Todd Szegedy ended the longest Victory Lane drought of his career Friday night when he won the Town Fair Tire 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Szegedy, who had been winless since September 2008 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway, took the lead from Mike Stefanik on Lap 100 en route to his 14th career win. It was the third triumph at Stafford for Szegedy, who led a race-high 54 laps.
For Szegedy, the 2003 Whelen Modified Tour champion who has been a consistent front-runner and winner throughout his career, the drought put a lot of weight on his shoulders. His previous longest winless streak was 17 races between his first and second career wins in 2002-03.
“It gives you motivation, when you lose so much,” Szegedy said in Victory Lane. “When you lose, it’s horrible. So winning – this is awesome.”
After disappointing finishes in the previous two races, Szegedy’s No. 2 Wisk/Snuggle Ford team had slipped from second to fifth in the standings.
“It’s going to give us momentum to catch back up in points,” Szegedy said. “It’s going to be really hard, but we know we have to maintain top-five finishes to have a shot in the points.”
Stefanik finished as the race runner-up - the best finish of his season - and his best result at Stafford since he won the 2008 Fall Final. He led 33 laps Friday.
“I haven’t had a car this good here in a long time,” Stefanik said. “We had a car to stay up front and lead laps. I started to get that ‘feel-good feeling’ for a little while there until reality set in. Todd turned it up and got by us on the outside and drove away.”
Ron Silk, who earned his first Stafford Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day, crossed the line third for his fourth-straight podium finish and fifth-consecutive top-five overall.
“We’ve finished third the last four races,” Silk said. “I want to win one pretty soon, but if we keep finishing third, we’ll get one.”
Erick Rudolph and Ted Christopher rounded out the top five while Eric Beers, Eric Goodale, Bobby Grigas III, Chuck Hossfeld and George Brunnhoelzl III completed the top 10. Goodale tied his previous career-best finish, set last week at Riverhead Raceway.
Points leader Bobby Santos suffered a blown motor that brought out a red-flag for cleanup on Lap 100 that resulted in a 23rd-place finish. As a result, the 67-point advantage he brought into the race on Christopher was chopped to just six, the tightest at any point this year. Stefanik remained third in the standings, now 56 tallies out of first, while Szegedy moved up to fourth.
The Town Fair Tire 150 will air on VERSUS on Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will next race in the Budweiser King of Beers 150 at Thompson on Thursday, Aug. 12.