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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour



by Polly Reid

Stand up and shout, it’s expected at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when the modifieds make their trip to the Magic Mile. Expectations were met as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour had the fans on their feet for a blistering finish as Teddy Christopher and Ryan Newman battled it out in the closing circuits, swapping the lead so many times that if you took the time to write it down you would miss the next lead change. Down to the last lap, with two turns left to the checkers, it was the famed number 7 modified with NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Ryan Newman behind the wheel taking the New England 100 over Ted Christopher with Ryan Preece third and Ron Silk fifth.

“It was a good one,” admitted Newman who set fast time on Thursday in qualifying earning the Coors Light Pole Award. “Any chance you can race Bobby Santos and Teddy Christopher and the other guys there at the end for the win in a modified race you’re doing something, I’ve got to thank Aggressive Hydraulics and Menards for sponsoring the race car to come up here. Bono (car owner Kevin Manion) and the guys did a great job on the car. The back and forth like we did at the end that’s what fans love to see and I have to thank Teddy for racing me clean there at the end.”

It was definitely interesting,” said Christopher about the final ten laps in his Al-Lee Installations Chevrolet. “We fell back there then my car started working better, we had some good laps there, side by side, swapping the lead back and forth.” Christopher started his day 8th, admitting they struggled in the practice sessions. “I was real happy with the car because I thought it drove horrible on Thursday and horrible this morning. I commend my crew for making a lot of changes to it and it was just where I wanted to have it for today’s race.”

Ryan Preece equaled his best finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway bringing his Cape Cod Cooper/Mizzy Construction Chevrolet across the line for third. “I wish we had 10 more laps maybe Bobby and I could have caught up to Teddy and Ryan. It was a good day or us. Hopefully it will be the start of a string of top five’s for us and some wins this season,” said Preece who started the day 12th.
I’m happy to finish the race with a top three. I keep trying to move up,” Preece said laughing referring to his finish. “I think if we had a caution I think we would have been in the front.”

While the field settled into a stints of serious green runs, seven cautions kept the field close. Two top five drivers in points who are also previous NHMS winners found unwanted trouble that was not their doing. An early yellow took Mike Stefanik out of contention when a car unexpectedly spun leaving Stefanik no where to go. With front and right front damage, Stefanik’s Diversified Metals, R.B. Enterprises Pontiac went behind the wall for repairs.

Able to make it back out, Stefanik, finished 27th, the day dipping the Coventry, R.I. driver to fourth in points. Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, CT turned a tough day into a slightly better one than Stefanik when he suffered left rear damage after being run over from behind the Wisk/Snuggle/UNOH Ford needing a couple of unplanned pit stops. Szegedy however was able to continue and salvaged a 15th place finish, good enough to move up one spot in the standings to 3rd in points.

However, when talking points, Santos is still the rabbit the division is chasing with a 129 point lead over Christopher. Newman got his own view of the Mystic Missile rear bumper today chasing Santos. “Bobby Santos is a heck of a race car driver, he’s real smooth, real aggressive and pretty mild mannered from what I’ve seen,” said Newman. “He’s a pavement specialist I guess you could say kind of like when I grew up racing USAC midgets, he’s built quite a resume for himself. He’s a good race car driver, it was fun racing with him.”

Hats off to 8th place finisher Doug Coby who contended, led and kept the Cliff Nelson Chevrolet in the hunt for a podium finish for more than three quarters of the event. Coby may have been overtaken by Ed Flemke, Jr. and James Civali in the closing circuits, but a great effort none the less for a driver who has pieced together a patch work season for rides.

A quick turn around for the teams, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to Lime Rock, CT Saturday July 3rd for some road racing. And for the Newman fans, look for the 7 to make two more shows this year, Bristol and then back to New Hampshire in the fall.

  Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: June 26, 2010

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