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09/17/06

WMT LEADER STEFANIK SEEKS FIRST ' BOWL WIN

    Mike Stefanik, after a seventh NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship, brings a 104-point lead over Ted Christopher into Sunday's Whelen Volunteer Fire Department 150 at Waterford Speedbowl. He would also like to finally visit the 'Bowl's Victory Lane.
    The Speedbowl is one of the few places where Stefanik, who has 67 career Modified Tour checkereds, has failed to win. "Don't know why," he says. "It's not that I don't enjoy racing there. I don't really dwell on statistics a lot but, yeah, I'd like to get a win there."
    The WMT is part of the Town Fair Tire Finale, a two-day, 13-division event that includes, in addition to the Speedbowl's SK-Modified, Late Model, Sportsman, Mini Stock and Legends divisions, the Northeastern Midget Association, Pro 4 Modifieds, AllStar Race Trucks, Allison Legacy Cars and the Wild n' Wacky Wednesday X-Modifieds, Super X and X Car divisions.
    All divisions with the exception of the WMT will qualify on Saturday. WMT time trials are slated for 3:15 on Sunday with Chuck Hossfeld's record 13.63 seconds run (set in '03) the target.
    Christopher, who maintains a "love him/hate him" relationship with the Speedbowl fans, hopes to gain some ground in the standings. "I'm coming with the intention of winning which is the best we can do," says the controversial Christopher who certainly knows his way to the 'Bowl's victory lane. He has a WMT and a NEMA win to go along with XX SK triumphs at the Speedbowl.
    "TC" has three WMT seconds at the Speedbowl and a third and has twice won the pole. "I've always enjoyed running there," he says, "and I love winning there."
    Even without a win, however, Stefanik's Speedbowl consistency is incredible - eight top WMT five finishes including a pair of seconds, the last in the spring of 2004. He's had two Bush East runner-up finishes as well.
    In the spring of 2004, Stefanik was passed coming out of turn four on the last lap by Ed Flemke. A finish like that is tough to forget.
    It will be the 12th Speedbowl Modified Tour race since NASCAR returned in 2000. Flemke, currently sitting third in points, and Jerry Marquis have won twice over
that span. Flemke has seven top-fives at the Speedbowl while Marquis is working on a streak of four straight top four finishes. Marquis drove Bob Garbarino's Mystic Missile to victory in last fall's race.
    Entries Donnie Lia (currently eighth in points), Modified icons Reggie Ruggiero and Rick Fuller, Chuck Hossfeld and Christopher hope to join Flemke and Marquis in the two Speedbowl win group.
    Five-time champ Tony Hirschman, red-hot John Blewett III and Eric Beers head up a gang looking for the initial Speedbowl win. Also among the favorites will be one-time and present Speedbowl regulars Ron Yuhas Jr., Chris Pasteryak, Rob Summers, Dennis Charette, Doug Coby and Zach Sylvester.
    While experience definitely counts at the Speedbowl,Stefanik points out surprises do happen. "Sometimes somebody just hits on something," he says, pointing to Dave Berghman's victory in the spring of 2002. "He just passed everybody on the outside."
    The outside could well be a factor again, a possibility that could benefit a group of "experienced" Speedbowl drivers.

Source:  Peter Zanardi/Waterford Speeedbowl PR
Posted:  September 17, 2006

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