DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Doug Coby dominated Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Until Timmy Solomito put an end to that.
The three-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion was able to return to Victory Lane at Stafford Motor Speedway, but Ron Silk made it three winners in three races the last time out at New London-Waterford Speedway.
So when the Whelen Modified Tour returns to Stafford Friday night for the TSI Harley Davidson 125, Coby will be among one of the favorites. After all, he has two wins and a runner-up finish in the last three Stafford tour races. But the Milford, Connecticut, driver will have plenty of challengers.
Four different drivers have netted two top fives in the first three races: Coby, Solomito, Silk and Justin Bonsignore. Max Zachem, 24, sits third in points after a runner-up finish at the Speedbowl. The shorter race distance — the Spring Sizzler is 200 laps and the other two Stafford events are 150 — will lend to varying strategy over the 125 laps. While Coby won this race in 2014, 10 different drivers have scored top five runs in the TSI Harley Davidson 125 over the last three years.
RACE: TSI Harley Davidson 125
PLACE: Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway
DATE: Friday, June 3
TIME: 9:15 p.m. ET (approx.)
TRACK LAYOUT: .5-mile, semi-banked asphalt oval
2015 WINNER: Ryan Preece
2015 POLESITTER: Doug Coby
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 3-4 p.m., Final Practice 4-4:45 p.m., Qualifying 6 p.m., Driver Autograph Session 7:30 p.m.
TRACK TWITTER: @StaffordSpeedwy
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #TSIHD125
The Race: The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to Stafford Motor Speedway for the 26th Annual TSI Harley Davidson 125, the second of four trips to the historic half mile in 2016. The TSI Harley Davidson 125 will be the fourth of 17 events on the schedule.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field per the official entry blank is 31 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 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 125 laps (60.50 miles) and three change tires allowed for the event.
The Track: A half-mile, slightly-banked oval, Stafford originated as a horse racing track in the 1870s. After seven decades as a horse track, the dirt oval started holding automobile races following World War II. Stafford became a NASCAR-sanctioned track in 1959 and was paved for the first time in 1967. Stafford’s 118 Whelen Modified Tour races are second all-time.
Race Winners: There have been 32 different race winners at Stafford all-time, led by Mike Stefanik’s 20 victories. NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Ryan Preece is the defending winner of this race.
Pole Winners: There have been 43 different pole winners at Stafford, led by Stefanik’s 17. Preece holds the tour’s track qualifying record at 17.924 seconds (100.424 mph), set during the 2012 Spring Sizzler. The last pole winner to win the TSI Harley Davidson 125 was Jimmy Blewett in 2009.
TSI Harley Davidson 125 Notes
Chasing Coby: While Coby holds the early-season points lead, eight points ahead of Solomito, the standings reflect the depth of the tour. Zachem and Bonsignore are tied for third, trailing Solomito by seven, and just 19 points separate the pair from three drivers who are tied for 11th.
New Talent: Solomito, 24, broke through with his first career win at Thompson to start the season and Zachem scored a runner-up finish at New London-Waterford. They’re joined in the top 10 by Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Matt Swanson, 16, who sits eighth in points. Justin Bonsignore, 28, in fourth and Brendan Brock, 19, in 10th make four drivers under the age of 30 in the top 10. Throw in Rowan Pennink, who turned 30 last September, and there is a strong core of young racers contending on the tour.
Blewett Gets Rolling: After two rough outings to open the season, New Jersey’s Jimmy Blewett turned in a strong third-place finish at New London-Waterford. Blewett is in his first year with the Bob Garbarino’s No. 4 team and new sponsor Starrett Tools, and running the tour full-time for the first time since 2012. In that season, he had three top-five finishes at Stafford. Since 2010, Garbarino’s team has won seven times at Stafford.
Familiar Faces In Victory Lane: In addition to Coby, who has seven tour wins at Stafford, Friday’s entry list has several other drivers who know their way to Victory Lane at the historic half-mile. Bobby Santos has won there six times, while Stafford native Woody Pitkat has a pair of wins and was second to Preece in last year’s TSI Harley Davidson 125. Donny Lia has four wins at Stafford.
Home Tracks: Pennink Out To Early SK Modified Lead
Friday night will feature a full slate of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing, headlined by the Division I SK Modified, which will run its 40-lap feature. Defending track champion Rowan Pennink has won two of the three SK Modified events this season and holds a six-point lead over nine-time track champion Ted Christopher. Woody Pitkat is the other race winner this season. The other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races on Friday will include the Late Model (30 laps), SK Light Modified (20 laps), Limited Late Model (20 laps) and DARE Stock (15 laps) divisions.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/Rick Ibsen