First On Top: Chris Pasteryak Wins First Career Whelen Modified Tour Pole For NAPA Fall Final 150 At Stafford

Chris Pasteryak gives a thumbs up to his crew while getting out of his car following NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour NAPA Fall Final 150 qualifying at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – The post-qualifying celebration for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events these days can often be a ho-hum affair. 

On Saturday at Stafford Motor Speedway, the emotion and elation for the qualifying pole winner was genuine and bursting. 

Whelen Modified Tour veteran Chris Pasteryak scored his first career series pole Saturday in qualifying for Sunday’s NAPA Fall Final 150 at Stafford Speedway. 

Pasteryak, who has run full-time with the series the last two seasons, is making his 59thcareer Whelen Modified Tour start Sunday. The 38-year old Lisbon driver made his first series start in 2005. 

“This is a big confidence builder for me,” said Pasteryak, who comes into Sunday’s penultimate series event of 2019 sitting ninth in the standings. “We might be a turd in the race tomorrow, but we get to go home and be quickest all night and we have the [NAPA Pit Party] tomorrow to go. It’s pretty cool to do that.” 

Pasteryak toured the half-mile oval with a fast lap of 18.515 seconds (97.218 mph). 

“It’s been a tough summer,” Pasteryak said. “We’ve been quick in time … and man I haven’t done anything right in two months. I was so happy to finish [the Musket 250 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last week] without getting a flat tire or having to put a right front back on the car. We were eighth, which for me there I was pretty happy with. I was pretty excited coming here.” 

In the pits after qualifying it was the fastest driver who was applauding the effort by Pasteryak. 

Current series points leader and five-time series champion Doug Coby, who has won eight poles in 15 events this year, was second fastest at 18.548 seconds (97.046 mph). 

“I love it,” Coby said of Pasteryak winning the pole. “It’s always exciting for me. It brings me back to time trialing as a kid in Quarter Midgets. And Chris did that with me. We’ve raced together for many years. A lot of people want to see heat races, but ultimately for a driver it’s about the two laps to cut really two good laps. And for them to come out ahead of the three point leaders [himself, Justin Bonsignore and Ron Silk] and [Bobby Santos III, who won the Musket 250 last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway], I think it’s awesome and they deserve it. … I like seeing other teams earn their confidence.” 

Santos, of Franklin, Mass., was third in qualifying (18.562 seconds, 96.972 mph). Reigning series champion Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, N.Y., who was fastest in both practice sessions Saturday, will start fourth (18.589 seconds, 96.831 mph). 

Coby, of Milford, takes a 21-point lead over Bonsignore in the standings into the NAPA Fall Final 150 on the hunt for his sixth career championship. Coby is looking to join seven-time series champion – the late Mike Stefanik – as the only two drivers in series history with six or more series titles. Stefanik, Tony Hirschman (five titles) and Coby are the only drivers in series history with more than two titles. The season ending Sunoco World Series 150 is Oct. 13 at Thompson.

Coby leads active drivers with 12 career Whelen Modified Tour victories at Stafford, including a victory in the NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 in May at the historic facility. 

“We need to go out and do a regular Stafford show for us and try to get a really good finish ahead of [Bonsignore],” Coby said. “If he goes out and wins and we try to play it safe and he closes the gap down further than it is now then we go to Thompson and it’s game on. I would like to go Thompson being where we’re at or more. Anything less plays into his favor, even if it’s just a couple points.” 

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  1. Congratulations Chris!!!!

  2. Hey Dareal… you still think the 75 performance this year is sub par? Another mis statement. Keep em comibg. We love the entertainment.

  3. Congrats Chris, great job young man and way to make the Pasteryak family proud.

  4. Tommy, did you read the article??? The driver himself said he hasnt done anything right in 2 months, basically validating DaReal’s statement and you are calling him out? The race is tomorrow.

    The 75 was good in NH and hopefully they can put another one together tomorrow. I always like seeing them fo well but it hasn’t been a great year up until the last week or so.

  5. Not a shock. Qualified 4th and 3rd in previous two races at Stafford. Did the good runs translate into good race results? Not so much with a crash and an eleventh. Hopefully it will this time. A poll in any event is a big deal. Well done!

  6. Tommy, did you read the article? The driver himself said he was pleased finishing eighth at NHMS.

    Competitive teams are never pleased with 8th place.

  7. The reason why he said he was pleased with 8th is, he has been having some bad finishes lately. Sometines you need to take what you get.

  8. Sad how fast they forget about the late great Richie Evans They talk about in this article the late Mike Stefani k’s 7 Modified Tour Championships. Mike was a awesome driver no doubt about it. Richie Evans won 9 Modified Tour Championships including 8 straight from 1978 to 1985 and probably would of had even more if wasn’t taken away from us at Martinsville Speedway during a practice session. Just want us to never forget about both Ritchie and Mike.

  9. I’ll take the devils advocate position on your comment Mr. Blackwell.
    Criticize any part of Evans career in this forum and see what you get. It won’t be a warm reception. Is Evans forgeotten…….no way.
    Everything you say is true. The opposite side of the argument is Evans went running around racing at every track he could to accumulate points. Essentially a professional running against local track amateurs and beating them. Cook did it as well. Who was the first by the way and never gets any respect in general discussions on who was the greatest. Was Evans great. and Cook as well…..sure. But there is no comparison to now because it was a different system.
    Stefanik beat guys racing under the same rules and at the highest level for modifieds at the point he raced. That deserves recognition as well.
    Coby may beat Stefanik and the future RaceDayCT forum can argue about Stefanik vs Coby. Evans will still be the best and Cook forgetten.

  10. Hey Doug, I couldn’t agree more with you about Jerry Cook. It always seemed that Cook never got the respect that Evans did. Back in the early 80’s, me and wife traveled all over following the modifieds. From Virginia to Pennsylvania to Connecticut. Seen some great races and enjoyed it very much. We’re from Jersey and took a liking to Jamie Tomaino a local guy. Even got to know his family and best friend Ray Everham, when Ray was still racing modifieds at Wall Stadium. Fond memories of those years. Actually got to watch a little of the Stafford race yesterday on Fans
    Good Talking Doug,
    Ron Blackwell

  11. Just an fyi for Ron Blackwell and Doug. Richie Evans never won a Modified Tour Championship, because it did not exist prior to 1985. What he DID win were 9 National Modified Titles, similar to what is now the Whelan All-American Series Division 1 Championship. Not to take anything away from what is certainly one of the best modified drivers ever.

  12. My understanding is the “series” as we now know it started in 1985 and in that first year Evans won the title.
    Comparing drivers in different era’s is like any sport comparing the greats. It’s opinion with no absolutely correct answer. It’s reason to have a fun spirited debate with points mentioned but that’s all.
    For many of we oldies who saw Evans he’s still fresh in our minds and his legend is still strong. At some point we will be gone and those that watched Stefanik will insist he was the greatest because he is the guy they watched.
    The only thing I feel strongly about is this. Evans and Cook are set since they are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. For me there is no excuse for at least one driver that was the most successful under the current format to also be in the Hall of Fame. That guy is Stefanik. He should be in…..period. Comparing him to Evans or Cook for the purpose of Hall worthiness is irrelevant. He’s far and away the best driver in the modern era.

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