499 AND COUNTING ...
Tomaino on verge of historic 500th Tour start
When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour begins the 2009 season at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on Sunday, April 5, more than just the series' Silver Anniversary will be celebrated. For one of its stalwarts, taking the green flag will be a historical accomplishment.
When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour held its first race at Thompson on March 31, 1985, Jamie Tomaino started in the third row right behind the legendary Richie Evans.
When the series held its first superspeedway event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 1990, Tomaino finished third to strengthen his title bid. When the NASCAR Modifieds ran a road course for the first time in 1996 at Watkins Glen International, Tomaino qualified 19th. And when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour celebrated its 500th race at Martinsville Speedway last September, Tomaino turned in a top 10.
In the first 24 years and 503 races that comprise the history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, about the only thing as predictable as the actual waving of the green flag to start a race, is that Tomaino would be cruising down the frontstretch, ready to put the pedal to the metal.
Of those 503 races, the Howell, N.J., driver has not started in only four. His total of 499 starts is 60 more than any other NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver. When he takes the green flag at the Icebreaker next Sunday, Tomaino will officially become the first driver in any of NASCAR's current touring series to reach the 500-start milestone. In fact, no driver has compiled that many starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series either.