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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 18, 2007) -- Whelen Engineering's relationship with NASCAR racing continues to grow and flourish, evidenced by the fact that it was announced last Friday that the company is extending its entitlement sponsorship for both of NASCAR's Modified Tours -- the NASCAR Whelen Modified and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tours -- through 2016. Whelen is a Connecticut-based company that is the leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and public emergency lighting and warning systems, including the caution lights on the track and pace cars at NASCAR events and has been involved in sponsoring NASCAR's Modified touring division since 2004.
"When Whelen became the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, I stated that we were in this for the long run and now we have formalized that commitment," said Phil Kurze, vice president of motorsports for Whelen Engineering "The Modified Tours are very special to everyone at Whelen. We think these Tours provide some of the most exciting and competitive racing NASCAR has to offer and we are proud to be associated with both of them. Our support of grassroots racing is very strong and we have demonstrated that by providing NASCAR with the longest running entitlement sponsorship agreements for any NASCAR Series."
The original entitlement for the Modified Tours was through 2012. By extending the contract, the sponsorship of the Modified Tours will run concurrent with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series entitlement.
"Our entitlement sponsorships are customer and fan driven," Kurze said. "Our customers are, in large part, the fans of modified racing in the Northeast and Southeast regions of the USA. We appreciate their support of these Tours and we wanted to assure them Whelen Modified racing is alive and well for a long time to come."
The 16-race, eight-track 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule will begin and end at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway -- a track that first opened in 1940 and has always been an important stop for Modified drivers touring the northeast. The Tour will take the green flag April 5-6 with the traditional season-opening Icebreaker, and conclude Oct. 17-18 as part of the World Series of Asphalt Racing.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour kicks off its fourth season March 22 at Caraway Speedway and will conclude Oct. 4 at the .455-mile oval in Asheboro, N.C. The schedule will span seven tracks and 12 races.
"Whelen has been a terrific series sponsor for our Modified tours and we are extremely pleased to have them extend their relationship with NASCAR," said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations. "Their commitment to the development of our sport continues to resonate strong and will do so for many years to come."
The two Tour schedules also include the fourth annual Made In America Whelen 300 Sept. 21 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, the combination event between the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR), which began in 1948, is the sanctioning body for one of America's premier sports. NASCAR is the No. 1 spectator sport -- holding 17 of the top 20 attended sporting events in the U.S. -- and the No. 2 rated regular-season sport on television with broadcasts in more than 100 countries. NASCAR fans are the most brand loyal in all of sports, and as a result more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport.
NASCAR consists of three major national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series), four regional series, and one local grassroots series, as well as two international series. NASCAR sanctions 1,300 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. Based in Daytona Beach (Fla.), NASCAR has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Charlotte (N.C.), Concord (N.C.), Conover (N.C.), Bentonville (Ark.), Mexico City, and Toronto.
About NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours
The oldest touring series -- and the only open-wheeled division -- of NASCAR, the Whelen Modified Tour cars weigh 2,610 pounds and have a wheelbase of 107 inches. Whelen Modified Tour cars drive on wide Hoosier bias-play tires, while power is provided by "small block" 350 to 360 cubic-inch engines. The Whelen Modified Tour holds races throughout the northeast, on tracks ranging in size from a 1/4-mile to one-mile. The Whelen Southern Modified Tour was established in 2005. While the Tour itself was a new addition, Modified teams have competed in championship events up and down the east coast since the earliest days of NASCAR.