Trackside Now: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at NHIS
It's Raceday for the Mod Squad at the "Magic Mile"
Saturday 9:45am ET - Tom Baldwin, Jr. will fill in on the pit road today as the crew chief for Bobby Grigas, III's #09 team.  Grigas' regular crew chief Greg Narducci was injured at the track in a freak golf cart accident.  He is currently in an area hospital with multiple injuries, but is expected to fully recover. 

Baldwin, who has a rich history with Modified racing before moving up the racing ladder to a top role at the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team of Bill Davis Racing, is already having a successful weekend.  The #22 team of Dave Blaney, which he will also serve as crew chief for this weekend, won the pole for Sunday's Nextel Cup Series race at NHIS.

Saturday 9:25am ET - Winner of three of the first five races of the season, Donny Lia, was quickest in final practice for this afternoon's New England 100.  Bobby Grigas, III was second-quick, followed by Tony Hirschman, Todd Szegedy and Matt Hirschman.  Full results to come...

There were a few teams that had minor problems in this morning's final tune-up for the New England 100 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at New Hampshire International Speedway.
In the last practice session, Kevin Goodale damaged the right rear corner of his car.  The damage appears to be mostly cosmetic, with a bent rear bumper and crumpled right quarter panel.  The team is repairing it right now.  Jimmy Blewett's #12 team had an electrical problem with their car, but they are correcting it and should be A-OK for the race.

Saturday 8:50am ET - Welcome to day three of New England Speedweek here at New Hampshire International Speedway.  With the NASCAR Busch East Series drivers have all skipped out of Dodge after last night's marathon 125-lap race won by 17-year-old Joey Logano. 

That leaves the eyes of the NASCAR regional series fixed solely on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.  The "Mod Squad" will battle for 100 laps at approximately 1pm this afternoon, but first they have a brief "happy half-hour."  The Tour teams are on track now for a half-hour practice.
Donny Lia will share the front row with today's NWMT feature with polesitter Ted Christopher.  (51 Photo)
WMT STARTING LINEUP
1.  Ted Christopher
2.  Donny Lia
3.  Jimmy Blewett
4.  Matt Hirschman
5.  Eddie Flemke, Jr.
6.  Tony Hirschman
7.  Charlie Pasteryak
8.  Bobby Grigas III
9.  Ronnie Silk
10.  Glenn Tyler
11.  Ron Yuhas Jr
12.  Zach Sylvester
13.  Todd Szegedy
14.  Bobby Santos, III
15.  Nevin George
16.  Danny Sammons
17.  James Civali
18.  Richard Savary
19.  Alex Hoag
20.  Dick Houlihan

21.  Jerry Marquis
22.  Ryan Preece
23.  Reggie Ruggiero
24.  Rob Summers
25.  Eric Beers
26.  Mike Stefanik
27.  Rick Fuller
28.  Ken Bouchard
29.  Billy Pauch, Jr
30.  Kevin Goodale
31.  Woody Pitkat
32.  Jamie Tomaino
33.  Jeff Malave
34.  Rowan Pennink
35.  Mike Christopher
36.  Wade Cole
37.  Joel Hartmann
38.  John Blewett III
39.  Jake Marosz
40.  Andy Seuss

We'll have updates throughout the day from here at NHIS...so keep checking back. 

CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S TRACKSIDE NOW FROM NHIS     CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S TRACKSIDE NOW FROM NHIS

Kevin Goodale's team works to repair the damage to their #58 Modified.  (51 Photo)
Saturday 2:32pm ET - Donny Lia has held off Ted Christopher and Eddie Flemke in a thrilling finish to win at NHIS....more to come.

Saturday 2:24pm ET - Because the NASCAR Busch Series race is scheduled to start at 3pm, the race has been shortened by NASCAR officials.  When the field goes back to green, there will be 10 laps to go.  It will be a single-file restart.

Running order: Lia, Flemke, Szegedy, Matt Hirschman, Yuhas, Ted Christopher, Santos, Silk, Preece, Pitkat

Saturday 2:20pm ET - On the restart, contact was made mid-pack when Alex Hoag checked up coming to the green and got hit from behind by Jerry Marquis.  A frontstretch melee ensued that also collected Danny Sammons and Jimmy Blewett in addition to Hoag and Marquis.

Saturday 2:20pm ET - Caution lap 70 after Reggie Ruggiero made contact with Jeff MalaveRob Summers drove up and over the tire of Zach Sylvester as they tried to avoid Malave's spinning car.  Top-10 running order: Lia, Flemke, Szegedy, Yuhas, Christopher, Santos, Matt Hirschman, Silk, Preece and Pitkat.

Saturday 2:15pm ET - Lap 63 and the yellow's out for a spin by Nevin George off the second turn, a yellow that negated Donny Lia's lead.  Tony Hirschman continues to show his son Matt around the track in second.  Leaders are expected on pit road under this caution.

