NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Season Wrap-Up
Notes From Throughout the 2010 Season
NASCAR PR Report
Santos Prevails In Competitive Mod Tour Season

In yet another down-to-the-wire championship campaign for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Bobby Santos finally got his long-awaited opportunity and came out on top during a season that was full of intrigue.

Plenty of things transpired during the 2010 racing season that may not have been projected this time last year. Veterans Mike Stefanik and Ron Silk put together serious runs at the championship while budding stars Ryan Preece and Rowan Pennink surprisingly took steps backward. Young competitors Erick Rudolph and Eric Goodale also showed a glimpse at the future of the Tour by establishing themselves as top-10 drivers.

But depending on your point of view, perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2010 season was that the No. 4 “Mystic Missile” Dodge once again took home the Whelen Modified Tour title.

The throne was vacated just prior to the beginning of the 2010 season as  reigning champ Donny Lia left for a second chance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Suddenly car owner Bob Garbarino, who had teamed with Lia for the 2007 and 2009 titles, wasn’t sure if he would even field a team.

Enter Santos, a driver often referred to in recent years as the prospect most deserving of a full-time ride. Once again Garbarino struck gold as Santos not only kept the “Mystic Missile” up front, but he delivered the longtime car owner his third title in the last four years after more than four decades without.

On one hand you could have said of the pairing that it would be awfully hard for Garbarino’s outfit to earn another title with a new driver. After all, Chuck Hossfeld couldn’t continue the run in 2008 in between Lia’s titles. But on the other hand, you could sense that Santos had championship potential if given a shot to run for points. Those that projected the latter - including Garbarino - proved to be right.

Santos started the season on fire with wins in three of the first four races. He even won the first three poles, including track records at the historic Connecticut ovals at Thompson and Stafford. While the team never slumped, three finishes outside the top 15 in the middle of the season combined with hard charges from Stefanik, Silk and Ted Christopher, brought the championship chase down to the end.

Santos showed he could close, however, as his fourth win of the year came in the next-to-last race of the season. The Stafford triumph increased his points lead from a mere seven tallies to 37 heading to the finale. At Thompson Santos turned in his 11th top 10 of the year to keep the championship trophy in Mystic, Conn.

Owner’s Championship … Garbarino began fielding a NASCAR Modified in the early 1960’s, and his yellow “Mystic Missile” has been a staple of racing in New England ever since. Many drivers and crew members have come and gone through the years, but Garbarino’s commitment to NASCAR Modified racing has never waivered, an that effort has paid off with three titles in the last four years.

Champion Crew Chief … Calling all the shots for Garbarino during those three title runs has been crew chief Bob Mueller. Mueller has directed Mystic Missile Racing to 16 wins and 44 top 10s in 59 races during the last four years.

Awards Gala Set In Hall Of Fame

NASCAR will honor its ‘stars of tomorrow’ and short-track veterans by gathering them in the greater Charlotte (N.C.) area for two special year-end celebrations.

NASCAR will return to Charlotte with a special week of activities culminating with the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet on Friday, Dec. 10 and the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala on Saturday, Dec. 11. The banquets will be held at the Charlotte Convention Center's Crown Ballroom in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Fans throughout the U.S., Canada, and around the globe, will again be able to watch the festivities from both nights via a live webcast on nascarhometracks.com.

“With the recent opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, this is a tremendous opportunity to honor the top drivers throughout NASCAR’s developmental series in a most appropriate setting: the showcase of our sport’s history,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR managing director of racing operations.

“The week-long schedule of special activities for our champions, track promoters and industry members will put the spotlight on the important series and tracks that make up NASCAR’s foundation. We are especially pleased to be able to bring the events from both nights to fans everywhere – who have followed their favorite drivers all season at their favorite tracks – through the NASCAR Home Tracks website.”

In addition to the new NASCAR Hall of Fame complex, the region is the home of the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C., as well as a majority of today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams.

The NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala will feature the series champions and top drivers from NASCAR’s regional touring series including invitees from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1.

The Westin Charlotte will be the host hotel for both awards banquets.

Tour Tidbits: Season Wrap-Up Notebook

Bonsignore Earns Rookie Award … A head-to-head battle between Justin Bonsignore and Richie Pallai Jr. for 2010 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors resulted in the former edging the later by a mere two tallies in the rookie points standings. Bonsignore recorded a pair of top fives and four top 10s and won the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award in eight of the season’s 14 events.

Santos Collects Whelen, Coors Awards … It was a banner year for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Bobby Santos , who in addition to taking home the biggest trophy of them all at the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala, will also collect the Whelen Winner of the Race and Coors Light Pole Awards. Santos tied with Ted Christopher for the Tour lead in wins with four, and won the Coors Award outright with four poles during the season.

Pennink, Pitkat Nab Improvement Awards … The Featherlite Most Improved Driver and Coca-Cola Move of the Race Awards for the 2010 season were earned by Rowan Pennink and Woody Pitkat, respectively. Pennink and Pallai were two-time Featherlite Award winners during the year, but Pennink gets the season award by virtue of finishing higher in the points standings. Pitkat earned the Coca-Cola Award outright as he captured the in-race improvement honor three times in 2010.

