Walking Away: JB Fortin Says He Is Done With Competing On NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 

JB Fortin (Photo: NASCAR)

On Wednesday NASCAR announced that Whelen Modified Tour driver JB Fortin has been suspended indefinitely, fined $5,000 and mandated to attend anger management for his actions following Saturday’s Jersey Shore 150 at Wall Stadium in Wall, N.J. 

On lap 139 of the event Max Zachem intentionally wrecked Fortin while the event was under caution. That incident and what followed led to the Fortin family being fined $9,500 in total by NASCAR. In additon to his fine, JB Fortin was mandated by NASCAR to attend anger management. Fortin’s sister Amber was suspended indefinitely, fined $2,500 and mandated to attend anger management. Fortin’s mother Nicole and father John were also fined $1,000 each. Click here for full details on the penatlies.

Zachem was fined $1,000 for the incident for intentionally wrecking JB Fortin under caution. 

“I think the penalty isn’t justified,” Fortin told RaceDayCT Wednesday evening. “You’re taking me out of the sport because I’m not paying that. We’re done with it.” 

JB Fortin said what happened Saturday at Wall was the buildup from a number of issues that have happened this year when he has been hit by other drivers under caution or after races and there were no penalties assessed. JB Fortin said he had addressed the issue three times this year with Whelen Modified Tour series directory Jimmy Wilson before Saturday’s event at Wall. 

Fortin sits seventh in the Whelen Modified Tour standings following Saturday’s event at Wall. His team is the second team in the top-seven of the standings to leave the series in less than a month. On June 20 it was announced that the Tim and Sheryll Lepine owned No. 79 team with driver Jon McKennedy was shutting down. McKennedy was fifth in the series standings when it was announced his team would be shutting down. McKennedy won the 2022 Whelen Modified Tour driver’s championship.

Read below for more from JB Fortin on what led to what happened Saturday. 

Question: Explain what led up to what happened that led to the penalties for you and your family? 

JB Fortin: This is something that has been going back two years. This happened once before to me with Eric Goodale [in 2021 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway]. Which me and Eric are fine so I’m not rehash the past with him. But Eric Goodale wrecked at Loudon and then he stuck me in the fence after the caution was out. He drove up and put me in the wall at 80 mph at Loudon, which was extremely dangerous and they didn’t do anything about that. So it started from back then. 

This year, at Richmond [on April 1], Max McLaughlin blows my rear bumper off after the race. Totally cleared the back bumper off the car. I went and said something to Jimmy Wilson. I said ‘Listen, I don’t want my car wrecked under caution.’ It’s a racing incident, hard racing, I get stuck in the wall, that’s racing. It’s a racing incident. Unfortunately stuff happens when you’re racing. But to be intentionally wrecked under caution or after race and nothing happens. That’s crazy. I talked to Jimmy Wilson later and get nowhere. Nothing happens to [McLaughlin]. 

At Monadnock [on May 6] Jake Johnson drove into the back of my car after the race. Blew the back bumper off my car after he tried to wreck me the whole race. I brought up with Wilson, they did nothing. 

Then we fast forward to [the first race] at Riverhead this year [on May 21]. Austin Beers and me got together. I was underneath him, he came down on me, I guess his spotter didn’t call me there to him. We got together, he spins out going to the checkered. After the race he comes up and blasts me in the back bumper and tried to shove me in the wall. 

So now I had enough of it. I went to Jimmy Wilson’s trailer and I said, ‘I don’t know what has to be done, but this is the third time I’ve been wrecked after a race this year and nobody was penalized.’ I said, ‘I don’t know what you have to do, but this is unacceptable and I don’t want my car wrecked after the race is over, or under caution.’ My car shouldn’t be wrecked after a race or under caution. So Jimmy Wilson told me he saw it and he would take care of it. They didn’t do anything. No fines, no nothing. 

So at the next race he says at the driver’s meeting, the next person that wrecks somebody under caution, you’re going to get hit in the pocket and that NASCAR didn’t want car wrecked under caution. 

