heading into the Thompson 300 later this year. "Tonight we actually got the car back on track somewhat, so I'm real happy about that."
BOLLES LOOKS STRONG EARLY, RECOVERS FROM LONG PIT STOP FOR A TOP 10
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Busch North Series veteran Tom Bolles made a rare appearance at Thompson Thursday night, gearing up for the annual Thompson 300 in October.
Early on, he looked the part of a potential race winner, running many laps with the leaders.
"We had a good car tonight, and it was going really well," said Bolles.
As he brought his familiar #76 on to pit road at lap 80, a jammed lug nut and out-of-practice pit crew dropped Bolles to dead last for the restart.
"We haven't been racing much this year so the guys were a little rusty on the pit stop, and it got me way behind."
Bolles came back to finish in eighth place.
"I tried to get what I could get, but we just basically ran out of time I guess. We just wanted to run the car and get ready for the 300. We've only raced four or five shows this year, and the rest of these guys run week in and week out, and we just have to get our act together. I've got a good bunch of guys that help me out, and we're just trying to piece some stuff together. It was fun, I've raced for a pretty long time I guess, and I enjoy it. Hopefully if we hit the whole combination, we'll be there at the end."
HAYDT HAS A FUN DAY END IN THE WALL
WMT rookie Tyler Haydt was put into the Turn 1 wall hard on lap 106 by veteran Ted Christopher. The wreck was bad enough that NASCAR threw the red flag to tend to Haydt.
MARQUIS HAPPY WITH SEVENTH
Jerry Marquis had an interesting night after nearly being involved in a couple big crashes, including one with early leader Doug Coby, but soldiered on for a strong seventh-place finish.
TC HAS GOOD RUN GO BAD, LOSES POINT LEAD
Ted Christopher's incident with Tyler Haydt probably never would have happened if it wasn't for a flat tire on lap 95. Christopher had taken a commanding lead just a few laps before the caution flag flew, and was forced to give up the top spot to change the tire, effectively restarting the race at the back of the field.
"That flat tire killed the whole thing," he said. "There's no way anybody was passing us, but you know, shit happens. We'll go to Waterford."
Christopher, the point leader entering the Bud 150, now trails Tony Hirschman by 63 points with seven races remaining.
FULLER AND BEERS MAKE MAJOR COMEBACKS
Rick Fuller and Eric Beers were each forced to start the Bud 150 at the rear of the field, after voluntarily violating NASCAR's impound rule between time trials and the feature event.
three. We had that car up on both angles, while a lot of those guys only did two tires, so we had an awesome pit stop. In fact, I thought about coming back down pit road to see if it was my crew, I thought maybe I might have stopped in the wrong stall!"
"I didn't need that yellow at the end with 12 or 13 to go," said Beers. "We were coming, we were chasing them down. We just started catching Ricky and Tony there, and I'm like 'If we stay green at the end, we're going to be alright,' and right when I said that the yellow came out, so I ain't saying nothin' no more! We ended up putting our Riverhead carburetor on, it's our short track carburetor, so it didn't have as much power up off the turns. It seemed to work okay. We had an awesome pit stop there, and we just kept plugging away and got a couple spots, and ended up third. We'll take it."
MIKE CHRISTOPHER MARCHES FROM 20TH TO TAKE FOURTH PLACE
Mike Christopher fought a push but rode a rail to front of the pack Thursday night, earning his first top five finish of the year for Hillbilly Racing.
NASCAR WHELEN MOD LEFTOVERS: THOMPSON by Justin St. Louis
Hirschmans, Haydt, Coby, Marquis, a Pair of Christophers and More Characters from the Big T
THE HIRSCHMANS HAVE A GREAT DAY
Tony Hirschman took a pivotal win in the Bud 150 at Thompson (CT) Speedway Thursday night. Hirschman, the defending champion of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, entered the event trailing Ted Christopher in the series' point standings. Christopher slumped home in 20th position while Hirschman cruised to the win.
