Anthony Nocella On Pole For Whelen Mod Tour NAPA Fall Final 150; Justin Bonsignore To Start 2nd, Patrick Emerling 14th

Anthony Nocella (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – Last week Anthony Nocella took a week off from his No. 82 Danny Watts Racing ride for the Whelen Modified Tour event at Riverhead Raceway.

Nocella returned to the ride in style Saturday afternoon at Stafford Speedway.

Nocella turned the fastest lap in qualifying Saturday to win the pole for the Whelen Modified Tour NAPA Fall Final 150 at Stafford.

It was the first career Whelen Modified Tour pole for Nocella, of Woburn, Mass. Nocella skipped the Whelen Modified Tour event at Riverhead to run with the International SuperModified Association at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H.

Nocelle had a fast lap of 18.836 seconds to win the pole at Stafford.

“It’s definitely good to start up there,” Nocella said of winning the pole Saturday. “Still got a long race. We’ll figure what we’ve got to do for adjustments and hopefully keep it up there for a while.”

The Whelen Modified Tour championship battle will see the two contenders for the title starting far apart on the track.

Two-time Whelen Modified Tour champion and current points leader Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, N.Y. was second fastest in qualifying at 18.899 seconds. Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y., who sits 16 points behind Bonsignore, was 14th in qualifying with a lap of 19.074 seconds.

In addition to looking to clinch his second consecutive championship and third in four seasons Bonsisgnore is on a mission to get his first series victory at Stafford. He is winless in 40 career series starts at the track.

“Feeling good,” Bonsignore said. “The car has been pretty good all day long. It doesn’t have as much raw speed as we’d want but it’s been driving pretty good and that seems to be what we’ve always lacked here. We got the track position. It would be nice to get out front and hopefully lead some laps and get some more points and see if we could control our own race. As much as the championship is important we are 0-for-40 here and I would like to end that.”

Bonsignore is looking to joins Mike Stefanik (seven titles), Doug Coby (six titles) and Tony Hirschman (five titles) as the only drivers to win three or more Whelen Modified Tour championships.

Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass. was third fastest in qualifying at 18.904 seconds.

Eric Goodale and Doug Coby rounded out the top-five in qualifying respectively.

Justin Bonsignore (left) and Patrick Emerling (right) pose with the Whelen Modified Tour championship trophy Saturday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

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