RaceDayCT Exclusive: First Look At 2023 Whelen Modified Tour Schedule



The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will feature a 19-event schedule for the 2023 season with events across eight different states along the Eastern seaboard, from Florida north to New Hampshire, RaceDayCT has learned exclusively. 

For the second consecutive year the Whelen Modified Tour will kick off the season at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in February and close out the season in late October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The schedule marks an increase of three events from the 16-event 2022 schedule. When the schedule is finalized it’s expected to feature events at 15 different venues for 2023.

“I’m really pleased with how it’s come together,” NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour director Jimmy Wilson told RaceDayCT. “When you look at it it’s a great mix of race tracks up and down the east coast for the Modified Tour.

“One of the things that we try to manage is to keeping in the mind that the series is made up of competitors that work full-time jobs and these cars are in their garages and they’ve got to have the means to be able to do both. I’m really pleased with how the schedule has come out and working with the tracks to make sure that we’ve got a decent off and in between races. When you look at it, the most that there’s back to back races is four races in a row. This series has done more than that in the past. But we still have to keep in mind to manage that for those that have got their full-time jobs and are dealing with vacation time and such. It’s great that we have the number of race tracks that are interested in the series to have these events. I think it’s a really strong schedule to come out with it being NASCAR’s 75th anniversary and of course the Modifieds being NASCAR’s oldest division. I think the two compliment one another well.” 

The biggest addition to the schedule for 2023 marks the division’s first visit to North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. The series will run its first event at the legendary .625-mile oval on Sept. 30. 

“Obviously there’s a lot of interest from our garage area and car owners [in going to North Wilkesboro],” Wilson said. “As soon as that track opened up this year and people saw the Modifieds there my phone went crazy from various competitors and fans and people that are close to the series. ‘Hey, we need to do North Wilkesboro, hey, we need to do North Wilkesboro.’ The track was looking for more content and it just was the perfect fit to look at doing this in the fall of 2023. Everything worked out and here it is. We’re going to be able to bring the series to North Wilkesboro Speedway.” 

North Wilkesboro is one of three tracks on the 2023 schedule that were not part of the 2022 slate for the series. Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway is back on the schedule for the first time since 2019 with a previously announced June 10 date. The series will also return to Lancaster Speedway in Lancaster, N.Y for an Aug. 5 event. The series had a successful event at Lancaster in 2021.

“It was definitely well received in 2021,” Wilson said. “I think we can all say that we were disappointed that we weren’t able to go there in 2022. But we’ve got everything put together to go there in 2023, so we’re certainly looking forward to that. There’s a lot of our competitors that come from that Western, New York area, so it’s always nice to have a race out there so they can sleep in their own beds. And those fans out there that pack the grandstands, it was phenomenal [in 2021]. We’re looking forward to repeating that.” 

The schedule features five announced events at New England venues with that number expected to be seven when the schedule is finalized. The series will visit Thompson Speedway on Aug. 16 and also be part of the Sunoco World Series weekend at Thompson on Oct. 8. 

In 2022 the series made one visit to Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. That track will see two events in 2023, with visits on May 6 and Sept. 9. 

“That was a great event and a strong event [in 2022],” Wilson said. “So JDV Productions wanted to expand on that and go to two races. Historically it’s always been a great track for us and I feel like it’s put on some great shows. To have good short tracks in New Hampshire to be a part of the series is really big for us.” 

The released schedule includes “To Be Announced” events for May 27 and July 29. Unofficially, the May 27 date is expected to be filled by Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. and the July 29 date is expected to be for a visit to Claremont (N.H.) Speedway. Both tracks were part of the 2022 schedule. 

With the expected events at Lee and Claremont, the only venue that was on the 2022 schedule that did not return for 2023 was Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway. 

The series will once again serves as a companion event for the Cup Series weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a July 15 event scheduled for the 1.058-mile Loudon, N.H. oval. 

The cornerstone series venue Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway will once again host the series three times with events scheduled for May 20, June 24 and Sept. 16. 

The series will make three stops in Virginia in 2023, visiting Richmond Raceway on March 31, Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. on Aug. 26 and Martinsville on Oct. 26. 

The series will also visit Wall Stadium in Wall, N.J. on July 8 and Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway on Sept. 2. 

While some Modified team owners have quietly voiced concerns over increases in the amount of events and travel for the series, Wilson said growing the series when there are tracks wanting events is key. Ten teams have competed in all 15 events thus far in 2022. 

