Trackside Now: Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway
Sunday, 4/26/09  - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Stafford Springs, CT
Sunday - 5:35pm ET - Here is the finishing order for today's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT).  Thank you for logging into our Trackside Now coverage today.

1.  Ted Christopher
2.  Todd Szegedy
3.  Ryan Preece
4.  Mike Stefanik
5.  Chris Pasteryak
6.  Donny Lia
7.  Woody Pitkat
8.  Ronnie Silk
9.  Jimmy Blewett
10.  Eddie Flemke, Jr.
11.  Eric Goodale
12.  Jamie Tomaino
13.  Eric Berndt
14.  Kevin Goodale
15.  Bobby Grigas, III
16.  Eric Beers
17.  Glenn Tyler
18.  Glen Reen
19.  Ken Heagy
20.  Tommy Ferrell, Jr.
21.  Matt Hirschman
22.  Wade Cole
23.  Carl Pasteryak
24.  Richard Savary
25.  Jake Marosz
26.  Rowan Pennick
27.  Joe Hartmann
28.  Doug Coby
29.  Rob Summers
30.  Erick Rudolph
31.  Tom Abele, Jr.
32.  Renne Dupuis
33.  Reggie Ruggiero

Sunday - 4:31pm ET - Ted Christopher has won his fifth career Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway over Todd Szegedy, Ryan Preece, Mike Stefanik and Chris Pastreyak.  We'll have a full field rundown for you in a little bit.  Right now, we are off to the pits to talk to the competitors.

Sunday - 4:17pm ET - Ted Christopher passed Todd Szegedy down low for the lead on lap 184. 

On lap 188, Matt Hirschman spun to bring out another caution.

On the lap 192 restart, Ted Christopher pulled away easily from second place Todd Szegedy.

Sunday - 4:17pm ET - A wild two laps of racing after the last restart has put Ted Christopher all of the way up into second place.  Meanwhile, Rowan Pennick's march through the field has ended with a hard hit into the turn three wall.  He appears to be okay, but his day is over.

The caution is out on lap 178. 

Todd Szegedy currently leads Christopher, Ryan Preece, Mike Stefanik and Ronnie Silk.

Sunday - 4:15pm ET - The caution is now out for a tangle between Richard Savary and Ken Heagy in turn four.  The lap counter is at 170.

This caution is exactly what Ted Christopher needed to catch the top four runners. 

Todd Szegedy, Mike Stefanik, Ryan Preece, Rowan Pennick, Ted Christopher, Ronnie Silk, Donny Lia, Woody Pitkat, Chris Pasteryak and Matt Hirschman currently make up the top 10.

There are 20 cars currently on the lead lap.

The #50 of Kevin Goodale will recive the lucky dog pass on this caution.

Glen Reen is pitting under caution.

Doug Coby has been pushed behind the wall and is officially out of the race.  The listed reason is an engine failure.

"The motor was running hot for a lot of the race and we decided to ride it out, but it finally let go," said Coby during a PA interview.

The restart will take place on lap 175. There will be 25 laps remaining in the regularly scheduled distance of this race.

Sunday - 4:09pm ET -  Doug Coby has slowed on the backstretch and coasted into the pits under green.  He was running in the top five, but now he doesn't even seem to have enough steam left to make it all of the way to his pit stall.

It's lap 163 and Ted Christopher is back in the top five.  He has quite a bit of ground to make up though to catch Rowan Pennick in fourth.

Sunday - 4:07pm ET -  Todd Szegedy is now leading the race and the "pass" for the lead is somewhat suspect.  Mike Stefanik was ruled to have jumped the restart, so he was ordered to allow Szegedy to pass for the lead or be penalized.

So now it's Szegedy over Stefanik, Ryan Preece, Doug Coby and a rapidly charging Rowan Pennick.

Ted Christopher is now in the top 10 with less than 50 laps to go.

Sunday - 4:01pm ET -  Richard Savery has spun in turn four on lap 141.  He drove away from the incident, but the caution has come out.

Up front, it is currently Mike Stefanik over Todd Szegedy, Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat, Ronnie Silk, Doug Coby, Glen Reen, Chris Pastreyak, Donny Lia and Rowan Pennick.

Ted Christopher is up to 13th.

