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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour



Ryan Newman Speeds his Way to the Pole
by Denise DuPont

Qualifying for the F.W. 100 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour took place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Thursday July 14th. There were thirty four teams in the pits ready to qualify and vie for the Coors Light Pole. In the end only one of them would lead the race for the best times to capture the Coors Light Pole Award. Once again NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman joined the NWMT ranks as he jumped into a modified to have fun. “I enjoy the race. I enjoy the 100-lapper part of it. I really enjoy the race cars and the way that those guys race here. I got to experience the Whelen Modified race car in New Smyrna, Bristol and a couple other race tracks. But they are a lot of fun here the way that they draft and the way you have to work in the corners here.”

Newman strapped into the #7NY modified came out twelfth to qualify and once again he raced to the top of the charts. Unlike most modified drivers, racing is Newman’s full time job. He gets to the track and jumps into the car and races. “I really cannot complain about the car. It was good enough on the straight away as it was in the corners. We typically do this for fun and occasionally win a race. We come up here to race and have fun with these guys. We have fun racing with them. It is what I call playing but it is racing. We have fun doing it. We all want to win and we all strive to win that is why we are racing one-hundred laps and not one. We will go out and try to put on a show for the fans first and foremost and have fun doing it. We have fun doing what we do and have a safe race.”

“The groove is actually quite a bit different for the modified then it is for the cup cars,” Said Newman after winning the Coors Light Pole Award. “Working with Bono and those guys, Gary Putnam, they do a really good job and put a great car together. It is just an opportunity for us to come up and do one of the things that we love, just race without the stress. We have won and we have not won here so we will just go out and try to do it again.”

Ron Silk missed the NWMT pole by .251 seconds. It was such a short margin but it was big enough for him to miss his mark and have to settle for a second place finish. “The car was pretty good. I tried to get too much out of it the second lap. I cost myself a little bit of time between turns one and two. We did not have enough to get there. We will try improve a little bit more on our car Saturday morning and see what we can do.” Silk is currently second in points in the NWMT standings.

Both Ron Silk and Todd Szegedy have one NWMT win each in the 2011 season. Szegedy started off the 2011 season slow but in the last two races he has moved from fifteenth to seventh in point standings for the tour. “I thought that it (qualifying) was real good. We made a change in the car to pick up some speed. I really wish that we tried it in practice earlier today because I think that we could have improved on it maybe a tenth or a tenth and a half. I can not say enough about my team. They are awesome. They are the reason why they are running good. I am real happy with how we ran.”

Veteran racer Mike Stefanik has not had lady luck on his side this year. He has not completed a race in the top five so far this season. When you are use to running with the leaders you start to get frustrated and question yourself. Stefanik recently ended a long dry spell with a modified win in the Valenti Modified racing Series at Thompson Speedway. This win was a great pick me up for Stefanik. He received another morale booster when he was selected to be in the top ten drivers in the K&N Pro Series East. Being number six in the distinguished list of driver’s has added a sparkle in his eye. Stefanik joined other members of the elite K&N Pro Series group at the division’s autograph session. There he shared racing tales and stories with the retired drivers from the developmental series. “I think that it is wonderful to be involved in the top ten of the first twenty-five years. I was happy for Andy Santerre being number one. That (K&N Pro Series East) has been his passion all his life, just like modifieds are pretty much my passion. I am enjoying the day.”

On Saturday the NWMT will have their turn on the “Magic Mile” groove.
We will then which one of the drivers makes magic on the groove to draft their way to the checkered flag.

  Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: July 14, 2011

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