“We’re here to put on races for the competitors and for the fans,” Wilson said. “And it’s a great thing when you have race tracks that want to take the races and to do business with you. If you’re not growing you’re going backwards to a certain degree. … You need to manage the schedule where you don’t wear people out with back-to-back-to-back-to-back races. What you’ve got to think about with the schedule, three, four or five years ago we opened up in April and we were done in the beginning of September. And now with some races down south, we’re able to get more races in. … I can certainly see it both ways. We want to give people a place to come and race and we want to give them the best venues and the best variety of venues to race at that makes sense from a scheduling perspective … and I feel like we achieved that with this schedule.” 

One issue that has been an ongoing concern across the board in short track racing since 2020 has been tire shortages. Wilson said he doesn’t expect the increase in events in 2023 to cause issues involving tire availability from Hoosier Tire.

“We’ve shared with them the possibility of the schedule being expanded,” Wilson said. “They know what’s coming for us so that they can plan accordingly with tire supplies and what not. And they’ve certainly done a good job for us this year making sure that we have the number of tires needed for our events with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. I feel like they’ll continue to do a good job in the future to make sure that’s taken care of for us.”

2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Schedule

  • Saturday Feb. 11 – New Smyrna Speedway, New Smyrna, Fla. 
  • Friday March 31 – Richmond Raceway, Richmond, Va. 
  • Saturday May 6 – Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.Y. 
  • Saturday May 20 – Riverhead Raceway, Riverhead, N.Y. 
  • Saturday May 27 – To Be Announced 
  • Saturday June 10 – Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Mass.
  • Saturday June 24 – Riverhead Raceway, Riverhead, N.Y. 
  • Saturday July 8 – Wall Stadium, Wall, N.J. 
  • Saturday July 15 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H. 
  • Saturday July 29 – To Be Announced  
  • Saturday Aug. 5 – Lancaster Speedway, Lancaster, N.Y. 
  • Wednesday Aug. 16 – Thompson Speedway, Thompson, CT
  • Saturday Aug. 26 – Langley Speedway, Langley, Va. 
  • Saturday Sept. 2 – Oswego Speedway, Oswego, N.Y. 
  • Saturday Sept. 9 – Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H. 
  • Saturday Sept. 16 – Riverhead Raceway, Riverhead, N.Y. 
  • Saturday Sept. 30 – North Wilkesboro Speedway, North Wilkesboro, N.C. 
  • Sunday Oct. 8 – Thompson Speedway, Thompson, CT 
  • Thursday Oct. 26 – Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville. Va. 

Comments

  1. What a nice schedule.

    Some may complain that half the races will only have 24 cars. I’d rather watch a 24 car race at a different track almost every week than a 30 car race at the same track once a month.

  2. One word, MONEY!!! They will come!

  3. I kinda chuckled when they mentioned full time jobs… they have these guys racing tonight not anywhere near home …that’s minimum 3 days off from their full time job. I think the full time teams will dwindle down to 5 or 6 next year.

  4. In a normal year thats a pretty impressive schedule, these times with Tires and Fuel prices/shortages who knows how many ride the whole Tour. Kudos to Nascar getting it out there 1st so other Series can sort out their dates.

  5. “That’s minimum 3 days off from their full time job”

    And yet there were 35 cars each of the last 2 years at Martinsville.

    “I think the full time teams will dwindle down to 5 or 6 next year.”

    That’s what everyone said last year, too. And yet, they actually gained a full time team this year. And they already have another team recommitting to the tour for 2023.

  6. Stuart A Fearn says

    Interesting schedule. Some people love traveling to the races and the tour is just that, a tour. Super scattered all over the east coast and I’d imagine very hard to run all events
    Wonder how many teams ran all the events this year? Someone can chime in.
    I did note the fall final at Stafford this 2022 race under a continuous green flag run the leaders did not lap a car on the track till lap 47 I believe. That’s pretty competitive field. That to me indicates the strength of the field.
    Shame it is so expensive to even run one your race but that is why the tri track and a lot of open shows are so popular. Much more affordable option.

  7. Would love to see the tour return to Waterford speedbowl.

  8. Bob;
    Not likely until track changes hands.

  9. Tour needs Waterford speedbowl

  10. I love it….errr…hate it….let me think. OK I just don’t get it at all.

    “One of the things that we try to manage is to keeping in the mind that the series is made up of competitors that work full-time jobs and these cars are in their garages and they’ve got to have the means to be able to do both.”

