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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A NASCAR veteran added another trophy to his mantle with a thrilling victory.
Steve Park picked up a hard-fought win in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race in the UNOH Battle At The Beach on Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway after sending race leader Mike Stefanik spinning heading into Turn 2 of the white-flag lap of a green-white-checkered finish.
Park, out of East Northport, N.Y., picked up his first Whelen Modified Tour victory since a season-ending win in Oct. 1996 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. It was his first start on the tour since the 2005 season. Park has two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins in 183 career starts.
Eric Goodale finished second just .281 of a second behind Park followed by Ted Christopher in third. Reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby and Patrick Emerling crossed the line in the fourth and fifth positions, respectively.
Justin Bonsignore, Brian Loftin, Cole Powell, Ken Heagy and Dalton Baldwin completed the top 10. Stefanik had to settle for a 13th-place finish.
Todd Szegedy started from the pole and led the race’s first 126 laps, but he was forced to head down pit road on Lap 127 when sparks appeared under the front end of his No. 2 UNOH/We Are Newtown Ford, giving Stefanik the lead. Szegedy finished 21st.
Stefanik and Kyle Larson were holding a spirited battle for the lead after Szegedy exited the race, but on a Lap 145 restart Larson – while running second – missed a shift which sent him into the outside retaining wall heading into Turn 1. That seemingly would give Stefanik a little breathing room, but rather it provided Park an opportunity.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour kicks off its points season on March 16 at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., while the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour gets underway on April 14 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.
Todd Szegedy (front, right) led the first 126 laps before bowing out with suspension issues. Getty Images for NASCAR