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John Blewett III was all smiles after winning Saturday's Modified race at Loudon. (Photo courtesy of Howie Hodge)LOUDON, NH (July 15, 2006) -- John Blewett III won Saturday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour's "New England 100 "race at Loudon New Hampshire in dramatic fashion. Blewett took the lead on the final circuit to secure the win in front of a cheering crowd of sun drenched fans. Now, if that wasn't exciting enough, the 100-lap race featured an eye-popping 28 lead changes which left little time to visit the concession stands for fear of missing the non-stop action. The race also had seven caution periods for 47 laps leaving just 53 laps of green flag racing. Among the 42 starters included NASCAR Nextel Cup stars Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards--both making their first-ever series start. Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. was selected by NASCAR to be the exclusive tire provider to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

The Modified Tour is NASCAR's only open-wheeled division. The cars weigh 2,610 pounds and are powered by a "small block" 350 to 360 cubic-inch engine mounted on monstrous 13" wide bias-ply tires manufactured at Hoosier's hi-tech production facility in Plymouth, IN. The 17-race series competes mainly in the northeast on tracks ranging in length from 1/4-mile to the 1.058-mile New Hampshire International Speedway.   

In qualifying for Saturday's race, 45 cars were on hand vying for one of the coveted 42 starting spots. Zach Sylvester won the Bud Pole Award as the event's fastest qualifier. Sylvester, who circled the 1.058-mile track in 30.326 seconds (125.595 mph), was followed by Jimmy Blewett, Reggie Ruggiero, defending series champion Tony Hirschman and Eric Beers. Carl Edwards recorded the 14th best time, while Tony Stewart was 21st in qualifying. 

The race featured 28 leaders among nine different drivers including; (driver's name and laps led) Jimmy Blewett 1-6, Ted Christopher 7, Donny Lia 8-22, Ted Christopher 23-35, Reggie Ruggiero 36-40, Tony Hirschman 41-43, Reggie Ruggiero 44-45, Tony Hirschman 46, Doug Coby 47-48, Ted Christopher 49-52, Doug Coby 53, Reggie Ruggiero 54-58, John Blewett, III 59, Reggie Ruggiero 60, John Blewett, III 61-62, Reggie Ruggiero 63, John Blewett, III 64, Ted Christopher 65, John Blewett, III 66-71, Ted Christopher 72, Ted Christopher 73-79, Ted Christopher 80-81, John Blewett, III 82-86, Ted Christopher 87, John Blewett, III 88, Jerry Marquis 89-95, Reggie Ruggiero 96-97, James Civali 98-99, John Blewett, III 100.

The race came to an exciting conclusion on the final lap when John Blewett III passed James Civali just prior to the caution flag coming out for the race's 7th caution resulting in a white/yellow/checkered finish. Blewett, who started 11th, becomes the Modified Tour's first repeat winner of 2006. The Howell, NJ driver, who also won the series' previous race at Stafford Speedway, pocketed $14,400 for the win. 

James Civali, who started 23rd, settled for a runner-up finish while collecting $11,900 for his efforts. Civali was followed by Reggie Ruggiero, Eddie Flemke and Mike Stefanik in third through fifth, respectively. Rounding out the top ten was Todd Szegedy, Teddy Christopher, Jerry Marquis, Tony Stewart and Ronnie Silk. Amazingly, 26 of the 42 starters finished the race on the lead lap. Carl Edwards finished 39th after an accident on lap 43 ended his day.

Mike Stefanik currently leads the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver standings with 930 points. The six-time series champion is just 36 points ahead of five-time series champion Tony Hirschman. Teddy Christopher is in third place with 862 points followed by rookie James Civali (849) and Eric Beers (839).

The next scheduled event for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is this Saturday (July 22) at the Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, CT. 

For complete race results and more information about the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour visit their website at www.nascarregionalracing.com

Hoosier's Irish Saunders is the Product Manager for all open-wheeled asphalt racing including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.


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