Patrick Emerling defeats Bobby Santos III by 0.022 seconds at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday
LOUDON, N.H. – It was a three-wide photo finish in Friday’s sixth annual NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour All Star Shootout at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but it was Patrick Emerling who made it to the finish line first, beating Bobby Santos III by only 0.022 seconds, barely the width of a racing tire.
“We were feeling out the car the whole race, and I knew what I was going to do in the last lap,” said 26-year-old Emerling. “We were able to get ourselves at the right spot at the right time and just executed the right move at the end. It could have spun both ways. It was a real close one there.”
Emerling boldly entered the final turns of the race with an aggressive dive to the bottom of turn three. He held speed and let the car drift up the track out of turn four, giving him just enough momentum to keep two other drivers at bay. Emerling says he figured out that running in the second groove coming out of the backstretch allowed him to make up quite a bit of ground, helping him reach victory lane. Today’s win not only marks Emerling’s first victory at Loudon, but his first win this season. It was a bold move in an otherwise classic modified race featuring clean racing and lots of lead changes.
“I think a lot of guys were a little bit conservative,” said Orchard Park, N.Y. native Emerling. “We don’t want to wreck our cars for the race tomorrow.”
The All Star Shootout featured a 35-lap run in a 30-minute timeframe, with a mandatory pit stop at lap 20. The top-five leaders were inverted before the second half restart. The race ended with Santos, Justin Bonsignore, Jon McKennedy and Ron Silk rounding out the top five.
The entire NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour field will take on “The Magic Mile” on Saturday when 40 drivers race in the Eastern Propane & Oil 100 at 1:45 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour begins the second half of the championship points schedule at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, with the Eastern Propane & Oil 100. On Friday, the tour kicks off the racing weekend as select teams will compete in the only non-points, 35-lap All Star Shootout.
The series joins the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR Xfinity Series and Monster Energy Cup Series for a full weekend of racing in New England.
Bobby Santos III is the odds-on favorite to visit Victory Lane on Saturday.
The Franklin, Massachusetts, driver may have no laps this season, but he’s teaming up with Dave Sapienza at one of his best tracks, and it’s hard to bet against him. Santos has won three of the last four at New Hampshire — all of them for Tinio Motorsports. The 2010 Whelen Modified Tour champion will step behind the wheel of the Tommy Grasso-prepared machine looking to continue his NHMS glory.
The championship points battle turns towards the track with the largest car counts. One mistake could cut into Doug Coby’s 31-point cushion. The Milford, Connecticut, veteran has four wins in 31 career starts at NHMS, but has finished outside the top 10 in three of his last four. When he does win on the ‘Magic Mile,’ Coby is normally at the front of the field more than just the final lap. He’s led a combined 183 of 400 laps in races where he went to Victory Lane.
Off his third straight win at Riverhead, defending tour champion Justin Bonsignore jumped to third in the standings, and enters a place where he’s had success of late. Bonsignore has top-10 finishes in six of his last seven starts, including three straight of sixth or better. In September’s inaugural Musket 250, Bonsignore led 77 laps, and led the field into Turn 3 for the final lap before a crash sidelined him. If he wants to continue his climb back towards Coby in the standings, New Hampshire will be the prime opportunity.
Three drivers will compete in Saturday’s 100 lapper and Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.
Roush Fenway Racing driver Ryan Newman has two wins at NHMS, with the most recent of them was in 2010. He won the pole for the Eastern 100 last year, and Preece, who won the All-Star Shootout in 2017, has no points wins at the 1.058-mile oval. Former two-time Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Andy Seuss will also make his Monster Energy Cup Series debut driving for Rick Ware Racing on Sunday, but will follow his deep modified roots driving for his family operation in his familiar No. 70 on Saturday.
RACE: EASTERN PROPANE & OIL 100
Place: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
Date: Saturday, July 20
Time: 1:45 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, Wednesday, July 31 — 6 p.m. ET; FansChoice.TV live broadcast (1:45 p.m.)
The starting field for the Eastern Propane & Oil 100 is 36 starters, including provisional positions.The first 30 drivers will secure starting positions through the qualifying process. The remaining six positions will be awarded through the provisional process.
Two consecutive qualifying laps will set the starting field. Faster lap determines qualifying position. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on the vehicle after the vehicle has taken the green flag at the start/finish line. NASCAR reserves the right to have more than one vehicle engage in qualifying runs at the same time. Vehicles will be impounded after qualifying. Vehicles must qualify on race set up. After qualifying all vehicles will proceed immediately to the impound area. Only minor adjustments will be permitted following qualifying.
The maximum tire allotment available for this event is twelve (12) tires per team. Four (4) tires must be used for qualifying and to begin the race. The remaining tire allotment may be used for practice and/or change tires during the event. The tire change rule is four (4) tires, any position.
A non-points showdown on the biggest stage.
As part of the Cape Cod Cafe Pole Day for the Monster Energy Cup Series, 20 selected drivers will compete in a 35 lap shootout for glory. The race will be broken up into two segments — with the caution scheduled to fall on or about lap 20. From there, the battle will be on.
