Category Archives: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

NASCAR Champions Celebrate Crowning Achievements

Seven Touring Titlists Close Out 2015 In Spotlight

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Dec. 12, 2015) — Three young, rising stars received their first NASCAR championships, and four veteran drivers added to their already impressive resumes.

On a night where the remarkable achievements of 2015 were recognized, it was seven drivers who stood on stage at the Charlotte Convention Center Saturday at the conclusion of the NASCAR Touring Series Night of Champions who accomplished the sport’s ultimate honor.

MOORESVILLE, NC - DECEMBER 10: Doug Coby, Champion of the Whelen Modified Tour, poses for a portrait during the NWAAS Series Champions Media Day and Champions Portraits at GoPro Motorplex on December 10, 2015 in Mooresville, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Doug Coby, Champion of the Whelen Modified Tour, (Photo by Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)

“After my first championship in 2012, nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik shook my hand and said to me, ‘You know they don’t just hand these things out to anyone,’ and that’s something that has stuck with me every time I have been here,” said Doug Coby, who celebrated his third NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title Saturday.

The evening was a coronation for Coby and six fellow 2015 NASCAR touring series champions:

NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion Ander Vilariño, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion Scott Steckly, NASCAR Mexico Series champion Rubén García Jr., NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Andy Seuss, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Chris Eggleston and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion William Byron.

For 26-year-old Eggleston and 17-year-old Byron, their NASCAR K&N Pro Series trophies were the results of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in their young careers that they transformed through skill and determination into a championship run.

Eggleston’s first full season with Bill McAnally Racing produced the sixth NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title for the venerable car owner. Byron joined the likes of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Joey Logano and Kyle Larson in simultaneously earning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East crown and Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.

García completed a four-year run that took him from NASCAR Mexico Series rookie of the year in 2012 to the series champion, as he clinched the title in the season finale just one day after his 20th birthday.

García and Byron are members of the NASCAR Next program – an industry initiative designed to spotlight the sport’s best young talent.

As Eggleston, Byron and García received their championship rings from NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, the other four have made a steady habit of collecting hardware. Combined, they’ve won 12 titles since 2008.

Coby continued his amazing career resurgence. The 36-year-old from Milford, Connecticut, has raced on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for all or part of 14 seasons. In the last four, though, he’s earned three championships and one runner-up finish.

Steckly, 42, from Milverton, Ontario, hasn’t finished worse than fourth in the championship standings over the last nine years. He led an astonishing 1,090 laps over 11 races – winning three times – en route to the Canadian national title.

A year after watching Anthony Kumpen grab the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series crown, Vilariño wrestled it back for his third championship in the series’ four-year history under the NASCAR banner. The 36-year-old from San Sebastian, Spain, added three more victories to his series record win total.

“The third time here…am I dreaming right now?,” Vilarino pondered in his acceptance speech. “Losing the 2014 championship by just one point was hard to accept, and that puts this 2015 championship as the best of the three I’ve won.”

during the NWAAS Series Champions Media Day and Champions Portraits at GoPro Motorplex on December 10, 2015 in Mooresville, North Carolina.
Andy Seuss, Champion of the Whelen Southern Modified Tour, (Photo by Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Seuss, a 28-year-old Hampstead, New Hampshire, native became just the third driver in NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour history to win back-to-back

championships. Seuss has finished in the top five in points in each of the last eight seasons and is second only to four-time tour titlist George Brunnhoelzl III in career wins.

The championship car owners and crew chiefs were also recognized Saturday night.

Those weren’t the only trophies handed out, though.

In addition to the championship awards, each series rookie of the year was honored. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award winners were Byron, Noah Gragson in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Chase Dowling in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Trey Hutchens III in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Top rookie performers in the three international series were Gary Klutt in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Manuel Gutierrez in the NASCAR Mexico Series and Alon Day in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.

The Most Popular Driver Awards for each series were also presented during the ceremony. The seven drivers honored with the award, which was voted on by the fans through NASCAR.com, were Rico Abreu in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Nicole Behar of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Jason Hathaway in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Rodrigo Marban of the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series, Alon Day from the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Melissa Fifield from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Hutchens from the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

The top-10 drivers and car owners from each of NASCAR’s touring series also were recognized during the gala.

The awards ceremony was streamed live online at NASCARHomeTracks.com – the official online home of NASCAR’s touring series – in English, French and Spanish.

Nearly Thirty Years Later, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Set to Return to Oswego Speedway’s International Classic Weekend

Oswego-2012F_350OSWEGO, NY (December 11, 2015) – After a near thirty year absence from the steel confines of Oswego Speedway, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will make its long awaited return to the ‘Steel Palace’ on Saturday, September 3 joining the 60th annual Budweiser International Classic Weekend lineup at the Port City oval.

