The Chrome Horn News



    Mike Stefanik is confident he has the car to beat in the No. 16 Diversified Metals Chevrolet.
    Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway, the Whelen Modified Tour defending Champion was well on his way to proving that fact after leading 116 laps of the Miller Lite 140. On lap 139, an accident took Stefanik out of contention and the Flamingo Motorsports team was forced to settle with an 11th place finish.
    “With about five to go, we caught a pack of slow cars,” Stefanik explained. (Ted) Christopher had to choose which way to go – he chose the outside and I went to the inside. He tried to force his way to the bottom and I came up the loser.”
    The Miller Lite 140 was the third flash event of the year for the Whelen Modified Tour – a format Stefanik has not been too enthused about. Still, he approached each event with an open mind and a passion for victory. This race wasn’t any different. Despite an early draw in qualifying order, Stefanik went out and set the seventh fastest time of the day. After the standard redraw of top qualifiers, Stefanik and his No. 16 machine were lined up to start the feature event from the pole position.
    “We were really pretty happy with the car when we showed up. We made only minor changes and we were pretty pleased with the results after practice. We had a strong piece to go to battle with,” he said. “We weren’t lucky to draw an early number, but we were lucky to get the pole. I guess luck has a way of balancing out.”
    Stefanik led the first 114 circuits around the high-banked quarter-mile oval. Christopher used lapped traffic to get by him on lap 115.
    “We started on the pole and held off all double file restart challengers up until about 25 laps to go. We came up on a lapped car who did not get the passing flag. Finally I attempted to pass him on the outside and it left my inside vulnerable. Ted Christopher saw that opportunity to get a shot at the lead. He jumped up on top of my car. There was smoke and sparks and everything else,” Stefanik explained. “He knocked me out of the way and took over the lead. We were quite a bit quicker. I was able to run him down and I made several attempts to get by, but he made me well aware that was not going to be an option for me. I conceded that I was going to end up second.”
    But Stefanik was able to pass him for the lead once again at lap 137. Only two laps later, their battle was over and so was their possibility of grabbing the victory.
    “We were fast,” said Stefanik. “We had an outstanding handling car with tremendous forward bite. Up until two races ago, we struggled, but I think we have the car to beat now and I hope that trend will continue at Stafford Friday night.”


Source:  Penny Aicardi/Flamingo Motorsports PR
Posted:  August 5, 2007

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