April 26, 2014 — By Jason Cunningham, NASCAR — Jim DuPont/NASCAR photo — STAFFORD, Conn. – Two races and two first-time pole winners for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2014.
Rookie Tommy Barrett Jr. topped the field in Saturday qualifying at Stafford Motor Speedway in advance of Sunday’s prestigious NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler 200. It was the first 21 Means 21 Pole Award by Coors Brewing for the 18-year-old rookie from Millis, Mass.
Barrett posted a fast lap of 18.221 seconds (98.787 mph) to earn the pole position in his fourth career Whelen Modified Tour event, and just his second in the No. 22 Canto Paving/Ferguson Water Works Chevrolet. He became the 88th different driver in 30 years of Whelen Modified Tour competition to earn a pole.
Joining Barrett on the front row for Sunday’s 200-lap event will be Woody Pitkat, who earned his first career pole on April 5 in the season-opening event at Thompson (Conn.) Speedway Motorsports Park. Pitkat’s fast lap Saturday at Stafford was 18.267 (98.538).
Thompson opener winner Justin Bonsignore qualified third while two-time Spring Sizzler winner Doug Coby will start fourth and reigning Whelen Modified Tour titlist Ryan Preece fifth. The rest of the top 10 qualifiers included: Rowan Pennink, Ron Silk, defending race winner Bobby Santos, Jimmy Zacharias and Ron Yuhas Jr.
Ted Christopher, who holds the record for the most Whelen Modified Tour wins in the Spring Sizzler with five, qualified 13th for the 43rd overall edition of Stafford’s traditional season-opening weekend.
Sunday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler 200 is slated to go green at approximately 3:15 p.m.