Teamates Ryan Newman And Bobby Labonte Looking For Wins On Whelen Modified Tour 

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Bobby Labonte (left) and Ryan Newan (right) will be teammates this year in select NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events (Photo: Adam Fenwick/NASCAR)

A NASCAR Cup Series champion and a Daytona 500 winner will be teammates this year — just not in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Bobby Labonte, who captured the Cup Series championship in 2000, will team with 2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman for select events on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2023.

The pairing, which first worked together during the season finale last year at Martinsville Speedway, will drive for Sadler Stanley Racing thanks to sponsorship from Pace-O-Matic. The cars will be maintained by PSR Products, a chassis and parts business led by Phil Stefanelli.

Both drivers have their own reasons for racing modifieds at this stage in their careers. Labonte credited an invitation to go watch modified racing at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with getting him interested in racing the cars that are affectionately known as ground pounders.

RELATED2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule

“Bowman Gray is close by, and I kind of got the invite to go up there and watch. I just kind of got the fever,” said Labonte, 58, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2020. “It just kind of stuck with me as far as wanting to do it.”

Labonte has spent the last two seasons racing modifieds in the Southeast for team owner Mike Smith, whose small operation helped Labonte get his feet wet in the division. But the team had a limited budget and a crew that had full-time jobs away from the race shop.

That’s where Sadler Stanley Racing, owned by former NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler and Virginia State Senator Bill Stanley, enters the picture.

“We had one car and one motor. It was hard. Everybody works full time, so it was hard to get any more out of it than that, and I think I wore everybody out, to be honest with you,” Labonte said about Smith’s team. “Obviously I’ve known Hermie for 20, 25 plus years, and I met Senator Stanley the year before last.

“Whenever the opportunity came about and they were wanting to expand a little bit to a two-car team, Pace-O-Matic wanted to run some Northern races, we threw one in at Martinsville last year at the last minute, but we’re going to have a more serious effort this year.”

The 2023 season marks Newman’s second year working with Sadler Stanley Racing after partnering with the team for three events last season.

They worked together for the first time during the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Richmond Raceway last year, when Newman led laps early and finished 13th. He followed that with a victory in a non-NASCAR event at North Wilkesboro Speedway and a third-place finish in the Tour finale at Martinsville.

For Newman, who stepped away from the NASCAR Cup Series following the 2021 season, everything revolves around the racing schedule of his daughter, Brooklyn. That includes his own racing schedule.

“I don’t want to be racing and say that she can’t,” said Newman, whose car will carry additional backing from Aggressive Hydraulics and Montrose Molders. “My first priority is whenever she can go to the race track, we go. Then whatever there is left for fillers, for me there are opportunities to go race.

“Ultimately, I just want to go race what I think is a really cool race car. Very little downforce, a whole lot of tire, a lot of motor and pretty respectful drivers when it comes to talent.”

Unlike Labonte, Newman has extensive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour experience. He made his first Tour start in 2008 and has competed in 32 events through the years, winning four times.

He believes he can add to that win total with Sadler Stanley Racing.

“We proved at North Wilkesboro and Martinsville that we’re a good combination,” said Newman, 45. “Hermie understands the business of racing; he understands being a driver. I can’t say he completely understands being a crew chief, because I don’t know that he ever has, but I think he understands enough about racing that it’s easy to have a conversation with him.

“Senator Stanley is a combination of a race fan and a car owner that lives and breathes it. He’s ultimately just engaged. He’s a behind-the-scenes guy that most race teams don’t have. It’s good to have him being part of it.”

Labonte has specifically identified the events at Richmond, North Wilkesboro and Martinsville as races he’s planning to enter in 2023. Newman hasn’t revealed his exact schedule, other than that he plans to stay close to home.

Much like Newman, Labonte believes the Sadler Stanley Racing team will be competitive wherever they go. A visit to Victory Lane for either driver isn’t out of the question.

“I want to go out there and definitely give it my best and learn as much as I can,” Labonte said. “I’m racing against guys who have done this all their lives or some type of short-track racing all their lives, and I haven’t.

“I really feel like the opportunity we have with Sadler and Stanley — we can be competitive everywhere we go. If we’re not, it’s probably going to lay on me as far as what I don’t know about a track or what this car is going to do or things like that.”

