NASCAR Modifieds Return To Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. — On the backstretch of their respective 2013 schedules, the NASCAR Whelen Modified and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tours will descend upon Bristol Motor Speedway for the fifth annual TitanRoof 150 combination race on Wednesday.
Considered by many of the competitors as a wild card event, the annual trek to Bristol figures to have title implications as the respective tours get closer to crowning a champion. Ryan Preece brings a 16-point lead in the Whelen Modified Tour standings to the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” following nine of 14 dates while George Brunnhoelzl III will start the second half of the 12-race Whelen Southern Modified Tour slate with a 21-point advantage.
Preece, a member of the 2013-14 NASCAR Next driver lineup, will be looking for his first victory on the Bristol high banks just as much as he’ll be trying to halt a two-race skid that has seen his championship lead dramatically reduced. A three-time winner so far this season, Preece recorded top-five finishes in each of the first seven events where he compiled a 42-point advantage, but it’s become much more interesting following incidents in the closing laps in each of the last two outings.
On Preece’s heels is reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby. Fifty-three points behind Preece four races ago, Coby has since recorded a pair of wins and two additional top-five finishes to firmly establish his title defense effort.
Meanwhile in Whelen Southern Modified Tour action, Brunnhoelzl has been up to his old tricks. A champion in three of the previous four seasons, Brunnhoelzl looks poised for another title run with three victories in six races so far this season.
Bristol has been a venue for Brunnhoelzl to build championship credentials as well. En route to his 2009 and 2012 crowns, the native Long Islander was the highest-finishing Whelen Southern Modified Tour competitor in the combo event.
Although five other drivers remain within a race’s worth of points from Brunnhoelzl in the championship standings, Kyle Ebersole has provided the closest competition so far this season. After he ranked sixth in points as a rookie a year ago, Ebersole has finished in the top five in four of six races.
The TitanRoof 150 will be the 10th of 14 races for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the seventh of 12 events for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and the lone combination points race for the two tours this year.
The starting field is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 30 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining six spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (79.97 miles). The race will have a midway break at or near the conclusion of lap 75 and the tire change rule is four tires, any position.