Analyzing The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour At Thompson International Speedway
Selected Driver Highlights:
Eric Beers (No. 45 Chevrolet)
• Has two wins, nine poles and 70 top 10s in 168 career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts.
• Is third in points with 10 top 10s. His best previous career points finish was fifth in 2005.
• Leads all drivers in laps completed with 2,082, two shy of the entire season’s total.
• Has a win, a pole and 16 top 10s in 42 career starts at Thompson International Speedway.
Jimmy Blewett (No. 76 Chevrolet)
• Has five wins, one pole and 26 top 10s in 85 starts.
• Has one top-10 finish in six appearances this year.
• Has five top 10s in 23 career starts at TIS with a best finish of second on two occasions.
Justin Bonsignore (No. 51 Chevrolet)
• The 2010 Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
• Has a win, three poles and 16 top 10s in 31 starts.
• Is sixth in points with a win and 10 top 10s, including the last seven races in a row.
• Has two top 10s in six career starts at TIS.
• Is the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 2011 Riverhead Raceway champion.
Ted Christopher (No. 36 Chevrolet)
• The 2008 NWMT champion. Has 42 wins and 23 poles in 306 career starts. His 42 wins rank third all-time and his 23 poles are eighth. Has at least one win in 13-straight seasons.
• Is ninth in points with four wins and 11 top 10s in 13 starts this year.
• Has 13 wins, six poles, 39 top 10s and 1,723 laps led in 74 career starts at TIS. He has won seven of the last 10 races at the track, including the first two in 2011, and the last three World Series events.
James Civali (No. 28 Chevrolet)
• Has four wins, a pole and 36 top 10s in 71 career starts.
• Has six top 10s in 14 starts this season. Will be in the No. 28 for the first time since Aug. 2, 2008.
• Won the 2007 Icebreaker in the No. 28. Has a pole and nine top 10s in 20 career starts at TIS.
Doug Coby (No. 52 Chevrolet)
• Has two wins, four poles and 45 top 10s in 115 career starts.
• Is fifth in points with 10 top 10s in 15 races this year.
• Won both the regular NWMT and combo exhibition races at TIS in the UNOH Showdown. Has 14 top 10s in 31 career starts at TIS.
Matt Hirschman (No. 3 Chevrolet)
• Has two wins, three poles and 36 top 10s in 72 career starts.
• Is seventh in points with top-10 finishes in seven of 15 races this year.
• Has seven top 10s in 20 starts at TIS with a best finish of second in 2008.
Chuck Hossfeld (No. 22 Chevrolet)
• Has seven wins, nine poles and 73 top 10s in 131 career starts.
• Has four appearances this year with a best finish of seventh at Stafford Motor Speedway in May.
• Won at TIS in 2003. Has a pole and 20 top 10s in 31 career starts at the track.
Rowan Pennink (No. 93 Chevrolet)
• Has a win and 35 top 10s in 72 career starts.
• Is fourth in points with 10 top 10s in 15 races. Held the points lead the first six races of the season.
• Has 12 top 10s in 19 races at TIS with a best finish of second in the 2011 Icebreaker.
Keith Rocco (No. 57 Chevrolet)
• Has four previous NWMT starts, including two at TIS. Made his debut in the 2008 World Series.
• Best finish in those four career starts was fifth at TIS on Sept. 2, 2009.
• The 2011 NWAAS national runner-up. Earned track titles at TIS and Waterford Speedbowl in the Modified divisions. Won five times at TIS this year, and has 27 overall NWAAS Modified wins.
• The 2010 NWAAS titlist has finished in the top four in the nation in each of the last five years.
Erick Rudolph (No. 98 Chevrolet)
• Has a win, two poles and 27 top 10s in 50 career starts.
• Is 10th in points with eight top 10s in 15 outings.
• Has three top 10s in 10 career starts at TIS with a best finish of fifth in the 2008 World Series.
Bobby Santos (No. 4 Dodge)
• Earned the 2010 NWMT championship in his first full-time season on the tour.
• Has six wins, seven poles and 29 top 10s in 58 career starts.
• Is eighth in points this year with a win, three poles and six top 10s in 15 outings.
• Has two wins, three poles and 11 top 10s in 20 starts at TIS. His first career win came in the 2007 World Series.
Ron Silk (No. 6 Chevrolet)
• Has seven wins, five poles and 52 top 10s in 96 career starts.
• Looks to earn his first NWMT title at TIS. Leads Todd Szegedy by 54 points in the standings.
• Has three wins, two poles and 12 top 10s in 15 races this year. His only 2011 DNF came in the Icebreaker, but he as finishes of second and ninth in the other two events at TIS.
• Has three wins and 16 top 10s in 26 career starts at TIS. Those wins were the first three of his career.
Mike Stefanik (No. 16 Ford)
• The 1989, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2006 NWMT champion.
