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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour



by Denise DuPont

A big topic in the Sprint Cup garage was the rough driving at Infineon Raceway. We thought we’d gather some thoughts from Whelen Tour drivers on Martinsville and all the cautions?

Eric Beers
“The biggest thing at Martinsville is that it is a one groove race track right now. Everybody fights for the bottom. There was not a whole lot of give and take. There were guys trying to get in when there was not a hole. And there were guys that if they would have given an inch here and there in the beginning of the race but no one did. That was what wrecked a lot of equipment.”

Mike Stefanik
“We just have been having a lot of yellows. They are concerned about that because fans do not like to see the race run under a majority of cautions. They had a pretty stern talk to the crew chiefs about it and they said that they were really going to be watching because they really want a tight ship today. So there might be a lot of calls if they start seeing that stuff.”

“Some days you have a really great race and other days you don’t. Martinsville was just a race where there were just way too many cautions. As competitors we do not want to see them either. We are the ones that are turning the wheel and stepping on the pedal so we need to do a better job. Cut our fellow competitor some slack and keep the cars rolling.”

Justin Bonsignore
“That was an interesting race. I do not know really what caused it (all the accidents). But hopefully it will not happen again though.”

Driver’s Thoughts before the New England 100 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Ryan Preece
“We just have not had much luck at all. We have been running up front, but in Martinsville we were in the top ten and then we had a failure. In the Sizzler we just ended up wrecking. We have had a top five or top three car every race. I just have to keep the car in one piece.” Ryan managed to turn around his with a third place finish at NHMS.

Mike Stefanik
“This place is always a very exciting place to come to because of the draft. I know the tour in general is always excited to come back to New Hampshire.”

“Hopefully it will be a good exciting race and we can run with Ryan Newman and maybe he will teach us all something.”
Mike Stefanik was not as lucky as Preece. After a multiple car incident on lap 3, Stefanik pulled behind the wall on lap 4. He returned to the race later on but completed the race 38 laps down.

Glen Reen
“I love this place.(NHMS). It is so much fun. I had a bad qualifying run. It is hard having only one car. You cannot go all out for it like you want to top get the pole. I do not think that we had a pole run but definitely a top five run. I just had to be cautious to make sure we made it in the race. During the race we are going to us our head and walk away with a top five. We have a great car.”

“Up here you have to be real careful on restarts but it happens quickly and if something does happen you have to be looking way ahead. It is going to happen but it is just a matter of when and where and how close you are.”
And like Mike Stefanik, Glen Reen was involved in the incident on Lap 3 and pitted with a flat right rear. Reen though, was unable return and finished the race 97 laps down.

Justin Bonsignore
“So far it has been good. We are a new team and we are still learning every week. I feel like right now we are ahead of the curve a little bit. We have been running really good. Hopefully we can keep it up each week. It has just been a different challenge when we have not been to these race tracks before. “

“Strategy for today (NHMS) is to try and stay out of trouble. I have never been here before so I am trying to learn how to draft and all that. Our goal is to make it through the race and hopefully we will be there at the end and make a run like we did at Martinsville. We will try to run with whoever will run with a rookie nobody in particular.”

Rookie Justin Bonsignore is now sixth is driver points.

Driver’s Thoughts after the New England 100 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Woody Pitkat
“The race was definitely fun. For some reason I think that we were down a little bit on horse power and we were tight off. So there were two things that hurts us. I was frustrated that I helped draft people and they did not return the favor. I drafted Flemke for fifty something laps. Then I pitted and got tires and nobody wanted to draft with me. So I was a little bit frustrated about that. It seemed overtime I helped a guy draft by drafting with him”

“Other than that it was a good day with another top ten. It is always fun to race here. I just have to work on getting it a little bit free on the exit. I am slso going to see what we have to do with the motor.”

Even with an under powered car, Woody Pitkat had a top ten finish.

Justin Bonsignore
“It was a lot of fun. It was frustrating at times. We were a little bit off in the set up. I think we will be better in the fall. Sadly being a rookie no body wants to help you out. Overall it was a good day. We wanted to survive this. We knew this was going to be a really tough one for us.”

“Going into this we knew each other (Richie Pallai and Justin Bonsignore) and we knew we did not have too many friends out there. So we tried to work together as much as possible. It worked out good. We stayed up there in the top ten, I hope. We will now go to Lime Rock and try to stay on the road course”.

“We were mid pack in the beginning and saw a few of the bigger wrecks coming. We actually were able to see what happened and were able to keep the wheel front and straight. We missed the battle for the lead because we were battling for our own spot.”

At NHMS Bonsignore found a fellow rookie to team up with to draft, Richie Pallai, and the two of them finished just out of the top ten with their cars in one piece. Bonsionore definitely has found the right groove as he leads the “Rookie of The Year” race.

Richie Pallai, Jr.
“After practice we were a little discouraged. We did not have a good practice or qualifying. My guys kept pumping me up the last few days saying” You are going to be fine. You are going to be fine.” Once we got out there it was like any other race. We were up to fourth at one point and stayed there for a couple of laps and knew no one was going to help me. I think they should, I am a rookie and I know it. We fell back to about ten, eleven or twelve and were there the rest of the day. We were good. It was a good experience. We came here to finish all one hundred laps and we did that today. So all and all it was a good day.”

“I wanted to get up there so bad. Even if we did we probably would not have stayed up there long. We were up there in about fourth until about lap 50 and I was all excited. I knew that it would not last. But for the five or six laps we were there it was a ball. Hopefully I earned some respect from the guys to day. This is a place you have got to earn the most respect. We will come back in September and hopefully we will be able to mix it up with them (the leaders) again.”

Rookie contender Richie Pallai finished the NHMS race in fourteenth and is eight in points.

Andy Seuss
“I had a good car but it was wrecked by a reckless person, for the lack of a better term. I just do not really have a word for him at this moment. We got wrecked under caution by somebody who drove into the back of my car and spun. I really do not understand how he could be upset with me. So it is frustrating, very frustrating.”

“At one point we were up to sixth, flirting with a top five and running in the top ten. I would have liked to think that we had a top ten finish. We were running back and forth in the top ten all day. It all depended on what line you got in for some of the restarts. The outside line was definitely the preferred line.”

“That is all it came down to really. We were taken out fifteen laps short because of somebody just being reckless. Drafting was a big part. It is tough because nobody wants to go into the inside and draft with you. It is real hard to go to the inside of somebody and clear them going through the turn. You need somebody that helps you out. A lot of times it was single file compared to pass. It was really a lot of fun. You saw a whole lot of guys make up some ground there.”

“It is just wasn’t meant to be I guess.”

Whelen Southern Modified competitor, Andy Seuss, was running for a top ten when L.W. Miller ran over Seuss’ front tire under caution. Seuss fished the race in twenty-third after the incident a far cry from the top ten he strove for.

Partnering and drafting with other drivers in future Races

Andy Seuss
“I tried to show my car nose to the inside of somebody while pushing them trying to get them to go to the inside. I found myself running with Justin Bonsignore and Richie Pallai at one point. Those guys are actually showing themselves to be a step above rookie so you do not have to worry about them too much. I am not much farther away from being a rookie then they are. But overall I have no problem with them. They definitely have proved themselves to be plenty capable of handling a race car. Then there are other people that have the experienced and have no excuse for their actions that you have to worry about.”

  Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: June 29, 2010

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