An eventful 2023 season for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ends on Thursday night at the historic Martinsville Speedway with the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200.
Modifieds have long been intertwined with Martinsville‘s proud history since the track first opened its doors to competitive auto racing in 1947. Among those who claimed victories in the early days of Martinsville include many of the discipline‘s all-time greats, such as Ray Hendrick, Jerry Cook, Bugs Stevens, Satch Worley and Richie Evans.
When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was created in 1985, Martinsville frequently served as a season finale for the division during the 1980s and early 1990s. After being removed and rotated on the schedule several times during the past two decades, Martinsville became the terminus for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour once again last year.
A talented group of drivers are making the trip to Martinsville on Thursday evening for one last opportunity at claiming a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory in 2023, all while the title gets settled between two series mainstays.
Tickets to the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 are available here. Below is everything you need to know for Thursday‘s championship race.
Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 at Martinsville Speedway
What to watch for:
Since the first green flag waved at New Smyrna Speedway, the two most dominant drivers in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this year have been Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore.
The two series veterans have matched one another in nearly every category. Both have five victories, nearly the same amount of Top 5s and have led more than 625 laps this season.
Silk finds himself leading the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings by 13 points ahead of Bonsignore heading into Martinsville Speedway. The gap between the two would have been closer if not for a poor restart by Bonsignore late into the penultimate event at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park that relegated him to a 13th-place finish.
Should Silk hold onto the points lead at Martinsville, he would claim his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title since the 2011 season. For Bonsignore, he is attempting to claim his fourth championship after last accomplishing that feat in 2021.
MORE MARTINSVILLE: Watch the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 on FloRacing
There will be a plethora of drivers standing in the way of both Silk and Bonsignore as they look to close out potential title runs with a victory. Among the regulars on the star-studded entry list include Matt Hirschman, Austin Beers, and Kyle Bonsignore, all of whom have tallied at least one win in 2023.
Long-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car owner Danny Watts Jr. is set to retire following the conclusion of Thursday’s Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200. Watts has found success with drivers like Silk, Ted Christopher and Woody Pitkat while in the series and will look to add one more victory with current driver Craig Lutz at Martinsville.
Two members of NASCAR‘s 75 Greatest Drivers list, NASCAR Cup Series veterans Ryan Newman and Bobby Labonte, are also competing at Martinsville on Thursday. Other notable names set to take the green flag include 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion and current Cup Series driver Ryan Preece, Patrick Emerling, Burt Myers, Bobby Santos III, Andy Jankowiak and many more.
The complete entry list for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 can be found here.
Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200
Oct. 26, 2023
0.526-mile paved oval
8 p.m. ET
Schedule: Thursday, Oct. 26 … Final practice from 3 to 4 p.m. ET … Qualifying at 5:30 p.m. ET … Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 at 8 p.m. ET (FloRacing)
Qualifying: Two consecutive qualifying laps. Faster lap determines qualifying position. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on the vehicle after the vehicle has taken the green flag at the start/finish line. NASCAR reserves the right to have more than one vehicle engage in qualifying runs at the same time. Starting field for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 is limited to 32 starters including Provisional Positions.
Tire allotment: The maximum tire allotment available for this event is twelve (12) tires per team. All tires used for qualifying and the race must be purchased at the track and scanned by Hoosier, unless otherwise approved in advance by the Series Director. Four (4) tires myst be used for qualifying and to begin the race. All qualifying tires must remain in impound until released by NASCAR Officials. The remaining tire allotment may be used for practice and/or change tires during the event. The tire change rule is four (4) tires, any position.