Championship Battle Heats Up For Whelen Modified Tour With Four Races Remaining

Staff Report

NASCAR Wire Service

Justin Bonsignore (Photo: Bryan Bennett/NASCAR)

As the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway (Saturday, September 4, at 7:30 p.m. ET on TrackPass) for the second time this season, two-time and defending series champion Justin Bonsignore holds a narrow eight-point lead over Patrick Emerling in the title fight with four races remaining in the season.

The duo took control of the points standings following the fourth race of the season at Jennerstown (Pennsylvania) Speedway – a race won by Bonsignore –  and quickly ran away as the two championship contenders. At the time, Emerling held a one-point advantage and neither has allowed any other drivers into the championship talk since.

A quick glance at the stats shows why the two have separated themselves. They each have nine top-10 finishes in the 10 races contested thus far, with Bonsignore putting together eight top fives and a win, compared to seven top-five finishes and two wins for Emerling. And since Jennerstown, they have finished in consecutive finishing positions three times – including a one-two result at New York International Raceway in Lancaster that was won by Emerling.

In the series’ first visit of the season to Oswego Speedway in June, Emerling finished third while Bonsignore was fourth.

Bonsignore entered the Whelen Modified Tour’s most recent race at Beech Ridge (Maine) Motor Speedway with the largest advantage between the two to date – 12 points. However, a third-place effort by Emerling coupled with an eighth-place result for Bonsignore cut four points off the lead, landing Emerling within eight points (413 to 405) heading into this Saturday night’s showdown.

Bonsignore is chasing his third Whelen Modified Tour championship after winning two of the past three. He broke up a four-year run of titles by Doug Coby with his win in 2018, then sandwiched another Coby championship in 2019 (his sixth overall) by taking last year’s series championship.

Emerling is looking to cap off a breakout season with his first title. He had only tallied one series win in his previous 10 seasons (2017 at Bristol Motor Speedway) and his seven top-five finishes this year are a career-best.

Following Oswego, the series heads to Richmond Raceway on Friday, September 10. They then return north to wrap up the season with a stop at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway and the season finale at Stafford (Connecticut) Motor Speedway for the third stop of the year at the famed short track.


  1. Liz Cherokee says

    I’m rooting for Emerling. His name sounds so refreshing like a fine muscato!
    Bottoms up boys!

  2. Ok Liz.
    I’ll jump on that train, but for a different reason. Emerling been around for a while now. I’ve watched him support the wtm for quite a few years, and watched him get knocked around, and yet, keep coming back. 3 years ago, I thought he was going to make some noise. Started strong but faded. Not sure why. But yet for years, persevered, ran the roc, as well as wmt.
    He has paid more than his share of dues IMO, in both series. Seen him wreck, and get caught up in other peoples crap. No fun. So I agree, I’d love to see a different winner for the championship, with some more parity for the tour. IMO, he is deservedly due. So go 07! Make the big guys sweat…..

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