Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway will play host to the most-crucial race of the 2010 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season to-date as the Budweiser King of Beers 150 is up next on Thursday, Aug. 12.
The season standings are tighter than at any point in the 2010 campaign after the results of the Town Fair Tire 150 on Aug. 6 at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway. Bobby Santos now leads Ted Christopher by just six tallies, the smallest margin in nine races so far this year. Coincidentally, Santos and Christopher are the last two drivers to win at Thompson, site of next Thursday’s race.
Santos, who has lead in points the entire year since his season-opening win at Thompson on April 11, suffered engine trouble last time out at Stafford and finished 23rd. The Franklin, Mass., native brought a 67-point lead into the event, and had a lead as large as 129 points this year, but Christopher has all but eliminated that gap in the last four races.
Christopher, meanwhile, has been the most successful driver at Thompson in the last two-plus seasons with wins in three of the last five races at the .625-mile speedway. The Plainville, Conn., driver has nine career Whelen Modified Tour triumphs at Thompson, second only to Mike Stefanik’s 14 among active competitors. Christopher also has seven wins this year in Thompson’s weekly Sunoco Modified division.
Like Christopher, Stefanik is also putting pressure on Santos’ championship lead. The Coventry, R.I., driver recorded his best finish of the season – second – last time out at Stafford and is now 56 points out of first.
Despite his narrowing lead, Santos has a good opportunity to get back on track at Thompson, where he has gained two of his four career wins. He also set the Whelen Modified Tour pole track record at Thompson in April, and should be able to qualify up front on Thursday.
Action will begin for the Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson with practice at 2 p.m., followed by qualifying at 5:30 p.m. Following Thompson’s “Super Six” NASCAR Whelen All-American Series features, the Budweiser King of Beers 150 is set to go green at approximately 8:45 p.m.
For ticket information, please visit Thompson’s official Web site (www.thompsonspeedway.com).
The Race … Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway will play host to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for the second of three races in 2010. The Budweiser King of Beers will be contested on Thursday, Aug. 12.
The Procedure … Starting positions 1-30 will be determined from time trials, followed by a redraw of the fastest qualifiers. The remaining five positions in the maximum starting field of 35 cars will be filled through the provisional process. The race is 150 laps (93.75 miles).
The Track … A .625-mile high-banked oval that opened in 1940, Thompson was the first asphalt track in the nation, and the largest in New England until New Hampshire Motor Speedway opened in 1990. TIS has played host to the Whelen Modified Tour more times than any other track, and is the only track along with Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway to hold races in all 26 seasons of the Tour.
Race Winners … There have been 29 different race winners at Thompson, led by Mike Stefanik’s 14 victories. Bobby Santos won the first race of the year at Thompson. Donny Lia won this race a year ago.
Pole Winners … There have been 37 different pole winners at Thompson, led by Jeff Fuller’s 13. Bobby Santos set the Thompson qualifying record in the 2010 season-opener with a pole run of 18.418 seconds (122.163 mph).