Category Archives: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

Solomito, Others Look to Conquer the Thompson 125

IMG_0163(THOMPSON, CT) – Timmy Solomito will look to regain momentum heading into the fifth race of the Whelen Modified Tour schedule after winning the season opener at the 5/8 mile oval. Solomito led 43 laps en route to his first career victory, snapping a 4-race win streak at the track held by Doug Coby.

After his victory, Solomito finished 4th at the Spring Sizzler. He had arguably the fastest car on track at Waterford when he crashed out late in the race after showing great strength in fighting back from adversity multiple times. Last Friday at Stafford, he met a similar fate while advancing positions in the late stages to record a second DNF. Now sitting 7th in series standings, Solomito intends to turn his fortune around with a trip back to the site of his lone career win.

“There are three things I like about Thompson,” said Solomito. “I can drive the car hard, be aggressive, and run in the outside lane. Each of those suits my driving style. I’ve always had good runs at Thompson; from my first start there to running two Sunoco Modified races at the World Series, that racetrack is really good to us. I’m confident my team is going to give me a car I can win with.”

Justin Bonsignore’s team has had some bad luck as well, but they IMG_0042have been able to recover most of the time. The biggest thing hurting their team is poor qualifying efforts. Last time out they their showed resilience after losing a lap on pit road when, during a routine pit stop, his jackman was knocked off balance, throwing the entire stop out of sync. He rallied back to finish 5th heading into a track where he has won three times.

“It’s just a matter of not giving up,” said Bonsignore. “I was pretty frustrated on the radio (at Stafford), but Crew Chief Billy (Michaels) did a good job a keeping everyone calm and focused. It helps coming off a good finish with a little momentum and going to a track I like. We race well there and are usually in the Top-5 battling for a win in the late stages. This race is shorter with 125 laps so more strategy comes into play.”

IMG_9899-2Jimmy Blewett is coming off two consecutive podium finishes including a runner-up at the last event. Now with four races into his stint driving Bob Garbarino’s Starrett backed Mystic Missile, Blewett is in position to finally conquer Thompson. He has finished 2nd at the track on two occasions, but still lacks a trophy at the track that has eluded him throughout his career.

Coming off a win during the last event at Stafford, Doug Coby is IMG_8497 (2)once again riding momentum coming into one of his best tracks on the circuit. The speed he had during 2015 wasn’t there during the Icebreaker, but you can still expect the 5-time Thompson and defending race winner to be strong Wednesday night. Crew Chief, Phil Moran, said after the event that he knew exactly what the issue was and plans to have it rectified before Wednesday night.

IMG_7917 (2)Returning to the competition is Ryan Preece. Preece was second in the season opener after leading a race-high 91 laps.

A quick look at the point standings and you’ll find Donny Lia in the 3rd position. Lia has 3 Thompson wins in 40 starts and until the last event where he finished 3rd, the team has struggled to find speed this season. The last time Lia went to victory lane was in 2013, so the two-time series champion is hungry to get back into the winner’s circle. IMG_7945 (2)

The Thompson 125 is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15. Qualifying heats for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly divisions begins at 5pm, with pre-race ceremonies to follow at 6pm. Joining the racing card will be the NEMA Lite division. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.thompsonspeedway.com.

Joseph Fernandes and Michael Jaworecki Photos

Coby Pulls Away From Field At Stafford

Dominates For 19th Career NASCAR Whelen Modified Victory

 STAFFORD, Conn. (June 4, 2016) — Doug Coby continued his mastery of his home track Friday night.

The 36-year-old from Milford, Connecticut, won his third straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race Stafford Motor Speedway, the track where the three-time tour champion spent his early years racing, with yet another dominating effort. Coby led 129 of the 130 laps — pulling away on a green-white-checkered finish to claim the 26th Annual TSI Harley Davidson 125.

“Right now, our team is firing on all cylinders,” said Coby. “Everybody’s got to do their job, including me. And we did. That’s why we won.”

