For the first time this season, the 600 horsepower ground-pounding Modifieds of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will roar to life at Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) Saturday afternoon. To get you ready for another season of Modified action, we take a look at the upcoming season in this edition of “By the Numbers” on Speed51.
2: The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has made two previous stops at Myrtle Beach Speedway. Timmy Solomito won the first race in 2017, while Jon McKennedy drove to victory lane in 2018.
10: In 2018 there were 10 lead changes during the season-opening race at Myrtle Beach. Jon McKennedy took the lead with 12 laps to go and hung on for the victory.
16: According to Racing Reference, all 16 races were won by Chevy’s last year. That’s the first time in series history that one manufacturer has won every race.
19: There have been a total of 19 lead changes in the last two NWMT events at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
77: Matt Hirschman led a race high 77 laps at Myrtle Beach Speedway in 2018.
150: The main event will be 150 laps, which will be a marathon given the expected tire wear on the abrasive racing surface. Teams will get the option to change tires during the race.
221: Five-time series champion Doug Coby will start the season with the 221st start of his NWMT career. He also comes in on the heels of his worst points finish since 2011 when he was fifth. Sure, he was third last year, but for the Smeriglio Racing team that just won’t do. They went to Speedweeks to prepare for 2019 and another run at the championship.
622: Jamie Tomaino will be making his 622nd series start on Saturday. At the age of 61, he has toned town his Tour schedule but still runs on occasion in the south.
Champions Clash: The field for Saturday’s race will be a clash among 2018 champions. Bowman Gray Stadium track champion Burt Myers and Southern Modified Racing Series champion Jeremy Gerstner will get a chance to square off with NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore.
Oh So Good: How good was Justin Bonsignore in 2018? His eight wins in 16 races were more then enough to push him towards the series championship. He also completed every lap but one, with that one lap being the final lap of the Musket 250 at New Hampshire when he crashed while racing for the win. In all, he had 12 top five’s and 15 top 10’s in 16 races.
Brother-to-Brother: Tommy Catalano captured the Rookie of the Year honors in 2018, but now his brother Timmy Catalano looks to win the award in his rookie season. In our brief research, we can’t find any brothers who have won Rookie of the Year in any of the NASCAR series.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com