Now you have Max Zachem, blatantly, out and out wreck me under caution [Saturday at Wall]. Destroys my car, probably $5,000 worth of damage. When he hit me it blew the rear brake line off of the car. So I had no brakes and I was pumping the brake trying to stay off him, trying to fire my car so I could throw it in reverse and get away from him. The car kept rolling down the hill and it laid against his bar and we got stuck together. If you watch the video you can see my tires were going in reverse. I wasn’t trying to get into him, I was trying to get off the race track so we could assess the situation and see if we put a tire on or whatever and at least finish the race. So then he goes back and forth and does a burnout and goes nuts, which is even more dangerous. He goes crazy, whatever he was doing, and rips the front bumper off my car and the bumper was the reason they wouldn’t let me back on the track. 

So I get back in the pits. I was like ‘Alright, if they’re going to throw him out of the race, I’m fine with that, it is what it is, he wrecked us under caution. Hopefully they’ll throw him out of the race and give him a fine.’ Well they let him go back out on the race track. Which never should have happened. They should have never allowed a car back on the race track after wrecking somebody under caution. Jimmy Wilson is trying to claim to that he was going to penalize Zachem but that they had to review the video first. Which to me, somebody had to have seen it. You have 26 officials there and nobody saw him wreck me under caution? I don’t know how you let somebody back on the race track after that. 

After that I felt like I had to take it into my hands. I went up to Max and I dove in his car and I told him “If you ever do something stupid like that again, I have a family at home and I don’t appreciate it.’ I can get seriously injured in the car. It’s absurd. That’s all I said to him. I told him he shouldn’t do something like that. But before that [Zachem’s] brother tackled me in the pits and tried to have a fist fight with me and I wasn’t having it. 

My whole family got penalties and suspended and [Zachem] got a $1,000 fine for wrecking my race car under caution? None of his family got penalties. His dad and his brother both tried to jump me in the pits. Nothing for them though. 

Question: The NASCAR releases seems to infer you had a physical confrontation with a series official. Did you physically confront a series official? 

No. Whenever I dove in his car the NASCAR officials were trying to pull me out of the car and that was going on. But I never hit any official and I never threatened any officials. I don’t know where that is coming from. There was probably 10 officials on top of me. I was just saying ‘Can you guys just get off of me.’ I didn’t raise my hand to any of them. I never threatened any officials. Everything was between me and [Zachem]. I don’t know where anything else comes from. 

The only situation that happened was when his brother tackled me in the pits and I got away from him, my mom [Nicole Fortin] went up to his brother and said ‘What the hell was that?’ They got nose to nose, but that’s all that happened there. 

I don’t know why Amber got fined. She was spotting for me. I have no idea. All she said in the spotter’s stand to the official that was that it was bullshit, the guy just wrecked us under caution. 

They basically took us out of the sport because I’m not paying the fines. I’m not paying $9,500 in fines and I’m not going to anger management because I don’t have anger management issues. If you would have addressed the issue when I came to your trailer three times this year alone, maybe this doesn’t happen. So when do you take it into your own hands? 

It’s not fair to have my equipment destroyed on purpose. I have a family at home, I have to go to work. It’s not fair to drive over the side of my car under caution. There’s no room in this sport for that. 

Right now I’m done. If they take away the fines for my family or reduce the fines to something fair and take away the anger management, we would probably go back. But it’s just not fair what they’re doing to us.


  1. Max Zachem is a squid, and should not even be out there

  2. Well when you drive like a idiot all the time you should eventually expect for it to boil over and get hit after the race or under yellow your brought this on yourself

  3. Everyone on the tour hates him.

    Everyone at riverhead hated him.

    Sooner or later, a common denominator starts to show.

    Good riddance. Hang it up. spend time with your kid.

  4. I feel terrible reading this. I love the Whelen Tour so much. But something is happening in NASCAR with lack of respect. Lack of communication. And disrespect by drivers towards other drivers. I’ve watched both drivers in this incident for many years. They are both caring, family, business, and dedicated racers. A fan only needs to watch televised events or attend a local race to see that anger and disrespect have crept into motorsports. Not just NASCAR Modifieds, but NASCAR/ARCA, NASCAR Xfinity, ….Cup, and even IMSA.

