NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 2022 Preseason Prediction Poll

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour kicks off its 2022 season on Feb. 12 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway.

With another season looming we thought it would be a fun idea to put together a group of individuals involved in short track racing to do a preseason poll to predict the top-10 in the standings when the season closes out in October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Our panel included active drivers, former drivers, team owners, series operators, motorsports businesspeople and media members.

Each person was asked to submit their predicted top-10 order of finish of the 2022 standings. A first place vote was worth 10 points, a second place vote worth nine points and so on down to a 10th place vote earning one point.

The 17 individuals that made up the panel were: Ed Bennett, Matt Buckler, Doug Coby, Shawn Courchesne, Brian Danko, Sid DiMaggio, Renee Dupuis, Stu Fearn, Paul Lambert, Fran Lawlor, Jacob Perry, Woody Pitkat, Joe Skotnicki, Scott Tapley, Bonssa Tufa, Shawn Waddell and Matt Weaver. Of note: Coby and Pitkat did receive votes but neither voted for themselves.

Two-time defending Whelen Modified Tour champion and three-time overall champion Justin Bonsignore led the poll with 163 points, earning 12 of the 17 first place votes.

Ron Silk, the 2011 series champion, was second with 149 points and four first place votes. Jon McKennedy was third with 134 points and was the only other driver to receive a first place vote.

Kyle Bonsignore (96) was fourth and Craig Lutz (90) fifth. Eric Goodale (86) was sixth, Dave Sapienza (55) seventh, Tommy Catalano (51) eighth, Tyler Rypkema (47) ninth and Austin Beers (25) tenth. Others receiving votes included JB Fortin (21), Anthony Nocella (5), Doug Coby (4), Woody Pitkat (3), Matt Hirschman (2) and Melissa Fifield (1).


  1. Stuart A Fearn says

    One of the few races I totally do not expect to win this year
    Best of luck to the other 16 contestants!

  2. You can always count on Mr. Fearn to remain humble even with that impressive resume and unwavering in his support for his fellow racers no matter who they may be.

    Sapienza is skeptical about entering some of the races that require big travel so his projection may be optimistic. Otherwise if it is people in the know making these predictions then there is reason to be excited about what it shows.
    We fans are jaded, like to see big entry lists and a large contingent of teams vying for points mainly because it shows enthusiasm for the series we support. Then we call the cars down the finishing order field fillers and back markers. In the end we care little about anything past the top 10 in a race or the points and mostly only care about the top 5.
    There will be a good points battle in the top 10 I should think.
    Nothing is confirmed but if the 51, 16, 79 show up for most or all of the races those are three first rate teams with great drivers. Add Preece in the 3 for the opener and perhaps Hirschman and that would be about as good as it gets at least race 1. . Kyle Bonsignor is a contender in waiting. Lutz teaming with Danny Watts may surprise to the upside. Catalano and Rypkema could be making big efforts this year as well if they get some breaks and good finishes. Even Sapienza has new energy and stepped up equipment and may very well be a factor in some of the races.
    They’ll be plenty of time to snark at the series as the season progresses. How about a little respect and enthusiasm for the teams that are making the commitment and may put on a first class show in many of the events starting on February 12th.
    Zoom zoom!

  3. Doug, i agree. Plenty of time to snark.
    But, im not trying to be argumentative, or antagonistic, or trying to goad anybody. I cut my teeth on nascar modified and love them to this day.
    But, for the first time ever, I’m just not excited.
    While im interested to see how silk does, this is the 51โ€™s season to lose. Who else is there? Lost full time emerling. Lost full time coby. All the rest of the chess pieces. are an unknown at this point, because most probably wont run the full series. Its just not the same, and its disappointing. Lipstick on a pig. Hate me if you will, but this year looks bleak, as far as a consistent body of talent that will run the full series, and legitimately vie for a championship threat. Looks like jb and silk, other than the occasional preece and santos, just to make things interesting. Sure, a good race upset here or there, should happen. But the full time body of competition for a season championship just isnt there. Not among 4-6 teams imo at least.
    I cant sugar coat it, and i sure hope i end up with egg on my face as i have before. I would gladly accept that for a good competitive season for points race, with 4 or more teams. But i just don’t see it. I hope i am proven wrong. That would be great. Jmo.

  4. What Bobf said.

    This is Massa’s to lose.

    We have to hope that the McKennedy effort works out and is competitive. Otherwise, this season will be an exercise in watching JBon stay out of trouble while the Silk team gets sorted out and can chase the 51. The 51 team probably runs the most trouble-free season. The 51 will hit the track running, while others will have a period, short at that hopefully, to get themselves in sync.

    About 25 years ago, Stefanik said in an interview that the biggest threat to Modified racing was the need for more owners. He was so right.

    Usually around this time of year, many people are writing and saying that at any given race, 10-15 cars have a good chance at winning. That would would really be absurd this year.

  5. “Hate” you say. No we certainly will be having none of that in having some fun with pre season predictions.
    Let me see where did I put those pins. Oh yes here they are. Let me stick it in right here. That’s one prediction for the 51 cruising to another championship with minimal competition. Did I get that right?
    In my best imitation of Pollyanna I’ll say that the 16 and/or the 79 will contend for the championship. The other Bonsignor may be in the hunt as well.
    No running away with the championship for the 51 this year in any event.
    So the pins are firmly affixed.
    Zoom, zoom!

  6. Doug;
    Im good with pins, as long as they are not in a voodoo doll if anyone is into such things!
    The last pin I got on my โ€œhow many races Will Connecticut hostโ€ really hurt, but the pin scar has finally healed! We will c if this pin hurts me just as bad, because in the last year or so, quite frankly, my opinions have been outright โ€œway offโ€ on all things Nascar tour. Yes, pre season fun!
    I hope ryan qualifies in the heats today.

  7. Capt. Mike Qbvious says

    Unless something has changed with Dave Sapienza and Josh Vanada, 7th seems particularly optimistic for him, considering 4 of the 17 events are being promoted by Josh.

  8. Liz Cherokee says

    OMG, how could our DaReallyKnowsItAll not be selected as a panelist? I would like to think he was chosen and humbly declined,
    but our bicycle boy is so full of hubris that not even a missing Matt Hisrhman valve cap can stop his fall…

    Regardless, it is great too see that one panelist was smart enough to give Melissa a vote. I’ll drink to that! And youo should too!!! ๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน

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