Ron Silk Weathers Storm In Thunder Valley
Ron Silk took a big step toward getting a chance to defend his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship Wednesday with a win in the UNOH Perfect Storm 150.
It was Silk's second win of the season and first in the annual combination race between the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour on the track known as "The World's Fastest Half Mile." It was also the first victory for a driver running a NASCAR-approved SPEC motor on either Modified tour.
Todd Szegedy finished second, followed by Ryan Preece, Justin Bonsignore and Ron Yuhas Jr.
George Brunnhoelzl III was the top finishing NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver in sixth. The tour's points leader is credited with a win, his fourth straight and fifth overall. It was the second time he’s been the highest-finishing south driver in four all-time Bristol events.
Silk's finish combined with a late-race accident involving Whelen Modified Tour points leader Doug Coby allowed Silk to cut 14 points off Coby's lead. With five races left, the advantage is down to 27 as Coby's run of seven straight top-three finishes ended with a 17th-place finish.
|5||Ron Yuhas Jr.|
Earlier in the day, Silk won the Coors Light Pole Award, but for the majority of the race Szegedy was the class of the field with a race-high 80 laps led. During a caution on Lap 127, while in the race lead, made Szegedy contact with Silk and spun out.
“I’m pretty sure I held the bottom, I haven’t seen video of it, but I know I had the thing down as far as I could,” Silk said. “We made contact and he went around, which I hate to see for him, and I’m glad to see he finished second because that’s how good his car was.
“From there it was kind of clear sailing, just staying clear of lap traffic, but it definitely feels good to get a win here,” Silk said.
Szegedy made a mad dash in the closing laps to make it up to second, but ran out of time to catch up to Silk.
“My plan was to go to the outside and I was going to bring it home wrecked or a win,” Szegedy said of his post-spin strategy. “So at that point it was just pass as many cars as I could. I needed five more laps and I could have got him.”
In four Bristol race Szegedy has now posted consecutive finishes of sixth, fourth, third and second.
Rookie Danny Bohn was seventh, followed by Ken Heagy, Thomas Stinson and rookie Michael Speeney.
Brunnhoelzl leads Bohn by 52 points in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour standings with four races remaining.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman, who won the last two Bristol events, was involved in an accident in the opening laps and ended up 19th overall.
The UNOH Perfect Storm 150, which aired live on SPEED, was slowed by eight cautions for 54 laps and two red flags, including a 13-car pile-up on the frontstretch on Lap 3.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to the track Sept. 9 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway for the Town Fair Tire 75, while the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will race Sept. 1 in the Langley 150 at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va.