    I don’t believe fining a team or driver will reduce that anger. Or will it suddenly bridge a friendship between the people involved. Removing the driver from competition. Getting everyone involved to meet and sit-together. Talk. Let the drivers who had the ‘Issue’ discuss their differences.

    This is so frustrating for me too. I’m telling you, it seems every freaking time I’m putting my heart-out on my sleeve or my chest to explain to a business owner that ‘just might’ become a sponsor. Or talking to a car owner about how wonderful this kid is and these Modifieds. And This crap happens.

  5. Shawn Id love if you could the other side of the story from all these drivers he mentioned.

    Surely they will all agree with JB, that he is a saint.

  6. Can’t we just get along?

  7. Hopeless racer says

    The only thing i can suggest to JB Fortin is to try and appeal the penalty to that national motorsports board that nascar allows drivers to use, and bring all the evidence up and see what happens.

  8. JB is is a idiot out on track, he hits everything out there under green wich he thinks is ok, but under yellow is bad?

    He was thrown out at Riverhead for a entire season, Thompson parked him in a heat race last yr beacause he wrecked 2 cars on back to back restarts. He is a menace and got what he deserves.

    So now he will have to run the Open shows, and that will end in similar issues.

  9. About time 👍

    Just a menace/hack, they should have suspended him after the bs he pulled at Monadnock last year, intentionally blocking the leader (Hirschman) so the 51 could get another gift win.

  10. Wow, good coverage Mr. Courchesne. I’m guessing under the circumstances there will not be a similar interview with Zachem.
    A couple things struck me. First if a diverse group of drivers are coming after you under caution or after a race I should think an introspective driver might consider his driving style could be the problem. Second that was a pretty good case Fortin laid out perfectly accurate or not. Made some good points.
    What’s the record for a team penalty? That’s a lot of money for a supposedly amateur sport and sounds a bit like a death sentence does it not?
    “Danger Matt Hirschman” JB Fortin may be coming to the MMTTS full time.

  11. Wish I was there! says

    Does anyone have the video so I can watch it?

  12. Well, according to Fortin, he’s always the victim. According to the rest of the population, he’s the disease.

    You decide.

    And to think a few years ago, when TC did this kind of driving and antics, there’d be lots of people cheering him on.

    Bullies gotta bully.

    Let’s not forget that Silk and Bonsignore are putting on a clinic on how clean driving is far more entertaining than demo derby driving. The demo derby nonsense needs to be choked out to let the outstanding racing shine.

    It’s like having a garden. You have your flowers and vegetables, and then the weeds. The weeds have to be eliminated to allow the flowers 💐 and vegetables 🥕 🥦 🍆 🥔 prosper.

    Unfortunately, it does not appear that these Fortin-centric incidents are on tape. The only scuffle I saw was when Zachem and Fortin were in the T-bone configuration, locked together, long after the cause of that collision occurred.

    But the Dug 🤡 Colby chase and nerf incident is on tape. 🤨 🤔 🧐

  13. NurfbarNJ says

    Sounds like a raw deal handed down but, yeah JB has a crappy reputation with fans and drivers a like. Yeah great racing with Justin and Silk. I’d go back to the box office and pay a service fee for that lol!

  14. 🥤🥤🥤 Liz Cheokee 🥤🥤🥤 says

    I love it when you boys talk about flowers 💐 and vegetables 🥕 🍆
    I’m saddened when with all this Dangerous Doug Coby talk and now the JB Fortin/Max Zachem kerfuffle, that no one is talking about Melissa having her best finish of the season. You boys need to have a few drinks 🍸🍸🍸and relax.

  15. Is this the same Zachem that stuffed Nick Ladyga in the 1st turn wall at Waterford during a VMRS race on the last lap challenging for 8th spot? Destroyed Nicks car #38 if I remember correctly.

  16. The people that most strongly protest against anger management are usually the ones that need it the most.

    Just sounds like an addict that says they don’t have a problem.

  17. Didn’t Zachem rearrange Cerevello’s nose years ago?

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