by Dana Rowe

Justin Bonsignore earned the pole for the NASCAR Whelen Modified 150-lapper and took off into the lead trailing Matt Hirschman and Anthony Nocella. He was able to dominate the front for the first 48 laps despite a continuous assault from Hirschman. Hirschman finally got by and then ran the front through lap 98. Bonsignore would not go away and ran the same strategy Hirschman had used: stay on the back bumper and grab any opportunity. And when it came, just before the century mark, he pounced, got under and retook the lead.

Hirshman would not be denied and pursued as he had before. However, he now came under assault from the rear and had to split his concerns between overhauling Bonsignore and the new threats overtaking him. Chris Pasteryak tried and recorded a lap at second and the next lap, it was Bonsignore’s turn to feel Pasteryak with a nose in front at the lap break. But Justin recovered the front by the next crossing of the stripe.

Hirschman then took second back and pushed his nose into the lead for one more lap on the 127th circuit. It was the final time that Bonsignore would be headed and he ran to the checkers from that point.

Hirschman, however, did not fare as well. Chase Dowling pushed past for seven laps; Hirschman took it back, but three laps later, Dowling pushed him back to third and went after Bonsignore. However, it was late in the lengthy feature, and Bonsignore had spent much of the time at the front and had some wherewithal left. He was able to bridge up a couple lengths between himself and Dowling as the laps rolled down to the checkers, an effect of running in clean air much of the race.

At the finish it was Bonsignore, Dowling, and Hirschman. Fourth came Rowan Pennink in a Seekonk legend: the number 3 Boehler car: “Old Blue”. Fifth went to the 85 car with Ron Silk at the helm.

A significant factor was the low caution count: a mere 7 stoppages allowed cars to run steady throughout without the taxing effects of working up from a restart.

Of the top five, Dowling made the longest trip, coming from 13 back. Bonsignore came off the pole and Hirschman the outside pole. Pennink started fourth. And Silk was eighth on the grid.

But above all, Bonsignore turned in a masterful performance and the car went where he intended it to go. With that he had rubber and engine left at the end.

Not that this race should sound like a cakewalk. It was a hard-run, full-bore affair full of sound and fury. That fury hit some favorites, of course. Anthony Nocella, well-versed in Seekonk, was running third and fourth through lap 120, then problems dropped him like a rock to 20th place. Had he still been in the top five as the checkers approached? Jon McKennedy, always a threat at the end, especially at Seekonk. Started fifth. Moved up to third on lap 14. Began to fade gradually and gone on lap 80. Doug Coby, a tire dropped him out of contention later in the race. Seekonk. Good for excitement. Tough on cars.

The second half of the top ten is another dedication to tough drivers and tough machines: Ronnie Williams, Timmy Solomito, Tommy Catalano, Dave Sapienza and Craig Lutz.