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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour



A Win is a Win in the Long Run by Denise DuPont

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) headed south to Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia for the fourth race of the 2017 season. It was the first time at the track for many competitors and after parking their haulers, teams started prep work. Drivers walked the track and watched videos to educate themselves on past drivers experiences. When it was time for practice, teams had over an hour to learn the track and tweak their cars. Doug Colby of Milford CT, was fastest in practice and came out in the last round of group qualifying to secure his twenty-first career pole, his second for 2017, and first ever at Langley Speedway.

Coby took the initial green flag and went forward to dominate the race. With less than ten circuits to go and the leaders were racing hard right down to the wire. The big battle was in front between Coby and Timmy Solomito of East Islip, NY. Coby had the lead and just when it seemed like victory was in his hands, he spun going into turn four. Solomito inherited the lead and Coby headed to the rear. Solomito defended his territory and took the win while Coby having so few laps to charge forward, ended up with a fifteenth place finish. There were eighteen cars out of twenty-five on the track when the checkers flew.

The race had three red flags and nine cautions. The weather was cool, the track was slick and the old adage that cautions breed cautions proved true once again. The first caution of the night occurred on lap 14 that sparked the start of the caution action to come. We saw the incidents take Whelen Champions Andy Seuss from Hampstead, New Hampshire and Todd Szegedy from Ridgefield, CT. out of the racing action.

This was the second 2017 victory for Solomito making him the first repeat winner of the year. He was eighth in practice, qualified third and started the race right behind Coby. He stayed within the lead pack most of the feature. The leaders all pitted for tires during the mandatory pit stop and the fresh rubber allowed them to maintain their front momentum. On the closing laps it appeared that Solomito and Eric Goodale of Riverhead, NY had a slight edge over Coby as their bared down on him. Coby protected the bottom off the track in the corners to block passing attempts but his luck ran out with the spin.

Solomito had a good qualifying run and started the race up in the top five. The mid-race mandatory pit stop brought Solomito back to sixth. He quickly sprung back into the top five to continue his competitive run.

“I do not like to win a race like that, but a win is a win.” Said Solomito. “When the cars are so close like that things happen. I pressed him (Coby) and tried to get him to slip up. He slipped up a few times. I even showed my nose under him a couple times. I have a lot of respect for Doug but he’s trying to win a race and I’m trying to win a race. Unfortunately, its tight quarters, you’re racing on a small track, I hate to win races that way but contact happens. And that is how the cards fell tonight I do not like to win that way, but once again a win is a win.”

Reflecting on the race, Solomito was very conservative with his words. “Unfortunately, its racing. It is a contact sport here and there and sometimes things happen. We didn’t want that to happen but it’s hard racing. Two guys going for the same piece of real estate for the win. If I could go back, would I have done anything different? Probably not. Everybody’s here to win.”

The #16 Starrett Sponsored team strategy for tire and pitting got them to where they needed to be for racing for the victory. “We changed this car three times today. We started out with something, we changed it. We put something else on it and I did not like it. Before qualifying the crew changed it again.” Solomito confessed. “The guys just kept making great calls. Gatlin Support Suspension gave us another good hot rod. I have to thank my crew and Starrett Tools for all their support Along with Sanderson and McLeod and all my other sponsor.”

Goodale was mid pack in practice times and had a strong group qualifying session. He ended up outside the leader at race start ready to give Coby a run for the money. After completing the mandatory stop, Goodale fell back to eleventh and had 48 laps to get to the front. Less than thirty laps later Goodale was in fourth challenging for the top position.

Goodale was there a couple of times--- right on the leader’s outside but at race end he was one position shy, finishing he race second. “I kind of put myself in a hold pattern before the break at lap 100. Then I had a little chip on my shoulder there at the end.” Exclaimed Goodale. “But that is what you have to do in these races. Nobody gives an inch when there is less than forty to go. We did what we had to do and we came home second I am pretty happy with the GAF, Riverhead Buildign Supply’s, Chevy.” It was a solid effort for Goodale. This season he has eluded victory lane bu het is getting closer. “We are getting close. We are bringing good pieces to the race track week in and week out. So we just have to bite our time and we will see when we head back up to Thompson what happens in two weeks.”

Kyle Bonsignore of Bay Shore, NY wheeled the #22 Modified at least twice from the rear of the field to capture a podium finish. After mid-way it way it was a give or take all race as drivers stepped up their race strategies for their opportunity to get the lead position. “We actually, fortunately or unfortunately, I started dead last twice.” Bonsignore stated during post-race ceremonies. “First time we pitted. Second time we avoided the #36 spinning and a wreck. We were at least half-way up the pack and then heading once again to the back.”

From the rear of the field Bonsignore regrouped and prepared to make his way through the field. “We came back up through again and it was rough. You could see how much we used the front bumper coming up through, it is junk. There was a lot of clean racing, but with a single lane track like this you have to just ride. Especially with all those northern cars here. You just have to stay clean or go to the rear of the pack. That is how it is. It was move or you got moved especially towards the end. “

Max Zachem and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top-five.

The next race for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be held at Connecticut's Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on June 14th.
Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
: May 14, 2017

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