Story By: SHANNON STEPHENS / NHMS – LOUDON, NH – NASCAR returns to New England this weekend for the third annual Full Throttle Fall Weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and with it, a bevy of captivating storylines from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the American-Canadian Tour and the Granite State Legends Cars that are sure to leave every race fan on the edge of their seats until the final checkered flag falls.
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
The 2020 season opener, originally scheduled for March 21 at South Boston Speedway, was postponed to May 30 at Myrtle Beach Speedway due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Inclement weather caused the event to be rescheduled once again, and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was finally able to burn some rubber at Jennerstown Speedway on June 21.
The Tour has already made three visits to the Granite State – twice at White Mountain Motorsports Park in Woodstock and once at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester – and will be making their final 2020 New Hampshire visit Sept. 12 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to headline the third annual Full Throttle Fall Weekend with the longest-mileage race on the Tour, the Musket 200 presented by Whelen.
Dominance: To date, the 2020 season has been headlined by one driver – Justin Bonsignore – who has won three of the season’s six Whelen Modified Tour events. He earned a top-10 finish in the 2018 Musket 250 and a top-five in 2019, but has yet to land in victory lane to hoist up the coveted musket and minuteman trophy. Can the current points leader capture a win at “The Magic Mile” to continue his chase for another series championship?
Defending Winner: Five-time NHMS winner Bobby Santos III is a frequent visitor to victory lane at “The Magic Mile.” He’s won four of the last six NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events at Loudon, including the 2019 Musket 250 presented by Whelen when he was filling in for Dave Sapienza who was injured earlier in the season. Saturday’s Musket 200 presented by Whelen will be his first appearance of the 2020 modified season and is his only scheduled appearance at the moment. Can he make it two Musket wins in a row?
Reigning Champion: Six-time and reigning NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby is currently second in the points standings with a win at New Hampshire’s White Mountain Motorsports Park already in the bag. He earned a top-10 finish in the 2018 Musket 250 and started on the pole and earned a podium finish last year. Is 2020 the year he finally reaches victory lane at the Musket 200 presented by Whelen and bumps his overall NHMS wins to five?
The American-Canadian Tour is no stranger to “The Magic Mile,” making nine appearances from 2009-2016 and making its homecoming with the ACT 75 this Saturday, Sept. 12 to wrap up the on-track action for the third annual Full Throttle Fall Weekend.
Points Leader: Jimmy Hebert from Williamstown, Vt. is the current points leader for the American-Canadian Tour Late Model Series with two wins and five podium finishes during the 2020 season’s first seven events. Saturday’s ACT 75 will mark Hebert’s debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – will it end with a trip to victory lane?
New Hampshire Drivers: Saturday’s ACT 75 will feature three drivers from New Hampshire including Matt Anderson (Andover), currently 11th in the point standings; Bryan Kruczek (Newmarket), currently fourth in the point standings; and DJ Shaw (Center Conway), currently second in the point standings.
Granite State Legends Cars
The Granite State Legends Cars will compete in both the Road Course Series and Oval Series during the third annual Full Throttle Fall Weekend, with the Oval Series champion crowned after Saturday’s race.
Oval Series: The Oval Series has yet to race this season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, as the 2020 schedule was reshuffled a few times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reigning NHMS track champion Shaun Buffington took both wins at White Mountain Motorsports Park – one to start the season on June 13 and another on Aug. 22 – plus a win at Claremont Motorsports Park on Sept. 6, but Luke Lebrun is giving him a run for his money, earning a win at Claremont on June 26 and another at Riverside Speedway and Adventure Park on July 4. Who will be crowned the series champion this Friday?
Road Course Series: The 2020 Road Course Series season kicked off July 5 and has completed six events on the 1.6-mile road course at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Shaun Buffington has won all six races and is well on his way to earning yet another NHMS track championship, but teammates Jack Walker and Darren Gallant aren’t making it easy on him, standing next to him on the podium every single time. Who will take the win as the Road Course Series takes on the 0.95-mile modified road course for only the second time this Saturday?