AT THOMPSON INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Featuring the Whelen
The Icebreaker 2010 Weekend featured the NASCAR Whelen Modified
Tour’s first event of the year. Bobby Santos III, in his debut in
the championship #4 Mystic Missile, won the Coors Light Pole with a
speed of 122.163, which also set a new track record. Santos of
Franklin, Mass., has winning experience in Super Modifieds, USAC
Silver Crown and Midgets, SK and Tour Modifieds. Santos was given
the opportunity In the Mystic Missile of Bob Garbarino after 2009
champ Donny Lia found a full time ride in the NASCAR Camping World
Truck Series. Lia piloted the V4 to the 2009 and 2007 Championships
giving Bob Garbarino his first long-awaited and much deserved title.
Santos wasted no time in his new ride by qualifying almost a
half-mile an hour faster than Chris Pasteryak of Lisbon, CT, who
qualified at 18.470 seconds in the #52 (121.819 mph). He was
followed by #6 Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT (18.514/121.530); #16 Mike
Stefanik of Coventry, RI (18.596/120.994); and #7 Burt Myers of
Walnut Cove, NC (18.603/120.948).
Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT, was sixth in the #3 BRE Racing machine
and Doug Coby of Milford, CT, was seventh quickest in the #0 of
Ralph Solhem racing, also of Milford. Rounding out the top ten were
#36 of Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT; #93 Rowan Pennink of
Huntingdon Valley, PA; and #54 Eric Berndt of Cromwell, CT, who is
also a Thompson regular in the Sunoco Modifieds.
Santos drew the #1 starting spot as the top-ten drew for starting
positions. Doug Coby 2nd, Mike Stefanik 3rd, Eric Berndt 4th, Bert
Myers 5th, Ted Christopher 6th, Rowan Pennink 7th, Ron Silk 8th,
Chris Pasteryak 9th, and Ryan Preece 10th.
The rest of the starting line up: 11) #2 Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield
CT; 12) #79 James Civali, Meriden, CT; 13) #46 George Brunnhoelzl
III of W. Babylon, NY; 14) #91 Richard Savary, Canton, MA; 15) #14
Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ; 16) #10 Eddie Flemke, Rocky Hill, CT; 17)
#71 Rob Fuller, Boylston, MA; 18) #90 Renee Dupuis, Glastonbury, CT;
19) #50 Kevin Goodale, Riverhead, NY; 20) #99 Jamie Tomaino, Howell,
NJ; 21) #76 Eric Beers, Northampton, PA; 22) #58 Eric Goodale,
Riverhead, NY; 23) #1 Rob Summers, Vernon, CT; 24) #59 Chuck
Hossfeld, Ransomville, NY; 25) #8 Glenn Tyler, Hampton Bays, NY; 26)
#70 Andy Seuss, Hampstead, NH; 27) #51 Justin Bonsignore,
Holtsville, NY; 28) 39 Rich Pallai, Jr., Yorktown Heights, NY; 29)
#98 Erick Rudolph, Ransomville, NY; 30) 28 Woody Pitkat, Stafford,
CT; 31) #38 Jake Marosz, Middletown, CT; 32) #68 Johnny Bush,
Huntington Station, NY; 33) #18 Ken Heagy, Calverton, NY; 34) # 33
Wade Cole, Riverton, CT; 35) #26 Gary Mc Donald, Ronkonkoma, NY; 36)
#05 Joe Hartmann, Calverton, NY; 37) #15 Danny Knoll, Buffalo, NY.
Ralph Solhem (#0) and Doug Coby put together a last minute deal that
looks like it might have been a good match for the both of them.
Coby qualified the Solhem Chevy 7th, and then drew the second
starting position for the Icebreaker 150. Both driver and car owner
are from Milford, CT. While the rest of the season is up in the air
for both of them, they hope to get a few more races together this
As I strolled through the pits at Thompson International Speedway
couldn’t help but notice the changes of the drivers and crewmembers.
The most noticeable is the addition of James Civali in the Hill
Bros., #79 modified. Civali won at South Boston Speedway on the
NACAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour for the Hills, and will be
running in both series this season.
