Category Archives: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

Ronnie Williams Hopes To Seal The Deal in Thompson 125

Second-Year Driver Has Been Fast Learner on NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

Over the three-decade history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, various standout drivers have come to the series as graduates from Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut.

Whether it was the late Ted Christopher, Woody Pitkat, champion Doug Coby, or current rising star Chase Dowling, the half-mile asphalt at Stafford has provided drivers a chance to mix it up with some of the best New England has to offer — and in the process — help prepare themselves for a move to the next level.

Right now, it seems like that Stafford experience is helping another rising star climb his way towards the top.

Ronnie Williams, who has 12 career Stafford wins and eight of them in the premier SK Modified division, has put together quite the striking beginning to his Whelen Modified Tour career. Although his finishes on the track haven’t necessarily shown the speed under the hood of the No. 21 Gershow Recycling/Empower Financial Chevrolet, Williams has already been a threat to visit Victory Lane this season.

“Chase (Dowling) and I raced together back in the SK Lights at Stafford, and we both moved to SKs at about the same time,” Williams said. “We were racing and winning against guys like Ted Christopher, Keith Rocco, Rowan Pennink, Doug Coby. You had all of these guys that were at the top of the tour and you were already racing against them. When I started on the tour, I kinda knew how they raced and how to race around them. Having their competition there (at Stafford) allowed for a faster learning experience, and now I am able to apply it.”

AUDIO: Williams Excited To Get Back To Action at Thompson

Williams, along with the rest of the Whelen Modified Tour competitors, will be back in action Wednesday night when the Whelen Modified Tour makes their second of four appearances at the 0.625-mile Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park high-banks. The fifth race of the season comes as an outlier to the other three at Thompson, since this battle will only be for 125 laps, instead of 150.

Williams is hoping to redeem himself from a little misfortune during the Icebreaker 150 in April, where the Ellington, Connecticut, driver was fastest in practicequalified on his first career pole, and was running second in the 150-lap race when the field hit the start/finish line for the white flag.

Ronnie Williams #21 runs up the back of Justin Bonsignore #51 late in the 2018 Icebreaker Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park April 9th 2018 Michael Jaworecki Myracenews Photo

A  move to the inside of eventual race winner Justin Bonsignore ended with contact between the two cars and Williams in the outside wall in Turn 1, ending his efforts to capture his first career checkered flag. Even though he finished 19th, he slowed plenty of speed throughout the weekend, and proved he could put himself in the right position to pounce towards the end of the race.

“I was telling one of the guys on the crew, the lap times in practice didn’t really mean anything to me, but it was good to see we were fast. When we won the pole, I knew we had some momentum, but there wasn’t much time to really think about it because the race came up so quickly. Even going to the race, I knew we were going to be fast, we were brought back a little bit and had a little bit of a power steering problem, we were fast at the end of the race,” Williams said.

“I made a decision to make a move on Justin going into turn one, and was it the right move? I don’t know. I’ll know for next time what to do, or at least try and know. The whole weekend was a really great confidence booster for us going forward.”

Off that confidence booster, Williams finished 14th at Stafford, but last time out, the No. 21 came home with a sixth-place finish at Massachusett’s Seekonk Speedway. Out of the four races the Whelen Modified Tour has completed this season, South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway was the one that was difficult for him, but the troubles didn’t only stem from his performance on the track.

Ronnie Williams’ crew services the #21 Gershow Recycling Chevy at Myrtle Beach Speedway March 17th 2018 Michael Jaworecki Myracenews Photo

“Myrtle Beach was definitely tough, I was happy to get out of there,” Williams said. “That day was just bad. I went to a Red Robin afterwards, and I asked for a chocolate milkshake, and they said their milkshake machine was down. I knew it was a bad day.”

Even though the combination with Bertuccio provided Williams a chance to take his career to the next level, the early stages of his days on the Whelen Modified Tour didn’t come without a struggle.

“It was definitely a totally different learning experience, even just going to the track and having an hour straight of practice, I wasn’t accustomed to that, or even the time trials, even though we did very well with them,” Williams said. “Last year, I went to like 15 different tracks I hadn’t raced at before. I’m getting acclimated to all of the new tracks, and trying to be fast at the same time.”

As he enters his 16th career start on Wednesday at Thompson, winning a Whelen Modified Tour race would be the pinnacle of his young racing career.

“I’ve been watching Whelen Modified Tour races since I was young, I live a mile from Stafford, so every Friday night I went down there and watched racing,” Williams said. “It was always my dream to race on the tour. Winning is something I have always wanted to do, especially with the Bertuccio team. To win with them, that would be a special one to knock off my list.”

THOMPSON 125: Race Center | Entry List | Point Standings 

Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes:

Smooth Riding: The quick start for Justin Bonsignore should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed his career closely of late. The Holtsville, New York, driver has finished top three in the championship standings in all but one of the last four years, and he already finds himself at the top of the pack with four races complete in 2018. He won at Seekonk on June 2, and his first victory with new crew chief Ryan Stone came as part of the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson in April. The win was his sixth on the Connecticut high-banks, which places him at the top of the list of active series competitors. He leads the championship standings by seven points, and couldn’t be heading to a much better track to attempt to keep his roll going.

Ready To Score: Both Chase Dowling and Craig Lutz are inching closer to their first career Whelen Modified Tour wins. The two rising stars have four consecutive top 10 finishes to open 2018, and Dowling is coming off a second-place effort in the Seekonk 150. Lutz, who finished second in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson earlier this year, has been consistent, but quiet, so far. Dowling, a Roxbury, Connecticut, driver has 13 Thompson starts, and one career pole in last year’s Sunoco World Series 150. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to see either driver carrying the black and white silk at the end of the Wednesday night affair.

Strong Field: Much like the Icebreaker 150, the assembled field for Wednesday’s Thompson 125 brings together top modified talent from across New England. Jimmy Blewett will make his third start of the season, driving his family No. 76, while Burt Myers, a former champion of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, is making his return to New England driving for Eddie Harvey. On the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series front, defending Thompson Late Model champion Ray Parent will make his series debut driving a car out of the LFR Chassis department.

Whelen All-American Series: Thompson’s NASCAR divisions will compete in their third race of the season on Wednesday night.. The Sunoco Modifieds, Limited Sportsman, Late Models and Mini Stocks will all compete in qualifying and feature racing as their season closes in on the halfway point.

Up Next: The sixth race of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season will take drivers down south to Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, on June 23.

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Thompson 125 entry list 6/14/2018

The 5th race on the NASCAR WMT tour at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park is this Thursday’s June 14th (Rescheduled from June 13th).

Below is the list of  32 cars (It will grow to 33 with the addition of Ray Parent)  for this Wednesdays Thompson 125 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Justin Bonsignore in the Phoenix Communications Inc who is 2 for 4 on the season and the winner of the spring Icebreaker event in April has to be an early favorite. He is also coming off a big win at Seekonk  Speedway 2 weeks ago over Matt Hirschman who is not entered this week.

Justin is only 7 points ahead of Chase Dowling who has 12 top 5’s in his 4 years on the tour but is looking for that first win in the 15-40 Connection machine.

Craig Lutz, Timmy Solomito and Rob Summers round out the top 5 in points and all of them would love to get a win an close that gap win Justin.

Once again Max Zachem has withdrawn due to the hand injury suffered at the Icebreaker.  Max still has about 6 weeks of recover ahead of him.

As I mentioned above Ray Parent the 2017 Thompson late Model champion will make his NASCAR WMT debut as announced by Kyle Sousa at NASCAR Home Tracks.

Thursday — Garage opens: 1:45 p.m. ET; Final Practice: 4-5 p.m.; Group qualifying: 7 p.m.; Thompson 125: 8 p.m. (approx.)