Jimmy Blewett scored his second straight podium with a runner-up finish, while Donny Lia, Eric Goodale and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top five.

The win was the 19th of Coby’s career in 175 starts, tying him with Jerry Marquis and Todd Szegedy for eighth all-time on the Whelen Modified Tour. Coby has won five of the tour’s last seven races, dating back to last year. It’s a streak that covers the last three events at Stafford.

Dating back to his win in the NAPA Fall Final last October, Coby’s No. 2 Dunleavy Repair/A&J Romano Construction Chevrolet has led 367 of the last 375 laps on the half-mile.

“Not to screw up our car by making too many changes,” said Coby of what his team has learned in order to keep winning at Stafford. “We were great at the Fall Final and that was the first time we ran the car here. And we tweak it during practice, and we tweak before the race. The guys know, night race, what’s going to happen. Obviously I know this race track. They know this race track.

“The goal right now is not screw it up. It’s fast. It’s going to be a contender every time we come here.”

Only a pair of late cautions were able to slow Coby. The final came on Lap 123 and set up an overtime finish. Coby, however, was able to get away from the pack and roll to Victory Lane.

“I left the door open a couple times,” said Coby, “but the car just had great forward bite off Turn 2. I think that was the difference for us.”

Rowan Pennink, who won the tracks’ NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I feature earlier in the night, finished sixth. Ron Silk, Bobby Santos, Brendon Bock and Max Zachem completed the top 10.

Championship contender Timmy Solomito was caught up in a late race incident that dropped him from second to seventh in points. Coby stretched his lead to 24 over Bonsignore and 28 over Donny Lia. Just 10 points separate Lia from an eighth-place tie between Blewett and Bock.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is back on track on Wednesday, June 15, at Thompson (Connecticut) Speedway Motorsports Park.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Stat Advance: Stafford

Analyzing The TIS Harley-Davidson 125 At Stafford Motor Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 1, 2016) – The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is set to headline Stafford Motor Speedway’s 26th Annual TSI Harley-Davidson 125 weekend. Below is a statistical look at the performance of selected drivers at the famed Connecticut oval in advance of Friday’s TSI Harley Davidson 125:

TSI Harley-Davidson 125 Setup:

  • Doug Coby will look to become the first driver to record three wins in a row at Stafford on two different occasions. He’s already joined Mike Stefanik and Ted Christopher as the only driver to record at least three wins in a row at the track.
  • Christopher, the active NWMT wins leader at Stafford with 12, with Bobby Santos second with nine and Coby third with eight wins at the track.
  • Coby won the NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 in April at Stafford from the pole for his fourth win at the famed half-mile oval.

At Stafford Motor Speedway:

History

  • The Stafford Springs Agricultural Park opened in 1870. The track was originally used for horse racing, which gave way to automobiles after World War II.
  • Stafford Motor Speedway became a NASCAR-sanctioned track in 1959 and was paved in 1967.
  • Stafford is one of nine tracks that have been a part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program in each of its 35 years of competition.
  • The track welcomed the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East 29 times from 1987-2008. NASCAR’s top developmental series will return to Stafford this June 17.
  • The inaugural NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Stafford was held on April 14, 1985. NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans won the 80-lap race as part of the 14th Annual Spring Sizzler weekend.

Notebook

  • The NWMT has held 119 races at Stafford since 1985, a total second only to the 131 events at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
  • Stafford has held multiple races in 31 of the tour’s 32 seasons. The lone exception was 1988.
  • There have been 32 different race winners at Stafford, led by Mike Stefanik’s 20 victories.
  • There have been 43 different pole winners at Stafford, led by Stefanik’s 17. Ryan Preece set the track qualifying record in the 2012 Spring Sizzler.
  • No driver has started all previous 119 races at Stafford. Jamie Tomaino has missed only one – the track’s inaugural race.
  • There have been eight races won in wire-to-wire fashion at Stafford, the last by Doug Coby in April.
  • Ryan Preece was the youngest Stafford race winner at 18 years, 9 months and 14 days in 2009.
  • Ted Christopher was the oldest Stafford victor at 53 years, 3 months and 28 days in 2011.
  • The TSI Harley-Davidson 125 entry list features eight drivers that have previously won at the track: Christopher (12), Doug Coby (7), Bobby Santos (6), Donny Lia, Jimmy Blewett and Woody Pitkat (2), Silk and Tomaino (1).

