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Ron Silk Captures Championship

Polly Reid

The final night for the Tour type modifieds at the 48th World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway crowned a champion and a second trip to victory lane in as many nights for another team.
Starting 14th after the field was set by points, Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, NY made his way to the top ten by lap ten, up to fifth by lap thirty-four, passed Ryan Preece for third on lap forty-nine and with less than ten to go, turned up the wick and passed Ron Silk for second, immediately threatened Eric Goodale for the lead taking over the top spot with two to go marching to the prestigious Richie Evans Memorial 100 win.

Eric Goodale crossed for second and Ron Silk’s third place finish gave the Norwalk, CT driver enough points to claim the Tour type modified championship title in the 48th World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway.

Chuck Hossfeld was fourth with UNOH Battle of the Beach winner Doug Coby in his first race at New Smyrna, crossed for fifth. Rob Fuller, Spencer Davis, 2013 NWMT Champion Ryan Preece was eighth with Matt Hirschman and Al Emmarino the top ten.

“This is awesome,” said Bonsignore in the Ken Massa owned, chem3.com sponsored modified. “To win anything for any memorial is awesome but one of the best modified drivers of all time, to win something with his name on it, coming from the back of the pack, probably the way Richie would have done back in the day- to do anything like that is pretty unbelievable. And to do it with ten to go from third to first, I wasn’t sure I’d get him, I got to Eric (Goodale) and battling a Long Island guy for the win, neither one of us wanted to give an inch- it showed, a couple of times we tried putting the move on each other. The last one, I was committed. He threw the block which I would have too, but I went in with a head of steam. A lot of fun- this is a big turnaround from Wednesday night.”

“The five lap warm up, I didn’t know we were getting that- we kind of missed the stagger a little bit,” said Bonsignore who debuted a brand new Spafco Chassis and was supported by Ken Barry and crew chief Bill Michael. “We had to close the stagger up a significant amount before the race started, otherwise we would have been in trouble, we probably would have had to pit. That was the right adjustment and I kind of made sure we stayed in an even position so I’d be on the top for any restarts we would have had. These guys were real racy in the beginning- I think we all kind of figured we’d get a caution and pit. I held my own and they started to fall back. I got by Preece and I just went into ride mode. Goodale and Silk were so far out front I just said to myself to chill here and if we get a caution, that’d be great, we’ll put some tires on otherwise, tell me when it is 25 to go and I’ll light the wick and see what we can do. I couldn’t believe they fell back to us that quick- I really didn’t think I was going to get the win there at the end – this is awesome. This is good, we’ve already doubled the win total from last year,” said Bonsignore who had won the night before. “Now I’m chomping at the bit- it stinks we’re going back to snow because I want to go racing. It’s back to work on Monday- back to reality.” Bonsignore will be at the season opening MRS event at Waterford Speedbowl in the Art Barry owned modified then the NWMT Icebreaker for car owner Ken Massa at Thompson the week after.

Ron Silk literally dominated Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway with three trips to victory lane. But a DQ after an unapproved tire change one night set the team back in points and Silk trailed Ryan Preece by two going into the final night of racing. When rain cancelled time trials, the field was set by points – the top three inverted putting Eric Goodale on the pole, Silk second and point leader Preece in third.

Silk wasted no time taking the lead from Goodale at the green. Silk settled into cruise control, nailed the restart on each of the three cautions and by the half way mark, Silk and Goodale pulled away from the pack. With 20 to go, Goodale closed the gap and was on Silk’s bumper making his move low, side by side with Silk in turn four, down the front stretch, turn one completing the pass for the lead coming out of turn two marked as the new leader on lap 87. Meanwhile, Bonsignore passed Silk for third while point leader Preece faded to eighth. With three to go, Bonsignore on rails, set up Goodale and made his move to become the final leader of the night completing the pass with two to go.

Bonsignore collected his second win in as many nights while Silk crossing for third, finished far enough of Preece in eighth to claim the championship title.

“There are a lot of great names on the list that have won the title here,” said Silk. “It’s cool to be on it now too.”

