Ron Silk appeared to have a game plan that even a 48-minute rain delay could not derail. He patiently waited for the right moment on Sunday at Delaware Speedway and won the Delaware 150 in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour action.
In the tour’s inaugural race beyond the borders of the United States, Silk, out of Norwalk, Conn., started from the outside pole position and held on to that track position until it was time make his move. That time came with a Lap 107 pass of Erick Rudolph, who led the race’s first 106 circuits after earning his second career pole position on Saturday afternoon.
From there, it looked as if it was going to be smooth sailing for the season points leader Silk behind the wheel No. 6 T.S. Haulers/Calverton Tree Farm Chevrolet. By Lap 132, he built a 1.222-second lead on Rudolph, but a spin in Turn 4 by fellow championship contender Rowan Pennink brought out the caution flag and allowed weather into the equation.
Pennink’s broken oil line forced NASCAR officials to display the red flag to allow the clean-up crew easier access to the spill which trailed from Turn 1 all the way into Turn 3 on the half-mile track. In the meantime, rain began to fall on the track. The weather coupled with the clean up sent the cars to pit road on Lap 143.
After the weather delay, Silk survived two green-white-checkered finish attempts before beating Doug Coby to the finish line. The second was a result of Coby making contact with Silk coming through Turn 1. Silk and Coby both saved their cars from spinning out, but when the field checked up, others were not so lucky.
For Silk, it was his second win of 2011, having emerged victorious on May 27 at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, and the sixth of his tour career.
“This place is a really cool track,” Silk said. “First time here and I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s definitely one of the funner track’s I’ve ever raced on. We’d definitely come back.”
Todd Szegedy picked up third to finish on the podium for the fifth time in the last six races. James Civali and Eric Beers crossed the line in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Eric Berndt, Justin Bonsignore, D.J. Kennington, Jaime Tomaino and Patrick Emerling rounded out the top 10.
Kennington, the reigning NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion hailing from nearby St. Thomas, Ont., was making his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut at his home track. He was running as high as third on the race’s final restart.
The dominant car the first two-thirds of the event, Rudolph cut a tire just after the rain delay and was relegated to a 14th-place finish.
Pennink’s DNF caused him to drop from second to third in the season standings with 11 of 16 races complete. Silk now leads Szegedy by 77 points and Pennink by 117.
The race was slowed due to caution a season-high 13 times including a competition caution midway break, the red flag for rain and two more for track clean-up.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to familiar territory for the next outing to take on its counterparts from the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway in the UNOH Showdown. Each tour will have a 125-lap feature event followed by a 50-lap exhibition event with competitors from each tour pitted against one another.