Category Archives: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

Doug Coby Begins Quest For Sixth Title In Victory Lane

Wins NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Opener At Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Doug Coby’s quest for a sixth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship couldn’t have started off much better.

After two years of struggling at Myrtle Beach Speedway, Coby make those scuffles distant memories on Saturday, rolling to his 25th career Whelen Modified Tour win and first at the South Carolina oval.

He may have made the final laps of the Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen look easy, but the day wasn’t filled with only celebratory moments. He did win the first Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award in qualifying, but Coby was forced to start at the tail of the field after a screw in his left-front tire forced the team to make an unapproved tire change before the green.

From there, the charge was on from the rear of a 32 car field in hopes of reaching the front. In the end, he found the top spot — a familiar place for the five-time Whelen Modified Tour champion.

“This was an interesting one,” Coby said. “Ultimately, I had the best car I have ever had here. We had to go perform, and we did. The book is going to say we won the pole, started first and finished first, but the reality is, we started 32nd and finished first. We passed a lot of cars.”

RACING-REFERENCE: Performance Plus 150 Race Results

After Coby dropped to the tail, Jon McKennedy was the control car for the initial start and he did just that — took control for a majority of the first half of the event. McKennedy led a race high 64 laps, but pit strategy in the final stages didn’t quite fall his way.

After a caution on lap 110, Coby charged up inside the top three after pitting for fresh rubber, then rolled by Kyle Ebersole for the top spot on lap 122. From there, it was just about getting around some lapped traffic and minding a gap over Jon McKennedy and Jimmy Blewett.

When McKennedy and Blewett started racing for the runner-up spot, Coby opened his gap, and was never challenged. Even though the tire strategy didn’t quite work out in McKennedy’s favor, the second-place effort was a good way to follow-up a winning performance in the opener last year.

“We put two tires on and the No. 2 car put three in, but we still had a really good car,” McKennedy said. “We asked the right-front tire to go 150 laps, which is tough. They knew we were here. It was a great effort by everyone.”

In his first start with Gershow Motorsports, Blewett was third, followed by Patrick Emerling and Chris Pasteryak. The top-five run was Pasteryak’s first since 2009 in Whelen Modified Tour competition.

Anthony Nocella was sixth, followed by Burt Myers, Andy Seuss, Eric Goodale and Frank Fleming.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action in just two weeks, on Saturday, March 30, at South Boston Speedway in Virginia.

The Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen will air on NBCSN on Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m.Contact:

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Performance Plus 150 pres by Safety Kleen Results

Saturday At Myrtle Beach Speedway Myrtle Beach, SC

Lap length: 0.53 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (1) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 150 laps, 64.883 mph.

2. (2) Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.

3. (15) Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 150.

4. (28) Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, NY, Chevrolet, 150.

5. (7) Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.

6. (17) Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.

7. (22) Burt Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C., Chevrolet, 150.

8. (8) Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H., Chevrolet, 150.

9. (4) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.

10. (31) Frank Fleming, Mount Airy, N.C., Chevrolet, 149.

11. (6) Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA, Chevrolet, 149.

12. (9) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY, Chevrolet, 149.

13. (18) Blake Barney, Lakewood, N.J., Chevrolet, 149.

14. (19) Kyle Ebersole, Hummelstown, PA., Chevrolet, 149.

15. (10) Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 149.

16. (16) Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y., Ford, 149.

17. (21) Kyle Bonsignore, Bay Shore, N.Y., Toyota, 148.

18. (13) Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass., Chevrolet, 148.

19. (24) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 148.

20. (23) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y., Chevrolet, 148.

21. (14) Calvin Carroll, Newton, N.J., Chevrolet, 147.

22. (5) Rob Summers, Manchester, CT, Chevrolet, 146.

23. (25) Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn., Ford, 146.

24. (32) Timmy Catalano, Ontario, N.Y., Chevrolet, 145.

25. (12) Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT, Chevrolet, 145.

26. (3) Tommy Catalano, Ontario, N.Y., Chevrolet, 144.

27. (27) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H., Chevrolet, 138.

28. (11) Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Ford, 130.

29. (29) Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J., Pontiac, 109, brakes.

30. (26) Gary Putnam, Vernon, Conn., Chevrolet, 108, accident.

31. (20) Sam Rameau, Westminster, Mass., Chevrolet, 62.

32. (30) Walter Sutcliffe Jr., East Haven, Conn., Chevrolet, 41, clutch.

