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Whelen Southern Modified Tour History

January 7, 2016 - 10:00am

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour (NWSMT) features the same groundpounding excitement as its sister series to the north, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Competing in open-wheel cars that harken to NASCAR’s origins on the beaches of Daytona, the NWSMT provides fans in the southeastern U.S. a unique racing experience.


• The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour cars are a twin of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and they are both unique to NASCAR racing – the sanctioning body’s only open wheel division. With wide tires, a low center of gravity, and exceptional maneuverability, modifieds produce some of racing’s most intense competition.
• The cars produce 625 HP at 8000 RPM, as compared to 650 at 8,200 for NASCAR XFINITY Series and 850 at 9,000 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. An optional NASCAR-approved spec engine package is available to teams as cost-effective alternative to traditional “built” motors.
• Modifieds have a two-speed transmission in contrast with their four-speed full-fendered counterparts.
• The tour features multiple chassis suppliers, including Chassis Dynamics, LFR, Raceworks and Troyer.  

• The first-ever NASCAR-sanctioned event on the beach and road course in Daytona Beach, Florida, was a modified race.
• The Whelen Southern Modified Tour was a new addition to the NASCAR regional touring series lineup in 2005. NASCAR itself has a long tradition of modified racing in the Southeastern U.S. Prior to the formation of the Whelen Modified Tour in 1985, NASCAR modified teams competed in national championship events up and down the East Coast, including stops at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Top drivers from North Carolina and Virginia such as Ralph Brinkley, Ray Hendrick and Satch Worley were regular NASCAR modified competitors.
• The Whelen Southern Modified Tour has raced at 19 different speedways in six states from Connecticut to Georgia in its first 11 seasons. Besides Caraway hosting the most events in the history of the tour, Bowman Gray is the only other track on the schedule that has held at least one NWSMT event every year since its inaugural season in 2005.
• Whelen Engineering has been the only sponsor in the history of the tour.

Goerge Brunnhoelzl III (right) celebrates his fourth NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship with his dad and car owner George Brunnhoelzl Jr. Getty Images For NASCAR

• The first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race was held on March 26, 2005 at Caraway Speedway. Ted Christopher won that first race.
• A total of 12 championship events were held the first year. Since then the tour has maintained a schedule of between 10 and 14 races each season.
• Junior Miller won the inaugural championship in 2005 and became the first multiple champion, winning his second title in 2006. George Brunnhoelzl III holds the record for the most titles with four (2009, 2011, 2012, 2013) and Andy Seuss has two titles (2014, 2015).
• The tour held its first combination race with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2005 at Martinsville Speedway, which played host to the annual event through 2009, and has since continued at Bristol Motor Speedway.
• The Whelen Southern Modified Tour ventured to New England for the first time in 2011 at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Junior Miller won the first two NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championships in 2005 & 2006. Photo contributed.