Stefanik Wins Pole, Leads Most Laps But
There was no happy
ending for Flamingo Motorsports at Martinsville Speedway Saturday night.
The team gave driver Mike Stefanik a car solid enough to set
a blistering pace in qualifying and back it up by leading the most laps in
the 200-lap rain-shortened event. Stefanik's near-perfect weekend went bad
very fast with rain solidifying their fate and 14th place finish.
Stefanik kicked off the weekend by topping the practice
charts without ever putting a set of sticker tires on his No. 16 Diversified
Metals Chevrolet. He consistently ran times fast enough to belong to the
top-three fastest cars. The Coventry, RI-native was third to qualify in a
line of 50 cars, but his speed of 100.547 mph (18.333 seconds) was
untouchable. Stefanik earned his second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Bud Pole
Award of the 2006 season.
Rain-soaked skies delayed the start of the Whelen Made In
America 300 to a 10 p.m. start, but Stefanik didn't mind the wait. The team
knew they had a competitive car and were ready.
And it didn't take long for Stefanik to prove how dominant
the Diversified Metals Chevrolet was.
He took the lead from Jerry Marquis at lap 33 and led the
next 63 laps before succumbing to Marquis for three circuits. Stefanik
reclaimed the top spot at lap 99 and again gave it up, this time to Zach
Sylvester, for one circuit before recovering the point. Sylvester was able
to get out front one more time, again for a single lap, before Stefanik took
command for a 16-lap run. Jimmy Blewett was next to challenge the eight-time
champion, but he too, was only out front for a single circuit. Stefanik took
the lead for the sixth and final time at lap 173 where he remained until lap
182. Contact in the corner relegated Stefanik to the sixth position.
September 4, 2006