the narrowest of margins, the media placed Ryan Preece one point ahead of
Ted Christopher as the championship favorite in the 2010 NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour Preseason Poll.
Preece, a 19-year-old driver from Berlin, Conn., earned 142 points in the
Whelen Modified Tour Preseason Poll, and was the recipient of the most
first-place votes with five. The championship runner-up in 2009 in just his
third season in the Whelen Modified Tour, Preece compiled 10 top-five
finishes in 13 starts and recorded wins at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway and
Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway. He finished 16 points behind champion Donny
Lia, which marked the fourth-closest championship race in Tour history.
Christopher, from Plainville, Conn., received 141 points and three
first-place votes in preseason balloting. The 2008 Whelen Modified Tour
titlist, Christopher made a strong effort to defend his championship a year
ago, but was passed in the standings by Lia with one race left on the
schedule. Christopherís third win of the year in the season finale at
Thompson (Conn.) Speedway was not enough to regain the lead, and despite
those three wins and 10 top 10s, he finished third in the standings. The
winningest driver of the past decade, the 51-year-old Christopherís 34
career triumphs are one short of Tony Hirschman, who ranks third on the
Tourís all-time list.
Todd Szegedy, of Ridgefield, Conn., ranked third in the Whelen Modified Tour
Preseason Poll with 118 points and garnered three first-place votes. The
2003 Whelen Modified Tour champion finished fifth in points last year and
has been among the top five in the final standings the last four seasons.
Szegedy has finished in the top 10 in 63-percent of his career starts and
has recorded at least one victory in six of the seven seasons he has
Rowan Pennink finished fourth in the final 2009 standings, and fourth in
2010 preseason balloting. The Huntingdon Valley, Pa., driver tallied 108
points and received one first-place vote after he recorded 11 top 10s in 13
outings a year ago. Pennink, who did not have a top-five finish in his first
two seasons, recorded five such efforts in 2009 and became a consistent
lead-pack competitor. Pennink will seek his first career Whelen Modified
Tour victory in 2010.
Bobby Santos garnered three first-place votes in the 2010 Whelen Modified
Tour Preseason Poll and finished fifth overall with 100 points. The
Franklin, Mass., native will take over the No. 4 Dodge this season, which
earned the Whelen Modified Tour title in 2007 and 2009 with Lia behind the
wheel. Santos, an accomplished open-wheel driver in various racing series,
has 12 top 10s in 29 career Whelen Modified Tour starts, highlighted by a
win in the 2007 Thompson World Series.
Seven-time champion Mike Stefanik, Ron Silk, Chuck Hossfeld, Ed Flemke Jr.
and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top 10 in the Whelen Modified Tour
Preseason Poll. Defending champion Lia is now competing in the NASCAR
Camping World Truck Series and did not receive any points in balloting.
Poll vote totals were weighed on a point scale that ranged from 10-1, with
10 points for first place and one point for 10th place. The voting pool was
made up of members of both print and electronic media who cover the Whelen
The 2010 Whelen Modified Tour season will being at Thompson International
Speedway this weekend. Practice and qualifying will take place at the
historic Connecticut oval on Saturday, April 10 and the 150-lap race is
slated for Sunday, April 11. For ticket information, please visit Thompsonís
official Web site
Preseason Poll Top 10
Driver Points (1st-Place Votes)
1. Ryan Preece 142 (5)
2. Ted Christopher 141 (3)
3. Todd Szegedy 118 (3)
4. Rowan Pennink 108 (1)
5. Bobby Santos 100 (3)
6. Mike Stefanik 79
7. Ron Silk 58
8. Chuck Hossfeld 32
9. Ed Flemke Jr. 26
Chris Pasteryak 26
Others Receiving Votes: Eric Beers, George Brunnhoelzl III, James Civali,
Woody Pitkat, Glen Reen, Erick Rudolph (1).