Since 1957, Oswego’s International Classic has featured the best of the best in Supermodified racing, and over the years the Labor Day weekend spectacular has grown to include a plethora of open-wheel stars and divisions to join the weekend leading up to the International Classic 200 finale on Sunday afternoon.

However, it has been since September 2, 1989 that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has graced the fast 5/8 mile.

“Budweiser International Classic Weekend is a staple event in open-wheel pavement racing and it should be treated as such,” said Oswego Speedway co-owner, John Torrese.  “As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of this amazing racing weekend we felt the time was right to work together with NASCAR to bring back one of the traditions of this great weekend.  A long distance, Saturday night special, featuring some of the best Modified drivers anywhere in the country – fighting for the distinguished right to be called a Classic champion at Oswego.”

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will contend in a 150-lap Classic event during the Saturday portion of the weekend, pairing with the ISMA Supermodified Bud Light Super Nationals.

“We continue to take in and review a lot of fan feedback and this addition to the weekend was certainly called upon by several of our current and former Classic Weekend attendees,” said Torrese.  “While Oswego Speedway is the Home of the Supermodifieds, the Modifieds themselves have played a huge role in our historic journey and we are excited to bring the Whelen Modified Tour not only back to Oswego, but to upstate New York so the many Modified fans in this area can join us again for an entire open-wheel racing weekend.”

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour first came to Oswego in 1988, running a total of eight events between ’88 and 1989.

Brian Ross won the first two NASCAR events ever held at Oswego with Mike McLaughlin and George Kent also collecting victories in ’88.  Kent’s triumph was the first NASCAR sanctioned event held at the Big O during International Classic Weekend.

NASCAR’s ’89 schedule at Oswego belonged to Tony Hirschman.

Hirschman won three of the four events held at the ‘Steel Palace’ that season including the most recent Whelen Modified Tour stop during Classic Weekend.

Mike Stefanik was the only other Modified winner that season at Oswego, adding his name to the short list of NASCAR sanctioned victors on the 5/8 mile.

While Oswego has not been on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule in some 27 years, the tour itself has not visited upstate New York since July of 2009 when second generation racer Erick Rudolph went to victory at Williamson, NY’s Spencer Speedway.

Since the year 2000, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has visited upstate on only eight occasions at facilities such as Watkins Glen International, Holland International, Chemung Speedrome, Spencer Speedway, and Adirondack International, making this year’s stop in Oswego a rare opportunity to see the northeast’s premier asphalt modified tour locally.

Oswego’s Budweiser International Classic Weekend will officially kick-off on Friday, September 2 with ‘Fast Friday’ pole-day qualifications for the Novelis Supermodifieds and Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supers.

The Friday opener will include a full day’s open practice for Oswego’s Supermodifieds and SBS before time trials for each class begin at 6 p.m.

Following time trials the pit gates will open for the annual ‘Party in the Pits’, returning to its Friday night home.  Post time trials, the ‘Party in the Pits’ will include driver autograph sessions, the Supermodified Simulators, a pit stop competition for fans, live music and much more.

Saturday, September 3 will feature the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150 as well as the Bud Light ISMA Super Nationals making for over 200-laps of main event action on ‘Super Saturday.’

The 60th running of the Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds will of course be the headliner on Sunday, September 4, but for the first time since 2008 the Bud Light SBS Classic 75 will be scheduled to join the International Classic on the same day, celebrating its historic 25th running.

In 2010 the Supermodified and SBS Classics ran on the same afternoon following a weekend rainout.

Individual ticket pricing as well as weekend pass information for the 60th annual Budweiser International Classic Weekend will be made available soon.

The full 2016 Oswego Speedway event schedule will be released in the coming days.

For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com or LIKE on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway.


About Oswego Speedway
: Oswego Speedway, a sports entertainment company, is a 5/8 mile semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. Oswego Speedway has been a continuously run weekly racing venue since August, 1951. The premier open-wheel pavement short track cars in the world, Supermodifieds, run weekly at Oswego Speedway making Oswego the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block Supermodifieds accompany the full blown Supers on a weekly Saturday night schedule which runs from May through September. Oswego Speedway is mentioned in racing circles as the “Indy of the East,” as no fewer than a dozen past and present competitors have competed at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway including Mario Andretti, arguably the greatest driver of all time, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, along with former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.

