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NASCAR Mods Part of Open Wheel Weekend at NHIS

11 August 1997


GARDINER, Me. -- The IRL may be the main course for the race fans in
attendance at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sunday, August 17,
but there is little doubt that the New Hampshire 125 for the NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Tour will be the dessert on this weekend of open wheel

It didn't take the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour long to establish
itself as one of the most exciting divisions to watch on the "Magic Mile",
and it won't take long for first-time observers to get caught up in the
multiple lead changes per lap style of driving that is so prevalent
whenever these rockets take to this one-mile race track.

The NASCAR Modified was born on the short tracks up and down the east
coast, and it has evolved into a sleek, aerodynamic package that is
supported by a sophisticated chassis and suspension. Interestingly, the
term "ground-pounders" - originally applied to the NASCAR Modified at New
England short tracks - is still valid after all these years.

Mike Stefanik of Coventry, R.I. leads the contingent of teams into NHIS
with a single goal in mind, and that is to become NASCAR's first dual
champion. Stefanik won NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Championships in
1989 and 1991, and he is running at the top of the 1997 standings.

He's also seeking the NASCAR Busch North Series, Grand National Division
title, and he will be pulling double duty on this particular weekend with a
NASCAR Busch North Series event at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H. on
Saturday night. While he will be putting on the mileage between the two
Granite State race tracks, this double weekend will be a lot easier than
the previous one where he ran at Watkins Glen on Saturday afternoon, and at
Riverhead, N.Y. on Long Island Saturday night.

Stefanik has his work cut out for him at NHIS with several drivers
including Tim Connolly of Endicott, N.Y., who, like Stefanik, is seeking a
second 1997 win at NHIS. Connolly has been hot this year picking up several
wins for car owner Bob Garbarino, and he poses a threat to Stefanik's title

No matter who sits in victory lane, it is a safe bet that it will be an
exciting victory. The New Hampshire 125 promises to be the frosting on the
open wheel weekend cake.


RIS/NC Mike Snow NASCAR/Stocks series editor