Stafford might have only been James Civali’s second start in a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour machine, but you would not know that by watching him. Civali ran with the leaders all day and finished eighth.
“It was a decent run. We were still a little loose in and if it wasn’t loose in, we would have been better. It was hard to pass. Every time that I would get into the corner, the front tire would lock up because we had to adjust the front brakes since it was so loose in.
“I avoided the wrecks and I guess that was the name of the game. You got to stay clear of the wrecks. There were a couple big ones that I had to stop for. I got ran into the back of, but we avoided them.”
As hard as it is to believe, Civali’s finish could have nearly been just a little bit better.
“We almost got into the top five, but got shuffled back a little bit.”
…BUT BATTLE WITH BEERS GETS A LITTLE WILD
Still, not everyone was thrilled with Civali after the race. He went wheel to wheel with Eric Beers late in the going and the two drivers pulled alongside each other after the race. NASCAR was observing the incident just in case it got out of hand. But with Beers being one of the mildest mannered guys in the sport and Civali keeping his cool, they had nothing to worry about.
“With 10 laps to go, we were bumping and grinding a little bit,” said Civali. “He was trying to hold his position and I was trying to hold mine. At the end of the race, I was just trying to give him a thumbs-up and I don’t know if the officials thought that I was trying to do something else. I have no problems, I don’t think that he did either because he waved back at me. As far as I know, there aren’t any problems.”
Maybe “problem” isn’t the right word to describe things, but Beers wasn’t thrilled with how Civali was racing either.
“I don’t know where he was going,” said Beers. “I don’t know what he was doing. He got under me when Teddy got under me and he almost bounced me off the frontstretch wall. Then we came down into turn one and he drove me up so I thought I was going to end up in the grandstands somewhere. Then he tried the same deal with Ricky [Fuller] and I was able to drive by him then. I don’t know he was thinking.”
“After the race, I was telling him that I wasn’t really happy with him. I didn’t flip him off, I’m not like that, but I wasn’t happy.”
“The motor got hot,” said Stefanik when asked what dropped him out. “We were in a few of those altercations with other cars and the motor got hot and starting pushing out water. We didn’t want to damage it, so we parked the car.”
That ended a good run by the team.
“We never really got it exactly where we wanted it, but our motor ran a lot better than it had in the past. I thought that we would get out of here with a decent run, but it wasn’t to be.”
Stefanik ended up finishing 18th
Finishing second was nice, but Hossfeld’s holiday weekend would have been much better with a win.
“We were one spot short, but we were good,” said Hossfeld. “I wanted to win and party and have a great Fourth of July, but now I’m a little bit bummed. The positives though are that we are all clicking as a team and we are all on the same page. We had two motor problems today and overcame that. The driver let the team down a little bit by not protecting the bottom at the end, but we’ll live and learn. It could be a lot worse.”
Hossfeld now sits second in points to Ted Christopher, but he realizes that counting markers right now is, well, pointless.
“It’s real early, anything can happen and that’s a lot of racing left,” said Hossfeld.
NASCAR WHELEN MOD LEFTOVERS: STAFFORD by Mike Twist
Coby, Beers, Hossfeld, Hirschman, Pasteryak, Stefanik, Lia and Others
COBY HAS CAREER DAY (SO FAR) AT STAFFORD
The Haynes 150 almost belonged to Doug Coby. The young driver has won races at Stafford Motor Speedway in Late Models, Pro Stocks and SK Modifieds and for well over 100 laps in Sunday’s race, a NASCAR Modified Tour victory looked to be within his reach as well.
With a handful a laps left, Coby couldn’t hold off Ted Christopher and Chuck Hossfeld. The nearly straightaway lead that he had was gone after a few late race cautions and his tires were the same ones that he started the race on. Coby ended up third in the #77 Chase car, but wasn’t down at all about that.
“I’ve never finished better than seventh, so I’ll take a third,” said Coby. “I’m disappointed that I didn’t win, but that’s not the story of the night. The story is that we’re a new team that’s been together for five, six or seven races now and we came here with a car that could have won. A couple less cautions and we would have won. We got the Tom Baldwin award for leading all those laps, that’s a cool thing. I’ve never finished in the top five before, so now I can put a little one in the column where there was a zero before. That’s a good step.”
Coby also knows that he’s not alone when it comes to wins that have gotten away.
“I could go through the pit area and I’ll bet he could tell me a story, he could tell me a story and he could tell me another story [of races dominated, but not won]. I’ve watched guys lead a whole race and get wrecked by a lapped car. It happens. The important thing is that we finished third. It was a good show and we stunk it up for awhile. That’s fun to do.”
The #77 looked so quick that it seemed that Coby’s job was almost easy. It was.
Hossfeld had engine problems during practice and that made for a busy afternoon.
We had two motor problems today actually,” said Hossfeld after the race. “I’m not making excuses, but that one [the race motor] is lying down and we were lucky that held together [for the finish]. We had a lifter go on the first one and I assume that is what’s happening with this one. We changed the motor this morning. Donny, our car owner, went to the shop get a new motor and bring it back to the track. It’s one of those deals where we ended up with a great car and the team did a hell of a job.”
HIRSCHMAN GETS HURLED AROUND ALL DAY
For the second straight race, Tony Hirschman found himself in the wrong places at the wrong times. At Waterford, he got spun on the last lap. This week at Stafford, he got spun, beaten, banged and more all through the race.
“It all started in the beginning,” said Hirschman. “The #79 [Mike Christopher] came right down in front of me. That was the start of it. I laid it down in the corner and Teddy [Christopher] came down and busted my front tie-rod.”
