NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes - Sunoco Modified Mania 150 For * Silk Looks To Continue String Of Success At Thompson * Modified Champ Fuller To Be Honored At Thompson * Five Questions: Rick Fuller * Home Tracks: Blewett Earns Third ...
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes - Sunoco Modified Mania 150 For
* Silk Looks To Continue String Of Success At Thompson
* Modified Champ Fuller To Be Honored At Thompson
* Five Questions: Rick Fuller
* Home Tracks: Blewett Earns Third NWAAS Win At Thompson
Silk Looks To Continue String Of Success at Thompson It may be a two-hour drive from his hometown of Norwalk, Conn., but for Ronnie Silk, Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway is home sweet home.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will make its fourth appearance of 2008 at Thompson on Sunday, Sept. 7 for the Sunoco Modified Mania 150. Silk, who made his 50th NASCAR Whelen Modified start last week, has excelled at Thompson throughout his young career, especially as of late.
In three of the last five races at the .625-mile oval, Silk has reached Victory Lane. With a win this Sunday, he would become the first driver to win three-straight races at Thompson since Mike Stefanik swept all four dates in 1998.
Silk made his Thompson debut with a 37th-place finish in the Sunoco 300 on Sept. 7, 2003. In fact, it wasn't until Silk's eighth start at the track that he would finish in the top 10. Starting with a seventh-place finish in the 2006 World Series, however, he has been a formidable contender with top 10s in seven of the last 10 events.
The first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory came for Silk in last year's Sunoco Modified Mania 150 at Thompson. This year Silk has found even more success at "Big T," with wins in the June 19 and Aug. 14 races, bringing his Thompson and Modified career win totals to three.
"Our car is just great at Thompson, that's for sure," Silk said. "We've had a good car at other places, but the breaks have gone our way there."
In 16 career starts at Thompson, Silk has three wins, five top fives and seven top 10s. His career average finish at the track is 15, but when analyzing the last nine races, that number drops to 10.
Action will begin for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on Saturday, Sept. 6 with practice and qualifying. The Sunoco Modified Mania 150 is set to go green on Sunday at approximately 2:45 p.m.
The Race: Sunoco Modified Mania 150
The Place: Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway
The Date: Sunday, Sept. 7
The Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 0.625-mile oval
Race Purse: $92,901
2007 Winner: Ronnie Silk
2007 Pole: Donny Lia
Schedule: Saturday, Sept. 6; Practice: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Qualifying: 3 p.m.
Modified Champ Rick Fuller To Be Honored At Thompson
As part of a season-long celebration of 60 Years of Modified Champions, 1993 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titlist Rick Fuller will be honored at the Sunoco Modified Mania 150.
A consistent championship contender throughout his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour career with top-10 points finishes in 17 seasons, Fuller broke through in 1993 and earned a 93-point victory over Reggie Ruggiero for the title.
In eighth place in the season standings after five races in 1993, Fuller put together a run of eight top fives in the next 10 races and took the points lead from Ruggiero for the first time on Sept. 15 after placing fourth in the Sunoco 300 at Thompson. He then held off Ruggiero in the season's final two races to earn the title.
Still an active competitor in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Fuller has 20 wins and 230 top 10s in 434 career starts. His win total is seventh on the series' all-time list while his 11 Coors Light Pole Awards rank 13th.
A resident of Auburn, Mass., Fuller has excelled at the .625-mile oval throughout his career. Of his 20 career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins, eight came at Thompson, including his first on Oct. 16, 1988. Prior to joining the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on a full-time basis, Fuller nabbed Thompson track titles in the Late Model division in 1982 and the Modified division in 1985.
Fuller is one of only three drivers who have made starts in each of the 24 years of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, along with Carl Pasteryak and Jamie Tomaino. Always a fan favorite, Fuller was named the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour's Most Popular Driver in 2000.
Fuller is the younger brother of Jeff Fuller, a former standout driver in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The two brothers have combined to win 51 races in the series. Rick's 1993 series title came just one year after Jeff's. The elder Fuller was honored for his 1992 championship at Thompson on June 19.
