THOMPSON MODIFIED LEFTOVERS by Mike Twist
Kuhn Finishes Well, Coby and Lia Run Well, TC Unhappy About Tires
KUHN CAPTURES GOOD FINISH

On a day where several young drivers had good runs but had problems that took them out of the race early, it was refreshing for Jimmy Kuhn, Jr. to take home a third place finish.  Kuhn has had a rough year, with a few DNQs early in the NASCAR Modified Series season and only one top-10 finish before this weekend.
With two laps to go, there was a restart and race to the
finish.  Kuhn was close to his best ever Modified Series
finish at that point and did not want it to slip away by making any mistakes..

“On that last restart, it was going through my mind not to do anything dumb,” said Kuhn.  “We needed this finish.  That was OUR biggest focus.  If we had a lot of good finishes over and over maybe I would have tried a little harder and pushed the issue.  I think that we had a good enough car, but we needed a good run so I was going to take what I could get.”
Jimmy Kuhn, Jr. (#72) runs on the low side of the #19 of Eric Beers.   (Howie Hodge Photo)
With two laps to go, there was a restart and race to the finish.  Kuhn was close to his best ever Modified Series finish at that point and did not want it to slip away.

“On that last restart, it was going through my mind not to do anything dumb,” said Kuhn.  “We needed this finish.  That was OUR biggest focus.  If we had a lot of good finishes over and over maybe I would have tried a little harder and pushed the issue.  I think that we had a good enough car, but we needed a good run so I was going to take what I could get.”

Kuhn was glad to reward his team with a good finish.

“We’ll take this, we’ve needed this, it has been a long time coming,” said Kuhn.  “This is for my guys.  They’ve been working really hard at the shop and busting their butts at the track, so this is to cheer them up and give them something to smile about.”

A RETURN OF A FORMER STAR???

Word in the garage area is that former NASCAR Modified Series driver Steve Park will be behind the wheel of a Joe Brady-owned car for the upcoming race at the New Hampshire International Speedway.  Park will be at the track to compete in the NASCAR Truck Series.

COBY WITHIN FIVE LAPS OF CAREER BEST FINISH

Doug Coby was another driver having a career run at Thompson.  That was until there were five laps to go.  The 25-year-old Connecticut driver battled with Tony Hirschman for the lead and had a solid top three finish ahead of him when his car shut off exiting turn four with only a handful of laps to go.
The impact ripped away the rear suspension of Lia’s #18.  It
broke the trailing arm mount, bent the rear end housing and
tore away the tire.  Needless to say, he was done for the
day.

“Every week we have a good car,” said Lia.  “It’s just a
matter of staying out of trouble.  We got ourselves in the
back and were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I had
the #17 cleared and when he came down the track, he just
barely got me.”

Lia battled with Ted Christopher for the first 30 laps after
the race restarted, but once he got into the lead, he was
able to pull away to nearly a half of a straightaway before
the 75 laps mark.

"The car was good," said Lia. "I kept putting pressure on
“I knew that I had to ride behind Hirschman and try and get
him with a couple laps to go,”  said Coby.  “I let him and
then once Eddie (Flemke) got up beside me, I had to pay
attention to him.  The tires were still on the car and the
car was running great and coming off turn four, it just
quit.  I tried switching electrical boxes and working with
every wire and switch that I could, but it didn’t help.”

Coby found  little comfort in the fact that his good run
might have raised some eyebrows.

“I’m sick of raising eyebrows.  I need a good finish,” said
Coby said.  “Raising eyebrows doesn’t add stats, it doesn’t add money.  I’m more than disappointed - I‘m disgusted, annoyed and everything else that you can fit in between. We’ll just have to take a look at see what happened and try and fix it.  That‘s all you can do.”
LIA HAS HEARTBREAKING LUCK AT THOMPSON

Bad fortune also struck Donny Lia.  His #18 car appears to be the most dominant one out there, but a slow pit stop just past halfway moved the Long Islander out of the top ten.  Things go much worse on the restart when Jeff Malave spun ahead of the field.  Lia first hit Ted Christopher slightly and appeared to almost get by the rest of the wreck before Malave’s car caught his right rear corner.
Doug Coby discusses the handling of his #28 in practice at Thompson with car owner Don King.   (51 Photo)
One of Donny Lia's crew members checks out the damage to the #18 car.  (51 Photo)

Christopher and I was just waiting for him to use up his tires. I watched him for a long time and changed my line on every lap, so he couldn't see what I was doing. He was trying hard to stay up front and he burnt up the tires. I set him up and made the pass. After that, I was just on cruise control trying to save the car."

