompson and Stafford, with three scheduled for each facility. Ultimately Thompson hosted two races in 2020 and Stafford hosted one. 

As of today it’s unclear if either track will be part of the 2021 Whelen Modified Tour schedule. 

What is known is that for the first time since the series started in 1985 the Whelen Modified Tour will not be part of the Icebreaker Weekend at Thompson. The Whelen Modified Tour has been the showcase event for Icebreaker weekend every year the event has been run since 1985 (the Icebreaker was not held in 2000). 

It was announced last week that American Canadian Tour owner Cris Michaud and Pro All Stars Series owner Tom Mayberry will partner to promote six events at Thompson Speedway in 2021. Michaud and Mayberry partnered in 2020 to promote the Sept. 3 Whelen Modified Tour event at Thompson and the Oct. 9-11 Sunoco World Series at the track, which included the season ending event for the Whelen Modified Tour. 

The promotional group announced last week that the Thompson Speedway Icebreaker weekend will take place April 10-11 in 2021. The Whelen Modified Tour will be running at Martinsville on April 8.  The Thompson Speedway operations partnership announced last week that they would run a $10,000 to win Tour Type Open Modified event as part of the Icebreaker weekend in 2021. 

The promotional group also announced they would host a Thompson 300 Tour Type Open Modified event as part of Sunoco World Series weekend at the track in Oct. 8-10, 2021, which means the possibility of a Whelen Modified Tour event also being part of the weekend is unlikely. 

The promotional group has also scheduled Tour Type Open Modified events on June 16, 2021, July 7, 2021, Aug. 11, 2021 and Sept. 8, 2021. 

As of right now no Whelen Modified Tour events are expected at Thompson in 2021. Michaud said the group hasn’t closed the door on negotiations with NASCAR, but that if there was to be a Whelen Modified Tour event at Thompson in 2021 it would be on one of the Wednesday night’s schedule between June and September. 

Stafford Speedway officials have been mum on plans for scheduling Whelen Modified Tour events in 2021. Stafford hosted its first Tri-Track Open Modified Series event on Oct. 24 with the running of the CBYD Modified Classic 81. The event attracted a 51-car entry list that included nearly every current top Modified driver.

The Tri-Track Open Modified Series event at Stafford on Oct. 24 was a mid-season addition to the track’s schedule, replacing the previously scheduled Tri-Track Open Modified Series Haunted Hundred at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway. The Tri-Track Open Modified Series was forced to move the event due to crowd restriction mandates in Seekonk. 

The Tri-Track Open Modified Series has already announced their intent to return to Seekonk for the Haunted Hundred in 2021, but there has been speculation that the series could land a 2021 event at Stafford, possibly replacing the Whelen Modified Tour on the track’s NAPA Spring Sizzler weekend in April.  

Another foundation of the Whelen Modified Tour schedule is New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The track has hosted the Whelen Modified Tour every year since 1990. In 2020 the track’s scheduled July event for the series was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The track hosted the Musket 200 as part of the third Full Throttle Weekend on Sept. 12. 

There’s been speculation that the Full Throttle Weekend would not return in 2021. The Whelen Modified Tour is now scheduled to run at Richmond Raceway on Sept. 10, 2021. 

New Hampshire Motor Speedway management has announced the Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 for July 18, 2021 and the Xfinity Series Lakes Region 200 for July 17, 2021, but there has been no announcement publicly of a Whelen Modified Tour event in 2021 as part of the Cup Series weekend in July. 

Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway officials have said they have not committed as of yet to a Whelen Modified Tour event in 2021. Seekonk was forced to cancel their scheduled June 2020 Whelen Modified Tour event because of Massachusetts crowd restrictions in place. 

After pandemic restrictions were put in place, two events were added to the Whelen Modified Tour schedule for 2020 at White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, N.H., marking the first trip to the facility for the series. Michaud, who co-owns White Mountain, said the track is expected to host one event for the series in July 2021.

After a long layoff, Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway returned the Whelen Modified Tour scheduled in 2020. The track originally had one event schedule, but a second race was added after pandemic restrictions went into place. Jennerstown general manager Bill Hribar said the track is expecting to host one event in 2021.

Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway was forced to cancel both of their scheduled Whelen Modified Tour events in 2020. It marked the first year in series history that the Whelen Modified Tour did not run an event at Riverhead. Track operator Tom Gatz said Riverhead will schedule two events in 2021. 

Because of COVID-19 global pandemic restrictions only five of the originally scheduled 17 events on the 2020 Whelen Modified Tour schedule were run in 2020. 

