Coby Looks To Fend Off Preece, Silk For First Title
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – And then there were three.
With only the Sunoco-Town Fair Tire World Series left on the schedule, there are three drivers left to vie for the 2012 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on Oct. 14: Doug Coby, Ryan Preece and reigning titlist Ron Silk.
With a 19-point lead, Coby is in the proverbial driver’s seat. The Milford, Conn., driver has registered finishes of eighth, third and 13th in the tour’s first three visits to Thompson this year. With another finish of 13th or better in the World Series, Coby will capture his first career Whelen Modified Tour title.
The 2012 title would be a crowning achievement for Coby, who has alternated between part-time and full-time status on the tour since 2002. He has two previous top-10 points finishes: seventh in 2005 and fifth a year ago. Five wins and 10 top 10s this year have the 33-year-old Coby in position to earn his first championship of any kind since he earned titles in weekly competition at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway in 1998 (Late Model) and 2000 (Pro Stock).
At 17 and 18 points behind Coby, respectively, Preece and Silk have their work cut out for them at Thompson. But like Coby, Preece has the hunger of chasing what would be his first title while Silk has the motivation to become the first back-to-back champion since Tony Hirschman in 2004-05.
Category Doug Coby Ryan Preece Ron Silk
Points 518 501 500
Wins 5 2 2
Top 5s 8 7 9
Top 10s 10 9 10
Laps Led 346 631 180
Laps Completed 1,764 1,870 1,869
Season Avg. Fin. At Thompson 8 12 7
Career Avg. Fin. At Thompson 13 13.8 11.7
Career Wins At Thompson 1 0 4
While there are many variables that would clinch the championship for any of the three contenders based on their potential finishes in the Thompson World Series, Preece and Silk will undoubtedly be looking to reach Victory Lane to gain those three additional winner’s bonus points.
Preece will also be looking for that elusive first career Thompson triumph. A winner of 10 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified features at the track this season alone, Preece has yet to find Victory Lane in 21 Whelen Modified Tour events there. He’s finished second three times and third twice, including the tour’s last visit there in September.
Silk has more of a pedigree of winning at Thompson than any of the other two contenders, having collected four checkered flags at the .625-mile oval, including the season-opening Icebreaker in April. Last year he survived a Thompson World Series full of twists and turns to celebrate his first tour title.
Whichever driver comes out on top in the championship chase, the Sunoco-Town Fair Tire World Series promises to fall in line with many of the recent Whelen Modified Tour events at Thompson: packed full of action. The previous six season-opening and season-closing events at the track have averaged eight lead changes and 10 cautions, providing plenty of excitement for competitors and fans alike.
RACE: Sunoco-Town Fair Tire World Series
PLACE: Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway
DATE: Sunday, Oct. 14
TIME: 3:15 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NASCARHomeTracks.com Radio pres. by Speed51.com
TRACK LAYOUT: .625-mile, high-banked asphalt oval
2011 WINNER: Glen Reen
2011 POLESITTER: Ryan Preece
EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday, Oct. 13 – Practice 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Qualifying 2:15 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 14 – Driver Autograph Session 1 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Russ Dowd, 860-923-2280, firstname.lastname@example.org
TRACK TWITTER: @ThompsonSpeedwy
EVENT HASHTAG: #ThompsonWorldSeries
NASCAR CONTACT: Jason Cunningham, 704-201-6658, email@example.com, Twitter: @NASCAR_NE
EVENT SCHEDULE | ENTRY LIST
The Race: The Sunoco-Town Fair Tire World Series will be the fourth and final event this year for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson International Speedway, and will conclude the 2012 competition season.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field for the Sunoco-Town Fair Tire World Series is 32 cars, including provisionals. The first 27 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 150 laps (93.75 miles) and the tire change rule is three tires, any position.
The Track: A .625-mile high-banked oval that opened in 1940, Thompson was the first entirely asphalt track in the nation, and was the largest in New England for five decades. Thompson has played host to 119 Whelen Modified Tour races all-time, more than any other track.
Race Winners: There have been 32 different race winners at Thompson, led by Mike Stefanik’s 14 victories. Glen Reen won this event last year while Ron Silk, Donny Lia and Justin Bonsignore have earned victories in the tour’s first three trips to Thompson this year.
Pole Winners: There have been 40 different pole winners at Thompson, led by Tony Hirschman’s 13. Ryan Preece earned the pole for this race last year, and in two of the previous three races there this year. Bobby Santos set the tour’s track qualifying record at 18.237 seconds (123.376 mph) on April 10, 2011.