TC HAS TIRE TROUBLES AT THOMPSON

Early in the race on Sunday, Ted Christopher led.  He faded quickly after getting passed by Donny Lia. Christopher blamed tires for his problems.  New tires helped him get to a fourth-place finish, but also faded for him late in the race.

“I wish that it was about five 30-lappers instead of a 150- lap race,” said Christopher.  “I’d be golden.  There wasn’t much racing for us today - we were just hanging on and hanging on.  The tires sucked.  You could see on the restart with two to go, they had no grip.  Typical Hoosier shit, they were just junk.  I played more defense than I did offense and that’s not my game.”

BEERS FALLS SHORT OF A DOUBLE

The rescheduled Thompson race posed logistical problems for several teams, but the biggest challenge belonged to Eric Beers.  The Pennsylvania driver was leading the Race of Champion Modified point standings for their Central division entering the weekend.  The problem was that their race at Mahoning Valley Speedway was schedule for Sunday night and the Thompson event was happening on Sunday afternoon.
Beers arranged for a plane to transport him to Pennsylvania
after the Thompson race.  He finished eighth, hopped out of
his #19 ride and made a tear for the airport.  Speed 51
talked to him briefly as he was headed for the pit gate.

“We’re heading off right now,” said Beers.  “We’re going to
try and fly down there.  Our plan is to get there in time
for the B-Main and see what we can do in the race.  It’s
tough, but we’re going to do it.”

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had a different idea.
Thunderstorms prevented the plane from completing its trip
and Beers did not make it to the track in time to race.  Pete Brittan won the title instead and without competing in the final race, Beers fell back to a fourth place finish in points.

SANTOS’ SILVER CROWN COMMITMENTS KEEP HIM FROM THOMPSON

Another driver with a conflicting race planned for Sunday was Bobby Santos, who led a few laps before the race was postponed last week.  Santos had a commitment to drive a USAC Silver Crown car at the Nazareth Speedway on Sunday.  His #00 Brady Bunch team withdrew from Thompson as a result.  Santos finished 30th at Nazareth.

COULD WE HAVE A NEW SCORECARD PLEASE?
There were a few other roster changes at Thompson.  The
polesitter for the race, Sean Caisse, quit his #21 ride this
week and the team and driver were both no shows.  Tommy
Cravenho also quit his ride, but his former team did show
up.  Dave Berghman ended up behind the wheel of the #12 TS Haulers car.

The #50 team that Todd Szegedy normally drives for had Ken Whoolley in the car at Thompson for last week’s race since Szegedy was in Michigan for the NASCAR Busch Series race. They did not return with either driver for the make-up event.
WINNER NOT A FAN OF GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED FINISH

Tony Hirschman led from the time that pit stops were made by every lead lap car until the checkered flag.  However, he had to sweat out a two-lap sprint to the finish after a late race caution for Doug Coby’s stalled car.

“Those darn green-white-checkered finishes - I don’t like them,” said Hirschman.  “You never know what’s going to happen.  There’s so much rubber on the track.  There are lumps and lumps of stuff flying around, that it’s easy to get a flat.”

VETERAN CREDITS YOUNG DRIVER

Late in the race, there wasn’t much of a battle for the lead.  However, there was a great contest going on for second place between veteran Eddie Flemke and young Doug Coby.  Eventually, Coby dropped out due to mechanical problems with five laps to go.  But first, he really impressed his elder.

“We had a good car and we raced the #28 (Coby),” said Flemke.  “We had fun, we never touched each other.  That’s what racing is all about.  I like little Doug, he has come a long way and we’ll see more of him.  I’m proud of how he races and how good he’s done.  He’s a good kid.”

TRACK REMOVES LIGHT POLE

Officials of the Thompson Speedway (CT) were quick to react to last week’s wreck that killed Tom Baldwin.  The light pole that Baldwin struck in the infield below turn four was removed on Monday and the area around it graded smooth before this weekend’s events.


Eric Beers only got one chance to race on Sunday.  (51 Photo)
The #12 team had a new driver.  (51 Photo)