NEWMAN MAKE IT THREE-IN-A-ROW?
Will Ryan Newman top the best NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers
again at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as Bobby Santos, Ted
Christopher and Mike Stefanik battle for the Tour Championship?
Bobby Santos of Franklin, MA, driving the #V4 owned by Bob
Garbarino, currently leads Ted Christopher by 32 points.
Christopher, of Plainville, CT, leads multi-time champion, Mike
Stefanik, of Coventry, RI, by 31 points. Todd Szegedy trails
Stefanik by 45 points and Ronnie Silk of Norwalk CT is 37 points
behind Szegedy. Stefanik, Szegedy and Christopher are all past
Santos and Christopher have waged a serious battle all season long
and Mike Stefanik has been right there with them and is sure to be a
factor in the outcome of the WMT Championship.
Ryan Newman took home the checkers in the New England 100 back on
June 26th at NHMS, driving the #7NY car. He collected his second win
in the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August
Kevin Manion fields the car for Newman. He has six starts on the WMT
with the two wins, 2 top-five finishes and 3 top-tens. Those are
pretty good stats but not unexpected as Newman has raced
opened-wheeled cars throughout his career. He enjoys the modifieds,
especially racing with the Tour at NHMS. Newman stated, "This track
is ideally suited for the modifieds. This just a lot of fun to race
Bobby Santos has three wins, 8 top-five's and 9 top-ten finishes
this season from the seat of the of the Mystic Missile which was
piloted last season by championship winner, Donny Lia. That title
earned Bob Garbarino his second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Ted Christopher is the driver of the #36 Chevrolet owned by Eddie
Whelan. Christopher also has three wins this season, 7 top-5 and
top-10 finishes behind the wheel of the Al-Lee
Installation-sponsored ride. Christopher has not finished lower that
sixth in the WMT points since 2000. Christopher won the 2008
Championship over Matt Hirschman by 127 points. Todd Szegedy, Chuck
Hossfeld and Ronnie Silk were the rest of the top-five in the
standings in 2008.
Mike Stefanik who finished second to Newman at Bristol Motor
Speedway, is currently third in the standings. Stefanik pilots the
#16 owned by Eric Sanderson. Stefanik's last championship was in
2006, which was his seventh on the Whelen Modified Touring Series.
Stefanik has finished seventh in the standings for the last three
seasons. Mike has come up short in the win column so far this season
but has been right at the heels of the leaders every race with the
exceptions of the Lime Rock and New England 100 events. Stefanik has
seven top-5's and nine top-10 finishes this season.
Todd Szegedy has one win this season and a heart breaking second
place finish at Lime Rock Park as Dale Quarterly passed Szegedy with
3 laps to go. Szegedy had led every lap up to that point. Quarterly,
an experience road course driver from the former Busch North Series
days (now known as the K&N Pro Series East). Szegedy grabbed the
checkers at his home track of Stafford Motor Speedway back on August
6th as he piloted the #2 Wisk/Snuggle Ford to Victory Lane in the
Town Fair Tire 150. The Ridgefield, CT, driver has been in
contention just about every race this season. Szegedy has compiled a
season record of one win, seven top-5's and eight top-10's heading
into the FW Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, CT, has yet to hit victory lane this season,
but like the drivers ahead of him, he has been right in the thick of
the battles. Silk's best finish was at Thompson International
Speedway on August 12th when he finished second to Ted Christopher
in the Budweiser King of Beer 150. Silk has finished in third twice
this season. He showed he could handle the twists and turns of the
Lime Rock Park Course, and he powered the #6 TS Haulers/Calverton
Tree Farm Chevrolet to an impressive finish at the bull ring in
Calverton (Riverhead Raceway), NY. He avoided trouble and showed he
was the right pick for the seat of the #6. Silk has six top-5's and
seven top-10 finishes on his score sheet.
Ryan Preece in the #3 Boehlers Racing entry is currently sixth in
the standings. Preece has secured five top-5's and six top-10
tallies. Erick Rudolph in the #98 Mohawk NE/ Original Pizza Logs
Chevrolet is seventh with two top-5's and 6 top-10's. Eric Goodale
in the #58 Jim Schaeffers/JT's Lumber Chevrolet has a battle on his
hands as Eric Goodale, Eric Beers, and Justin Bonsignore ( rookie of
the year leader) are all in within range to claim the 7th through
10th spots as of now. Rudolph has a 52 point lead over 10th and only
11 points over Goodale in eighth.
Rich Pallai Jr., of Yorktown Heights, NY, currently in 15th place,
is the only other Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender. Pallai has
come a long way in his career from running SK lights at Stafford, to
a full-time schedule on the tour this season. He has two top-10
finishes and is only 12 points out of 14th which is currently
occupied by Eddie Flemke Jr.
The next event on the Whelen Modified Tour will be October 3rd at
Stafford Motor Speedway for the traditional closing event of the
Speedway, the Fall Final. Last season Donny Lia won the Coor's Light
Pole award as he celebrated the win and the pole. Doug Coby and Ryan
Preece were the top-three finishers.
The World Series will close out the WMT season at Thompson
International Speedway and may determine the NASCAR Whelen Modified
Tour championship as drivers battle each other on the 5/8-mile speed
course. Witness the battle for the title on October 17th.
Ted Christopher won that event in 2009, and Ryan Preece, Doug Coby,
Donny Lia and Rowan Pennink were the top-five finishers. Ryan Preece
was 16 points short of claiming the Championship from Lia. It was an
exciting race as both battled for the title of champion. Lia won his
second title that day, giving Bob Garbarino his second championship.
The team won their first in 2007.
Source: Dave Meredith