• Holds NWMT records for most titles (7), wins (71), poles (46), top fives (216) and top 10s (283).
• Is 12th in points with a win and seven top 10s in 14 starts.
• Has a TIS record 14 wins and 61 top 10s in 100 career starts. Last win was the 2006 Icebreaker.
Todd Szegedy (No. 2 Ford)
• The 2002 Sunoco Rookie of the Year and 2003 tour champion.
• Has 17 wins, nine poles and 97 top 10s in 152 career starts.
• Trails championship leader Ron Silk by 54 points in his quest for a second title.
• Has three wins and 11 top 10s in 15 events this year.
• Has three wins, three poles and 17 top 10s in 35 career races at TIS. Last win was in 2008. Has finishes of 22nd, sixth and fifth in this year’s first three events at TIS.
At Thompson International Speedway:
• Opened on May 26, 1940 as the largest and first asphalt track in New England at the time.
• Has one of the oldest NASCAR affiliations in the nation.
• Held NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 1951, 1969 and 1970.
• Features weekly competition with six NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions.
• Has played host to 115 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races, the most in the tour’s 27 years.
• There have been 30 different race winners at TIS, led by Mike Stefanik’s 14 victories.
• There have been 40 different pole winners at TIS, led by Tony Hirschman’s 13.
• The Sunoco World Series is expected to have 10 drivers entered who have won at TIS during their careers: Stefanik (14), Ted Christopher (13), Ed Flemke Jr. (4), Ron Silk (3), Todd Szegedy (3), Bobby Santos (2), Eric Beers (1), James Civali (1), Doug Coby (1) and Chuck Hossfeld (1).
Thompson International Speedway Data
Race: #16 of 16 overall, #4 of 4 at TIS
Track Layout: .625-mile oval
Banking: 26 degrees in the turns
Race Length: 150 laps/93.75 miles
Qualifying Record: Bobby Santos (18.418 seconds, 122.163 mph – 4/11/10)
2010 Pole Winner: Bobby Santos (18.709 seconds, 120.263 mph)
2010 Race Winner: Ted Christopher (1:10.56, 79.300 mph)
NWMT Active Win Leaders at TIS
1. Mike Stefanik … 14
2. Ted Christopher … 13
3. Ed Flemke Jr. … 4
4. Ron Silk … 3
Todd Szegedy … 3
NWMT Active Pole Leaders at TIS
1. Mike Stefanik … 8
2. Ted Christopher … 7
3. Ed Flemke Jr. … 4
4. Bobby Santos … 3
Todd Szegedy … 3
Up to Speed:
• Bobby Santos broke his own track record in qualifying for the season opener at Thompson International Speedway while Ted Christopher took the checkered flag on April 10.
• Doug Coby was the pole winner at Stafford Motor Speedway for the Spring Sizzler and Santos took home the checkered flag on May 1.
• Ron Silk won from the pole at SMS on May 27.
• Todd Szegedy followed Silk’s example as he captured the pole and led all 175 laps en route to victory at Monadnock Speedway on June 26. The race was postponed a day due to rain.
• In the second of four races at TIS this year, Christopher earned the pole and then came from outside the top 15 with 25 laps left to earn the victory on June 30.
• Ryan Newman took the pole and the checkered flag at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 16, but Szegedy was awarded the victory after Newman was disqualified due to post-race technical violations.
• Justin Bonsignore earned his first NWMT victory at his home track when he took the checkers at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway on July 30. Local competitor Howie Brode also captured his first NWMT pole award prior to the race.
• Christopher retuned to Victory Lane once again at Stafford when he took the Town Fair Tire 150 checkered flag on Aug. 5. Coby earned the pole earlier in the day.
• Mike Stefanik tied Tony Hirschman for the most NWMT career wins at NHMS with his seventh on Aug. 13. Santos earned the pole as the NWMT shared the race weekend at ‘Magic Mile’ with the IZOD IndyCar Series.
• Santos earned his third pole and Newman once again proved to be unbeatable as he led 109 of 150 laps in the NWMT-NWSMT combination race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 24.
• Erick Rudolph captured his second career pole and Silk his sixth career victory in the inaugural event at Delaware (Ont.) Speedway on Sept. 4.
• Ryan Preece nabbed the pole and Coby the win in the Northern Thompson 125 on Sept. 11 at TIS. Coby followed later in the day by taking checkers in the exhibition UNOH Showdown.
• Szegedy earned the pole and had to make a late-race charge to reach Victory Lane for his first NWMT road course win at Lime Rock Park on Sept. 17.
• Silk regained the points lead with his third win of the season at NHMS on Sept. 24. Silk was also the pole winner for the New Hampshire 100.
• Christopher once again made a late-race rally to win at SMS on Oct. 2 while Bonsignore earned the Fall Final pole for the second year in a row.
Sources: Jason Cunningham/NASCAR WMT PR