The inaugural appearance of NASCAR racing on VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, is set for Wednesday, Aug. 4, with the Riverhead 200 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event from Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway.
The Riverhead 200, which will be contested on Saturday, July 31, will be the first of nine telecasts to air on VERSUS between the NASCAR Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tours in 2010. These two Touring Series feature short track racing at its best and are the heart of NASCAR racing at the grassroots level.
Riverhead Raceway is a quarter-mile bullring that has been part of the Whelen Modified Tour schedule since the Tour’s inaugural season of 1985. The first Whelen Southern Modified Tour broadcast will be from historic Bowman Gray Stadium. Bowman Gray – located Winston-Salem, N.C. – is the longest continuously sanctioned NASCAR track in the nation.
“NASCAR is excited for the debut of the Whelen Modified Tours on VERSUS,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations. “The premier from Riverhead Raceway along with races from other traditional Modified tracks like Bowman Gray Stadium, Caraway Speedway, Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson International Speedway will give viewers a distinct impression of what NASCAR Modified racing is all about.”
VERSUS first entered its partnership with NASCAR in 2009 with Quest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, a weekly half-hour series that followed the 12 drivers competing in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup. In September 2010 the network will launch NASCAR – Next Generation, a series which will profile some the future stars of the Sprint Cup series. In addition to its NASCAR offerings, VERSUS is also the exclusive cable television home of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Now in its second year of coverage, the network has seen 24-percent growth in viewership for its live races as compared to last year.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman, who has competed in selected Whelen Modified Tour races in recent seasons, is among many who see the tremendous value in having VERSUS on board as a broadcast partner.
I’ve been asked ‘why do you do this,’ and it’s all about having fun,” Newman said of his participation in Modified races. “With VERSUS on board to telecast the races, the whole nation will now be exposed to what those of us on the East Coast already know – Modifieds produce a very exciting type of racing.”
Kevin Manion, the 2010 Daytona 500-winning crew chief, came through the Whelen Modified Tour on his way to his current career in the Sprint Cup Series, and is owner of the Modified team that Newman competes for.
“As a Whelen Modified Tour alum, I see great value in the VERSUS package,” Manion said. “Those of us who have been a part of it know the passion of the teams and fans in Modified racing, and it’s great for the Tours to get national exposure.”
VERSUS’ nine-race schedule will premiere with one-hour race telecasts airing on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. ET. All races will re-air the Sunday following the initial telecast. The complete schedule follows (subject to change):
VERSUS Race Schedule
Tour Venue Race Date Premiere Date Re-Air Date
NWMT Riverhead Raceway July 31 Aug. 4, 7 p.m. Aug. 8, 11 p.m.
NWMT Stafford Motor Speedway Aug. 6 Aug. 11, 7 p.m. Aug. 15, 11 p.m.
NWSMT Bowman Gray Stadium Aug. 7 Aug. 18, 7 p.m. Aug. 22, 11 p.m.
NWMT Thompson International Speedway Aug. 12 Aug. 25, 7 p.m. Aug. 29, 12 a.m.
NWSMT Caraway Speedway Aug. 28 Sept. 1, 7 p.m. Sept. 5, 11 p.m.
NWSMT Langley Speedway Sept. 4 Sept. 8, 7 p.m. Sept. 12, 11 p.m.
NWSMT Tri-County Motor Speedway Sept. 15 Sept. 29, 7 p.m. Oct. 3, 11 p.m.
NWMT Stafford Motor Speedway Oct. 3 Oct. 6, 7 p.m. Oct. 10, 11 p.m.
NWMT Thompson International Speedway Oct. 17 Oct. 20, 7 p.m. Oct. 24, 11 p.m.