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NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes: Stafford


Whelen Mods Headline 43rd Annual NAPA Fall Final Weekend

  • Three-Way Battle Returns To Stafford


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 29, 2015) – The Doug Coby-Woody Pitkat-Ryan Preece battle has played out across the northeast the last two years, but nowhere has it been more magnified than at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway – the venue for Sunday’s NAPA Fall Final 150.

The trio has won 11 of the previous 15 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at the historic half-mile, including the last six in a row. Coby claimed five of those checkered flags from 2012-14, but Pitkat (two) and Preece (three) have won the last five in a row while Preece garnered a fourth win in the midst of Coby’s run.

In the tour’s last visit to Stafford in August, Preece, Coby and Pitkat finished 1-2-3, which was a microcosm of the season-long championship battle between the three. All three have taken their turn atop the standings – the only drivers to do so this year – and the margin between first and second has never reached double digits.

Following last week’s fireworks at New Hampshire Motor Speedway where Coby bumped Preece from the race and championship lead with contact on the last lap of the event, Pitkat returns to his hometown track with an eight-point edge on Preece atop the standings. Coby’s max-points New Hampshire victory, combined with Preece’s 19th place finish after the contact, gained Coby 14 points on the day. He remained in third, but is now just 11 points behind the leader instead of the 25-tally hole he had prior to New Hampshire.

The situation is reminiscent of the 2009 season when the Whelen Modified Tour went into Fall Final weekend with Ted Christopher leading Donny Lia by one and Preece by 12. Lia took the Fall Final 150 checkered flag and went on to celebrate the championship three weeks later in the finale at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Stafford’s final weekend is no stranger to close championship chases in recent seasons. Including that 2009 battle and the current season, four of the last seven years the margin between first and second has been eight points or less entering the Fall Final 150.

Pitkat and Preece will want to continue their recent success at Stafford because the season finale at Thompson looms as an advantage for Coby. He’s led 289 of 425 laps en route to max-points victories in each of the three races there this year.

RACE:  NAPA Fall Final 150

PLACE:  Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway

DATE:  Sunday, Oct. 4

TIME:  3:15 p.m. ET (approx.)

TELECAST:  NBCSN, Oct. 10, 4 p.m. ET

TRACK LAYOUT:  .5-mile, semi-banked asphalt oval

2014 WINNER:  Ryan Preece

2014 POLESITTER:  Bobby Santos

EVENT SCHEDULE:  Saturday – Practice 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m., Qualifying 2:30 p.m., Sunday – NAPA Pit Party Driver Autograph Session 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

TRACK CONTACT:  Scott Runnin, scottrunning@staffordspeedway.com

TRACK TWITTER:  @StaffordSpeedwy


NASCAR CONTACT:  Jason Cunningham,  jcunningham@nascar.com, Twitter: @NASCAR_NE

Fast Facts:

The Race:  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will headline Stafford Motor Speedway’s 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend with the last of its four trips to the historic half mile in 2015. The NAPA Fall Final 150 will be the 14th of 15 events on the schedule.

The Procedure:  The maximum starting field per the official entry blank is 33 cars, including provisionals. The first 28 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 (75 miles) and is an impound race with three change tires allowed for the event.

The Track:  A half-mile, slightly-banked oval, Stafford originated as a horse racing track in the 1870s. After seven decades as a horse track, the dirt oval started holding automobile races following World War II. Stafford became a NASCAR-sanctioned track in 1959 and was paved for the first time in 1967. Stafford’s 117 Whelen Modified Tour races are second all-time.

Race Winners:  There have been 32 different race winners at Stafford all-time, led by Mike Stefanik’s 20 victories. Woody Pitkat and Ryan Preece have combined to win the last five events at the track.

Pole Winners:  There have been 43 different pole winners at Stafford, led by Stefanik’s 17. Ryan Preece holds the tour’s track qualifying record at 17.924 seconds (100.424 mph), set during the 2012 Spring Sizzler.

NAPA Fall Final 150 Notes:

Williams Set for Tour Debut:  Stafford Motor Speedway’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standout Ronnie Williams is set to make his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut in the NAPA Fall Final 150. Williams, whose first tour start will come four days prior to his 19th birthday, has racked up six SK Modified feature wins at Stafford this year to tie Rowan Pennink for the division lead. He will pilot a modified owned by tour veteran and fellow Stafford weekly competitor Ted Christopher in the NAPA Fall Final 150.


