September 23, 2012

ARCHIVES                                         

By Brian Danko                           

LOUDON, NH---There was a time, not long ago when the pit area at the New Hampshire was overrun with the NASCAR Whelen modified tour cars. Sadly, today, that is not the case.

With a starting field set for 38 cars, only 31 took the green.

Now, there are many reasons, the economy continues to force teams to sit out races or completely get out of racing but in the past the modifieds always looked at New Hampshire as there Daytona.

The purse for the 100 lap modified event was $159, 528. With Doug Coby earning $12,000 plus for his win, a nice amount but when one considers past winners were earning upwards of $18,000 grand, that is a big drop.

Donny Lia earned $8,600 for second and Ronnie Silk earned $6,600 for third but the big question is why wasn’t the field filled, even if it was teams pulling out a backup car just to do a start and park for the roughly $2,000 to take the green.

In the past, that was a common factor but with the field being short, that $159,000 purse was reduced by $10,000.

Considering the track cash purse for the modifieds was about $110,000 the missing cars cost modified competitors roughly 10% of the total cash lay out.

While the modifieds are always the race that everybody wants to win and fans want to see, once must consider the plight of the modifieds at New Hampshire.

With fewer and fewer great paying races, New Hampshire provides the competitors with their best opportunity to earn a nice pay check but one must wonder if they don’t draw at New Hampshire with the good purse, where else are they going to earn it?

TC IN VICIOUS WRECK

Two weeks ago, Teddy Christopher of Plainville was riding high after winning the 50 lap Shootout at the Thompson Speedway and earning the legendary Boehler Racing operation a nice pay day of over $22,000.

Last Saturday, at the New Hampshire one mile oval, a track that Christopher has visited victory lane 10 times, five in the modified series and five in the old Busch North, now the K and N East Series, he appeared on his way to another top three finish.

The modified race, after a caution on lap 91 saw the raced red flagged and everyone knew the restart, a green-white-checkered would prove exciting but not for TC.

Coby, the leader pulled away and the cars behind Christopher were dicing for position when Donny Lia, clipped the rear of Christopher as he was dropping to the inside of Ted and set to sling shot but Lia caught the right rear bumper sending him hard into the outside wall and then hard into the inside wall, shearing off the entire front end of the car.

Lia would finish second but he sounded anything but happy in the post race press conference.

“I got a good run on Ted and I caught him in the right rear and that is the worse place to get someone. It’s racing, it happens and I don’t want to make a big deal out of it. I didn’t intentionally get into him but it happened.” A very somber Lia said.

We tried to catch up with Christopher but he was taken to the infield medical center where he was checked over and released but we couldn’t make contact with him to get his reaction to the incident.

Needless to say, the Boehler team wasn’t too pleased as the wrecker pulled in the completely destroyed race car into the pit area.

Christopher, the master at NHMS was assured of a top five finish instead goes home with a junk race car and the money won at Thompson is now just a distant memory.

COBY FINALLY GETS THE BIG WIN

Doug Coby has been the best and most consistent driver on the modified tour this year. Thus, that is why he is the point’s leader but Coby finally got a win outside of Connecticut which thrilled the personable driver.

“All of the races I have won have been at Stafford, Thompson and Waterford. It’s nice to get one outside of the state. Let’s face it, the modifieds are the cat ass at New Hampshire, this is the big one to win.” An elated Coby said as he escorted his trophy in with him to the media center following the race.

While Coby said he had a plan if it came down to a last lap shootout, he wasn’t about to let the ‘cat’ out of the bag as you may need to use it next time.

“This win is unbelievable. We plan on running up front here and we were really good especially after the pit stop.”

Doug saw his points lead shrink to single digits following to subpar races at Thompson and Riverhead but he rebuilt the lead to 21 over Ryan Preece and 24 over Ronnie Silk with just Stafford and Thompson remaining on the schedule.

“We are going to celebrate tonight then work to get ready for Stafford.” Coby said.