Good Luck for Reggie & Tough Luck for TC, Lia, Caisse and Fred V.
"THE REG" IS BACK IN FULL FORCE
Reggie Ruggiero finished second at Stafford and the veteran who now runs a partial schedule in the NASCAR Modified Series served notice that he has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
"This is just the way that our year is going," said Lia. "It's the same story every week. We've had a good car and misfortune find its way to us, We managed to get a top ten at Nazareth without tearing the car up, but everywhere else we have had a car capable of a top five or better and something will get us,"
Lia made the wrong guess as to where to avoid the spinning cars in front of him.
"It looked to me that they were going to spin down to the
Ruggiero qualified 14th, but was in the lead pack for most of the night. After the leaders wrecked with a handful of laps to go, Ruggiero moved up from fifth to second.
"We had a fantastic pit stop and the guys put me out first," said Ruggiero. "After that we were really tight, but we got lucky near the end because the leaders took each other out. Sometimes you are good and sometimes you're lucky. Tonight we were lucky."
There was at least one driver in the field who enjoyed racing against
the Reg and really enjoyed getting by him.
"It was fun passing Reggie tonight," said Ted Christopher. "He knows the track well and I know that track well. That's fun racing."
Reggie Ruggiero congratulates Stafford winner Tony Hirchman. (Hodge Photo)
TED'S TERRIBLE LUCK CONTINUES
Ted Christopher has been fast everywhere that his team goes so far in 2004 and he is ranked third in the NASCAR Modified Series point standings. Still he is not happy with the finishes that he has had this year including an ninth-place run at Stafford Speedway (CT) this weekend after late race contact with Todd Szegedy dropped him out of the lead.
"This car's been the car to beat every week," Christopher said. "We've had trouble three weeks in a row. We got taken out at Waterford, taken out here and got stuck running 50 laps under caution at Nazareth (where he finished third). I guess that's part of racing."
LIA LUCKLESS IN LATE RACE MELEE
Donny Lia also got caught up in the late race wreck with Ted Christopher and Todd Szegedy. He was running fourth at the time and dropped out of the top 10 after the incident.
VORDERMEIER DQs ON HEELS OF GOOD NAZARETH RUN
Fred Vordermeier was the final car bumped out of the starting field and ironically, it was his teammmate Eddie Flemke that posted the time that dropped Vordermeier from the grid.
It was the third DNQ for Vordermeier this season. The team has been fast in practice and in the race - as evidenced at Nazareth where he started 38th and worked his up through the field on his way to a eighth-place finish.
"This is frustrating because we are trying so hard," Vordermeier
Lia pulls into the pits after practicing his #18.
bottom and I could get by on the outside but when I went up, they were there and there was nothing that I could do," Lia said. "I probably should have been a little more cautious because we all knew what was coming. Hirschman did a good job checking up. I tried to grab a couple of spots and I should have just taken what was about to be handed to me."
POINT LEADER ALSO HAS TOUGH NIGHT
Eddie Flemke had a tough night at Stafford, but still managed to leave the track with the points lead.
Flemke had a left rear tire go flat in qualifying which caused him to spin on his warm-up lap. Later on, he had a solid race going before getting caught behind Todd Szegedy's wounded car on the final restart. Flemke got tagged from behind while avoiding Szegedy and spun down the frontstretch. He ended up finishing 11th.
QUALIFYING FLAT STRIKES PAPALE
Flemke wasn't the only one who had tire troubles in qualifying. Tony Papale came out of the pits for his warm up lap and spun the rear wheels hard enough to break the bead on the left rear tire. He spun around when this happened, straightened himself out and spun into the backstretch wall while trying to salvage a qualifying run. He recovered to go out again and qualify 19th. Eventually, he finished in the tenth position after not giving up all evening.
QUALIFYING A TOUGH SHOW AGAIN FOR MODIFIEDS
There aren’t any field fillers in the NASCAR Modified Series. In fact, considering how many quality teams that have gone home early from races this season, it just might be the hardest racing series right now to earn a starting position for. This weekend at Stafford, nothing was any different.
Cars going home early this time included Mike Christopher, Jim Kuhn, Jr., Jim Storace, Dave Etheridge, Richie Gallup and Wade Cole.
"You know, it's a tough deal," said Kuhn. "The toughest thing that we do for these races is qualify and there's a lot of good cars that go home. It's especially true here, but what can you do?"
said. "The lap was right there, but maybe I was too cautious. 2/100's a second made us go home. It wasn't like we struggled in practice, so it hurts. We're trying to turn things around, had a good run at Nazareth and came here and got another slap in the back of the head."
Vordermeier is currently 25th in series points.
CAISSE DOESN'T GET ANY TRACK TIME FOR SECOND-STRAIGHT WEEK
Sean Caisse didn’t even get the chance to qualify at Stafford. His #21 team was a no-show at the race after they had engine problems at the shop on the morning of the race.
The rookie driver’s 2004 season has been a rough one so far. He did not qualify at Thompson and Stafford and based on this fact, was not allowed to enter the Nazareth event. NASCAR rules required that to race at a track of one mile or longer, a start at a track of at least half-mile in length must be made first. Caisse’s only start this season was at the quarter-mile Waterford Speedbowl (CT) where he dropped out early after an accident.
HERE'S THE STORY OF A RACER NAMED BEERS...
Eric Beers drove the Brady Bunch #00 at Stafford, but he was not able to qualify. The team’s regular driver, Bobby Santos, III, was in Indiana for a USAC event.