It's Hossfeld by a Hair at New Hampshire Mod Race by Mike Twist
TC Leads 93 of 100 Laps, But Not The Final One
Chuck Hossfeld (#4) makes a run under Ted Christopher coming off turn four (Top - 51 Photo)) and just barely holds him off at the finish. (Bottom - Jim Dupont Photo)
“I'll tell you what,” said Christopher. “To be honest with you, I messed up myself that time. I drove it into three with too straight of an angle. That killed my momentum. So shame on me.”
Hossfeld had been waiting patiently for the moment on lap 99 when he made a move for the lead.
When Chuck Hossfeld and Ted Christopher crossed the finish line in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour feature at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon, they both had something in common with all of the fans in the stands, the journalists in the media center and the team members on pit road.
Like everyone else in the house, neither driver knew for sure who won the race. Their cars crossed the finish line side-by-side and the scoring monitors showed a 0.000 gap between Hossfeld's yellow #4 and Christopher's red #36. Eventually, the official margin of victory was released as 0.001 seconds, nodding in favor of Hossfeld, but at the time nobody knew for sure.
“No,” said Christopher simply when he was asked if he could tell who won from inside the car.
Hossfeld didn't know either, but was a bit more optimistic.
“Not at all,” said Hossfeld. “It looked like my right front tire was just a hair in front of his left front, so I thought that maybe I won. But I didn't know. It was just so close, so I sat there waiting and waiting for someone to say something [on the radio]. Even when they told me, I wanted to make sure they were 100% right because I didn't want to get excited. I was so thrilled when I knew for sure. I am thrilled now.
So after those few moments, the PA confirmed that Hossfeld had won and he was directed towards victory lane to celebrate.
Meanwhile, the driver who had led the majority of the race, hung his head. Christopher led a total of 93 laps during the 100-lap affair, but came up short in the closest recorded finish in NASCAR Modified Tour history.
“It sucks to lead all those laps and to get beat on the last corner.,” said Christopher. “But that is racing.”
Christopher pointed to one moment in turn three where he lost the race, and Hossfeld won it. At that point, Hossfeld got under TC's #36 and then the two drag-raced out of turn four down the frontstretch to the finish line.
Some guys had good days - (Top) Ted Christopher (#36) leads Eric Beers (#46) and Todd Szegedy (#2) in a battle for the lead. While Richard Savary gets ready to impact the wall (Bottom). (51 Photos)
Now, Hossfeld has won twice in 2008 with the car and more importantly, is having the time of his life.
“There was a lot of patience involved with that,” said Hossfeld. “It could have just as easily been a six-car race as a two-car race. I waited and waited. I didn't make my move until the end. I set him up a few times and thought maybe I could run away from him, but Teddy is tough. He came back and that didn't work. So I had to wait for the last lap.
“I couldn't pass him [before that] and make it work. He kept coming back and coming back and if there were 10 more laps, he probably would have come back again.“
While Hossfeld showed extreme patience and waited until the clock was almost run out, several other drivers tried to use earlier moment to topple TC. Todd Szegedy and Bobby Santos, III officially led the race as well. In addition, Eric Beers and James Civali both put their Modifieds out front briefly, but never at the start/finish line.
Christopher would just repass each of these drivers though, scoffing at their methods as he retook the lead.
“The only way that they would pass me would be to take my lane away,” said Christopher. “They dived bombed me in, took my lane away and drove underneath me. Then I'd drive right back by them again. It was pretty simple.”
Eddie Flemke, Jr. was patient and came on strong at the end to finish third, his best career result at the New Hampshire track. Beers finished fourth and Reggie Ruggiero rounded out the top five.
The victory was Hossfeld's third at New Hampshire. Each one came behind the wheel of the Mystic Missile #4 Modified owned by Bob and Joan Garbarino. Hossfeld returned to the car for his second tour of duty this season after last year's driver, and June race winner at NHMS, Donny Lia moved up in his own racing career.
Chuck Hossfeld and his team are having fun - especially when they visit victory lane. (Jim Dupont Photo)
“I really have to thank my team. Bob Mueller made a great call in the pits and the guys gave me a perfect pit stop. It's great to drive for Bob Garbarino and I can't say enough about that Hutter motor. That really pulled up down the straightaways.
“I can't speak for them, but I can tell you how much I appreciate being back with these guys. They are a great bunch of guys. I can't tell you enough about how much fun this makes racing. My two friends, Greg Alman and Bob Mueller are on the pit crew and we ride together to the races. That's fun. Bob's got his friends, I've got a couple of my friends and a few of the guys who helped [last year's driver] Donny [Lia[ help us after Donny moved on to the Truck Series. Plus, I'm friends with Donny. So everything really worked out great.”
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on July 12th at Spencer Speedway (NY).