Story By: JEFF BROWN / JDV PRODUCTIONS – WINCHESTER, NH – New Hampshire’s Upper Valley will be alive with the roar of race cars Saturday evening as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Claremont Motorsports Park.
For the second year in a row, Saturday’s Clash at Claremont concludes the three-race Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup, with money on the line for the special mid-season mini-series as the nineteen-race NWMT schedule marches on.
Only minutes from the Vermont border, the unique oval has a long legacy in regional racing, but only three times before has the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competed at the tricky third-mile. Last year was the first NWMT event at the track since 2007, with another visit in the modern Tour’s first season in 1985.
Jon McKennedy won last year’s event en route to the season championship. The reigning champion is not on this year’s entry list, guaranteeing a new face in Claremont’s winner’s circle Saturday night.
Former series champion Ron Silk is riding a hot streak with three wins this season and only one finish outside the top five, while three-time titlist Justin Bonsignore is coming off a win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with plenty of his own momentum. Giving chase in third is Doug Coby, who has won once in pursuit of his seventh Tour title, but sits 38 points out of the lead.
The pre-race pick, though, may be Matt Hirschman. The Pennsylvanian sits seventh in the Tour standings on a reduced schedule, but Hirschman has two wins, dealing out punishing performances at Lee USA Speedway and Seekonk Speedway. “Big Money Matt” has lived up to his moniker at Claremont with big open-competition wins in 2020 and 2022, as well as clinching last year’s Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup for car owner Roy Hall.
Hirschman sits only four points back of Coby in the Whelen Short Track Cup standings, so a checkered flag Saturday could be especially big for the bullring veteran and the Pee Dee Motorsports team.
Apparent favorites aside, plenty of Tour firepower lurks in the shadows to pull off the upset, from rising star Austin Beers and recent winner Jake Johnson to local favorites Brian Robie and Matthew Kimball.
Claremont’s weekly classes round out an evening program under the lights that will be one of the biggest shows of the season at the historic track, and an event you will not want to miss.
Saturday’s Clash at Claremont racing program is headlined by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, with features for the NHSTRA Modifieds, NHSTRA Late Models, Six Shooters, Mini Stocks, and Pure Stocks. Grandstands open at 2:30pm with qualifying to begin at 5:00pm.
General admission seating is $45 for adults, and children 12 and under are free. JDV Experience All-Access tickets are $99 each and include reserved seating.