Matt Hirschman, Tony's son and crew chief, has made a handful of WMT starts himself in 2005. He turned heads by nearly earning the Bud Pole in time trials, clocking in fourth fastest.
"We've been qualifying good all year, and we qualified real good tonight," Matt Hirschman said.
The youngster ran solidly in the Top 10 before a crash took him out.
"At the beginning, we were running right up front, we were fifth or sixth. After pit stops, we just weren't up to speed yet, and we lost some spots and got caught up in something right in front of us. There were some slow cars mixed in with the guys with new tires, and guys were getting impatient and somebody got turned around. We just kind of slid into it and made some contact with another car, enough to bend up the left-front suspension. It's already back together, but we're not racing for points, so we just parked it."
"We were faster, and we rubbed, but rubbing happens," said Hossfeld. "He was mad after, but we passed him and that's part of the reason why he was mad. He says I took his lane away, but whatever. The bottom line is we recovered nicely. We were struggling and struggling, and we pitted and made three or four adjustments on the car to come back for a salvageable day. I guess we finished fifth, but I thought it was better than that. I want to thank my team, especially Phil, my crew chief. We could have been floundering around back there in 15th or something and we came back through, so that was pretty gratifying."
Matt Hirschman (#59) started outside of his father's #48. (Top - Justin St. Louis / 51 Photo). Later, he raced with the #58 of Kevin Goodale. *Howie Hodge Photo)
"It was kind of crazy there tonight for a while," Marquis said. "Everybody was dicing for positions, and we made a few mistakes and got involved in a couple of tangles here and there, but I mean all in all we wound up with a Top 10 out of it. The guys did a great job, and I'm real happy for them, they did an awesome job pitting."
Marquis was also excited about the progress his team made at Thompson Speedway, a track that hasn't treated them well lately.
"We've been so poor over here it's been ridiculous," he said. The promising run gives Marquis more confidence
HOSSFELD BATTLES HIS CAR (AND JOHN BLEWETT) TO FINISH FIFTH
Chuck Hossfeld had a tough ride to the front at Thompson. After starting 14th, his Haynes Materials Mustang dropped way back in the field. After making some changes on pit road, Hossfeld drove toward the front, and won a hard fight with veteran John Blewett for fifth place.
Blewett, unhappy about Hossfeld's pass, vented his frustration by bumping Hossfeld after the checkered flag.
"It was a real good run," Christopher said. "We started off the race too tight through the center of the corner, but I kept it underneath me. When we pitted, it was a little bit of a slow stop and we got back there, but that the car came around and it was real good. It was still a little tight through the middle, though, and that's where I lost all my time.
"There were a lot guys that banged up there in Turn 4 which helped us out, but we wound up finishing fourth. It was a great night, and my guys did a good job."
Mike Christopher (#79). (Howie Hodge Photo)
Chuck Hossfeld (#50) races with the #1 of Rick Fuller. (Howie Hodge Photo)
The #13 of Ted Christopher and the #28 of Tyler Haydt got together causing a hard wreck.
Eric Beers before the race. (Justin St. Louis Photo)
Fuller's Polar Beverages team changed a broken flywheel before race time, while Beers' crew went under the hood, changing the carburetor, fuel filter, and coil pick-up. The changes certainly hurt each drivers' chances for domination, but apparently not for victory. Fuller and Beers crossed the line in second and third place, respectively.
"We opted to change the flywheel and take the last place starting spot," said Fuller. "I'm not afraid to start last. If it's a 100-plus lap race, I don't mind, everyone's going to pit anyway. The car was good, and we threw everything at it. I mean we tried everything. A lot of these guys that pitted with us only put two tires on. We came back out right where we were when we went in, and we changed
One member of Christopher's crew had some choice words for Haydt's crewmen, and Haydt couldn't figure it out.
