ModNationals 2023 is Moving to Bradenton Motorsports Park
At its core; racing is all about rising to the challenge, overcoming obstacles, and pushing yourself beyond your known limits. ModNationals 2022 perfectly embodied that spirit. In the face of a hurricane, Justin Young (ModNationals Organizer) and the entire ModNationals crew persevered and managed to once again put on one of the largest independent late-model Ford focused racing events on the nation. Though it was forced to end early due to weather, Young knew the end of the 2022 race was only the first step in a move that will setup ModNationals to become something even greater. For 2023, Mod-Nationals will be held on its traditional Veteran’s Day date, but at Bradenton Motorsports Park.
ModNationals has a reputation as an event that focuses on two groups, which often have a large overlap, Veterans and Racers. Since its start, the event has given away tens of thousands of dollars to ModNationals Veterans racers and has some of the largest class payouts in Late-Model Ford Racing, EVER. Young has been in and around drag racing for over 20 years and he’s been to thousands of events, so naturally he pulled from those experiences when he created ModNationals. One of the best things about ModNationals is that there isn’t a corporation running this event. There is just one guy, and he has spent the last twenty years in the Modular community. According to Young; he wants to continue emphasizing that the Mod Motor and Coyote engines are the best late-model engine available. As they can achieve unbelievable performance with just the OEM Ford supplied blocks and heads. Young has built quite an event with 45 sponsors, over 16 classes for every Modular combination conceivable and for 2023, guaranteed payouts over $80,000!!
“Even with challenges Hurricane Nichole threw our way, the 2022 event was still the largest ModNationals ever.” Young said. “Still, we knew that ModNationals had achieved all we could in the current location, and it was time to make a change. To take the race to the next level, ModNationals had to partner with someone who shares our love for boutique racing events and understands not only the racer’s perspective but has a promoter’s perspective.” That’s where Bradenton’s track owner Victor Alvarez comes in.
For the past six months; Victor and his team have invested millions into the track facilities, further solidifying Bradenton’s place as the South East’s preeminent spot for boutique/bespoke drag racing events. The area’s enormous number of local racing fans also usually means packed grandstands. With the help of Wade Rich, who prepped ModNationals 2019, Justin and Victor promise the brand-new racing surface will be prepped to a standard not seen anywhere else on this planet. Tighten up those laces because you may just end up leaving a shoe on the track.
ModNationals Staff members TJ Bailey and Lonnie Peplau are coming back, and Bradenton Motorsports Park’s own Gavin Carter will be running an All-Star team of Race & Computer Operations. The event will have many professional staff on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly. Young stated, “ModNationals prides itself on customer service and treating people with respect and we’ll ensure that continues to happen at future ModNationals events.”
Moving the race to Tampa may sound like an extra three-hour drive to some, but it wasn’t a decision made without much thought and consideration. Justin knew he had to make a substantial change for 2023, but he also had a strict set of ‘Must-Haves’ when considering a new track location:
- Track availability on Veterans Day Weekend
- Historically pleasant weather during that time
- A strong base of local race enthusiasts from which to pull spectators to fill the stands
- A track dedicated to seeing ModNationals continue to grow
- Local organic support for coordination and setup/tear-down
Moving to the Tampa area also opens the opportunity for racers to make their annual ModNationals pilgrimage into a family vacation. The list of dining and entertainment establishments within a short drive from the track is nearly endless. There are accommodations, ranging from hotels and Air B-n-Bs to campgrounds and 5-Star resorts. Basically, there’s room to fit any budget. Air travel makes the event more easily accessible to far flung race fans than ever before. And who can argue with some Florida temperatures in November?
Speaking of weather, the Bradenton area historically experiences much more favorable racing conditions during Veteran’s Day than the former Georgia location. However; if racing was to be delayed, Bradenton Motorsports Park’s relatively rural location allows it to run races later into the night than nearly any other ¼ mile track in the nation. That all but guarantees the event will come to a definitive conclusion.
Accufab is coming back as the main event sponsor for ModNationals 2023, and Suncoast Performance is stepping up to become the Presenting Sponsor, which Young says is an amazing addition. He believes that Suncoast Performance is a perfect complement to ModNationals; stating, “they personify the professionalism, customer service and dedication to the racer that embodies ModNationals ethos.” Young is also revamping some classes and bumping up the payouts. With an expected 300+ cars on property, payouts are expected to be well over $80,000, and a record spectator crowd to boot. The 2023 Accufab Inc. ModNationals, presented by Suncoast Performance is set to be the biggest and best yet!
Mark your calendar right now for November 9-12, 2023, and we’ll look forward to seeing you in Bradenton, FL for ModNationals 2023. Until then, check out these images from ModNationals 2022:
Words by SID297
Photos by ModNationals Staff