Events were cancelled at South Boston (Va.) Speedway (March 21), Thompson Speedway (April 5), Stafford Speedway (April 26 and Aug. 7), Martinsville (May 8), Seekonk (June 6), Riverhead (June 20, Sept. 19), Wall (N.J.) Stadium (July 11), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 18), Iowa Speedway (July 31) and Oswego (N.Y) Speedway (Sept. 5). 

Of the nine events that were run four were added to the schedule after restrictions were put in place. The second race was added at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway, the two events were added at White Mountain and one event was added at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. 

The status of possible events in 2021 at Wall, Oswego and South Boston is unclear. Iowa Speedway is not expected to reappear on the 2021 schedule. There’s speculation that Monadnock, Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. and Lancaster (N.Y.) Speedway could be in play for events in 2021. 

Comments

  1. The one that confuses me is Seekonk. The track has consistently stated the tour is returning in 2021. They did again two weeks ago on FB. So why all the doubt now? Same with Oswego. They have been very consistent with there message on FB regarding the WMT and 2021.

    An open Sizzler has been my idea for a long time now so obviously it’s a brilliant idea. No WMT at Stafford and Thompson is equally a bad idea. The Bud 150 in August is a Thompson tradition and fan favorite. Some lessons have to be learned the hard way. There are too many series and open events now for all of them to be successful in 2021. Especially with a lot of them falling on a weekday. There will be winners and losers amongst the open series and tracks.

    And what about TV. For years and years people said the tour needed TV. Now every body is willing to toss that aside.

    I for one will not attend any track in 2021 that drops the tour completely. Lines are being drawn in the sand and I stand with the WMT.

  2. wmass01013 says

    i guess i am MORE confused, while i dont have CONNECTIONS on the inside to give me info of future activities on LOCAL tracks, we know WATERFORD is out as long as Bemer is owner, The Hoenig’s have obviously given Up control of the OVAL track at Thompson to the PASS/ACT people so whether NASCAR is at Thompson is anyone’s Guess But No shock if Not, BUTTTTTTTTT who says STAFFORD is done with the WMT???????????? They scheduled a race in 2020 when clearly their 4 open shows were sold out to the capacity limits and could have added a 5th OPEN show and not bothered with the WMT, so now 1 Tri Track race makes the WMT GONE???? i have serious DOUBTS that Stafford would walk away FROM NASCAR and the WMT!
    A s far as other tracks they just announced 2 cup tracks that were having races so who says Seekonk, Oswego, Mad Dog or any other track will NOT have races, can we ALLL JUST WAIT AND SEE AND NOT be Kreskins

  3. I agree with JD the WMT is still #1 the other series promote there races with what WMT driver’s will be competing, just like the CBYD 81 did by making a big deal that Coby and Bonsignore would have rides for that event and Christopher would be in the Tommy Baldwin car , I guess even TT considers WMT #1

  4. I have to say it’s so nice to have this summation of what’s known as of today from a cool head and steady hand. Sure the word speculation popped up but that’s informed speculation. “Seismic”…..good word.
    Did I mention the hybrid StaffordSpeedway.TV/attended ticket idea? OK I did but I’m telling you Stafford it’s a winner. You got the most money out of me since the last century for the track and the teams even if you take out half for the service provider.
    Nascar, no Nascar I don’t really care if the teams don’t especially the tour modifieds. I’m sure you are talking to them and any decision will have their support going forward. Really compared to eliminating modifieds and going with SK’s that was a nightmare at the time how bad could this be.
    I still think it’s a negotiating strategy in a power struggle. A well organized struggle with multiple tracks providing a unified front. Likely with that crafty Stafford management team running point.
    Can’t wait to see how this power struggle turns out.

  5. All these questions about sanctioning, series, tracks, etc. are all at the mercy of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please, do not conduct this conversation like the pandemic does not exist.

    I am flummoxed as to why the NWMT wants to go south after NASCAR folded the NSMT. The NSMT was on life support for years, very low car counts. The southern cars refused to travel north for combined events. Why bring the product to a market region that has rejected the product?

    There are plenty of tracks in the Northeast to fill out a very good, well rounded schedule.

    Just keep in mind that April is only five months away, the #TrumpPandemic is spooling up, there is no end in sight for the #TrumpPandemic, vaccine due dates promised by Trump have come and gone, there is no credible vaccine in the future, people are stupid and do not see why it is important to wear a mask, 😷 and hence will not wear a mask. The list is long, and Dr. Fauci has said we are in trouble and need to prepare for at least another year of this. If this goes on much longer, even Trump is going to hav e to realize and capitulate to the doctors and scientists, and enact safety measures such as mandatory masks, etc.

