Final Round Of Whelen Granite State Cup Headlines Full Night Of Racing At Claremont

(Press Release from JDV Productions)

New Hampshire’s Upper Valley will be alive with the roar of race cars Saturday evening as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Claremont Motorsports Park.

For the second year in a row, Saturday’s Clash at Claremont concludes the three-race Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup, with money on the line for the special mid-season mini-series as the nineteen-race NWMT schedule marches on.

Only minutes from the Vermont border, the unique oval has a long legacy in regional racing, but only three times before has the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competed at the tricky third-mile. Last year was the first NWMT event at the track since 2007, with another visit in the modern Tour’s first season in 1985.

Jon McKennedy won last year’s event en route to the season championship. The reigning champion is not on this year’s entry list, guaranteeing a new face in Claremont’s winner’s circle Saturday night.

Former series champion Ron Silk is riding a hot streak with three wins this season and only one finish outside the top five, while three-time titlist Justin Bonsignore is coming off a win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with plenty of his own momentum. Giving chase in third is Doug Coby, who has won once in pursuit of his seventh Tour title, but sits 38 points out of the lead.

The pre-race pick, though, may be Matt Hirschman. The Pennsylvanian sits seventh in the Tour standings on a reduced schedule, but Hirschman has two wins, dealing out punishing performances at Lee USA Speedway and Seekonk Speedway. “Big Money Matt” has lived up to his moniker at Claremont with big open-competition wins in 2020 and 2022, as well as clinching last year’s Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup for car owner Roy Hall.

Hirschman sits only four points back of Coby in the Whelen Short Track Cup standings, so a checkered flag Saturday could be especially big for the bullring veteran and the Pee Dee Motorsports team.

Apparent favorites aside, plenty of Tour firepower lurks in the shadows to pull off the upset, from rising star Austin Beers and recent winner Jake Johnson to local favorites Brian Robie and Matthew Kimball.

Claremont’s weekly classes round out an evening program under the lights that will be one of the biggest shows of the season at the historic track, and an event you will not want to miss.

Saturday’s Clash at Claremont racing program is headlined by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, with features for the NHSTRA Modifieds, NHSTRA Late Models, Six Shooters, Mini Stocks, and Pure Stocks. Grandstands open at 2:30pm with qualifying to begin at 5:00pm.

General admission seating is $45 for adults, and children 12 and under are free. JDV Experience All-Access tickets are $99 each and include reserved seating. 

For more information on JDV Productions, visit and follow on social media for the latest updates throughout the season, including updates from the track on race day with feature winner posts.


  1. 19 cars. Not great, not terrible. Couple fewer than i expected.

    Interesting to see some of these lower travel races struggle. But some of the higher ones aren’t as much.

    5-10 years ago, when it was the CT tour, the tour fan base was overwhelmingly wanting to go to these places (like here, lee, seekonk, Spencer. chemung etc). It was one of the few things the fan base agreed on in a large %.

    Would be fascinating to see how the car counts vs race count is pacing this year vs previous. No secret races are up and car counts are down, but certainly seems like there are fewer teams doing fewer races this year on top of it.

    Not a tour vs tri track vs Stafford thing. Just an all around pull back of tour type racing. Even if the schedules were to pull back next year im not convinced the car counts would recover that much.

  2. Zig13,
    You say: “5-10 years ago, when it was the CT tour, the tour fan base was overwhelmingly wanting to go to these places (like here, lee, seekonk, Spencer. chemung etc). It was one of the few things the fan base agreed on in a large %”

    I was covering the Tour when it was very Connecticut-centric. What I remember from that era was that very few fans were complaining about the amount of races in Connecticut. Most were pretty happy to have lots of races to go to close together.

    I did hear a lot of complaints from some teams that they wanted a more diversified schedule, but rarely heard fans complaining.

    And when I ever had dialogue with fans about the Tour and the schedule, I never heard anybody ever say they wanted the series to go Lee or Claremont or Lancaster or Spencer or Chemung. I heard fans say they wanted to go Richmond and Martinsville and Bristol and Oswego and New Smyrna, and oddly lots of them always mentioning IRP. The only New England short tracks I ever remember fans saying they wished the Tour went to more were Monadnock and Beech Ridge.

  3. looking back on your 2013 NWMT schedule post, I see atleast one commenter mentioning some of those tracks.

    2014 and 2015’s had a few negative comments on the overall length and track amount, at least how I read them.

    Maybe it’s just because I’m not CT based, but I sure remember a lot of fan desire to expand the schedule to different tracks and how much positivity the old VMRS schedules would have. Funnily enough, back then it was that series predicted by many to take down the tour.

  4. I think the Economy is the main driving factor in the “decline” in entries stuff is just more expensive then back in 2017 even races at Thompson have fireworks go off at the start of the summer Tour races. Personally, I prefer tracks over 4/10’s of a mile especially if there is banking.

    I think the best tracks are in CT- Thompson is and always will be the best track for modifieds, Stafford obviously a close second and Waterford is fun- can’t go wrong with any of them. NHMS is Daytona so that’s a banger. And going to North Wilkesboro, Oswego, New Smyrna (in February) and Richmond are all fun as well. I though Lee wouldn’t be boring but, it seems like after watching videos of races from the early 2010’s MRS races there and comparing them to the NWMT, it’s become a bummer on the NWMT side. Personally, I wish they’d trade Langley for Caraway since you’re already going down south and Caraway is like the Stafford of North Carolina. Maybe try and get Nashville Fairgrounds or IRP by trading a Riverhead race but, only when gas/diesel prices go down hopefully in 2025. I know I’ll get ridiculed with travel expense arguments.

    Final thing is this, and please correct me if I’m wrong but, I thought Bonsignore said something either in 2021 or 2022 like: “We have a lot of money invested in these cars and having an increase in races to 19 or so a year is where we want to be”.

  5. Tyler,
    I don’t remember reading a quote like that from Bonsignore, but I could understand him saying that too. I do know there were some team owners that were happy with the increase to 19 events, but I think there were more team owners that weren’t happy about the increase in events because of the increase in travel and the burden it put on crews.

  6. Caraway the Stafford of NC???? That was good for a laugh this morning. Other than they are both asphalt racetracks of approximately the same size, there is nothing about the two that are remotely the same. From management to facility conditions to fan experiences…..vastly different.

    Langley is a much better choice when compared with Caraway. I can be at Caraway in an hour. I never go there anymore. I gladly drive the 4.5 hours to Langley for a WMT race every year.

  7. Calling Caraway the Stafford of North Carolina is like calling Ken Heagy the Dale Earnhardt of Modifieds.

  8. Racing product wise its a lot more exciting to watch modifieds at Caraway than Langley. No passing at Langley and its small basically a circle no straightaways. TriCounty is a fun track as well. The SMART race and older Southern tour races are rewatchable unlike the recent tour races at Langley. WHI and HuH?-I’ll say ya you guys got me there lol. I think stating it is like Stafford is a definitely a stretch. I meant it more as is racing quality and race replay ability.

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