The Chrome Horn News



    The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Stafford Motor Speedway for the third of four visits during the 2007 season on Friday, August 10th for the 17th annual New England Dodge Dealers 150 with Donny Lia attempting to etch his name into the Stafford record books. The rain date for this event will be Saturday, August 11th.
    Lia has won the first two races of the 2007 season at Stafford, and he will attempt to score the Stafford three-peat when the Tour returns, which would also keep alive his chances of sweeping the season at Stafford, a feat that has never been accomplished. Five times, a driver has won three out of the four Whelen Modified Tour events at Stafford, Mike Stefanik in 1990, 1997, and 1998, Ted Christopher in 2005, and most recently, Tony Hirschman in 2006. In 1987, a year in which Stafford hosted five Whelen Modified Tour events, Reggie Ruggiero won three of those events. Lia is currently the Whelen Modified Tour points leader, but to keep his winning streak going at Stafford, Lia will face some stiff competition, but he is confident that he and his Bob Garbarino owned team can get the job done.
    "We've had quite a bit of luck this year, and we've been able to capitalize on that," said Lia. "I think the combination of some of the young guys I brought over to the team combined with Bob's experience, it has made for an awesome combination of car owner and crew. We have great chemistry on the team, we have good horsepower and good cars, we've got all our ducks in a row right now. This is the best seat I've ever raced in, and when you combine all those factors together, it makes for good, strong runs. I think I've passed more cars at Stafford this year in two races than I have in the last 2 years combined at Stafford. Stafford has two of the toughest turns that we run all year on the Tour. Stafford is one of the hardest tracks to make passes at, and right now, we have a good enough combination to make passes."
    In order to keep his Stafford winning streak going, Lia will have to contend with drivers like James Civali, who scored his first career Whelen Modified Tour victory in this race one year ago by outdueling series veteran Reggie Ruggiero in the closing laps, and Civali has won twice this season. Lia will also have to contend with the likes of Todd Szegedy, a three-time winner at Stafford in his career who currently sits third in the points standings, Matt Hirschman, who has quickly acclimated himself to the Stafford half-mile, earning the Stafford track record in qualifying during Spring Sizzler weekend and has 5 career top-10 finishes in 7 career SMS starts, Mike Stefanik, who has 18 career Stafford wins, Reggie Ruggiero, who has 8 career Stafford wins, Ted Christopher, the track's all-time winningest driver with nearly 100 career victories, Tony Hirschman, who has 6 career wins at Stafford, Jerry Marquis, who has 4 wins at Stafford, and Ed Flemke, Jr., who has 3 wins at Stafford.
    A wildcard driver could be Woody Pitkat, who will be making his Stafford Whelen Modified Tour debut. Pitkat took over the wheel of the Hillbilly Racing #79 in June and has a 10th and 14th in his two starts this year. Pitkat began his racing career in Stafford's DARE Stock division, and has since made the move up to the track's Late Model and SK Modified® ranks. Pitkat has a grand total of 27 feature wins at Stafford, along with winning the 2006 Late Model championship at Stafford. Pitkat is also the winner of the 2007 Coors Light SK Modified® 100 at Stafford, so he knows how to drive to the front and win in extra distance events as well as the weekly sprint races.
    The competition will be hot and heavy as Stafford's SK Modifieds®, Late Models, SK Lights, Limited Late Models, and DARE Stocks will join the Whelen Modified Tour for a full night of auto racing excitement. Tickets for the 17th Annual New England Dodge Dealers 150 are available and on sale now at the Stafford Motor Speedway box office. Tickets are priced at $30.00 for adult general admission, $5.00 for children 6-14, and children 5 & under are free. Reserved seating is available for $32.00. Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking with overnight parking available.
    For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at


Source:  Scott Running/Stafford Motor Speedway PR
Posted:  August 8, 2007

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