“I had a good car, but I had to wait until it came in,” said Szegedy. “I didn’t know if it would happen at halfway or three-quarters and the way, but when the car came in, I was going to make my move.”
On lap 66, that is exactly what Szegedy did. He faked high and then dove low on a crossover move to take over the lead and never look back.
“Todd came up on the bumper and I knew that he was coming,” said Beers. “I probably should have waited another lap, but I took a shot at Eddie. But I didn’t want to get stuck between them and I ended up dropping myself back to third because I couldn’t make it by them.”
SZEGEDY WINS THOMPSON SPRINT RACE by Mike Twist
100-Lap feature a Shootout Between Four Racers
Most races on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour are 150-lap in length. There are exceptions, but typically the road to victory lane is decided on the basis on who can nurse a car to the end without giving up speed, who makes the best pit calls and things of that nature.
Thursday night at Thompson International Speedway, the Mod Tour ran a 100 lapper while sharing the bill with the NASCAR Busch East Series. For this feature, strategy went out the window. It was all about good, hard short track racing.
Fans were treated to this style of racing from the green flag, when Eddie Flemke and Eric Beers diced for the lead. The two both led on two occasions, with James Civali glued to their rear bumpers through the halfway point.
The fans loved it and the racers did too.
“It was a blast. I ran every lap of that race as hard as I could go,” said Flemke. “When the green flag dropped, I went. I never cruised and wentas hard as I could.”
“That was fun,” said Beers. “Eddie and I swapped the lead several times there and the #28 [Civali] came and raced us clean.”
Todd Szegedy watched all of this unfold from his starting spot in the fourth row and he knew that he wanted a part of it.
Eddie Flemke (#10), Todd Szegedy (#2) and Eric Beers (#3) dice it up for the lead.
Todd Szegedy waves the checkers after his Thompson win. (Hodge Photos)
All of the top finishers enjoyed the different format, and even had a little bit of insight into the type of racing it produced.
“It was enjoyable because nobody drove over the heads,” said Beers. “We’ve got to race in four days at Stafford and I think that a lot of guys are like us and need to take the same car there. You don’t want to tear that up. It was a clean race and it was fun.”
”I think that the guys like Steffy [Mike Stefanik] kept thinking that we would back up to them, well guess what? We didn’t,” said Flemke. “With only 75-100 laps of green flag racing, we should make it. Guys like Steffy
are always good at taking what they have and making it better, but tonight there wasn’t time to make up for that. I think that the #3 [Beers] tried to be a little bit conservative. When we were better, he would let us go and then when he was better, he would try to pass us back.”
“It was a good time,” said Szegedy. “We had a good
time with a good car. I like these races either way. A
race is a race. You race hard no matter how many laps
Szegedy was followed to the finish line by Flemke, Civali,
Beers and Tony Hirschman. It was the first victory since
2004 for the former Modified champion after he spent last
season living in North Carolina and working in the shop for
Robert Yates Racing.
There’s no doubt in his mind though after Thursday night,
that he is back where he really belongs.
“It’s really nice to be back in victory lane,” said Szegedy.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action at Stafford Motor Speedway on Tuesday, July 4th.
“The only place that he was beating us was down the straightaway,” said Flemke. “He made the move in the corners, but he finished the pass on the front stretch.”
Szegedy led the rest of the way, but Flemke, Beers and Civali would not let him get too far out front.
“Todd told me after the race that he was going as hard as he could and he couldn’t shake me,” said Flemke. “That made me feel pretty good.”
Szegedy scored the victory for the #2 team - an operation that is only four races old.