Eddie Flemke will get the lucky dog pass on this caution.  He is now back on the lead lap.

Sunday - 3:54pm ET -  For the first part of the race, Ted Christopher could do no wrong.  Now it appears that he can do no right.

Christopher went for a ride through the infield after Carl Pasterayk spun on the backstretch and brought out the caution on lap 129.  Glenn Tyler also spun around. 

What little progress that Christopher was able to make since his last restart has now been lost.

Up front, it is Mike Stefanik who leads over Todd Szegedy, Woody Pitkat, Ryan Preece, Glen Reen, Ronnie SIlk, Donny Lia, Chris Pasteryak, Doug Coby and Jamie Tomaino.

Rounding out the top 15 are Matt Hirschman, Richard Savary, Eric Berndt, Rowan Pennick and Glen Tyler.

Sunday - 3:51pm ET -  The excitement that was needed in this race has just been delivered.

Ted Christopher pulled out of the lead and into the pits under caution with a flat left rear tire.  He will now restart deep in the field as a result.  TC has been the dominent force here today, so watching him work through traffic at what is considered his hometrack could be quite a treat.

Mike Stefanik now leads Todd Szegedy, Woody Pitkat and Ryan Preece.

Sunday - 3:47pm ET -  All of that excitement surrounding the battle for 17th position was ill-placed.  It turned out that Jimmy Blewett was one lap down, so that pass really wasn't for position.  The good news for Blewett is that he will now be the lucky dog and get back on the lead lap.  He might get to battle for 17th after all.  If so, it might add some small degree of excitement to a somewhat stale race.

A battle for the lead would be even more exciting, but given Ted Christopher's dominance so far, that is unlikely to happen.  Then again, things can change at any time in short track auto maybe there is still some hope for a good race.

Rowan Pennick, Bobby Grigas, Eric Beers, Wade Cole and Joe Hartmann are among those who have pitted under this caution.

Grigas will start at the end of the longest line on the restart for running over a piece of equipment on pit road.

Sunday - 3:40pm ET -  Eddie Flemke has just spun coming out of turn two.  There does not appear to be any damage on his car, but the caution has come out on lap 114 for the incident.

Sunday - 3:39pm ET -  Jimmy Blewett has just passed Glenn Tyler for the 17th position.  That is the only interesting thing that is going on in this race currently.

Ted Christopher is pulling away from Rowan Pennick for the lead.  Jake Marosz just went another lap down.

We're currently working lap 113 of 200 here at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Sunday - 3:36pm ET -  Rowan Pennick actually led for three laps after the restart before Ted Christopher got by him with newer tires.  Christopher is now back into the lead.  We're going back to our reguarly scheduled nap now.  Yes, it's been that kind of a race so far....nobody has anything for TC at this point.

Sunday - 3:30pm ET -  Nearly everyone has pitted under this caution.  Rowan Pennick has stayed out on the track and now has the lead.  Eric Beers also stayed out to collect the lucky dog award.  Everyone else visited the pits.

Of those drivers, Ted Christopher came out first.  He'll line up behind Pennick on the restart with four new tires.  It doesn't appear that Pennick will be long for the lead as a result.

Ronnie Silk and Ryan Preece made contact on pit road while exiting their pits.

The restart order will be Pennick, Christopher, Mike Stefanik, Woody Pitkat and Bobby Grigas.

Sunday - 3:30pm ET -  Jake Marosz has brought out the caution on lap 89 for a solo spin through the frontstretch grass.

Eric Beers will receive the lucky dog award.

We just woke up form a nap to find that Ted Christopher is still leading Ryan Preece and Rowan Pennick.

Sunday - 3:20pm ET -  The laps are clicking off quick here at Stafford.  We are currently on lap 63.  Ted Christopher still leads while Ryan Preece has just passed Eric Berndt for second place.  Rowan Pennick is looking under Berndt's #64 for third place currently.  Mike Stefanik sits in fifth.

Sunday - 3:10pm ET -  That stretch of green flag racing didn't last long.  One lap to be exact.

On the lap 32 restart, Ted Christopher outdragged Ryan Preece to maintain the lead.  Preece then appeared to brush the backstretch wall.  At the same time, Tom Abele got into trouble and slid through the infield and then came to a rest in turn three with heavy front end damage on his #32.

