RPW Exclusive: The Champ Trail; NASCAR Mods At Riverhead, Rainy Stafford, Thompson & More

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed for the Riverhead Raceway on Eastern Long Island. Justin Bonsignore captured his fourth straight victory as he won the Miller Lite 200.

Bonsignore started in second spot along side pole sitter Craig Lutz. The two ran together through out the event which went 206 laps. Tom Rogers and Timmy Solomito were in the mix. In the end the top four were Long Island competitors. Following Bonsignore was Timmy Solomito, Lutz and Kyle Soper.Patrick Emerling rounded out the top five.

Of the 30 cars on hand, 17 were tour regulars. Chuck Hossfeld, subbing for injured Jimmy Blewett, finished sixth and was followed by JB Fortin, JR Bertuccio, Tom Rogers Jr and John Beatty Jr. Point leader Doug Coby recovered from two separate spins to finish fifteenth on the lead lap. Coby continues to lead the point standings with a 19 point edge over Bonsignore.

It was the fifth victory of the season for Bonsignore, and his 25th career in Whelen Modified Tour competition. He’s the only driver in the 64-race history at the track to win four straight, breaking a previous tie with Mike Ewanitsko and Ryan Preece, who both had three.

The Miller Lite 200, which was blacked out in New England in the Live stream telecast, will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, September 11, at 6 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour takes a week off and returns to the track for the Musket 250 presented by Whelen at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as part of the second Full Throttle Weekend on Saturday, September 21.

In weekly racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night, impending rain caused the event to be cancelled. Two events remain in the 2019 season, First Responder night scheduled for this coming Friday, September 13th as well as the season ending NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend scheduled for Saturday, September 28th and Sunday, September 29th.

In the battle for the SK Modified track championship, Ronnie Williams holds an eight point lead over Todd Owen. Keith Rocco sits in third spot, fourteen points back. Michael Gervais JR is fourth, some 34 points back. All four have a legitimate shot at the title. Rounding out the top five is Glen Reen, 126 points out. Of the 18 events run, Williams and Rocco have won five each.

Steven Chapman currently leads the SK Lights as he holds a four point lead over Teddy Hodgdon. Although winless, Chapman has been consistent as he has finished in the top ten in 17 of the 18 events run. Third generation racer Alexander Pearl sits third, some 20 points down. Sophomore sensation Bryan Narducci with eight wins sits in fourth spot, some 58 points back and still has an outside shot at the title. Wesley Prucker rounds out the top five, 92 points back.

Tom Fearn has iced the Late Model championship. With eight wins Fearn holds a 122 point lead over Michael Wray. He won his first title in the division in 2016. Fearn also has three championships at the track in the former Pro Stock division (1993, ’95 and ’98).

Fearn is the track’s all-time winningest Late Model driver with 56 victories in the division dating back to 2004. He’s had 40 victories in the division since 2015.

Jeremy Lavoie holds a four point lead over Matt Clement for the Limited Late Model title and in the Street Stocks, Zack Robinson leads second generation racer Megan Fullerby 38 points. Robinson has five wins and Fuller, daughter of former NASCAR Whelen Modified Champion Rick Fuller has four wins.

The Thompson Motorsports Park returned to racing last Sunday. Ron Williams won the first and second Sunoco Modified (SK type) events while Keith Rocco won the ten lap finale. The 20/20+10 awarded an overall winner which was Williams. In the first event Williams took the lead on the 11th lap as he out ran Troy Talman and Rocco to the checker. In the second 20 lap event Woody Pitkat seemed to have things going his way until the final lap when Williams made his move in turn three. In the 10 lap finale Rocco wasted little time as he took the lead on the first lap and never looked back. Pitkat finished second with Todd Owen, third. Williams ended up fourth.

Bryan Narducci sewed up the SK Light championship as he sat in the infield after a crash. Clearly the fastest in the field, Narducci and Steven Chapman wrecked while battling for the lead on lap 15 of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature. Both blamed each other for the incident but it appeared that Chapman gave Narducci a brake job which caused the contact and resulting wreck. Narducci has won six of the nine SK Light Modified events this year at Thompson. Brian Sullivan inherited the lead following the lap 15 wreck and went on to garner his first SK Light Modified victory at Thompson. Alexander Pearl, Nardicci’s cousin, finished second with Glenn Griswold, third.

Other winners at Thompson on Sunday included Mark Jenison in the Late Models, Shawn Monihan over Ryan Morgan and Kyle Gero in the Limited Sportsman and Dave Trudeau in the Mini Stocks.