    If this doesn’t happen, we ain’t gonna see unrestricted track access like the good ol’ days for a very long time… years.

  6. i am just speculating but could Stafford be a little upset about lower purse races held in NH at non nascar tracks over races at traditional tracks with an adjusted purse. Then Nascar went and scheduled over Staffords open race. Then Stafford goes and asks Tri track to host their Seekonk date at Stafford. It just seems like the marriage between Nascar and Stafford is in trouble. I cant wait for Staffords schedule to come out. I really want to see what is on it and more importantly what isnt on it.

    This has to be one of the most interesting offseasons in recent history. You have a new promotion group at Thompson breathing new life into the oval. You have an open Waterford. Then you have Seekonk celebrating their makeup 75th anniversary season and they had some nice shows scheduled this year. Then you have Stafford which isnt going with their typical cut and paste schedule making the past few years. Grab the popcorn.

  7. wmass01013 says

    i am flummoxed as to why the NWMT wants to go south after NASCAR folded the NSMT. The NSMT was on life support for years, very low car counts. The southern cars refused to travel north for combined events. Why bring the product to a market region that has rejected the product

    For a guy who KNOWS it alll you would think you would KNOW by now that NASCAR will schedule a WMT race when a TRACK SHOWS interest and will PAY the purse, and with the 2020 PANDEMIC year why would you LIMIT yur options to the NORTHEAST, like IOWA last year i dont think Jimmy Wilson went to the owners of said tracks threatening that they better have a WMT RACE and if said owners said ok we wanna WMT race, Jimmy is gonna say HELL NO WE ONLY WANT NORTHEAST TRACKS

  8. Goodfella all you have to do is have your man win Tuesday he said he isn’t shutting down the country he’s shutting down the virus LOL Maybe he can also wave his wand and help 180 other countries, wear masks do more testing yeah right the virus will still be here and I’ll drive by Thompson and Stafford you all trashed the tour for mostly running Thompson and Stafford well now you got your wish.

  9. Fast Eddie says

    Csg, I think you’re on to something. I wondered if NASCAR was taken aback by Stafford not wanting to pay to run a WMT race with a 25% crowd. (You dare question the great NASCAR?!?) Then NASCAR flexed their scheduling muscles over already scheduled events. I also think Stafford got burned on the WMT race a week before Connecticut allowed 50% instead of 25%. Maybe NASCAR is looking at venues that allowed crowds regardless of COVID status. And maybe Stafford is concerned scheduling WMT events and possibly not allowed a decent crowd due to COVID. I’m guessing Stafford may have done ok with the Open events given that they had 4 of them. Had they not gone well they could have adjusted their schedule. Thompson may be doing their Opens for similar reasons. I’m guessing if COVID causes 25% crowds in 2021, it’s not profitable to run a WMT race. 50% crowds in NH may work better for the WMT and the NH tracks.

  10. Really don’t think mid week shows down South are going to work well if Northeast has an open on same week, I believe Stafford is going to allow Wmt Spec Motors and increase the Open Purse. Big unknown in Nascar point fund, is it enough to keep teams on the road vs playing in own backyard?

  11. 🌈🦄2020 says

    If the WMT is not part of the Icebreaker, it’ll be a damn shame. If the WMT is not part of the sizzler it’ll be even a bigger damn shame. This is turning into an unbelievable story. The open shows will never have the prestige of the tour. I could care less about Martinsville and Richmond.

  12. The Atomic Punk says

    Where have all the good times gone?

  13. Stafford got “burned”. No, no no. They scheduled the race and made it viable based on the 25% capacity limit. The Tri Track race was announced mid August and was also scheduled and made viable with the 25% limit. The move by Connecticut to phase three and a 50% limit turned out to be a windfall for both Thompson and Stafford from what they budgeted for. “Burned” should be reserved for tracks like Seekonk.
    Sure Stafford and Thompson want to avoid planning races for April and May with budgets that depend on unrestricted capacity and things returning to normal. However the best information we have by leading drug companies and experts is considerably more optimistic. By April supplies of vaccines will be sufficient to start the process of achieving herd immunity. Summer will see a remarkable weakening of the grip the plague has had on us. Not normal for sure but not whatever this is now.
    Question: does NBC Sports Gold vs StaffordSpeedway.TV tip the scales at all toward taking a pass on NWMT events. They make money on their product. NBC Sports Gold not so much.