Tony Hirschman is the only lead-battle car to come in.  He took right side tires and fuel.  Also pitting were Zach Sylvester, Jimmy Blewett, Ryan Preece, Rob Summers and Jerry Marquis.

Ted Christopher, who pitted on the previous caution on lap 36, has worked back up to 10th before this round of pit stops and will restart eighth.  Lia, Matt Hirschman, Flemke, Yuhas, Szegedy, Santos, Silk, Preece, Pitkat.

Saturday 2:03pm ET - We're halfway at NHIS and still under green.  Donny Lia has about a two-second lead over the bumper-to-bumper, father-and-son battle for second between Tony and Matt Hirschman.  Dad shows the way currently in second, Matt's third, while Eddie Flemke runs fourth, Yuhas fifth, and sixth through 10th, it's Todd Szegedy, Bobby Santos, Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat and RonnieSilk.

Saturday 1:56pm ET - When the red flag was lifted, Ted Christopher gave up the lead for a pit stop to change left side tires and fuel up.  No other front-pack drivers followed him.  Green flag again lap 38: Lia, Matt Hirschman, Yuhas, Flemke, Tony Hirschman.

Saturday 1:45pm ET - The race has been red-flagged on lap 35.  James Civali did not get up to speed on the restart and the field stacked up behind him.  Glenn Tyler, Billy Pauch, Jr. and Rick Fuller all were involved.  Civali's car coasted to the infield and is not currently under power.  The rest of the field is lined up on the backstretch and the frontstretch is being cleaned up.
WMT FINAL PRACTICE SPEEDS
1.  Donny Lia 29.368
2.  Bobby Grigas 29.399
3.  Tony Hirschman 29.439
4.  Todd Szegedy 29.467
5.  Matt Hirschman 29.491
6.  Bobby Santos III 29.524
7.  Eddie Flemke 29.569
8.  James Civali 29.573
9.  Jerry Marquis 29.589
10.  Ryan Preece 29.635
11.  Ron Yuhas 29.688
12.  Ted Christopher 29.743
13.  Mike Stefanik 29.711
14.  Richard Savary 29.913
15.  Nevin George 29.973
16.  Reggie Ruggiero 29.994
17.  Charlie Pasteryak 30.043
18.  Danny Sammons 30.090
19.  Eric Beers 30.122
20.  Zach Sylvester 30.132

21.  Ronnie Silk 30.152
22.  Dick Houlihan 30.213
23.  Billy Pauch, Jr. 30.221
24.  Rick Fuller 30.223
25.  Glenn Tyler 30.226
26.  Woody Pitkat 30.239
27.  Rob Summers 30.240
28.  Mike Christopher 30.243
29.  Andy Seuss 30.342
30.  Jeff Malave 30.413
31.  Alex Hoag 30.426
32.  Rowan Pennink 30.467
33.  Kevin Goodale 30.541
34.  Ken Bouchard 30.552
35.  John Blewett, III 30.568
36.  Jamie Tomaino 30.741
37.  Jake Marosz 30.734
38.  Joe Hartmann 240.656
39.  Jimmy Blewett – no time
40.  Wade Cole – no time

Crew member Geoff Harbach looks over the Mystic Missile of Donny Lia - the fastest Modified in final practice.  (51 Photo)
Saturday 10:21am ET - Final practice times are in for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.  Donny Lia was quickest.  Defending winner of the New England 100 John Blewett, III was 35th quickest and searching for some speed.
Modifieds in the tech line, golf carts and even some passenger vehicles are all fighting for the same real estate as the tech line actually snakes along an access road to the garage area. How close are things?  Well, at one point an unidentified Pontiac, likely a rental car, very nearly got together with the nerf bars on Ted Christopher's #36 Mod, but any contact was avoided.

Saturday 10:50am ET - The #09 team of Bobby Grigas, III reports that word from an area hospital is that their crew chief Greg Narducci is doing better after suffering multiple injuries after falling from a golf cart on Thursday.  Narducci will be in the hospital for several more days and will likely face a lengthy rehab period, but he is expected to fully recover.  As soon as the information is available, we will share an address where cards and get well wishes can be directed for the longtime Modified wrench.
Saturday 11:25am ET - Qualifying for the NASCAR Busch Series Camping World 200 is now complete and one of the most impressive performances was put on by a driver not unfamilar to short track fans.  Bobby Santos, III qualified in the fourth position.  Santos, a USAC standout, will also wheel the #3 Boehler Racing Enterprises Modified in today's Tour race.  NASCAR Busch East Series driver Eddie MacDonald had practiced a Busch Series car for Randy MacDonald on Friday, but the entry was withdrawn prior to qualifying.

