MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – While Saturday’s Performance Plus 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was rife with storylines, one of the less-heralded runs at Myrtle Beach Speedway was that of Chris Pasteryak.
The 38-year-old from Lisbon, Conn., started seventh and stayed among the frontrunners all afternoon, climbing as high as second on lap 55 and holding on to a podium spot through the halfway point.
After a late shuffle of pit stops inside the final 50 laps, Pasteryak ultimately ended up with a fifth-place finish on Saturday evening, his first Tour top five at a track other than Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway.
It was a banner run for the family-run No. 75 team, which looks to run the full schedule for the second consecutive season.
“We just started running the Tour full time again last year, and I feel like started to learn what we needed,” Pasteryak told SPEED SPORT. “Because of that, we went to LFR and bought a car from Rob Fuller, did what he said and now we’re in the top five.
“I’d love to take more credit for it than that, but what I can take credit for is the fact that we had really good pit stops all day,” he added. “We picked up spots every time, and in these races where you can only take one tire at a time, that’s really critical to having success at the end of the day.”
Pasteryak called Saturday’s Myrtle Beach performance “a motivator” for both he and his team.
“The car was good all day; it was better than me, to be honest,” he laughed. “We’re going to try and make all the races and the plan is to give it our all. This is a really good start to that goal for us.
“We don’t hurt for anything here; the big push here is confidence for the pit crew and me in the seat.”
– After hooking up with Boehler Racing Enterprises midway through last season and rocketing to seven top-10 finishes, optimism was high for young gun Matt Swanson on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Swanson entered the weekend at Myrtle Beach believing he would be among the contenders for a victory in the season opener, as well as a threat for the points championship.
However, those dreams hit a quick roadblock after the 19-year-old suffered a cut tire on lap 56 of Saturday’s race at Myrtle Beach, relegating him out of contention for much of the rest of the day.
While he stayed out to lead five laps inside of 50 to go, Swanson eventually faded back to 18th on old tires and finished the race two laps down to winner Doug Coby.
“That wasn’t how we planned for the day to go at all,” Swanson noted with a shake of his head. “Just rough once we had that tire problem and slowed there off of turn two. That set us back going forward.
“We won’t let this get us down, though; we’ll head to South Boston in a couple weeks and hopefully be strong there.”
– Another driver who impressed early on Saturday was Tommy Catalano, who inherited a front-row starting spot after Coby dropped to the rear of the field for his unapproved tire change before the race.
Catalano, the reigning Tour rookie of the year, led the opening two laps of the race on the outside of Tommy Baldwin Racing’s Jon McKennedy before falling back into a comfortable top-three spot for much of the first half.
Unfortunately, Catalano’s day came undone on lap 67 after an incident on the frontstretch. He finished 26th.
– With his victory on Saturday, not only did Doug Coby crest the 25-win threshold in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competition, but he also leads the points for the first time since winning his fifth title.
Coby’s last time atop the points before this past weekend was Oct. 15, 2017, following the Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson (Conn.) Speedway Motorsports Park.
– The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on March 30 at South Boston (Va.) Speedway.