By: Ashley McCubbin
There’s certain reasons why the NASCAR Whelen Modiifed Tour has been touted one of the best series within the ranks. Last night at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, the fans got to pay witness to this.
A battle of the heavyweights at the front of the field made for the some of the most exciting final 30 laps of a race this season, as they all tried to out-battle each car with a combination of wits and control.
Ryan Preece had played his cards perfectly, saving his stuff and making the right adjustment at the halfway break to climb from 11th to the top-four just as things got interesting with a late-race caution stretch. He also out-witted Ron Silk in looking low a couple times, forcing the No. 85 down there, only to go around on the outside. It seemed the NASCAR Cup Series star was headed to yet another victory, when the fuel cell ran dry due to a pit miscue.
This opened the door wide open for Silk to capitalize, and he did en route to scoring the checkered. While seeming like a gift, he did not have it easy himself getting into position to win. He was only able to secure that spot thanks to a back-and-forth crossover battle with Justin Bonsignore in a five lap stretch just before Preece was able to take advantage.
Bonsignore kept his widely successful season going, scoring a second-place finish, continuing to solidify his points lead and cement himself as someone strong in the series. Jon McKennedy rounding out the top-three was no surprise, either, only so because he had to drive himself from the tail of the field to the front due to unapproved adjustments pre-race.
There easily could have been two other drivers in victory lane, as Doug Coby and Craig Lutz both showed speed once again. While Coby paced the field through the first half, it seemed the adjustment made at the halfway break did the No. 10 no favors. Another trip to pit road, and he rebounded for a top-five. Lutz, meanwhile, looked to have the strongest car heading into the final 30 lap stretch, but ran high on the final restart en route to 12th.
Chris Pasteryak certainly should not be overlooked, as he turned into a bad situation into gold on Thursday. After going around for a spin, he took the wavearound to get his lap back, before taking his three tires 25 laps later than the rest of the field. It worked in his favor, as each final restart he was able to gain some spots and come home fourth.
With these names, combined with several other veterans in the series just as a capable as winning, the second half of the season is setting up to be just as exciting, if not more, than what we’ve seen thus far. Therefore, as they have proven multiple times, you will not want to skip out on watching these open-wheel superstars do battle.