Bristol Motor Speedway, the newest addition to the schedule for the NASCAR Whelen and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tours, will welcome teams from each series for a Hoosier Tires test on Tuesday, Feb. 24.
The .533-mile high-banked oval in Tennessee will play host to NASCAR’s Modified divisions for the first time in 2009 with a combination race. In preparation for the Aug. 19 race date, Hoosier and NASCAR invited six teams to participate in the test.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be represented by its defending champion Ted Christopher, 2003 titlist Todd Szegedy and Ronnie Silk. The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will have its reigning champion Brian Loftin and 2007 series winner L.W. Miller on hand to test.
Troyer Race Cars was also invited to provide its No. 98 house car for the test session and Matt Hirschman was selected to get behind the wheel. Hirschman, who was runner-up in the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship standings, is currently looking for a ride for the 2009 campaign.
While the Modifieds have not previously run at Bristol, some of the test drivers have been there before, including Christopher. The Plainville, Conn., driver attempted to qualify for a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol in 1999, but hasn’t been back to the track since and is looking forward to making laps in a Modified.
“I think the Modifieds are going to be good there,” Christopher said. “I don’t think we’re going to go much faster than we go at Thompson. We’ll probably sustain a faster speed, but I don’t think it’s going to be much different when we get into the turns. Who knows, we’ll know when we get there.”
Like Christopher, Loftin has some laps under his belt at Bristol from when he raced in the former Goody’s Dash Series and he’s looking forward to taking his Modified around the high concrete banks.
“I’m definitely excited about going up there and checking it out,” Loftin said. “A Modified going around there is just going to have to be wicked.”
While only six teams will participate on-track during the test session, all teams from both the NASCAR Whelen and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tours with a valid 2009 NASCAR license are welcome to attend and observe.
Haulers are scheduled to park at 7 a.m. and the test session is slated to run from approximately 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Notebook:
* The NASCAR Whelen and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour combination event at Bristol on Wednesday, Aug. 19 will be a 150-lap race. Green flag for the Modifieds will drop 6 p.m. and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will follow with the O’Reilly 200 at 8 p.m.
* NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman plans to participate in three Modified races in 2009; the aforementioned Bristol combination event and both NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Newman won the pole and led 28 laps before getting caught up in an accident in his Modified debut last September in the New Hampshire 100. He piloted the same car to Victory Lane on Feb. 9 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway.
* Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway has announced that all four of its NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race dates in 2009 have title sponsorship. Tech-Net and CARQUEST will sponsor the track’s 200-lap season-opening Spring Sizzler on April 26, TSI Harley-Davidson returns to sponsor the 150-lap May 22 race, Town Fair Tire is back on board to sponsor the Aug. 7 150-lapper and CARQUEST will be back as title sponsor for Stafford’s season-ending 150-lap race – the Fall Final – on Oct. 4.
* The Flamingo Motorsports No. 16 Modified driven by seven-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion Mike Stefanik will be featured in the NASCAR display at the 2009 SpeedwayEXPO, Feb. 27-March 1 at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass. Stefanik will be in attendance Friday evening, Feb. 27, for the Riverside Park Speedway reunion – held in conjunction with SpeedwayEXPO – along with fellow NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitors Ted Christopher, Renee Dupuis and Reggie Ruggiero.