JENNERSTOWN, Pa. — The speed of the Long Island contingent of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was on full display Saturday night at Jennerstown Speedway, but the winner at the end of the Laurel Highlands 150 was not the one fans might expect.
Craig Lutz marched his way to the front and held off a fierce challenge from Dave Sapienza in the closing laps to seal his second career win.
The 25-year-old from Miller Place, New York, started fifth and led the final 22 laps the No. 46 Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet.
Lutz secured his first career win in September of 2019, and finished second to fellow Long Islander Justin Bonsignore when the 2020 season finally started at Jennerstown in June.
It was 55-year-old Sapienza, from Riverhead on Long Island, who was fastest in practice. But Bonsignore, who led every lap en route to winning the opener, nudged him out for the Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award in qualifying Saturday afternoon. Bonsignore then led the first 110 laps, with Sapienza in pursuit, and led by as much as seven seconds.
Following pit stops, though, Bonsignore’s car was not as dominant and he was overtaken by Lutz on a Lap 111 restart.
Sapienza settled for the runner-up spot, while Anthony Nocella was fourth and Doug Coby fifth.
Bonsignore faded back to finish sixth. By virtue of leading the most laps, though, he was able to pick up a point on Coby and push his championship points lead to 10 after four events. Lutz is third in points, just 17 out of first and two ahead of Jon McKennedy.
McKennedy, Matt Swanson, Tyler Rypkema, Kyle Ebersole and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top 10 at Jennerstown.
The Laurel Highlands 150 streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Gold, and will air on Monday, Aug. 31 at 3 p.m. on NBCSN.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to New England next week with the Advanced Gas Distributors Inc. 200 Wade Cole Memorial at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire.