There’s a new can’t-miss event that Modified fans will want to add to their calendar for 2018. On Friday afternoon, New Hampshire Motor Speedway General Manager Dave McGrath announced the addition of a 250-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race to be held September 21-22, 2018.
The race will be held as part of a short track racing tripleheader including the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Pintys Series.
McGrath made the announcement alongside Senior Vice President of Racing Operations for NASCAR, Jim Cassidy, as well as NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers Doug Coby and Timmy Solomito.
“Change is always a good thing; it’s exciting for our series. Hopefully, we’ll put some fans in the stands,” Solomito said. “I might be a little bit biased but I do think the Modifieds put on the best racing here. Our series can showcase what (NHMS) are looking to do and we’re excited to put this show on for you.
“My first thought is about strategy; how’s it going to play out? 250 laps here is a long time, a long race. It will be exciting and hopefully, we’ll see a lot of fans here and we’ll get the Starrett number 16 up front.”
Coby echoed Solomito’s thoughts on the potential this event has to bring attention to Modified racing in the region.
“All of us want to win at Loudon and you put us out there for 250 laps, it makes you want to win ten times more. I think this is great for the Modifieds to showcase us in front of New England fans,” Coby said. “The Pinty’s Series coming down is huge, to get them on our soil is a big step for NASCAR’s touring series’.
At 250 laps and 264.5 miles in distance, the race will become the longest distance race in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour history.
Coby admitted that he thinks the strategy will have to change due to the length of the race, but he doesn’t think the lap after lap excitement will be altered.
“It’s going to have to (change),” Coby said. It all depends on what the rules of the race are. If there’s any breaks or mandatory pit stops, and that’s going to change how we strategize. Ultimately, a lot of the reasons why the lead changes so much is because we have other things to consider, like how hot the cars are running and getting fresh air in there.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of lead changes anyways because we like to lead at Loudon. You want to be out in front of the fans and not the guy running second or third. I think you’re going to see a lot of lead swapping because I don’t think lead swapping uses up your car too much.”
As of the announcement on Friday, details regarding the purse for the event were not announced.
“We are going to share those details with the competitors, but you can imagine that the purse will be commensurate with the scope of the race,” Cassidy stated. “It’s going to line up and will certainly be a prize for them to go after.”
McGrath did confirm that the event will be a two-day event with practice and qualifying on Friday, September 21 and feature races on Saturday, September 22.
When asked about the possible addition of other divisions, such as the American-Canadian Tour racing at New Hampshire this weekend, McGrath explained that they are working on working through that now.
“I don’t have a definitive yes or now,” he said. “That is something we are considering looking at, but I can’t give much more than that at this point.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com