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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




With the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returning to Stafford Motor Speedway on August 6 for the 20th Annual Town Fair Tire 150, the race presents another opportunity for Eric Berndt and the #54 North End Auto Parts team to collect their first Whelen Modified Tour victory.

Berndt nearly won the Whelen Modified Tour’s previous visit to Stafford, the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 in May. Berndt started the race in fourth and he took the lead from Bobby Santos on lap-11. Berndt had built up a large lead over the rest of the field, but a caution with 22 laps to go erased Berndt’s large lead and he lost the lead to Santos one lap after the restart and faded back to 6th place at the checkered flag. Berndt led 101 of the race’s 137 laps and he is looking forward to returning to Stafford and taking another shot at capturing his first career Whelen Modified Tour victory.

“We were real happy with how we ran the last time out at Stafford, but disappointed at how we finished the race,” said Berndt. “I think I beat the car up a little too much early on and I didn’t have anything left. We weren’t happy to see that caution flag for sure. I feel like we’re right on the doorstep to that first win and hopefully we can knock that door down when we come back to Stafford.”

While racing in selected Whelen Modified Tour events since the 2004 season, Stafford would seem to be the best bet for Berndt to record his first victory on Tour. In 38 career Whelen Modified Tour starts, two of Berndt’s 4 career top-10 finishes have come at Stafford and Berndt recorded his first career Coors Light Pole Position in last year’s Town Fair Tire 150 at Stafford. Berndt comes to Stafford fresh off of his first career Whelen Modified Tour top-5 finish, giving him and his team a big shot of momentum.

“Our program has gotten better every year and we’re coming off a fourth place finish at Monadnock, which gives us some big momentum going forward to Stafford,” said Berndt. “Last week was the first time I had ever raced at Monadnock and we qualified well and we ran in the top-5 all race long, so we’re looking forward to coming back to race at Stafford. With my crew chief Ricky Rotundo and Bob Horn, who helps me with the SK car as well as the Tour car, we have a lot of knowledge for Stafford. It would mean a lot to be able to get our first win at Stafford with running there weekly and to join the list of winners at Stafford.”

Berndt also says that the race strategy for the Town Fair Tire 150 will be different from the Whelen Modified Tour’s previous visit to the Connecticut half-mile.

“I think we’ll probably have to pit, where we didn’t pit the last race at Stafford,” said Berndt. “The pit stop can be a big factor for us in the race. Teddy and Santos are going to be good, you can never count out Mike Stefanik at Stafford, Ryan Preece has been fast at Stafford for three years, and Szegedy is good at Stafford. You just never know who is going to hit it just right, there’s probably about 8 cars that you have to look at as potential winners.”

With a crew familiar with Stafford on his side, and his great run the last time out at Stafford, you can count Eric Berndt as a contender for the Town Fair Tire 150 checkered flag.

Tickets for the 20th Annual Town Fair Tire 150 are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office and are price at $30.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $32.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.

For more information, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

  Source: Scott Running / Stafford Motor Speedway
Posted: July 23, 2010

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