Under caution, Preece pulled alongside of Christopher for a moment.  We're not sure if he was questioning the line-up or showing displeasure to his fellow driver.

We're going back to green on lap 35.  This time, Christopher leads going into turn one.

Sunday - 3:06pm ET -  Eddie Flemke will have to restart at the rear of the field for pitting too soon under caution.

Sunday - 3:01pm ET -  The day's second caution period is out right now on lap 23 after Tom Abele and Renee Dupuis got together in turn four.  Dupuis ended up in the frontstretch wall and her car will need a tow truck to return to the pit area.  There is also a fair amount of speedy dry that is being spread in the location of the wreck.

Eric Beers, Eddie Flemke, Glenn Tyler and Wade Cole are among the drivers who are pitting under caution.

The top 10 runners remain the same since our last update.

Sunday - 2:56pm ET -  On the lap nine restart, Ryan Preece got the holeshot to take the lead, but that lead only lasted half a lap before Ted Christopher thumped his way by for the top spot. 

At lap 15, the running order is currently Christopher, Preece, Mike Stefanik, Eric Berndt, Todd Szegedy, Rowan Pennick, Donny Lia, Chris Pasteryak, Jimmy Blewett and Glen Reen

Sunday - 2:53pm ET -  After nearly one hour of introductions, preparations and lining things up, the green flag is out for the 200-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT).

Ryan Preece led the first two laps before yielding the top spot to Ted Christopher.

On lap three, the caution came out for an incident on the exit to turn four.  Eric Beers, Reggie Ruggiero and Erick Rudolph were involved.  Ruggiero's car is misisng its right front wheel.  Rudolph needs a wrecker to get back to the pits and Beers drove away, but pitted to repair damage.

Sunday - 2:35pm ET -  Glen Reen will start 11th in today's WMT race.  Reen graduated from the weekly SK Light Modified division here at Stafford before moving to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2008 and winning Rookie of the Year honors.

Reen loves it when the NASCAR Tour comes back to his home track.

"It's nice to be home," said Reen.  "It's good to see everything that is familar - the same billboards, the same marks and to recognize the fans."

Sunday - 2:30pm ET -  They have just finished rolling out the Modifieds to line up in the infield here to prepare for driver's introductions.  The Tour Modified feature is next, but with all of the pomp and circumstance that is a part of a big event at Stafford, it will still be a little bit before the green flag for the race waves.

Sunday - 2:15pm ET -  The pit boxes for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams are being toted out to pit road.  The 200-lap Tour Modified feature is coming up next.

Sunday - 2:10pm ET -  Here is the unofficial finishing order for the 40-lap SK Modified race at Stafford Motor Speedway:

1.  Richie Pallai
2.  Ted Christopher
3.  Jimmy Blewett
4.  Todd Owen
5.  Brad Hietala
6.  Frank Hirt, III
7.  Chris Matthews
8.  Rich Hammann
9.  Woody Pitkat
10.  Mark Bakaj
11.  Kenny Horton
12.  Wade Mattesen
13.  Frank Ruocco
14.  Jeff Malave
15.  Matt Gallo
16.  Chris Jones
17.  Keith Rocco
18.  Doug Coby
19.  Kurt Lenahan
20.  Curt Brainard
21.  Joseph Allegro, Jr.
22.  Kirk Zervas
23.  Sean Foster
24.  Brett Gonyaw
25.  Kerry Malone
26.  Zach Sylvester
27.  David Salzarulo
28.  Tom Bolles

Sunday - 2:00pm ET -  Richie Pallai has won his first SK Modified feature here at Stafford Motor Speedway.  There were 28 cars that started the 40-lap event, but only 13 of them finished...and some of those guys had plenty of problems of their own in the race.

"I couldn't be any more proud of everyone on my team," said an emotional Pallai in victory lane. 

Pallai battled hard with Brad Hietala in the closing laps for the top spot.  With three laps to go, Hietala tried to duck under Pallai going into turn one.  But there wasn't enough room to fit two racecars and Hietala got sideways and lost several positions.

"I'm sorry for Brad Hietala, but I needed to keep it down on the bottom lane," said Pallai.  He's a great guy and he probably deserved a win more than I did."