At that point the #48 team was down, but not out. That didn’t last though.
“We ended up making two laps up with the lucky dog and thought that we were in good shape again when Sylvester bounced off the wall and comes down and tears my right rear off. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time all day. What can I say?”
Hirschman ended up dropping out of the race one lap after the halfway mark on lap 76. He was credited with the 24th finishing position.
Despite the finish, Hirschman is still in the top five of the Modfiied Tour point standings.
It was a tough day for the #48. (Top Photo - Ken Spring, Middle and Bottom - Howie Hodge)
“I just drove my line all race,” said Coby. “The line that I liked and that the car liked were the same. I never even broke the car loose once.”
#50 TEAM & HOSSFELD HAVE LONG ROAD TO SECOND PLACE FINISH
Finishing second in the Haynes 150 and putting on a great battle in the final 10 laps of the race was impressive enough, but when you realize what Chuck Hossfeld and the #50 Don Barker team did to get to that point in the day, it is even more impressive.
“It was almost a top five,” said Pasteryak. “We were in the front all day and we didn’t jingle it up too bad. It’s vacation week this week, so we can have a little fun.”
“I had a good time. I drove my race and didn’t worry about what anyone else was doing. I just kept driving my laps. We had a great spotter and missed the wrecks, we had a good pit stop. The car drove good and the motor went good. The sponsors are good. We had a good day and we needed one. It’s been a long time since I had a good day here. I’m happy with that. I shouldn’t be happy with sixth, but I am.”
Pasteryak returned to the seat of his #5 car after letting his son Chris use it to make his NASCAR Modified Toru debut last week at Waterford. It’s all part of a gradual changing of the guard from one generation to another in the ride.
Doug Coby almost had his day in the sun, but a third-place finish wasn't bad either. (Mary Hodge Photo)
PASTERYAK HAS SOLID FINISH
Charlie Pasteryak had a good day at Stafford. He ran in the lead pack all afternoon and brought his #5 car home in the sixth position.
Barry's car didn't look so great after it got run over. (51 Photo)
The #18 of Donny Lia pits for damage control. (Howie Hodge Photo)
Charlie Pastreryak (L) talks with Dick Houlihan before the race. (51 Photo)
LIA SALAVAGES TOP 10 FROM STAFFORD
Last week, Donny Lia won the Tour race at Waterford Speedbowl (CT) and made it look effortless by leading all 150 laps of the event.
This week at Stafford, Lia finished 10th in the rain-delayed Haynes 150, but Lia and his team worked at least twice as hard for that result. Lia got caught in an early crash during the wreck-plagued event and played catch-up from there. He struggled with handling problems after winning the pole position for the race, but came back from a lap down to finish 10th.
“You’ve got to take the positives from the day,” said Lia after the race. “We’ve got a car that rolls into the trailer and a top 10 finish. Could it have been better? Sure, it could have been. But it could have been a lot worse. We got lucky today and got a ten 10. I guess sometimes you have to be lucky.”
Lia maintains third place in the Modified Tour point standings as a result of his finish.
MARQUIS GETS BIT BY BAD LUCK - AGAIN
It looked like Jerry Marquis bad luck might have gone on vacation after he finished fourth at Waterford last week, but it reared its ugly head again at Stafford. Marquis got caught in all of the carnage of the race and finished 26th after dropping out of lap 55.
Somewhere in this mess sits the yellow #4 of Marquis. (Howie Hodge Photo)
“The only thing that I’m doing right now is looking forward to Jennerstown and trying to get out of that alive. We’ve got a good car and a good set-up for Loudon. The way our luck is going, something has got to change. We just keep being at the wrong place at the wrong time this year so far. These guys are busting their butts and we have a good car everywhere. We had a good car today and it was great until we got taken out. It’s one of those racing things that you can’t avoid. You just have to be in the right place at the right time.
“We need to get this back on track so hopefully we can have something to say about the championship at the end of the year. The way that things are going for us right now, if we can finish in the top five it would be real good. I think that we can turn it around. The team is good and we can do that.”
PIT PROBLEM CREATES A CHALLENGE FOR BEERS
Eric Beers led the first 25 laps and seemed to be primed to be a threat for the victory at Stafford. He ended up seventh, which was a good day, but not the great one he had hoped for.
Part of the reason for that was a strange set of circumstances as far as tires went.
“We ended up pitting,” said Beers. “We planned on pitting when the leaders pitted and the only one that stayed out was the #77 [Doug Coby]. We were coming out of our pit stall there and Nevin [George] was coming down and I had to swing around the #79 [Mike Christopher]. I hit the right front there and it flattened the tire. We ended up putting the old tire back on, so we ended up running the whole race with the same front tires and new rears. It pushed like hell at the end of the race.”
“I avoided some serious wrecks there right off the bat. We got tangled up because someone came off the wall and just turned left right in front of us. We were up to their driver’s door and got turned. We went through the infield and back up again. We just kept getting tagged after that.”
Now Marquis sits 10th in points after being pegged as a championship contender in the pre-season. His Mystic Missile team has run well everywhere this year, but keeps being in the wrong places at the wrong times. Marquis is hoping to change that.
“I’m no dummy, I’m going to be 50 years old this year,” said Pasteryak. “I could have a couple more good races, but he’s going to have a lot more good races. If I have one of two more good ones, I’m OK with that. I can have just as much fun on that side of the wall too.”
STEFANIK’S GOOD RUN GOES SOUTH NEAR THE END
Mike Stefanik stayed out of trouble to stay in the top 10 with the #00 Brady Bunch car up until there were a handful of laps left at Stafford. That is when Stefanik simply pulled it behind the wall and retired.