Missing: Stafford Speedway Not On Announced 2022 Whelen Modified Tour Schedule  

Doug Coby (10) and Justin Bonsignore (51) in action in the Whelen Modified Tour NAPA Fall Final 150 at Stafford Speedway on Sept. 25 (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

The rumors have swirled for months.

After the 2020 season Stafford Speedway officials made the decision to drop their NASCAR Weekly Racing Series sanction.

The question was, would dropping the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour from the schedule at Stafford be the next big move by management at the historic half-mile?

It looks like that could be.

NASCAR will release a 16-event 2022 schedule today that includes dates at 11 different venues, but Stafford is not one of those venues.

The X-Factor though is that the schedule released by NASCAR today includes three “To Be Announced” events.

Could one or two of those events be slated for possibly happening at Stafford? Nobody is saying.

The open dates left on the schedule are Saturday July 30, Saturday Aug. 6 and Saturday Sept. 24.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour director Jimmy Wilson could not speak about any possible sites for the TBA event dates on the schedule. Stafford Speedway chief operating officer Paul Arute said he had no comment on Wednesday.

Since the inception of the Whelen Modified Tour in 1985 Stafford has hosted Whelen Modified Tour events every year besides 1988. The series has run 135 events at the track, which is the second most of any facility. Thompson Speedway has hosted 148 Whelen Modified Tour events.

Stafford hosted the Whelen Modified Tour three times in 2021. Patrick Emerling won the NAPA Spring Sizzler on April 30 and Ryan Preece won the GAF Roofing 150 on Aug. 6. Justin Bonsignore closed out his 2021 championship season by winning for the first time at Stafford in the NAPA Fall Final 150 on Sept. 25.

Stafford management announced last month that the 50th running of the NAPA Spring Sizzler in 2022 would be an Open Modified event. Excluding the 1988 season, the Spring Sizzler had been a Whelen Modified Tour event from 1985 to 2021.

It marks a continued shift for the Whelen Modified Tour away from what was for many years a Connecticut base for the series, with typically for an extended duration seven or more events annually at the state’s short tracks. As recently as the 2016 season there were nine NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events in one season at three Connecticut short tracks.

The 2021 season marked the first time in the history of the Whelen Modified Tour that the series did not run an event at Thompson Speedway. The series will return to Thompson for one event in 2022, which likely will mark the only visit to the state for the series next year.


  1. I just got home from grocery shopping. There are pictures of Stafford Speedway on milk containers.

  2. I think one maybe two of the TBA is designated Stafford. Wilson said he thinks maybe the TBA moves to Friday from a Saturday but he fully expects a race on that weekend. Now maybe that changes after the announcement of the Langley race in direct competition with Staffords 50th annual sizzler but I believe originally at least one of those TBA was Stafford.

  3. For me, personally, it’s not that big if a deal. There still will be modified competing at the spring sizzler, just as they did before the tour was conceived. Don’t know why people call them
    “Tour type” modified’s. A modified is a modified is a modified, then you have stafford’s original “SK” modified, which should have been named “budget” modified, and now you have the “SK lite” what’s the deal lol there? Does it have less calories? Before the tour modified’s were called modified’s all of a sudden in 1985 if you weren’t on the tour then it’s a
    “Tour type” modified. Same car, different day, new name. Can we please just start calling them modified’s again!

  4. If a “tour” mod runs in a “tour type” race, is it still a “tour” mod, or does it become a “tour type” mod? Same exact car, just a different race. It’s like that old saying ” you can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day … It’s still a pig!”

  5. Why am I not surprised.

  6. Too bad it wasn’t your face on that milk container

  7. Rob P, I think it’s just clarity of what to expect.
    If I sold you a ticket to a modified event, and you attended that event, and the modified cars were Pro-4’s (no knock), would you still feel the same? After all, those are modifieds.
    Don’t know about you, when I attend New Symrna, even though the Florida modifies are modified, it’s not the same as “tour type”. Yet they are both modifieds. I just think it’s clarity of what to expect, as there are different types of modifieds. And I like it that way, for me.

  8. Ben Dodge coined the term “tour type” to distinguish them at Stafford opens from SK’s but they weren’t part of a tour…He could have said open modifieds but wanted to connect them to the top of the food chain the NWMT mods one might guess. SK doesn’t really mean anything and Sunoco Modified is part advertisement. Stafford has “Lights” and Waterford “Lites”. Up north they’re NHSTRA modifieds. Riverhead calls them “Tour Modifieds” vs “Crate Modifieds”.
    That’s just the modifieds. Try explaining Stafford Late Models vs ACT LM’s, Limited Late Models, Super Late Models then on to Street Stocks vs Limited Sportsman.
    If you’ve ever tried to explain the differences to a new fan of racing you probably found yourself trying to make logical something there is no logic to and them just looking at you with a confused look.
    It is confusing but labeling divisions has always been that way.

  9. Stuart A Fearn says

    Doug, you are correct Ben Dodge gets full credit for the “Tour-Type” label. I do believe he coined the term circa 1985 when Riverside raced full power modifieds weekly as opposed to being Tour cars or SK mods. The regular weekly competitors ran with the tour cars also, like Riverhead does today, when the tour was in town. As a matter of fact the last race Riverside had was packed with the huge haulers, tour mods, etc and was won by the guy with the open trailer that competed weekly, Ricky Miller. We miss Ricky but a big help to RM back then has reemerged like the Phoenix the ashes and the quiet guy behind the scenes is really a racing genius, Butch Shea. Ask Todd Owen and Derek Debbis their opinion! Quiet guy, and might be mad at me for calling him out, but I consider Butch a racing genius and a great guy.

