Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

New Information on NASCAR Modified Tour New Hampshire Shooutout

Information about the 25-lap New Hampshire exhibition for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is starting to come together.

New details have emerged about the 25-lap exhibition invitational for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour that is scheduled for July 11 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

All that was previously known when the schedule was first released in December was that the race will be run on the Friday afternoon prior to the traditional championship race on July 12. Invited to participate in the yet to be named event will be former champions of both the northern tour and Southern Modified Tour, past winners and the Rookie-of-the-Year award recipients from the 2013 season.

RaceDayCT previously reported that the winner will receive $4,000 and that each starter is guaranteed at least $800 to compete. The total purse of the event will be $25,000 and that NASCAR expects the starting field to contain upwards of 20 cars.

NASCAR spokesman Jason Cunningham told SB Nation on Friday that the shootout will not receive an exclusive practice session and that the Modified Tour will only hot lap once -- on Friday morning. Qualifying for the traditional 100-lap championship race will now take place on Saturday morning, allowing drivers to participate in NASCAR All-American Series action at Stafford Speedway on Friday night.

Qualifying on Saturday will also avoid a scenario where a team qualifies on Friday, loses a car in the shootout and is forced to go to the back of the field for the points race.

Phil Moran, crew chief for Doug Coby this year with Mike Smeriglio III Racing doesn't expect the starting field to be nearly as expansive as NASCAR does, because he doesn't believe many teams from the Southern Tour would be willing to make the trip north.

"The first race of (last year at Loudon) we had three guys come up from the south and run that race," Moran told SB Nation on Thursday. "And then the second race we didn't have any come up because they turned around and scheduled a race for them down at Southern National so they couldn't come up even if they wanted to -- which is kind of stupid."

One locked-in Southern driver, 2010 champion Burt Myers, cited scheduling as his main concern in making it up to Loudon for the event. But it wasn't a scheduling conflict with a Southern Tour race -- but rather the weekly Bowman Gray Stadium schedule.

"I don't think I'm going to be able to make that race in my own stuff," said Myers. "I would love to be able to run that race. I would love to entertain the idea of maybe driving somebody else's car that can make the pull. But with it being on Friday there's no way it's even possible for me to take my stuff and then make it back to Bowman Gray by Saturday.

"There will be some guys that don't run at Bowman Gray weekly that will try to make the haul. But like I said, I would love to entertain the idea of running someone else's car where I could just fly up and fly back. I would love that. The fact that I am eligible, that I am guaranteed a spot in the race, that may be some incentive for someone to put me in their car."

Cole Powell has a spot in the field courtesy of winning the Rookie of the Year title on the northern tour and says that he loves the idea behind the event even though he doesn't know much at all about it yet.

"I know really nothing about it other than it is 25 laps," Powell said. "I know that it's at New Hampshire. You're going to have all the heavy-hitters that won the last year so I'm really excited for it. I think it's going to be really good."

Moran maintains that he is excited for the race, but that he has some concerns with the lack of communication between the teams and NASCAR.

"The communication breakdown is basically what it is," he said. "Talk with the teams, the owners, the crew chiefs. The drivers are going to drive it whether it's in a Wal-mart parking lot, they don't care. I just think they should have talked to the owners and the crew chiefs.

"I've been around this tour for a lot of years since its inception in 1985. They always came to us before and asked us when they were making rule changes and doing things. They sat down and had meetings back in the day. Now they don't ask us anything anymore. I'm not trying to put them down, but it seems like the communication is not there anymore."

But rest assured that you'll see Moran's car being wheeled around the Magic Mile by Coby.

"It's a race. Nine times out of 10 I'm going to run it," said Moran. "I support NASCAR as much as I can. I don't agree with them all the time as a lot of us don't, but we'll run the race."

This article originally appeared on SBNation.

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