NASCAR’s Whelen Modified Tour closed out the 2010 season with the running of the Sunoco World Series at Thompson International Speedway (Thompson, CT) on Sunday, October 17.

The weekend began as per usual – with practice and qualifying taking place on Saturday. What wasn’t usual was the car Renee chose to run for the World Series.

“Ed (Bennett owner of the No. 59 cars driven by Chuck Hossfeld) asked if I wanted to run one of his cars at Thompson. His equipment is top-10 everywhere we go. So, naturally, we said yes. ”

Renumbered as the No. 90 - Renee's ride proudly displays the Stratford Fire Fighter's Union logo (with special thanks to Don Kingsbury). Photo by Howie Hodge.

In addition to a different car, the team emphasized the sponsorship from members of the Stratford Professional Fire Fighters Union. Above and beyond their generous sponsorship, three fire fighters (Mike Tiberio, Scot Sanford and Don Kingsbury) generously supplied food and cooked for the team throughout the weekend.

“We were really fortunate to meet Mike, Scot and Don earlier in the year. Their support has been immeasurable in helping us to make it to the end of the season.  To top it all off, they really outdid themselves cooking for all of us this weekend. It’s no myth – fire fighters are great cooks! In all seriousness, all of their efforts were truly appreciated.”

Race day began with a driver’s meeting, followed by an autograph session. Shortly thereafter the green flag fell on the 150-lap feature at approximately 3:30 PM. The start of the race was rough for the No. 90 team. Unaware there was oil in the racing groove Renee spun the car after the yellow was displayed on lap 8 and was involved in another skirmish on lap 32. From there, things improved as she picked off positions. The pit crew helped the cause by offering up another great stop at about the lap 90 mark.

By lap 130 Renee was pressuring the No. 54 car – an early race leader – for position. However, off a lap 141 restart, Renee began experiencing problems with the left-front.

“We went down into turn one fine, but in the middle the left front started shaking uncontrollably. I was pretty sure we broke something on the suspension. Rather than wreck the car, I pulled down and just nursed the car the rest of the way. It’s certainly not how we wanted to end the season.”

Finishing as the last car on the lead-lap, the No. 90 was credited with a disappointing 24th place finish. And, in the points run down, the team tied for 17th place (but, with the tie-breaker, will be credited with 18th).

Explaining the suspension problem, Renee said: “The Schrader valve on the left front shock must have gotten hit by some sort of debris – because on post-race inspection we found the valve was damaged and all the air was out of the shock.  It’s just something else that went wrong, that never goes wrong, but happens to us. It’s been like that all year – we struggled with brake problems up until Bristol (the 11th race of the year). We had oil lines collapsing that went undiagnosed for a stretch. And we flat out got taken out at Matinsville, Riverhead and NHMS. I’m just disappointed, we had much higher expectations going into the season.”

For those who couldn’t make it out to the track, the event will air on Versus at 8 PM EST on Wednesday, October 20.

Looking forward, the team awaits NASCAR’s much-anticipated release of the 2011 schedule. Until then, it’s safe to say they’ll thoroughly enjoy some down time. In the meantime, any news or information will be reported here.