2016 60th annual Budweiser International Classic Weekend at Oswego Speedway

FRIDAY, September 2: Oswego Supermodified & SBS Open Practice, International Classic 200 and SBS Classic 75 ‘Fast Friday’ Time Trials, ‘Party in the Pits’

SATURDAY, September 3: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150, ISMA Supermodified Super Nationals 60

SUNDAY, September 4: International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds, Small Block Super Classic 75 for Pathfinder Bank SBS
MONDAY, September 5: Weekend Rain Date

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour History at Oswego Speedway (Race by Race)
May 27, 1988: Reggie Ruggiero (Pole Position), Brian Ross (Winner)
July 2, 1988: Tony Hirschman (Pole Position), Brian Ross (Winner)
August 6, 1988: Mike McLaughlin (Pole Position), Mike McLaughlin (Winner)
September 3, 1988: Mike McLaughlin (Pole Position), George Kent (Winner)

May 28, 1989: Jan Leaty (Pole Position), Tony Hirschman (Winner)
July 1, 1989: Mike McLaughlin (Pole Position), Tony Hirschman (Winner)
August 5, 1989: Mike McLaughlin (Pole Position), Mike Stefanik (Winner)
September 2, 1989: Mike Stefanik (Pole Position), Tony Hischman (Winner)

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour History at Oswego Speedway (Winners)
Tony Hirschman (3)
Brian Ross (2)
Mike McLaughlin
George Kent
Mike Stefanik

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour History at Oswego Speedway (Pole Winners)
Mike McLaughlin (4)
Reggie Ruggiero
Tony Hirschman
Jan Leaty
Mike Stefanik

* Mike McLaughlin turned the fastest recorded NWMT pole lap at Oswego on September 3, 1989 with a lap of 18.259 seconds

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Coby Joins Elite Company With Third Tour Title

Continues Career Resurgence With Impressive 2015 Run

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 8, 2015) – In the three-act structure of storytelling, the segments include the setup, confrontation and resolution. Doug Coby’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour career fits quite well with this mold, and he’s providing plenty of resolution in his third act.

Coby’s first two acts have been well-chronicled at this point, but to briefly review:

Act 1, The Setup – The Milford, Connecticut, native debuted on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2002 and competed full-time from 2003-07. He became established as a regular in the garage.

Act 2, The Confrontation – From 2008-10 he was without a full-time car, with various opportunities here and there, but nothing stable. His future on the tour, and his place in it, was in question.

Act 3, The Resolution, is where we’ll pick up the story. This act is still very much a work-in-progress for the 36-year-old. The story is not yet complete, but lose ends are getting tied up.

Act 3 began in 2011 when he returned to full-time competition. In the five years since Coby began The Resolution, success has been abundant. One win and no championships in the 100 races that comprised Acts 1 and 2 compared with 16 wins and three championships in 72 races of the evolving Act 3.

In addition to the experience gained over time, and being associated with top-tier teams, Coby also attributes an evolving mental approach to his success of recent seasons.

“I go back to 2010 and 2011 when I really started to have fun racing,” Coby said. “At that time it wasn’t necessarily about winning races. Those years were just about getting back to what racing is about – having fun, meeting people.”

He didn’t let The Confrontation weigh him down. That was crucial to the wealth of success that has followed in The Resolution.

“It was more about the mindset, about being thankful for what I had, which was an opportunity to drive a bunch of different cars,” Coby said.

His first Whelen Modified Tour crown came in 2012 in his second full season with Darling Racing. That team left the sport following a runner-up finish in its 2013 title defense. Coby quickly latched on with Mike Smeriglio III Racing and has won the title in both of his years behind the wheel of the No. 2 Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair Chevrolet.

This year’s championship defense wasn’t all smooth sailing, however. An early crash at Bristol in August had them in third place, 32 points out of the lead with four races to go. They finished second the next time out at Riverhead and closed the season with three consecutive wins from the pole at New Hampshire, Stafford and Thompson.

It marked the greatest conclusion to a season by one team in Whelen Modified Tour history.

“The three-in-a-row, it’s weird because we just took them one at a time. It wasn’t like we put pressure on ourselves to win them,” Coby said. “It really started at Riverhead with the second place finish when we were a bumper away from winning that race, too.

“That’s probably not something I ever could have scripted or even thought about, but it happened so we’ll enjoy it while we can and move on to the future.”

With the elements in place for a dynastic run by Coby and the MSIII team, Coby’s not comfortable predicting a future of continued success though. He instead chooses to focus on what can sustain the team from one year to the next.

“I think a lot of that depends on sponsorship,” Coby said. “Even championship teams need more sponsors to keep moving forward. Certainly nobody is going to sit back and let us ride around and win championships, so we’ve got to keep moving forward.”