THOMPSON RACE NOTES
Christopher’s Streak on the Line: Ted Christopher’s streak for consecutive seasons with a win is on the line in this week’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 2012 finale at Thompson International Speedway. Christopher entered the current campaign with at least one victory in the previous 13 seasons. Through 13 points events this year he has yet to extend that streak to 14 years. Christopher won the exhibition UNOH Showdown at Thompson on Sept. 9, but will need what would be his 14th official victory at the track on Sunday to keep his tour-best streak intact.
Christopher Shines in the World Series: The Thompson World Series might just be the perfect scenario for Christopher to keep the previously-mentioned streak going. Christopher is the all-time leader with four Whelen Modified Tour wins in the traditional season-ending event at Thompson. His first came in 2001, then he captured three in a row from 2008-10. Christopher’s 13 total wins at Thompson are one shy of tying Mike Stefanik for the tour record at the track.
Flemke to Complete 20-Straight Years of Starts: When he takes the green flag at Thompson, Ed Flemke Jr. will have completed his 20th-consective season of competing in every race. Flemke’s Whelen Modified Tour record for consecutive starts will reach 368 at the Thompson World Series, a streak that started during the 1992 season. He’s competed in every race of each season since 1993.
Blewett to Reach Milestone: Jimmy Blewett is set to make his 100th Whelen Modified Tour start in the Thompson World Series. Blewett made his tour debut with a ninth-place finish at Chemung (N.Y.) Speedrome on Aug. 10, 2001. In 99 career appearances he’s recorded five wins, two poles and 32 top 10s.
Double-Duty Weekend for Christopher, Preece: Prior to competing in the Whelen Modified Tour season finale at Thompson, Christopher and Ryan Preece will also participate in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour’s curtain-closer at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday, Oct. 11. Christopher is slated to run the No. 79 Hillbilly Racing Pontiac and Preece will pilot his own No. 41 Chevrolet around the Charlotte quarter-mile track in the UNOH Southern Slam 150.
HOME TRACKS: Preece Tops at Thompson
Ryan Preece captured his first Thompson International Speedway track title in 2012 with a commanding performance in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series’ Sunoco Modified division. The 2011 titlist at Stafford Motor Speedway, Preece reeled off 10 wins in 19 races at Thompson this season to out-distance Kerry Malone by 114 points for the crown. Three additional NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers also visited Victory Lane in a Sunoco Modified this year at Thompson, including: Woody Pitkat (4), Ted Christopher (2), Keith Rocco (2).
LAST TIME OUT: Stafford
The most recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race was held at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway on Sept. 30. Here are some highlights from the CARQUEST Fall Final:
• Bobby Santos took the lead from Woody Pitkat with six laps to go and held on for his seventh career win, and fourth at Stafford.
• Pitkat finished as the runner-up, which tied his career-best NWMT result. He led a career-high 128 laps in the event.
• Jimmy Blewett won the pole for the Fall Final. It was just the second of his career and first since June 2006 at Thompson International Speedway.
• Santos’ victory ended the hopes of Doug Coby to pull off a season sweep at Stafford. Coby was attempting to become the first driver in NWMT history to win all four races in one season at the historic half mile.
NEXT TIME OUT: Night of Champions, UNOH Battle Highlight Postseason Schedule
Before the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Thompson International Speedway next spring for the Icebreaker, there are two major events on the offseason schedule. The 28th NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion will be crowned as part of the NASCAR Night of Champions Awards banquet, which will include ceremonies for the seven NASCAR touring series on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach will then take place Feb. 18-19 on a temporary .4-mile oval on the backstretch at Daytona International Speedway as part of 2013 Speedweeks. By virtue of wins through the Whelen Modified Tour’s first 13 events, Justin Bonsignore, Doug Coby, Donny Lia, Ryan Preece, Bobby Santos, Ron Silk and Mike Stefanik have locked-in starting positions for the 150-lap exhibition Whelen Modified-Whelen Southern Modified Tour combination race on Feb. 19.
