CT------It was wine and cheese fans move over, the beer drinking, hot dog
eating fans of NASCAR took over the Lime Rock Park for the day and what
they saw was a historic first and not a bad race as the Whelen modified tour
made their first ever stop at the historic road course located in the
northwest corner of Connecticut.
schedule was released it was circled on many in the modified communities
calendar and while the tour supplied just 25 cars, it proved to be an
entertaining event that was dominated by Todd Szegedy but won by road racing
specialist , Dale Quarterley as he pass Todd with just four laps remaining.
proved to be a good days for the points chasers as points leader, Bobby
Santos III suffered his first DNF of the season as he hand grenaded a motor
towards the end of the race, bringing out the final caution with fewer than
10 laps remaining.
did close up the points somewhat, Santos did manage to record a 17th
place finish while T.C., Ted Christopher managed a fifth place tally after
running second most of the race, at times swapping the spot with Mike
course of Lime Rock, which usually host the exotic looking cars of the
BMWís, Lexus and Porsche, this time it was the open wheeled modifieds and
the fendered series cars of the NASCAR K and N Series and the crowd
responded as thousands of people brought their portable chairs and found
their favorite place to sit or to roam the grounds and get a different
perspective of the world famous track.
who have never been to the 1.5 mile road course, there are no stands so the
fans are allowed to sit wherever. There are several hills to catch a glimpse
of the road course but like most road courses, no place to watch the entire
race. Some fans prefer the infield watching them enter the first turn at
the end of the long straight-away and make their way through the first set
of turns while many like sitting on the outside of the track and watching
the pit action, long straight and winding turns.
But it was
definitely a NASCAR day as most fans were garnished wearing NASCAR garb and
swilling beer and while this was an expensive day for Lime Rock Park track
owner, Skip Barber, with the two purses, the crowd was certainly a good
starting point for what could become a huge crowd in future years but
NASCAR, everyone agrees needs to schedule another road course for next year
and in the future to cut down on the cost to the modified teams.
modified tour has only driven at Watkins Glen, in the past, there is the new
road course in New Jersey and according to a NASCAR rep, a road course in
Canada, right on the border of the two countries.
reporter was surprised by the lack of cars but according to most teams, they
felt it was right because of the cost of switching the car over to turn both
left and right.
veteran modified crew chief told me that it cost several thousand dollars to
convert the usually left turning cars only into something that is
respectable on the twisting and turning road course.
roar of the start of a modified race is usually ear screaming, you
definitely knew the 600 horse powered machines were taking the green at Lime
Rock as the engine sound reverberated throughout the mountains surrounding
all, it was a successful debut for the NASCAR Whelen modified tour cars and
it added another first time winner to the long list of race winners on the
thought the mods put on a good race for the first time, one former NASCAR
employee that was based in Daytona said it was just too much money for many
of the teams and thus the lack of cars and he blamed his former employees
for putting the cars out of their element.
too much money. From the time you get done switching the A frame over, the
air cleaner, move suspension around itís a very expensive deal for these
acknowledge that another road course in the future would allow the teams to
either build a road racing car or to split up the cost of the Transmission
and other parts over the cost of two or three road course events.
he softened somewhat on the cars at Lime Rock, he said the race at Monadnock
Speedway in Winchester, N.H. could be terrible for the tour.
win. Youíre going to get the point chasers and thatís about it figuring that
they would have less cars than the 25 that showed up at Lime Rock and he is
convinced that the Daytona brass feels what they are doing with the tour
will work with these patch work small purse tracks but added they arenít
dealing in the real world.
just canít afford to lose money each and every race he added.
K & N
SERIES HURTING TOO
modifieds were paired with their K & N East series cousins, it gave me the
chance to see some old modified friends now living down south and working on
the developmental series. Two of them are Clyde McLeod, who at one time was
general manager of Sherwood Racing that propelled Mike McLaughlin to the
modified title and Mike Greci, a onetime modified car owner as both work for
Michael Waltrip racing series driver, Ryan Truex, brother of Cup driver
they hardly know anyone connected with the modified tour, other than the
standouts like Mike Stefanik, a driver that Greci won two Busch North titles
with and Ted Christopher and Ed Flemke, Jr.
K & N
SEASON NEARLY DONE
for the K and N Series title is 60% through following the race at Lime Rock
and when I asked one team member about their schedule he said, ďHave you
seen us race, itís awful. The tracks donít want us, they parade us around
the country trying to get us races but the racing stinks and it has no fan
following, itís not like when it was based in the northeast.Ē
on this series are now off until July 30th when they run at the
1/3 mile Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire, then track to Georgia for a race
followed by New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September then the season finale
The K & N
East series runs just 10 races.
tracks they visit are Greenville Pickens in South Carolina, Iowa Speedway,
South Boston and Martinsville Speedway, both in Virginia.
the Lime Rock 100 for the NASCAR modifieds, Bobby Santos points lead shrunk
to 74 points over race runner up Todd Szegedy and 86 over Teddy Christopher.
Ryan Preece is fourth in points while Mike Stefanik is fifth.
tour heads to two true bull rings with Monadnock on July 17th and
then the traditional race at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island.