Preece’s Busy Schedule Continues:  Following last Saturday’s F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Ryan Preece made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut the following day at the same track and finished 32nd after he started 37th. In addition to chasing two modified championships, he has a pair of other ventures on the horizon as he will compete in this Friday’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Dover International Speedway as well as the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event on Oct. 8 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.


Emerling’s Step-Up Season:  Patrick Emerling is well on the way to his best record in five years on the Whelen Modified Tour. With two races remaining he already has two more top-10 finishes than his previous career high, and last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway his runner-up finish to Doug Coby was his best finish in 67 career starts. Emerling earned his first career Coors Light Pole Award in the Whelen Modified Tour’s last visit to Stafford in August, and duplicated that the following week at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. He currently sits fifth in points.


Home Tracks:  Pennink Poised for First Title

Rowan Pennink brings a 12-point lead in the SK Modified division standings into NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend in an attempt to secure his first career Stafford Motor Speedway track championship. Pennink has posted six wins and 18 top 10s in 21 starts to lead Ryan Preece, who ranks second with three triumphs with 19 top 10s. The 2011 track titlist Preece has finished as the championship runner-up by a mere two points in each of the two previous seasons.

NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour News & Notes: Hickory

nascar whelen mod sou[2]Tour Returns To Track For First Time Since 2011

 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 29, 2015) – The penultimate event on the 2015 schedule will be held this Saturday as the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour returns to Hickory Motor Speedway for the first time since 2011 for the MTP Tire 150.

One driver who is looking forward to returning to the track is four-time Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III. Brunnhoelzl has rebounded from a tough start to the season with three straight podium finishes to get back in contention for a potential fifth championship.

Brunnhoelzl won at Hickory in 2011 when he took the lead from Zach Brewer with two laps to go in the race. The West Babylon, New York, native will be the only driver in the field this weekend that has won a NASCAR-sanctioned modified race at the historic track.

Veterans Frank Fleming, Burt Myers and Jason Myers are the only drivers currently entered to have started both previous races held at the .363-mile track. The Myers brothers enter the race in contention for the 2015 championship, 10 points behind leader Andy Seuss with Brunnhoelzl 13 points back.

Burt Myers, who won his lone NWSMT championship in 2010, is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in both previous races at HMS. The Walnut Cove, North Carolina, driver finished third in 2006 and eighth in 2011.

Seuss goes after his second straight win and third this season at Hickory after scoring the checkered flag last time out at South Boston Speedway two weeks ago. Seuss finished sixth at HMS in his lone start at the track in 2006.


Race Details

RACE: MTP Tire 150

PLACE: Hickory Motor Speedway, Hickory, N.C.

DATE: Saturday, Oct. 3

TIME: 8 p.m. ET (Approximately)

TRACK LAYOUT: .363-mile asphalt oval

2011 WINNER: George Brunnhoelzl III

2011 POLE SITTER: Patrick Emerling

EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 2-2:25 p.m.; Final practice 2:55-3:20 p.m.; Two-Lap Qualifying 5 p.m.; Autograph Session 6:15 p.m. (On Track)

TRACK CONTACT:        Kevin Piercy

TRACK TWITTER:         @HickorySpeedway

EVENT HASHTAG:        #Hickory150

NASCAR CONTACT:     Tim Southers,


Fast Facts

The Race: The MTP Tire 150 will be the 10th of 11 races of the 2015 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship season. This is the tour’s third visit to the historic oval, and first since 2011.

The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining three starting spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (54.45 miles) and teams have an opportunity to pit and change one tire during the event.

The Track: Hickory is a .363-mile high-banked asphalt oval located in Hickory, North Carolina, that features NASCAR Whelen All-American Series-sanctioned events on Saturday nights throughout the racing season, headlined by the late model division. The track is a .363-mile paved oval with 14 degrees of banking in Turns 1 & 2 and 12 degrees in Turns 3 & 4. The straightaways have eight degrees of banking.

The Records: Patrick Emerling holds the qualifying record of 92.119 mph on April 2, 2011; Junior Miller holds the race record set on Sept. 30, 2006, 82.548 mph, 39 minutes 15 seconds. The race in 2006 was caution free.

Hickory 150 Notes

Jason Myers Ready for Hickory: After finishing seventh at South Boston Speedway, Jason Myers will look to rebound this week at Hickory Motor Speedway. Myers has recorded one top-10 finish in two previous starts at the track. Although he enters this weekend tied in the championship standings with older brother, Burt, he’s in third place as Burt owns the tiebreaker with his win at Langley Speedway in April.

