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   The Chrome Horn - News



'Part 1 - 2010 NWMT' by Richie Grodski

All the Touring Modified Series' schedules have finally come to a close for 2010. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour had approximately 59 competitors, the NASCAR Southern Modified Tour 35, the Modified Racing Series had 55 and the Race of Champions Series 37. This is not too shabby for the full bore touring modified divisions. Overall racing across the board was great in all series' and showed the full modifieds are still the fans favorite.

The 2010 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour's schedule pretty much followed the 2009 schedule with Spencer dropping their date but Lime Rock and Monadnock coming on board for 2010. I am still not sure on my feelings on having a road course on the schedule. First off, if there is to be a road course, it should be 3 races or none. Much work has to be done on race setups for a road course and being modifieds are not perimeter chassis race cars, seems a lot of work for just one race. Also the fact that modifieds do not use full gear transmissions adds a bit of expense to the setup. Don't get me wrong as I think Lime Rock Park is a beautiful facility, but just seeing this from a race teams point of view, it just adds dollars and time for 1 race. Monadnock coming on board was a nice addition. I have always been a short track fan and with Riverhead dropping their 2 shows per year after a few rain out years, it was nice to see a similar track back on the schedule to fill that short track void we have had for a few years.

The NWMT season started off with a new full time driver, Bobby Santos III, in the #4
Bob Garbarino owned Mystic Missile. Many were skeptical as to how Bobby would fit in with the team and running the full schedule, but after the first 4 races, it was obvious that
all fit perfectly. Bobby and the #4 team secured 3 Coors Light poles and 3 wins and a
2nd place in the first 4 races! Bobby did not get another pole till the last race at Stafford
or another win till the season ending Thompson race but still ran pretty solid, 9 top 5's
and 11 top 10's in the 14 race schedule. In fact consistent enough to edge Mike Stefanik
by 27 points for the 2010 championship. Santos showed his ability to drive in the full modified series all year long. Kudos to Garbarino and the whole #4 racing team for
giving Santos the opportunity to show what he is made of. This was obviously a
winning combination and a well deserved championship in the NWMT for 2010.

Second place point finisher, Diversified Metals #16 Mike Stefanik, had a stellar year himself. After his 2006 championship, 2007, 2008, and 2009 were just so-so years for the multi-time NASCAR Modified Champion, finishing 7th in each of those 3 years in the championship points. 2010 showed that the multi-time champ still has plenty of umpf to 'git-r-done'. Stefanik's 2010 season had 10 top 5's and 12 top 10's. Stefanik finished out the season without a win, which may have edged him over Santos for the championship. All year Mike stayed steady and smooth, and looked many times to have a win in sight but it
just did not come. This plus the 27th place finish at New Hampshire's June race, kept Stefanik from grabbing yet another Whelen Modified Tour Championship. Mike and
the #16 team have got what it takes to be a champion once again and I think it may
be coming sooner than later.

Third place point finisher, Al-Lee Installations #36 Ted Christopher, had an up/down
season for 2010. Christopher grabbed 1 Coors Light Pole Award and won 4 races in
the 2010 season and had 8 top 5's and 9 top 10's. Even though Christopher had 4 wins
in 2010, his 2-18's and a 30th kept him out of the hunt for the championship by 78 points.
Ted ran 68 races so far this year between TQ's, SK Type and Tour Type modifieds
and knows how to get around any track his visits in any race car he is in.  In the last
7 years, Christopher has finished 1st, 2nd, 3-3rds, 4th and 5th in the point standings between 2 different teams. I do not see this changing any time soon as the #36 teams consistency will keep TC at the top of the field. Ted's determination and the
#36 teams hard work will bring another championship in the future. There is no way
to count out Ted from winning in anything he races.

T.S. Haulers #6 Ronnie Silk finished 4th for 2010 and had quite a good season. Silk
did not have any wins but was always mixing it up in the front pack, with 9 top 5's and
10 top 10's, no matter where the race was held. Silk finished only 6 points below
Christopher and 84 points out of the championship in his first year in the #6 tour
modified after 2 years driving the Hill Enterprises #79. With strong runs at Riverhead, Monadnock, Lime Rock and New Hampshire, it showed that Ronnie can run at any type track and run up front, in any situation. Like Christopher, Silk runs a weekly SK
modified and the added seat time can only help Ronnie keep on top of his game,
especially at tracks like Stafford and Thompson. I think the T.S. Haulers #6 will
grab a win or 2 at NHMS in 2011, he can run real strong there.
Silk is right on the edge of a championship.

Fifth place point finisher, Wisk/Snuggle #2 Todd Szegedy, also had an up/down year.
The 2003 NWMT Champion had 1 Pole and 1 Win with 7 top 5's and 8 top 10's in
the 2010 season. With 5 top 5's in the first 6 races, things were looking good for
Todd. Then the groove was lost. I feel that Szegedy is a very talented driver and
not sure what fell out of sync for the #2 team. Even though Todd won 1 race and had
2 top 5's in the last 8 races, the bad finishes hurt his battle for the championship.
Out of the last 5 years, Szegedy has not finished out of the Top 5 in points on the tour,
which shows the #2 team is always a strong contender. A little bit of luck can also
go a long way. I am sure that the monkey will be off Todd's back and he will be back
running strong every race for 2011, his last 5 years point finishes attest to that fact.

Rounding out the Top 10 were:
Ryan Preece - off year for Ryan, he will be back strong
Eric Goodale - outstanding year, and a win on the MRS tour
Erick Rudolph - 3 top 5's, 7 top 10's, with consistency watch out
Eric Beers - deserves to be a NWMT Champ
Chuck Hossfeld - 6 top 10's, may be top 5's next year

Overall, I think 2010 was a great racing year for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
That's it for this round. Next week will be 'Part 2 - 2010 NWSMT'.
Have a great week.


Source: Richie Grodski/TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: November 23, 2010

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