Ted Christopher rebounded from an early incident with Woody Pitkat to finish second.

"That was definately a luck deal," said Christopher.  "I'm just glad that I wasn't involved in that wreck on the backstretch.  It needs a front bumper and a few other pieces, but that isn't so bad when you look at a lot of other people."

Jimmy Blewett finished third and was very happy for the first-time winner.

"I've got to congratuate Richie," said Blewett.  "He deserved to win and the kid is a good shoe."

Todd Owen also rebounded from early troubles to finish fourth.

Sunday - 1:45pm ET -  We have seen some rough SK Modified races though the years, but today's 40-lap feature at Stafford is right up there when it comes to the amount of carnage per lap.

Currently, we are stopped at lap 30 of the feature.  The red flag is out for a restart wreck that took place on the backstretch.  All but two cars on the track at the time were either caught in the wreck or had to come to a stop to avoid the wreck.  Five other cars drove away before the red flag came out, but there is a big wreck to clean up currently.

Before "The Big One", there were plenty of other competitors who had trouble.  Ted Christopher and Woody Pitkat tangled and went to the rear after battling for second.  Christopher went to the back because he spun, Pitkat went back there because he was judged to have been the reason for TC's spin. Doug Coby went sliding through the infield grass at one point.  Todd Owen led early and then dropped out of the race.  Frank Ruocco slid through the infield and lost positions.  Kenny Horton had damage to his left front that dropped him out of the race.

Currently, Richie Pallai unofficially leads the race over Jimmy Blewett, Ted Christopher, Frank Hirt, III and Brad Hietala.  We stress the unofficial part because there is some dispute as to where Christopher should be lined up.

Sunday - 1:25pm ET -  Matt Hirschman is settling into the #60 Modified today, but it is not the familar #60 that he runs out of his family's Hirschman Speed shop.  The car is a back-up ride to the #93 of Rowan Pennick.  Hirschman reports that the car is going "decent" and that he has slowly been getting more comfortable in it.  His regular seat is not in the car, so getting used to his surroundings might have taken a bit longer than usual.  Hirschman will start 12th today.

Sunday - 1:20pm ET -  Andy Seuss has won two of the first four NASCAR Whelen Southenr Modified Tour events of the season and will also contest a partial schedule of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events in 2009.  He won't be in the field today, as he timed in 31st quickest during qualifying on Saturday and was not in line for a provisional due to his part-time status on the Tour.  The team discovered that a binding control arm was the problem on Seuss' car that limited his speed on Saturday here.

Sunday - 1:15pm ET -  Bobby Grigas, III will start at the rear of the field today in the Spring Sizzler.  Grigas' #09 team discovered an oil leak on their engine after qualifying on Saturday and changed the powerplant.  NASCAR rules dictate that if an engine is changed, that entry must start at the rear of the field.

Sunday - 12:55pm ET -  The Spring Sizzler is one of the most historic short track racing events in the country and the list of previous winners of the Modified class is a lengthy and impressive one.  Here are the drivers who have ended the race in victory lane:

2008 - Ted Christopher
2007 - Donny Lia
2006 - Doug Coby
2005 - Tony Hirschman
2004 - Jerry Marquis
2003 - Ted Christopher
2002 - Ted Christopher
2001 - John Blewett, III
2000 - Rick Fuller
1999 - Rick Fuller
1998 - Mike Stefanik
1997 - Mike Stefanik
1996 - Jan Leaty
1995 - Mike Ewanitsko
1994 - Mike Ewanitsko
1993 - Reggie Ruggiero
1992 - Rick Fuller
1991 - Jeff Fuller
1990 - Mike Stefanik
1989 - Mike Stefanik
1988 - Ted Christopher
1987 - Reggie Ruggiero
1986 - Brian Ross
1985 - Richie Evans
1984 - Jimmy Spencer
1983 - Greg Sacks
1982 - Greg Sacks
1981 - Bob Polverari
1980 - Geoff Bodine
1979 - Maynard Troyer
1978 - Maynard Troyer
1977 - Maynard Troyer
1976 - Richie Evans
1975 - Richie Evans
1974 - Bugsy Stevens
1973 - Ed Flemke
1972 - Fred Desarro

