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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




The 2012 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is set to take the green flag in the traditional season-opening Icebreaker weekend at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on Sunday, April 15.

Picking up where the 2011 season left off, and where Ron Silk captured his first championship, the Whelen Modified Tour returns to the high banks at Thompson to begin its 28th season of competition. The .625-mile oval in northeast Connecticut has played host to more events than any other facility in the Tour’s history: the 2012 Icebreaker will be the 117th there since 1985.

Silk celebrated the 2011 championship at Thompson in the season finale last October, and he’ll open his title defense at a track where he’s won three times previously and has finished in the top 10 in 11 of his last 13 visits. The Norwalk, Conn., native will be looking for his first win in the Icebreaker, an event where he’s finished on the podium just once in six previous tries.

Not a championship contender in 2011, but a contender in every event at Thompson, is Ted Christopher. The veteran from Plainville, Conn., has won seven of the last 11 Whelen Modified Tour races at Thompson. Christopher enters the 2012 Icebreaker with 13 career wins at Thompson – one short of tying Mike Stefanik for the Tour record – and has Icebreaker triumphs in 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2011.

The 2012 Icebreaker will also be the first time for many familiar faces to run different cars, and it has resulted in the addition of two full-time teams. Stefanik, from Coventry, R.I., is now a permanent fixture with the No. 66 team – new to the Whelen Modified Tour – after they debuted together at Thompson in last year’s finale. Similarly, Ryan Preece from Berlin, Conn., is also now cemented in the No. 16, where he succeeded Stefanik in last year’s World Series.

Another new full-time team will be the No. 11, which after a limited schedule last year, will have Woody Pitkat behind the wheel. Ed Flemke Jr., who will extend his Whelen Modified Tour record for consecutive starts to 355 at Thompson, has moved from the No. 10 to the No. 28 seat vacated by Pitkat.

There are also driver changes in both the No. 3 and No. 4 teams, perhaps the two most recognizable cars in all of NASCAR’s regional touring ranks. The No. 3 “Ole Blue” of Boehler Racing Enterprises has welcomed 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Champion Keith Rocco to the team full-time while the No. 4 “Mystic Missile” of Mystic Missile Racing has rejoined forces with Donny Lia, who delivered championships to the team in 2007 and 2009.

The drivers to keep an eye on in the Icebreaker are not limited to those previously mentioned, however. A year ago Doug Coby had one of the strongest cars in the events at Thompson and dominated the UNOH Showdown special events in September. Glen Reen also scored a surprise victory in the World Series finale and opened the door for anyone in the field to dream about a trip to Victory Lane at “Big T.”

Action for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will begin at Thompson on Saturday, April 14 with practice and qualifying. The 150-lap season-opening race is slated for a green flag on Sunday, April 15 at approximately 3 p.m. For event and ticket information, please visit Thompson’s official website: www.thompsonspeedway.com.

  Source: Jason Cunningham / NASCAR
Posted: April 6, 2012

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