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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Thirty-Four Lead Changes For The
22-33-55 Lead Pack

Denise DuPont

On Saturday, July 13th thirty-two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) drivers took the green flag to prove once again that the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) “Magic Mile” is most magical when are there. There were thirty-four official lead changes a new record for the track. Lap 98 recorded the most important lead change when Doug Coby took advantage of lapped traffic to pass for the top position while Ted Christopher and Ryan Preece where challenging. Christopher and Preece where protecting their territories so hard that they did not see Coby sail by them. Coby had done his drafting homework and it paid off. He studied the NHMS draft and what gave winners their edge and took the lesson to the track to use to his advantage. “Racing here is always exciting with the lead changes,” said Coby after the race. “It is really neat to be in victory lane here. I have been really close a lot of times and I really studied the draft and modifieds here. I watched a lot of videos of races where I missed an opportunity to finish in the top five or a win. I now feel that I have a greater understanding of where I need to be positioned at the end of the race.”

Returning to NHMS to defend his September 2012 win, Coby wanted to ensure he had the right spot for a two for two win. ““At the end when the white flag flew I was thinking: “I am going to win this thing as long as Teddy does not shoot out of cannon like a rocket to go by me”. I knew I wanted to be second on the last lap. I think that that is still the best place to be to win here. “

Lap 98 Christopher had the lead, Preece was on the bottom in second and Coby set his sights for the win. “I think the #3 (Ted Christopher) going side by side at the end with Ryan (Preece in the #16) gave me the opportunity to start moving my car around to prevent them on getting a good draft on me. There were about four lapped cars there where I used some of their forward air to pull me forward. “

Ted Christopher held on to second as the checkered flags flew. He was unable to muster up enough momentum on the last lap to sling shot past Coby. “Our car was a good car in the beginning. At the half-way break everybody was able to adjust their car to make it better so it made the race more interesting. We just came up a little short. I just want to thank the guys on the team. This is the first time that we probably have had a car that was capable to try to win here in a bunch of years. I thank ECR (Earnhardt-Childress Racing )engines the motor we bought definitely has some power. It was money well worth spending.”

During the second half of the Town Fair Tire 100 feature event the leader cars were brought closer together after each caution which allowed them to draft and swap the lead spot lap after lap. “Our cars usually have several lead changes. Cautions just bring everybody closer. And at the end the three of us were so close we were checked out and the lead was just between the three of us.”

Ryan Preece had his share of leading the field but in the end a third place was his to have. In September 2012 Preece finished tenth. The #16 team with engine and other mechanical issues doubled checked the car until time ran out. Preece started twelfth and quickly started his dash to the front. By the time of the mandatory mid-race pit stop he was in third ready to charge for the win.

“Any time that you have a day that you can bring the car in the trailer and run up front lead laps it is a good day.” Preece stated reflecting on the race. “I cannot thank these Flamingo guys enough. We ended up blowing head gasket in practice so we had to swap motors. When we time trialed twelfth, I knew then that we had a good race car.”

The cautions helped Preece advance to the front and staying clean he was there at the end to contend for the win. “We got to about fourth on that one restart and made our way to the lead and then we stayed up in the top three the whole time. I am looking forward to coming back. I cannot thank our sponsors and everybody involved enough. It is an honor to be a part of this team.”

Fulltime NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver Andy Seuss returned home to New Hampshire to run the Eddie Harvey Phoenix #11 modified in the summer race at NHMS. The team qualified well and ran with the leaders most of the day. Their efforts were rewarded with a very solid fourth place finish. “It was great. We have had some top tens here but never a top five. To run up front all day just felt good. The competition that is here is tough and it felt good to be a consistent top five car. And to cap it off the car is in one piece. It was a great day.” From here Seuss will return down south as the southern modified tour racing heats up.”

The top story of the weekend though goes to Jimmy Blewett. After capturing the pole on his first qualifying lap, he cut a tire as he rounded turn two for his second lap and it appeared he cut a tire for dirt and debris that may have been left there from the previous days Global Rally car events. The #76 suffered a lot of damage when he tagged the outside wall and was towed into the garage area. It was a bitter sweet time for Blewett. He had the pole, a badly damage car and no backup. First he knew he had to evaluate what the damage is and go from there.

