Parting Ways: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Not On 2022 Schedule At Stafford Speedway

When NASCAR announced the 2022 schedule for the Whelen Modified Tour last week the 16-event slate that was revealed included three events labeled as “To Be Announced”.

Many around the local racing community assumed automatically that at least two of the TBA events would be filled in with races at Stafford Speedway.

That won’t be the case.

Stafford Speedway management announced their 2022 schedule on Thursday with no Whelen Modified Tour events slated to be run at the historic half-mile next season.

On November 1 NASCAR announced a Whelen Modified Tour event at Langley Speedway for April 23. Stafford Speedway had announced in October that they would run the 2022 NAPA Spring Sizzler as an Open Modified event on April 23-24. Stafford Speedway management requested that NASCAR not schedule against the Spring Sizzler. Talks broke down for scheduling the Whelen Modified Tour for later events at Stafford in 2022 when NASCAR denied Stafford’s request to change the date for the Langley event.

“NASCAR’s decision to create a schedule conflict put us at an impasse,” Stafford Speedway vice president Lisa Arute told RaceDayCT. “After hosting 135 [Whelen Modified Tour] events over a 36-year span, we didn’t feel our request regarding the already announced 50th Spring Sizzler was unreasonable. For that reason we chose not to host a [Whelen Modified Tour] event in 2022.”

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.

“Of course we’re disappointed to not be on the schedule for Stafford and we worked really hard to try to come to an agreement with them,” Whelen Modified Tour series director Jimmy Wilson told RaceDayCT. “We hope to be back there in the future, but we’re also very excited about the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule and look forward to releasing the balance of the race locations shortly.”

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. Stafford announced details of the big money paying 2022 Spring Sizzler on Wednesday.

On Thursday it was announced that the Tri-Track Open Modified Series would take over the anchor event role at the 2022 Fall Final at Stafford. Like the Spring Sizzler, the Whelen Modified Tour has been part of the Fall Final racing card at Stafford every since 1985, excluding the 1988 season.

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. This is quite the slugfest.

  2. Good, save your money, you don’t need them!

  3. I will NOT miss the Love heats to determine start position as opposed to straight up qualifying and pole front row USUALLY running away from the field

  4. I posted a comment on the Claremont announcement, I am really curious what those TBA are which were traditionally Stafford Nascar dates are for. Getting my popcorn ready. I am going to enjoy reading all the comments..

  5. You can only screw the pooch for so long, before the pooch smartens up and runs away.

  6. Have to hand it to Stafford for standing their ground – Good for them.

  7. daBetterObserver says

    Lisa Arute didn’t mice words…

  8. In other news, NASCAR announced they want to spend more time with their families.

  9. Would I be correct is saying Stafford landed the first blow by announcing a NWMT-less Sizzler. Nascar countered with the Langley gambit and by that time the well was poisoned for any kind of NWMT event later in the year. If you get between Stafford and Nascar you’re between a rock and a hard place.
    So it is what it is and what it is might be dramatic for tracks and sanctioning groups but we fans are making out like bandits. The dance card filling out quite nicely. The NWMT with a very strong, diverse schedule and Tri Track spreading things out this year as well as expanding. Might be thin pickings for the MRS especially with so many races up north but they’ll squeeze some races in somewhere. And don’t forget the Racing Guys.
    New Smyrna to Thunder Road and a lot of tracks in between. Sweet!!!

  10. This is just silly to me. NASCAR could not be any dumber. I’m blown away that we couldn’t even get one race at Stafford. There’s just no way the tour is going to survive. Who the heck is going to be able to afford running this series anymore?

    All this is doing is watering down the competition in the Tour, Opens and Tri-Track due to all of the overlapping schedules. I usually don’t have an opinion on this stuff but not seeing the Tour at Stafford this year sucks!

  11. My first thought was, to paraphrase from the Blazing Saddles movie. “NASCAR? We don’t need no stinkin’ NASCAR!!” 😠 Seriously, NASCAR had the chance to work fairly with a longtime partner, but chose not to. Maybe they figured Stafford would give in, ’cause they are NASCAR…SURPRISE!! Glad that Stafford is doing what is best for them and not NASCAR!!

  12. Hey Jimmy Wilson,who’s your daddy now….Congrats to Stafford for not giving into Nascar….it’s your playground and use it the way you see fit….face it Nascar fans,the tour schedule is weak…go ahaed boys and drive by Stafford to Langley and pass up a high paying Stafford event.Spend all you winnings on gas for your hauler and lodging.