Measmer Honors Mother With Paint Scheme: Bobby Measmer Jr. has enjoyed a recent run of success as the Concord, North Carolina, driver is coming off of his career-best finish of third and his first Coors Light Pole Award at South Boston on Sept. 19th. He has painted his No. 14 modified pink to honor his mother who is battling breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Famous Names: Some famous names that have driven at the track include the late Ralph Earnhardt, who won a total of five track championships, while NASCAR Hall of Fame members Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson also own track titles. Fellow Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett also called the track home early in his career. A total of 10 already or soon-to-be inductees in the NASCAR Hall of Fame won races at the track.

Home Tracks: Piercy Scores Track Championship

University of North Carolina at Charlotte Engineering student Matt Piercy was able to outlast fellow second generation driver Landon Huffman to win the Hickory Motor Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championship in Late Model Stocks two weeks ago. Piercy topped Huffman, who is the son of former NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series champion Robert Huffman, by just eight points.


Earns fourth career win U.S. Open Modified victory

Photo:  Joe Grabianowsi/STRN
Photo: Joe Grabianowsi/STRN

LANCASTER, N.Y. (September 27, 2015) – Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA topped a field of 27 Modifieds to capture the 27th annual U.S. Open 125 Race of Champions Modified Tour event at Lancaster National Speedway on Sunday.

In other action from the final day of U.S. Open weekend, Dave Russell of Clarence, N.Y. won the 30-lap X-Press Signs Late Model feature presented by Abbott Rd Pizza. Jake Wylie of Blasdell, N.Y. was victorious in the 25-lap Super Stock feature.

Hirschman passed Mike Leaty for the lead with 18 laps to go and drove on to earn his fourth career U.S. Open win. He had to rally back after being caught up in a spin by Daren Scherer on lap 84 that forced him to the rear of the field.

Nick Pecko and Patrick Emerling the field to the initial green flag in front of a large crowd of Western New York race fans on a sun-splashed day. Pecko would develop troubles on the race’s second lap as he slowed on the backstretch. Rusty Smith ran into the back of Pecko has he lost power, which cut down Smith’s right front tire. Smith would return after a pit stop, but Pecko was done for the day.

This moved Emerling and T.J. Potrzebowski to the front row for the restart. Potrzebowski took command of the field on the race’s second lap, and he quickly established command over the rest of the field.

The race’s first 21 laps were plagued by four cautions, but then the field settled in for a long run of green flag laps. Potrzebowski ran away from the pack during this time while many competitors were concentrating on tire strategy.

One driver that wasn’t worried about tire wear was John Wilber of Elmira, N.Y. Wilber worked his way through the field to the runner-up spot on lap 36. He then chased down Potrzebowski who had built a sizable lead, but Potrzebowski began to develop a vibration in his left fire tire as the race approached lap 50. Wilber caught and passed Potrzebowski for the lead on lap 54 as Potrzebowski struggled to control his car.

As the green flag run wore on, Wilber extended his lead over the rest of the field to more than a straightaway. Wilber, however, gave up that margin when he spun in turn one on lap 63. The caution flag put an end to the green flag run that lasted 42 laps. The large majority of the field took the opportunity during the caution period to make a pit stop, with just Rusty Smith and Amy Catalano remaining on the speedway.

Chuck Hossfeld beat the rest of the cars off pit road to fill in behind Smith and Catalnao in third with Andy Jankowiak in fourth and Mike Leaty in fifth.

2014 U.S. Open winner, Tony Hanbury, brought out the race’s next caution when he stopped on the track with mechanical problems on lap 74. Smith and Catalano gave up their track position at this point to come down pit road. This moved Leaty into the lead followed by Bobby Holmes, Daren Scherer, Rick Kluth and Andy Jankowiak.

Holmes pressured Leaty for the lead as the race went back to green. On lap 80, Holmes drove too hard into turn one and nearly crashed into the wall. He managed to save the car, but gave up five positions in the process.

Four laps later Scherer was being challenged by Jankowiak for second when he spun in turn one. Hirschman had to stop on the track to avoid crashing into Scherer, and was forced to fall to the rear of the field.

Hirschman started 20th and spent the first half of the race conserving his tires. He nearly fell off the lead lap during the long green flag run as Potrzebowski was a few car lengths away from putting him a lap down. Potrzebowski’s handling problems allowed him to stay on the lead lap, and he pitted with the majority of the field on lap 64. 

During the caution period Patrick Emerling stopped on the track with mechanical problems. He would eventually return to action, but lost two laps in the pits while making repairs.

Hirschman had worked his way back to seventh on lap 97 when the caution flag flew for Bryan Sherwood stopping on the track. Seven laps later he was up to third, and then Hirschman set his sights on Leaty for the lead. Hirschman drove under Leaty in turn two on lap 107 to take over first place.