Sunday - 12:50pm ET -  Ted Christopher set fast time, but after the redraw it will be Ryan Preece who starts on the pole for today's 200-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour feature at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT).  Here are the full results from qualifying, which took place on Saturday afternoon:

Starting Lineup
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour - Tech-Net Spring Sizzler pres. by CARQUEST Lineup
Race Sunday; Qualifying Saturday
at Stafford Motor Speedway
Stafford, CT
Lap Length: 0.5 miles

1. (3) Ryan Preece, Kensington, Conn., Chevrolet, 97.965
2. (16) Mike Stefanik, Coventry, R.I., Pontiac, 97.997
3. (36) Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., Chevrolet, 99.174
4. (54) Eric Berndt, Cromwell, Conn., Chevrolet, 97.943
5. (93) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Chevrolet, 97.720
6. (2) Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, Conn., Ford, 97.471
7. (52) Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn., Chevrolet, 97.667
8. (4) Donny Lia, Jericho, N.Y., Dodge, 97.938
9. (75) Carl Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn., Pontiac, 97.498
10. (12) Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 97.503
11. (17) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Mass., Chevrolet, 97.392
12. (60) Matt Hirschman, Northampton, Pa., Chevrolet, 97.297
13. (19) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 97.213
14. (59) Erick Rudolph, Ransomville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 97.135
15. (79) Ron Silk, Norwalk, Conn., Pontiac, 97.009
16. (28) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 96.957
17. (46) Eric Beers, Northampton, Pa., Chevrolet, 96.915
18. (1) Rob Summers, Vernon, Conn., Chevrolet, 96.889
19. (14) Reggie Ruggiero, Rocky Hill, Conn., Ford, 96.686
20. (10) Ed Flemke, Jr., Southington, Conn., Chevrolet, 96.598
21. (18) Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y., Chevrolet, 96.556
22. (21) Richard Savary, Canton, Mass., Chevrolet, 96.417
23. (90) Renee Dupuis, Glastonbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 96.267
24. (99) Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 96.190
25. (09) Bobby Grigas, III, Marshfield, Mass., Chevrolet, 96.123
26. (05) Joe Hartmann, Calverton, N.Y., Chevrolet, 95.995
27. (08) Tommy Farrell, III, Neptune, N.J., Chevrolet, 95.944 *
28. (8) Glenn Tyler, Hampton Bays, N.Y., Chevrolet, 95.903
29. (58) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 94.305 *+
30. (33) Wade Cole, Riverton, Conn., Chevrolet, 95.679 +
31. (32) Tom Abele, Jr., Norwich, Conn., Chevrolet, 95.775 +
32. (9) Jake Marosz, Middletown, Conn., Chevrolet, 92.095 +
33. (50) Kevin Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 95.836 +

* Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender
+ Provisional Starter
Top 10 Qualifiers Redrew

Sunday - 12:20pm ET -  Welcome to Stafford Motor Speedway, where it is an absolutely beautiful spring day in New England.  The perfect kind of afternoon for opening day at one of the most famed pavement short tracks in the country and for round two of the 2009 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.  There is hardly a cloud in the sky and temperatures are in the upper 70's and easing into the 80's.

The pit party has just wrapped up here and we'll be filling you in on some of the notes that we gathered during that event.  Stay tuned throughout the entire afternoon for updates right here.

You can jump over to the's discussion forum at and share your opinions on the racing today.  It is a great place to interact with other fans and comment about this weekends festivities.


Ted Christopher won the 2008 version of the Spring Sizzler at Stafford.
Turn one has always been a hard place to wreck at Stafford Motor Speedway.  The installation of SAFER barriers in the corner has helped improve safety.  (51 Photo)
The pre-race pit party at Stafford Motor Speedway was very well attended.  (51 Photos)
Jamie Tomaino
High-school student Ryan Preece found a fan even younger than himself and signed an autograph for him during the pit party.Sunday.
Jimmy Blewett signs autographs at Stafford.
Five-time NASCAR Modified Tour champion Tony Hirschman is here today to cheer on his son Matt.  Here, he chats with spotter Brian Crowley during the pit party.
Doug Coby (Right) and his crew member Shadow.
Donny Lia stands by his Mod.
Bobby Grigas, III meets fans during the pit party.
Ted Christopher in victory lane after the Spring Sizzler.  (51 Photos)