Labonte and Newman raced against each other for years at NASCAR’s top level, but this marks the first time they will have raced on the same team. Both are confident they’ll quickly get up to speed with one another.

“It’ll be interesting no doubt, because we’re both competitive, we’re both passionate, we both have a resume that speaks for itself,” Newman said. “I think there are going to be a lot of guys in the garage that will be respectful to us, and I think there will be some guys who will want to outrun themselves and overachieve their talent abilities just to say they beat us.

“I look forward to being a teammate to Bobby and working together.”

Labonte echoed Newman’s thoughts. He believes the two drivers will only make Sadler Stanley Racing better.

“For me and Ryan, we pretty much know what it is to have teammates and how all that works,” Labonte said. “You’ve got to make it work. With him, it’s easy, because we’ve got a lot of the same similarities as far as likes on the track and off the track. Communication and relationship will be easy for me I think.

“I know his goal is the same as mine. Our goal is to help SS (Sadler Stanley) Racing get better week in and week out.”


  1. Excellent. It is to bad the NASCAR races are all so long. I bet many of the senior racers might compete in the shorter races if there were some. Wake up NACAR you need to improve for the fans.

  2. hold on Pete,, i like long races,, plenty of action in the pack (in my opinion)..
    i would like to see both.. short main events with qualifying,, long mains with time trials..

    Like the sounds of a new modified team,, be interesting to see who shows up on southern leg of the tour..

  3. they can go run a truck race if they are too old to handle a cup race. No need to worsen the product for someone who will be in the back half of the field.

    There also is minimal availability of open seats in cup anyway.

  4. I’m not suggesting they shorten all the races just some of them. As I understand it many people think some of the sporting events are to long. MLB, NFL, NASCAR, etc. So it would not hurt to try something different. Perhaps in the Trucks and Xfinity events for starters?

    I like the races where a driver can move up thru the heat races, semi mains, etc. to make the back of the feature. First 10 or so spots of the feature or main determined by qualifying times. Races that have a dash to determine the first rows in the front of the feature/main are very interesting to me also. Inverted front rows determined by draws, etc. all add to the challenge and quality of the racing I think. The fastest qualifier being on the pole and then running away with the race is often boring to me.

    One thing about 1/3 mile dirt races is often the leaders catch the back end of the pack after not to many laps and then the skills of the front running drivers in traffic and a little luck comes into play. It sometimes allows the racers way in the back to move up. A couple restarts and they may finish on the podium. Exciting racing and with electronic scoring they are certain who wins and all the finishing places.

  5. Rich Gourley says

    I just saw the entry list for the upcoming World Series of Asphalt Racing at New Smyrna. 46 modified entries as of 1/31/2023. I didn’t see either of these guys entered.

  6. Yeah it looks like the world series is going to be great this year. Entries for select divisions as of 1.31.23

    Tour Modifieds

    1 Stephen Kopcik. Newton CT
    2 JR Bertuccio. Centerreach NY
    2X Gershow TBA
    7nc Caleb Heady. Louisville KY
    7ny Jimmy Blewett. Howell NJ
    7 Rich Parker. Forked River NJ
    8 Cam McDermott. Canterbury CT
    9 Tom Martino Jr. Red Bank NJ
    11X Dillon Steuer. Bohemia NY
    11 Norman Newman. Kincardine ON
    14 Patrick Emerling. Orchard Park NY
    16 Ron Silk. Norwalk CT
    17 Burt Myers. Kernersville NC
    19 Anthony Sesely. Port Monmouth NJ
    20 Eddie McCarthy. Brick NJ
    20nj Dylan Serratelli. Brick NJ
    21 Joe Bertuccio III. Statesville NC
    25 Brian Robie. Sunapee NH
    27 Adam LaCicero. Lavallette NJ
    29 Spencer Davis. Dawsonville GA
    32 Tyler Rypkema. Owego NY
    36 David Sapienza. Riverhead NY
    36s TBA Sapienza Racing
    38 Ricky Moxley. Palm City FL
    41 Carsten DiGiantomasso. Jackson NJ
    41 Kevin Shea. Mystic CT
    45 Brett Meservey. Brewster MA
    46 Justin Brown. Manorville NY
    50 Ronnie Williams. Vernon CT
    54 Tommy Catalano. Ontario NY
    54 Tyler Catalano. Ontario NY
    55 Teddy Hodgdon. Danbury CT
    56 Amy Catalano. Ontario NY
    58 Eric Goodale. Riverhead NY
    60 Matt Hirschman. Northampton PA
    71 Kyle Ellwood. Riverhead NY
    71 Michael Rutkoski. Riverhead NY
    72 Bud McIntyre. New Smyrna Beach FL
    73 Paul Hartwig Jr. Galloway NJ
    73H Paul Hartwig SR. Galloway NJ
    82 Craig Lutz. Miller Place NY
    92 Anthony Nocella. Berlin MA
    02 Joey Coulter. Miami Springs FL
    08 Nicholas Halkowicz. Shelton CT
    09 Christopher Hatton. Ormond Beach, FL
    179 Anthony Bello. Newton CT

