2024 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

New Hampshire's "Magic Mile" And Modifieds Known For Crazy Finishes

New Hampshire's "Magic Mile" And Modifieds Known For Crazy Finishes

New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour always provide highlight-reel finishes.

Jun 20, 2024 by Rob Blount

New Hampshire Motor Speedway has long been nicknamed the “Magic Mile.” It seems like every track one-mile in length needs to have some sort of alliterative nickname. Dover is the “Monster Mile.” The now defunct New York State Fairgrounds track was the “Moody Mile.” In Milwaukee the track is literally named “The Milwaukee Mile Speedway.” 

While some seem fitting and others may not, the “Magic Mile” is as perfect as it gets, especially when you’re talking about the finishes the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour seem to have at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on what feels like a yearly basis. 

Whether you’ve watched the races in the grandstands in Loudon on a Saturday evening or on the FloRacing broadcast, you’ve seen it. You’ve felt it. The ground-pounders at New Hampshire really are magical.

The last two years alone have provided some of the most memorable finishes in series and track history. 

In 2022 it was Anthony Nocella going from fourth to the win in a distance of maybe 100 yards as Patrick Emerling and Eric Goodale crashed in front of him. Nocella beat Kyle Bonsgnore to the line by 0.071-second to claim his first victory at the Magic Mile.

And then one year later it was a battle of the champions. Three-time champ Justin Bonsignore held off a charge from now two-time champ Ron Silk down the backstretch, and then a run from six-time champ Doug Coby coming to the line to win by 0.045-second.

But if you go back a little bit deeper, you’ll see that this is just normal here. We went back to 2012 and checked the margin of victory for the last 20 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the average margin of victory for the 16 races that ended under green-flag conditions is a remarkable 0.199-second. 

Think about that for a second. At the end of 100 laps (or more with green-white-checkereds thrown in) the distance between first and second usually is less than two car-lengths. That’s incredible. Or, perhaps it’s magic.

In fact, when you look through those finishes, only twice has the margin of victory been greater than half a second. Ironically, Bobby Santos III was the winner each time, and he did that in back-to-back races in 2017. But even though they weren’t photo-finishes, those two races were still nail-biters as Santos made the winning move with four or less laps remaining in both races.


Watch: Justin Bonsignore Beats Doug Coby In Photo Finish At New Hampshire

Since we’re talking about magical, that’s actually the perfect way to describe Santos at Loudon where the Franklin, Massachusetts driver has visited victory lane six times. In those six wins, Santos has led a total of just 45 of the 600 scheduled laps. Better yet, he led more than five laps in just two of those wins. In the second race of 2017, Santos led 10 laps, and in 2020 he led 24. But in his other four victories, Santos led one lap, two laps, three laps, and five laps. Magic.

In one of the closest finishes of all-time across all of NASCAR, the late great Mike Stefanik just barely beat Ron Silk, who was the defending series champion at the time, by just 0.003-second in July of 2012. 

I happened to be in attendance sitting in the turn one grandstands that day, and I can still remember the reaction of the stunned crowd. Everyone was losing it over the fight to the line between Stefanik in the No. 66, and Silk in Eddie Partridge’s white and blue No. 6, but it took a few minutes for everyone to realize who won the race. 

But truthfully, it didn’t matter who won that day, because we all walked away feeling the same thing. A sense of wonder? Maybe. A sense of disbelief? Sure. But we all felt the magic in the New England air as we walked back to our cars in the parking lots.


Watch: Anthony Nocella Survives Last-Lap Crash To Win At New Hampshire.

Okay, maybe there’s not any real “magic” behind why these races are so crazy and the finishes are so insane. The real magic is in the restrictor plates that are meant to keep the speeds down, but also bunch the cars up. But does it matter?

Ask any of the 30 drivers entered in Saturday’s race what track they want to win at the most. They’ll all tell you the same answer, but in a couple of different ways. They’ll say “New Hampshire Motor Speedway” or they’ll say “The Magic Mile.” Then they’ll all say “because this is our Daytona 500. This is our biggest stage.”

And it’s not their biggest stage because it’s a companion weekend with the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series. The Modifieds share the stage with those guys and girls at Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway too. 

It’s their biggest stage, their Daytona 500, because of the finishes. These finishes get shown over and over again. And with that, the names of the winners are said over and over again. Legends are made in Loudon.

On Saturday evening we’ll be reminded of it once again. We’ll see another wild finish and then we’ll all leave the NHMS parking lots on Route 106 feeling the same thing. 

Modifieds. New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It’s a magical combination. 

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