BYKYLE SOUZA NASCAR.COM JULY 29, 2019
Photo (Jim Dupont/NASCAR)
Two stops at two historic Connecticut ovals are going to play a major role in the championship battle for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Friday, the first of those stops brings drivers back the Stafford Motor Speedway for the Stafford 150, the second of three events at the half-mile this season. The NAPA Spring Sizzler, originally scheduled for April, didn’t take the green flag until the middle of May.
Let’s hope Mother Nature has better plans this time around.
Doug Coby grew up racing at Stafford Motor Speedway.
The Milford, Connecticut, driver, and now five-time Whelen Modified Tour champion, spent his days rising through the ranks of racing on Friday night’s as part of Stafford’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program. Coby won a championship in both the Late Model and Pro Stock divisions at the Arute family-owned facility before he went to the big dance.
Fifty-five starts later in Whelen Modified Tour action at Stafford, his success is definitely no fluke. Coby has 12 wins and 23 top-five finishes to his credit, including a victory in the NAPA Spring Sizzler this season, where he led 20 laps en route to what was his second win of the campaign. Since then, he’s also added another checkered flag. Coby leads by 28 over Ron Silk with seven races to go, and while he looks to continue to add to the record books, a little bit of home cooking could be in order.
Speaking of Silk, the Norwalk, Connecticut, native is no stranger to Stafford himself. In 47 of his own starts, Silk has one victory (2011), but has made a habit of finishing well. He finished third in the NAPA Spring Sizzler in May, leading 11 of the 200 laps. During his pairing with his current team, Kevin Stuart Motorsports, Silk has three top-five runs in five races. The 2011 Whelen Modified Tour champion is also coming off a major triumph at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he captured the win in the Eastern Propane & Oil 100.
Chase Dowling might be the car to beat. Driving for veteran Jamie Tomaino, Dowling is coming off a podium run at NHMS, but showed plenty of speed in the Sizzler. The rising star, who is a former frontrunner in Stafford’s SK Light and SK Modified divisions, led 78 laps in the Sizzler and was leading the field before a rear-end issue sidelined him in the final laps.
Craig Lutz is another driver to keep an eye on. Lutz has seven consecutive top 10 finishes at the half-mile, including back-to-back second place runs. In the Sizzler, Lutz finished second to Coby, leading five laps before Coby slid around in the final laps.
Joey Cipriano III, Andrew Molleur and Mark Bakaj, all drivers who run weekly at Stafford, are also expected to compete.
|PLACE||Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford, Connecticut|
|DATE||Friday, August 2|
|TELEVISION||NBCSN, Wednesday, August 7, 7 p.m. — FansChoice.TV (Live Broadcast)|
|TRACK LAYOUT||Half-mile paved oval|
|2018 WINNER||Doug Coby|
|2018 POLE||Chase Dowling|
|EVENT SCHEDULE||Friday: Garage Open: 1:45 p.m., Final Practice: 4-5 p.m., Group Qualifying: 6:35 p.m., Driver Autograph Session: 7:15 p.m., Stafford 150: 9:15 p.m.|
CREW CHIEF HANDOUT:
The starting field for the Stafford 150 is limited to 31 starters, including provisional positions. The first 25 drivers will secure starting positions through the qualifying process. The remaining six positions will be awarded through the provisional process.
NASCAR group qualifying is in place for this event. Qualifying order will be determined by each vehicle’s fastest single lap from the official practice session. The number of groups for qualifying will be determined by NASCAR. Each group qualifying session will be five (5) minutes in duration and the fastest single lap speed of each vehicle will determine the starting positions 1st through 25th. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on a vehicle after the vehicle enters the track to begin the qualifying session. Vehicles may not return to the track or make any further qualifying laps unless directed to do so by a NASCAR official or in the event of a caution. If a vehicle returns to pit road, the vehicle’s qualifying attempt is complete. Once a vehicle’s qualifying attempt is complete the vehicle must proceed directly to the designated impound area once it enters pit road. In the event of a caution, all vehicles must exit the track. Vehicles that elect to continue must proceed directly to the re-entry area of pit road and stop to the outside of pit road. No adjustments or repairs may not be made to any vehicle on pit road or in the re-entry area during a caution.
The maximum tire allotment available for this event is eleven (11) tires per team. Four (4) tires must be used for qualifying and to begin the race. The tire change is four (4) tires, any position.