LOUDON, N.H. – Ron Silk will take the pole and the celebratory trappings that come with the honor of leading the field to green today for the Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
But understand this, Silk will be more than share that lead spot at the field with anybody else interested for most of today’s feature.
Most that is, he’ll be happy to take it back on the final lap.
“Really, you want to be second toward the end of the race,” Silk said. “It’s the best place to be. The guy in the front in the lead is a sitting duck. It’s about putting yourself somewhere in the top-three and trying to play the chess game of being second toward the end.”
Silk toured the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway oval in 29.539 seconds (128.941 mph) to win the pole in qualifying Saturday.
The car was really pretty good. I think it was an advantage to be one of the last cars on the track. We were out second to last. We had a pretty good car since we unloaded [Friday]. … I just want to stay out of trouble and keep it up front all day and try and put ourselves in a position to win.
It was the third career Whelen Modified Tour pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Silk, of Norwalk.
He’s hoping for a repeat of his sweep on Sept. 24, 2011 when he won the pole and the race in Loudon.
“[The pole] doesn’t mean much, it just means I have the fastest car,” Silk said. “But the draft is the big equalizer here.”
Silk’s other pole win in Loudon came in the July 2012 event. He finished second in the feature. His only other win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway came in September 2009, when he started second.
Ryan Preece of Berlin was second in qualifying at 29.713 seconds (128.186 mph). During most of the first half of Friday’s Whelen All-Star Shootout at Loudon, Silk and Preece ran at the front of the field, swapping the lead regularly.
“I’m real happy starting up front,” Preece said. [Silk] starting right there, we were drafting real good [Friday] so hopefully we can hook up again and stay up front.”
Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, making his first appearance running for Rob Fuller Motorsports, was third in qualifying 29.739 seconds (128.074 mph).
“I think going out early kind of hurt us a bit,” Szegeduy said. “The track had a little lack of grip. It’s a great effort. The LFR chassis is awesome.”
Rookie Tommy Barrett Jr. of Millis, Mass. will start fourth and fellow rookie Timmy Solomito of Islip, N.Y. will start fifth. Sprint Cup star Ryan Newman, who won Friday’s Whelen All-Star Shootout Modified event, will start sixth.