Mods Test Bristol’s High Banks

Test Held in Preparation for August Race Date

Bristol, TN — The NASCAR Modifieds took to the track at Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time Tuesday as part of a test session.

Bristol, the “World’s Fastest Half Mile,” will welcome the NASCAR Whelen Modified and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tours for the first time in a combination race on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Tuesday provided Hoosier Tire, NASCAR and the test teams their first opportunity to see how the open-wheeled race cars performed on the concrete .533-mile oval in Tennessee.

“We came here this morning not sure how we were going to need to approach this [racing at Bristol],” said L.W. Miller, driver of the No. 36 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour car. “I was real comfortable this morning. I feel that we’ve run enough today to come back [in August] and be on the right track.”

Todd Szegedy, driver of the No. 2 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car, was also impressed with how quickly he was able to adapt to the circuit, even in near-freezing temperatures to start the day.

“When it’s really cold temperatures, the tires have a tough time heating up,” Szegedy said. “When I got out on the track, it felt like I could just go right away. There’s a lot of grip in the track for sure, and a lot of g-forces.”

In addition to Miller and Szegedy, four other drivers also tested Bristol on Tuesday. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour veterans Ted Christopher, Matt Hirschman and Ron Silk turned laps as well as Brian Loftin from the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

To start the day, all six cars employed the same restrictor plate that is used annually at the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s two events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In the morning session, Szegedy paced the field with a fast lap of 15.022 seconds (127.733 mph).

The afternoon session proved to be significantly faster for all involved as the temperature warmed. As of mid-afternoon, Miller topped the charts at 14.742 seconds (130.159 mph.), well under the current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track qualifying record of 14.908 seconds (128.709) set by Ryan Newman in 2003. In fact, Christopher (14.805), Silk (14.818), Szegedy (14.869) and Hirschman (14.894) had all exceeded Newman’s mark.

The 150-lap combination Modified race at Bristol is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Aug. 19.

Sources: Jason Cunningham/NASCAR WMT PR

February 2009
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