Saturday 11:10am ET - The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams are going through their final pre-race technical inspection.  There is plenty of activity going on at the track, so the infield of New Hampshire International Speedway is tight.
Things are tight in the NHIS infield.  (51 Photo)
Ted Christopher and Donny Lia have putting on a whale of a race for the lead at NHIS.  Right now, Lia leads TC with Eddie Flemke, Jr., Jimmy Blewett and Tony Hirschman in tow.

The #5 of Joe Hartmann has been retired to the garage area.  Kevin Goodale is currently two laps down and Jake Marosz just gained his lost lap thanks to the lucky dog free pass.

The green flag has dropped on the New England 100 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event.  Ted Christopher and Jimmy Blewett drafted together into the lead at the start, but Blewett took over the top spot on the following lap.  Right now, the running order is Blewett, Christopher, Donny Lia, Matt Hirschman and Eddie Flemke, Jr.  The caution is currently out due to a no-contact spin by Alex Hoag

Saturday 1:00pm ET - There are plenty of different pit strategies for today's Modified Tour event.  Mike Stefanik said before belting in that he planned to "pit early and pit often" until the handling of his #16 Modified was exactly to his liking.
Things are tight in the NHIS infield.  (51 Photo)
Saturday 1:25pm ET - Alex Hoag has spun again, bringing out the second caution of the day at New Hampshire on lap 17.  He didn't hit anything and this should be a quick caution.
Currently, the top five are Ted Christopher, Matt Hirschman, Donny Lia, Ron Yuhas and Eddie Flemke.

Andy Seuss should be getting the lucky dog pass under this caution. 

Saturday 1:31pm ET - Bobby Grigas, III got loose on the outside of Tony Hirschman in turn four and slide into the outside wall.  The front end of Grigas' #09 is fairly heavily damaged and the car will have to be towed in.  Coolant has leaked out onto the track, so this might be a lengthy caution.  The good news?  Grigas got out of the car and appears to be fine.

Saturday 1:29pm ET - Mike Stefanik's pit strategy has backfired.  With one lap to go before the track went green, Stefanik pitted but exited pit road too quickly and will be penalized by NASCAR.
Alex Hoag sits on the track apron after an early spin.  (51 Photo)
Saturday 3:55pm ET - Just like last year, the finish of the first of two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events at New Hampshire International Speedway had a controversial finish.  Last year, track and NASCAR officials waved James Civali to victory lane, only to correct themselves and award John Blewett III the win after checking scoring loops when a late-race caution came out.

This time around, a race cut 15 laps short due to time constraints made for a bunch of ticked off drivers and teams in the WMT pit area Saturday afternoon.  Under caution on lap 75, NASCAR officials announced that the race would be shortened to 85 laps from 100 due to the NASCAR Busch Series event and its live television coverage to start promptly at 3pm ET, wich promptly threw WMT teams into a tizzy.  The call came under caution and teams were given 10 laps to go, making drivers like Ted Christopher, who was coming up through the field after changing tires on previous cautions, go into a "hurry-up" offense.

The only driver who didn’t mind hearing that call was Donny Lia, who had the dominant car throughout the event without pitting for tires.  Christopher was in a hurry to come to the front and caught up to Lia and Eddie Flemke and the three veterans waged a back-and-forth battle for the lead in the last handful of laps.  When Christopher got by Flemke for second, he had nothing left for Lia.

The win is Lia’s fourth of the season and third straight in six races to start the 2007 WMT season. 

We’ll have more on the controversial finish in the race story and Leftovers later in the week here on Speed51.com.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS
1.  Donny Lia
2.  Ted Christopher
3.  Ed Flemke, Jr.
4.  Matt Hirschman
5.  Todd Szegedy
6.  Ronnie Silk
7.  Bobby Santos III
8.  Ron Yuhas
9.  Charlie Pasteryak
10.  John Blewett III
11.  Richard Savary
12.  Reggie Ruggiero
13.  Mike Stefanik
14.  Woody Pitkat
15.  Zach Sylvester
16.  Tony Hirschman
17.  Nevin George
18.  Ryan Preece
19.  Andy Seuss
20.  Billy Pauch, Jr.
21.  Jeff Malave
22.  Dick Houlihan
23.  Jamie Tomaino
24.  Rowan Pennink
25.  Danny Sammons
26.  Kevin Goodale
27.  Wade Cole
28.  Jerry Marquis
29.  Alex Hoag
30.  Jimmy Blewett
31.  Rob Summers
32.  Jake Marosz
33.  Eric Beers
34.  Mike Christopher
35.  James Civali
36.  Glen Gyle
37.  Rick Fuller
38.  Ken Bouchard
39.  Bobby Grigas
40.  Joseph Hartmann

Donny Lia (#4) held off Ted Christopher (#36) in the late laps (top) in order to score his fourth win of the season with the Mystic Missle team (bottom).  (51 Photos)