DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The successful runs for the first-year pairing of Todd Szegedy with Mystic Missile Racing were building, and the momentum finally culminated in a trip to Victory Lane.
You could see it coming. Second at Stafford Motor Speedway, third at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, another runner-up at Riverhead Raceway. It was going to happen, it was just a matter of when.
They didn’t have to wait long as the breakthrough victory came in Race No. 7 of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s season last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
This week Szegedy and the No. 4 Dodge team will turn right back around and return to the Granite State, albeit for a much different event. While last week’s triumph took place at the largest facility the tour contests races at, this Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 200 will run at one of the smallest.
Monadnock Speedway is a quarter-mile oval tucked into the hills of southwestern New Hampshire. It may only be separated from the one-mile NHMS by a 90-minute drive, but the two are light years apart in how they’re raced. That won’t be of concern to Szegedy, who has a record of success at the bullring. He led every lap from the pole at Monadnock in 2011 en route to victory, and followed with a third place finish there the season after.
Perhaps Szegedy can bring his past success at the New Hampshire bullring to the Mystic Missile, which has posted an average finish of 12th in the five races since the tour returned to the track in 2010.
RACE: O’Reilly Auto Parts 200
PLACE: Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, N.H.
DATE: Saturday, July 25
TIME: 8:30 p.m. ET
TELECAST: July 30, 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN
TRACK LAYOUT: .25-mile, banked asphalt oval
2014 POLESITTER / WINNER: Justin Bonsignore
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 2-3 p.m., Qualifying 4:30 p.m., Driver Autograph Session 6 p.m.
TRACK TWITTER: @monadnockspeed
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #OReilly200
The Race: The O’Reilly Auto Parts 200 at Monadnock Speedway will be the eighth of 15 races on the 2015 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule. It is the lone appearance for the tour at Monadnock, but the second of three races in the state of New Hampshire.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 28 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will have secured starting positions based on two-lap qualifying. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 200 laps (50 miles), and is an impound race with no tire changes allowed.
The Track: Monadnock is one of two high-banked quarter-mile tracks that the Whelen Modified Tour annually visits. Monadnock held five tour races from 1986-90 and returned to the schedule in 2010.
Race Winners: Each of the first nine races at Monadnock produced different winners before Justin Bonsignore became the first two-time victor a year ago.
Pole Winners: There have been nine different pole winners in the 10 races at Monadnock, with Ken Bouchard the lone driver with two. Ryan Preece owns the track qualifying record at 12.313 seconds (73.082 mph), set in 2012.
O’Reilly Auto Parts 200 Notes
Bonsignore Goes for Three-Peat: Justin Bonsignore, the two-time defending winner at Monadnock Speedway, will look to become the first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver to post three-consecutive wins at a track since Ryan Preece’s run at Riverhead Raceway in 2012-13. Among the seven tracks that currently appear on the Whelen Modified Tour schedule, only six drivers have won three or more consecutive events.
Bonsignore’s Dominance: Not only has Bonsignore won the last two Monadnock events, he’s done it in dominating fashion. In 2013 he led 184 of 200 laps and last year he won from the pole in the first caution-free race in Whelen Modified Tour history.
Coby Could Use a Comeback: A costly mid-race accident last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, while leading, dropped Doug Coby from a tie atop the standings to fourth. The runner-up at Monadnock in 2012 and 2013, Coby could make up some of the lost ground this week with a breakthrough first victory at the Granite State quarter-mile.
Preece Positioned Well: The championship leader at the midway point of the season has gone on to win the championship each year since 2010. Ryan Preece takes the lead to Monadnock this week as the current campaign passes the halfway mark with Race No. 8 out of 15. The last eventual champion not to lead at the midpoint was Donny Lia in 2009, who ranked fourth at the time, which is coincidentally the current spot the defending titlist Coby finds himself in.
Rough Homecoming for Seuss: Reigning NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Andy Seuss had a rough start to his homecoming tour last week at NHMS. The Hampstead, New Hampshire, native who now resides in North Carolina was involved in three separate accidents and had to settle for a 27th place finish. Seuss has four previous Monadnock appearances with the tour, highlighted by a seventh place effort in 2013.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications – Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com