    Super Late Model

    1 Todd Stone. Middlebury VT
    9 Brad May. Oviedo FL
    12 Derek Griffith. Hudson NH
    15 Gabe Sommers. Plover WI
    17 Chris Durbin. Cameron WV
    18 Brandon Short. Brook Park OH
    18 Casey Roderick. Lawrenceville GA
    23 Billy Van Meter. Indianapolis IN
    29 Austin Teras. Gray ME
    44 Conner Jones. Fredricksburg VA
    54 Matt Craig. Concord NC
    54 Tommy Catalano. Ontario NY
    58 John Coffman. Live Oak FL
    69 Michael Hinde. Hernando FL
    76 James Lynch. Palos Park IL
    08 Nicholas Naugle. Dartmouth NS
    112 Steve Weaver Jr. Plantation FL

    Pro Late Models

    0 Glenn Styres. Ohsweken ON
    1 Toni Breidinger. Mooresville NC
    5 Gavan Boschele. Mooresville NC
    7 Mitch Haver. West Bend WI
    9 John Weitz. Caldwell ID
    11 David Weaver. Plantation FL
    16 TJ Monroe. Star ID
    17x Brandon Turbush. Manorville NY
    20 Chase Johnson. Mt Juliet TN
    26 Dawson Sutton. Lebanon TN
    29 Hunter Wright. Lebanon TN
    42 Ryan Kamish. Farmington MN
    44 Conner Jones. Fredricksburg VA
    45 Mike Mayberry. Naples ME
    47 Dakota Stoup. Owensboro KY
    56 Gus Dean. Bluffton SC
    57 Jeff Johnston. Ft Pierce FL
    57 Wally LaCicero. Lavallette NJ
    61 Kent Baledge. Alexandria IN
    69 Michael Hinde. Hernando FL
    81 Katie Hettinger. Dryden MI
    88 TJ DeCaire. Land O Lakes FL
    94 Cory Luciano. Beaverton ON
    00 Jeremy Whorff. Bath ME
    00 Jimmy Renffrew Jr. Candia NH
    08 Nicholas Naugle. Dartmouth NS

    602 Mod

    1 Bobby Jones. Palmerton PA
    2 Jerry Gradl Jr. Buffalo NY
    5 Pat Wall. Cream Ridge NJ
    7NC Luke Baldwin. Mooresville NC
    7NY Jack Baldwin. Mooresville NC
    7 Tony Pereira. Miami FL
    12 Cody Norman. Lewisville NC
    12 Nick Baer. New Tripoli PA
    16 Ethan Durocher. Canterbury CT
    17 Lee Sharpsteen. Waverly NY
    19 Curt Hatton. Enterprise FL
    24 Chris Hatton Sr. Deland FL
    24 Eric Lane. Howell NJ
    27a Adam Lacicero. Lavallette NJ
    27c Christian Lacicero. Seaside Park NJ
    27 Evan Rygielski. Wilkes-Barre PA
    29 Matt Caprara. Clayton NY
    33 Carsten DiGiantomasso. Jackson NJ
    33 Gary Fountian. Clairmont FL
    38 Jarret DiGiantomasso. Jackson NJ
    41 Michael Brennan. Old Bridge NJ
    51 Ricky Collins. Willow Grove PA
    54 Trevor Catalano. Ontario NY
    65 Andrew Lewis. Ontario NY
    72 Brian Rygielski. Wilkes-Barre PA
    73 Matt Ricco. Galloway NJ
    73 Paul Hartwig Jr. Galloway NJ
    74 Jonathan Laureigh. Ship Bottom NJ
    76 James Blewett. Howell NJ
    00 Jake Nelke. Manahawkin NJ
    02 Ryan Fisher. Leonardo FL
    09 Christopher Hatton. Ormond Beach, FL
    124 Ron D’Alessandro. Palm Bay FL

    Florida Modifieds

    1W Wayne Parker. Mt Dora FL
    2H Matthew Jarrett. Taft FL
    4B Alan Bruns. Windermere FL
    4 Michael Mark Deland FL
    15 Tank Tucker. New Smyrna Beach FL
    15 Tim Moore. St. Petersburg FL
    16 Brian Gayton. Orlando FL
    33 Shain Held. Taft FL
    46 Cody Stickler. Pinellas Park FL
    51 Tim Laurent. Scottsboro AL
    66 Jerry Symons. New Smyrna Beach FL
    75 George Helliwell. Pelham NH
    77 Hunter Slayton. Richmond VA

  7. The Northeast Racing Happy Hour podcast is primarily dirt centric. However they recently had two of the coolest cats in tour modified racing on Woody Pitkat and Matt Hirschman. Andy Crane was the host, was well prepared and the two tour modified drivers who are among the best as communicators delivered with some insightful reflections on their careers and the state of modified racing as a whole. Hirschman particularly was virtually gushing at the resurgence of modifieds. Don’t know how much was motivated by his banner year in 2022 vs the overall state of the sport but he minced not words in stressing the upward trend.
    Part of the evidence of an upward trend is right here in this article. Labonte hasn’t just dabbled in tour modifieds he’s stuck with SMART for a while now and this is an expansion of his interest. Modified racing down south virtually dead a few years ago excepting Bowman Gray. SMART firing up again and will have Newman, Labonte, Hirschman and the 7 NY for races. It all bleeds into what’s happening up here in the Northeast and now big names Labonte and Newman are on our radar for their NWMT racing involvement, possibly the Sizzler as well. Their team not just a one car let’s just go out and have some fun deal. Now a serious, well sponsored, multi car team with lofty goals for big events. I know I’ll be looking forward to seeing the Sadler/Stanley cars in action although I would appreciate if they would keep their “Leaning Right and Turning Left” political evangelism at the Mason-Dixon line if and when they travel north.
    Another part of the resurgence story is PSR Products. Teams have been using their components for a long time but it’s only recently that their chassis has become a hot commodity. A few years ago Jeremy Gerstner drove a PSR chassis’d car to mediocre finishes at New Smyrna. Now with the 7ny having so much success with the PSR revamped car in 2022, at least one new chassis for TBR in 2023, Labonte and Newman driving their chassis as well as Burt Meyers, PSR is the new hot ticket it would appear for 2023. With apologies to Race Works and SPAFCO, by my count that’s one modified chassis builder up here supplying the cars that win the biggest races and two down south. Perhaps bad news for TFR but an indication of strength for tour modifieds.
    Looking at the composite tour mod schedule it’s intimidating. The paddock at New Smyrna will be bulging with tour modifieds for the opens and you can bet the NWMT will have a strong field just like last year. Then a break but then the grind ensues and you wonder who will show up where for what races. If the population of teams at some point will just get worn out with entry lists showing weaknesses we didn’t see last year. It’s been mentioned but the topic isn’t pervasive and neither Pitkat nor Hirschman mentioned it. Are we talking Chicken Little here or is it a concern?

  8. I find it interesting that the resurgence of modifieds down south was preceded by Nascars departure. The increase in car counts in the Northeast over the last few years may be due to the increase in choices to run a modified with all these opens and series. Would we have seen this renewed interest if all we had for tour type racing was the Nascar tour? Its tough to know for sure but I have my doubts. There is no doubt Nascar is still king in this area, but I think we are better off with choices for both fans and competitors. The Nascar tour is great, but it is just too expensive for a local hobby racer. These tours and opens can be done on a much smaller budget. Unfortunately costs and purses dictate that racing a tour type modified is more entertainment than employment for the majority of the field.

    I do worry that we are getting to the tipping point where too many tour type modified events may start to produce short fields. I will be honest I thought we were at that point last year and for the most part fields were good and racing was enjoyable. Doug, I know you usually put together a tour type modified all-inclusive schedule each year. I would be really interested in knowing how many more tour type events there are in the northeast scheduled for 2023 compared to 2022. How many weekends we have with conflicts and how many empty weekends we have? I know for the most part the tours and opens have really tried to keep conflicts to a minimum but with the ever-increasing events I don’t know how much longer that will last. Has MRS come out with a schedule yet?


    Saturday, Feb. 11 NWMT New Smyrna Speedway
    Monday, February 13, New Smyrna
    Tuesday, February 14, New Smyrna
    Wednesday, February 15, New Smyrna
    Thursday, February 16, New Smyrna
    Friday, February 17, New Smyrna

    Friday, March 31 NWMT Richmond Raceway

    Sunday, April 2 Thompson 125
    Saturday, April 15 ACT/PASS, NHMS
    Saturday, April 29 Stafford Duels
    Sunday, April 30 Stafford Sizzler

    Saturday, May 6 NWMT Monadnock (JDV Productions)
    Friday, May 19 Stafford 81
    Saturday, May 20 NWMT Riverhead Raceway
    Saturday, May 27 NWMT Lee USA (JDV Productions)
    Sunday, May 28 MMTTS Thunder Road 100

    Saturday, June 3 JDV Monadnock 100
    Saturday, June 10 NWMT Seekonk Speedway
    Friday, June 16, Stafford 80
    Wednesday, June 21 ACT/PASS Thompson 50
    Saturday, June 24 NWMT Riverhead Raceway
    Wednesday, June 28 MMTTS Seekonk 100

    Saturday, July 1 The Racing Guy Star
    Friday, July 7 Stafford 80
    Saturday, July 8 NWMT Wall Stadium
    Saturday, July 8 MRS Wiscasset 75
    Saturday, July 15 NWMT New Hampshire Motor Speedway
    Wednesday, July 26 ACT/PASS Thompson 50
    Saturday, July 22 MMTTS Star Speedway 100
    Saturday, July 29 NWMT Claremont (JDV Productions)

    Saturday, Aug. 5 NWMT Lancaster
    Saturday, August 12 MMTTS Speedbowl 100
    Wednesday, August 16 Thompson 50
    Friday, August 18 Stafford 80
    Saturday, August 19, MRS Riverside 75
    Wednesday, Aug. 16 NWMT Thompson
    Saturday, August 26, MRS, Oxford Plains
    Saturday, Aug. 26 NWMT Langley Speedway

    Saturday, Sept. 2 NWMT Oswego Speedway
    Sunday, September 3, JDV, Claremont
    Saturday, Sept. 9 NWMT Monadnock (JDV Productions)
    Wednesday, Sept 13, Thompson 50
    Saturday, Sept. 16 NWMT Riverhead Raceway
    Sunday, September 17, MRS, Star 125
    Saturday, September 23 MMTTS Stafford Motor Fall Final 80
    Saturday, Sept. 30 NWMT North Wilkesboro Speedway

    Friday October 6, Thompson MRS
    Saturday October 7, Thompson 100
    Sunday, Oct. 8 NWMT Thompson
    Saturday, October 21 MMTTS Speedbowl Haunted Hundred
    Thursday, Oct. 26 NWMT Martinsville

    Excludes 14 SMART events, ROC, Islip 300, Wall Turkey Derby, North South Shootout and probably a lot more.

    “I would be really interested in knowing how many more tour type events there are in the northeast scheduled for 2023 compared to 2022”

    I’m on it!

  10. i believe that so-called modified tipping points can better be described as “cream rising to the top”,, it’s up to promoters to provide a menu that attracts the fans and drivers,, that seems to provide plenty of room.. location, purses, length of race, restart procedures,, qualifying procedures,, pit parties,, can\should all be combined to provide a specific format\product.. i also see room for “light” modifieds with no spotters\pitting(old time racing) in this picture as well.. right now,, the more,, the better…..

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing