Northern Modifieds Set For Opening Round
THOMPSON, Conn. – Each off-season brings change on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, but when the 2014 campaign begins with this week’s Icebreaker 150 presented by Town Fair Tire, there will be a host of newcomers and familiar faces in different places at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Leading the sea of change are three past champions that are now with different teams than when we last saw them in last year’s Thompson World Series. The headlining transaction saw 2012 champ Doug Coby move to the No. 2 of Mike Smeriglio III Racing while 2008 titlist Ted Christopher has combined his own resources with those of Berkley Racing to return the No. 13 to the tour. Seven-time champ Mike Stefanik has reunitd with car owner Ed Marceau and will pilot a Chevrolet numbered 1 on a part-time basis.
In complementary moves, Matt Hirschman has returned to the tour for the first time since 2011 to replace Coby in the Darling Racing No. 52, and rookie Tommy Barrett Jr. supplanted Stefanik in the Our Racing No. 22. Bryon Chew also stepped out of his family’s No. 88 and tabbed Woody Pitkat to fill the seat for the coming season. Consequently, the Hillbilly Racing No. 79 that Pitkat left will have rookie Spencer Davis behind the wheel for a part-time northern slate while competing full-time with the Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
At least two new teams are set to join the tour for the first time in 2014. Keith Rocco, the 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, plans to run all eight Connecticut races for car owner John Rufano in the No. 48 while Melissa Fifield will contend for top rookie honors this year in her family’s No. 01.
So if you’re heading to Thompson for Icebreaker weekend, print out an entry list and grab a program, and get settled in for the opening of the 30th season of Whelen Modified Tour competition.