News & Notes
The Race ... The Sunoco Modified Mania 150 will be the 11th of 16 races in 2008. This will also be the fourth of five stops for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson International Speedway.
The Procedure ... Starting Positions 1-31 will be set from time trials. The remaining five will be filled through the provisional process. The race is 150 laps (93.75 miles).
The Track ... A .625-mile banked oval that opened in 1940, Thompson Speedway was the first asphalt track in the nation, and the largest in New England until New Hampshire Motor Speedway opened in 1990.
Race Winners ... There have been 29 different race winners at Thompson, led by Mike Stefanik's 14 victories, which is four more than Jeff Fuller. Ed Flemke Jr. won the first race at Thompson this year on April 27 and Ronnie Silk captured the second and third on June 19 and Aug. 14, respectively. The entry list for this race could feature as many as 11 drivers who have reached Victory Lane at Thompson before.
Pole Winners ... There have been 35 different pole winners at Thompson, led by Jeff Fuller and Tony Hirschman's 13. James Civali and Bobby Grigas III were able to nab their first career poles at the track earlier this year. Qualifying was rained out for the Aug. 14 date. Todd Szegedy set the qualifying record at Thompson prior to the 2007 Icecbreaker at 18.457 seconds (121.905 mph).
A Change at the Top ... The season points lead, controlled by Chuck Hossfeld for eight of the first nine races in 2009, was captured by Ted Christopher on Aug. 23 at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park. Down 41 points heading into the race, Christopher completed a 101-point swing with his victory and Hossfeld's DNF and left the Buckeye State with a 60-point advantage.
Seuss Completes Grueling Weekend ... A full-time driver in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, New Hampshire's Andy Seuss takes as many opportunities as he can to also run with the northern circuit. Seuss made his fourth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start of the season Saturday at Mansfield, a night after running at Caraway in the NWSMT. After traveling through the night from North Carolina to Ohio, Seuss was able to post a 14th place finish in the Whelen 150, his best NWMT result in 2008.
Spec Engine Makes Second Appearance ... Richmond Corwin Jr., part owner of Glen Tyler's No. 8, fielded a second car at Mansfield driven by Dion Ciccarelli with a spec engine It was the second time a spec engine had been run in an NWMT race -- L.W. Miller ran one at New Hampshire in June.
Your Vote Counts ... Less than two months remain to determine who will be the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Most Popular Driver. Fans can vote once a day for their favorite Modified drivers from now until October 19 by visiting nascarhometracks.com. Results of the balloting will be announced at the postseason banquet.
Whelen Online Store ... Fans are encouraged to visit the Whelen Motorsports store online at whelen.com to get NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour gear. The latest addition to the store are items that feature the 60 Years of Modified Champions logo.
Five Questions: Rick Fuller
You are one of three drivers to make starts in all 24 NWMT seasons. What's the biggest change you've seen? I've seen a lot. One of the big changes is the tire rule. It used to be that you raced 30 laps then you'd pit and put four tires on it. You'd keep doing that every 30 laps and keep throwing tires on the car to fix it. Its evolved to where we are now where you can work on the car in practice and fix it and race the entire race on the same set of tires and be faster than anybody else.
What drew you to become a race car driver? Way back in the mid-1970s I used to help my brothers, Bobby and Jeff. They were race car drivers at the time. Probably around 1978 or 1979, I had enough of helping them and decided it was probably something that I could at least do as good as them, if not maybe better. So I bought my own race car and started racing.
Were you and your brother, Jeff, rivals on the track? Later in our careers together we were wheel-to-wheel on more than one occasion. Probably what comes to mind the most when you talk about Jeff and I is at Nazareth Speedway, I believe in 1993. I was leading the race, there was a caution with five to go, and when we went green again Jeff wrecked me for the win.
Any memories that stand out from your 1993 championship season? There are a lot of memories from 1993. The team I'm driving for right now is the same team I was driving with when I won the championship. Its kind of funny and we joke about it all the time now, but In 1993 when I was driving the Chase Racing No. 77, if there was a wreck in front of me, it was kind of like "Days of Thunder." I could aim at that wreck, I could do anything I wanted, and I'd come out the other side. I couldn't do anything wrong; it was just one of those years. No matter what I did, no matter how bad that decision seemed at the time, it was just the right one. It was just one of those years where we were destined to win that championship. We only won one race doing it, but our average finish was something like sixth. It was just an amazing year and the team deserved to win a championship.
You also work as a color commentator for "NASCAR New England." How is covering racing from the media side working out for you? It is absolutely the hardest thing I've done in the racing world. I can't believe how much easier driving a race car is than trying to talk about what's going on. As far as giving my perspective of somebody trying to make a particular type of move on a race track, that part is easy. But knowing who that person is, their sponsor, their crew chief [is tough]. I've gained so much respect for all of these commentators that do it week-in and week-out. I can't believe how tough that job actually is.
Home Tracks: Blewett Earns Third NWAAS Win At Thompson In 2008 Jimmy Blewett, a full-time driver in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, is also a regular in Thompson International Speedway's "Thursday Night Thunder," part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
This past Thursday, Blewett registered his third victory of the season in Thompson's Sunoco Modified division. With three wins, the Howell, N.J., native is tied atop the division's leader board with Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco.
Blewett, who also has an NWAAS win at Riverhead in 2008. He is currently ranked 14th in the NWAAS National standings.
Despite the win totals of all three, Todd Ceravolo is the Sunoco Modified season points leader after 11 races.
* Ted Christopher took over the points lead for the first time last week at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park when he captured the Whelen 150 ... He also won the Tech-Net Spring Sizzler earlier this year at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway.
* Chuck Hossfeld, who led in points for eight straight races, is now 60 points behind Christopher... He has victories at SMS (5/23) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway (6/28).
* Ronnie Silk won the last race at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway ... He has two wins this year, both at TIS.
* Jimmy Blewett won back-to-back races at Riverhead Raceway (8/2) and SMS (8/8).
* Ed Flemke Jr. captured the season-opener at TIS (4/6), his first victory since 2004.
* Matt Hirschman earned his first career NWMT victory at Spencer Speedway on July 12.
* James Civali, Bobby Grigas III and Ryan Preece have earned their first career poles in 2008.
* With a win in this race, Ronnie Silk would become the first driver to capture three-straight races at Thompson International Speedway since Mike Stefanik swept all four dates in 1998.Todd Szegedy's next win would be the 13th of his career, which would put him in sole possession of 13th on the all-time list.
* Mike Stefanik has 40 career poles. The next would place him in a tie with Tony Hirschman for the all-time lead.
* Jamie Tomaino will extend his own series record by making his 494th career start.
* Ed Flemke Jr. is expected to extend his record consecutive starts streak to 306.
Up Next: New Hampshire 100
The second and final date on the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be on Saturday, Sept. 13.
The excitement of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour's first stop at New Hampshire this year will be hard to duplicate. Chuck Hossfeld edged Ted Christopher at the finish line in the New England 100 on June 28 by just .001 seconds, the smallest margin possible. Christopher and Hossfeld, who currently sit No. 1 and No. 2 in the season standings, respectively, figure to be contenders once again on Sept. 13. Christopher is the all-time wins leader at the track with nine. He has four trips to Victory Lane in NWMT races while Hossfeld has three.
There have been 15 different winners in 46 previous NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at New Hampshire. Tony Hirschman leads all drivers on that list with seven.
The starting field for the New Hampshire 100 will be comprised of 38 cars. Practice and time trials are scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 11. Final practice will be held the morning of race day.
The New Hampshire 100 is set to go green at approximately 1 p.m. The race will be followed by the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' Camping World RV Rental 200 Driven by Winnebago Industries. The Modifieds and Trucks will be joined at NHMS for the weekend by the NASCAR Camping World Series East and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, which will race on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
As part of NASCAR's celebration of 60 Years of Modified Champions, 1988 titlist Mike McLaughlin and 2003 winner Todd Szegedy will be recognized.