That pass proved to be the race winning one as Hirschman cruised the rest of the way for the victory. It was Hirschman’s first win of the year on the Race of Champions Modified Tour.

“It’s been over a year since we won an RoC race,” said Hirschman, “it’s been tough, there were some opportunities this year where things didn’t work out.”  “I was really focused in on this, I prepared hard for this, even with the stopping for that caution I was just determined to get it done.”

Hirschman inherited the series points lead following Emerling’s mechanical woes. Emerling led by 14 points at the start of the U.S. Open 125, but now Hirschman leads by 37 going into the season finale next weekend at Chemung for the Race of Champions 200.

Jankowiak finished second followed by Hossfeld, Holmes and Smith.

Dave Russell earned his first career U.S Open feature win as he won the 30-lap X-Press Signs Late Model feature presented by Abbott Rd Pizza. Russell passed Jeff Brown for the lead on lap 17 and drove away for the win.

Bobby Weber was denied a perfect season in the Late Models at Lancaster as he was involved in two incidents early on in the race. He received damaged when he tangled with Matt Alix on the race’s second lap. He then developed mechanical issues on lap nine, which eliminated him from competition.

Jake Wylie won the 25-lap Super Stock feature for his second win of the season at Lancaster. Wylie was running third on lap three when race leader Tommy Krawczyk slid up the race track in turn four. Wylie was able to dive under Krawczyk and second place Lee Sharpsteen to take over the top spot.

Wylie becomes the third member of his family to win an U.S. Open feature. Wylie’s father, Rick, is a three-time Late Model Pro Stock winner while his brother, Scott, has won twice in the Cup Lites and once in the IMCA-Style Modifieds.

Lancaster National Speedway has announced they will open the 2016 season on April 16 & 17. Sunday, April 17 will be the opener for the stock car program which will be headlined by the Sunoco Race of Champions Modified Tour. The RoC Modified Tour will make four visits to Lancaster in 2016 with the Ol’ Boy Cup 60, Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 and U.S. Open 125 on next year’s schedule.

Lancaster closes the 2015 season with Pro Mod-A-Palooza on Saturday, October 10 for the Franco’s Pizza IHRA Drag Racing Series. We will crown our remaining dragway track champions with the final points races for all weekly classes and Quick 16. Plus, there will be a shootout between some of the top Pro Modified teams in the region. The Buffalo Street Outlaws will be part of this amazing show as well.. For more information log on to www.promodapalooza.com.

Founded in 1959, Lancaster National Speedway is a multi-use facility located on 77 acres just outside of metropolitan Buffalo, NY. The facility features a 1/8-mile drag, a 5/8-mile oval track and hosts several non-motorsports events such as car shows and concerts. For the latest information on Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway check out our all-new website www.lancasternationalspeedway.com. Additional information for racers and fans can be found on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LancasterSpeedway) and on Twitter (@LancasterSpdwy).



Heat Winners: T.J. Potrzebowski, Partick Emerling, Chuck Hossfeld

Feature: MATT HIRSCHMAN, Andy Jankowiak, Chuck Hossfeld, Bobby Holmes, Rusty Smith, Karl Hehr, Will Thomas, George Skora III, Kevin Timmerman, T.J. Potrzebowski, Daren Scherer, Mike Leaty, Rick Kluth, Patrick Emerling, Dave Rigan, Amy Catalano, Bryan Sherwood, Kirk Totten, Sam Fullone, John Wilber, Tony Hanbury, Chris Ridsdale, Daryl Lewis, Jr., Donny Hartzell, Nick Pecko, Tommy Catalano, Bill Mislin


Heat Winners: Bobby Weber, Dave Russell

Feature: DAVE RUSSELL, Jeff Brown, Dave Whittaker, Matt Alix, Sam Fullone, Ron Nurmi, Frank Batista, Jerry Dineen, JD Roberts, Billy Osborn, Nick Crassi, Ron Richter, Bobby Weber, Eldon King III, Terry Weldy, Dave Rigan


Heat Winners: Eric Brown, Mitchell Wright, Jake Wylie

Feature: JAKE WYLIE, Eric Brown, Joe Mancuso, Tommy Krawczyk, Bobby Schosek, Robert Fink, Nate Peckham, Lee Sharpsteen, Vern Headdrick, Chuck Tripp, Tom Zacharias, Pete Pieczysnki, Mike Nichols, Josh Hunter, Jason Dieter, Gary Now, Bill Frisbee, Jr., Billy Coyle DNS: Brandon Sherwood