Looking To Put Things Together In
(Stafford Springs, CT)---With the Whelen Modified Tour returning to Stafford next Friday, August 3rd for the 22nd Annual Stafford 150, Eric Berndt has a great opportunity to pick up his very first WMT victory. Berndt nearly had his first win two years ago in the May Stafford event, building up a large lead that was erased by a caution flag with 22 laps left in the race. Although Berndt has finished 15th in the first two WMT races at Stafford this season, he qualified third and second and he says it’s just a matter of putting things together to get a good finish.
“We’ve had great cars the past couple years at Stafford,” said Berndt. “We’ve qualified really well and we’ve run really well in the first half of races. We’ve either shot ourselves in the foot or our biggest thing is in the second half of the race we need to come together and make the right decisions. Whether it’s pitting or what we have to do with the car, we need to follow through on the beginning of the race. We’re running good in the beginning but we’re not following through in the second half. If we can do that, I think we stand a real good chance at pulling off a win. Our finishes at Stafford don’t show how good the car was when we started the race. We’re looking to improve. That’s kind of been our story all year, we’re 13th, 14, 15th in that area, but we’ve qualified really well, we’ve ran good in practice, we need to definitely improve our finishes. We’ve had little things that we’ve been working on. Once we hit it right, I think we’ll be in good shape. Everybody is 100% on, you can’t miss a little bit or it will cost you.”
With 11 career wins in Stafford’s SK Modified® division, Berndt has yet to win in 62 career WMT starts. While Berndt chases his first career win, several things point to Stafford as the potential site of that first win. Berndt has his one and only career pole position at Stafford, and his car chiefs Bob Horn and Don Adams, along with his crew chief Ricky Rotondo, both have a wealth of knowledge for setting up a car for Stafford.
“This would be a huge win, especially because it would be our first ever Tour victory,” said Berndt. “It would be monumental in my career for sure. I always look forward to coming to Stafford with the Tour car because we have a good car when we come and we run well. We just haven’t been able to capitalize on it. One of these times for sure something is going to work our way a little. It would be a first win all the way around with myself and the #46 team. Ricky and I have been together for 11 years and I have 2 good car chiefs on the Tour. Our car is prepared by Bob Horn, the Berkley Auto Racing cars are prepared by Don Adams, and they’re both very good with the setups.”
With the combination of Berndt’s and his car chief’s knowledge of the track at Stafford, he has a good idea of what it’s going to take to be sitting in the winner’s circle next Friday night in the Stafford 150.
“You definitely have to qualify well,” said Berndt. “You have to run good in the first half of the race without abusing the car and you have to have a good pitstop. You need to make a good call in the pits and you need to come out of the pits in the top-5. If we can do that and if the car stays consistent, I think we have a good shot. We’re really looking forward to a good finish. We feel like we have a top-5 car or at worst a top-10 car. We need to capitalize on that and get some momentum going our way. Even if we have to salvage an seventh or an eighth place finish, that would give us some momentum going to Thompson and Bristol and tracks that we run good at, so we’re looking for some solid finishes.”
Another race that Berndt is looking forward to is the CARQUEST SK 150 Twin 75’s this Friday night at Stafford. Berndt likes the extra distance races and he is excited about his chances in the biggest SK Modified® features of the season.
“I feel like we have a really good car,” said Berndt. “We finished 6th the last time out after getting here from Loudon, so we had to start at the tail end after missing the heat races. I think handling wise, we had one of our best cars all year, so we’re looking forward to the twin 75’s. We did a few things differently and we’re going to see if it works out to our benefit. Some of the guys aren’t used to anything over 40 laps, so that kind of works to our benefit. The longer the laps, it doesn’t matter to me, I like it.”
Tickets for the 22nd Annual Stafford 150 are available and on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $33.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating will be priced at $35.00 for all ages. Tickets for the 9th Annual CARQUEST SK 150 are priced at $27.50 for adult general admission, $5.00 for children ages 6-14 general admission, and Free for Children ages 5 & under. Reserved seating is available for $30.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking, with overnight parking available.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.