  10. Years ago I called Thompson probably before the internet and asked if they run mods weekly. I think they were running Sunday. He said we run a division of mods weekly. I said great I am goin to the race this weekend. I got there and the division of mods was pro 4 mods. I felt duped. i think Pro stocks was the main division at the time. They ran SK’s regularly but not that night. Because the Modified racing class has splintered into several different division in the area you need to call them by different names. Currently in the North East you have Tour type mods, SK Modifieds, SK Light modified, Crate modifeds, NHstra Mods, Pro 4 Mods and PASS mods for pavement. For Dirt you have Big Block Mods small block 358 Mods, Sportsman mods, 602 crate mods, IMCA mods, and mini mods or sling shots. Some might dare say there are too many divisions of modifieds out there. You certainly cant call them all just modifieds and have people know what is racing there that night. It is really confusing for new fans to try to distinguish one division from the next. It is one of their more common complaints. Too long a night, too many similar looking divisions. Why is there a break with nothing going on….etc

  11. carl block said:
    Too bad it wasn’t your face on that milk container

    hahaha! best comment that i’ve read on this board! i had to go back and re-read all the comments. i havent read anything written by that self proclaimed real goodfella in years. i dont pay attention to condescending “know it all” name callers!!
    great comment, Carl, thanks for the laugh!

  12. Riverhead calls them “Tour Modifieds” vs “Crate Modifieds”

    Guess I’m confused. Riverhead has two distinct modified divisions; Tour Modifieds and Crate Modifieds.

    Read the rules associated with the two divisions and they are an 🍎 and 🍊. I don’t think I need explain the difference, it is quite obvious.

    They don’t call one vs. the other.

  13. Fast Eddie says

    Rob P., if you cannot tell the difference with the DIFFERENT types of Modifieds, you’re definitely not paying much attention when they are racing. The biggest and easiest to see difference is the engines and the overall speed of each. It’s easy, when they are all at Thompson or Stafford, time each class down the straight; you’ll definitely see the difference! The info below may not be completely correct but I think it’s pretty close.
    WMT Mods: Most using NASCAR’s spec engine but some with a “built” engine, 650CFM 4 bbl carb.
    Tour-Type or Open Mods: Most with the “built” engines that used to be the WMT standard before the spec engines; WMT cars that don’t run the WMT. (Think TriTrack & MRS cars)
    SK and Sunoco Mods, less horsepower with 2bbl carbs.
    SK Lite, Sportsman, and NHSTRA Mods: Crate engines.

  14. I do understand the difference between an SK, and a full blown modified. I also understand that there are cars that are called modified’s, that don’t resemble what we in the northeast would consider a modified. For me it comes down to “tour” and “tour type” mods, and why someone has not come up with a common name for both, as essentially they are the same car, and in allot of cases piloted by the same drivers. The “tour type” name envokes that they are a lesser car.

  15. The rules specified carburetor for the NWMT built engine is a 390 CFM, the carburetor for the SPEC engine is a 830 CFM.

  16. 🌈🦄2020 says

    The comment of the year hands down. Carl block. And speaking of Dafella. I hear Waterford is racing tomorrow. Catch fence repaired and approved by daengineer? Are they going to race with holes in it? How ever will we know?

  17. Rob p., what exactly is a “full blown modified”? Where do they run? What series do they run?

  18. Dareal, thanks for the carb size clarification! Honestly I did not realize I was that far off.

  19. Remember all those years when the ‘bowl was pictured on milk cartons? There were all those sightings and reports, but still, there was no racing, no reconstruction, and still, the place is nowhere near as promised. Still missing: concessions, tower, modern restroom facilities, etc. The list goes on and on.

    Whenever I drive by the place, it looks like it has been abandoned for decades. It looks so sad. 😔

  20. No problem Fast Eddie, I’m only here to help.

  21. 🌈🦄2020 says

    Yeah the new grandstands, scoreboard, catch fence, wall abandoned for decades 🤣🤣🤣🤡

  22. Dareal, full blown modified is a tour mod before the tour, you know, the ground pounders tour type mod. Nowadays it seems anything is called a modified, even those things that use a gm metric frame. I yearn for the good ole days when modified’s were modified’s no SK no tour type just modified’s by the grace of god and 700 horsepower. That’s all

  23. I think I got the original theme which was a general observation on how divisions are labeled. Kind of a fun little superficial deal. In an alternate reality it could be simply “modifieds” and everything else requiring some kind of adjective to describe why it’s different. Then it evolved into rules differences that on the whole I think all the folks contributing have a pretty good idea of and we lost the theme which was how confusing division names get. And ridiculous in my view.
    The thing that sticks in my craw is Stafford Street Stocks. Bottom line except for the one drive wheel there is nothing stock about those cars. They are full blown Limited Sportsman in every way. Almost ridiculous in how the name Street Stock differs from what is actually traversing the track on race day.
    Staffords Street Stock and the LLM’s are redundant. Both ground up sophisticated race cars.
    You can’t argue with success. The Streets are getting stronger and the LLM’s as well in terms of car counts. During the 2021 season we say some of the best racing ever in the Streets with L’Etoile and Meyer dueling weekly for the win. Two guys that have been doing this forever and certainly not the novices the Street Stock class once was known for as entry level.
    Entry level now is Karts then many go right to the SK Lights.
    I don’t see why Stafford can not have a true stock based division that can truly be called a Street Stock.
    I’d like to see a division at Stafford based on a full stock frame and chassis that the crafty home builder can fashion at an affordable price. Waterford leads that effort with the X cars and you can see the Mini’s at Thompson as well as the Speedbowl. At Stafford nothing even remotely stock there.
    If one of the themes of this thread is inappropriate, confusing and at times ridiculous division names I nominate Staffords Street Stock division as guilty on all counts.

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