    Nice sentiments but no it doesn’t appear there is much concern about managing the demands on the amateurs the series depends on. If you were concerned you wouldn’t be increasing the number of races 19%. That’s a huge increase in the demands of the participants.
    Looks like there are 7 big travel events in 2023 compared to 6 for the recently completed season. Slightly over a third of the events requiring big expense and time commitment to participate in. The longest trek New Smyrna making the most sense since everyone loves going to Florida in February. The most counter intuitive travel date Langley. Why send teams traveling down to Virginia during the best season in the Northeast to a place that doesn’t care about modifieds and with 19 cars participating did not attract southern teams in the last August event? But yes by all means lets repeat that.
    We fans this year were treated to one of the best seasons in years. Watching the TBR team dominate the owners championship in a very unusual way with the drivers championship coming down to 4 drivers in a finale that was loaded with drama. In Martinsville. A beautiful, racy track, brightly lit showing only a smattering of fans in the stands with announcers that were out of their depth calling a modified race. So lets repeat that in 2023 and not have it at Thompson in front of a great crowd and called by modified announcers like Coss and Falconi.
    Going into the 2022 season the worry was tires, parts and inflation all conditions stressing not just the Tour but all tour modified events. In 2023 you can darn well bet those same worries will exist but with a wild card in play. Sooner or later the Fed’s hell bent commitment to controlling inflation by slowing down the economy with increased interest rates is going to end in an economic downturn. That said would the status quo be such a bad idea?
    16 events with over a third requiring big travel was a lot and it appeared to work out pretty good in 2022 in spite of the challenges. But so good that a schedule expansion is warranted? 9 teams going to all the events, 8 of which were high caliber and one getting the participation trophy. Many events with low twenties for car counts. Lee with 19 and of that 19 three cars were included but really in a class below Tour modified level having their own competition. Some high energy events with great attendance like New Smyrna and Wall but a lot of ho hum audiences as well.
    Sure this schedule has a banner array of tracks, impressive is an under statement and the work Wilson has accomplished compared to the struggles of the recent past eye popping. JDV Productions as well not just a stop gap measure for unenthusiastic tracks but now a critical part of the scheduling process stepping up their game. That all said, just because you can expand the schedule is it really in the best interest of all concerned? What exactly is in play here to cause this scheduling hubris and the major expansion because it sure doesn’t appear to be live attendance and car counts?
    The conspiracy theorist in me says the expansion is a play to control tour modified racing. Wilson goes on and on about the gap between events conveniently ignoring the fact there are other tour modified events taking place at the same time teams may like to attend. Events that will need tires as well. The non conspiracy element involves Flo Racing and it’s roll in the tour modified schedule. How do you expand the schedule close to 20% when we can clearly see from events like Richmond, Martinsville and even some of the New England events the live gate is sketchy at best? I can envision NASCAR modifieds being a bounty of eyeballs for FloRacing given the status of NASCAR across the country. How many eyeballs were watching Martinsville on the big screen? Betcha it was a lot by gum.
    No Stafford, no surprise but a disappointment nonetheless. I’d bet it was on Stafford’s end it was nixed and in my view that’s a mistake. I hate it when people suggest what should have been done after the die is cast but I’ll do the same thing. NASCAR is the elephant in the room now and for the indefinite future. Tradition demands at least one event be a the northeast’s premier track. Think outside the box. It may be hairbrained but perhaps JDV Productions could rent the track after the World Series for the final event. You may hate Nascar but if you can make a buck off them with no risk what’s the harm. The last Tour event in front of actual modified fans instead of going to Martinsville and racing in front of an echo chamber.
    I read the accolade getting this schedule out early so other series can work around the dates posted. OK I suppose at least they left April vacant for the Sizzler. Otherwise good luck to Stafford, the MMTTS, ACT/PASS boys, MRS, Racing Guys SMART and ROC. Now you get 3 more dates to work around or risk losing out because you scheduled too close to the sun.
    Great schedule that makes absolutely no sense in my view. Don’t get expanding the schedule with more travel in even more potentially troubled economic times. Having a championship for 9 teams but from a practical standpoint acting like a traveling open series. A traveling open series that could expand their modified population with rules changes starting with eliminating the out of date attachment to the RYR spec engine.
    I’m off the rails now and need a dose of Courchesne stat to help get my head straight. I don’t get any of it.

  11. Lapped Traffic says

    Isn’t 2 races at Riverhead enough? Why 3? not fun to watch at that track …

  12. Nice schedule. Lancaster, Seekonk and North Wilksboro are new or back this year. Then you have a second Monadnock race. I was concerned about travel this year, but the teams really stepped up and followed the tour pretty well. So, who is to say they won’t next season.

    For better or worse, I am not sure Stafford will bring them back, they have proven they can put on a successful show themselves, Why pay for Nascar when you can get a good field of mods on your own?

