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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Recording Breaking Lead Changes
Highlight Extra Distance Sunoco 100
Polly Reid / Denise DuPont

In a second attempt at a green white checker finish, Bobby Santos of Franklin, MA in the Tinio Racing/ImperialCars.com modified restarted third – with the white flag in the air, passed Ryan Newman for second and as the checkers unfurled, made his winning move through turns three and four getting by Ted Christopher to win the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Fans on their feet watched Santos go for the victory in the extra distance race that ended on lap 110 witnessing a record breaking 36 official lead changes. Santos led one, the final to the checkers with Doug Coby narrowly edging out Christopher for second, Christopher in third followed by Newman fourth and Ryan Preece fifth.

"It was just awesome,” said Santos in victory lane. “Everyone says that you have to be in position on the last lap to win one of these things. So I have known a lot about it and I have watched it a lot of times. I knew that Teddy was going to send it in and protect the bottom. I just knew that on the last restart and I wanted to be in second and I made it work. I am glad to be racing here in New Hampshire this weekend. It does not get much cooler than racing for those NASCAR guys in these cars. Everyone will agree that the modifieds put on quite a show here."

Ted Christopher from Plainville, CT in the Robert Katon owned, J&R Pre-Cast/Cape Cod Aggregates sponsored modified rolled off the grid thirteenth eventually leading a total of 28 laps, all in the second half including the first three turns of the last lap, his day ending with a podium finish in third.

“Unfortunately for a green, white, checker you think of all the scenarios. Obviously I picked the wrong one. But it was a good run. I was happy with the run. That was one of our cars that we put together out of our stable, actually it is probably one of the cars that we had here years and years ago - an old car that we redid. That is the first time I have ever run a spec motor and I was pretty happy with it. It is definitely something to build on."

The Mike Smeriglio owned Dunleavy’s Repair/HEX Performance modified with Doug Coby behind the wheel took the green fourteenth ending his day with a legitimate shot at the win. "I really do not know it is a blur right now,” said Coby about the closing laps. “I think I was ninth and seventh with ten to go, something like that. The way the restart shook out I ended up getting a couple of good runs and then I see myself fourth on a green, white, checker. I was kind of hoping that Ted would take the top and I could have pushed him into the lead and have a nice setup for the last lap, kind of like what Bobby had. When Ted took the bottom I knew Bobby was content to let him slid up alongside of him so he could be second on the last lap. It definitely broke my momentum up a bit and I had to race with the #7ny. I am happy with second. The car is in one piece and I am happy that the fans got a good show.”

The NWMT Sunoco 100 was brought to green by pole sitter Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT with defending NWMT champion Ryan Preece powering by Silk to officially lead lap one. A caution on lap five kept the field close and the top spot was swapped between Silk, Preece and Todd Szegedy throughout the first half.

The mandatory half way break was called when the caution waved on lap 45 bringing the field down pit row on circuit later.
Silk lined up first on the restart with Szegedy, Woody Pitkat, Preece and Eric Goodale the top five.

Christopher in sixth was poised to become a factor in the second half while Santos, deep in the pack at fifteenth, appeared to not be a threat at all. Appearances can be deceiving.

While Silk, Szegedy, Christopher then Preece diced it up for the lead, Santos was able to capitalize on one restart cracking the top ten by lap sixty and at twenty-five to go, was firmly in seventh.

Silk suddenly pitted during a caution with nineteen to go as the TS Haulers/Calverton Tree Farm crew focused their attention on the left rear. After leading the most laps of the race, 36, Silk continued but would not again be a front running factor. Szegedy returning for only his second NWMT start of the season, led eight different times in the Fuller 15-40 Connection modified was suddenly forced to retire on this same restart after not coming up to speed – engine listed as the official reason out.

Attention returned to the front on the lap 95 restart- Preece selecting the outside row led Christopher, Santos, Goodale and Newman. One circuit later, Preece was jilted back to sixth, Christopher leading now had his mirror full with Santos, Newman, Coby and Andy Seuss the top five.

Two to go, the yellow waved for Goodale whose trip to NH ended with damage after contact with the turn two wall setting up what would be the first of two attempts at a green white checker finish.

Christopher diced up the top spot with Newman as Santos slipped to third and Coby held onto fourth only to be reined in for another caution- Donny Lia’s day was over after contact with the turn four wall.

The second green white checker attempt, on the white flag lap, Christopher led Santos, Coby, Newman fourth and Preece. The final corners, Christopher drove hard into three and couldn’t make the J&R Pre-Cast stick, the slight drift up the track was opportunity and Santos filled the spot taking a hard charging Coby with him. Christopher gathered up and at the line it was Santos with a .065 second margin of victory over Coby who had a wheel over Christopher in third at the line. Newman and Preece followed for fourth and fifth.
Justin Bonsignore crossed sixth, Tommy Barrett, Jr seventh, Andy Seuss, Ron Silk and Chuck Hossfeld completed the top ten.

“Our race didn’t start spectacular,” admitted Santos. “We qualified seventh and fell back to fourteenth at the half way mark but the guys gave me what I needed for the second half of the race, made a couple of adjustments- it could not have been better. We drove to the front, put ourselves in position – the last restart, I think I learned a lesson that I needed to get to Teddy’s bumper for second until the last lap. I knew if I was in second on the last lap going down the backstretch, I knew I’d have a shot at it. I put it in my mind what Teddy was going to do, he did what I expected and it worked out.”

