Whelen Motorsports

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes: Stafford

NWMT • May 20, 2013

· TSI Harley-Davidson 125 Presented By G-Oil Up Next
· Santos Looks To Stay On A Roll

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 20, 2013) – Following a pair of day races and a rainout, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will race under the lights for the first time in 2013 when it returns to Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 presented by G-Oil on Friday, May 24.

Winner of three of the last four Whelen Modified Tour races dating back to last season, Bobby Santos is well-positioned to keep the run of good fortune going in the second of four races on the schedule at the historic half mile.

While the number of different legitimate contenders to win on Friday at Stafford reaches double digits, Santos’ success – not only due to his recent run, but historically at the track as well – has him as one of the favorites to capture yet another checkered flag.

Not only did the Franklin, Mass., native sweep Spring Sizzler weekend at Stafford at the end of April – fastest in practice, pole winner and trip to Victory Lane – he’s experienced as much success at the track as any driver in recent seasons. Nine of Santos’ last 12 Stafford starts have resulted in podium finishes, including five wins.

Santos has also been particularly good in the TSI Harley-Davidson 125, the shortest of the Whelen Modified Tour’s four annual events at Stafford. He won in 2010, finished third in 2011 and led the first 117 laps from the pole a year ago before having to settle for second to Doug Coby.

The main competition for Santos figures to be provided by the defending race winner Coby, who won each of the tour’s first three races at Stafford a year ago. He’ll enter Friday’s event following a sixth-place finish in the Spring Sizzler.

RACE: TSI Harley-Davidson 125 pres. by G-Oil
PLACE: Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway
DATE: Friday, May 24
TIME: 9:15 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .5-mile, banked asphalt oval
2012 WINNER: Doug Coby
2012 POLESITTER: Bobby Santos
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 2:30-3:30 p.m., Qualifying 6 p.m., Driver Autograph Session 7:30 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Scott Running, 860-684-2783, scottrunning@staffordspeedway.com
TRACK TWITTER: @StaffordSpeedwy

The Race: The 23rd Annual TSI Harley-Davidson 125 presented by G-Oil will be the third race on the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule and the second of four events this season at Stafford Motor Speedway.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 31 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will have secured starting positions based on two-lap qualifying. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 125 laps (62.5 miles) and the race tire change rule is two tires, any position.

The Track: A half-mile, slightly-banked oval, Stafford originated as a horse racing track in the 1870s. After seven decades as a horse track, the dirt oval started holding automobile races following World War II. Stafford became a NASCAR track in 1959 and was paved for the first time in 1967.

Race Winners: There have been 31 different race winners at Stafford all-time, led by Mike Stefanik’s 20 victories. Doug Coby is the defending winner of the TSI Harley-Davidson 125, the second of his three victories at the track in 2012. Bobby Santos won this season’s first race at Stafford.

Pole Winners: There have been 40 different pole winners at Stafford, led by Stefanik’s 17. Ryan Preece holds the tour’s track qualifying record at 17.924 seconds (100.424 mph). Bobby Santos set fast time for this event a year ago, as well as the first trip to Stafford this year.

Trio of Drivers Have a Stranglehold on Stafford: Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Bobby Santos (5), Ted Christopher (3) and Doug Coby (3) have combined to win 11 of the last 13 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races contested at Stafford Motor Speedway. The only two drivers outside of that trio for a checkered flag were Ron Silk and Todd Szegedy. Conversely, in 2008-09 prior to the current run, six different drivers were victorious across eight events.

Pennink on the Verge of a W?: One of the favorites to end the current run of Santos and company at Stafford might just be Rowan Pennink, who’s had a hot start to the 2013 season. Pennink finished second in the season-opener at Thompson International Speedway and followed that with a fifth-place effort last time out in the Stafford Spring Sizzler. Then, just last Friday, he nabbed the checkered flag in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified action at Stafford. Pennink has one career Whelen Modified Tour win that came at Riverhead Raceway in 2010, a drought of 37 starts.

Santos Shoots Up Stafford Wins List: Santos’ success at Stafford has come so quickly that he’s gone from winless at the track prior to 2010 to tied for fifth on the Whelen Modified Tour’s all-time wins list at the track in a matter of just 11 races. Among active drivers he only trails Mike Stefanik (20) and Christopher (12) for total wins at the track. With five victories in 17 total starts, Santos’ Stafford win percentage (29%) even ranks better than Stefanik (22%).

HOME TRACKS: Preece, Foster Tied For Lead at Stafford
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing season is just now starting to ramp up in New England and things are already proving to be as competitive as expected in the headlining SK Modified division at Stafford Motor Speedway. Ryan Preece, the 2011 track champ, is tied atop the points standings after three races with Sean Foster at 118. Preece won the first two events of the year while Rowan Pennink captured his first Stafford SK Mod win last Friday. Pennink is tied for third in the standings – eight points behind Preece and Foster – with defending track titlist Ted Christopher.

LAST TIME OUT: Monadnock
The third race of the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season was to be the Town Fair Tire Whitcomb 200 at Monadnock Speedway on May 11 in rural Winchester, N.H. The race was postponed due to rain, however, and is now scheduled to be contested on July 27.

NEXT TIME OUT: Waterford
Following a popular and successful return in 2012 following a five-year absence, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will once again visit Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl for the Mr. Rooter 161 on June 22. Doug Coby was victorious at Waterford last year en route to his Whelen Modified Tour title while Donny Lia and Ed Flemke Jr. are the active career wins leaders at the shoreline oval with two apiece.