LOUDON, N.H. – For the competitors and fans of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the two annual events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway have a reverential place on the calendar. And even though the Mods have pounded the “Magic Mile” pavement nearly 60 times through two-plus decades, the excitement still remains.
As the Whelen Modified Tour returns to Loudon, N.H., for the Town Fair Tire 100 on Saturday, fans should be primed for yet another fantastic finish. Never has the competition been as close as in recent seasons.
In the summer of 2008, Chuck Hossfeld nipped Ted Christopher at the finish line by just 0.001 seconds for the closest margin of victory in Whelen Modified Tour history. Then in last year’s edition of the Town Fair Tire 100, Mike Stefanik and Ron Silk reprised the roll of Hossfeld-Christopher as Stefanik came out on top by .003 seconds.
Stefanik is no stranger to memorable moments at the “Magic Mile.” Last year’s victory was his eighth in a Modified at the track, which established a Whelen Tour all-time record.
Christopher has also found plenty of Loudon laud through the years as well, with a track record 10 checkered flags across all series. The owner of the third-most career wins in tour history with 42, Christopher will look to the Town Fair Tire 100 to end a 20-race winless drought, the third-longest such streak of his decorated career.
As the Whelen Modified Tour makes its first trip of the year to the 1.058-mile oval, Ryan Preece will look to make some history of his own in Loudon. The points leader and winner of the last three events, Preece will attempt to become just the third driver in tour history to win four races in a row. Only Stefanik (1997) and the late Richie Evans (1985) have previously accomplished the feat.
To add his name to the history books, Preece will have to overcome the mile that has been less than magic for him. In 13 career races there, Preece has managed an average finish of 13th, but with the momentum he brings in this time around, he could very well end his personal NHMS drought. Perhaps even in another photo finish even.