Ron Silk Defends New Smyrna NWMT Season Opening Victory

It was deja vu for 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ron Silk, as he opened the new season with another win at New Smyrna Speedway.

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hero image for Ron Silk Defends New Smyrna NWMT Season Opening Victory

It's deja vu in more ways than one for Ron Silk. The veteran driver repeated what he did last year, winning the opening race of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at New Smyrna Speedway.

The defending series champion rolled off third at New Smyrna, right behind Craig Lutz and Austin Beers. When the green flag dropped, the Lutz No. 46 paced the field with ease.

When the caution came out on lap 20, several drivers were given an early opportunity to vary their strategy in an attempt to catch up to the 29-year-old.

Lutz stayed on track, giving him the clearance to dominate the first 80 laps of the race. However, drivers like Ron Silk gave up track position to head to pit road, a strategy call that worked to his advantage.

Over the course of several laps, Lutz saw a silver bullet making its way through the field, lurking in his rearview mirror. It didn’t take much time after the yellow flag for Ron Silk, in a brand new race car, to successfully make a pass for the lead.

The veteran racer was challenged through the event by several drivers right behind. One of those was Justin Bonsignore who applied continuous pressure, but never successfully got the lead.

On the other hand, Andrew Krause and Doug Coby were the only two drivers to take first from Silk for a short time. And for a moment, when a late caution flew, it looked like Coby could have won the race based on a great strategy call.

As the rest of the field went to pit road, Coby and Beers stayed on track, leading the field to green with 10 laps to go. Coby restarted on the preferred line, however, after making contact with the No. 16 of Beers on that restart, the No. 7 machine fell back. This allowed the powerhouse machine of Silk to jolt ahead and cross the line first.

“I knew I was sitting in a pretty good spot in third there,” Silk explained, talking about that final restart. “The two guys were on, they weren’t much older tires, but 20 laps makes a difference. So I was able to kind of push Austin (Beers) by Doug (Coby) there and could kind of make quick work of him. Then luckily was just able to get a little bit of a gap that I could manage to the end.”

Finishing in the second position, picking up where he left off in the championship standings, was Bonsignore.

“I just needed to be a little freer,” Bonsignore said, “He (Silk) obviously got through traffic and had an eight-car length gap on us and I was giving it everything I had but I was just still too tight on that last set of tires and coming to the white. I found something in three and four, I wrapped the yellow line and it hooked really good it’s just too little too late at that point.”

The one-two finish between these two drivers is sweet poetry, starting the season how they left it. This opening race at New Smyrna sets the tone for this season for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, and if this is any indication, it looks like Silk and Bonsignore are on track to battle for the title yet again.

-Story by: Taylor Kitchen
-Photo credit: Will Bellamy/Racing America

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS
NEW SMYRNA VISITORS BUREAU 200
FinishNoDriverLapsDiff
116Ron Silk200---
251Justin Bonsignore2000.425
37Doug Coby2001.879
41Patrick Emerling2002.073
556Trevor Catalano2002.286
664Austin Beers2002.530
732Tyler Rypkema2002.773
824Andrew Krause2002.962
93Jake Johnson2003.180
1060Matt Hirschman2003.402
1122Kyle Bonsignore2003.597
1246Craig Lutz2003.791
1340Ryan Preece2006.399
1414Ryan Newman1991 Lap
1599Ronnie Williams1991 Lap
1636Dave Sapienza1991 Lap
1725Brian Robie1991 Lap
1802Joey Coulter1991 Lap
194Tim Connolly1982 Laps
2018Ken Heagy1973 Laps
2134J.B. Fortin1964 Laps
2226Gary McDonald1928 Laps
2300Brett Meservey1919 Laps
2442Spencer Davis19010 Laps
2501Melissa Fifiield18812 Laps
2658Eric Goodale17822 Laps
2784Tyler Catalano17624 Laps
2819Anthony Sesely17525 Laps
2923Carson Loftin14753 Laps
3054Tommy Catalano13169 Laps
3109Christopher Hatton, Jr.12971 Laps
322J.R. Bertuccio40160 Laps
338John-Michael Shenette32168 Laps
3420Eddie McCarthy19181 Laps
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