OSWEGO, NY – It was a silky smooth night at Oswego Speedway for Ron Silk.
The Norwalk, Connecticut, native never ran worse than second throughout the Toyota Mod Classic 150, leading the field to green from the pole position and regaining that lead with 77 laps remaining en route to his first ever win at the New York 0.675-mile short track.
“Just a phenomenal car,” Silk said in Victory Lane following his dominant performance. “I went pretty hard there halfway through the race and said, ‘I’m sure there’ll be a caution and we’ll end up taking tires.’ Then with 20 to go I was getting a little nervous, like ‘did I save enough?’ But just a fantastic job by my guys. My car took a few laps to fire off on restarts. I was glad to not get one at the end there for sure.”
The win is Silk’s second of the season and second in a row, coming after the driver of the No. 85 machine bested the rest at Beech Ridge on Aug. 21. It’s also his fifth top-five finish of the season, third top-five in a row and 17th career win on the Whelen Modified Tour.
While Silk was dominating up front, Matt Hirschman was putting on a show coming from the rear of the field. After being involved in a Lap 43 crash involving five others, Hirschman sustained significant left rear damage and pitted for repairs.
Restarting deep in the field, he went to work, slowly and methodically picking off cars one by one. With just under 30 laps to go, he re-entered the top 10. Fifteen laps later, he was inside the top five. Less than 10 laps later, he was all the way up to second behind Silk.
Hirschman settled for the runner-up spot, his second straight second-place finish (both to Silk in consecutive races) in his return to the track where he won earlier this season.
“We made a charge, it looked like maybe a caution would come. But congrats to the No. 85. If he went the whole way and was still driving away from the rest of them, they obviously had a good car,” said Hirschman, who has an average finish of 1.6 and a worst result of second (three times) in five career Oswego starts. “We just had to overcome a lot that I wish we didn’t have to. Came home with a strong second at the end, but I like first better.”
If he were to have just a few more laps, Hirschman may have been able to get to Silk’s bumper and challenge for the win. But with no caution and lapped traffic to navigate, it didn’t happen.
“We would’ve eventually caught him and passed him probably,” he said. “But the race is 150 laps, I’m not going to make any excuses about it. I’m sure the longer it went the more it favored us, but it’s over.”
Justin Bonsignore came home third after leading more than 30 laps in the middle of the race, extending his top-10 streak to nine races. The result marks his fifth top five at Oswego, bringing his average finish to a whopping 3.2 in his six starts at the track.
More importantly, the two-time and defending champion expanded his points lead over Patrick Emerling, who struggled on the evening finishing 15th and two laps down.
“Obviously on that side of things, it was a good night for us,” Bonsignore said. “It’s getting down to crunch time as far as the points are concerned, so it gives us a little breathing room, but we’ll still have to race hard the next three (events).”
Doug Coby and Anthony Nocella rounded out the top five, with Bobby Santos III, Andrew Krause, Woody Pitkat, Kyle Bonsignore and Kyle Ebersole completing the top 10.
Unofficially, Bonsignore’s lead over Emerling in the standings now sits at 20 points with three races remaining on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule. Silk sits a distant third with Coby, Jon McKennedy and Kyle Bonsignore behind.
Up next for the Whelen Modified Tour is a trip to Richmond Raceway on Sept. 10 for the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 150. It’ll mark the first trip to “The Action Track” for the tour since 2002 and 11th overall, dating back to 1990.
Budweiser Classic Week 65
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Toyota Mod Classic
Saturday, September 4, 2021
Toyota Mod Classic (150-laps): 1. 85 RON SILK, 2. 60 Matt Hirschman, 3. 51 Justin Bonsignore, 4. 10 Doug Coby, 5. 82 Anthony Nocella, 6. 44 Bobby Santos III, 7. 19 Andrew Krause, 8. 1 Woody Pitkat, 9. 22 Kyle Bonsignore, 10. 5 Kyle Ebersole, 11. 77 Gary Putnam, 12. 58 Eric Goodale, 13. 2 Chuck Hossfeld, 14. 32 Tyler Rypkema, 15. 07 Patrick Emerling, 16. 7 Jon McKennedy, 17. 34 JB Fortin, 18. 01 Melissa Fifield, 19. 78 Walter Stufcliffe Jr, 20. 64 Austin Beers, 21. 54 Tommy Catalano, 22. 25 MIke Leaty
Qualifying: 1. 85 Ron Silk – 17.698, 2. 07 Patrick Emerling – 17.777, 3. 51 Justin Bonsignore – 17.797, 4. 10 Doug Coby – 17.798, 5. 60 Matt Hirschman – 17.819, 6. 82 Anthony Nocella – 17.825, 7. 44 Bobby Santos III – 17.837, 8. 5 Kyle Ebersole – 17.881, 9. 32 Tyler Rypkema – 17.927, 10. 2 Chuck Hossfeld – 17.959, 11. 7 Jon McKennedy – 17.976, 12. 64 Austin Beers – 17.984, 13. 54 Tommy Catalano – 18.019, 14. 22 Kyle Ebersole – 18.021, 15. 25 Mike Leaty – 18.025, 16. 34 JB Fortin – 18.061, 17. 58 Eric Goodale – 18.080, 18. 1 Woody Pitkat – 18.124, 19. 24 Andrew Krause – 18.156, 20. 77 Gary Putnam – 18.443, 21. 78 Walter Stucliffe Jr. – 18.688, 22. 01 Melissa Fifield – 19.423