 

RACE CENTRAL LIVE

Stafford Motor Speedway Data

Race #:  4 of 17 overall, 2 of 4 at Stafford

Track Layout:  .5-mile asphalt oval

Race Length:  125 laps (62.5 miles)

Banking/Turns 1 & 2:  9 degrees

Banking/Turns 3 & 4:  7.5 degrees

 

Qualifying/Race Data

2015 Race Winner:  Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 61.830 mph, 1 hr. 00 mins. 39 secs.

2015 Pole Winner:  Doug Coby, Chevrolet, 98.517 mph, 18.271 secs.

Qualifying Record:  Ryan Preece, Ford, 100.424 mph, 17.924 secs., 4/29/12

 

Active Category Leaders at Stafford:

Wins

  1. Ted Christopher … 12
  2. Doug Coby … 8
  3. Bobby Santos … 6

Poles

  1. Bobby Santos … 9
  2. Donny Lia … 8
  3. Doug Coby … 5

Top Fives

  1. Ted Christopher … 30
  2. Todd Szegedy … 24
  3. Doug Coby … 16

Top 10s

  1. Jamie Tomaino … 55
  2. Ted Christopher … 52
  3. Todd Szegedy … 32

Laps Led

  1. Ted Christopher … 2,090
  2. Doug Coby … 1,024
  3. Todd Szegedy … 844

Laps Completed

  1. Jamie Tomaino … 17,062
  2. Ted Christopher … 13,287
  3. Todd Szegedy … 8,367

Starts

  1. Jamie Tomaino … 118
  2. Ted Christopher … 93
  3. Wade Cole … 58

Select Driver Highlights:

Jimmy Blewett (No. 4 Starrett Dodge)

  • Has five wins, three poles and 37 top 10s in 109 career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts.
  • Finished eighth in the season opener at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in his first appearance with Mystic Missile Racing.
  • Has two wins (Aug. 2008, May 2009), a pole (Sept. 2012), 15 top 10s and an average finish of 14th in 31 career NWMT starts at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Justin Bonsignore (No. 51 M3 Technology Chevrolet)

  • Has eight wins, five poles and 53 top 10s in 91 career starts.
  • Finished fifth at Stafford in this year’s Spring Sizzler.
  • Has two poles (Oct. 2010, `11), 13 top 10s, an average finish of 13th and a best result of second (April 2013, June 2014) in 25 career NWMT starts at Stafford.

Doug Coby (No. 2 Dunleavy’s Repair/A&J Romano Construction Chevrolet)

  • The 2012, `14 and `15 NWMT champion has 18 wins, 12 poles and 93 top 10s in 174 career starts.
  • Has eight wins, five poles, 26 top 10s and an average finish of 11th in 45 career NWMT starts at Stafford.
  • Won the Spring Sizzler in 2006, `12 and most recently in April.
  • Has 18 career NWAAS victories at Stafford, including five in SK Modifieds.

Chase Dowling (No. 9 S&S Asphalt Paving/Dunleavy’s Repair Chevrolet)

  • The 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year has nine top 10s in 18 career starts with a best finish of third (Riverhead 2015).
  • Recorded an average finish of 15th across his first four races at Stafford last year, including a sixth-place effort in the Fall Final.
  • Has eight career NWAAS victories at Stafford, including one in SK Modifieds.

