Modified Tour, New England 100
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Chuck Hossfeld of Buffalo, NY, in the #4 Mystic Missile
Dodge owned by Bob Garbarino, started at the front of the field and
ended there as well when the checkered flag fell. He passed Ted
Christopher of Plainville, CT, at the wire to win by .001 seconds.
The fans were treated to one of the best NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
races that we have seen in a couple of years at the “Magic Mile.” Ed
Flemke Jr., of Southington, CT, made his 300th consecutive start
today and brought the #10 Ron Bouchard/Premier Kitchen Chevy across
the stripe in third.
The victory was Hossfeld’s seventh on the WMT and third at the New
Hampshire Motor Speedway. Hossfeld’s two previous wins came in July
2003 and September 2002. This was Hossfeld’s second win of the
season. He won the TSI Harley-Davidson 150 at Stafford Motor
Speedway on May 23rd.
The Whelen Modifieds usually provide the most exciting racing
action on the Magic Mile, and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
drivers, car owners and fans have come to expect unbelievable
finishes just like today’s.
The fans were on their collective feet as they cheered the epic
finish. Hossfeld officially led only one lap it was one the pays the
most -- the last one!
Eric Beers overcame a speeding on pit road penalty to finish fourth
in the #46. Reggie Ruggiero in the #14 raced to a fifth place
finish, while Bobby Santos III in the #98 was sixth.
Flemke made contact with the #2 of Todd Szegedy in turn 4 while
going three-wide in lap traffic on the last lap. Szegedy made
contact with the wall and came home in seventh.
Ryan Preece in the #3 was eighth. Former WMT champion, Jeff Fuller,
driving Kevin Manion’s #7NY, secured a top-ten finish coming across
the stripe in 9th. Ronnie Silk in the #79 finished tenth.
The race was fast-paced with only four cautions that slowed action
for just 20 laps. The front runners would swap the lead two to three
times a lap on every lap early in the contest, but Ted Christopher
would lead the most laps and just missed his 9th win here at the New
Hampshire Motor Speedway. Christopher was one of the two top-10
finishers along with Bobby Santos in the #98 Coastal 181 Chevrolet
that didn’t pit when the leaders pitted on lap 53. Pitting were Eric
Beers, James Civali, Ryan Preece, Todd Szegedy, Chuck Hossfeld, Matt
Hirschman, Jimmy Blewett, Rick Fuller, Reggie Ruggiero, Ronnie Silk,
Rowan Pennink, Jamie Tomaino, L.W. Miller, Wade Cole and Danny
Running order lap 55 when the green flew: Ted Christopher, Bobby
Santos, Robbie Summers, Brian Loftin, James Civali, and Jamie
Tomaino. The #46 of Eric Beers was sent to the rear of field along
with Glenn Tyler for speeding on pit road. Beers would challenge for
the lead twice over the last 20 laps of the event.
Lap 79, James Civali slowed as he approached pit road with
mechanical problems -- overheating.
Christopher continues to lead the event with Hossfeld, Santos,
Flemke, Szegedy and Preece all taking shots at the leader. It wasn’t
till the last lap when Hossfeld caught Christopher at the line.
Neither of them knew who won the race. It was so close that both
teams had to wait for the scoring monitor to change to know the
Hossfeld stated, “I don’t remember half of [the last lap] and the
half I do remember was too scary to talk about. I’m pumped. I’m just
so freaking happy! Either way it would have turned out I would have
been happy with the race. We really had a great race. Of course, I’m
happy I’m on the other side of that .001!”
Ted Christopher said, “That’s how it goes sometimes. Sometimes you
make the right move -- sometimes you make the wrong move. He had a
pretty good run. Our motor is good. You lose by a little, you win by
a little. I just really squared the corner off too much instead of
really keeping my momentum up.”
“My car handled well, though it was probably a little snugger that
I wanted to be,” he continued. “The tires were not really changing
much. You know I’m usually the first one to call for tires. We
usually take them early if we’re going change tires. After the
halfway point it’s tough to give up track position here to pit.”
Ed Flemke Jr. added, “It was a pretty spirited battle and everybody
was taking as much as they could and giving as much as they could. I
joined the fray on the last lap and kind of made it three-wide with
the lapped cars there. I just drove down in the bottom there and it
wouldn’t stay there. I got into Todd a little bit and sent him back.
Todd is one of the few guys that you can race and not expect to get
banged around so I kind of feel bad about that. But last lap, you’re
getting pushed and shoved and you’ve got to either get in or get out
so today we got in.”
Hossfeld leads the point standings with 855 points, followed by Ted
Christopher 819; Todd Szegedy 750; Eric Beers 685; Ed Flemke Jr.
