The Chrome Horn - News

   3/5/2009

WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR COMPETITORS DO BATTLE INDOORS
by Tracy Chirico

   As indoor racing returns to Rhode Island for the first time in nearly five decades this weekend, there are a number of potential story lines that could make headlines. In the top-billed Three-Quarter (TQ) Midget races, four drivers who competed on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour during the 2008 season will each make a run at capturing the prestigious trophy and bragging rights that would come with a victory in either or both nights' feature events.
   Ted Christopher, the defending WMT champion, will head into the race knowing that he has equipment that is very capable of winning. After all, it is the same equipment that he took to Victory Lane at Boardwalk Hall during the Gambler's Classic indoor races in January.
   Christopher's car, which was purchased specifically for the purpose of racing in Atlantic City in that single event each year, was on display at the Area Auto Racing News booth at SpeedwayEXPO last weekend. At one point during the weekend, Christopher was spotted taking measurements on the car.
   Since winning his first-ever WMT title, the 50-year-old Christopher has been keeping busy. In addition to capturing the win in Atlantic City, the driver recorded four victories in the Tour-Type Modified division in New Smyrna during Speedweeks. En route to his Modified championship, Christopher had grabbed four wins and 13 top ten finishes in 16 starts.
   Another 50-year-old driver who is a regular on the WMT, Mike Stefanik, is also among the entrants for the Providence indoor event. For Stefanik, the race in his home state will mark his first time competing in an indoor event. He does, however, have quite the impressive resume, consisting of seven Modified championships and two Busch North titles. In 2008, Stefanik finished seventh in WMT points. His record for the season included one win and ten top ten finishes in 16 races.
   Christopher, Stefanik, and the rest of the field will have plenty of young competition as well. Billy Pauch Jr., a 21-year-old driver from New Jersey, will be making the trip to Rhode Island to compete in the event. The driver competed in 13 WMT events in 2008, recording one top ten finish and closing out the season 21st in points.
   Massachusetts resident Bobby Santos III is making the trip to Providence to compete in the indoor event as well. Santos took part in the Gambler's Classic TQ race in Atlantic City in January, taking home an 11th place finish in the 40-lap main event. Santos had a rather impressive showing in Atlantic City in 2008, finishing fourth in the main event and receiving the award for being the highest finishing 600cc Micro-Sprint in the race. The 24-year-old Santos finished third in Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) points in 2008. During the season, he also participated in seven WMT events, scoring four top ten finishes and finishing 31st in points.
   The action in Providence kicks off at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Friday night, March 6th, with the grandstands opening at 6:30 p.m. Twenty TQ cars will take the green flag for the 20-lap feature event. The grandstands will also open at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 7th, and fans will be treated to a 30-lap feature for the TQs. Twenty-lap Champ Kart features will also be run on both nights.
 

SourceTracy Chirico / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: March 5, 2009

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