Nbr Driver Owner Car Crew Chief Sponsor
1 01   Melissa Fifield   Kenneth Fifield Chevrolet   Chad Dow   Crowells Towing
2 1   Burt Myers   Eddie Harvey Chevrolet   Eddie Harvey   Citrusafe / Dunleavy Truck & Trailer
3 2   Doug Coby   Mike Smeriglio III Chevrolet   Phil Moran   Mayhew Tools
4 3   Rowan Pennink   Jan Boehler Chevrolet   Greg Fournier   Cape Cod Copper / USNE Inc.
5 6   Ryan Preece   Ed Partridge Chevrolet   Jeff Preece   TS Hauler
6 7   Jon McKennedy   Tommy Baldwin Chevrolet   Tommy Baldwin   Accell Construction Inc.
7 14   Blake Barney   Richard Barney Chevrolet   Robert Barney   Atlantic Sprinkler
8 15   Chase Dowling   Rob Fuller Chevrolet   Steven Kopuk   15-40 Connection
9 16   Timmy Solomito   Eric Sanderson Ford   Stanley Szaban   Starrett
10 18   Ken Heagy   Robert Pollifrone Chevrolet   Desmond Gorman   Buoy One Seafood
11 20   Max Zachem   Ken Zachem Chevrolet   Ken Zachem   MP2 Motorsports / Lu-Mac’s
12 21   Ronnie Williams   Joseph Bertuccio Chevrolet   Michael Bologna   Empower Financial Advisory
13 23   Joe DeGracia   Paul Degracia Chevrolet   Jimmy Zacharias   PJ DeGracia Contracting
14 24   Andrew Krause   Diane Krause Toyota   John Cooke   Supreme Manufacturing
15 25   Calvin Carroll   Joe Carroll Chevrolet   Stash Butova   Power With Prestige / Cruising With Betty
16 26   Gary McDonald   Sean McDonald Chevrolet   Chad McDonald   Lakeland Landscaping Supply / TRC Electric
17 33   Wade Cole   Wade Cole Chevrolet   Richard Rodenbaugh   Performance Engines / Kendal Oil
18 36   Dave Sapienza   Judy Thilberg Chevrolet   Tommy Grasso   Sapienza Enterprises
19 38   TBA   Linda Rodebaugh Chevrolet   Robert Bourne   Performance Engines / Kendal Oil
20 44   Bobby Santos III   Sully Tinio Chevrolet   Bob Santos   Sully Tinio / Olivas Market
21 46   Craig Lutz   Russell Goodale Chevrolet   Douglas Ogiejko   Riverhead Building Supply
22 51   Justin Bonsignore   Kenneth Massa Chevrolet   Ryan Stone   Phoenix Communications Inc.
23 54   Tommy Catalano   Amy Catalano Chevrolet   TBA   Catalano Motorsports
24 58   Eric Goodale   Edgar Goodale Chevrolet   Jason Shephard   GAF Roofing
25 63   Austin Pickens   Steve Pickens Chevrolet   Jeff Deminck   Siteone Greenbrier
26 64   Rob Summers   Mike Murphy Chevrolet   Steve Lemay   Hoosier Tire East / FastTrack Electrical
27 66   Shawn Solomito   Jerry Solomito Chevrolet   Jerry Solomito   AAA Consulting / Anti-3 Protect Series
28 75   Chris Pasteryak   Charles Pasteryak Chevrolet   Cam McDermott   Dawley’s Auto
29 76   Jimmy Blewett   John Blewett Sr. Chevrolet   Rob Ormsbee   Starrett / John Blewett Inc.
30 78   Walter Sutcliffe, Jr.   Steven Sutcliffe Chevrolet   Kevin Anderson   Close Enuff Racing
31 82   Woody Pitkat   Danny Watts Jr. Chevrolet   Jarod Zeltmann   Horton Ave. Materials
32 85   Ron Silk   Kevin Stuart Chevrolet   Kenny Stuart   Stuart’s Automotive
33 89   Matt Swanson   John Swanson Ford   John Swanson   Starrett

Justin Bonsignore Continues His Roll at Seekonk

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Points Leader Scores Second Win of 2018

SEEKONK, Mass. — Justin Bonsignore has quickly proven that he is going to be the man to beat during the 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.

The Holtsville, New York, driver scored his second win of the young season on Saturday at Seekonk Speedway, holding off a late charge from rising star Chase Dowling in the final circuits at the third-mile Massachusetts oval.

The victory was the 14th career for Bonsignore in Whelen Modified Tour competition, and his second of the 2018 season behind the wheel of the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Chevrolet for Kenneth Massa Motorsports.

