By: Kyle Souza / Photo: Michael Jaworecki/My Race News
NORTH WOODSTOCK, N.H. — In front of a fan-filled grandstands in New Hampshire, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made their debut at White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday night, celebrating Independence Day.
The track shot off fireworks after the Independence Day 200 was over, but the real fireworks might have been what happened on the track in the final stages.
Matt Hirschman won the Mayhew Tools pole award in qualifying, started from the pin and led most of the laps. Entering turn one with seven laps to go, contact from behind by Justin Bonsignore sent Hirschman up the track. Bonsignore slid by. Then a restart sealed the deal.
Bonsignore held off Hirschman and six-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby in the final two laps to win his second straight race to open the 2020 season. It was Bonsignore’s 28th career series win and 16th in his last 34 starts.
“You just bank on a caution and I think we saved enough tire at the end,” Bonsignore said. “We just watched the replay… I definitely got into him, but he was crossed up, and there was definitely a gap in between us before I got into him the first time. That’s racing. It’s just hard racing. I don’t think I did anything wrong. I would admit if I did.”
Hirschman, who crossed second at the finish, wasn’t thrilled with the way it played out, for obvious reasons.
“He might have had a little but more tire left at the end,” Hirschman said. “During the race I changed my line because the track changed and the line I was running changed… there was another groove there… he wasn’t able to make an attempt to pass other than move me. I’m not going to be happy about it… but he didn’t wreck me… but he moved me.”
Coby finished third, his best effort in two races as owner/driver for Doug Coby Racing, while Tommy Catalano & Woody Pitkat finished the top five. Dave Sapienza, Chris Pasteryak, Craig Lutz, Jon McKennedy and Chase Dowling finished the top 10.
Bonsignore remains on top of the Whelen Modified Tour point standings, though the next race on the schedule is unclear due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shake-up at race tracks in the region and beyond.
My Race News will have more on the final laps shortly.