Race Statistics

Time of Race: 1 hour 13 minutes 31 seconds

Margin of Victory: 3.278 seconds

Fastest Qualifier: D.Coby (97.010 mph, 19.668 seconds)

Caution Flags: 6 for 33 laps.

Lead Changes: 14 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders: T. Catalano 1-2; J. McKennedy 3-58; T. Solomito 59-62; D. Coby 63-70; J. Bonsignore 71-75; R. Silk 76-78; J. Bonsignore 79-83; J. McKennedy 84-91; J. Bonsignore 92-101; M. Swanson 102-106; J. Bonsignore 107-108; K. Ebersole 109-115; J. Bonsignore 116; K. Ebersole 117-121; D. Coby 122-150.

Standings: 1. D. Coby, 47; 2. J. McKennedy, 44; 3. J. Blewett, 41; 4. P. Emerling, 40; 5. C. Pasteryak, 39; 6. A. Nocella, 38; 7. B. Myers, 37; 8. A. Seuss, 36; 9. E. Goodale, 35; 10. F. Fleming, 34.

PIT BOX:Justin Bonsignore Begins Title Defense at Myrtle Beach

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Set For 2019 Opener

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 35th season of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competition begins on Saturday at Myrtle Beach Speedway.

Drivers will head to South Carolina to begin the championship points schedule for the third consecutive season, and in the prior two, tire conservation has been key to success at the gritty .538-mile oval.

The Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen begins a 17-race calendar that will see the series stay south and head to South Boston Speedway on March 30.



Justin Bonsignore better have his best foot forward when the Whelen Modified Tour season begins on Saturday. With stout competition throughout the field, and multiple drivers improving their program over the offseason, it’s going to be difficult for Bonsignore to match the success he had last year.

WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR: 2019 Schedule | Race Center

In 16 races, the Holtsville, New York, driver won eight times and finished inside the top 10 in all but one. His average finish of 3.4 in the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Inc. Chevrolet helped him clinch the championship one race early — and part of his 2018 success was on display in the opener at Myrtle Beach. In his first race with a new crew chief and new car, Bonsignore qualified sixth, led 26 laps and opened his eventual first championship season with a top-five finish. With the same crew chief, same sponsor and same team behind him, Bonsignore is poised to begin another title run.

But he is far from the only challenger.

Doug Coby, a five-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, is seeking a sixth title as he looks to add to his long list of accolades. Coby took the No. 2 Mayhew Tools Chevrolet down south to New Smyrna’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing to get back into high-gear, and he picked up the victory on the first of five nights. With crew chief Phil Moran back on his side, and Mayhew returning as primary sponsor, Coby is hoping the 2019 season ends with a return to title form. He will look to turn around some Myrtle Beach misfortune in the opener — as over the last two years, Coby opened the season outside the top-10.

RELATED: Busy Offseason Has Timmy Solomito Ready To Chase First Title

Timmy Solomito, who won five races in 2017, but failed to visit Victory Lane last year, looks to create some more South Carolina magic. He won the first Whelen Modified Tour event at Myrtle Beach in 2017 with the same Eric Sanderson-owned team he enters 2019 driving for. After a busy offseason, including a visit to New Smyrna in February to knock the dust off the car, Solomito is hoping to get things rolling on the right foot.

Although those three drivers may be among the top challengers, the rest of the field isn’t going to be behind them. An offseason of updates has names like Eric Goodale, Matt Swanson, Craig Lutz, Dave Sapienza and 2018 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Tommy Catalano looking to pounce on their opportunity.

Matt Hirschman, who won the pole for last year’s Myrtle Beach event, is among a long list of entries for the opener.

Thanks to an agreement with FansChoice.TV, race fans across the country can watch the Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen, and the entire 17-race Whelen Modified Tour slate via a live stream on FansChoice.TV. NBCSN will also air the Whelen Modified Tour opener on Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m.


PLACEMyrtle Beach Speedway, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
DATESaturday, March 16
TIME5:30 p.m. (approx.)
TELEVISIONFansChoice.TV, 5:30 p.m. (live broadcast); NBCSN — Thursday, March 21, 6 p.m.
TRACK LAYOUT.538-mile paved oval
2018 WINNERJon McKennedy
2018 POLEMatt Hirschman
EVENT SCHEDULESaturday: Garage Opens: 8 a.m.,Final Practice: 12:15-1:30 p.m., Group Qualifying: 3 p.m.,Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen: 5:30 p.m.
HASHTAG#NWMT, #PerformancePlus150



The starting field for the Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen is 30 starters, including provisional positions. The first 24 drivers will secure starting positions based on the group qualifying session. The remaining six positions will be awarded through the provisional process.

