AUDIO/QUALIFYING: Szegedy Sets New Track Record; Rockets To Bristol Mod Pole

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Todd Szegedy won the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)

Todd Szegedy won the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Jacob Seelman photo)

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Coming into 2016, Todd Szegedy cut back his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule in order to spend some more time with his family.

He stepped out of the Mystic Missile ride after a successful 2015 and made plans with Rob Fuller and LFR Chassis to run just part-time, and so far, it’s paying off.

Szegedy finished second in the Spring Sizzler, captured a 10th at Loudon in July and followed both of those solid runs up with his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season on Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Szegedy will lead the field to the green flag in tonight’s Bush’s Beans 150 behind the wheel of the No. 05 15-40 Connection Chevrolet, setting a blistering fast lap of 133.019 mph and breaking the old track record around the 0.533-mile oval by nearly three full miles per hour.

“It’s awesome (to win the pole at Bristol),” Szegedy said. “I’ve always loved this track. It’s my favorite track that we run, and I have a good average here … save for getting wrecked out early last year. The multiple racing grooves and the sheer speed of the track are a lot of fun, and hopefully we can have fun and get ourselves a win at the end of 150 laps.”

Szegedy added that Bristol is always a challenge for Modified drivers, but that with the new traction polish that was applied prior to Wednesday, the Bush’s Beans 150 will be a whole new ballgame for the teams and drivers compared to previous years.

“Bristol is really tricky. Sometimes the fast groove is on the bottom and other times it’s in the middle or up on top. I found it was quicker early on in the day … and I was really one of the first guys to test that bottom lane with the new polish. I think (the groove) is going to move around some through the race, so you’ll really have to race the track. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully we can come away with that trophy.”

Most recent NWMT winner Justin Bonsignore, who scored the victory at Thompson Speedway last Wednesday, qualified in second spot for the 150 lap main event. Bonsignore is searching his first career Bristol victory and is also hoping to close a 15 point gap to Doug Coby at the top of the championship standings.

“I think it’s going to be all about track position,” Bonsignore said. “Unless for some reason the groove widens back out, it will be — as of right now it doesn’t look like it’s going to. The initial start itself will be interesting. My gut says it’s going to be a single-file bottom race. I don’t think anyone knows, when you do something for the first time there is a lot of wondering and questions to be answered.”

Ron Silk, who won both the pole and the race at Bristol in 2012, qualified third behind the wheel of his No. 82 for car owner Danny Watts. NASCAR XFINITY Series star Ryan Preece, who was fastest in final practice earlier on Wednesday, lines up fourth.

Sypher Motorsports driver Donny Lia rounded out the top five.

Jimmy Blewett, Kyle Bonsignore, Burt Myers, Ryan Newman and Patrick Emerling were the rest of the top 10 qualifiers. In all, eight cars were under last year’s track record set by Woody Pitkat.

Kyle Bonsignore captured his first-career NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour pole Wednesday at Bristol. (CSP/Brent Seelman photo)

Kyle Bonsignore captured his first-career NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour pole Wednesday at Bristol. (CSP/Brent Seelman photo)

Kyle Bonsignore was credited with the pole in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour as the fastest qualifier in the overall rundown declared for that division. The effort is his first-career NWMT pole.

“I couldn’t have scripted this day so far,” Bonsignore said. “Hopefully it ends up like it’s been going today at the end of the race, and we’re on top for the south … if not overall. We had a good lap, and because this is our biggest race of the year it means a lot. Thanks to Doug Dunleavy for letting us use his motor; hopefully I can park it tonight for him and all the guys on this team.”

Defending NWMT champion Doug Coby, who comes in at the top of the point standings, will roll off from 14th.

The green flag for the Bush’s Beans 150 is set for 6 p.m.

Race Chaser Online will have live updates throughout the race on Twitter @RaceChaserNews.

 

Audio with NWMT and overall pole winner Todd Szegedy:

Audio with outside polesitter Justin Bonsignore:

Audio with NWSMT pole winner Kyle Bonsignore:

 

Qualifying Results

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