RPW Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – LANCASTER, NY – NASCAR announced on Thursday that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour would make their inaugural visit to Lancaster Motorsports Park at NYIRP on July 31st. The race will be set for 150 laps.
NYIRP has been known for its modified racing for years. In recent memory, the Race of Champions made regular trips to Lancaster. Still, it did not have any races scheduled at the .625-mile oval in 2020.
“We feel that having NASCAR and the Whelen Modified Tour is long overdue in Western New York, and we are happy that we can get a date in 2021,” track owner Vito Antonicelli said in a statement posted to Lancaster’s Facebook page today.
The racetrack says a lot of the work to put the event together is the track safety coordinator for Lancaster Mike Myers. Myers has been in numerous discussions with Jimmy Wilson, the Whelen Modified Tour’s series director.
“It’s been a lot of back and forth and ironing out all the details, but it’s paying off. Track ownership believes in keeping the fans of short track racing happy, and this is a testament to that”, said Myers, also posted to Lancaster’s Facebook page.
Lancaster has a lot of storied history. The late NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans was a regular winner at Lancaster, Maynard Troyer. The race should have plenty of WNY talent that race in the tour, including Patrick Emerling, Matt Hirschman, Tommy, Timmy, and Amy Catalano, and 2020 Tour Rookie of the Year Tyler Rypkema.
As of now, this is the only New York track that is confirmed for the 2021 schedule. The tour has made regular stops at Riverhead Raceway and Oswego Speedway for years, Riverhead since the 80s, Oswego since 2016. Both are expected to return to the 2021 calendar, according to Kyle Souza.