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Todd Szegedy, the 2003 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion, has been tabbed the favorite to recapture the title in 2008 by media members that cover the tour.
Szegedy earned 176 points in the preseason ballot and collected seven first place votes. Matt Hirschman was second in balloting with 164 points and garnered a first place nod by four voters.
Szegedy had two wins and eight top-fives in 16 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races a year ago and finished as the runner-up in driver points to Donny Lia. The Ridgefield, Conn., resident captured his first – and only – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship in 2003 on the strength of a career-high four wins and 14 top-10s. In 94 career starts, Szegedy has 12 wins and 56 top-10s.
A Northampton, Pa., native, Hirschman finished third in the 2007 season standings. Although he has yet to reach victory lane in 39 career starts, Hirschman had a breakout season a year ago in which he registered 11 top-10s and five top-fives.
Ted Christopher (154 total/5 1st place) of Plainville, Conn., Mike Stefanik (141/3) from Coventry, R.I., and James Civali (109/1) of Meriden, Conn., round out the top five in poll points. Christopher, a championship runner-up in 2002 and 2005, is seeking his first title while Stefanik will look to hoist the trophy for an eighth time.
Poll vote totals were weighed on a point scale that ranged from 10-1, with 10 points for first place and one point for 10th place. The voting pool was made up of members of both print and electronic media that cover the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
The 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is set to open on Sunday, April 6, at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. The Icebreaker, a 150-lap race, is scheduled to go green at approximately 3:15 p.m., following a pre-race show that will include the honoring of past NASCAR Modified champions Lia, Frankie Schneider and Richie Evans. For ticket information, please visit Thompson’s official Web Site (thompsonspeedway.com).