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Hossfeld Holds Them All Off

By Jason Christley, NASCAR
May 24, 2008 - 12:06am

STAFFORD, Conn. – If Chuck Hossfeld wins the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship, he can point to Friday night’s TSI Harley-Davidson 150 as where it came together.

Hossfeld drove the No. 4 Mystic Missile Dodge to Victory Lane, ending a winless drought of nearly four years. To get there, though, he had had to withstand a pair of restarts in the final 11 laps with Todd Szegedy, Ted Christopher and Mike Stefanik at his heels.

“I just tried to run a couple perfect laps,” Hossfeld said. “I knew I was going to have to protect the bottom, but also have a good restart. I guess Todd got a good run, because I felt him.”

The race’s final restart was a green-white-checkered finish that pushed the race to 153 laps. Szegedy finished second in the No. 2 Wisk-Snuggle Ford. Christopher (No. 36 Al-Lee Installations Chevrolet) was third, followed by Stefanik (No. 16 Diversified Metals/Ace Moldings Pontiac) and Jimmy Blewett (No. 19 TS Haulers Chevrolet).

Prior to the race, Stefanik was honored as part of NASCAR’s year-long celebration of 60 Years of Modified Champions. Stefanik won seven NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titles. He started 27th Friday after taking a provisional.

Hossfeld won the Coors Light Pole Award and then led the race twice for 86 laps, including the final 46.

“I’m just thrilled to be hooked up with my team – my old team,” Hossfeld said. “The car was just a tick too tight at the end, but I don’t care. We won, I’m happy.”

Hossfeld’s last victory was July 31, 2004 for car owner Bob Garbarino. Hossfeld parted ways with Garbarino following the 2004 season and drove for two different owners and making just four starts in 2007, before reuniting with Garbarino in the offseason. Garbarino won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title last season with Donny Lia, who is currently driving on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

“It scared me that I wouldn’t have a ride on this tour – this is my home, I love this tour,” Hossfeld said. “I don’t know what I expected, but I’m glad with what’s going on.”

Hossfeld leads the points by 35 over Christopher and 61 over Szegedy.

On the final restart, which was single-file, Szegedy got a run on Hossfeld going into Turn 1. Hossfeld protected the spot and got a run off Turn 2 that allowed him a little breathing room on the way to the checkered flag.

“I probably could have sailed it in there,” Szegedy said, “but I don’t know if we both would have come out of that corner. I’m looking at the big picture and finishing is the way to go.

“To be honest, if I did get by him, I think he would have gotten back by. He had a good car.”

Christopher, who won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Stafford April 27, was sitting back in third ready to capitalize if the leaders got in trouble.

“I thought he was going to hit him a little harder and then it would have been all good,” joked Christopher.

Eric Beers was sixth, followed by Ed Flemke Jr., Ryan Preece, James Civali, and Erick Rudolph. 

The start of the race was delayed nearly two hours because of rain showers.

During post-race technical inspection, possible issues with the No. 19 of Blewett were found. The parts in question will be taken back to the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C., for further evaluation.