NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Ready For Historic Season Opening Event At New Smyrna Speedway

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

For the first time in the modern era of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, in 2022, the season will start in the Sunshine State.

On Saturday, Feb. 12, Whelen Modified Tour teams will compete in the New Smyrna Visitors Bureau 200 at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway, opening a 16-race schedule for the year in style.

As the Tour enters its 38th season of intense, ground-pounding, short-track asphalt Modified racing, the visit to Florida will mark the inaugural stop at New Smyrna, a half-mile banked oval. New Smyrna also serves as the official opening of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series season. The Whelen Modified Tour will compete on the second of nine nights of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, one of the most prestigious racing events for grassroots competitors in the country.

It all leads up to the 64th running of the Daytona 500, set for Sunday, Feb. 20, at Daytona International Speedway, just about 15 miles up the road from New Smyrna.

The Whelen Modified Tour and New Smyrna Speedway together to open the season just seems like the perfect fit. 

“It’s the right time. This is something that ever since New Smyrna Speedway joined the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series, it’s been in the works and it just hasn’t come together until now,” said Jimmy Wilson, director of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. “This really started to take shape about three years ago. We have both been working hard to make it happen.

“For me personally, New Smyrna is the first place I got a taste of the Modifieds, right at the World Series. There is nothing quite like it.”

The race marks the first time the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will compete in a points-paying event in the state of Florida. Previously, the Tour competed in two non-points events at Daytona International Speedway as part of the “Battle at the Beach,” a track constructed on the backstretch of the Daytona’s 2.5-mile track. Winners in those two events were Steve Park and Doug Coby.

“Why not kick-off the season down in New Smyrna, where all of the eyes are on the area as part of the opening of the racing season,” Wilson said. “The entire NASCAR family will be there. You have the ARCA Menards Series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the three national series divisions opening their season at Daytona; the only series we don’t have down there is Pinty’s.

“It’s huge for us to be part of it and get our season rolling at New Smyrna.”

Many of the drivers entered for Saturday’s 200-lap affair are no strangers to New Smyrna. During the World Series, the track holds Tour-Type Modified events five times, including two extra-distance races.

But the true difference between the Whelen Modified Tour opener and the New Smyrna weekly events is the lap distance. The longest lap count for Modified events at New Smyrna as part of the World Series is 100 laps, in the Richie Evans Memorial. In this year’s Modified Tour race, drivers will need to navigate double the distance with strategy in mind.

Teams will be allowed six change tires on top of the four with which they start the race, and they almost surely will need extra fuel to make it the full distance. As part of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour rulebook, teams are not allowed to change both tires and fuel on the same pit stop, adding a new layer to the race strategy.

When do you pit for fuel in order to make it to the end of the race? Do you save tires for the end in case of a late caution?

“New Smyrna is one of those tracks where if you start 10 cars or 40 cars, one way or another, it always turns into an entertaining race,” Wilson said. “I’ve seen it with Super Late Models, Modifieds, every division that runs there. I thought it was really important when we were putting this together for it to be a 200-lap race. Let’s double the distance. There will be multiple trips up and down pit road, and there is going to be a lot of strategy involved in who wins the race.”

The race serves as the beginning of a 16-race schedule for 2022, one that will bring teams to 13 different tracks and seven states. The storylines are endless heading into the new year, with Justin Bonsignore looking for his fourth championship while names like Ron Silk, Jon McKennedy, Kyle Bonsignore and others look to take him off the top.

“This certainly ranks up there,” Wilson said when asked whether this was one of the most anticipated seasons yet. “There has always been something we can point to every year. Coming out of what we did in 2020, and still feeling that pinch in 2021, we’re ecstatic to get back on track this year for 2022. Everything is finally coming into play for us with the schedule. We want to diversify the schedule and showcase some more tracks. Half of our garage area goes to New Smyrna for the World Series no matter what. We can’t think of a better way to kick-off the season.”

Whelen Modified Tour notes:

  • Justin Bonsignore opens his title defense at New Smyrna. The Holtsville, New York, native has won the last two championships and also captured the 2018 crown. He will look to become just the second driver (Doug Coby) in the modern era of the Whelen Modified Tour to win three consecutive championships.
  • Kyle Bonsignore, Justin’s cousin, opens the 2022 season with a new sense of pep in his step. Bonsignore will be working with Cam McDermott, one of New England’s sharpest crew chiefs, looking to become a major title threat to his cousin. Kyle’s first goal will be to kick the season off well at New Smyrna with a top-five finish, or maybe his second career Tour win.
  • FloRacing opens its full-time coverage of the Whelen Modified Tour on Saturday. The service will show all 16 race events live through FloRacing.TV, showcasing the series to a national audience. The events will also air on tape-delay on USA Network. Announced last week, Joe Coss and Ben Dodge will be full-time voices of the series in 2022.
  • Ron Silk swapped teams in the offseason, pairing with Haydt-Yannone Racing for a title run driving their No. 16. The team has plenty of experience together, running Tour-Type Modified races in 2021 with success.


  1. Bill Hallin says

    You mentioned mod tour races are on USA Network on tape delay. Do you have a link to these dates?

    Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

  2. Bill,
    It was mentioned as a piece of information “to be announced” recently in a NASCAR preview for the Whelen Modified Tour. Beyond that, I don’t have any information.

  3. Bill Hallin says

    Shawn, thank you.

  4. Hillary 2024 says

    It would be nice if flo offered a monthly or event ppv. Why would I want to pay for the year subscription when all I want, or will be home to watch New Smyrna?

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