Todd Szegedy took a big step toward turning around a disappointing start to the 2011 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season by winning from the pole Sunday at Monadnock Speedway.
Szegedy, who suffered DNFs in the season’s first two races, turned in a dominant performance in the Monadnock 200 as he led all 175 laps en route to the victory.
“We were lucky. We had the track position, but we also had an awesome car to stay up front,” said Szegedy, who earned the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day.
For Szegedy, from Ridgefield, Conn., it was a rally on two fronts. Not only did the win move him from 15th to ninth in points, but it also erased the memory of a mid-race accident that ended his day at Monadnock in 2010.
“It was a lot better than the first time we were here [last year] when we ended up getting a DNF,” Szegedy said. “It’s nice to get a win for the team.”
It marked the 15th career win for Szegedy, which tied him for 11th on the Whelen Modified Tour’s all-time wins list with Steve Park and Jimmy Spencer. He also became the fourth-different winner the Tour has produced in four races.
Justin Bonsignore rode a late-race charge to cross the line second and tie his career-best finish. After consecutive finishes outside the top 15, last year’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year was glad to be back up front.
“We’ve had a tough start to the season,” Bonsignore said. “We’ve had a lot of motor problems, so to come out of here with a second-place finish, we had a pretty good weekend. Hopefully we can build from this and head into Thompson with some momentum.”
Matt Hirschman, Ron Silk and James Civali completed the top five. It was the best finish of the young season for Hirschman and Civali, and the third-straight top-five for Silk.
Defending race winner Ted Christopher, Mike Stefanik, Ron Yuhas Jr., Erick Rudolph and Rowan Pennink completed the top 10.
While it was his first finish this year that was not a runner-up, Pennink used his 10th-place effort to retain the season points lead by 25 over Silk (644-619).
The race, held on the high-banked quarter-mile bullring in rural Winchester, was slowed by caution six times for 46 laps.
The Monadnock 200 was scheduled for Saturday, June 25 but was postponed to Sunday due to forecasted rain. The 25-lap qualifying race, which combined with the 175 laps of the feature would have made 200 total laps, was not included in the abbreviated Sunday schedule.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on Thursday, June 30 with the Budweiser 'King of Beers' 150 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.