NASCAR group qualifying is in place for this event. Qualifying order will be determined by each vehicle’s fastest single lap from the official practice sessions. The number of groups will be determined by NASCAR. Each group qualifying session will be five (5) minutes in duration and the fastest single lap speed of each vehicle will determine the first 24 starting positions. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on a vehicle after the vehicle enters the track to begin the session. Vehicles may not return to the track or make any further qualifying laps unless directed to do so by a NASCAR Official or in the event of a caution. If a vehicle returns to pit road, the qualifying attempt is complete. Once a vehicle’s qualifying attempt is complete, they must proceed directly to the designated impound area. Vehicles will be impounded after qualifying/inspection. Vehicles must qualify on race set up.

The Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen will be 150 laps (80.7 miles). The maximum tire allotment available for this event is eleven (11) tires per team. Four (4) tires must be used for qualifying and to begin the race. The remaining tire allotment may be used for practice and/or change tires during the event. The tire change rule is four (4) tires, any position


Justin Bonsignore is Ready to Defend His NASCAR WMT Title

After a challenging 2017 NASCAR WMT season Justin Bonsignore roared back in 2018. After a year where even though he finished 3rd in points it was still a struggle. He only led 4 laps, went winless and qualifying was not his strength either with an average starting position of 11.3, not the season he was hoping for. Justin has been running on the tour since 2009 but that first championship had proved elusive but that all changed last year. 

2018 was quite a different story, in the off season the M3 Technologies Phoenix Communications Inc. team made wholesale changes. The team switched to LFR chassis, brought on Ryan Stone as Crew Chief and from their first race together a 5th place finish at Myrtle Beach the team just clicked.

Out of 2590 total laps run on the 2018 NASCAR WMT tour Justin finished 2589 of those laps, only a crash in the Musket 250 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway while leading on the last lap kept him from finishing every race in the top 10. The impressive finishes kept on coming all season, 8 wins, 5 poles and 12 top 5’s out of 16 races. Justin even swept all 4 races at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

While Justin and the team a have spent the off season preparing for 2019 Justin has been racing in the Indoor Auto Racing Series to defend his other title from 2018. So far except for a 10th place finish in Allentown he has run up front to leaving Justin in a position to win his second championship in a row. He recently sold his Midget to Bobby Webber owner of Star Speedway, Bobby put Justin back in the car for this weekend’s Indoor races in Syracuse NY keeping the title hopes alive.

One thing though when you win a Championship it’s a long off season before you get back to the track to defend your title. I caught up with Justin this week and we spoke about the championships, the upcoming NASCAR WMT season and what 2019 holds for him.

“I’m really excited for 2019, nothing on our team has changed we have the same cars, same crew chief and same crew. All we did was maintenance on the cars and motors. The Equipment was all new at the start of the 2018 season and they are ready to go for the Performance Plus 150 Presented-Kleen at Myrtle Beach SC. March 15th”

I asked Justin how he feels coming into the season as the defending Champion. “It’s actually kind of surreal, it will be cool to roll into Myrtle Beach to defend our title. Its going to be hard to match last season but we are going to try.”

In addition to his 10th full season on WMT Justin will be racing 8-10 nights at his home track Riverhead Raceway. Justin will wheel the #03 Ken Darsch Modified out of Riverhead NY. Justin said that he is at the track ever week when he is not tour racing so why not race. “I hope we can bring home a win or two for Ken and Denise. We will start with the first 2 races, then take a few weeks off and return the week before the Islip 300, run the 300 and go from there.”

I also spoke to Justin about other races coming up this year, I mentioned the ROC race at Spencer the night before the Oswego WMT race, the Tri Track Open Modified Series or any other series.  “Right now, I have no plans for any other races or series although no one has asked. If a quality ride came along like the backup Mike Leaty car that Ryan Preece piloted for last year’s Tribute to Pops Leaty race I would be interested.”

This weekend he defends one title but next week Justin will start his defense of the NASCAR WMT crown in Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety- Kleen at Myrtle Beach Speedway

Note: Justin has already set fast time for Friday March 8th Syracuse race, a step toward trying to take a second title in 2 years.

Photo: Michael Jaworecki Myracenews