Silk's First Career Mod Tour Victory Comes at Thompson by Denise DuPont
Lia, Ruggiero, TC and Szegedy All Take Their Best Shots
The second annual Sunoco Thompson Modified Mania NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150 lap event started their postponed race under quite different conditions from the original date. Two weeks ago, there was a late summer shower that washed out the original date of racing just before feature time. On Sunday, the first day of fall brought with it sunshine and great racing weather.
Ronnie Silk had the fourth fastest car during time trials two weeks ago and his speed on the track continued on Sunday. Silk won the 150 lap NWMT race at Thompson International Speedway after passing Reggie Ruggiero for the lead on lap 137.
“It came close quite a few times this year,” said Silk. “It is great to finally be here. I am really excited.”
As the green flag was thrown, pole sitter Donny Lia led the field across the start line with Ron Yuhas on his outside. Lia maintained a lead until lap 58 when he pitted for fresh tires during a caution. The car was not as dominant after pitting and Lia managed to salvage only an eighth place finish in the end.
“We had a shock go bad,” said Lia. “So we were just hanging on. The car was pretty much undrivable. It was just a matter of taking whatever we could get. We finished eighth which isn’t too bad considering the problem that we had. I am happy with that. We will go after it next week. We have a pretty good car for Stafford next week. ”
Ted Christopher inherited the lead from Lia when he refused to pit with the rest of the pack. TC led the race until lap 100 when Silk passed him for the lead. TC drove behind Silk and held on to second position until lap 113 when he pitted and came back with a plan for a late race charge for the lead.
Christopher would get back to the top five, but with only ten laps left in the race, TC was black flagged after cutting across the infield grass and making contact with Eddie Flemke. Flemke would hit the turn two wall.
During the last 35 laps Silk, Ruggiero and Szegedy all raced one another for the win lap after lap. The Reg passed Silk to lead for a few laps.
“We were gong really good but he was a little bit better. We were loose on restarts. It took
Ronnie Silk in victory lane at Thompson. (Rick Ibsen Photo)
probably 10 laps to get going. I hated to see the last two or three cautions. We were really going good. But on restarts I passed him on the restart because I was on the outside but he would get by me because I was loose in the corner. His car was better he deserved to win.”
Then Silk passed Ruggiero with only 13 laps to go and the race was his from that lap on.
“A couple of times I really didn’t give him the room that he really deserved,” said Silk. “I just hope that he remembers what it was like when he was trying to win his first race.”
This was Silk’s first NWMT win. He started competing in the NWMT in 2004 and has progressively moved his way to the front for a win.
Ruggiero has raced many years at Thompson and calls it one of his best tracks.
“I love Thompson. This is my favorite race track ever since I have been racing,” said Ruggiero. “Since they repaved it the track has two grooves. As long as the guys are gentlemen and race you clean [I enjoy racing here].”
Szegedy coming off a big win at NHIS last week finished third behind Silk and Ruggiero.
Silk (White #19) takes on Christopher (#36) and Ruggiero (#14) in a battle for the lead. (Jim DuPont Photo)
“It is great to see Ron win,” said Szegedy. “He is well overdue there. We had a good car. The track was very odd today. There was not a lot of bite. You really had your hands full. It was quite a work out today. I am really happy with the finish. Last week was a long wait to find out if we won. We won last week and today feels like a win too.”
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action this coming weekend at Stafford Motor Speedway for the 35th Fall Final.