Sources: Jason Cunningham/NASCAR WMT PR
NWMT Thompson 10/14/12 Schedule
Time Series Event
7:30 a.m. NWMT Haulers Enter
8 a.m. Paddock Opens
8 a.m. NWMT Garage Opens
9 a.m. Grandstand Opens
9-10:30 a.m. NWAAS Practice
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. NWMT Practice
2:15 p.m. NWMT Qualifying
Following NWAAS Qualifying
Following NWAAS Features (Mini Stock, Late Model, Lite Modified, Limited Sportsman, Thompson Modified)
8 a.m. Paddock Opens
9 a.m. Grandstand Opens
9 a.m. NWMT Garage Opens
1:15 p.m. NWAAS Features (Sunoco Modified, Super Late Model)
1:30 p.m. NWMT Driver/Crew Chief Meeting
2 p.m. NWMT Driver Autograph Session
3:15 p.m. NWMT Sunoco-Town Fair Tire Word Series (150 Laps, 93.75 Miles)
All times ET and subject to change
NWMT Thompson 10/14/12 Entry List
CAR DRIVER/HOMETOWN TEAM OWNER CREW CHIEF
01 Jimmy Zacharias, Candor, N.Y. * Buckley’s Automotive/Wilbur’s Autos Chevrolet Thomas Wanick TBA
2 Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, Conn Dunleavy Repair/A&J Romano Const. Ford Mike Smeriglio, III Phil Moran
3 Keith Rocco, Wallingford, Conn. * Cape Cod Copper/Silver Dollar Const. Chevrolet Jan Boehler Scott Richards
4 Donny Lia, Jericho, N.Y. Mystic Missile Racing Dodge Robert Garbarino Dan Laferriere
6 Ron Silk, Norwalk, Conn. T.S. Haulers/Calverton Tree Farm Chevrolet Ed Partridge Tom Grasso
07 Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, N.Y. Emerling Chevrolet Dealership Chevrolet Jennifer Emerling Mike Paquette
10 Tommy Barrett Jr., Millis, Mass. * Friends of Teto Racing/Make-A-Wish Chevrolet Gary Teto Ralph Solhem
11 Driver TBA Spectro Oils of America Ford John Lukosavage Lloyd Agor
16 Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn. East West Marine/Diversified Metals Ford Eric Sanderson Stan Szaban
18 Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y. Buoy One Seafood/MacLad Drywall Chevrolet Robert Pollifrone Greg Gorman
28 Ed Flemke, Jr., Southington, Conn Ron Bouchard's Autos/Raceworks TV Chevrolet Don King Thomas Trcka
33 Wade Cole, Riverton, Conn. Perf. Engines/Kendall Oil/Ryan's Chevrolet Beth Cole Rick Rodenbaugh
38 Driver TBA Perf. Engines/Kendall Oil/Ryan's Chevrolet Linda Rodenbaugh Jake Marosz
44 Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass. ImperialCars.com/Tinio Corp. Chevrolet Sully Tinio Steve Lemay
45 Eric Beers, Northampton, Pa. Horwith Freightliner/John Blewett Inc. Ford Dave Delange Ryan Plourde
46 Eric Berndt, Cromwell, Conn. Cape Cod Agts./North End Auto Parts Chevrolet Robert Katon, Jr. Richard Rotundo
50 Matt Hirschman, Northampton, Pa. Heritage Wide Plank Flooring Chevrolet Nancy Goodale Kevin Goodale
51 Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, N.Y. M3 Technology Chevrolet Ken Massa John Sanford
52 Doug Coby, Milford, Conn. Reynolds Auto Wrkng./Furnace & Duct Chevrolet Wayne Darling John McKenna
57 Shawn Solomito, Islip, N.Y. * Acme Sanitary Svc./Empower Capital Chevrolet Thomas Bonsignore TBA
58 Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y. Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet Edgar Goodale Jason Shephard
64 Ron Yuhas, Jr., Groton, Conn. Hughes Motors/Complete Const. Chevrolet Mike Murphy Stephen Dodge
66 Mike Stefanik, Coventry, R.I. Town Line Farm/Cady’s Tavern Ford Ed Marceau Brad Lafontaine
68 Johnny Bush, Huntington Station, N.Y. Two Brothers Scrap Metal Chevrolet Charlene Bush Ed Schutze
70 Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H. Rockingham Boat/Summit Signs Chevrolet Steve Seuss Lyle Patterson
71 Rob Fuller, Boylston, Mass. Draco Spring Ford Rob Fuller Bobby Fuller
73 Cole Powell, Mt. Brydges, Ont., Canada * Tricar/Copps BuildAll Chevrolet Todd Powell Todd Powell
76 Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J. John Blewett Inc./Atlantic Sprinkler Chevrolet John Blewett Ed Bennett
79 Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn. Hill Enterprises/Coors Light Pontiac Sandra Hill David Hill
82 Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn. TBA Ford TBA TBA
88 Bryon Chew, Mattituck, N.Y. Buzz Chew Chevrolet/Elbow East Chevrolet Buzz Chew Ron Ste. Marie
93 Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. Monk Mechanics Hand Cleaner Chevrolet Mark Pennink Don Barker
99 Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J. Supreme Manufacturing Chevrolet Trey Tomaino Trey Tomaino
* Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender
Unofficial Entry List, as of Oct. 8