Examining The Ever Shrinking Whelen Modified Tour Car Counts At New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Twenty-nine drivers are scheduled to take the green flag for Saturday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour New Hampshire 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
That 29 number matches the second smallest field in 55 Whelen Modified tour events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway since 1990.
And it's a number that stands as part of a trend that hardly illustrates any sort of level of positive growth for the division at one of the series' marquee venues.
Dating back to a 40-car field for the event on Sept. 19, 2009, the division has seen the number of cars starting get smaller each event for five consecutive events going into Saturday's race. Including Saturday's event, four of the nine smallest fields in Whelen Modified Tour history at New Hampshire Motor Speedway have come in the last four events at the track.
The lowest field ever for a Modified Tour event in Loudon was 28 on Aug. 21, 1994. Saturday's 29-car field matches the number that started the first event at the track on Sept. 2, 1990.
The next smallest field over the 55 events at the track was 31, which is the number that started the Granite State Classic in Loudon on Aug. 13 of this year.
Thirty-three cars started the July 16 event earlier this year at the track, which represents the sixth smallest field in series history at Loudon. Thirty-five cars started last year's September event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
It's a noticeable swing from the big numbers that always seemed to arrive at the track from the mid 1990's until two years ago.
Of the 55 events run at the track, 30 have seen starting fields of 40 or more cars. From Sept. 8, 1996 to June 30, 2007, over a 26 race span, the track saw fields of 40 or more in 23 events. The three events that didn't see 40 cars during that span saw two events with 39 and one with 38. That span also saw a stretch of 15 consecutive events from Aug. 17, 1997 to July 18, 2003 all with 40 or more cars starting. From Sept. 8, 1996 to Sept. 19, 2009, over a span of 31 events, there wasn't a starting field in any Modified Tour event at the track lower than 38.