Category Archives: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

Silly Season Drivers Settle In

New Pairings Set With Whelen Modified Tour Ready To Roll

By Jason Cunningham, NASCAR
April 1, 2016

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Each off season brings change to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and a handful of familiar names are gearing up for the coming 2016 season with different teams.

When the 32nd season of Whelen Modified Tour competition stars next weekend at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, one-fifth of the drivers in the starting lineup will be with different teams. Chase Dowling, Rowan Pennink, Woody Pitkat, Ron Silk and Todd Szegedy have all changed rides from 2015 to 2016 while Rob Summers will rejoin the tour for the first time since 2010.

And announced Wednesday, Jimmy Blewett is also back following a two-year absence.

NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR ROSTER

IMG_0794 (2)Dowling, who earned Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2015 with Tomaino Motorsports, has joined Berkley Auto Racing for the coming season. The Roxbury, Connecticut, native, now 18, recorded eight top 10s in 15 races as a rookie. He’ll continue to race the No. 9 with his new team, owned by Bob Katon.

Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania’s Pennink has moved on from his own team and into the seat of the famed “Ole Blue” No. 3 of Boehler Racing Enterprises for a full-time run in 2016. He recorded two wins and 58 top 10s in 124 starts across nine seasons in the No. 93.

A championship contender in 2015 with Buzz Chew Racing, Pitkat landed on his feet with Kevin Stuart Motorsports for the coming season after the Chew team decided to switch to dirt racing closer to its upstate New York home base. A nine-year Whelen Modified Tour veteran from Stafford, IMG_3906_4200Connecticut, Pitkat recorded all three of his wins and each of his four poles in the two previous seasons with Chew. The Stuart team will be new to the tour this season, and current plans are to compete in 11 of the 17 events on the schedule.

The 2011 Whelen Modified Tour titlist, Silk made seven starts last year including five with Rob Fuller Motorsports. This year he will take over for driver/owner Danny Watts Jr. in the No. 82. A nine-time winner on the tour, Silk already drove the Watts 82 to Victory Lane once this year when he won the tour-type modified opener at New Smyrna (Florida) Speedway during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. The team currently plans to run the full slate of events.

In this game of musical chairs, Szegedy is the only driver to land in a seat he previously occupied. After a full season in the Mystic Missile Racing No. 4 last year, the 2003 tour champ wanted to reduce his schedule in 2016, and he will do just that with a return to Rob Fuller Motorsports. Szegedy, with 19 wins in 202 career races, posted an average finish of 15th in five starts in the RFM No. 15 two years ago.

Summers’ case is different from the previously mentioned drivers. Aside from a spot start in 2013, the Manchester, Connecticut, driver hasn’t competed on the Whelen Modified Tour since 2010. His last full-time season was 2006. He will return to a full slate in 2016, however, as he joined KLM Motorsports to drive the No. 64. Summers has 27 top 10s in 132 career tour races.

TIMG_8471he vacancy left by Szegedy in the “Mystic Missile” No. 4 was the last piece of the puzzle put into place this offseason. Blewett was considering returning to the tour with his own No. 76 with which he last competed in 2013. Instead he landed a big opportunity with a team that has won three tour titles since 2007. The Howell, New Jersey, native has five wins and 36 top 10s in 105 starts since 2001.

The 17-race NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season will commence with the Icebreaker 150 on Sunday, April 10 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. For 42nd Annual Icebreaker weekend ticket and event information, please click HERE.

Garbarino Teams With Blewett For 2016

Starrett Joins Mystic Missile Racing As Primary Sponsor

Team Release
March 30, 2016

MYSTIC, Conn. – Legendary NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car owner Bob Garbarino will be back during the 2016 season with a new driver and national sponsor as he begins his 56th season and will be teamed with another legendary family name in modified racing in Jimmy Blewett.

A new sponsor, the L. S. Starrett Company of Athol, Massachusetts, will be the primary sponsor of the potent team.   Starrett was founded in 1880 and manufactures more than 5000 precision tools, gages, measuring instruments and saw blades for industrial, professional and consumer markets worldwide.

