DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 6, 2016) – For the second straight weekend, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to a track after a long hiatus when it rolls into Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, Massachusetts, for the AnytimeRealty.com 150 on Saturday night.
While there have only been six Whelen Modified Tour events ever held at Seekonk, the southern New England track is no stranger to open-wheeled racing. The flat and narrow “Action Track of the East” has held a number of open shows for Tour-type Modifieds, including one in July won by current point leader and most recent winner Doug Coby of Milford, Connecticut.
Seekonk Speedway has been continuously operated since it opened in 1946, but like Oswego a week ago, it is an intriguing late-season addition to the championship picture. Coby enters with a 20-point lead over Justin Bonsignore heading into the final four races of the season, but the stretch run is proving challenging for teams with this year’s schedule featuring 17 races and including tracks where teams don’t necessarily have the detailed notebooks they do at some of the Tour’s hubs.
A new track on the schedule didn’t slow the championship contenders last weekend, and it shouldn’t this weekend, either. While Seekonk hasn’t been a fixture on the Tour schedule over the last decade, recent Modified events at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track should have the Whelen Modified Tour teams on their game as the season rounds its final corner on a track that historically produces extremely tight-quarters, two-groove racing.
RACE: AnytimeRealty.com 150
PLACE: Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Massachusetts
WHEN: Saturday, September 10
TIME: 8:30 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .333-mile asphalt oval
2015 WINNER: N/A
2015 POLE SITTER: N/A
EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday, September 3 – Garage opens: 11 a.m.; Practice: 1:35-2:20 p.m., 3-3:45 p.m.; Qualifying: 5:30 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session:
EVENT HASHTAG: #AnytimeRealty150
The Race: The AnytimeRealty.com 150 is the 14th of 17 championship points events in the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. It is the first and only race of the year at Seekonk.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 28 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will have secured starting positions through two-lap time trials while the remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (50 miles). The tire change rule is zero (0) tires, any position.
The Track: A .333-mile asphalt oval, Seekonk Speedway has operated continuously since its opening in 1946, and original builder and owner D. Anthony Venditti ran the speedway until his passing in 1991. For the next 14 years, it was operated by his wife, Irene, and now it runs under the guide of Francis and David Venditti. Billed as the “Action Track of the East,” the track surrounded on all sides by concrete grandstands runs as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with Pro Stocks and Late Models as its premier divisions.
Race Winners: There have been six different winners in six races all-time at Seekonk Speedway. Reggie Ruggiero won the inaugural Seekonk race, in 1987, while Jerry Marquis, Chris Kopec, Ed Flemke Jr., Chuck Hossfeld and Eric Beers also have wins at the track.
Pole Winners: Like the race winners, there have been six different pole winners in six races at Seekonk. Tommy Cravenho holds the track qualifying record of 102.121 mph, set in June of 2000, while Ruggiero, Mike Stefanik, Donny Lia, Eric Beers and Joey Caraccia also have won poles.
AnytimeRealty.com 150 Notes:
Wild Card: Doug Coby hadn’t seen Oswego Speedway until he rolled into the track on race day, but the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour point leader made sure it wouldn’t slow his march toward a fourth series championship. Coby led 129 laps of the Toyota Mod Classic 150 at Oswego en route to his fourth win of the season. While Seekonk isn’t quite the unknown that Oswego was, it’s been 11 years since the Tour competed at the track. Coby, who leads Justin Bonsignore by 20 points with four races remaining, won a Tour-type Modified race at the track in July.
History Lesson: The first Seekonk Speedway win in history went to a driver whose name — and team — were synonymous with the Whelen Modified Tour for decades. Reggie Ruggiero won the inaugural event at Seekonk in 1987 for car owner Mario Fiore, one of Ruggiero’s 44 career Whelen Modified Tour wins, which ranks him second behind Mike Stefanik on the all-time list. Ruggiero led 135 of 200 laps in that event on August 30, 1987. Jerry Marquis won at Seekonk in 2000, one of his five wins en route to the championship that season. Saturday’s race will be the Tour’s first visit to Seekonk since 2005.
One-Two-Three: The top three drivers in the Whelen Modified Tour standings are providing a championship battle for the ages in the season’s stretch run. Coby (leader), Timmy Solomito (third) and Bonsignore (second) finished one-two-three in the most recent race at Oswego. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve combined to win five of the last seven events on the schedule, with Coby winning twice (Loudon, Oswego), Bonsignore winning twice (Thompson, Riverhead) and Solomito winning once (Monadnock). After Seekonk, where none of them have won in their careers, at least one of the three drivers in title contention have won at either Loudon, Stafford or Thompson this season.
Lia Remains Consistent: Donny Lia doesn’t have a win yet in 2016, but the two-time Whelen Modified Tour champion has been one of the Tour’s most consistent drivers and is still within striking distance of the championship lead. He’s the only driver in the top four in the standings who hasn’t won at least two races this season, but his eight top 10s in 13 races. He also finished second in his first career start at Seekonk in 2004.
Winning: Doug Coby, Timmy Solomito and Justin Bonsignore are the only Whelen Modified Tour drivers with multiple wins this season, with Coby having a Tour-leading four wins through the first 13 races. Solomito has three wins, and Bonsignore has two. Ron Silk, Bobby Santos III, Jimmy Blewett and Eric Goodale won the other events on the schedule. Santos also won the non-points Whelen All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July
NASCAR Home Tracks: Pro Stocks at Seekonk
Seekonk Speedway’s full slate of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will be on the same card as the AnytimeRealty.com 150 Saturday night. The Pro Stocks, Late Models, Street Stocks and Sport Trucks will all hold qualifying and feature events.
-NASCAR Home Tracks Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen