Eric Berndt Scores Whelen Modified Tour World Series Pole At Thompson Speedway

THOMPSON – When the dust settled on a wild NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season finale in 2012 at Thompson International Speedway it was Glen Reen standing in victory lane after scoring one of the biggest upset victories in series history.

Eric Berndt celebrates winning the pole Saturday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/NASCAR)

Eric Berndt would like to keep the trend of the unexpected winner going at least two years in a row.

Berndt, of Cromwell, set the table perfectly in preparing to accomplish that feat Saturday.

Berndt, looking for his first Modified Tour victory, won the pole in qualifying Saturday for Sunday’s World Series of Speedway Racing 150 at Thompson.

“It feels good,” Berndt said. “Even though it’s the last race, it seems like in the last month we’ve really got gelling as far as getting some finishes and here’s the season coming to an end. But we’ll take it and hopefully we can build something off of it and go forward.”

Berndt toured the .625-mile Thompson oval in 18.607 seconds (120.922 mph) in qualifying Saturday. Now he’s just hoping to stay out of the way of the messes should Sunday’s event turn in the way chaotic way last year’s closer did.

“The car is good,” Berndt said. “We’ve got to go 150 laps tomorrow and stay out of trouble. It’s racing. Sometimes you’re on the good end of that stick and other times you’re on the bad end of that stick. You take them race by race and hope you don’t get caught up on some else’s stupidity.”

Bobby Santos III of Franklin, Mass., the winner of the most previous Modified Tour event on Sept. 30 at Stafford Motor Speedway, was second fastest in qualifying at 18.624 seconds (120.812 mph).

Reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion Ron Silk of Norwalk will third fastest in qualifying (18.632 seconds, 120.760 mph) and Ryan Preece of Berlin was fourth fastest (18.648 seconds, 120.656 mph).

Preece and Silk are two of the three drivers in the championship hunt Sunday. Preece sits 17 points behind standings leader Doug Coby of Milford going into the final event. Silk is 18 points out of the lead

Coby, looking to score his first career series title, will start ninth. Coby needs to finish 13th or better to clinch the title no matter what Preece or Silk do.

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