For Immediate Release
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes: Stafford
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 24, 2012) – As the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to Stafford Motor Speedway for the fourth and final time this season for the CARQUEST Fall Final on Sunday, Sept. 30, points leader Doug Coby has two solid sources of motivation to keep his record perfect at the historic half mile.
Coby, from Milford, Conn., is three-for-three in Whelen Modified Tour events this year at Stafford. In the 27 years that the tour has held events at the track, no driver has pulled off a season sweep. And if he were to do so, it would put him one strong step closer to a championship.
Coby is already in a select company of drivers that have been able to win three of four in a season at Stafford, including Mike Stefanik (1990, `97, `98), Ted Christopher (2002) and Tony Hirschman (`05). Among those, only Stefanik in `97 and Christopher in `02 had the opportunity to secure the sweep heading into the Fall Final after winning in the first three races.
Entering this week’s event at Stafford, Coby has a 21-point lead on Ryan Preece in the championship standings, a cushion that was padded by his tour-high fifth win of the season last Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Coby gained 12 points between him and Preece with the Loudon performance, an effort he’ll hope to duplicate in the Fall Final, which leads into the season finale at Thompson International Speedway on Oct. 14 – a track where anything and everything has taken place in recent seasons.
Last week’s F.W. Webb 100 triumph went a long way toward stabilizing what had recently been a downturn in an otherwise consistent season for Coby. He entered the eighth race of the season with seven-consecutive podium finishes, but three races in a row outside the top 10 had his points lead down to single digits. Coby proved he was in it for the long haul, however, as he notched his first career win at the “Magic Mile” and now returns to his native Connecticut with just two events standing in the way of what could be his first Whelen Modified Tour title.
RACE: CARQUEST Fall Final
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The Race: The 40th Annual CARQUEST Fall Final will be the penultimate race on the 2012 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule and the final of four events this season at Stafford Motor Speedway.
The Procedure: The starting field 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 the race tire change rule is three tires, any position.
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 track in 1959 and was paved for the first time in 1967.
Race Winners: There have been 31 different race winners at Stafford all-time, led by Mike Stefanik’s 20 victories. Ted Christopher won this race last year while Doug Coby took the checkered flag in this season’s first three events at the track.
Pole Winners: There have been 40 different pole winners at Stafford, led by Stefanik’s 17. Justin Bonsignore earned the pole for this event in 2011. Ryan Preece set the track qualifying record in the first race there this year, the Spring Sizzler, at 17.924 seconds (100.424 mph). Bobby Santos was the pole winner in the second event this year while Preece captured another pole in the third race.
STAFFORD RACE NOTES
Stefanik the Fall Final’s Top Performer: It should be no surprise that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s leader in the vast majority of historical win categories is also the leader when it comes to CARQUEST Fall Final triumphs. Mike Stefanik counts six victories in the Fall Final among his 72 career wins. Stefanik got his first win in the track’s finale weekend in 1990, then did it back-to-back in `92-93, with a fourth win in the event in `94. More recently Stefanik went back-to-back again in 2007-08. Tony Hirschman is second on the Fall Final wins list with three, a mark which Ted Christopher can tie this year.
Tomaino Named Grand Marshal: Whelen Modified Tour veteran Jamie Tomaino, who has missed just five of the tour’s 558 all-time events, has been named the grand marshal of the 40th Annual CARQUEST Fall Final. Tomaino earned his first victory in the 1986 Fall Final, and was the 1990 Whelen Modified Tour champion. He has competed in 104 of the 105 all-time tour events at Stafford.
A Stafford Win is Key to Title Hopes: In 14 of the last 15 seasons, the Whelen Modified Tour champion has needed to count at least one Stafford win among his season total. Since 1997, only Stefanik’s 2006 title was earned without a Stafford victory along the way. Current season points leader Doug Coby is in position to continue the trend with wins in each of the first three Stafford races this year, but if another driver wants to challenge him for the crown, they better plan to win this week’s Fall Final.
HOME TRACKS: Three Tour Drivers Finish Top 10 Nationally
A trio of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers finished in the top 10 in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I national standings this season. Keith Rocco was the national runner-up for the third time in the last four seasons and earned his fifth-straight NWAAS Connecticut state title. Ryan Preece finished fifth nationally while Ted Christopher ranked sixth. All three will have locked-in starting positions in the inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach NWAAS Late Model race on the short track at Daytona International Speedway during 2013 Speedweeks. A fourth Whelen Modified Tour driver, Woody Pitkat, finished just one point out of the top 10, but he finished first in the NWAAS Division II asphalt national standings.
LAST TIME OUT: New Hampshire
The most recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event was held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 22 in Loudon, N.H. Here are some highlights from the F.W. Webb 100:
· Doug Coby captured his fifth win of the season and his first career triumph in Loudon.
· With the victory, Coby extended his lead in the season standings to 21 points on Ryan Preece.
· Donny Lia earned his 16th career pole, and first at NHMS, in Friday qualifying. He led a race-high 47 laps and finished as the race runner-up.
· Ron Silk, the defending race winner, finished third.
· The race featured 23 lead changes, the most in a Whelen Modified Tour race since there were 28 on July 15, 2006, also at NHMS.
· It marked the 57th running of the Whelen Modified Tour, the most at any facility outside of Connecticut in tour history.
NEXT TIME OUT: Thompson
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will bring the 2012 season to a close when it heads to Thompson International Speedway for the fourth and final time this year with the Sunoco-Town Fair Tire World Series on Sunday, Oct. 14. Glen Reen won this race a year ago while Ron Silk, Donny Lia and Justin Bonsignore have found Thompson Victory Lane in the first three events there this year.