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Seventh Career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Win At New Hampshire, First Since 1998

Mike Stefanik survived several restarts and two green-white-checker attempts in the closing laps and picked up a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win in the Granite State Classic on Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Stefanik, out of Coventry, R.I., in the No. 16 Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises Pontiac, earned his first win of the season and the 71st of his Tour career by edging Woody Pitkat at the line. It was Stefanik’s seventh Whelen Modified Tour win at the track and first since Aug. 2, 1998. Additionally, it was his first overall victory since winning at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sept. 27, 2009.

Pit stops in the middle portion of the race shuffled the field which left Stefanik, Pitkat and Todd Szegedy out front at the end in a three-way tussle for the checkered flag. The veteran Stefanik had to use all of the track on the final lap to hold off the charges.

“It’s been a long time since this team had won a race, I told them on the green-white-checker, ‘This might get ugly, I’m going to try to do whatever it takes to try to win this race,’” Stefanik said. “I’m not going to wreck someone, but I’m going to try to use up as much track as I can and try to make myself difficult to pass.”

The race featured a season-high 10 lead changes among five drivers and was extended from the scheduled 95 laps to 105 with the two green-white-checker attempts.

“I got on the radio after numerous lead changes and was like, ‘This is pretty exciting,’” Stefanik said. “It was exciting inside the car just trying to lead the race.”

The win extended Stefanik’s Whelen Modified Tour record for overall career victories and placed him in a tie with Tony Hirschman for the most Tour triumphs at New Hampshire. With two more NASCAR K&N Pro Series East wins at the track to his credit, Stefanik’s total of nine career victories is one shy of Ted Christopher’s track record.

The runner-up finish for Pitkat, from Stafford, Conn., was his first top-five in nearly two years and the best placing in 51 career Whelen Modified Tour starts. He did it without pitting during the 105-lap event.

“We had a good car here in July – we had that 88-lap green flag run – so we knew our car was good on long runs,” Pitkat said. “With me not qualifying very good we figured we’d have to make up positions by not pitting. Our times never really fell off so we stayed out and grabbed some track position.”

Pitkat led two different times for eight circuits in the second half of the race.

Szegedy, who got the victory in the July race at New Hampshire, crossed the line in the third position followed by Justin Bonsignore and Eric Beers in fourth and fifth, respectively. Bobby Santos, Ryan Preece, Glenn Tyler, Erick Rudolph and Doug Coby rounded out the top 10.

The eighth-place effort was also a career-best finish for Tyler in his 68th start.

A five-time Whelen Modified Tour winner at New Hampshire, Christopher experienced mechanical problems on Lap 33 and had to go behind the wall for repairs that relegated him to a 28th-place finish.

In Friday’s qualifying session, defending Tour champion Bobby Santos claimed his second Coors Light Pole Award of the 2011 season and the sixth of his career. He led a race-high 57 laps on Saturday.

Ron Silk and Rowan Pennink entered the race with one point separating them atop the season standings. The pair was involved in two incidents on the day that saw Silk finish 11th and Pennink 16th. As a result, Silk left Loudon with a 16-point advantage on Pennink and an 81-point lead on Szegedy. Christopher’s misfortune now has him 109 points back in fourth.

The second of three events scheduled for 2011 in Loudon saw a total of 10 caution periods, the second-highest total in 54 Whelen Modified Tour events at the 1.058-mile speedway.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is in action next on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at legendary Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for a combination event with the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. The event is set to be telecast on SPEED at 6 p.m. ET.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Granite State Classic Unofficial Results
Saturday At New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
Lap length:
1.058 miles

  (Start position in parentheses)
  1. (12) Mike Stefanik, Coventry, R.I., Pontiac, 105 laps, 68.609 mph.
  2. (22) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 105.
  3.   (3) Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, Conn., Ford, 105.
  4.   (4) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 105.
  5.   (2) Eric Beers, Northampton, Pa., Chevrolet, 105.
  6.   (1) Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass., Dodge, 105.
  7. (16) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 105.
  8. (21) Glenn Tyler, Hampton Bays, N.Y., Chevrolet, 105.
  9.   (8) Erick Rudolph, Ransomville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 105.
10. (14) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 105.
11. (13) Ron Silk, Norwalk, Conn., Chevrolet, 105.
12. (25) Bryon Chew, Mattituck, N.Y., Chevrolet, 105.
13. (19) Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, N.Y., Ford, 105.
14. (23) Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 105.
15. (29) Gary McDonald, Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Pontiac, 105.
16.   (5) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Chevrolet, 105.
17. (31) Ed Flemke, Jr., Southington, Conn., Chevrolet, 99.
18. (26) Richie Pallai, Jr., Yorktown Heights, N.Y., Chevrolet, 97.
19.   (7) James Civali, Meriden, Conn., Pontiac, 92, accident.
20. (18) Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H., Chevrolet, 92, accident.
21.   (6) Ron Yuhas, Jr., Groton, Conn., Chevrolet, 92, accident.
22. (10) Matt Hirschman, Northampton, Pa., Chevrolet, 86, accident.
23. (15) Kevin Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 86, accident.
24. (24) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 86, accident.
25. (20) Donny Lia, Jericho, N.Y., Ford, 86, accident.
26. (30) Jake Marosz, Middletown, Conn., Chevrolet, 62, handling.
27. (11) Eric Berndt, Cromwell, Conn., Chevrolet, 58, accident.
28. (17) Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., Chevrolet, 50, rear end.
29.   (9) Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 47, engine.
30. (28) Wade Cole, Riverton, Conn., Chevrolet, 41, engine.
31. (27) Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y., Ford, 24, ignition.

Race Statistics
Time of Race:
1 hour 37 minutes 9 seconds
Margin of Victory: 0.069 seconds
Fastest Qualifier: B. Santos (127.564 mph, 29.858 seconds)
Caution Flags: 10 for 52 laps.
Lead Changes: 10 among 5 drivers.
Lap Leaders: B. Santos 1-29; E. Rudolph 30; B. Santos 31-44; J. Bonsignore 45; B. Santos 46-53; J. Bonsignore 54; B. Santos 55-60; W. Pitkat 61-66; M. Stefanik 67-70; W. Pitkat 71-72; M. Stefanik 73-105.

Standings: 1. R. Silk, 1405; 2. R. Pennink, 1389; 3. T. Szegedy, 1324; 4. T. Christopher, 1296; 5. B. Santos, 1292; 6. E. Beers, 1284; 7. D. Coby, 1247; 8. M. Hirschman, 1216; 9. M. Stefanik, 1208; 10. E. Rudolph, 1155.


  Source: Jason Cunningham / NASCAR
Posted: August 14, 2011

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