The final event for the Tour-Type Modified division during the New Smyrna World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing came down to the wire on Friday night. While it appeared that Ron Silk had command of the field for much of the 100 lap race, his peers reeled him in and made the pass for the lead in the closing laps.
The driver who ended up on top was Thursday night winner Justin Bonsignore, who had to climb from toward the rear of the field after qualifying was rained out and the lineup was set by current points.
Bonsignore passed fellow Long Islander and 2012 Richie Evans Memorial 100 winner Eric Goodale for the win coming to two laps to go. The thrilled Bonsignore talked about the final pass after the race.
"I got a hell of a run off of two the time I did get him and we went down and he kind of squeezed me a little bit onto the apron," Bonsignore recapped. "We touched a little bit, but good short track racing and luckily neither of us wrecked and we were able to hold on and drive away a little bit so he couldn't put the bumper on back to us."
Goodale started from the pole after a three car invert, but lost the lead to Silk on the start. Goodale steadily followed the 2013 Richie Evans Memorial 100 winner's line for several laps, and decided to start making his move with around 20 laps to go. By lap 85 Goodale was the new leader, but the No. 51 of Bonsignore was catching him. The contact between the two late was attributed to hard racing among well respected drivers.
"I passed Ronnie and I tried to get as far away from him as I could, but (Bosnignore) seemed like he made easy work of the (Silk) car and there was about ten to go and he really started to pressure me," Goodale said. "He just had a ton of top end speed in that car, and I went for the block going down the backstretch and into three and he was already underneath me. We made a little contact there, and we were both racing for the win. He drove a hell of a race. I'll give him credit for that."
Silk looked like the car to beat early on as the field strung out during long green flag runs. However, the car would begin to fall off in the closing laps. Lucky for him, the points leader coming into the race, 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece, fought his Modified to an eighth place finish leaving Silk to being awarded the week-long championship.
"We just didn't have enough tonight, but it's definitely a great way to start off the season with a Speedweeks championship and hopefully we can build off that and have a good year," Silk said.
Chuck Hossfeld and Tuesday's UNOH Battle at the Beach winner Doug Coby rounded out the top five.
The Super Late Model and Pro Late Model 35 lap features had the same result from the previous night with Ryan Moore and Harrison Burton winning, respectively.
The Super Late Model points race took a turn with Stephen Nasse finishing 14th after suffering a hole in the power steering line. Steve Wallace now leads by eight points going into the final night on Saturday, the Bruce Gowland Memorial 100.
Friday night was all about Modified racing though, and Bonsignore summed up the prestige of winning such an event.
"Any time you can win anything with Richie Evans' name on it, it's unreal."
The complete finishing order and championship standings, post-race video interviews with the top three finishers, and driver introductions can be found below.
World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing 28th Annual Richie Evans Memorial 100 Results
1. Justin Bonsignore
2. Eric Goodale
3. Ron Silk
4. Chuck Hossfeld
5. Doug Coby
6. Rob Fuller
7. Spencer Davis
8. Ryan Preece
9. Matt Hirschman
10. Al Ermmarino
11. J.R. Bertuccio
12. Jimmy Zacharias
13. Patrick Emerling
14. Brendon Bock
15. Cole Powell
16. Tommy Barrett Jr.
17. Dylan Kopec
18. T.J. Zacharias
Final Championship Standings
2. Preece -3
3. Goodale -9
4. Hossfeld -17
5. Hirschman -25