Civali has experience on the NK&N Pro Series, he also has run on the
WMT with Don King and ran the Perricone Modified for a short time as
owner and driver. Civali has had a few run ins with NASCAR over
attitude and actions on the track, but he seems to have overcome
those youthful issues. The Meriden, CT, driver has no shortage of
talent and is a skilled pilot. Civali has four wins on the WMT
including the 2007 Icebreaker 150, 2008 Icebreaker Pole and 25
top-ten career finishes. Civali is the current point leader on the
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour after three races, including a
win on April 3rd at South Boston.
George Brunnhoelzl III is the defending NWSMT champion. He had six
wins and seven poles along with 27 top-ten finishes in 39 events. He
made two NWMT starts in 2002 at Richmond Raceway and Martinsville
Burt Myers of Walnut Cove, NC in the #7 Ford, has six wins and a
record 21 poles on the NWSMT. Myers has competed in all but one
NWSMT races. He has finished in the top-ten in each season since
2005, with a second place in the standings for his inaugural season.
Myers is one of the racing stars on the History Channel program
“Madhouse” which features racers at the famed Wall Stadium. He has
traveled north to compete with the Whelen Modified Tour, but also
competed Saturday night in the SK race at Waterford Speedbowl.
Unfortunately he was out of the race early suffering with front-end
damage after one of the many cautions – 8 in the first six laps! The
race was called after 14 laps of the scheduled 35 were completed.
There were a total of nine cautions and countless damaged racecars!
Ryan Preece in the #3 Boehler Racing Enterprises (BRE) Chevrolet has
earned three wins and four pole awards. Preece was second in the
2009 championship standings to Lia. Preece has two top-ten finishes
at TIS on the WMT.
Ted Christopher won the 2009 Icebreaker 150, and has 34 wins on the
Whelen Modified Tour, which ranks him fourth on the all-time win
list. Christopher has set fast time 21 times in his career and has
won three of the last four NWMT events at Thompson. Christopher has
nine wins and five poles here at the 5/8th mile speed plant. He has
also won three Sunoco Modified championships at TIS.
At 2:55 p.m. the war wagons are being carted to the infield. With a
3:15 p.m. scheduled start time, we are ahead of schedule!
The drivers were introduced in car as NASCAR is trying to expedite
the event. It is such a nice day as the weather is in the low
sixties and the wind is variable - a great afternoon for racing. The
grandstands are almost full and the midway concession stands are
Green flag flies and the race is on! Coby is slow on the start and
in the way; Santos leads with Stefanik in the #16 following. Coby
heads to the pits. Burt Myers, the invader from North Carolina, is
third in the #7. Lap 6 Santos, Stefanik, Myers, Pennink, Pasteryak,
Christopher, Szegedy, and Preece. By lap 9 Santos has opened up a 6
car-length lead with Pennink into third. Lap 15 Preece moves to
fourth. Lap 17 Suess is out of the race - overheating, and the #0 is
out due to a blown clutch. By lap 19 the leaders are already lapping
the slower cars. Lap 20 it’s Santos, Stefanik, Pennink, Preece, TC,
Szegedy, Silk, Myers, Pasteryak. Stefanik is closing the gap in
lapped traffic on Santos.
Lap 36 - no cautions yet - clean racing and plenty of action in the
back of the pack. Lap 38 Preece to third, Pennink to fourth. The #18
is in the pits – it is terminal. TC moves to fourth by lap 41.
At the 1/3 mark on lap 50 Santos continues to lead followed by
Stefanik, Preece, and TC. Preece takes a look at Stefanik on lap 52.
The #99 of Jaime Tomaino is being black flagged to the pits. Lap 58
Jake Marosz and Chuck Hossfeld get together on the backstretch. Lap
59 under caution and the #90 of Renee Dupuis gets the free pass. The
leaders pit and Santos was the first off pit road. TC stayed out, a
typical Christopher move that has backfired more than once.