    They need a second NHMS race. That is my only real complaint. With this expanded schedule it is going to tough to near impossible for Tri track and the opens to work around Nascars schedule. There are going to have to be conflicts and some tough choices for racers and fans.

  13. It’s funny to me that the fan base constantly goes back and forth between “NASCAR doesn’t care and forgets about the modifieds”, “they’re afraid that people will like it more than cup” and “Why is NASCAR subsidizing events at their cup tracks and expanding the schedule to show off to more people”

    I think almost everyone said the same talking points about travel and costs and what not when the 2022 schedule came out last year, and the car counts went up ever so slightly. I don’t know where you got 9 full time teams from, it was 13. Funnily enough, the more local tri track series only had 9. And the NWMT already have a team intending to come back to full time in 2023.

    About this time last year when Stafford/NASCAR were falling out, people were saying how the tour was chasing tracks away left and right, yet here we are with the most amount of tracks on the schedule in 20 something years. And obviously it’s not certain, but it seems like that first monadnock NWMT race is the same time the Tri-track has been the last few years, so it’s possible the tour “won” one, even if its through JDV. They seem to be doing at least something right.

    Now, that doesn’t mean they can expand forever, there is a limit out there somewhere. Maybe They’ll find it this year. Maybe not. Langley probably doesn’t need to be a thing, but there are plenty of ways to dial back in 2024 if 2023 proves too much. But I do think NASCAR would like for this to become the “east” series. At a minimum, they don’t want it to be the “CT and LI” series again. For a sanction body that everyone has said forgot its roots (probably has to an extent), the current regime is trying harder than any in the last 20-30 to get back to them.

    Maybe Flo is pitching a ton in, maybe NASCAR is. Either way, it’s good news for the tour. TV money is insanely important to race series these days.

    I look at Tri track and I don’t believe you could even watch their championship race if you wanted too, all while a support event was broadcast before it. Real fan friendly. And outside the Stafford races, any production I’ve seen involving them leaves a lot to be desired. I also dont see how anyone could say the attendance at the haunted 100 was any better than Martinsville either.

    I also dislike the notion that the tour is a bully because they have so many races. WoO race 2-3 times every week. Cup doesn’t take Sundays off for IndyCar. Make it work. Competition is good. Cant say I would see Stafford change their schedule to help anyone else out, either. Nor should they. But no one complains that they have 20 weeks straight of SK racing, which makes it hard for Waterford to have big shows.

    As for 3 races at Riverhead, don’t think a ton would agree that it’s boring.Its also the only track around that races tour mods weekly. Its a good amount of cars for the tour to try and win over. Lotta $$$ on that island too.

  14. wmass01013 says

    WOW Zig13, THANK YOU for all the points you made, i was trying to decide to post my own Nonsensical thoughts to Doug’s Post, i APPLAUD Jimmy Wilson for the great 2023 Schedule, i read here SO MANY times the WMT was on the decline and Only 3 weekly tracks wanted them not long ago but seems like not so fast shall we bury the WMT, worry more about timing and having updated standings 30 seconds after the Checkered Flag falls is Not more Important to having a strong schedule, too many races too far away? I have said 100’s of times if Richmond, Langely, Martinsville, Wall, North Wilkesboro want a WMT race and PAY the required purse, then why say No? Not here to compare or badmouth OPENS, Tri Track, MRS, ROC, Racing Guys, Mayberry/Michaud or any other Mod Series, still willl be a tight window to all schedule races But Why Shouldn’t the Tour that has been here since 1985 and to me still has the Best Drivers and Teams in Mod racing and pays MORE in total than any other Series get to do as they choose??

  15. Taking on two of RaceDayCT’s most informed NASCAR Modified loyalists is a tall order but I’ll do my best. The good, the bad and the ugly.

    THE GOOD
    ” I don’t know where you got 9 full time teams from, it was 13″
    I can answer that. I took the driver numbers that was clearly in error. Nice point!

    “Maybe Flo is pitching a ton in, maybe NASCAR is. Either way, it’s good news for the tour. TV money is insanely important to race series these days.”
    Two thumbs up, couldn’t have said it better and hope you’re right.

    “As for 3 races at Riverhead, don’t think a ton would agree that it’s boring.Its also the only track around that races tour mods weekly. Its a good amount of cars for the tour to try and win over. Lotta $$$ on that island too.”
    Two thumb up, love Riverhead!

    “I have said 100’s of times if Richmond, Langely, Martinsville, Wall, North Wilkesboro want a WMT race and PAY the required purse, then why say No?”
    Excepting Wall that is more the northeast region, as long as you don’t care about the visual of empty stands then sure makes complete sense.

