Story By: STEPH HARRIS / NASCAR – MARTINSVILLE, VA – A season-long battle between two veteran champions came down to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season finale and Ron Silk held on to secure his second career Tour championship with a sixth-place finish in the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 at Martinsville Speedway.
Silk won his first championship in 2011, and when he joined up with the newly formed Haydt Yannone Racing team to start the 2022 season, another championship was on his mind. The title landed the new team their first owner’s championship in only their sophomore season on the Tour.
Entering Thursday night’s championship battle, Silk held a 13-point lead over three-time (2018, 2020, 2021) Tour champion Justin Bonsignore. Silk needed to finish eighth or better to ensure himself the win, regardless of Bonsignore’s performance, but the path to the championship wasn’t a clean one for Silk.
“It’s been a long season, kinda weird racing tonight knowing the scenario, you gotta finish eighth or better if he wins,” said Silk on knowing what it would take to win the title. “I tried to keep myself in a decent position most of the night, got turned around once on the backstretch but luckily didn’t hit anything. It feels great, lot goes into this and it’s really rewarding to get another one.”
Bonsignore spent most of the night in the top five, while Silk had to battle through a pair of crashes in front of him along the way to only his second top-10 finish, and first since 2009, at Martinsville in seven starts.
On Lap 72, a backstretch incident between Bryan Narducci and Kyle Bonsignore also sent Silk spinning as he and several others came together in an attempt to avoid the mess in front of them. However, he came out of it pointed in the right direction and was able to quickly recover and continue on.
His championship hopes had a second scare on Lap 118 when a pair of cars spun in front of him in Turn 4, but he was able to maneuver around them without incident.
After that, Silk was able to maintain his spot in the top 10, securing his title despite a second-place effort from Bonsignore.
Jake Johnson was crowned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year after a strong finish to his season. The driver of the No. 3 had one top five (a second-place finish in his last start of the season at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Oct. 8) and seven top 10s over 13 races contended.