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.

New England Racing Fuel Partners with North East Street Stock Tour

sunoco_race_fuels_logoSTONINGTON, CT – Officials from the North East Street Stock Tour (NESST), a stock cars series racing later model Chevrolet, Buick, and Ford production cars, is proud to announce a partnership with New England Racing Fuel.  The Connecticut-based fuel company will provide two special awards of Sunoco race fuel to be awarded at the Tour’s year-end banquet.

The driver who advances the most positions over the course of the ten-event championship points season is the Hard Charger.  This year, that driver will not only be awarded with a custom trophy, but New England Racing Fuel will provide that driver with 25-gallons of Sunoco race fuel.

The New England Racing Fuel Rookie of the Year is the first year driver who demonstrates the most skill and ability throughout the season, by virtue of their consistent up-front finishes. In addition, this driver must embody the heart of Street Stock racing, and earn the respect of all those in the NESST pit area. The award recipient will receive a New England Racing Fuel jacket and 50 gallons of Sunoco race fuel.  For more information about New England Racing Fuel, visit www.neracingfuel.com.

“John and Mike from New England Racing Fuel are huge supporters of short track racing in the northeast. They provide an outstanding product, and always have best interest of the teams in mind. We are proud to have them as part of our NESST contingency program in 2016,” Josh Vanada, Executive Vice President for NESST’s managing company, OTB Promotions, Inc., remarked.

New England Racing Fuel joins North East Race Cars & Parts and Dur-A-Flex Race Car Bodies in the NESST contingency program.  North East Race Cars & Parts provides a $100 product certificate to a driver randomly selected at the end of the event.  Dur-A-Flex Race Car Bodies provides a $100 product certificate to the leader at the race’s halfway point.

The North East Street Stock Tour will kick off their 2016 championship season with the 42nd running of the Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Saturday, April 9. For all the most up-to-date information on NESST, please visit www.nestreetstocktour.com, or be social with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The American Muscle Experience Comes to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

(THOMPSON, CT) – A brand new muscle car driving experience is coming to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park this spring. The American Muscle Experience gives car enthusiasts the opportunity to get behind the wheel of either a 2015 Corvette Z06 or a Camaro 454 SS, while getting professional driving coaching from a personal instructor. Both cars will be sure to thrill with over 600 horsepower available at the squeeze of the throttle pedal.

The Autocross experience offers a taste of performance driving on a closed course with cones. This course maximizes safety while still offering the thrill of being able to open up these powerful machines.

The next step up is the Road Course Experience. The 1.7-mile road course at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park offers the perfect mix of straightaways and turns to feel the impressive acceleration and handling of these cars. The 3000’ front straight will give drivers plenty of space to get up to speed, while the hairpin and other turns will show the amazing braking and cornering capabilities of these powerful machines.

The American Muscle Experience also offers a ride-a-long package with a professionally trained driver, for those that don’t want to get behind the wheel but still want to experience the thrill of being on track.

The American Muscle Experience will be at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on May 20-21, May 27-28 and August 27. For a complete list of dates and locations, visit www.thompsonspeedway.com/american-muscle-experience or call 888-314-6965.

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