Whelen Modified Tour Notebook: Teams Honoring Fallen Heroes At Lee USA Granite State Derby

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

The second edition of the Granite State Derby at Lee USA Speedway, scheduled for Saturday night (7:45 p.m. ET on FloRacing), will take on a slightly different look this season.

Much like last year, the event will feature a theme reminiscent of the popular Kentucky Derby horse race held every year Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. As part of the theme, a bugler will be on hand to perform before the start of the 175-lap race for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, and the trophies with horses will be presented to the winning driver and car owner.

New this year to the Granite State Derby, which is being held on Memorial Day weekend this year for the first time, will be a sizable tribute to fallen members of the armed forces.

“The Granite State Derby theme was an exciting one last year, and one we wanted to continue to build on, but we didn’t feel it was appropriate to have a race on Memorial Day weekend without acknowledging all the brave men and women whose have lives have been lost in defense of our great country,” said Josh Vanada, the owner of JDV Productions and the promoter of the Granite State Derby.

Every car competing in Saturday’s race will feature the name of a fallen service member. Eleven Gold Star families (immediate family members of a fallen service member who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces in a time of conflict) will also be in attendance. Those Gold Star families will stand with the driver representing their family member during driver introductions.

In addition, special performances of “God Bless America,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Taps” will take place prior to the signing of the national anthem.

“I’ve been moved the past two years that we’ve done this,” Vanada said. “In talking with the Gold Star families, I’ve met some of the comrades who have been with some of these men and women when they’ve been killed in the line of duty. Their greatest fear is we will forget the sacrifice of their friends and of their loved ones. For us, honoring the fallen is a way for us to remember their shed blood and the freedoms that it has preserved and that we get to enjoy.”

RELATEDLee USA entry list | Streaming | Tickets

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour headlines a full day of racing during the Granite State Derby, which also includes Dwarf Cars, 350 Super Modifieds, Pro 4 Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Late Models and the Northeastern Midget Association Lites division.

Fans looking to get a more personal experience during Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event can purchase tickets to the JDV Experience, which provides fans with an exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience during JDV Productions’ NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events.

The JDV Experience includes reserved seating, unique tours on race day, unique swag and more. Click here for more information.

Tight at the top as Justin Bonsignore leads standings

We’re four races into the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, and the battle at the top of the series standings is already as tight as ever.

Justin Bonsignore, fresh off his victory one weekend ago at New York’s Riverhead Raceway, has taken control of the series standings as he chases his fourth Tour championship for team owner Ken Massa.

He’s closely followed by Ron Silk, the same driver Bonsignore narrowly bested last Sunday at Riverhead. Silk won the opening race of the season at New Smyrna Speedway and hasn’t finished worse than seventh this year. He’s one point behind Bonsignore ahead of Saturday’s Granite State Derby.

Austin Beers sits third in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings, 19 points behind Bonsignore. His strong start to the 2023 season included his maiden Tour victory at Richmond Raceway. He’s coming off his worst finish of the season last weekend at Riverhead, where he finished 17th.

Doug Coby, in pursuit of what would be his seventh Tour championship, finds himself 25 points behind Bonsignore in fourth. A difficult day at Riverhead, which started with a two-lap penalty for breaking impound after qualifying, saw him finish 19th.

Strong start has J.B. Fortin in title hunt early

J.B. Fortin has never started a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season like this before.

The driver from Holtsville, New York, has scored one top-five and two top-1o finishes in the first four races of the season, good enough to rank him fifth in the Tour standings early in the year.

Following a 16th-place finish in the opening round at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway, Fortin turned heads with a runner-up finish in Round 2 at Richmond. He followed that with finishes of 12th at Monadnock Speedway and sixth last weekend at Riverhead Raceway.

In his previous four NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour seasons, he’s never scored more than three top-10 finishes in a single year. After four races this year, he’s already scored two. In fact, his average finish of ninth through the first four races is the best he’s ever done at the start of a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.

This weekend, Fortin returns to Lee USA Speedway, a track where he scored one of his three top-10 finishes one year ago as he looks to continue his upward momentum and make himself a contender for the Tour championship.


  • Noticeably absent from the entry list for Saturday’s Granite State Derby is Eric Goodale, who will miss his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event since 2008. It ends a streak of 207 consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts for the driver from Riverhead, New York.
  • After sitting out the most recent Tour event at Riverhead Raceway, Tommy Catalano returns to action at Lee USA Speedway. He finished 11th one year ago during the Granite State Derby.

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing