Category Archives: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

Patrick Emerling Conquers “Thunder Valley”

First NASCAR Whelen Modified Win Comes On Bristol High-Banks

 BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 16, 2017) – Patrick Emerling swept his way to Victory Lane with a near-perfect performance at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday.

The Orchard Park, New York, driver was fastest in practice, won the Coors Light Pole Award and proceeded to lead 148 of the 150 laps en route to his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory.

“It’s just a dream come true,” said Emerling following the win at the historic track dubbed ‘Thunder Valley.’ “It’s incredible. We only run a handful of the Whelen Tour races and to come down here and win practice, catch the pole and lead every single lap, it’s an incredible feeling for us as a team.”

The win for the 24-year-old came in his 78th career start and just his third of 2017. He held off challenges from Chase Dowling and Justin Bonsignore on restarts in the first half of the race, then held off four-time tour champion Doug Coby in the dash to the finish.

He crossed the line 1.239 seconds ahead of Coby. Prior to Wednesday, Emerling’s best career finish was a second at New Hampshire in 2015.

For Coby, the second-place finish was the third straight in Whelen Modified Tour competition and it helped him claw back towards the top of the championships standings.

Timmy Solomito, who was caught up in a Lap 68 accident, came home 15th to maintain a two-point edge on Rowan Pennink. Ryan Preece finished fifth and is nine points behind Solomito, while Coby is 17 points back.

Justin Bonsignore finished third and is 19 points out of first. Chase Dowling and Preece rounded out the top five at Bristol.

Andy Seuss was sixth, followed by Pennink, Ronnie Williams, Bobby Santos and Matt Swanson.

The Bush’s Beans 150 will air on NBCSN Saturday August 26 at 3 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Modified Tour returns to the track at Seekonk Speedway on Saturday August 26, with the running of the Seekonk 150.


NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Bush’s Beans 150 Results


At Bristol Motor

Bristol TN

Lap length: 0.53 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

  1. (1) Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, NY, Chevrolet, 150 laps, 69.924 mph.
  2. (9) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  3. (4) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY, Chevrolet, 150.
  4. (2) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  5. (7) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  6. (14) Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H., Chevrolet, 150.
  7. (19) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Chevrolet, 150.
  8. (3) Ronnie Williams, Ellington, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  9. (6) Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
  10. (12) Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass., Ford, 150.
  11. (20) Kyle Ebersole, Hummelstown, PA., Chevrolet, 149.
  12. (21) Bryan Dauzat, Alexandria, La., Chevrolet, 147.
  13. (25) Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn., Chevrolet, 124.
  14. (24) Walter Sutcliffe Jr., East Haven, Conn., Chevrolet, 123.
  15. (8) Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Ford, 112.
  16. (5) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 107, mechanical.
  17. (16) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y., Chevrolet, 94, mechanical.
  18. (22) Jeremy Gerstner, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Chevrolet, 91, accident.
  19. (13) Kyle Bonsignore, Bay Shore, N.Y., Chevrolet, 66, mechanical.
  20. (10) Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 59, rear end.
  21. (23) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H., Chevrolet, 58, handling.
  22. (15) Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., Chevrolet, 21, engine.
  23. (11) Austin Pickens, Windermere, Fla., Chevrolet, 8, accident.
  24. (18) Calvin Carroll, Newton, N.J., Chevrolet, 8, accident.
  25. (17) Rob Summers, Manchester, CT, Chevrolet, 8, accident.
  26. (26) Burt Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C., Chevrolet, 0, ignition.

Race Statistics

Time of Race: 1 hour 8 minutes 13 seconds

Margin of Victory: 1.239 seconds

Fastest Qualifier: P.Emerling (131.432 mph, 14.517 seconds)

Caution Flags: 5 for 44 laps.

Lead Changes: 4 among 2 drivers.

Lap Leaders: P. Emerling 1-66; J. Bonsignore 67; P. Emerling 68-72; J. Bonsignore 73; P.

Emerling 74-150.

Standings: 1. T. Solomito, 380; 2. R. Pennink, 378; 3. R. Preece, 371; 4. D. Coby, 363;

  1. J. Bonsignore, 361; 6. E. Goodale, 349; 7. D. Sapienza, 313; 8. M. Swanson, 308; 9. M.

Zachem, 301; 10. R. Summers, 294.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes: Bristol

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Over the last six NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races, no one has been able to post better results than Ryan Preece. The Berlin, Connecticut, driver has four wins, a runner-up and a fourth and it has allowed him to claw his way right back into the fight for the championship. Even though he missed a race at Virginia’s Langley Speedway in May to get married, Preece sits only 19 points from the points lead with seven championship races left on the 2017 schedule.

His recent run of success in NASCAR also included his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing at Iowa Speedway on July 29. As Preece enters the third Whelen Modified Tour race in 12 days, he is hoping to continue his recent success on the tricky high-banks of Bristol Motor Speedway. In his career at “Thunder Valley,” Preece has six top 10 finishes in seven starts, including a victory in the rain-shortened race in 2015.

Tour points leader Timmy Solomito enters the race with a 10-point advantage on Rowan Pennink, but if he wants to maintain the top spot, he will need to come away from Bristol in one piece. His best career finish at the track is eighth, but last season, he was involved in a wreck and finished 26 laps down in 18th. He joins Preece as the only multiple-time winners so far this season on the Tour.

Defending Bristol race winner Eric Goodale enters the race looking to go back-to-back and knock some points off his deficit to the top of the championship standings. Goodale enters the race fifth in the points off an eighth-place finish at Thompson last Wednesday behind the wheel of his No. 58.

The Bristol race marks the third event in 12 days for Whelen Modified Tour teams. Following the mid-week stop in Tennessee, the series will have a 10-day break before visiting Massachusetts and the Seekonk Speedway on August 26.

Race: Bush’s Beans 150
Place: Bristol (Tenn.) Speedway
Time: 6 p.m. ET
2016 Winner: Eric Goodale
2016 Pole Winner: Todd Szegedy
Track Layout: .533-mile banked concrete oval
Event Schedule: Final Practice: 12:30-2 p.m., Qualifying: 3:15 p.m., Driver Autograph Session: 4:45 p.m., Bush’s Beans 150: 6 p.m.
Track Contact:
Track Twitter: @BMSupdates
Event Hashtag: #BushsBeans150
NASCAR IMC Contact: Jason Christley, (386)


Fast Facts:

The Race: The Bush’s Beans 150 is the 10th of 16 races on the 2017 unified NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship points schedule. It is the first and only appearance at Bristol Motor Speedway for this season.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field for the race is 36 cars, including any provisionals. The first 30 positions in the race will be awarded through the qualifying process, while six provisionals will also be available through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (79.95 miles) and will have a five minute break on or about lap 75.

The Track: Nicknamed as the “World’s Fastest Half Mile,” Bristol Motor Speedway is a 0.533-mile high-banked concrete oval. The track also holds two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races each season. On Wednesday night, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will also hold their annual Bristol night race.

Race Winners: Seven different drivers have visited Victory Lane in Whelen Modified Tour action at Bristol. Ryan Newman (2) is the only multiple-time overall winner. Seven other drivers are tied with one overall victory. Eric Goodale is the defending overall race winner. This is the first year of the unified tour racing at Bristol; in the past, the highest finishing driver in the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tour have been awarded a victory.

Pole Winners: There have been six different Coors Light Pole award winners at Bristol in the eight races. Qualifying was rained-out for the inaugural event back in 2009. Justin Bonsignore has two career overall poles, while five other drivers are tied with just one career pole.

Bush’s Beans 150 Notes:

Coby Crawling Back: Four-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby found himself in a large hole in the point standings when the season got underway. He left the first four races of the season with only one top 10 finish and has since been trying to dig himself out since. However, in his last five races, things have turned the opposite way for the Milford, Connecticut, driver. The reigning champion has five top five finishes in the last six starts, including a second-place finish in last Wednesday’s Bud 150 at Thompson. Coby has climbed to fourth in the championship standings, just 30 points from the lead with seven races left to go. If he wants to continue the climb towards a fourth straight title, he will need to escape the Bristol high-banks with a solid finish. In his six career starts there, Coby has two top five finishes, but also two DNFs.

Dowling Pairs With Harvey: Chase Dowling will be taking his talents to Bristol Motor Speedway behind the wheel for a new team on Wednesday night. Former Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship car owner Eddie Harvey has paired with Dowling and LFR Chassis’ Rob Fuller to put Dowling behind the wheel of his No. 11 in the Bush’s Beans 150. In two career starts at “Thunder Valley,” Dowling has a best finish of seventh while driving for Cheryl Tomaino in 2015. In five races this season, Dowling has a best finish of fifth driving for Fuller.

Silk Teams With Stuart: Continuing a streak of mid-season shakeups on the Whelen Modified Tour, 2003 series champion Todd Szegedy decided to part ways with Kevin Stuart Motorsports following the Stafford 150 on August 4. Although Jeff Rocco drove the car last Wednesday at Thompson, the team has tabbed former series champion Ron Silk to drive the car for most of the remainder of the season. Silk has just four starts on the tour this season, but has one victory to his resume at Bristol, along with an average finish of ninth in seven career starts. Silk has competed in all of the Tour’s prior trips to the 0.533-mile oval.

