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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour



Whitcomb 200 presented by Mobix & Town Fair Tire
by Polly Reid

Monadnock Speedway hosted the third stop on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with the Whitcomb 200 presented by Mobix & Town Fair Tire. After setting a new track record earlier in qualifying, Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT survived several restarts and a tenacious Doug Coby in the closing circuits to score his first win in the Eric Sanderson owned, Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises sponsored Ford. The victory is the fourth NWMT career win for Preece.

Preece led the 175 lap event wire to wire and climbed the fence in a victory lane celebration. “Sly Szaban, this whole Flamingo Motorsports team is unbelievable. I’m just so lucky to be a part of it and I’m very grateful for this opportunity. Doug (Coby) said he had the perfect car last race, I feel like that this week. Once we got going, I would just take off, I think I could have gone another 100 laps, it was that good.”

Doug Coby of Milford, CT crossed for second with Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, CT third, Holtsville, NY’s Justin Bonsignore fourth and Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT fifth.

“I don’t think we were going to get by the 16 car today- I gave it all I had,” said Coby who wheeled the Wayne Darling owned modified to victory lane in the last outing at Stafford Motor Speedway. “We started second, finished second but it definitely wasn’t that easy. It was a battle with the 36 (Christopher) and the 2 (Szegedy) and the 6 (Silk) for a while and of course Ryan. I tried my hardest on those restarts- wanted to really roll the outside the best I could. It’s really tough at this track- it’s my third time here- I’m learning every time I’m here. I think coming to that MRS race a month ago really helped us with our set up. We ran up front and that’s all on a quarter mile track that you can hope for.” Coby whose 52 modified carries sponsorship from Reynolds Auto Wrecking/Furnace & Duct continued, “I really want to thank Teddy Bear Pools for putting up the extra money, that means a lot and for Long Island Manic for getting Jerry Marquis back in a car- that was pretty cool. And I want to thank my guys for a really good car, it was fun to drive.”

Szegedy scored his first podium finish of the season in the Mike Smerigilo, III owned, Dunleavy Repair/A&J Romano Construction Ford crossing the stripe third. “The guys at the shop work real hard to prepare these race cars. My car owner gives me the best equipment out here. When you have bad luck, racing isn’t fun, I’ll be the first one to tell you but when you run well, compete for top five’s, it’s a good time.” Szegedy is turning around a season that has been heading uphill since the season opener at Thompson. Szegedy brought up a suggestion that he thought would make the race even more entertaining for the fans. “I think for these short track races, NASCAR needs to give us the option to pit and put a right rear on. I was hardly touching the throttle the whole race then when it was time to go, we had no tires left. If they would give us a right rear we could have a lot of cool looking racing. Preece would not have pitted but some of us would have and you would see a lot of outside racing- let’s lobby for that right rear and make this race even better.”

Preece started his afternoon off by breaking the track record at Monadnock with a 12.315 second lap around the high banked oval besting the time of 12.390 set in May 1988. Preece then backed it up leading all 175 laps but not before surviving ten cautions that included two red flags. The reds, one for fluid on the speedway on lap 99 and the second for Jon McKennedy’s hard hit into the turn one tire barrier about 20 circuits later did not shake Preece’s momentum. “It made me calm down- it cooled off my tires a little bit. I think the most intense part of that race was when the 18 got that flat tire (in the closing circuits). I almost got into him,” admitted Preece. “The restarts, they were good, I tried to switch it up at the end. Doug did what he had to do, staying right beside me- that last restart, I knew what I had to do to really get away and run my race- the car was phenomenal. This team is such a fun team- it’s an environment I like to be around- I’m looking forward to the rest of this year.” Preece also gave a shout out to Mike Herman, Jr and Kenny Bouchard for their support.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said winning car owner Eric Sanderson. “The team, they’re the best. Sly and the guys put a great car together. It’s like a dream, it really is. Ryan, he’s always smiling, all the time. In the car, no matter what’s happening, he has a great attitude.”

“Coming here I didn’t think we had much because we struggled the last couple of years,” said Flamingo Motorsports crew chief Sly Szaban. “When we got here, we decided to go with what we think was going to work. We unloaded and the car was good right off the trailer. We made some spring changes to give Ryan some different feels, give him a few options and let him make some decisions. After the pole and the impound, the crew got together and we came up with some ideas for the race- some changes we needed to make and as a group we came up with what we thought would be the right decisions. We went with them and they worked.” Szaban credits spotter Joe Scotnicki for keeping their driver in the right frame of mind, “he gives Ryan the right things to think about, what to watch for. Joe was a big part of the win tonight.”

Donny Lia in the Mystic Missile, Mike Stefanik in the Sheraton Harborside Portsmouth and Eric Beers in the Horwith Freightliner/John Blewett Inc sponsored modified all came back from a lap down to collect a top ten finish- Lia crossing the stripe for sixth, Stefanik seventh and Beers eighth. Ed Flemke, Jr claimed his first top ten of the season in the Ron Bouchard’s Autos/Raceworks ride finishing ninth and rookie of the year contender Keith Rocco in the Cape Cod Copper/Silver Dollar Construction Boehler machine tenth.
Defending NWMT champion Ron Silk continues to lead the way in the points, one over Coby with Preece third, Stefanik fourth while Jimmy Blewett and Justin Bonsignore are locked in a tie for fifth.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Stafford Motor Speedway for TSI Harley 125 on Friday May 25th.

  Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: April 30, 2012

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