The leaders as we head to the restart on lap 64: Christopher,
Stefanik, Preece, Santos, and Beers. The #98 of Erick Rudolph spins
on lap 66 in turn two. Glenn Tyler in the #8 gets the free pass on
caution #2. Restart lap 69: Steffy and TC battle for the lead with
Lap 75 – halfway - leaders Stefanik, Christopher, Santos. Lap 81
Stefanik and Preece are nose-to-tail, as Preece looks strong. Santos
passes TC for third. On lap 85 the leaders hit lapped traffic and
it’s pretty much spread out around the track. Caution #3 is for
debris on the track and Woody Pitkat gets the free pass. Stefanik,
Preece, Santos, TC, Szegedy, Pennink, Silk, Civali, Pasteryak,
Berndt. Lap 90 brings caution #4 as the #90 of Dupuis and #39 of
Rich Pallai Jr. get together in turns 1 & 2.
Lap 96 Civali is in the turn 1 wall. TC heads to the pits on caution
# 5. Civali is on the hook with right front damage. Ruggiero in the
#14 gets the free pass for Civali’s incident. On the lap 101 restart
Preece takes the lead from Stefanik, but the green is short-lived as
caution flies on the next lap for Silk spinning in turn one to bring
out caution #6. Richie Pallai Jr. gets the free pass. The race was
going good until lap 58 when the yellow silks started flying!
The leaders take the restart on lap 107 with Preece leading and
Santos into second followed by Pennink, Stefanik, Berndt, Pasteryak,
and Szegedy. Lap 111 Santos is on the tail of Preece; Santos has a
quick look inside on lap 112. Szegedy is starting to make a move.
Preece is the leader as caution #7 flies on lap 111. It’s Santos,
Pennink, Stefanik, Berndt, Szegedy, and TC. Joe Hartmann gets the
free pass. Restart Lap119, Santos takes lead in turn one as he
pushes Preece high. The #26 spins on front stretch but no caution.
Preece is all over Santos with 22 to go - Santos, Preece, Stefanik,
Szegedy, TC. Lap 146 Santos and Preece battle for the win. Santos
wins in his first event for the Bob Garbarino team.
Bobby Santos III has parlayed his pole win into a daily double with
his second win on the Whelen Modified Tour. It’s his first
Ryan Preece: “I had a great car but had to start 10th. My crew gives
me a great car wherever I go. This one of the best cars I’ve ever
had at Thompson. Me and Bobby - whoever got out front on that
restart was just going to take off and was going to be hard to
catch. I am really happy to start off the season on a good note.”
What was your first thought when you heard Bobby Santos was going to
be in that car this season? “That I’m going to be racing Bobby for
the championship! Bobby was my idol as I was growing up.” (They
raced quarter midgets together.)
Bobby Santos: “I always come to the track with the expectation of
winning, but to be that dominant all weekend was pretty awesome! The
race definitely wasn’t easy on the tires - we had to fight for that
win. You know it’s going to be tough all year. The competition on
the Tour is out of control. You know it’s going to be hard to win a
couple wins this year, so I’m happy to get one right know.”
How do you see the three car's in your future? “Ryan - love the kid!
He and I grew up racing quarter midgets together. We are going to be
battling quite a bit this season.” Did you get into Ryan on that
restart? “Actually we never touched on that one. I did get into
Rowan on the previous restart and pushed him high. I don’t race that
way and I apologized to him. But, Ryan and I never touched. There
was no contact and that was really good.” What was your biggest
concern the last 20 laps or so? “Yeah, Ryan seemed to have a couple
charges at us and then they (his team) were telling me on the radio
that he was cooling his tires for five laps then would mount a last
charge over the last two laps.”
Mike Stefanik: “Congratulations to Bobby Santos III. He is crafty
kid and a joy to race with. It seems like the top five drivers in
today’s race are normally the ones who are one at the top. This is
usually indicative of the way the season will play out. Usually
that’s how it works out - you have room to run. You know that if you
have good equipment you can run here. I’m not crying, but that
driver of the three car (Ryan Preece), doesn’t have talent that
Bobby has and shouldn’t be trying those moves. He pushed me high and
gave me the bumper three times to pass me. I’m not going to say
anything to him now, but it’s a long season”.
“We as a team are better than last year, but still not up to where
we expect to be. We expect a lot of ourselves. Our fans have come to
expect plenty from me, and I will give them what they want”.