Winning: Ryan Preece (four) and Timmy Solomito (three) are the only two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers with multiple wins so far this season. Rowan Pennink and Bobby Santos both have one victory to theri credit as well. Coby, Justin Bonsignore, and Ron Silk are among active drivers who won last season, but have yet to grace Victory Lane in 2017.

Wednesday Doubleheader: The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s Bush’s Beans 150 will serve as the first of two races at Bristol on Wednesday night. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will also join in on the action with a 200 lap race. The Trucks have just three races remaining before the playoffs begin.

Preece Continues Winning Ways With Bud 150 Crown

 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park celebrated a 28 year tradition with the annual Bud 150, the third race of the Whelen Modified Tour at the track as the series hit the middle point of its season with a slim points lead on the line. The night say dramatic finishes and hard fought battles on Thompson’s famed oval, and a rising star of motorsports continued his streak of victories while local track racers worked to find some much needed success as the season approaches its final stretch.

Riding a high like few racers ever get to experience, Ryan Preece survived a battle of wits and strategy to conquer the Bud 150 at Thompson Speedway, his second consecutive victory and third in a month’s time after Preece also captured the checkered flag in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in Iowa. The 150-lap feature came down to Preece and reigning champions Doug Coby after the two drivers pitted late in the event when Preece himself spun after apparent contact in turn two. The two drivers worked their way to the front in the last 25 laps, trading the lead several times before a last-lap duel was cut short when Coby blew a tire coming across the line for the white flag in his pursuit of Preece. Preece was awarded the victory, his fourth of the season on the Whelen Modified Tour, and said he was riding the momentum of his recent success in hopes of wracking up more victories to keep himself relevant in the sport he loves. “I’m riding the wave. I’ve got to keep winning races. My career depends on that. It’s the only way I’m going to stay relevant is by winning races, especially after the whole Iowa deal. It’s the only way I’m going to make a future for myself,” Preece told reporters after the win.

While there was debate among several drivers over the circumstances of Preece’s spinout, which some credited as “strategy” and other drivers wouldn’t comment on at all, Preece himself said that he received a nudge from behind and, after refusing to pit earlier in the event, his tires had fallen off too much at that point to keep the car stable.

Doug Coby was credited as the runner-up in the event after his crash froze the field coming across the line for the final lap. Ted Christopher and Timmy Solomito finished third and fourth and shared their thoughts after the race as well.

“I was a good run. We ran really good at Stafford and I knew we had something to build off of with that,” Christopher told reporters. “I think we were best in class because we wanted to do a late pit, but we were just too free in the beginning. It worked out for (Preece and Coby) and I knew it was going to be one of those two guys who got through.”

Points leader Timmy Solomito said he wants to ride the consistency into the rest of the season, hoping to keep a firm grip on his lead having only a slim ten-point advantage over Rowan Pennink, who captured the pole for the Bud 150 and finished seventh, following the race at Thompson.

“You have to race smart, but you have to race hard too. It’s still a long time to go in the season. You don’t want to put yourself in a position to get wiped out early and lose points,” Solomito said. “You’ve got to run hard, but you have to be smooth and you have to be there at the end. We’re focusing on the big picture right now.”

Before the Whelen Modified action the Sunoco Modifieds started off the night with an intense 30-lap feature that saw the points race tighten up and a familiar face return to the top of the leader board and to victory lane. Keith Rocco won the Sunoco race during the 2016 Bud 150 event and repeated the feat in 2017 with his second win of the season. Rocco outraced a hard charging Steve Masse in a bumper to bumper dash to the finish in the closing laps to take the victory and the points lead after Ryan Preece experienced mechanical issues early on in the event. Rocco benefited from a late caution that saw all three of the leaders at the time, Woody Pitkat, Ted Christopher, and Troy Talman, spin out of turn two. When the green waved once again Rocco took the lead and was practically pushed around the track by Masse until a last lap duel allowed Rocco to gain enough of a gap to win.

“Masse was pushing us pretty good down the straightaway, but to move to dive bomb somebody and make it stick is pretty tough. I think his car was too free to do that,” Rocco said of the battle for the lead in the closing laps. He added that he felt like his team finally caught a break in 2017 as the results allowed him to overtake Ryan Preece as Rocco continues his quest for a second straight Sunoco Modified title. Masse held on for a second place finish followed by Ted Christopher and Woody Pitkat, who recovered from their on-track incident, in third and fourth and Todd Owen in fifth.

The NorthEastern Midget Association (NEMA) Midgets were next up with yet another driver familiar to victory lane in Thompson taking the checkered flag. Randy Cabral continued his winning ways at the Big-T, adding to his impressive win total that makes him the winningest driver in the NEMA Midgets at Thompson. Cabral also claimed his second consecutive series win on the season and fended off a hard charging John Zych, the closing laps to get the job done. “I had to keep my cool and keep going,” Cabral said. “It was awesome. I love this place.” The win wasn’t enough to put Cabral in the points lead for the season, but it closed up the tight battle for the championship lead going into the series’ next event at the Waterford Speedbowl on August 12. Kyle Hamilton, Jim Chambers, Mike Horn, and Bethany Stoehr rounded out the top five in the 25-lap feature.

The Limited Sportsman 20-lap feature ended in an emotional win for Brent Gleason. It was his second consecutive victory at the track making him the first two-time winner in the division in 2017. Gleason found himself up front for much of the event, even going side by side with Shawn Monahan for nearly a full lap before taking the lead for the final time and holding on for the checkered flag. Gleason dedicated the win to his father, who he admitted recently got some bad health news, and said he wasn’t going to let anyone but him cross the finish line first. “ I knew that my car was better on the long run – I’m just glad it’s over. It took so long,” Gleason said referencing a red flag that slowed the race during a multi-car incident on lap six. The win is Gleason’s second at Thompson since he had a win disqualified for an improper engine. Gleasons called his recent success vindicating. “I didn’t have much say over that motor, but when we rebuilt it I had the say. I told them exactly what I wanted in it and we rebuilt it and while it’s a little harder to drive it helps it handle better. We may not have the best stuff but we’re the best team, or at least we try to be.” Shawn Monahan held on for second followed by Al Stone, Steve Kenneway, and Troy Waterman.

The final events of the night saw points leader Wayne Burroughs, Jr. take yet another win on the season in the 15-lap Mini Stock feature.

Late Model finish is currently under review at press time.

Oval racing action returns to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Sunday, September 10 with the Sunoco 20/20 “For the Fans” event. The evening of racing will be the final opportunity for local racing division competitors to gain points, wins, or momentum as the season draws closer to the October World Series of Weekend where local champions and the Whelen Modified Tour champion will be crowned.

WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR BUD 150 FINISH TOP-10: 1. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 2. Doug Coby (Milford, CT); 3. Ted Christopher (Plainville, CT); 4. Timmy Solomito (Islip, NY); 5. Bobby Santos (Franklin, MA); 6. Andrew Krause; 7. Rowan Pennink (Huntington Valley, PA); 8. Eric Goodale (Riverhead, NY); 9. John McKennedy (Chelmsford, MA); 10. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA)

SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 2. Steve Masse (Bellingham, MA); 3. Ted Christopher (Plainville, CT); 4. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 5. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 6. Joey Gada (Uncasville, CT); 7. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 8. Matt Gallo (Kensington, CT); 9. Marcello Rufrano (North Haven, CT); 10. Kyler Cafro (Chaplin, CT)

NEMA MIDGETS FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Randy Cabral (Kingston MA); 2. Kyle Hamilton; 3. Jim Chambers (Atkinson, NH); 4. Mike Horn; 5. Bethany Stoehr (Bridgewater, MA); 6. Todd Bertrand (Danielson, CT); 7. Paul Scally (Raynham, MA); 8. John Zych, Jr. (Mendon, MA); 9. Doug Cleveland (Sudbury, MA);10. Alan Chambers (Atkinson, NH)

LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Brent Gleason (Griswold, CT); 2. Shawn Monahan (Waterford, CT); 3. Al Stone (Durham, CT); 4. Steve Kenneway (Lowell, MA); 5. Troy Waterman (Danielson, CT); 6. Meghan Fuller (Auburn, MA); 7. Jack Aquilina (Oakdale, CT); 8. Tommy Shea (New London, CT); 9. Hank Stott (Medway, MA); 10. Anthony Pandozzi

MINI STOCK FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 2. Nate Taylor (Brooklyn, CT); 3. Jacob Perry (Pawcatuck, CT); 4. Jared Roy (Sterling, CT); 5. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT); 6. Eric Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 7. Doug Curry (Groton, CT); 8. Mike Anzalone (Plainfield, CT); 9. Ian Brew (Woodriver Junction, RI); 10. Mitch Bombard (Willimantic, CT)

Written by: Jason Bleau