Town Fair Tire 100 Up Next At Lime Rock Park
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The second installment of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Lime Rock Park is up next with the Town Fair Tire 100 on Saturday, Sept. 17 in Lakeville, Conn.
The Whelen Modifieds made their inaugural appearance at the 1.5-mile, eight-turn course in 2010 after a 10-year hiatus from road racing and road course specialist Dale Quarterley made a late-race rally to take the checkered flag. The pole winner and leader of all but the last four laps in that race, Todd Szegedy hopes to finish what he started a year ago in this edition of the Town Fair Tire 100.
"I'm definitely looking forward to going back," Szegedy said. "I came from road racing, so I love it.
"I like running Lime Rock because it's a challenge for the driver. You've got to be on your game every lap. Ovals it's much easier to hit every lap consistently, and road courses it's tough. I like the shifting, I like the hard braking. For me that's enjoyable."
Thinking big picture, success at Lime Rock is even more important to Szegedy in the season standings. The Ridgefield, Conn., driver and 2003 Whelen Modified Tour champion is now 60-points behind championship leader Ron Silk. Szegedy was 15th in the season standings after the first three races, but has finished in the top five in six of the last seven outings to get within striking distance of Silk with four races left.
Unlike Szegedy, Silk - from Norwalk, Conn. - had no prior road racing experience headed into last year's event at Lime Rock, but he wound up crossing the line third behind Szegedy. Based on that small sample, the two figure to contest their points battle while simultaneously running for the checkered flag this week in Lakeville..
Back to the road: The Town Fair Tire 100 will be just the eighth road course race in the 27-year history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The first six took place at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International from 1996-2000 before Lime Rock Park joined the schedule in 2010.
Christopher, Stefanik have road course success: Ted Christopher and Mike Stefanik have combined for eight NASCAR touring series road course victories, including a pair at Lime Rock. Christopher won the Whelen Modified Tour races at Watkins Glen in 1999 and 2000 while Stefanik took wins there in 1996 and 1997. Christopher also had two triumphs at The Glen in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East action in 1997 and 2003. Christopher won the East race at Lime Rock in 1997 and Stefanik accomplished the same feat the following season.
Busy schedule continues: Lime Rock will mark the fourth of six-consecutive weeks of racing for the Whelen Modified Tour. The busiest portion of the 2011 schedule started at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 24 and will get a breather following New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 24, a stretch of six races in 32 days.
Coby heats up: Doug Coby rose from 11th to fourth in the season standings since the beginning of July thanks to seven top-10 finishes in the last eight outings. He was runner-up at Delaware (Ont.) Speedway on Sept. 4 and followed that with his first win in five years last week at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. He also won the exhibition UNOH Showdown at Thompson and led 146 of a combined 175 laps between the two races. The Town Fair Tire 100 will be his first road course experience.
Home Tracks: Rocco Closes In On State Title
Although he's in an extremely tight battle for a second-consecutive national title, Keith Rocco is well-positioned for a fourth Connecticut state championship in a row in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action.
As of the latest state standings posted on Sept. 7, Rocco led Woody Pitkat 772-623 with Ryan Preece third at 619. Rocco won on Sunday at Thompson International Speedway, finished second on Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway to Preece and second again at Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday.
Rocco trailed Virginia's Philip Morris 782-772 in the latest national standings.
Last Time Out: Thompson
Doug Coby stole the show at the UNOH Showdown as he claimed a pair of victories in the tripleheader event at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on Sept. 11.
Coby took the checkered flag in the Northern Thompson 125 for his second career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory, and first since 2006. He also won the 50-lap exhibition UNOH Showdown.
George Brunnhoelzl III was the day's other winner as he took the checkered flag in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour's Southern Thompson 125.
The inaugural special event at Thompson saw the top finishers of both 125s compete head-to-head in the non-points-paying UNOH Showdown.
Up Next: New Hampshire
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the third and final time in 2011 for the New Hampshire 100 on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Todd Szegedy and Mike Stefanik have wins from the first two events at the 'Magic Mile' this year. Szegedy's triumph came as the result of the disqualification of Ryan Newman in the F.W. Webb 100 on July 16 and Stefanik earned his seventh Whelen Modified Tour win at NHMS in the Granite State Classic on Aug. 13.
The Whelen Modified Tour will be joined in New Hampshire on race weekend by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, and it will share the Saturday race card with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The New Hampshire 100 will air on SPEED at 1 p.m.
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