Modifieds

NASCAR Modified Tour season to end at Thompson with epic championship showdown

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The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour enters Sunday’s Sunoco World Series 150 with six drivers in mathematical contention to capture the 2017 driver’s championship. Entering as the points leader, four-time champion Doug Coby has the chance to add to his already impressive resume by capturing a fifth career title.

First, here are the stanings:

  1. Doug Coby Ldr.
  2. Justin Bonsignore -10
  3. Timmy Solomito -12
  4. Ryan Preece -19
  5. Eric Goodale -26
  6. Rowan Pennink -33

Coby has five career Thompson wins, including the 2015 Sunoco World Series, where he celebrated the victory and the championship all in one. A fourth straight title and fifth overall would make Coby the only driver in the modern era to capture four straight titles. Only Jerry Cook (4, 1974-77) and Richie Evans (8, 1978-85) have accomplished that feat in NASCAR Modified history.

Behind Coby, Justin Bonsignore’s impressive summer stretch places him just 10 points back heading for the finale. Although Bonsignore has never won the title before, Thompson has been of his best tracks. He has five career wins on the high-banks and is the defending winner of the Sunoco World Series 150.

Timmy Solomito enters the finale 12 points back, with four wins on the season. Ryan Preece is 19 points behind, even though he missed two races. Eric Goodale is 25 points back and Rowan Pennink is 33 off the lead. Although Pennink and Goodale still have a mathematical shot at the title, they are going to need some luck to leapfrog to the front.

Below is a statistical look at the six drivers still in contention for the title, including their 2017 overall and Thompson statistics and their career on the 0.625-mile Conneticut oval.

Doug Coby: 15 starts, 1 win, 2 poles, 622 laps led, 7.5 average finish, 12.3 2017 Thompson average finish and 10.7 career Thompson average finish.

Justin Bonsignore: 15 starts, 0 wins, 0 poles, 3 laps led, 7.3 average finish, 11.3 2017 Thompson average finish and 11.9 career Thompson average finish.

Timmy Solomito: 15 starts, 4 wins, 3 poles, 408 laps led, 8.7 average finish, 4.6 2017 Thompson average finish and 8.8 career Thompson average finish.

Ryan Preece: 13 starts, 5 wins, 1 pole, 471 laps led, 4.4 average finish, 10.1 2017 Thompson average finish and 10.1 career Thompson average finish.

Eric Goodale: 15 starts, 1 wins, 1 pole, 34 laps led, 8.5 average finish, 3.6 2017 Thompson average finish, 12.5 career Thompson average finish.

Rowan Pennink: 15 starts, 1 wins, 1 pole, 179 laps led, 9.2 average finish, 3.3 2017 Thompson average finish, 11.4 career Thompson average finish.

Thompson World Series News and Notes

Carroll Chasing Sunoco Rookie Honors: Entering the last race of the 2017 season, the battles for the driver’s and owner’s championship is not the only points title that will be locked up on Sunday. Andover, New Jersey, native Calvin Carroll has competed in all 15 races so far this season and has a best finish of 13th at Langley in the points events. Carroll finished on the podium in the non-points special at Charlotte last Friday night. The 17-year-old driver is hoping to lock up the Sunoco Rookie of the Year chase. Walter Sutcliffe Jr. enters the race trailing him, in second.

Blewett Back; Cugini Debuts: Sunday’s Sunoco World Series 150 will bring Jimmy Blewett back to NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competition for just the second time this season. The Howell, New Jersey, driver finished 24th after crashing out of the Icebreaker in April, but has six wins in his 122 career Whelen Modified Tour starts. The last of those came at Stafford in August of 2016. On the other end of the spectrum, Dan Cugini will make his debut on Sunday driving the No. 20 in place of Max Zachem, who continues to recover from an injury. Cugini has competed on the NEMA Midgets in New England and been successful for many years.

Myers & Harvey Return: Two former NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champions return to competition on the same team at Thompson. Former championship driver Burt Myers has teamed with owner Eddie Harvey to make a run at the victory in the Sunoco World Series 150. Myers has just two career Thompson starts and he finished 14th in both of those races. However, the Walnet Cove, North Carolina, driver has 19 career Whelen Southern Mod Tour wins to his credit as well as two championships. In April, Harvey put Andy Seuss behind the wheel at the Icebreaker, but Seuss finished 17th after being involved in a wreck.

Goodale Brings Momentum: Eric Goodale is rolling into the season-finale with some momentum off his victory in the NAPA Fall Final at Stafford two weeks ago. Even though Goodale has never won a race at Thompson, the Riverhead, New York, driver has inside the top eight in all three races at the 0.625-mile oval so far this year. Goodale has shown speed all season and finished inside the top 10 in the last four series events.

Long Shot For Pennink: Even though Rowan Pennink enters Sunday’s race with a mathematical shot at the championship, it’s a long shot that he will end up the champion. However, that doesn’t mean the 2017 season wasn’t a success. Pennink returned Boehler Racing to Victory Lane in the Icebreaker at Thompson as they celebrate their 60th season of competition. Pennink has 11 top 10s in 15 races with an average finish of 9.2. He captured his first career pole in August on the high-banks of Thompson.

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