Todd Szegedy, driver of the No. 2 Wisk Detergent/A&J Romano Construction Ford in the Whelen Modified Series, was given a penny that brought such good luck at this past weekend’s race at Lime Rock Park that he not only started on the pole but also ended up in Victory Lane.
[media-credit name=”Photo Credit: hometracks.nascar.com” align=”alignright” width=”262″][/media-credit]Without a doubt, Szegedy is hoping that his precious penny will continue to bring good luck at this weekend’s race at the ‘Magic Mile’ in Loudon, New Hampshire.
Szegedy got lucky at Lime Rock when he met Mrs. Griffin, a fan participating in a hospitality event prior to the running of the Whelen Modified 66/99 Presented by Town Fair Tire at Lime Rock Park.
“We went to a meet and greet and they asked me and my crew chief questions,” Szegedy said. “At the end of the meet and greet, she came up to me and gave me a penny.”
“She said this was a lucky penny and she had given it to another driver and he won the race and won many more after that.”
“I’m a superstitious guy so it’s tough for me to accept those kinds of things,” Szegedy continued. “But I took it and put it in my pocket and left it there for the race.”
“Maybe it brought me good luck, I don’t know,” Szegedy said. “But I still have that lucky penny and I’m going to hold onto it.”
It actually took more than just luck to pull off this race win, from an uneventful start to a crazy late race restart.
“The first half was somewhat uneventful and I just got into the early lead and that set a nice pace,” Szegedy said. “Basically we knew that we were going to have a fuel stop at Lap 20. So, I just hit my marks and tried not to make any mistakes until we had that first caution.”
“When we had a late caution, that’s when a lot of the action began,” Szegedy continued. “We had a great pit stop and came out in fourth.”
“Some guys took two tires but we took four,” Szegedy said. “So, on the restart, a lot of the mayhem happened.”
“There were a lot of cars going through the dirt and I went through the dirt a few times,” Szegedy continued. “It was pretty exciting and I’m sure it was fun for the fans to watch.”
“Eventually we went on to win, but it was a tough effort,” Szegedy said. “We definitely overcame a lot in that race.”
Szegedy said of all of his races this season, this was his toughest, especially since it was on a road course where discipline is king. Yet in spite of worrying about his fuel pressure, which was dropping at the end, his luck held out to that checkered flag.
“In road racing, it’s very easy to make mistakes,” Szegedy said. “I went off the track twice.”
“When I put new tires on the car, it was really tight and when I tried to take a turn, I just went straight like I had a flat tire,” Szegedy continued. “I had to keep my cool and pass these guys when I could.”
“At the end, we started losing fuel pressure so I was thinking ‘Oh my God, we’re going to run out of fuel,’ Szegedy said. “I didn’t know if I was going to win until I took that checkered flag.”
“It was a very nerve-wracking race for sure,” Szegedy continued. “Without a doubt it was quite a release when I crossed that finish line. It was a well-earned win for sure.”
With Lime Rock behind him, Szegedy now turns his attention to racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. And he has his work cut out for him and his team, changing out his road race car to one that can tackle an oval so he can take on the ‘Magic Mile’ mayhem.
“First of all, it’s a lot of work to turn the car around, from a road course to an oval track,” Szegedy said. “So, we’ll be working pretty hard until Wednesday.”
“Loudon is another nail-biting race because you never know who is going to win until that last lap,” Szegedy continued. “In every race, I’ve ever been in at Loudon, there are always late race passes and last lap crashes and exciting finishes.”
Szegedy actually won at the last Loudon race, however, it came at the expense of Ryan Newman, who was disqualified after a ‘flagrant foul’ was called by NASCAR for illegal engine issues in the car.
“The first Loudon I ran this year, I finished second but I ended up winning because Newman was disqualified,” Szegedy said. “We got the trophy and we got the cash.”
“Everybody runs in the grey area but if it’s blatant, it should have been definite disqualification,” Szegedy continued. “NASCAR made the right call on that.”
“I felt bad for Ryan though as he didn’t know,” Szegedy said. “But, hey if it’s blatant, then disqualification fits the crime. I think it should be that way with anybody.”
Will Newman be Szegedy’s biggest competition this week at the New Hampshire 100 at Loudon this weekend? Szegedy actually thinks that there many who can give him a run for his money, including Newman, as well as some of the other Whelen Modified Series regulars.
“There are quite a few guys that are my competition,” Szegedy said. “I cannot even name them all.”
“I couldn’t even tell you who will be the top dog because it’s always different,” Szegedy continued. “You just never know at Loudon.”
“I’m excited to go there.”
With his luck at Lime Rock and hopefully more of the same at Loudon, Szegedy acknowledged that he has had one of his luckiest seasons ever.
“Without a doubt, we’ve accomplished what we wanted to accomplish and more,” Szegedy said. “We’ve won races. We’re now in the points lead.”
“It’s been an absolutely amazing season,” Szegedy continued. “Whatever happens from here on out, happens. We’re happy with what we’ve got right now and we’re going to continue to do what we’re doing.”
In spite of that confidence, will Szegedy have his lucky Lime Rock penny with him at Loudon?
“I definitely will have it in my pocket,” Szegedy said. “Without a doubt.”