“We came well prepared,” said Silk about the success the TS Haulers/Calverton Tree Farm sponsored modified achieved in the Tour type modified division. “Everything we thought that we wanted to do worked- it’s nice to race like that. That’s always the plan when you go out to race- it’s nice when it works out that way.”

There is an edge of determination in Silk’s voice when he talks about the upcoming NWMT season. “We kind of had a rough season last year on the Tour. I think we’re going to rebound from that and have a great year. I expect to run really well and get back in the hunt for the championship. New Smyrna is like its own world compared to what we do up north. It’s good to get back in the car. I don’t do any of the indoor racing over the winter so this helps to get back in the car, it helps to get the guys back together. The best part about it is getting to be out of the snow for a couple of weeks. It was a good two weeks to come down here for sure.”

“Tommy (Grasso) and I hit on something over the winter,” said Silk’s crew chief Ryan Stone. “We compared notes from our best season in 2011 on the Tour - we went back to some stuff that we were doing there – made a few changes to the rear suspension that really woke up the car as far as the handling - it was just consistent all week. It didn’t really fight us at all. We only made some minor changes all week and the car reacted to all of them. We just hit it right this week.” A new motor from New School Racing Engines, Stone is appreciative of all the support from the guys on the team and for Connie and Eddie Partridge giving us ‘everything we need to race good.’ “I’ve been down here a bunch of years and this is the most fun I’ve ever had, it’s been great.”

“We weren’t sure we would be able to compete for the championship after the other night,” said car chief Tommy Grasso. “I’m glad we could get it for Ronnie. Something happened to our car late in the race and it got free. I don’t know exactly why, we’ll have to figure it out what happened. It was a good week for all of us. We’re all glad we came down here- now we’ll get ready for Thompson and see what we can do there.”

Eric Goodale will tell you he has turned his share of laps at New Smyrna and with a win on night three, the Riverhead, NY driver of the RBS Corp/Heritage Flooring sponsored modified was carrying momentum into the evening focused on repeating what he did in 2012, win the coveted Richie Evans Memorial 100. At the finish, Goodale was partly frustrated, partly disappointed about coming up a little short, finishing second. “I tried to save the car for the end and with 20 to go decided it was time to step it up. Maybe I went too soon, I saw the 51 coming and tried to put as much distance as I could between us. I’m disappointed in second but we had a pretty decent Speedweeks.” Goodale will use the car he ran at New Smyrna for the MRS events and the car he finished ninth with at the UNOH Battle of Beach will be his primary NWMT ride.

Until about two weeks prior to the start of Speedweeks, championship car owner Ed Partridge actually wasn’t planning on going to Florida. “I had bought a used trailer in Oklahoma and told the guy first we needed it right away, then they came out with the new rule on the steel headed motors and we had second thoughts, we weren’t going- I called Mike who was working on the trailer and told him we were in no rush, I need it like March 15th. But you know, the snow and the weather, it has just been brutal here. Then Tommy Grasso called me up and said everybody wants to go to Florida. They’re all sick of this weather- they want to go to Florida. Then I had to call the trailer guy back up and reverse everything I said for the third time.” Getting a truck driver down to where the truck was now in Texas, driving it back, lettered and then loaded, as Partridge said, “It has been right to the minute until we loaded, it was a rush. It came together- the guys worked hard, got everything ready and we had a great Speedweeks.” Partridge has collected SK championships at New Smyrna as well as ‘one or two’ in the Tour division as well. “I always like going to New Smyrna, number one, get away from the weather, but New Smyrna can be horrible, last year we didn’t win one race. Congratulations to Bonsignore for bringing a brand new car, a brand new motor and a brand new team to New Smyrna. They were consistent- he ran the same speed at the start of the race as he did at the end of the race.”With the 48th Annual World Series of Stock Car Asphalt Racing in the books, Partridge and the entire TS Haulers/Calverton Tree Farm team is looking forward to a successful 2014 NWMT season.

Thank you all for ‘tuning’ in for the modified coverage on The Chrome Horn during Speedweeks, Denise and Jim DuPont and I appreciate your support, we hope you enjoyed following along. The Chrome Horn will be back at it in four short weeks with some news and notes from Thompson’s open practice on March 22nd.

Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: February 23, 2014

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