Blewett's team worked until 8 PM Friday night and returned Saturday morning at 7 AM starting where they left off the night before. The team received a lot of help from fellow modified teams to get his car back together for the race. This is once again where the NWMT teams show the competitiveness and closeness banding together in time of need to help a fellow driver and team. “I just cannot thank my guys enough for all their hard work and a lot of people in the pit area. Everybody came and offered us a helping hand to get the car back together. My goal at the beginning of the race was just to see if the car was OK first. And then to try to get at least ten or fifteen cars in the beginning and try to get towards the front as best I can. I was not 100% but we got fifteen cars in the beginning and we came in and pitted. We made adjustments that made the car a little bit too free. We came in made adjustments. Then a couple of wrecks came out and we were in the top ten at that time. It felt good being right there to the end. But then at the final restart I stepped on the brakes and there were no brakes. It might have been something that happened from the accident yesterday. I want to thank everyone and their teams.”

Another driver that deserves mention was rookie Jacob Dore. He also blew a tire and tagged the wall during qualifying. Like Blewett he reached out for parts and help and it was there for him. A smaller team pulled together for the race they too worked long hours and got the car ready to start the race, it may not have been as good as it was coming out for qualifying but it was ready to race. “The race today was just amazing, said Dore in the pits after a twelfth place finish. “After the day we had yesterday of piling into the fence, blowing a tire and then only fourteen laps on the track before starting the race -- I was just hoping to log laps by riding around and stay in one piece. I spoke to the spotter beforehand, my friend Derek Kneeland, who works for Juan Pablo Montoya on the cup series and is spotting for me. He said: “We will log laps and see what happens.” So we rode around and he helped me out with my line. We started picking up the pace when I began getting real comfortable by the hall-way break. Then there was a huge pile up on the front stretch right in front of me. He (Kneeland) did a phenomenal job getting me through it. Without his call we would have been somewhere right smack in the middle of it. I have to thank him for his help he got us a twelfth. It was an awesome run. I am really proud of everybody that helped out.”

Finishing tenth young Richie Pallai, Jr also had one of his best finishes at NHMS with a solid ninth. “It was a great day. We finished ninth today which is cool. We were caught in the big wreck on the front stretch. The guys did a good job during the red flag. I knocked the tow out that was it. We came from sixteenth back to ninth. We had a good car but today it was all about track position. I ran with jimmy Blewett for about fifty laps at the beginning of the race. And that just shows you how hard that it is because the cars are so equal. The car is in one piece at the end of the race and we really needed that.”

So the race at NHMS was one for the top contenders, the rookies and the young drivers that are just trying to make it. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be back in action at the Monadnock Speedway Saturday July 27th..The race is a makeup date for a rain out on May 11.

Race Notes from NHMS:

Mandatory Mid-Race Pit Stop or 100 Laps of Strategy Racing?

Andy Seuss
“Coming in and making adjustments help our car. I am sure everybody made adjustments to get better. The adjustments helped me a little bit more. With the cautions we would have had a pit stop to adjust it anyway, but the half way break just makes it a little bit easier on small teams like ours that are not use to pit stops.”

Richie Pallai
“I would just rather go back to the old school racing of strategy. Today it helped drivers because we went with 50 green laps in the beginning. I am sure that some guys wanted a breather and tires but I would like to see it go back to the way that it used to be which throws strategy back into the game which plays a huge part in racing. I understand why NASCAR does it and it is a cost effective way but I would hope in the fall that maybe we could go back to the way it used to be.”

After a Good Finish Where will the #19 NWMT Modified go from NHMS?

Jacob Dore
“We have to talk it over about we are planning to do going forward. Potentially the fall race here at NHMS. We were talking Monadnock but I have other plans going on right about then. We really have to focus on my car for Star Speedway right now and the championship run there. I am the point’s leader right now. We have two wins and Todd Annarummo has two wins. So we have to stay on top of our game to beat him. So we will see what happens as time comes, but we have a good solid building cornerstone to build on.”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: July 15, 2013

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