Testing, Testing: Modified Contenders On-Track
Modifieds Test for Upcoming Doubleheader
Twice is nice when it comes to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The fan favorite mods will run a pair of races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: the All-Star Shootout on July 17 and New England 100 on July 18. On Monday, nearly a dozen teams from the Tour ran test laps at the 1.058-mile oval to get their cars tuned and ready for the upcoming NASCAR Weekend July 16-19 at the Magic Mile.
The weekend of racing will feature five races over three days, including the 30-minute All-Star Shootout at 2:10 p.m. and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Granite State 70 at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 17; the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour New England 100 at 2 p.m. and the XFINITY Series Lakes Region 200 at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 18; and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301 at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 19.
Monday's test session was key for a number of teams, including Doug Coby, a two-time Whelen Modified Tour champion (2012 and '14) and two-time winner (2012 and '13) at New Hampshire. Coby has won twice in six starts on the Tour this season and is tied with Ryan Preece for the overall points lead.
"It's still early in the season, but every race matters and every point matters. We have to be smart about what we try to do, but we also have to be aggressive," said Coby, who will pilot the No. 2 Dunleavy's Repair Chevrolet. "It was always such a struggle to get adjusted to this speedway when I was younger, so to finally have gotten the wins was exciting. You can't possibly describe the feeling of winning here.
"We were third and fourth (here last year), but we're going for it this year. The two wins at Thompson were awesome, but we have to back those up with wins someplace else, and this would be a great place to start."
Preece moved into the No. 6 car for the Eddie Partridge team after spending the last three seasons driving the No. 16 for Flamingo Motorsports. And he's hoping the move will translate into on-track success at NHMS, something that team has had in the past.
"I'm having a lot of fun racing with these guys. They've had some success here in the past, so I'm trying to continue that," said Preece, who is still searching for his first career win at the Magic Mile. "It would be awesome to win - I've finished third a number of times. Getting that first win here would be great and we're getting the car where we need it so we can go for it."
Woody Pitkat, who won at the Magic Mile for the first time in his career last September, looks to find Sunoco Victory Lane again in less than two weeks.
"I've always had confidence here, so to be as dominant as we were in September is a confidence booster," said Pitkat, who currently ranks third in the standings. "But it's a whole new season … so we just have to go out there and hopefully we're up there and contending for the win."
All three drivers will run the All-Star Shootout on July 17, but a win in Friday's 30-minute race doesn't necessarily mean another win in Saturday's New England 100.
"We can have a great car in the All-Star race and then maybe it won't translate (to the New England 100)," said Coby. "Maybe there's something we can learn in the All-Star race and apply it to Saturday, but it's a totally different setup and racing style. Every lap is run like the last lap in the All-Star race - should be a lot of fun."
Great seats are still available for all July NASCAR Weekend events, running July 16-19. To purchase tickets please call the NHMS ticket hotline at (603)783-4931 or visit www.nhms.com.