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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The winters in Connecticut can be long, and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour offseason even longer, which is why Ron Silk and TS Haulers Racing eagerly anticipate the opportunity to hit the race track in Florida during 2013 Speedweeks.
The 2011 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champions, Silk and the No. 6 crew will participate in the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach on the short track Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 18-19. They’ll follow that up with by participating three nights at the World Series of Stock Car Racing at recently-NASCAR-sanctioned New Smyrna Speedway.
“We’re racers,” Silk said of the team’s motivation to head to Florida. “It’s been a long time since the [2012 season finale] World Series and we just want to get back on the race track. It’s nice to get away from the weather up here for a few days and get some racing in.”
Silk, from Norwalk, Conn., is locked into the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour feature at Daytona by virtue of his race wins during the 2012 season. Drivers that won touring series races and championships in 2012 are locked into their respective features in Daytona. All others must qualify through heat races.
Following their 2011 championship campaign, Silk and the TS Haulers team won the 2012 opener at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway and the NASCAR Whelen Modified-Whelen Southern Modified Tours combination race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, but were not able to repeat as champions. The No. 6 team turned in a very solid attempted title defense, however, with nine top-five finishes and six races led during the 14-race schedule to finish third in the standings.
Turning the page to 2013 with championship aspirations once again, the No. 6 team will utilize the UNOH Battle At The Beach as a jumpstart to the season. They aren’t going to limit themselves to just the events at the .4-mile course at Daytona, however.
Team owner Ed Partridge has taken his TS Haulers Racing program to New Smyrna many times through the years, and they’ll return to the banked half-mile once again to compete in the Tour-Type Modified division after the UNOH Battle At The Beach.
“Ed likes to go racing – everyone on the team likes to go racing,” Silk said. “Pretty much anytime there is a race, Eddie wants to go racing in it, so that’s a lot fun.
“We’re going to go to Daytona on Monday and Tuesday, and then run Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at New Smyrna.”
Partridge’s No. 6 TS Haulers Chevrolet, with Tom Grasso returning as crew chief, is one of 22 combined entries received so far between the NASCAR Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tours for the UNOH Battle At The Beach. Including Silk, six of those are also registered to participate in the New Smyrna World Series.
MSR To Field Two Cars: Mike Smeriglio Racing has filed two entries for Daytona. The team’s regular driver – 2003 tour titlist Todd Szegedy – will pilot the primary No. 2 Ford while Steve Park is entered as a teammate in the No. 20 Ford. Szegedy carries 17 career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victories to Daytona while Park’s résumé includes 16 tour triumphs, the last coming in 1996 before he moved on to the upper levels of NASCAR racing. Both drivers do not have locked-in positions will need to race their way into the UNOH Battle At The Beach feature through the qualifying races.
Battle Events: The Whelen Modified events will be just one facet of the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models will have qualifying races and a 150-lap feature on Monday, Feb. 18 while the action on Tuesday, Feb. 19 will include a similar schedule of qualifying races and 150-lap races for both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours and NASCAR K&N Pro Series. All three features are non-points races.
Event Coverage: All three UNOH Battle At The Beach features will be carried live on SPEED. Further event coverage will be officially announced in the coming days.
Additional Info: For more information, please visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. Grandstand and garage admission can be secured via the website or by calling 1-888-PITSHOP.