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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour



by Polly Reid

This one was not going to be the one to get away. After a side by side battle with Mike Stefanik on the final restart, Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, CT left no margin for error taking the lead for good in the last 40 circuits pulling away from the pack to score his first win of the season in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, collecting the checkers in Town Fair Tire 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway.

“The car was phenomenal,” said Szegedy about his Wisk, Snuggle sponsored Ford. “I don’t know if I had the absolute best car, but I was one of the better cars that got to the front the quickest and being out front I was able to run my own line, race my own race and that makes a big difference.”

A testament to the Mike Smeriglio owned team lead by co-crew chiefs Don Barker and Lloyd Agor, Szegedy knew he didn‘t have the fastest car after practice, but it was solid. “It amazed me that I could get to the throttle and the front end didn’t push, didn’t get loose, it just stuck, boy it’s rare to have something that good. The conditions were perfect, we hit the nail on the head.”

While all was going well for Szegedy, nothing was going to be left to chance as Szegedy put as much real estate as possible between himself and Stefanik. “I’ve lost a race here with a guy on my tail. I wanted to get away as far as I could, get around these lap cars because you never know what’s going to happen.” It may have been 2003, but still fresh in his mind, Szegedy lost a race to Jerry Marquis at the line because of a lap car. “I wasn’t going to let that happen again. I had the car, pulled away, I wanted to have plenty of cushion in case something happened.” His 14th career NWMT win, the 2.967 margin of victory was indeed a cushion.

Crossing for second, Mike Stefanik appeared to have the car to beat earlier after taking the lead from Ron Silk before the half way mark. Hospitality night for the Sanderson/McCloud group, they saw a great show as their driver powered on the outside for the lead from Silk on a restart, the duo side by side with Stefanik taking the edge out of turn four. Dueling next with Szegedy, Stefanik fought the battle and while he edged into the lead once over Szegedy, Szegedy turned up the wick and didn’t look back.

“It was great for Flamingo Motorsports to have a good night,” said Stefanik. “I enjoyed running up front and staying up front. We had a great pit stop, those guys are awesome, they practice a lot and it shows. I have to thank everyone involved in this 16 car. It’s a pleasure to drive when it drives like that.” Stefanik, who led a total of 32 circuits, pulled the Eric Sanderson owned, Diversified Metals, R.B. Enterprises machine to within 56 points of current leader Bobby Santos. “This car, it was a privilege to stay up front, run with the big boys. I’m proud of my team, proud of the pit stop, proud of all the hard work they do.”

Setting a solid time trial lap, Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT nailed his third career pole, his first at his home track. Silk followed up his fast time crossing the line for a third place finish for car owner Ed Partridge.

“I was pretty happy with my car. Me and Mike Stefanik had about the exact same speed car, Todd’s was a little better than both of ours. We had a third place car and that’s where we finished tonight, you can’t complain about that,” said Silk about his T.S. Haulers, Calverton Tree Farm ride. Taking on 2 tires during the pit stop to up their track position, Silk indeed was the first car back out. “We’ve finished third the last four races, we want to win one pretty quick but if we keep finishing third we’ll get one.” The opportunity might come this Thursday at Thompson. “I’ve won four Tour races and three of them were there. I’m looking forward to getting back there. We’re on a good run here, we just have to keep the momentum going. I want to thank all my guys for the work they did.”

After dominating the first fifty laps, Erick Rudolph of Ransomville, NY brought the Mohawk N.E., Original Pizza Logs ride across the stripe fourth with Ted Christopher following in fifth.

The Town Fair Tire 150 turned into a long night for point leader Bobby Santos. Taking the green flag fourteenth, Santos had navigated the Mystic Missile well into the top ten by the half way mark. Less than 15 laps later, Santos in seventh got caught up in a multi car tangle and while Santos continued, the damage became terminal. Santos was forced to pull behind the wall with fifty circuits remaining on the board. The 23rd place finish combined with Christopher’s fifth, closed the numbers in a hurry, Santos now carrying a 6 point advantage heading to Thompson on Thursday.

Making his fifth start of the season in his third different ride of 2010, Doug Coby of Milford, CT continues to stay very active in the NWMT scene, this night bringing the Santos Motorsports, LI Mod Maniac Chevrolet across the line for a top 20 finish.

In his first NWMT start of the year, Bobby Grigas, III in the Furnace & Duct Supply number 52 pulled off a qualifying lap good enough to get in the redraw. Pulling the number 1 spot, the Marshfield, MA driver led the 30 car field to green. Crossing the line 8th, Grigas was more than pleased with the night. “I’m excited,” said Grigas post race. “The car is one piece, it was fun. All in all a good night. I have to thank everyone on this team.”

Next up, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to Thompson International Speedway Thursday August 12th for the Budweiser King of Beers 150.

  Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: August 7, 2010

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