With no points on the line, former series champions, former race winners and Rookie of the Year contenders, and additional points contenders from last year, will all compete in this special event.
Previously, Ryan Newman (2014), Woody Pitkat (2015), Bobby Santos (2016), Ryan Preece (2017) and Justin Bonsignore (2018) have been to Victory Lane in the race. No driver has been able to sweep the weekend in the five-year history of the race.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
Friday, July 19
2:10 p.m. ET
NBCSN, Thursday, July 25 — 6 p.m. ET; — FansChoice.TV live broadcast (2:10 p.m.)
2018 winner:Justin Bonsignore
2018 Pole:Rob Summers (via random draw for starting position)
Friday: Garage Open: 8 a.m., Final Practice :10-11:40 a.m., All Star Shootout: 2:10 p.m.Saturday: Garage Opens: 7 a.m., Qualifying: 9 a.m., Autograph Session: 10:30 a.m., Eastern Propane & Oil 100: 1:45 p.m.
The maximum starting field is 20 cars, invitation only. A random draw will be held to determine starting positions for the special event. The order of the draw will be based off of the driver’s criteria to enter the special event.
The special event will be a thirty-five (35) lap race split into two (2) segments with a mandatory caution displayed at lap twenty (20) unless the caution is already out at lap twenty (20). The overall thirty-five (35) lap event will have a thirty (30) minute time limit. All caution laps will count except the period after lap twenty (20) until the race is restarted. Pit road will be closed during the entire event.
When the yellow flag is displayed at lap twenty (20), the race will be restarted by the car’s last completed green flag lap except for those cars involved in a random number selection that will determine the number of cars to be inverted for the restart. The procedure for determining the random number will be determined and announced to the teams during the Driver/Crew Chief meeting. Any car finishing the first segment of the race in positions one (1) through eight (8) will be subject to the inversion. Four (4), five (5), six (6), seven (7) or eight (8) will be inverted. No tire changes will be permitted during the event unless it is an approved Emergency Change Tire. No fueling permitted during the event.
At the twenty (20) minute mark of the event, if the first segment has not been completed, NASCAR will display the yellow and the random number selection procedure for the inversion will take place. Caution laps will not count during this period until the race is restarted. When the race is restarted under this procedure, the second segment of the event will be ten (10) laps or until the time limit expires.
At the twenty-five mark of the event, NASCAR will announce to the competitors over the NASCAR Race Control channel there are five (5) laps remaining in the event. If the yellow flag is displayed during this five (5) lap period the race will be restarted with one attempt at a green, white, checkered finish.
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — Saturday night short-track racing at the highest level of modified racing.
There was contact, and even spinning, but it was enough for Justin Bonsignore to score his third straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night.
Bonsignore restarted to the inside of track regular John Beatty Jr. in overtime, and coming to the checkered flag, contact between the two drivers sent Beatty up the track, and Bonsignore spinning nose-first towards the frontstretch wall. In the midst of his spin, he crossed the line first in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200.
The victory was Bonsignore’s third of the season and his 23rd career in Whelen Modified Tour competition. He becomes just the third driver in series history to win three straight at Riverhead, joining Mike Ewanitsko and Ryan Preece as the only drivers to accomplish the feat.
“The restart before I was able to hang with him a few laps, but John had a better car, and I was really shocked he took the outside on the last restart,” Bonsignore said. “He gave me a good shot getting into three, but you are coming to the checkered. I hate racing like that. But these races are so hard to win, and we need to win all of the races we can to get back in this points race.”
Beatty looked to have the car to beat in the final stages. He passed Timmy Solomito for the lead on lap 150 and was at the point for a near run to the finish, until a caution for a wreck down the backstretch with three laps to go closed the field up. Beatty selected the top lane, and when the field went down into turn one at the green, the contact started between the two leaders.
They leaned on each other the final two laps, until the contact in turn four, coming to the checkered, sent Bonsignore spinning. Beatty, a regular in Riverhead’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I Modified class, was disappointed in the result, but happy with his effort. He nearly became the first track regular in more than two decades to win a Whelen Modified Tour race at the oval.
“I was just keeping up with the pace and my car just kept getting better and better (before the last yellow),” Beatty said. “Everyone races their own way. I’m not the kind of guy to drive someone up a lane or two, but Justin did his job. He won the race.”
Timmy Solomito, who led 37 laps, crossed the line third. Solomito took the lead for the first time on lap 76, after contact between Coby and Solomito sent Coby spinning in turn one, while racing for the lead. Ron Silk and Craig Lutz rounded out the top-five.
Coby rebounded to sixth, while Patrick Emerling, Eric Goodale, Tom Rogers Jr. and Tommy Catalano completed the top 10.
Coby leads the championship point standings by 31 over Silk, while Bonsignore is third, 32 points back.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as part of their annual Monster Energy Cup Series weekend on Saturday, July 20. Select drivers will also compete in the All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire on Friday, July 19.