“It’s an honor and I’m proud to win here. This is definitely probably my biggest modified win in my career. When I first started driving for Sully (Tinio), he was talking about coming to Loudon, winning at Loudon. We’ve won for him at Stafford, Thompson and he still talked about winning at Loudon. He built a car for this place last year. It got killed on the first time out- it was discouraging but he gave us everything we needed to get it back together and for this team, this is our Superbowl. They work so hard. From whatever happens here on out for the rest of the season, we won at Loudon, that’s pretty awesome.”

“You can’t plan to win at Loudon,” stated Coby. “It’s always a surprise when you do. You can dominate on a short track, lead most of the laps. At Loudon, it’s always a surprise. I was the leader here last July for the last three laps, I’m hanging on for dear life and somehow I ended up winning – that was a surprise for me. Todd Szegedy winning in September, dive bomb on the last lap, that’s a surprise for him. And Bobby today- Bobby’s move was dictated by Ted – I think Ted had the right thoughts but he should have made Bobby get to the outside of him and maybe used him up. There’s a million and one ways to win and Loudon and that just proved it. You never know what’s going to work, it all depends on who gets the run, what the last couple of laps are- it’s fun no matter what.”

“We’re excited,” said Lawney Tinio speaking on behalf of car owner and dad Sully. “The first half of the race was rough but Bobby told us what was wrong with the car. Stevie said what we were going to do to make the changes, the team went out there and nailed it and we just saw the car come back up through the field, it was outstanding. Bobby was just picking them off- Larry was on the radio walking him through, ‘clear, go get the next one. Clear, go get the next one’, it was fun to listen to him. It’s hard to see on pit row, we rely on the audio. I heard him call it through (the last lap), ‘door, wheel, bumper, clear, you got it, go get it buddy’ and I saw him coming out of turn four, it was great. I can’t thank my dad enough for giving us the opportunity to do this. All the hard work that Stevie Lemay does, the motors from Billy, everybody on our team, they just really get it together – we’re super happy with everything.”

“We qualified seventh, fourteenth at the half way mark. The adjuster for the sway bar started backing off and the car was getting real free off on him. Bobby kind of rode it out until the halfway break. When we came in- we checked that, there was a lot of play in it. I didn’t want to over adjust the car because we found the problem. We did our tire change, fuel, adjusted on the car a little bit and then reset the sway bar- it didn’t back off the second half, the car stayed good and Bobby was able to drive it in really good. He was giving up a little getting off, but driving in really good. We learned a bunch more. It’s unbelievable we ended up there- this is what you dream about, this is what’s it all about, winning these big races. You come here, do the best you can- sometimes you leave with your head hung down- today, it just all worked out.

A solid driver, crew chief chemistry, Lemay enjoys working with Bobby and is glad to get this win checked off Bobby’s list. It’s also Lemay’s first Magic Mile victory. A special shout out to Lemay’s wife Sandy who is at every race but unexpectedly could not see this one.
The NWMT Sunoco 100 will air on television this Friday July 18th at 12noon on FOX Sports 1.

The NWMT heads to the fast, high-banked quarter mile of Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH Saturday July 19th.

More Quotes:

Two cars finishing in the top ten, car owner Chris Our added a team car with Chuck Hossfeld to the Our Motorsports stable. Tommy Barrett, Jr. crossed seventh, Hossfeld tenth at the conclusion of the Sunoco 100. “I wanted to run the shootout, that was the main reason,” said Our about having a second car. “I asked Chuck to run that then I said why don’t you stay and run the 100 lapper the next day.”
Another double team effort is not on the schedule at this time but Our has not taken it off the books either. “You never know - maybe another big race. Tommy did good, we’re happy- this is new for him. He qualified fourth, ran in the top five, top ten and finished seventh, that’s good.” Rookie of the Year contender Barrett who ran as high as third and fourth gained a lot of Magic Mile experience.

“This is a brand new car and a brand new engine,” said Coby. “We’ve run that other car since Daytona. We were happy with it, when we were drafting early on there were some changes we wanted to make- a right front shock that was leaking just before the start of the race, we were almost going to pull down pit row to change it- they told us it was going to be a two lap penalty to change it so the first fifty laps we ran with a shock that wasn’t performing how we thought it would. We made our changes at the break based on that and I think we over adjusted and ended up a little tight for the second part of the race. I’ll tell you what, the green white checkers helped me out because it was a quick little sprint there. If it was a longer run it would have been trouble.”

A marathon weekend for NASCAR Next driver Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT in the East West Marine, Eric Sanderson owned modified- a threat for the win in the Sunoco 100 from the drop of the green, Preece finished fifth. On Friday, Preece crossed for sixth in the NWMT Whelen All-Star Shootout, won the SK Modified feature at Stafford Motor Speedway later that evening, returned to the Magic Mile putting in a strong effort including leading 30 laps in the Sunoco 100 then competed in the NASCAR Nationwide race right after finishing 14th in the Tommy Baldwin Racing entry.

Source: Polly Reid / Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: July 13, 2014

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