BRISTOL , Tenn. (Wednesday, February 25, 2009) -- Four NASCAR Whelen Modified Series champions were among the six drivers that challenged the "World's Fastest Half-Mile" during a test session on Tuesday.

The cars ran with carburetor restrictor-plates early in the afternoon.  The fastest time with plates was clocked by L.W. Miller of Dushore , Pa.  Miller circled the half-mile track in 14.742 sec., breaking Ryan Newman's Cup Series track record of 14.908 sec. set in 2003.

In the late hours of the day, the plates came off, resulting in even faster times.

Ted Christopher, 2008 Whelen Modified Tour Champion, jumped at the chance to test his car on the .533 mile track with the engine unrestricted.  Christopher turned the fastest lap of the evening, a mind-blowing 14.479 sec.

"It's crazy. It's intense," said the Plainville , Conn. native. "The one thing you have to remember is to breathe. I've never been anywhere that you can drive without lifting [the throttle]."

Christopher said race fans should be in for quite a show when the Whelen Modified Tour returns Aug. 19 for a doubleheader event with the NASCAR Camping World Series.

"We will have to have some give and take," he continued.  "We're going to be able to do some cross-over moves. I think it's going to be a very technical race."

"We appreciate the opportunity to be here," said Christopher. "The cars run around here pretty good. They're very fast."

Other drivers participating in the test were Matt Hirschman, Brian Loftin, Ronnie Silk and Todd Szegedy.

Szegedy said the track is unlike any other he has tried to conquer.

"There are a lot of G's pushing you down into the seat," he said.  "It will take time to get used to it, but it is definitely a lot of fun."

All of the drivers were appreciative of the chance to test at the track.

"It is an honor to be here," said Loftin. "I think this will become one of the crown jewels of modified racing. This is one of the most fun places to race and I think we will put on a good show later this year."

The open-wheel machines, which put out 600 horsepower and weigh 2,610 lbs., will return to Thunder Valley during the August Sharpie 500 race week.

Driver   Time   Speed

Ted Christopher  14.479 sec.    132.523 mph

Matt Hirschman    14.577 sec.    131.632 mph

Ronnie Silk    14.722 sec.   130.336 mph

L.W. Miller   14.742 sec.   130.159 mph

Todd Szegedy   14.761 sec.   129.991 mph

Brian Loftin   15.025 sec.  127.716 mph


Close Window