Story by Souza Media's Kyle Souza
NEW SMYRNA, Fla. -- With just over two short weeks remaining until the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway, fans from across the country are making their final travel preparations to head south. The annual World Series has another stout schedule planned for 2023 -- with a practice day on February 9 -- followed by nine consecutive nights of short-track racing from February 10-18.
One of the headlining divisions for the week again this year, alongside the Super Late Models and Pro Late Models, is the Tour-Type Modifieds. The division will return for five straight nights of action from February 13-17 -- including multiple major events -- like the John Blewett Memorial 76 and the Richie Evans Memorial 100. New for 2023, the minimum distance for Tour-Type Modified races will be 50 laps, up 15 circuits from other years.
However, before the Tour Mods hit the track for racing action, the opening act might be the best way to get the week rocking. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to New Smyrna for the second year in a row on Saturday, February 11, for the New Smyrna Visitors Bureau 200. The season-opener for another year of Whelen Modified Tour action is expected to draw close to 30 cars or more to try and compete in the 200-lap event.
Last year, it was Matt Hirschman, a multiple-time Tour Mod champion at the World Series, who picked up the victory. But he has a strong field of drivers going to try and knock him down. Reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion Jon McKennedy, three-time champion Justin Bonsignore, Ron Silk, Patrick Emerling, defending Sunoco Rookie of the year Austin Beers, Jimmy Blewett, Kyle Bonsignore, Eric Goodale and many others are hopeful to open the season on top.
Once the Tour moves out of town, all eyes will turn towards the World Series action for the Tour Modifieds, beginning with a 50-lap race on Monday, February 13. Tuesday will follow with another 50-lap event, followed by the Blewett Memorial 76 on Wednesday, February 15. Thursday includes one more 50-lap race before Friday's Richie Evans 100, which will help crown the champion of the World Series for 2023.
The updated Tour Modified entry list for the week includes defending champion Jimmy Blewett, who will return to action with Tommy Baldwin Racing for another year. Baldwin is also fielding a car for Caleb Heady, who won the SMART Modified Tour title with the team in 2022. Names like Emerling, Silk, Spencer Davis, Ronnie Williams, Teddy Hodgdon, Tommy Catalano, Eric Goodale, Anthony Nocella, Anthony Bello and others are entered to compete. A full list entry list as of January 22 is posted at the bottom of this story.
Tickets for events, including the Whelen Modified Tour 200 (which was jam-packed in 2022, we would suggest buying ahead in case of sellout) are available online now by clicking here. New Smyrna also has a World Series central placed on their website where fans can find the updated entry lists, rules, daily event schedules and much more. You can find World Series central by clicking here.
TOUR MODIFIED NEW SMYRNA SCHEDULE '23 WORLD SERIES:
Saturday, February 11 -- NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 200
Monday, February 13 -- Tour Modified 50
Tuesday, February 14 -- Tour Modified 50
Wednesday, February 15 -- John Blewett Memorial 76-lapper
Thursday, February 16 -- Tour Modified 50
Friday, February 17 -- Richie Evans Modified 100-lapper
Below Entry List Is For Monday-Friday Tour Modified Racing as of January 22:
2 JR Bertuccio. Centerreach NY
2X Gershow Racing Driver TBA
7nc Caleb Heady. Louisville KY
7ny Jimmy Blewett. Howell NJ
7 Rich Parker. Forked River NJ
8 Cam McDermott. Canterbury CT
11X Dillon Steuer. Bohemia NY
11 Norman Newman. Kincardine ON
14 Patrick Emerling. Orchard Park NY
16 Ron Silk. Norwalk CT
20 Eddie McCarthy. Brick NJ
20nj Dylan Serratelli. Brick NJ
21 Joe Bertuccio III. Statesville NC
25 Brian Robie. Sunapee NH
29 Spencer Davis. Dawsonville GA
32 Tyler Rypkema. Owego NY
36 David Sapienza. Riverhead NY
38 Ricky Moxley. Palm City
45 Brett Meservey. Brewster MA
50 Ronnie Williams. Vernon CT
54 Tommy Catalano. Ontario NY
54 Tyler Catalano. Ontario NY
55 Teddy Hodgdon. Danbury CT
56 Amy Catalano. Ontario NY
58 Eric Goodale. Riverhead NY
71 Kyle Ellwood / Michael Rutkoski. Riverhead NY
73 Paul Hartwig Jr. Galloway NJ
73H Paul Hartwig SR. Galloway NJ
92 Anthony Nocella. Berlin MA
08 Nicholas Halkowicz. Shelton CT
09 Christopher Hatton. Ormond Beach, FL
179 Anthony Bello. Newton CT