662; Matt Hirschman 643; Rowan Pennink 639; Mike Stefanik 634; Ryan
Preece 604 and James Civali 602.
It appears that Hossfeld is picking up where last year’s champion
in the #4 Mystic Missile left off. Donny Lia had six wins on the way
to the first championship for car owner Bob Garbarino.
Qualifying & Practice
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour New England 100 introduced
themselves to the re-named New Hampshire Motor Speedway with limited
practice due to rain. The starting line-up was set by owner points,
past champion provisional, entry date and qualifying draw.
Thirty-eight modifieds started the race. Drivers that went home when
the rain cancelled the WMT qualifying were Doug Coby, Jon McKennedy,
Ken Bouchard, and Kenny Horton Jr.
Final practice on Saturday morning saw Chuck Hossfeld -- who will
start on the pole -- with the fastest time in the #4 Mystic Missile
Dodge at 129.366 mph. Eric Beers of Northampton, PA, in the #46
Reynolds Auto Wrecking Chevrolet was second fastest with a speed of
129.235. Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT, in the #36 Al-Lee
Installations Chevrolet was third fastest with a speed of 128.972.
Jimmy Blewett in the #19 TS Haulers Inc, Chevrolet was next with a
speed of 128.689. Todd Szegedy in the #2 Wisk/Snuggles Ford was
fifth with a speed of 128.571mph.
Eddie Flemke in the #10 Ron Bouchard Auto Stores/Premier Kitchens
Chevrolet was fastest in practice on Thursday with a speed of
126.926 mph. Reggie Ruggiero in the #14 Atlantic Sprinkler Ford was
second quick at 126.496 mph. Bobby Grigas III in the #09 Triple G
Scaffold Chevy was third in practice at 126.103, while Jimmy Blewett
in the #19 TS Haulers Inc. Chevy at 128.972 mph and fifth quick was
Chuck Hossfeld in the #4 Mystic Missile Chevrolet with a speed of
Rain delayed most of the scheduled practice sessions Thursday
afternoon, but the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was able to get on
the track for about half an hour. During that window, Ed Flemke Jr.
registered the fastest time at 30.008 seconds (126.926 mph).
60th Anniversary of the Modifieds
At each race this season, one of 31 former champions of the
Modified Tour will be honored. Last week at Thompson, Jeff Fuller,
champion in 1992 was in the spotlight.
Today, he will be back in a modified, driving for car owner Kevin
Manion, who is crew chief on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for driver
Martin Truex, pilot of the #1 DEI entry. Manion, who hails from New
England, decided to build the car with some friends “for fun”.
Originally Kyle Busch had agreed to drive the #7 today, but his
Gibbs team asked him not to.
Today, the Tour will honor past champion Jimmy Spencer, who
captured the title in 1986 and 1987 is just one of three NASCAR
Modified Tour drivers to capture consecutive titles.
Spencer was asked by NASCAR’s Jason Christly to explain how he got
started in modified racing. Spencer responded, “I had been racing
dirt cars in Pennsylvania when NASCAR introduced the weekly racing
series. I watched my dad race his whole life and I watched him pass
up opportunities to race at Indianapolis to race with family. I
wasn’t married at the time I said I want to race and my dad said I
think you’re good enough to do it.
“We started to race the weekly racing series and said we couldn’t
do that if you didn’t go to New England and race. I did make a
mistake in my first trip to New England. I beat one of my buddies,
Bugsy Stevens, and the fan was booing me! I said why are you mad at
me? I just kicked one of your hero’s butt, I guess that was why.
That was a mistake! From that day on I was booed in New England as
bad as a Bodine! That’s not good!”
Tell us what like to be associated with past champions of the
modified tour? “The Modified Series is a series that ran the
northeast mainly. They [modifieds] were born and raised in New York,
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New England, and I got to race some of
those guys and they were great racers!” Spencer named Bugsy, Corky
Cookman, George Summers, as well as promoters like Don Hoenig, the
Arute’s, and Yarrington “were all great guys and were friends to the
modifieds. Hoenig has been one of the biggest supporters of the
modified racing and the tour.”
He continued, “Eddie Flemke Sr., and Mr. Bob Bahre who owned Oxford
Speedway, made a lot of great friends. The modifieds were a good
means for us to race and move south and race what they called ‘big
cars.’” Spencer related a story about racing at a track where he was
given an award by the fans after being booed a few weeks before.
Spencer interpreted boos as an expression of displeasure at
something you did, but, he added, “The fans liked you for your
He says Kyle Busch his getting the same type of treatment today.
“The fans don’t like what he does, but like to watch him race. The
fans are what make our sport possible, there no question about that.