  14. Rich, I can’t argue with someone who thinks Friday night in VA is midweek but Friday night in Stafford CT is a weekend. Essentially that is what you are saying.

    Of course Stafford will increase their purse. Thompson has basically forced their hand. Ticket prices will probably go up too. Thompson basically took a grenade to Stafford’s open purse model. There is the underlying story nobody is talking about. Thompson probably hurt Stafford more than the WMT.

    These Opens will probably do well in April. It’s May-Sept where things get complicated.

  15. Rich wrote, “Really don’t think mid week shows down South are going to work well…”

    to which 🌈JD🌈 replied, “Rich, I can’t argue with someone who thinks Friday night in VA is midweek…”

    Martinsville is on a Thursday, which is midweek. A guy that thinks a Thursday is not midweek shouldn’t try to communicate.

    Oh 🌈JD🌈, you make it too easy. 🎯

    Thompson didn’t “hurt” Stafford. Stafford showed that there is still interest in Modifieds. Thompson is not putting on those shows, the guys that run ACT/PASS are, they are promoting and putting on the shows, merely holding the events at Thompson. All Thompson is doing is renting out the track. HUGE difference.

  16. Trump is threatening to fire Dr. Fauci.

  17. Fast Eddie says

    Doug, I want to clarify my previous statement, as it didn’t really come out with the correct perspective. My reference to Stafford getting burned was relating to the difference of a week with Connecticut increasing the crowd capacity. Had the date been able to be moved up a week Stafford would have been able to have a bigger crowd and further helped their bottom line. Seekonk, Maine, and New York unfortunately all got an inferno from their local governments regarding fans being allowed. Fortunately for us, NH & CT proved that limited capacity could work at the races.

  18. Well, Massachusetts just issued a stay-at-home advisory, mask order and restaurant curfew in response to rising COVID-19 #TrumpPandemic cases and hospitalizations.

    How many more times will things get worse before they finally get better?

  19. It’s well documented. Trump’s plan for dealing with Covid is herd immunity. This plan will not only needlessly kill between 7 to 12 million more americans, but will also insure that Covid is a major player in everyone’s lives well beyond 2021. Even if Biden wins, he won’t take office till January 21st, and no matter how good his plan, it’s going to take at the very least into early 2022. Case counts here in Massachusetts are again on the rise, to the point that things are shutting down again.
    With no end in sight, and a viable vaccine still months away, I’d guess that 2021 is going to look allot like 2020. Don’t forget, once a viable vaccine is found, it’s going to take about 18 months to 2 years to vaccinate everyone, and there is no guarantee that once vaccinated the effects will be long lasting. Even now cases are popping up of people who have had the virus getting it again.
    I hope you all are safe strong and sane. Wear that mask, wash your hands, sanitize everything regularly and avoid groups. If you can stay home. Everything we can do, will help. Believe the science, not the politics. Don’t forget to vote, but try to be safe doing it.

  20. Sometimes is hard to believe there is a wealth of information from experts available on the internet regarding Covid19 including reams of information on vaccines. Still we get the nonsense filtered through some partisans head that always ends up supporting the unimportance of the virus and everything associated with it or utter hopelessness for the foreseeable future. Speculating on racing is one thing but public health is another. You want to make grandiose predictions put a link up to support it. This pulling stuff out of your ass crap based on vague recollections of something you think you heard is completely worthless in terms of informing people and actually can do harm for those unfortunate enough to believe it.
    Tick, tick, tick…………can you here the timer clicking away until Mr. Courchesne drops some sort of mind blowing news items regarding the status of the NWMT at Connecticut tracks next year. The tension and anticipation is palpable.

  21. Rob p., herd immunity does not apply. This pathogen is mutating too fast. People are getting re-infected, once they get it does not assure immunity against future mutations. Herd immunity does not work. Ask Sweden, they tried and have a disaster going on.

    A vaccine is also wishful thinking because this pathogen 🦠 is mutating so quickly.

    And on top of that, Trump is going to fire Fauci right after Election Day. Trump is going to fire a whole bunch of people right after Election Day. It will go down in history.

  22. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Good for Massachusetts. They didn’t allow a place like Seekonk speedway to have fans and in turn no Saturday night season. That worked out so well, now the entire state is beginning to shut down again.

  23. Uranium 238 says

    Since he’s a supergenius, I think we should have dareal build a nuclear bomb that wipes out all of China. Bang! No more viruses.

  24. The Atomic Punk says

    Restaurant curfew??….So Virus cant spread at 5pm but it can at 10?

  25. Rich Gourley says

    “This plan will not only needlessly kill between 7 to 12 million more americans…”

    C’mon Man – 7 to 12 million more deaths. That would project out to another 4 years of the china virus. I don’t think anyone really believes that will be the case, except maybe sleepy Joe.

  26. Associated Press
    “Tradition: 2 New Hampshire Towns Cast Votes After Midnight”

    “The results in Dixville Notch, near the Canadian border, were a sweep for former Vice President Joe Biden who won the town’s five votes. In Millsfield, 12 miles (20 kilometers) to the south, President Donald Trump won 16 votes to Biden’s five.”

    OK then so far Trump is in the lead. We’ll see if it holds up. We know how the RaceDayCT poll will come out for sure.

    Did I miss it? The RaceDayCT editorial departments endorsement from president?

  27. Atomic Punk contributed, “Restaurant curfew??….So Virus cant spread at 5pm but it can at 10?”

    Atomic, have so mean take you to a restaurant. It is a gathering place, and quite dense at that. Those are wonderful conditions for spreading and catching the #TrumpPandemic COVID-19 coronavirus 🦠. It’s all about reducing gatherings to reduce the spread of the virus.

  28. I think the curfew in Massachusetts is aimed more at the college age people more or less. I too don’t really understand the curfew, and what they hope to gain from it. They’ve also limited group gathering to 10 people inside, and 25 outside, again I think aimed at college aged people. Massachusetts was doing well up until labor day, since then we’ve been on a steady rise. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another shut down.

  29. The curfew is aimed at all people. All people can spread and catch this pathogen.

  30. Bars (which aren’t even open yet) restaurants with in person dining and entertainment venues(again not open yet) must close at 9:30 but may still offer take out. The bars and entertainment venues are what made me say it’s aimed at college age people. Gatherings are limited to 10 people inside 25 outside. More measures may be implemented if deemed necessary. Oh, and there’s a 10pm curfew. All these measures go into effect this Friday.
    As I’ve said, I hope everyone is safe strong and sane. I can’t street enough the importance of following any guidance officials may implement. The more we do, the more likelihood of this pandemic actually ending sooner. Be safe people, and when all else fails use common sense. Follow the science, not the politics.

  31. As a fan of local modified racing for 50+ years I have witnessed massive change through the years. The WMT has been the premier tour in modifieds since their creation. Unfortunately in the last few years their dominance in drawing cars is in a downhill trend. Even their biggest event at Loudon failed to draw a 30 car field. Now with them running Martinsville and Richmond both will be expensive races for the competitor. Not everyone on the WMT has the limitless funding of the top 10 teams. I hope the purse structure for these events reflects the cost to compete. What tracks will take the Thompson dates is a mystery at best. It appears that the tour will struggle to find replacements in Southern New England where a large portion of their fan base reside. Now with the outlaw series at Thompson and the Stafford Opens and TriTrack there will be plenty of quality modified racing in the area in 2021. With their use of heat racing and good payoffs for the competitor the possibilities excite me as a fan. The WMT has been a great series but their rules package, expensive NASCAR Licences , and travel costs may lead to their eventual demise. Thompson , Stafford and TriTrack provide a well paying , no travel, no licence required, lot of events, option for the competitor. 2021 will be a very interesting year in local tour type modified racing. l

  32. Okay, so several weeks ago, we were at the beach house. Someone recommended a lobster shack to get some lobster rolls. I get there and watch… one person working the place. So I’m watching him make sandwiches and prepare the food, he’s wearing gloves. 🧤 But he’s also handling the money, taking orders, handling credit cards, pens, etc. From there, he goes right back to handling food wearing the same gloves all the time. I didn’t get anything there. I went back to the beach house and made our own meals from scratch.

    Why do these food service workers wear gloves? They might as well rebuild a transmission between making burgers.

    But the handling of food and money, cards, pens, etc. with the same gloves and not changing gloves was so very wrong.

  33. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Alert Alert 🚨🚨⚠️⚠️ Dafella has emerged from his basement and attempted to purchase a lobster roll only to find out it is not safe. Lesson of the day, don’t get lobster rolls by the beach house!

  34. NASCAR caring about the WMT. I want what you guys are smoking the only thing NASCAR cares about is the money they make, they could care less about competitors or tracks. As long as they get their sanction fee, and license fees, without having to do anything, they’re happy.

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