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The 2008 season for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be one of reflection with the celebration of 60 years of champions, and a year of progression for race teams and fans alike, when it takes the green flag April 6 with the Icebreaker at historic Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.
New to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2008 is the implementation of an electronic scoring system for all 16 races. Also new to the tour for the coming season is the option for race teams to utilize a spec engine.
This year will also see a major sponsor change for the pole award and the return of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to a pair of tracks in upstate New York.
At the top of the list of changes for 2008 will be the tour’s leadership. Announced by NASCAR in February, Chad Little has succeeded Ed Cox as director of the Whelen Modified Tour. Little, a former driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Series West – where he was the 1987 champion – has been a NASCAR official since 2005.
NASCAR will implement an updated scoring system for the Whelen Modified Tour in 2008. The AMB Timing and Scoring System, which has been used in previous NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, will now be utilized at every track on the schedule. Among the many benefits of this system will be that each race team can get live wireless scoring updates on their own computers.
“It is the right time for us to take advantage of the improvement in technology,” Little said. “The AMB system will make the timing and scoring of the tour races a more efficient process.”
The 2008 season will see NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race teams have the option to run a cost-effective spec engine. First introduced in the NASCAR Camping World Series in 2006, the spec engine is a package developed by Wegner Motorsports that utilizes precisely specified components in order to reduce engine costs and provide durability. The engine available for Modified race teams consists of the same recipe as the one utilized in the Camping World Series.
“After two successful on-track Modified tests, NASCAR is excited to make its approved spec engine program available to race teams in the Whelen Modified Tour,” Little said. “This engine program was designed as a cost-effective alternative for race teams, and is not mandatory.”
Also new to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2008 is Coors Light, which will carry the sponsorship of the pole award. Coors Light replaces Budweiser as the pole sponsor in each of the touring and national divisions. Coors Light will award each pole sitter throughout the season as well as hand out the postseason award to the driver who earns the most poles through the year.
Although not new to NASCAR, sister tracks in New York – Chemung Speedrome and Spencer Speedway – will once again host NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events in 2008. A one-third mile oval, Chemung hosted a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race was in 2001. The track is steeped in Modified history, having been built by the Bodine family in 1951. Spencer, a half-mile track, will welcome the Modifieds back for the first time since 1994, and the fifth time overall. The Whelen Modified Tour will be at Spencer on July 12 and Chemung on October 4.
“NASCAR is excited about the Whelen Modified Tour returning to western New York,” Little said. “The Modifieds have enjoyed a loyal following throughout the northeast, and the Empire State has a long and distinguished history of Modified racing.”
The 2008 season will be a special one for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. NASCAR plans to honor the history of its oldest division throughout the season as it celebrates 60 years of Modified champions.