NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Teams respond to racing at Iowa Speedway


Matthew Wiernasz Photo

STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn (WWLP) –  Iowa Speedway made an announcement over the summer they will be hosting the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in July 2020. Back at Stafford Motor Speedway in August, the teams talked about racing at Iowa Speedway next season. Many of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers were shocked by this announcement. 

2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore told 22News how excited he is to head to Iowa Speedway. 

” It’s something new which is good. It will help us extend our demographics. Get new eyes on the series. The fact that a race track of that caliber is willing to take a risk on a series like us coming all the way out there. People probably haven’t seen these cars before. That says a lot about Iowa and all the people involved there. Big thanks to NASCAR for everything to help us. I am really excited about it. Obviously, the travel is going to be hectic for everybody but it’s no different when we go to New Smyrna for Speedweeks.” Said Bonsignore 

Six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby is very happy about the announcement with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heading to Iowa Speedway in 2020. He talked to 22News about it. 

” A new track on a national series weekend is good for us. It’s going to be a haul for everybody and it’s going to be a travel expense but from what I hear making up for some of that with the purse will be structured so I don’t think we’re going out there to race for $800 to start but I have been told it’s pretty generous.” Said, Coby 

Woody Pitkat told 22News believes it will be good for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to get out to Iowa and for fans to see the modifieds for the first time.
” I think they are going in awe to see it. I think you’re going to have a good crowd and hopefully, we put on a good race.” Said Pitkat  
Tommy Baldwin gave his thoughts to 22News on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heading to Iowa Speedway in 2020. 

” I think it’s a huge step for our division for sure and have a race track way out there and take notice at what a good show the Whelen Modified guys put on. It’s a good achievement for everyone in the garage, the officials, the teams, the crew members, the sponsors that are involved. We have to remind everybody when we used go to IRP. That was one of the best races we put on and had great crowds, good racing. I also wish we were back there. You gotta be careful. You don’t want to grow to much and overdue what we can do as a division of people of the working folk. Having two-three major events like this maybe four is perfect.” Said Baldwin 

Tommy Catalano is apart of two car team as he and his brother Timmy race on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He told 22News that he believes it will be an exciting challenge. 

” Traveling that far is not something we’re used to so will have to put together some extra guys and get the funds together. I think it will definitely be a great show. The biggest challenge will be to get all the teams to travel there that far. I think everyone has got enough time to plan so they can make it happen.” Said Catalano 

Catalano was shocked by the announcement. 
” I definitely didn’t see that one coming. I am interested to see what else comes aboard. Hopefully, they pick up a few more tracks. It’s always fun to go somewhere new. ” 

Baldwin was shocked by the announcement 
” I was to be honest with you a little bit. I have been kind of waiting for the Richmond people to get off their butt and get us signed up and get us back there but kudos to Iowa for giving us a chance and see what we can do.” Said Baldwin 

Coby was surprised by the announcement. 

” I may have gotten a little word about it the week before from my crew chief but I hadn’t heard from anybody. I think it came to a surprise for a lot of people. Good job for them for keeping it quiet and making an announcement on how they wanted to do it. You just can’t complain. It’s not like they are sending us to a dirt track in Kansas. This is Iowa Speedway. It’s widely regarded as one of the best short tracks. It’s just one of those tracks everybody has loved since they’ve built it. Probably the closest thing will ever get to running Richmond until we get to run Richmond again.” Said Coby 

Coby believes it will be a challenge to run at a D Shape track in the Midwest because none of the teams on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour are used to running that. 
Bonsignore was shocked by the announcement. His car owner Ken Massa received a phone call an hour before the announcement was made and told Bonsignore to be on the lookout for an announcement. 

” Caught me off guard I would’ve never expected that in a million years. It’s got me excited. I know it’s a year away but I think it will be a good event. I am really optimistic it will be a success.” Said Bonsignore 

Danny Watts a car owner on the tour told 22News that he believes it’s a good shot in the arm with the announcement of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heading to Iowa Speedway in 2020. Watts hopes the event to be a success and he thinks it will be.   

Baldwin thinks as a whole the race tracks that have given Tour dates come and go a little bit but they always come back. 

” It’s all about the economy. It also shows the economy is doing really well right now for other race tracks to get involved and pay NASCAR the money to do all the sanctioning and do all the things that need to be done and get us there. It’s a huge accomplishment. Get us a couple more and we will be good. 

Watts did not think about the payout for Iowa but thought about this 
” I honestly think through the year if NASCAR and the promoter can get us more money to come out there. It helps. It probably makes it easier the next time if we go back out there to see if they line up some lap sponsors, more race sponsors and help us out a little bit.” Said Watts 
Baldwin feels the unfortunate part is if you want to win, you have to spend a lot more money than you receive. 

” It’s everything you do in the sport especially racing. Iowa’s purse I think everyone is going to be surprised in what it is. I think they are going to give us enough that’s going to cover the cost of our travel so I think it will be alright.” Said Baldwin 

Bonsignore gave his thought about the purse 

” It sounds like the purse is going to be good to cover some of the travel for teams. I think you will see a good size field. I think the racing will be really cool there. It’s probably going to be a restrictor place I would guess. It should be something similar to Loudon. It should be a lot of fun. 

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be apart of the program with the NASCAR Xfinity Series next summer when they head out to Iowa in 2020.  
Bonsignore believes it’s huge to race with the NASCAR Xfinity Series next summer out in Iowa. Bonsignore feels anytime that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour can race with the top national series is good for the tour where more eyes will get to see these cars race. 

” Anytime were paired up with the national series is great and the fact were going to have both of those at Martinsville and Iowa. Will have our own night to run our own race. Were not the second or third event on that day. Were going to be the premier race that night. We can have our own event. It’s really exciting to see what’s on the horizon here for next year.”Said Bonsignore 

Coby believes it’s big for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to race on the same weekend with the NASCAR Xfinity Series. 

” A lot of those Xfinity drivers do watch us with a little bit more of an eye than maybe some of the Cup guys. I mean a lot of us are peers in the racing community. I actually texted Justin Allgaier about we’re coming to Iowa because we talked a lot at the banquet last year. I asked him if he could ask his boss if we could do a backup car swap just making a joke. Were gonna be there. We might as well do something. I think the Xfinity teams will be excited to have us there just to make more of an exciting weekend for the Iowa race fans and that’s what we really should care about. I think it would be cool at some point if some of us got some opportunities to run an Xfinity car at a track like Iowa be a first big start for a lot of drivers in our series or veteran drivers. We got a whole year to plan for travel. We got a year to call local businesses that may want to sponsor our car out there or businesses from here.” Said Coby 

Danny Watts gave his thoughts on it 

” As far as I am concerned, modifieds are the big stage. They are everything.  We’re the first and we put on the best shows. I think that we are the show. That’s all there is to it. That’s my thoughts.” Said Watts 
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Iowa Speedway will be on Friday night, July 31, 2020. 

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will kickoff their 2020 season at South Boston Speedway on Saturday, March 21. 

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