  13. Bring back 80 lap sizzler

  14. Good riddance to the “lucky dog”. Good riddance to “overtime”. Good riddance to single car one-lap qualifying. ” Good riddance to the fast car starting on the pole and leading all the laps. Good riddance to “competition cautions.” Good riddance to races with five cars with a chance to win. Good riddance to freight trains for 150 laps. Good riddance to an organization that inveneted Stage breaks, the “Chase” and “The Playoffs.” Good riddance to an organization that has taken a once great series of modified racing and treated it like crap for years. Gooooooooood riddance NASCRAP.

  15. Get serious,

    And hello to a group that can not officiate a dog show. They have a lot of work to do in that side of things. What’s the engine rules? They constantly change. Who will tech them? They do not have the equipment there to do proper engine tech or work on engines. Do you have to go through tech? Last time I attended the 9 car did not make the ride height rule and didn’t race the heat race but was allowed to start last? If you are illegal don’t race. Some teams like qualifying. If you work your but off and start on the pole and win a race great job. If you get a bad draw in a heat race your in trouble now. Doesn’t matter how much effort you put in. Putting on a show with inverts and draws is great for fans but if teams don’t like it there is no show. Now it’s about a dumb draw. If you out qualify me and out race me shame on me. If you beat me because you had a better draw shame on the process. If you think Jimmy Wilson has anything to do with stage racing your just lost. Say goodbye to a points fund also. If you win the tour championship it pays a huge chunk of change. I am a fan of racing period, but Stafford needs to put the big boy pants on now and get some officials with a clue. You will have your serious race teams in SC that weekend racing for a national series championship with a respectable touring series. Ask yourself this. Would you rather celebrate a NASCAR championship or a stafford championship? Answer honestly.

  16. Henry Lecomte says

    With the prize money up over $130 k I be surprised if top NWMT teams don’t run stafford the Writes run a great show. Let’s see who gets caught up in the jingle

  17. If the the top 10 teams in WMT points after two races decided to collectively enter a gentlemen’s agreement to support the bigger money Sizzler versus the event at Langley, they would make a strong statement to NASCAR. They can just contest the WMT championship over 15 races instead of 16.

  18. Victor tech is a joke as long as your tires have red paint on them your legal the amount of time it takes to really check all the motors the right way for cubic inches takes a long time Gear rule ha ha find a tech guy that knows how to put a degree wheel on a transmission and knows what there doing they don’t have one.

  19. There is only a limited amount of teams that are going to race and can afford to run the tour for a national championship. I think the majority now are a racing for the purse money and the bigger the purse the more you are going to attract them.

  20. Victor, I’m speaking from a fan’s point of view. I don’t care if there is a point fund. I don’t care if there are points, to be honest. I don’t care if some of the teams like qualifying. None of what you mention makes a better show. It doesn’t make make me buy a ticket.
    I’m interested in seeing a race. A good race.
    You are completely coming at it from the inside of the product, or inside the pits, and I’m from the outside.
    You say there are no races without the teams. I think the more widespread and promoter/ organization view is that there really is no racing without the fans. And that points to the biggest complaint about NASCRAP; they don’t care about the fans.

  21. spot on get serious

  22. I don’t exactly understand Nascar’s insisted need to piss into the wind (a time honored tradition since 2004). Nascar will just slowly kill the division as it did the Busch North, as it keeps edging further away from being a regional series by expanding the schedule.. Meaning, more money being spent traveling, teams will be stretched further (as if local racing isn’t hard enough) That will lead to more teams being less inclined to do said traveling. So at some point expect smaller car counts with anemic competition levels.

  23. “So at some point expect smaller car counts with anemic competition level

    Just like Cup? It’s what, 4 teams with the most money and a few field fillers?

    That’s why I prefer grassroots short track racing. I’d much rather watch a good SK sprint or Open race than most NASCAR products.

  24. I get that the NWMT has the biggest target on it’s back but the observation that their races are somehow inferior with regard to competition doesn’t make sense to me.
    Tri Track had three winners. Hirschman for 2, Dowling for 2, McKennedy and Rameau. The two Seekonk events saw no competitive pass for the lead. Rameau’s win was electric the rest were fine but fairly average in terms of excitement.
    The Thompson and Stafford open all good is some way but do they stand out as being superior?
    The NWMT had 7 different winners in 14 events and the champion only won two events whereas the second place team won three events. Preece dropped in for a hand full of events and won 3.
    One conclusion that can be drawn with pretty good data to back it up is the NWMT cars are not superior in any way to open cars. The 51, 10 and 07 stand out as good examples as front runners in NWMT races but clearly not dominant in any way in the Tri Track and open races they entered.
    It’s all about personal opinion but I see no way you could watch all the tour modified events in 2021 and somehow come to the conclusion that the NWMT product was inferior in any way.
    We’ll see about 2022 but at this point in time race quality has been more about the specific race then who was promoting it in my view.

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