Stefanik Solid in Title-Contending Run … The most accomplished driver in Whelen Modified Tour history - Mike Stefanik - made a bid at adding to his legend in 2010, but ended up just short of what would have been his eighth Tour title. He finished 27 points behind Santos, and failed to reach Victory Lane, but recorded Tour highs for top fives, top 10s and laps completed.

Christopher Continues to Build Legacy … Four more wins in 2010 moved Christopher up to third on the Whelen Modified Tour all-time wins list at 38. He has 10 wins and 24 top fives in 40 races since he turned 50 years old in 2008. His 22 career poles are also one shy of tying Steve Park and Mike Ewanitsko for sixth all-time.

Newman Dominates Moonlight Gig … Three starts resulted in three wins for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Ryan Newman in his Whelen Modified Tour moonlight this past year. In four Tour starts prior to 2010 he had just one top 10, but it was a clean sweep this year as he won both races at New Hampshire and the combination race at Bristol.

Quarterley Earns First Win at Lime Rock … The victory in the inaugural event at Lime Rock Park went to Dale Quarterley in just his third career Whelen Modified Tour start. A former NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competitor and road course specialist, Quarterley executed a completely different pit strategy from his competitors to perfection to nab the win.

Looking Ahead … The 2011 schedule will feature the Whelen Modified Tour’s first trip to Canada and Delaware Speedway as well as a third date at New Hampshire and a fourth at Thompson. The schedule will increase to 16 events at eight tracks in five states/provinces.

Up Next: NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown

The 2011 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, the sport’s premier short-track racing showcase, will return to the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) on Jan. 28-29.

The eighth running of the event, which brings together the top racers from across North America and has grown into the ”Daytona 500 of short-track racing,” will be highlighted by the 225-lap NASCAR K&N Pro Series all-star race.

The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown main event is broken up into three sections – two 100-lap segments preceding a 25-lap dash to the finish. Last year, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Joey Logano became just the second driver to win two Showdowns when he held off a furious challenge over the closing laps from 17-year-old Sergio Pena, who was made his series debut for Revolution Racing/Drive for Diversity in the event.

The race features secured starting spots for the 2010 champions of NASCAR’s touring series and race winners of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series from the 2010 season.

Three time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West winner Eric Holmes and back-to-back K&N Pro Series East titlist Ryan Truex headline the list of 2010 champions. DJ Kennington (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1), Bobby Santos (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), Burt Myers (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour), German Quiroga (NASCAR Mexico Series) and Keith Rocco (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series) also have guaranteed spots in the show.

The K&N Pro Series race winners who earned secured starting positions include: Ty Dillon, Max Gresham, Paulie Harraka, Erik Holmes, Patrick Long, David Mayhew, Brett Moffitt, Andrew Ranger, Greg Pursley, Auggie Vidovich, and Darrell Wallace Jr.

The schedule also includes a 75-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model race and a 50-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model contest. The top five NASCACR state champions in attendance will have secured starting spots in the Late Model race. New to this year, the 25-car fields for each of those races will be set by a pair of heat races – 25 laps for the the Super Late Models and 20 laps for the Late Models.

Both nights of racing will air live on SPEED as part of full weekend of racing on SPEED that includes the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series’ Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown main event – contested in NASCAR K&N Pro Series cars – is open to any driver approved to drive on half-mile or longer tracks in the K&N Pro Series.

Current national series drivers such as Logano, Ricky Carmichael, Brian Ickler, Trevor Bayne, Matt Crafton, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Justin Lofton have competed in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.

Contingency Awards

COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD

Bobby Santos, 4
Ryan Newman, 2
Justin Bonsignore, 2
George Brunnhoelzl III, 1
Ted Christopher, 1
Erick Rudolph, 1
Ron Silk, 1
Mike Stefanik, 1
Todd Szegedy, 1


COCA-COLA MOVE OF THE RACE AWARD

Woody Pitkat, 3
Doug Coby, 1
Eric Goodale, 1
Ken Heagy, 1
Danny Knoll Jr., 1
Dale Quarterley, 1
Ryan Preece, 1
Glen Reen, 1
Erick Rudolph, 1
Ron Silk, 1
Mike Stefanik, 1
Jamie Tomaino, 1


FEATHERLITE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER AWARD

Richie Pallai Jr., 2
Rowan Pennink, 2
Eric Beers, 1
Justin Bonsignore, 1
James Civali, 1
Chuck Hossfeld, 1
Ryan Preece, 1
Bobby Santos, 1
Mike Stefanik, 1
Rob Summers, 1
Todd Szegedy, 1
Glenn Tyler, 1


WHELEN WINNER OF THE RACE

Ted Christopher, 4
Bobby Santos, 4
Ryan Newman, 3
Rowan Pennink, 1
Dale Quarterley, 1
Todd Szegedy, 1


SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE RACE AWARD

Justin Bonsignore, 8
Richie Pallai Jr., 6


SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR STANDINGS*

Justin Bonsignore, 107
Richie Pallai Jr., 105
* Final standings based on best 75% of 2010 race finishes
(Top to Bottom) Bobby Santos, Ryan Newman, Ted Christopher, Dale Quarterley, Todd Szegedy and Rowan Pennink were the winners on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this past season.