.Teams and Drivers,
Submit your FREE profile
 for 2010
   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




The 33 car field is set for the opening NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event. The Icebreaker at Thompson International Speedway will be led to the green flag by defending champion Bobby Santos in the Bob Garbarino Mystic Missile. The Franklin, MA driver recorded a 18.237 second circuit around the .625 mile oval besting his own track record of 18.418 from one year ago to win the Coors Light pole award.

“It feels really good to start the season like that,” said Santos. “I think we had to start the season good because it’s important to keep everyone’s morale up and keep everyone excited for the season. I think it’s great to keep the guys pumped up and start the season right. I’m having a lot of fun working with these guys, I’m excited to keep going.”

“I thought for sure we had a car that we could put on the pole. Ummm, I didn’t think we were going to break the track record by 2 tenths, that’s pretty exciting. Everybody was fast, I think the track was fast today.” To Santos point, Ted Christopher and Justin Bonsignore both bested Santos time from one year ago and will start second and third respectively.

“It’s the way we started last year and it carried us through the whole season. It’s very important and I’m happy we did it.”
While it may have been what they hoped to do, win the pole, the time was a surprise for Bob Mueller, crew chief for Santos. “It’s really pretty much what we planned on doing, but we didn’t plan on running quite as quick as we did today.”

“Bobby is a very special talent, it’s a joy to work with him,” said Mueller. “He loves to race, his mind is into racing, his family is racing orientated, everything is just right. We have the complete crew back from last year except for the spotter, we have a new one this year. Other than that, it’s the same group of guys- second trip around for them, second trip around for Bobby. The competition is good this year, there’s probably 6 or 7 guys that could win a race on any given weekend. It just kind of all fell into place today.”

A right hand that felt ‘stiff’, Ted Christopher didn’t let recent surgery from his metacarpal ligament fracture slow him down any. “I should have my cast on,” Christopher shrugged his shoulders looking at his middle and ring finger taped together and the near 2x2 bandage covering the sutures. Still not sure how this particular injury happened when caught up in a tangle three weeks ago at Caraway, Christopher held nothing back during qualifying crossing the line .137 seconds behind Santos, the Plainville, CT driver will start the Icebreaker on the front row.

Christopher is teamed up this season with crew chief Brad Lafontaine. “We won a championship together, I think it will be good.” The off season was a busy one for car owner Eddie Whelan. “Eddie stepped up the program,” said Christopher. “He bought two new cars, totally redid this car, redid the motor and bought two new motors. We ran this same car for four years. This thing has been like a workhorse. It’s still the same car this year, but they put a new front clip on, rail and new body- all new stuff on it - so he’s updated, everything’s been updated. You can only run stuff for so long and felt that was a good thing. He’s really making an effort to make sure we’re 100%.”

Christopher’s attitude going into the new season? “I’m hungry everywhere we go. My attitude never changes. Once I strap in, I’m all set. I’ve already won five features this year and two championships, so I’m pretty happy.”

If you’re a modified fan, chances are you feel good about coming to the season opener at Thompson and seeing the familiar Ferrante Racing #31. “Remember the season used to open and close at Martinsville?” asked Tony Ferrante, Jr. who started the Tour in 1989. “That’s 22 years ago, it goes so fast.”

Why Thompson? “It’s where I run the best, I enjoy it the best. When I started my career, I started at Wall Stadium,” said the New Hyde Park, NY driver. “It’s a high banked fast track like Thompson. Because of where I started, you enjoy what you like. I enjoy coming here, I like the pit area here, the track’s not too far away, there’s a couple of grooves here you can pass. I guess it just fits into my style of racing.”
Ferrante, who starts the Icebreaker 25th, has cut back significantly on his schedule in recent years, this season will be the same. “Don’t know yet (about 2011) Might be back here in the fall, maybe Riverhead. We’re just really busy at work.” Ferrante, who owns a body shop, for now will enjoy the weekend and his part time race schedule. “We want to have a good time and be competitive. If you’re not competitive you’re not having fun. You get down on yourself, you question what you’re doing, I’ll be happy just being competitive. It’s not that I’ve forgotten how to turn the car left, I just don’t have the latest technology on the car to be really competitive. The guys that have been helping me have been helping me for the last 20 years. I enjoy seeing everyone, we have so many friends here. My dad loves it. So when I come here and I see he’s having a good time, then I’m having a good time. People walk up to talk to you- Bob Garbarino came over to say hello- it’s so rewarding. Not that you made an impact, but that people remember you. And I think 95% of them have nice things to remember. Ferrante’s best finish at Thompson? “We had a second in the 300 here one time- we were so close!”

It’s not uncommon for a driver to have some variety in his racing season. Chuck Hossfeld takes that variety to a whole new level this year.
“We’re going to try racing dirt this year, more or less for fun at Ransomville a handful of times. We have a 2010 Troyer car I got from Jimmy Phelps, we went through it in my garage. We’re kind of going into it with a fun attitude. I don’t know if I’m going to fall in love with it and be good at it or not good at it. We’ll see what it’s like and what it’s all about and try to enjoy ourselves.”

But that’s only one piece of Hossfeld’s racing season. “I plan on doing a bunch of ROC races with my car, race Ed’s (Bennett) car a little bit and try to be competitive in every race we run in.” Hossfeld, who lives in Ransomville, NY, will miss a ‘handful’ of Tour races this year.
“The problem is for me, is I’m so far away from the races, it’s not because I prefer to do other races, just time wise and money wise it just makes more sense to run closer to my house.” Plus, Hossfeld is starting a new business having just bought a car lot with his friend that should be opening up in a few weeks. “I’m going to try and balance all that with racing and just do the best I can, be successful with all of it.”
Like everything else in Hossfeld’s world right now, look for him to move forward when he takes the green flag 27th.

During practice, Jimmy Blewett walked away from a hard hit coming out of turn four, the incident reported to be the result of a broken hub. The Richard Barney entry is officially scratched from the event.

The other tough break in practice was when Richie Pallai blew a motor. The team loaded up and left before time trails heading back to the shop to swap out the motor from their other car. Pallai is expected to start the Icebreaker 33rd, the final position on the grid.
If you can’t make it to Thompson, be sure to ‘watch’ Denise Dupont’s live updates during the day and coverage of the Icebreaker 150 on The Chrome Horn.
. .

  Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: April 9, 2011

©2011 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.