MODIFIED TOUR UPDATE
'CHASE TO THE CUP'
The "Chase to the Cup" begins here at New Hampshire Motor
Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but the NASCAR Whelen Modified
Touring Series also begins their quest to settle the championship battle as
the mighty modifieds will again shake the "Magic Mile" with ground-pounding
The New Hampshire 100, scheduled for Saturday September 19th at
1:00 p.m., will also be shown on SPEED TV on a 15-minute tape delay. This
will be the second race this season that SPEED has brought to the fans with
same day coverage. SPEED televised delayed coverage of the Bristol Modified
race with a forty-five minute delay. It is good to see NASCAR getting the
Whelen Modified Tour some national exposure. The race will now start at
12:45 p.m. to accommodate the SPEED TV telecast.
“One of the most passionate fan bases in the sport was illustrated
with the ratings from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Bristol,”
said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations. “In
response to the success of the Bristol broadcast, SPEED made the decision to
show the New Hampshire 100 same-day instead of on a tape-delayed basis, as
originally planned. We think that’s great news for our fans.” (Courtesy
The 2008 New Hampshire 100, which originally went green at 1 p.m.,
was red flagged with 62 laps completed. The track crew and welders tended to
the damaged guard rail on the backstretch caused by an accident. By the time
the repairs were completed, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race was
scheduled to be televised on SPEED, which took priority over the balance of
the WMT race. NASCAR did the right thing for the fans, however, it made for
a very long afternoon for the WMT competitors.
After the completion of the Craftsman Truck Series event, the
Whelen Modified Tour finished the remaining 38 laps of competition. Jimmy
Blewett of Howell, NJ, and Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT, battled and
swapped the lead numerous times during those last 38 laps. Christopher, in
the #36 Al-Lee Installations machine brought home the checkers.
In the June 2008 event, Christopher finished second to Donny Lia of
Huntington, NY, in the #4 Mystic Missile Dodge by .001 seconds. However, the
second place finish gave him enough points to take home the Lincoln
Electric/Airgas Track Championship.
The New England 100 event held at NHMS in June of this year, also
offered some exciting racing with the usual wheel-to-wheel racing and an
unbelievable finish as many of the leaders were involved in last lap crash
when a lapped car tried get out of the way of the leaders. Donny Lia came
away with the win. Ted Christopher, the current WMT point leader was
involved in the crash along with Todd Szegedy as both became much too
familiar with the front stretch wall! Ed Flemke Jr. of Southington, CT would
race home second, followed by Ron Silk of Norwalk CT, and Rowan Pennink of
Huntingdon Valley, NJ.
Christopher managed to cross the strip with a three-wheeled finish
for very unlucky fifth. Doug Coby of Milford, CT who started on the pole,
was sixth, while Richard Savary of Canton, MA, Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield,
CT, Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT, and Glenn Tyler rounded out the top 10.
The current top-five in the Whelen Modified Tour championship
battle are: Ted Christopher, 1432 Points, 2 wins, seven top-fives and 8
top-ten finishes; Todd Szegedy, 1398 points, no wins, 6 top-five and 9
top-ten finishes; Donny Lia, 1360 points, 3 wins, 4 top-five and 7 top-ten
finishes; Ryan Preece, 1339 points, 2 wins, 6 top-five and 7 top-ten
finishes; and Rowan Pennink, 1288 points, four top-five and 8 top-ten
Silly Season has also begun, with Ronnie Silk exiting the #79 Hills
Pontiac after citing "personal differences" with David Hill on performance
issues. James Civali has taken over the #79 seat, and the Meriden, CT,
driver is no stranger to controversy. He has ruffled a few feathers over the
past couple of years. Jimmy Blewett has stepped out the TS Hauler ride and
young Keith Rocco will fill in the on the #12 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
car owned by Ed Partridge. Rocco will replace Jimmy Blewett for the balance
of the 2009 season beginning with this week’s running of the Bud 150. In
addition, Ronnie Silk has been given the seat in Partridge’s Sunoco Modified
in Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series division. These changes were
announced in early September by team owner Ed Partridge. Rocco will continue
to drive the #6 Interstate Diesel Sunoco Modified in Thompson’s weekly
Whelen heads to Martinsville Speedway on September 27th for the
Made in America 300, where both the WMT and the Whelen Southern Modified
Tour meet in a late summer classic. Burt Myers beat the Whelen Modified Tour
drivers in 2008, capturing the win. However, Myers, driver of car #1, was
disqualified from the Sept. 20th Martinsville race, suspended from the next
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race, suspended from NASCAR until Oct.
1, and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.for breaking rule 6.1.1B
(ignition system wires must be continuous from the start connector to the
end connector. Splices, bare and punctured wires will not be permitted in
the ignition system: spliced wires from the purple wire out of the ignition
amplifier box) of the 2008 NASCAR Touring rule book. Ryan Preece was
declared the winner of the race and was happy to have the win. It was his
first win on the Whelen Modified Tour.
Martinsville brings both series together for the Whelen Tour where
they all get to meet and confer on racing and modified racing. Clay Campbell
and his entire staff promote the modifieds to the locals in Virginia and the
surrounding areas. The winner of the event gets one of the beautiful
grandfather clocks awarded to event winners. Ted Christopher usually has
strong run here as does Donny Lia.
Next we move on to Stafford Motor Speedway for the Carquest Fall
Final 150 on October 4th. Last year we saw Mike Stefanik win at Jack Arute's
Stafford Motor Speedway, followed by Matt Hirschman, Chuck Hossfeld, Todd
Szegedy and Eric Beers.
The Finale -- and usually the championship decider for the Whelen
Modified Tour -- is at the Xtra/Mart World Series at Thompson International
Speedway in Thompson, CT. The event is scheduled for Oct 18th.
Source: Dave Meredith
/ Busch Series Scene