MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — It’s time to kick-off a new era for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on Saturday at Myrtle Beach Speedway. The 2017 season will be the first in series history as a unified tour, with both the north and south drivers competing for victories against each other on a race-by-race basis.
It’s no secret that the schedule for this season is going to be a little bit different compared to what we have seen in the past few years. The season won’t begin at Thompson, which will be something new for many of the drivers on the tour. Instead, a trip to the half-mile Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina will start of the year with a bang tomorrow afternoon.
The tough, gritty surface at Myrtle will eat up the Hoosier tires and have drivers begging to pit every other lap — but they won’t be able to. Teams are allowed tires during the 150 lap race and the strategy of when to put them on should be interesting.
We will see the normal stops at Thompson (four), Stafford (three), Riverhead (two) and NHMS (two), but outside of that, things could get interesting. On May 13, the series will visit Langley Speedway in Virginia for the first time since 2010 — a race Tim Brown was victorious in. That track is a monumental unknown to almost all of the drivers and will create some intense racing.
Races down the stretch like Seekonk and Oswego will also both have some unknowns for teams. Although they visited both tracks around the same time in 2016, it was the first time they had visited Seekonk since 2005 and the first time at Oswego in decades. They only have a small book of notes to run off.
For some reason, I sense these few races in the 17-race schedule will cause a problem for some and it could help decide the champion. Consistency will matter all season long.
The main story going into the season outside of the schedule and unified tour has to be Doug Coby, who will be searching a fourth straight series championship as he looks to continue to re-write the record books. Coby, of Milford, Conn., will return with MSIII Racing and crew chief Phil Moran for another run at the title behind the wheel of the Mayhew Tools No. 2.
Names like Justin Bonsignore, Timmy Solomito, a returning Ryan Preece and an “all in” Max Zachem are expected to be some of the top challengers to Coby for the championship.
There are plenty more storylines going into the season, but this is just a taste of what is to come. Catch the season-opening race live on fanschoice.tv on Saturday, or follow for live updates on NASCARHomeTracks.com
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer. Souza also writes press releases for the Granite State Pro Stock Series. Souza also works for Area Auto Racing News, based in Trenton, N.J.
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