The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is set to tackle a new venue on July 31 with its inaugural trip to New York International Raceway Park in Lancaster, New York.
But just because the tour has never run an official race at the park’s Lancaster Speedway doesn’t mean there isn’t a long trail of modified history at this western New York track.
Drivers the likes of Richie Evans, Geoff Bodine, Tony Hirschman and others have raced modifieds around the half-mile oval just 30 minutes south of Niagara Falls.
The modern stars of the sport, though, are ready to storm into Lancaster and continue their fight for a championship. Justin Bonsignore leads the points standings for the first time in 2021 and holds a 10-point advantage over Patrick Emerling. New York marks the start of the second half of the 14-race season for the mods, so while drivers aren’t focused on points racing quite yet, they know every spot matters on the track. And with such limited experience around this particular track, the possibilities for something to go right — or wrong — are endless.
Nu-Way Auto Parts 150
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Bonsignore’s spot atop the standings is neither a mistake nor a surprise. In seven races this year, the two-time and defending tour champion has one win (Jennerstown, May 29) and six top-four finishes, his lone misstep coming at Stafford Motor Speedway where he finished 13th. Most recently, Bonsignore piloted his No. 51 car to a runner-up finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Emerling’s stats are nearly identical. Emerling, whose hometown of Orchard Park, New York, sits just 30 minutes south of Lancaster, notched his first victory of 2021 at Stafford on April 30 and has five top fives in seven starts this year. The difference between his numbers and Bonsignore’s? Emerling finished eighth in the season opener at Martinsville Speedway before an uncharacteristic 13th-place finish at Loudon.
This season’s lone multi-time winner remains Doug Coby, who took the checkered flags at Riverhead Raceway on May 15 and June 20. But Coby, a six-time modified champion, is in a massive points hole after not participating on June 12 at Oswego Speedway and suffering an early engine failure on July 17 at New Hampshire. The Connecticut native sits ninth in points 65 points behind Bonsignore.
Kyle Bonsignore, cousin of points leader Justin, has had quite the up-and-down season, posting two top fives but three finishes of 10th or worse. He enters off a ninth-place showing at New Hampshire and hopes to find some of the success he had earlier this season, when he finished fifth at Martinsville and fourth at the first of two Riverhead races.
RACING REFERENCE: 2021 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Points
|Race||Nu-Way Auto Parts at New York International Raceway Park|
|Date||Saturday, July 31, 2021|
|Track||New York International Raceway Park|
|Location||Lancaster, New York|
|Start time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV channel||NBCSN (Delayed: Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2 p.m. ET)|
|Live stream||TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold (Live)|
RACEDAY SCHEDULE: Saturday, July 31 — Garage opens: 11:30 a.m. ET; Practice: 2-3:15 p.m.; Qualifying: 5 p.m.; Race: 8 p.m.
QUALIFYING: Two consecutive qualifying laps. Faster lap determines qualifying position. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on the vehicle after the vehicle has taken the green flag at the start-finish line. NASCAR reserves the right to have more than one vehicle engage in qualifying runs at the same time.
The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: The maximum tire allotment available for this event is eleven (11) tires per team. All tires used for qualifying and the race must be purchased at the track and scanned by Hoosier, unless otherwise approved in advance by the Series Director. Four (4) tires must be used for qualifying and to begin the race. All qualifying tires must remain in impound until released by NASCAR Officials. 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. To utilize the fourth (4th) change tire, the team will have to take a practice tire purchased at New York International Raceway at Lancaster and turn in by the conclusion of practice.
QUALIFYING AND SPECIAL AWARDS
$400 Phil Kurze Halfway Leader Award presented by Josten’s per event award to the race leader at the halfway point of the event, regardless if the race is running under green or yellow.
$600 Hoosier Tire “Lap Leader” per event award to the eligible car owner whose driver leads the most laps in each event. In the event of a tie, the award will go to the highest finishing car in the event.
$500 Hoosier Tire “Hard Charger” per event award to the highest finishing eligible driver who advances the most positions during the course of the race. In the case of a tie, the highest finishing driver will receive the award.
$500 Hoosier Tire “Most Improved” per event award to the eligible new team/organization whose driver improves the most positions during the course of the race. In the event of a tie, the award will go to the highest finishing car in the event. If money is not awarded during this event, funds will roll over to the next event and will continue to roll over until an eligible new team/organization claims the money.
$1,000 Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole per event award to the driver with the fastest qualifying time eligible to participate under the Manufacturers’ Prize Money Conditions.
$550 Sunoco Spec Fuel award divided: 1st-$300 5th-$150 10th-$100.
$3,500 Whelen Engineering “Winner of the Race” award to the winning driver.
Whelen Non-Starter award will be paid to the first 15 competitors throughout the season who pass inspection, practice, attempt to qualify but fail to make the feature event.