RACING-REFERENCE: Race Results | Point Standings

“It was a great day, we came off the truck first in practice, got my first pole in a long time, and we had a really good car,” Bonsignore said. “I just can’t thank everyone enough. This is a total team effort, and I am just the lucky guy that gets to drive this car right now.”

Bonsignore’s run to the victory may have seemed easy at first glance, strictly because he started from the pole and ended up carrying the checkered flag at the end of the 150-lap distance. However, a fierce battle with Matt Hirschman put Bonsignore’s equipment to the test in the second half of the race.

The two modified veterans swapped the lead back and forth multiple times throughout the race, but on lap 127, Hirschman was able to edge out at the front of the field at lap 127, but on the next lap, Bonsignore took the lead, and never looked back.

RACING-REFERENCE: Justin Bonsignore

In the midst of the battle between Bonsignore and Hirschman, Dowling made a late charge through the field after starting 13th, and was locked on the back bumper of Bonsignore’s car in the final laps. He finished second, scoring his fourth consecutive top 10 finish to open the season.

Bonsignore led a race-high 100 laps, while Hirschman was at the point for 50 circuits. They were the only two drivers who led the race, and both of them started on the front row.

“When I had the lead, I was just a little bit tight,” Hirschman, who finished third, said. “It was a good night. We are always in contention to win. Just not quite (there).”

Rowan Pennink finished fourth, while Ron Silk was fifth. Ronnie Williams was sixth, followed by Timmy Solomito, Tommy Catalano, Dave Sapienza and Craig Lutz.

Bonsignore leads Dowling by seven points in the championship standings, while Lutz is 19 points back.

The Seekonk 150 will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, June 6, at 7 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday, June 13.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Seekonk 150 Results

Saturday

At Seekonk Speedway

Seekonk, MA

Lap length: 0.33 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

  1. (1) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY, Chevrolet, 150 laps, 62.902 mph.
  2. (13) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  3. (2) Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA, Chevrolet, 150.
  4. (4) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Chevrolet, 150.
  5. (8) Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT, Chevrolet, 150.
  6. (7) Ronnie Williams, Ellington, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  7. (17) Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Ford, 150.
  8. (21) Tommy Catalano, Ontario, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  9. (9) Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  10. (14) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  11. (18) Rob Summers, Manchester, CT, Chevrolet, 150.
  12. (12) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  13. (6) Andrew Krause, Holmdel, N.J., Toyota, 150.
  14. (22) Blake Barney, Lakewood, N.J., Chevrolet, 150.
  15. (11) Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  16. (30) Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  17. (27) Gary Putnam, Vernon, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  18. (23) Gary McDonald, Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  19. (10) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  20. (3) Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass., Chevrolet, 148.
  21. (25) Joe Degracia, Nutley, N.J., Chevrolet, 146.
  22. (28) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H., Chevrolet, 135.
  23. (24) Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn., Chevrolet, 116, parked.
  24. (16) Calvin Carroll, Newton, N.J., Chevrolet, 106.
  25. (5) Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass., Chevrolet, 80, power steering.
  26. (26) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 48, ignition.
  27. (15) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 41, engine.
  28. (19) Jeff Rocco, Meriden, Conn., Chevrolet, 40, brakes.
  29. (29) Kyle Ellwood, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 40, suspension.
  30. (20) Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass., Ford, 40, accident.
  31. (31) Walter Sutcliffe Jr., East Haven, Conn., Chevrolet, 0, did not start.

Race Statistics

Time of Race: 0 hours 47 minutes 13 seconds

Margin of Victory: 0.299 seconds

Fastest Qualifier: J.Bonsignore (99.623 mph, 11.925 seconds)

Caution Flags: 7 for 39 laps.

Lead Changes: 6 among 2 drivers.

Lap Leaders: J. Bonsignore 1-48; M. Hirschman 49-76; J. Bonsignore 77; M. Hirschman 78-98; J. Bonsignore 99-126; M. Hirschman 127; J. Bonsignore 128-150.

Standings: 1. J. Bonsignore, 171; 2. C. Dowling, 164; 3. C. Lutz, 152; 4. T. Solomito, 139; 5. R. Summers, 137; 6. J. McKennedy, 129; 7. D. Coby, 125; 8. R. Pennink, 123; 9. R. Williams, 116; 10. C. Pasteryak, 114.