"Teddy wrecked me," he said. "Why would his crew guys yell at my crew guys when he drove in the back of me? I feel bad that there's not even a story to tell. He drove in the back of me and put me in the fence. He's been racing for 30 years, and that's still how he wants to race, I don't know. I'm shook up a little bit, but I'm okay."
Christopher was short and to the point on the matter:
"I got into the guy, there's no two ways about it."
Before the wreck, Haydt was having a fun time racingagainst long-time friend and rival Anthony Sesely,
who made his debut on the Whelen Modified Tour Thursday.
"When he hit and I came around and I saw that, I thought I saw his arm moving, so I said 'He's alive at least,'" said Sesely. "But then I said 'He ain't walking out of that.' I wasn't breathing until they came on the radio and said Tyler walked out of the car."
Tyler Haydt (left) and Anthony Sesely chat before the Bud 150. (Justin St. Louis Photo)
Sesely, a refugee of the Race of Champions Tour, battled radio troubles all night, but finished a stout 13th after starting 26th.
"Communication was a little lost tonight because the radios weren't that good," he lamented, "but we did alright. It's more than I can say for the rest of these guys. I thought getting off the RoC Tour was gonna be better, but it's the same thing here. If you're in the back, you're gonna get wrecked."
Haydt was happy to have his friend along for the ride.
"He's a good kid," Haydt said. "I'm glad he made the race, and I hope he comes to more races, he's cool to have around. You know, he's just like me, looking to try
and get a start in racing. He'll do good, he's a good driver."
COBY ALMOST GETS ANOTHER ONE
Doug Coby has come oh-so-close to taking his first WMT victory several times this season, including at New Hampshire in July and at Stafford Springs a week ago. After redrawing the pole position following time trials, Coby found himself in a familiar place - at the front of the Whelen Modified Tour pack.
In fact, he was virtually untouchable during the first half of the Bud 150, leading the first 80 laps before pit stops. After pitting Coby found himself in fifth spot behind Jimmy Blewett, Jamie Tomaino, Zane Zeiner, and eventual race winner Tony Hirschman. That's when his race went downhill.
As the race resumed, it became clear that Blewett was struggling, as Christopher and Hirschman quickly passed him.
Marquis' #4 in time trials. (Justin St. Louis Photo)
"The 12 (Jimmy Blewett) was all screwed up. He didn't have a car that was handling, and he somehow thought he was going to stay pinched down on the inside of Hirschman. He got so loose in front of me in 3 and 4 I thought he was going to spin, so I hit him to get rid of him. When I backed out of it to see if he was going to spin or correct it, I got shoved up into him by whoever was behind me, and it slowed us all down."
While regrouping, Coby tried to make a move around the outside of Jerry Marquis.
"The spotter didn't tell him I was there," Coby said, "He came up to try and get on the outside because that was the lane that was moving, and it put both of us into the wall."
Under the lap 107 red flag, NASCAR officials saw that Coby's right-side nerf bar was bent out, and forced him to pit for repairs.
"We pitted under caution, came back through the field to tenth, and then miraculously (the nerf bar) still wasn't good enough so they made us pit again. It pisses me off that the whole time we came up through the field, the nerf bar didn't move (but NASCAR still made Coby pit). If it wasn't good enough the first time, we shouldn't have been on the track.
"We had the car that could run with the 48, and that's what you've got to do these days. I would have loved to have been racing Tony, because we had a good enough car to do that. It was disappointing again, you know, it's like we don't think we can do anything right. We started on the pole, we led the most laps, and ended up just getting banged around by guys that don't have good-handling cars.
“It was just one of those nights were everybody comes up to you and is like "Man, your car was fast," and I'm like "Yeah, thanks." It doesn't change the fact that we finished 14th. I've finished 14th with shitty cars before. I don't know what the heck we have to do to consistently run up front. Some guys get the luck and catch the breaks. Look at Eric Beers - he qualified awful and he still finished third. If we just had a break every once in a while we would have the great finishes."