Whelen Motorsports

Whelen Modified Tour To Wrap Stafford Season With Fall Final


Silk, Szegedy In Points Battle With Two Left

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will help bring the competition season to a close at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway as the headline event in the CARQUEST Fall Final, Oct. 1-2.

The Fall Final will be the fourth and final event of the year at the Stafford half mile for the Whelen Modified Tour. Bobby Santos, Ron Silk and Ted Christopher were victorious in the three previous events. Santos is also the defending winner of the Fall Final.

Santos and Christopher may have combined to win four of the last six races at Stafford, but it is the winners of those other two events that will take center stage on Fall Final weekend: Silk and Todd Szegedy.

Just eight points separate the pair atop the season standings with two events remaining. With his third win of the 2011 campaign last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Silk regained the slim edge on Szegedy, who finished second at the 'Magic Mile.'

The comparison between the two driver's performances this year is nearly identical. Both have three wins and 11 top-10 finishes in 14 events. Szegedy actually has one more top-five performance than Silk with nine and has completed more laps (1,906-1,883) while Silk has the edge in laps led (338-250).

Head-to-head at Stafford this year, Silk has a decided advantage with finishes of third, first and seventh while Szegedy has registered finishes of 24th (DNF), sixth and 14th in the first three events. With four career wins at Stafford to his credit, however, Szegedy has historically found significantly more success at the famed half mile than his counterpart.

Silk, Szegedy and the rest of the Whelen Modified Tour field will get action in the 39th Annual CARQEST Fall Final underway with practice and qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 1. The race is scheduled to go green on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 3:15 p.m.

Race Notes

Bonsignore setting the stage: A slow start to the season put the 2010 Sunoco Rookie of the Year pointed toward a sophomore slump, but Justin Bonsignore has completely turned around his season and looks poised to contend for a championship in 2012. He suffered three DNFs in the first six outings, but starting with his first Whelen Modified Tour win at his home track - Riverhead Raceway - on July 31, Bonsignore has four podium finishes in eight races. Even with those DNFs earlier in the year, the Long Islander is up to sixth in points after finishing 13th as a rookie.

Christopher still in the top 10: Despite missing two of the season's 14 events - Bristol Motor Speedway and Delaware Speedway - Ted Christopher is still ninth in the season standings thanks to three wins and top 10s in all but two of his 12 outings. Even with two less races, Christopher is ahead of seven drivers that have participated in all 14. Christopher won at Stafford in August, the 11th of his career there.

Home Tracks: Preece Captures First Title

Ryan Preece earned his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track title this year at Stafford Motor Speedway as the champion of the track's premier division, the SK Modifieds.

Preece, from Berlin, Conn., dethroned defending track and national champion Keith Rocco with five wins and 14 top fives in 17 starts. Rocco, from Wallingford, Conn., registered more wins with eight, but had two less starts and fell 758-678 in the season points standings.

With his combined efforts at Stafford, Thompson International Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl, Rocco was able to earn his fourth-straight Whelen All-American Series Connecticut state title and finished as the national runner-up for the second time.

Ron Silk regained the points lead with the New Hampshire victory. Getty Images for NASCAR

Last Time Out: New Hampshire

Ron Silk pulled away from the field on a green-white-checkered finish to win the New Hampshire 100 on Sept. 24 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and take back to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points lead.

Silk got a push from Todd Szegedy on the final restart to open some ground on the rest of the field and was unchallenged over the final two laps. Szegedy, who won the tour race at New Hampshire in July, finished second followed by Justin Bonsignore. Ted Christopher and Eric Beers completed the top five.

Erick Rudolph, Zane Zeiner, Mike Stefanik, Matt Hirschman and Eric Goodale rounded out the top 10 finishers in the third in final race of the year at New Hampshire for the Whelen Modified Tour.

Up Next: Thompson

The 2011 season will conclude with the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing, Oct. 15-16 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.

The last three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championships - and many others before - have been settled in the final race of the season at Thompson, and 2011 will continue the trend with another close title chase.

The Sunoco World Series will be the fourth race of the season for the Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson. Ted Christopher won the first two events and Doug Coby was the victor in the last appearance at the track, the UNOH Showdown on Sept. 11.

Action will begin for the Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson with practice and qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 15. The 2011 champion will be crowned with the 150-lap finale on Sunday, Oct. 15.