    THE BAD

    “And obviously it’s not certain, but it seems like that first monadnock NWMT race is the same time the Tri-track has been the last few years, so it’s possible the tour “won” one, even if its through JDV. They seem to be doing at least something right.”
    “I also dislike the notion that the tour is a bully because they have so many races.”

    So what is it? Do you like NASCAR being bullies or not?

    “Cant say I would see Stafford change their schedule to help anyone else out, either.”
    Stafford highlighting the MMTTS in the Fall Final clearly helps Stafford but does it not help the MMTTS as well?

    “I also dont see how anyone could say the attendance at the haunted 100 was any better than Martinsville either.”
    Seeing as how the fan distribution is all around the track at Seekonk it’s pretty clear there we more people there then at Martinsville. However were your observation correct how is comparison with another failure somehow equal a positive? Especially considering all that was at stake at Martinsville as opposed to Seekonk.

    THE UGLY
    “But I do think NASCAR would like for this to become the “east” series. ”
    “At a minimum, they don’t want it to be the “CT and LI” series again. ”
    Caution: Dot connecting run amok. In 2021 there were 6 races in LI and CT. 5 in 2022 and there will be 5 in 2023. Those numbers do not indicate the proposed schedule includes any motivation other then individual promoter interest and opportunity.
    “East Coast”? OK if you say so but it’s still hard to get past the abcense of fans at races between New Smyrna and Wall.

    “But Why Shouldn’t the Tour that has been here since 1985 and to me still has the Best Drivers and Teams in Mod racing and pays MORE in total than any other Series get to do as they choose??”

    That last comment seems to be the ugliest of all in my view.
    Best drivers and teams? In the current environment when teams or more independent then ever how does the Tour somehow manage ownership of any team or driver for that matter. Furthermore how do these drivers that float from tour mod race to race suddenly become Tour mod drivers or the best for that matter?
    51-great Tour team obviously but under Tour rules. When they rarely venture out like in the Thompson 300 or Islip 300 they don’t do so well.
    J. Bonsignor-great in the 51 in Tour races. In Jimmy Paige’s 00 goodish at best.
    7ny with any driver-they race in SMART, won the championship. New Smyrna opens came in second, race in most Stafford opens and some at Thompson. So how did they become NWMT property?
    Coby/10-actally performs better in Tour races not exactly a strong point in selling Tour excellence.
    16 and Silk-primarily NWMT but they raced in other opens. Third in the Sizzler, won another Stafford open and would have won a second if Silk hadn’t tapped Williams in the 25.
    Preece-he’s like manure in tour mod racing he’s spread all over.
    Nocella-like Preece times 3
    Hirschman-like Preece times 6.
    K Bonsignor-22 for the Tour, 07 for opens, about the same level of success.
    Sapienza-my fingers slipped he’s not good anywhere
    Emerling-loves Tour races and does well actually better then when he steps out of the Tour. Falls into the Coby category. Not a strong point in favor of Tour dominance.
    Santos, McLaughlin, Larson, Blewett, Meyers, Labonte and any other NWMT pop in you can think of. Certainly not exclusive to NASCAR mods in any respect.

    It’s a fact the NWMT is the elephant in the room, they do push their weight around, they set the base tour mod schedule and it’s a good thing that avoids chaos.
    It’s just the way we’re built now everyone has to take a side. You two on the NWMT side. Many more MMTTS that actively trash anything NASCAR.
    I put together an aggregate tour mod schedule and subscribe to the whole is greater then the sum of it’s parts theory. So many events to enjoy each with it’s own interesting “features” how can you say one is better then the other?

    The NWMT averaged 25.6 cars per race in a robust 16 race schedule and I don’t believe sent anyone home without racing in the feature. The MMTTS averaged 32 cars in a lean 7 race schedule and sent a total of 29 cars home having not qualified for the feature in 3 events. NWMT 68 teams participated in 16 events up and down the east coast. MMTTS had 89 teams participate in their 7 New England events. So who wins? I say who cares the whole was greater then the sum of it’s parts.

    In my view no track or sanctioning group has any monopoly on quality in drivers or teams. The Tour has their archaic rules highlighted by the RYR engine that if anything holds participation levels in their events back. The trend is for teams to pick and choose events based on their own self interest, use an array of engine and chassis options and be ready to swap rides at any time based on opportunity.
    Resistance is futile. In the end we all watch all the events we can regardless of who’s doing the promoting. Drivers win, teams win and most of all we as fans win.

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing