Pit Box: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Opens Another Season At New Smyrna Speedway

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

A long offseason for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will end Saturday night when the series makes its second visit to New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, for the running of the New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau 200.

While Modifieds have raced at New Smyrna for years as part of the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, last season marked the first time the track hosted a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event.

The inaugural Tour event at New Smyrna was dominated by Matt Hirschman, who led 112 of 200 laps to claim his only Tour victory of the season. A full field of Modified drivers are expected for Saturday’s 2023 opener, and all will be looking to make their own mark at New Smyrna and leave with the 1948 Cup, a special trophy honoring the legacy of NASCAR and the Modified division.

Below is everything you need to know about Saturday’s New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau 200 at New Smyrna Speedway.

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New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau 200 at New Smyrna Speedway

What to watch for:

There is nobody better in a Modified at New Smyrna than Hirschman. The driver from Northampton, Pennsylvania has been racing Modifieds at the half-mile paved oval since 2009, and in that time he has won a whopping 14 times.

Thirteen of those victories have come during World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing events, with the lone exception being the Tour’s New Smyrna debut last season. It’s not unreasonable to presume that if someone is going to earn a trip to Victory Lane on Saturday, he or she will have to go through Hirschman.

“The key is how good is Matt Hirschman that day,” said Doug Coby, who is returning to the Tour this year with Tommy Baldwin Racing. “I know there are like 30 other drivers to worry about, but if you’re talking about what does it take to win a race, it’s going to take beating Matt.”

Coby is one of several drivers to watch in Saturday’s opener, as is defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Jon McKennedy. The reigning champ is back with the same Tim Lepine-owned squad as he looks to begin his title defense on a strong note at New Smyrna.

Also entered are the three drivers McKennedy battled last season for the Tour championship. Justin Bonsignore, Eric Goodale and Ron Silk will all be in action as they look to open the 2023 season on the right foot.

Other entrants include 2023 race winners Craig Lutz, Jimmy Blewett and Anthony Nocella, as well as Tour regulars Tommy Catalano and Kyle Bonsignore. Patrick Emerling, who is set to compete in the ARCA Menards Series opener at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 19, is also entered.

A handful of drivers, including Chris Hatton Jr., Anthony Bello and Justin Brown, will also be making their NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debuts Saturday night.

The complete entry for the New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau 200 can be viewed here.


RaceNew Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau 200
DateSaturday, Feb. 11, 2023
TrackNew Smyrna Speedway
LayoutHalf-mile paved oval
LocationNew Smyrna Beach, Florida
Start Time7:30 p.m. ET
Posted awards$122,108
Live streamFloRacing (Live)

Schedule: Saturday, Feb. 11 … Practice from 1 – 1:45 p.m. ET … Final practice from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. ET … Qualifying at 5:30 p.m. ET … Race at 7:30 p.m. ET

Qualifying: Two consecutive qualifying laps. Faster lap determines qualifying position. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on the vehicle after the vehicle has taken the green flag at the start/finish line. NASCAR reserves the right to have more than one vehicle engage in qualifying runs at the same time. Starting field for the New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau 200 is limited to 32 starters including Provisional Positions.

Tire allotment: The maximum tire allotment available for this event is fourteen (14) tires per team. All tires used for qualifying and the race must be purchased at the track and scanned by Hoosier, unless otherwise approved in advance by the Series Director. Four (4) tires must be used for qualifying and to begin the race. All qualifying tires must remain in impound until released by NASCAR Officials. The remaining tire allotment may be used for practice and/or change tires during the event. The tire change rule is six (6) tires, any position.


  1. Suitcase Jake says

    As always the 6 tires allotted, after qualifying on the 4 you start the race on.. give you 4 to burn off in practice….14 … wouldn’t want to pay that tire bill……
    As usual those 6 tires as to how and when they are changed will determine who will WIN THE RACE….. 200 laps …. And you thought being a Crew Chief was easy….Pit to soon and get run down by fresher tires near the end of the 200…pit too late and not enough time to get through traffic to get back to the FRONT… Save 2 for a late caution to go for the WIN… late caution never comes and 2 new tires get wasted sitting on the pit wall…ok lets take 4 at halfway… then the other 2 when the leader comes in for His last 2…Oh but wait can we get back to the front in under 20 laps to the Finish ??? Hero or Zero pretty quickly calling the shots as you can see ??!! how many laps can we survive out front on old tires?? how many guys will pit ??? Roll the dice and see what happens…. Oh did you get enough gas in that tank that last stop ??? Who’s close on fuel ??? splash and go or no ??? take the inside or outside on restarts… how about with green white checker ?? inside or outside ???? Now are you glad YOU are watching PRESSURE FREE not having to make these calls and CALCULATIONS , JUDGEMENTS, ESTIMATES AND PREDICTIONS… The race within a race…. These Crew Chiefs have got to sharp and thinking the whole time, along with making informed decisions quickly… What is the intel… What is my competition doing with regards to their gas and tire strategy.. ??? what are my moles telling me ?? What is the 60 doing?? what is the 7NY doing?? ok let’s do the same ?? or let’s get on a different pit cycle ??? As you can see… What happens on PIT ROAD is CRITICAL to Winning the RACE ….. Would you like to step up and call the shots ??? HAVE FUN = BE HAPPY you only have to sit back with your favorite beverage and WATCH IT UNFOLD…… LOL

  2. Jake, great thoughts. It always comes down to who has the guts to wait the longest before taking tires.

    TC mastered this. He spent the early cautions adjusting the chassis, getting the most out of the tires he started on, and getting the car ready for fresh tires and GO-TIME. He was a master at this. He would get the car all adjusted, then take tires last, and charge through the field to VL. He even laughed at how easy it was, how he did this and nobody else did it, in VL interviews.

  3. Suitcase Jake says

    Great input … Goodfella…MR BIG MONEY is also a MASTER on strategy …The great ones figure it out … One Observation from Volusia Speedway Park “” World’s Fastest Half Mile ” I was Astonished at the SPEED & LAP TIMES … 900hp – 1800lbs on DIRT = 13.73 seconds around the track …
    Stafford Sizzler times Tour Type half mile = 18.685 …. WOW almost 5 seconds faster… Those World of Outlaws really do fly … To all you DIRT FANS i now see [ well i may be able to see in a few days ] what the attraction is … These Dirt cars put on an AMAZING SHOW … three wide is the norm as Drivers seek out the FAST GROOVE moving HIGH then LOW then Middle .. I mean these Drivers get up on the Wheel and really work it… The speed is like that of a SUPER MODIFIED is the only thing I can compare it to ..The difference in size of the RIGHT REAR to LEFT REAR looks like 5 inches of Stagger…. Seems like as a Driver you gotta constantly move around to find the SWEET SPOT … I was also AMAZED to watch them fly through the CORNERs like they weren’t even lifting off the THROTTLE … The lap times speak for themselves … I think i am going to more DIRT RACES … I used to think dirt was for growing potato’s .. I WAS WRONG…. Next time i am investing in some Ski Goggles …. LOL .. My local forecast for NEW SMYRNA is calling for 80 % showers and 25mph winds and Thunderstorms and rain showers for Saturday… If it does get washed out… I would guess ?? Sunday afternoon race ???? Then regular race card run that evening ????? LOTS of RACES to Run ??? Maybe SUNDAY would become a DOUBLE HEADER day night double header..??? Maybe Shawn could comment on this ..???

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