Craig Lutz Out Of Ride On NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour; Team Expected To Shut Down

Craig Lutz celebrates a victory in February at New Smryna Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Taking a break has turned into calling it the end for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Craig Lutz and the Russell Goodale owned team he had been competing for.

Lutz said he was told by Goodale on Wednesday that the team he has been competing for will be shutting down.

The team ran the first nine races of this season on the Whelen Modified Tour. The team has skipped the last three events. Following the GAF Roofing 150 on Aug. 6 at Stafford Speedway Lutz said the team had decided to take a break from the series to regroup for the 2022 season.

“At first I was told the plan was to regroup and start off the year strong next year in Florida,” Lutz told RaceDayCT. “But Wednesday Russell called me and told me he was done and that everything would be up for sale shortly. I don’t really know the reason why, but that’s just the decision that he made.”

Lutz has competed for the Goodale owned team since midway through the 2017 season. He replaced Woody Pitkat in the team’s No. 46 car in the eighth race of the 2017 season.

He finished fifth in the series standings in his first full-time season with the team in 2018. In 2019 Lutz won the NAPA Fall Final 150 at Stafford for his first series win and ended the season fourth in the standings. In 2020 he won for the team at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway and in the season ending Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson Speedway. Lutz was fouirth in the series standings in 2020.

The team had just two top-10’s in the first nine races of the 2021 season.

“It’s always tough when you’ve been with a group for a while.” Lutz said. “It was kind of like my first real [Whelen Modified] Tour deal and obviously that’s always going to be special. It was nice being close to the team and spending time during the week working on the cars. Russell has done so much for me and I will be forever thankful for everything he has done for me. I guess this is all part of the racing roller coaster that we’re part of.”

Comments

  1. These teams are falling like dominos. Not good for the WMT.

  2. Just Me - The Original says

    The first of more teams that will be leaving the tour or running part time.

  3. Another team folds. This is very unfortunate. Who’s next?

  4. too bad, Lutz has talent.. Tour losing another Strong Team Owner, Sorry to see this ….

  5. Both Earl and Jake said all that needs to be said.

  6. Just Me - The Original says

    Other potentials, #64, #85, #1, #10. Time will tell

  7. Walter A Fike says

    Sad to see another team leaving wmt but it’s not surprising how many more teams will be leaving the wmt only time will tell

  8. Then we have team Stuart who is unclear what their plans will be for the 2022 season with Silk leaving. According to Stuart maybe some open shows? Maybe sell out? Will they be the next strong team and owner to fall? I hope not. We have had enough bad news for a while.

  9. what will be the car count at new smyrna.

  10. The expense of running a full schedule of the WMT is going to be the demise if this once proud series. It may not be long before we see a field of 15 cars or so. What a shame.

  11. Is this not just as big a loss for Tri Track and Stafford? A regular at both. If Goodale was getting out due to the cost of the tour he could simply run the other series like they have been. The 46 is getting out of racing completely. My guess is maybe his view on things changed after this past weekend.

  12. We do seem to love these stories don’t we. Oh whoa is me another NWMT team has shut down this surely must be the final nail in the coffin for the Nascar Modified Tour.
    But it isn’t and won’t be. These shutting down stories make the big splash but there is a realignment taking shape that is more subtle and not all that bad.
    In October 2019 Eric Sanderson shut down Flamingo Motorsports a big deal at the time. One car went to Adam Skowyra and Ronnie Williams has appeared in 5 NWMT races this year. Displaced driver Solomito almost immediately bought a new LFR and started competing part time. Smeriglio shut down the 2 team, Rypkema bought some of the equipment as did Coby for his new team. Teams have bought new Fury and LFR chassis over the last couple years and will likely do the same this winter.
    Pasteryak, Swanson, Rameau, Sapienza among those gone from the full time ranks. What’s happening though are the half timers taking up some of the slack. Not also rans but well known teams and drivers including the aforementioned Williams (5), Ebersole (6), Preece (7), Hossfeld (7), McLaughlin (6) and Krause (7). Then the notables popping in for a few like Hirschman (3), Santos (3), Swanson (4), Rameau (2), Soper (4), Leaty (3), Newman (3) plus other Riverhead regulars that compete in 2 to 4 events. A lot more but you get the idea.
    Are the total cars counts slipping…….for sure. Are the full time teams losing numbers……unquestionably. Those are the headlines and what those that are counting the days until the NWMT is no more will point to. On the other hand when there is a big NWMT event there is almost always big names that come from either the full time, half time or pop in ranks that make for an outstanding field.
    We’re only in mid September and already the NWMT has announced the New Smyrna opener that I believe will be a huge success and the NHMS companion event to the Cup race that will be another empty stands event but a thriller no matter what.
    You’d think the way it’s going the thing to do would be to move to a Tri Track model especially since the events are so spread out. Have a points race but deprioritize it and prioritize the specific race more with an open theme.
    Is the early announcement of events a coincidence? Could be or it could be the powers that be at NASCAR giving all those that seem to be on a permanent death watch a big old screw you. We’re not even close to dead yet.