Garbarino said it was a hard choice to tab his next driver but he feels Blewett will fit in fine, despite being away from the modified tour a few years, running the DIRT modified series.

“You never know what is going to work and with Jimmy being away from the tour the past couple of years, I know he is looking to get back and make a good impression. I think the timing is right for Jimmy as a driver and is the right fit for my team.”

Blewett too is equally excited about the prospects of running the No. 4 Mystic Missile. “I have some unfinished business and getting back to the modified tour and winning races, I feel this is the best opportunity at this time.”

“I talked with Bob early in the winter and I told him I was available to drive. I know that Bob had his choice of several top drivers and I am glad that he chose me.” Blewett said.

Blewett comes from one of the first racing families of New Jersey with his father, John, Jr. and his brother, John III, running modifieds and winning at tracks up and down the east coast and Jimmy is hopeful that this new team will bring Garbarino a fourth title and his first.

Garbarino won the modified tour titles in 2007 and 2009 with Donny Lia as the driver and in 2010 with Bobby Santos.

Jim Ballou, the marketing manager for Starrett says “The whole company is excited about the new sponsorship deal with Garbarino and Blewett.”

When we met Bob before our executive board meeting, we knew of his success in his 50-plus years in racing and we feel honored to sponsor a legend in the sport. Bob has a reputation of doing things the right way and that is the way that we at Starrett have done business since 1880.”

Ballou states ”The company will have hospitality tents at races in Bristol, Tennessee, and Loudon, New Hampshire, and is looking forward to thanking the many loyal employees, education partners, distributors and users of Starrett products.

Our valued customers recognize the quality and precision in all Starrett products. We believe that the exposure through NASCAR sponsorship will introduce the Starrett brand to new customers looking for a competitive edge.”

Having a national sponsor such as Starrett is nothing new to Garbarino and he feels that not only will his team benefit from the new sponsorship but that the whole modified tour will reap the rewards of having Starrett on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

“I feel that this is a win-win situation for everyone.” Bob said.

The Starrett No. 4 will make its 2016 debut at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, Connecticut, for the annual running of the Icebreaker, the traditional season opener for the Whelen Modified Tour.

Krause Set to Go Tour Racing

Wall Stadium Regular Steps Up to Whelen Modified Tour

By Jason Cunningham, NASCAR
March 25, 2016

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Looking to take his racing career to the next level, Andrew Krause will join the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and compete for the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.

Krause, of Holmdel, New Jersey, comes to the Whelen Modified Tour following a rising racing career at Wall Stadium. In 2016 he and the No. 24 Supreme Manufacturing Chevrolet team will take to the road for the first time.

“I think it will be an awesome experience to go see some new tracks and have some new experiences,” Krause said. “I thought this was where we needed to go.”

WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR ROSTER

The 25-year-old originally got his start in racing in entry-level modifieds at the venerable New Jersey oval. After running some small block and big block dirt modifieds, he’s competed in the Wall/SK modified division in recent years.

“It’s the natural progression of things,” Krause said. “We’ve got pretty comfortable running our car at Wall. We started there in the entry level and moved up, and now we’re ready to progress to the tour level.”

Krause’s father, Cliff, owns the No. 24 Chevrolet and veteran Whelen Modified Tour team owner Ralph Solhem will serve as the crew chief. The team has one of Buzz Chew Racing’s former cars with a Troyer TA-2 chassis and spec engine.

“I’m excited for the experience,” Krause said. “We have all of the right stuff going for us. We have a proven car, we have Ralph with all of his experience and we have good and dedicated crew. I think all of the elements are there for us to put together some good performances.”

Krause is the third driver to-date to declare intentions to run for Sunoco Rookie of the Year along with Craig Lutz and Matt Swanson.

“We kind of have our sights on it,” Krause said. “We’ll have that in the back of our minds. We really don’t have experience at any of these tracks so we’ll just be trying to put down some solid finishes and gain as much experience as we can.”

Krause will get his first laps at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in the No. 24 this Saturday during the track’s open test session.

The 17-race NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season will commence with the Icebreaker 150 on Sunday, April 10 at Thompson. For 42nd Annual Icebreaker weekend event and ticket information, please visit www.thompsonspeedway.com.