I’ve never disagreed with them [fans]. That’s your opinion and that
what’s great about our sport.” Spencer was asked about the
comparison to Kyle and past drivers and Spencer said Bobby Allison
was good at “persuading” someone to move. The fans want to be vocal
and some of the drivers don’t allow them to be vocal.
Spencer reminisced about his past competitors including friends
that have passed including Richie Evans, Corky Cookman, Tom Pratt
and Tommy Druar. “A lot of sad days, but you know the modifieds were
a click and still is a click. It is strong click, there a lot of
modified guys in that garage area that mean a lot to me.”
Jimmy given the opportunity would you get in a car today? “First
I’d have to lose 25 pounds (chuckle) that’s the first thing. I can
still do it. I believe I can still drive a Cup car. I watched the
qualifying on Speed TV yesterday I could have put the #21 car in the
“The reality of it is our sport has really grown. These young kids
come along and some punk young kids and I just wished that they
respected the veteran drivers. I respected Bobby Allison and Richard
Petty as they built a lot of what we race on now. I think our sport
is lacking a little respect in the garage area nowadays. Especially
for the drivers who have paved the way for these young kids today.”
Do you think that drivers are too young and don’t have the respect?
“No, I think it is a total attitude problem. Their dads should take
them out behind the fence adjusting their attitude a little bit. If
I was out of line, my dad would sure put me in my place. I put
little bit of blame on the parents. That’s one thing my wife and did
with our kids was teach them respect. I think our world [racing] is
lacking in respect and will until these kids learn that.”
When asked what was different about the tour today compared to when
he raced, he stated, “Rules! Back then there basically no rules, not
like we have today. Money, the money is the biggest difference in
racing from when I started racing the modified tour. We had to fight
to get enough money to race each week and it was hard to get
sponsors. Today it’s even harder for the modified owners and drivers
to get the money.”
1) #4 Chuck Hossfeld; 2) #36 Ted Christopher; 3) #2 Todd Szegedy; 4)
#16 Mike Stefanik; 5) #28 James Civali; 6) #46 Eric Beers; 7) #93
Rowan Pennink; 8) #59 Matt Hirschman; 9) #10 Ed Flemke Jr.; 10) #12
Ken Heagy; 11) #58 Kevin Goodale; 12) #3 Ryan Preece; 13) #09 Bobby
Grigas III; 14) #21 Richard Savary; 15) #79 Ronnie Silk; 16) #32 Tom
Abele Jr.; 17) #8 Glenn Tyler; 18) #05 Joe Hartmann; 19) #11 Anthony
Sesely; 20) #33 Wade Cole; 21) #19 Jimmy Blewett; 22) #98 Bobby
Santos; 23) #77 Rick Fuller; 24) #99 Jaime Tomaino; 25) #17 Glen
Reen; 26) #06 Billy Pauch Jr.; 27) #90 Renee Dupuis; 28) #0 Danny
Sammons; 29) #14 Reggie Ruggiero; 30) #9 Jake Marosz; 31) #00 Dale
Quarterly; 32) #26 Gary McDonald; 33) #53 Sean Patterson; 34) #1 Rob
Summers; 35) #70 Andy Seuss; 36) #23 Brian Loftin; 37) #38 L.W.
Miller; 38) #7 Jeff Fuller.
1) #4 Chuck Hossfeld; 2) #36 Ted Christopher; 3) #10 Ed Flemke Jr.;
4) #46 Eric Beers; 5) #14 Reggie Ruggiero; 6) #98 Bobby Santos III;
7) #2Todd Szegedy; 8) #3 Ryan Preece; 9) #7 Jeff Fuller; 10) #79
Ronnie Silk; 11) #23 Brian Loftin; 12) #59 Matt Hirschman; 13) #19
Jimmy Blewett; 14) #77 Rick Fuller; 15) #1 Rob Summers; 16) #93
Rowan Pennink; 17) #58 Kevin Goodale; 18) #70 Andy Seuss; 19) #38
L.W. Miller; 20) #06 Billy Pauch Jr.; 21) #99 Jaime Tomaino; 22) #8
Glenn Tyler; 23) #0 Danny Sammons; 24) #05 Joe Hartmann; 25) #33
Wade Cole; 26) #16 Mike Stefanik; 27) #26 Gary McDonald; 28) #9 Jake
Marosz; 29) #28 James Civali; 30) #11 Anthony Sesely; 31) #12 Ken
Heagy; 32) #00 Dale Quarterly; 33) #53 Sean Patterson; 34) #90 Renee
Dupuis; 35) #17 Glen Reen; 36) #09 Bobby Grigas; 37) #21 Richard
Savary; 38) #32 Tom Abele Jr.
Source: Dave Meredith / BUSCH Sports Scene
June 29, 2008