Eric Goodale (No. 58 GAF Roofing/Supreme Skylights Chevrolet)

  • Has a win (Riverhead 2014), a pole (Monadnock Speedway 2013) and 45 top 10s in 104 career starts.
  • Maintains the NWMT’s active starts streak lead, now at 102 races.
  • Has eight top 10s, an average finish of 15th and a best result of fourth (April 2015) in 30 career Stafford races.

Donny Lia (No. 8 Sypher Construction/Bardahl Chevrolet)

  • The 2007 and `09 NWMT champion has 17 wins, 21 poles and 89 top 10s in 172 career starts.
  • Has averaged a top-10 finish in his last nine races.
  • Has four wins, eight poles, 27 top 10s and an average finish of 11th in 45 career Stafford appearances.

Rowan Pennink (No. 3 Cape Cod Copper/Canto Paving Chevrolet)

  • Has two wins and 60 top 10s in 127 career races.
  • Finished ninth in the Thompson opener in his first race with Boehler Racing Enterprises.
  • Has 21 top 10s, an average finish of ninth and a best result of second (April, May 2011) in 34 career NWMT starts at Stafford.
  • Earned six wins in Stafford’s SK Modifieds last year to capture his first NWAAS track championship. Has 12 career triumphs in the division.

Woody Pitkat (No. 85 Stuart’s Automotive/Dunleavy’s Repair Chevrolet)

  • Has three wins, four poles and 56 top 10s in 109 career starts.
  • Finished 10th in the opener at Thompson in his first NWMT start with Kevin Stuart Motorsports.
  • Has two wins (Aug. 2015, April 2015), 18 top 10s and an average finish of 13th in 31 Stafford NWMT races.
  • Has 27 career wins in Stafford’s SK Modified division, where he won the track championship in 2013. His 74 overall career feature wins at the track rank second all-time behind Ted Christopher.

Bobby Santos (No. 44 Tinio Corp./Dan Kelley/Curb Records Chevrolet)

  • The 2010 NWMT champion has 13 wins, 16 poles and 59 top 10s in 110 career events.
  • Finished 13th in the opener at Thompson.
  • The active leader with nine poles at Stafford, where he has six wins, 18 top 10s and an average finish of 11th in 28 races.
  • Finished seventh in the Spring Sizzler at Stafford in April.

Ron Silk (No. 82 Horton Avenue Materials Chevrolet)

  • The 2011 NWMT champion has 10 wins, nine poles and 88 top 10s in 148 career starts.
  • Finished fifth in the opener at Thompson in his NWMT debut for Danny Watts. The pair won their first NWAAS feature together at New Smyrna Speedway in February.
  • Has a win (May 2011), two poles (May 2010, `11), 19 top 10s and an average finish of 14th in 38 career NWMT races at Stafford.

Timmy Solomito (No. 16 Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises Ford)

  • The 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year has a win (Thompson 2016), a pole (Riverhead 2013) and 19 top 10s in 38 career starts.
  • Breakthrough first NWMT victory came in the opener at Thompson in April.
  • Has five top 10s, an average finish of 12th with a best run of third (June, Oct. 2015) in 11 career Stafford races.

Other Driver Notes

  • This will be Jamie Tomaino’s 601st career start. He is the tour’s all-time record holder in the category.
  • Max Zachem is coming off a career-best runner-up finish at New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
  • Leading Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Matt Swanson (ninth overall in points) made Whelen Modified Tour history when he debuted at Stafford Motor Speedway in 2015 at age 15.

Up To Speed:

  • This is the 32nd season of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour racing. The inaugural race was contested March 31, 1985 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
  • The 2016 schedule features 17 points races at nine different tracks across four states.
  • Timmy Solomito earned his first career victory in the 2016 season opener at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
  • Doug Coby won his second straight race at Stafford Motor Speedway winning the Spring Sizzler in April.
  • Ron Silk led a race 111 laps en route to winning the New England Cycle Center 161 at New London-Waterford Speedbowl in May..