The Champ & a Rookie are Back With Varying Results, Lia on a Roll

Todd Szegedy was back behind the wheel of a NASCAR Modified at Beech Ridge after some recent time driving Joe Nemecheck’s NASCAR Busch Series machine.  Szegedy had a best finish of 21st in those events and has one more race planned in that car, scheduled for next month at the Michigan
Meanwhile, the defending Modified Series champion was able to overcome a 22nd place qualifying run to finish ninth at Beech Ridge.  He was happy to be back in a Modified, but at the same time told Speed 51 that he welcomes the chance to drive any type of racecar.

“I like to drive whatever,” said Szegedy.  “It doesn’t matter to me as long as I’m racing.  The Busch cars require a different style of driving and the modifieds are a lot more action packed, but I like to be in both cars.”
Todd Szegedy was back in a familar world at Beech Ridge.  (51 Photo)
It didn’t take much time for Szegedy to adjust to the different driving style.

“You get right back into it,” said Szegedy.  “It’s just like riding a bike.  It was pretty easy.  At this track, you go through the corners pretty slow anyways.  If feels like you can run faster around the track.  We ran pretty good, but we got caught up in a couple of wrecks.  It was some good
racing at the end though.” Modified Series, was in the pit area at


A lengthy caution occurred on lap 30 when Mike Molleur and Renee Dupuis got together.  Molleur got the worst of the incident with his #35 ending up parked in the turn one dirt.  After the race, he was not happy with the way that the situation unfolded.

Eric Beers was able to start second after the qualifying redraw and had a fast racecar in the beginning of the race. However, this would not be his night as transmission troubles slow him through the middle of the race before contributing to his demise on lap 136 of 150.

“We had problems with the transmission from the second restart,” said Beers.  “We couldn’t get going on restarts. It would take 15-20 laps that I’d need to go before the transmission stopped making so much noise that I wasn’t afraid to get on the gas.  We were just trying to baby it home to the end and we got caught up in another wreck.  We would have had a easy top five tonight without our problems.”
“When people don’t know how to drive and don’t have spotters in the stands that can let them know what is happening, you junk racecars,” said Molleur.  “When you’re nice to someone and you let them go and they wreck you like that, it’s really not right.  We had a really good car that was getting better every lap.  The person in front of us kept holding us up.  When we finally got underneath them and got a half car-length ahead.  Then they turned and chopped us and sent us flying down the track.  They continued on.  You get to the point where you can’t be nice anymore.  It happened to us before from the same person.  She drives the mirror and not the racetrack in front of her.”
L.W. Miller works at getting his car ready for battle at Thompson.  It was a long ride for him and his team.   (51 Photo)
Donny Lia congratulates crew members Brian and Kevin Crowley after winning the pole at Beech Ridge.  (51 Photo)

After sitting out for several events with engine troubles, rookie Sean Caisse was back in the #21 car at Beech Ridge. He night was a short one however - lasting only 37 laps before trouble dropped him out of the event.
Mike Molleur appeals to track workers to do something with his disabled racecar.  (51 Photo)
For several laps, Molleur’s car sat unattended in turn one without any apparent effort to bring the car in. However, Molleur told 51 that he found out later that there was a good reason for that.

“The car was so torn up that it needed a flatbed to get it in,” said . “When we got it in and looked at it, we realized that we wouldn’t be able to get it back out anyways.  We didn‘t know if we had a couple of flats and a broken tie- rod, but it ended up that we had ripped apart shocks and a lot of other damage.”


One driver who is on a roll is Donny Lia.  The Long Islander
won the Race of Champions Modified feature at Thompson last week and returned to the NASCAR Modified Series by winning the pole position and finishing second at Beech Ridge.

“I’m happy with second, we’ll take that,” said Lia.  “I only
had one pole before today and you never know when you’ll get
another one.  It surprised me a little bit.  We were good in
practice, but we didn’t have an awesome car.  We just had a
really good car I thought.”

Beech Ridge is not one of Lia’s best tracks, so the run that
he had was a little bit of a surprise.

“I don’t hate the racetrack, but it’s not one of my favorite
places to race,” said Lia.  “It’s tough to race here, it’s
all about throttle management and making the most of things
when the opportunities arise.  I hate racing like that.  If the top goorve would come in a bit, it wouldn't be so bad.  You've got to sat on the bottom on it's like riding in a freight train.


It didn’t take long for the night to turn bad for Ted Christopher.  On the first lap, he got caught in a wreck that unfolded in front of him and without the benefit of a caution he was stuck seven laps down with a fast racecar.

He proved this point late in the race when he was able to run with winner Nevin George.

“Nevin knew that I could have passed him at any time that I wanted to,” said Christopher.  “Just ask him.  I was playing blocker for him instead.  He liked that.”

The eventual winner was happy with the help that he got from his fellow competitor.

“Ted helped me a lot out there,” said George.  “I owe him one.”
"Under a caution, I was warming my tires up and a lapped car came down on the bottom to make a pit stop,” said
Caisse.  “He hit me in the left front and it broke the
steering shaft right away from the column.  There’s no
welder inside the track here (at Beech Ridge the cars pit in
the infield), so we are done for the night.  The team puts
so much effort into this and to have something stupid happen is unfortunate for the team.  It’s a lot of work to have
something like this happen under a yellow.”

Caisse told Speed 51 that his team will be at New Hampshire and they are looking forward to the possibility of making their third start of the season there.
Sean Caisse's team assesses the damage to their #21 car after a caution flag crash.  They were not able to return to the race.  (51 Photo)

Rookie Tony Sylvester finished third at Beech Ridge, despite never having a single lap on the track before Saturday’s race.

“It’s the first time that I’ve come here and before the race.  I wasn’t really sure about the place,” said Sylvester.  “The team did an excellent job and I had a good car.  It was a little bit rough at the beginning, but I stayed out of trouble and ended up with a good finish.  This feels excellent for the whole team.”