  13. Tri-Track should expand to 10 Races…. Now is the time.. Make your own dates.. let nascar fit their races around yours… Like you had to do for them.. You are now the TOP DOG Tri-Track …. Please give US a 10 Race Schedule … TEN RACES is Perfect …. Thank you ……..Love the HEAT RACES & GREEN FLAG LAPS are the FANS FAVORITE….. Yellow laps don’t count… 100 Laps of GREEN Flag LAPS is BEST…

  14. @francis hammel that was my thought too. On the one hand we read lots of stories of teams shutting down and NASCAR supposedly ignoring this series and letting it die. On the other hand they’re announcing new races at fairly prestigious venues (for a regional series at least). Granted making these teams drive to Florida probably isn’t great for their finances but NASCAR clearly sees the series as an asset they want to market. There’s gotta be a way to get more money and resources to these teams.

  15. Everyone’s favorite Tri Track vs the dying WMT. Let’s look at numbers.
    Drivers who have started every event in the season. Can’t look at past owner standings for Tri Track and nothing prior 2017 for the tour. So drivers it is.

    Tri Track
    2014 – 13
    2015 – 11
    2016 – 11
    2017 – 9
    2018 – 6
    2019 – 11
    2020 – 9
    2021 – 12

    Tour
    2014 – 15
    2015 – 12
    2016 – 15
    2017 – 12
    2018 – 12
    2019 – 16
    2020 – 15
    2021 – 10

    And so far this year I believe 62 have earned WMT points and 64 have earned Tri Track points. Not as different as the commenters make is seem.

  16. Now that the “Tour” plans to open the year at New Smyrna, the Tri-Track series should run another FL track like 4-17 Southern Speedway or Citrius County on that Saturday to open the season

  17. Chris we don’t need a tri track race for wmt teams. Many of the tri track teams can’t or don’t want to go all over the place for a race. Suitcase has the right idea, although maybe 8 instead of 10 first. How about claremont and wmmp? Saw a good tritrack race at claremont a few years ago. Good wmt and mrs races at wmmp last year.

  18. You setting the number of Tri Track races bass akwards. You don’t set the number and find the tracks. You find the tracks willing to make the program work financially and the number ends up whatever it is.

  19. Viva Race Fan says

    I’ll bet with Eddie’s passing its a wake up call that you never know. God Bless Ed and everyone he touched . Sure with this more may come due to lack of cars and fear of Nascar shutting it down with no heads up.

  20. If you think about it, TTOMS and Stafford opens are in the best position to absorb any teams that withdraw from the WMT since they both allow SPEC engines. And if Thompson happens to continue on their present course next year that will provide another option. No additional investment required and experience less travel requirements. You will continue to see the same cars and drivers with increased car counts. How is that a loss?

  21. Why do you think TTOMS, Stafford and Thompson have written their rules to allow the SPEC engines? Maybe the are reading the hand writing on the wall with the WMT? It’s called being proactive and providing those interested an alternative.

  22. SIMPLE SIMON SAYS says

    Simon says, I said it before, Put a fork in them, the WMT is all DONE. Bye Bye; Bring more Tri-Track & Open Outlaw shows, Nascar has ruin everything in the Sport, Now I heard they’re changing everything on the Winston Cup teams again! no more five lug nuts on a wheel, two guys over the wall, getting rid of 40% of the help in the shops, what the Hells that all about, I think Nascar should just go away you greedy Bastards, what happen to racing like the old days, Nascar is a JOKE ! You suit an tie guys are real IDIOTS

  23. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Congratulations to Chris on winning the dumbest comment of the week.

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