If one had to take either Ted Christopher or the field if asked to predict who might win the Budweiser 'King of Beers' 150 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on June 30, they'd have a hard time going against No. 36.
Christopher has won six of the last eight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at Thompson, and 12 total in his illustrious career. This current run that started with the 2008 World Series has been so dominant that Christopher even finished second and fifth in those two races in which he didn't take the checkered flag.
Christopher's most impressive triumph in recent memory came in the Whelen Modified Tour's 2011 opener - the Icebreaker - at Thompson when he rallied from two laps down to wind up in Victory Lane yet again.
While he may have Thompson more figured out that the next guy, Christopher says the key to his success is all about how he feels in the car.
"It's comfort in my car and my team," Christopher said following his Icebreaker win. "It's basically if they can give me what I like in a race car and where I like it, that's the whole game for me."
If Christopher, from Plainville, Conn., is able to reach Victory Lane again in the Budweiser 150, he will match Jeff Fuller's mark of seven wins in nine races from 1990-92 that currently stands as the most-successful stretch of victories. It would also pull him to within one win of tying Mike Stefanik on the Whelen Modified Tour's all-time wins list at Thompson at 14.
'Mystic Missile' also has Thompson success: The No. 4 Dodge took the checkered flag in the two races that Christopher didn't during his current run of success at Thompson: in 2009 with Donny Lia and in the 2010 Icebreaker with Bobby Santos. Santos also had a third-place finish at Thompson last year, and it's arguably his best track. Santos, the defending Whelen Modified Tour champion, is 102 points back of points leader Rowan Pennink in eighth place and needs another strong finish at Thompson this week.
Pennink still looking for checkers: The points leader through the first four races of the season, Pennink also figures to be a contender in the Bud 150. He's finished in the top five in four of the last six races at the .625-mile speedway, including a runner-up finish to Christopher in April.
Silk historically strong at Thompson: While his last three race wins have been earned at different facilities, Ron Silk's first three career triumphs came at Thompson during the 2007-08 seasons. Silk had a streak of nine-straight top 10s at Thompson until he was involved in an accident in April's Icebreaker after leading 40 laps, his only finish outside the top five in 2011.
Home Tracks: Rocco Leads The Way
Looking to strengthen his bid to repeat as the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion, Keith Rocco leads in points after six races in Thompson International Speedway's headline division, the Sunoco Modifieds.
The first six Sunoco Modified races of the year have produced five different winners. Rocco is the only driver with two victories. He will carry an eight-point lead into this week's action on Ryan Preece.
Thompson's other current division leaders include: Derek Ramstrom & Jeff Connors (Super Late Model), Tommy O'Sullivan (Late Model), Keith McDermott (Thomson Modified), Christopher Douton (Limited Sportsman) and Danny Field (Mini Stock).
Like many tracks across the nation, Thompson has battled the weather so far this year. Of their nine scheduled race dates to this point, three have been cancelled due to rain.
Szegedy (2) was the class of the field Sunday at Monadnock. Getty Images for NASCAR
Last Time Out: Szegedy Rolls At Monadnock
Todd Szegedy stole the show at Monadnock Speedway on June 26 as he captured the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day and led all 175 laps for his first win of the season, and 15th of his career. Szegedy was so dominant that he was rarely even challenged on six restarts throughout the day.
Justin Bonsignore tied his career-best finish with a runner-up effort and Matt Hirschman came home third for his best finish of the season. Rowan Pennink finished 10th to retain the points lead, but it was cut in half by Ron Silk, who recorded a fourth-place effort.
Up Next: New Hampshire
The first of three trips for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be next on the schedule. The F.W. Webb 100 is slated for Saturday, July 16 in Loudon, N.H.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman stole the show last year by winning both Whelen Modified Tour races at the 'Magic Mile' from the pole, and he intends to defend those triumphs again in 2011. Mike Stefanik and Ted Christopher are the active leaders in wins at NHMS with six and five, respectively.
There have been 52 Whelen Modified Tour races all-time at NHMS. The last time there were as many as three in the same year was 1998, when there were four.
The race week will begin for the Whelen Modified Tour with practice and qualifying on Thursday, July 14 and on Saturday the Tour will be joined by the NASCAR Nationwide Series.