NASCAR Announces 2023 Whelen Modified Tour Special Award Winners

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

The 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season featured 18 races, 82 drivers and more than 3,000 laps completed from February through October.

While Ron Silk claimed the biggest prize of the season, the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship, several season-end special awards were claimed by a variety of drivers.

Below are the special award winners for the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.

Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award: Justin Bonsignore

For the third consecutive season, Holtsville, New York native Justin Bonsignore earned more No. 1 starting positions than any other driver.

The driver of the No. 51 Modified for Ken Massa Motorsports secured seven Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Awards in 2023, three more than he earned during the 2022 season when he claimed the same season-long award.

He was able to turn four of those pole positions into trips to Victory Lane, beginning at New York’s Riverhead Raceway in May, followed by wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway and, to complete the circle, again at Riverhead in September.

His other three poles came at Monadnock in May, New York’s Lancaster Motorplex in August and Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in October.

Bonsignore will receive a $3,000 bonus for winning the Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award.

Mayhew Tools, founded in 1856, is the oldest punch and chisel manufacturer in the United States, growing their extensive professional grade, American-made product line to include pry bars, pneumatics, cable ties and more. In 2020, the company extended its product line to a complete line of dual drive and socket bits and sets.

Serving the industrial, automotive, hardware and construction industries, Mayhew’s premium hand tools are sold globally through an extensive distributor network. Mayhew Tools started sponsoring the Whelen Modified Tour pole award in 2019 and has continued the partnership ever since. Mayhew also sponsors six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby.

In addition to Bonsignore, others to secure poles during the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season included Austin Beers (six), Coby (two), Tyler Rypkema (one) and Matt Hirschman (one).

Whelen 75th Lap Leader Award: Justin Bonsignore

To celebrate NASCAR’s 75th anniversary, Whelen Engineering officials decided to offer a special year-end bonus award for the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.

The honor, the Whelen 75th Lap Leader Award, was awarded to the driver who was the race leader at Lap 75 of the most races throughout the season.

The winner was Justin Bonsignore, who found himself as the race leader at Lap 75 on four different occasions.

Bonsignore actually tied Matt Hirschman, who also was the Lap 75 leader four times in 2023. However, Bonsignore was declared the winner of the Whelen 75th Lap Leader Award based on his higher finishing position in the final 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings.

For winning the Whelen 75th Lap Leader Award, Bonsignore will receive a $7,500 bonus from Whelen Engineering.

Phil Kurze Mid-Race Leader Award presented by Josten’s: Ron Silk

Ron Silk took home plenty of honors during his 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship season, including several special awards.

The first of those is the Phil Kurze Mid-Race Leader presented by Josten’s, named in honor of former Whelen Engineering vice president of motorsports Phil Kurze and awarded to the driver who is the leader at the halfway mark in the most races throughout the year.

The late Kurze, who was honored in 2021 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina with a plaque in the Whelen Hall of Champions, was a strong advocate for short-track racing. He helped elevate the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour prior to his passing in 2018.

Silk was the leader at the halfway mark four times throughout the course of the season, enough to give him his first of several special awards. He will receive $1,000 for winning the Phil Kurze-Mid Race Leader Award presented by Josten’s.

Josten’s, the official provider of the NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy, the Daytona 500 championship ring, the Indy 500 championship ring and more, coins itself as the Most Trusted Partner in Celebrating Moments That Matter and is a proud supporter of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Hoosier Tire Lap Leader Award: Austin Beers (KLM Motorsports)

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour tire supplier, Hoosier Tire, is the sponsor of a trio of special awards each year. They include the Hoosier Tire Lap Leader Award, which goes to the car owner of the driver who leads the most laps in a race the most times during the season.

This year the award goes to Austin Beers, who led the most laps five times during the 2023 season.

In all, Beers led a whopping 633 laps during the 2023 season. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the most laps led throughout the year. That honor went to Ron Silk, who led a season-high 644 laps on his way to the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.

Justin Bonsignore, who ranked second in the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings, was third on the laps led list at 626. They were the only three drivers who led more than 600 laps during the season.

Beers will take home $6,000 for winning the Hoosier Tire Lap Leader Award.

Whelen Engineering Winner of the Race Award: Ron Silk

The second of Ron Silk’s special awards is the honor bestowed upon the driver who wins the most races during a given season, the Whelen Engineering Winner of the Race Award.

This season, Ron Silk won five times, the same as his championship rival Justin Bonsignore. But Silk walked away with the award thanks to his higher finishing position in the series standings.

Silk’s first victory of the season came in the opener at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in February. He followed that up with wins at Riverhead Raceway, New Jersey’s Wall Stadium Speedway, New York’s Oswego Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Silk and Bonsignore were two of seven drivers to earn trips to Victory Lane during the 2023 season. Other race winners in 2023 included Matt Hirschman, Austin Beers, Kyle Bonsignore, Doug Coby and Ryan Preece.

For winning the Whelen Engineering Winner of the Race Award, Silk will receive an extra $2,000.

Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Award: Ron Silk

It would be accurate to say Ron Silk wasn’t the best qualifier during the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. In fact, unlike his title rival Justin Bonsignore, Silk didn’t score a single Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award throughout the year.

However, that set Silk up to claim his second straight Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Award.

The Hard Charger award is given to the driver who advances the most positions during a race.

The postseason award is given to the driver who earns the award in the most races compared to his competitors throughout the season.

Silk will take home an extra $6,000 for winning the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Award.

Hoosier Tire Most Improved Award: Brian Robie

A new face on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2023, Brian Robie managed to secure a special honor based on his limited performance throughout the season.

Despite making just five starts, Robie was able to earn the Hoosier Tire Most Improved Award for team owner Kayleigh Eastman.

The Hoosier Tire Most Improved Award goes to the eligible new team/organization whose driver improves the most positions during the course of each race.

In the team’s first year, Robie secured a best finish of eighth, which came in his final race of the season at Monadnock Speedway. Robie will receive a $6,000 bonus for winning the Hoosier Tire Most Improved Award.


  1. What about the Most Popular Driver award?

    🤨 🙃 🫤 🫨

  2. No doubt about it NASCAR has no peer when it comes to hoopla. Going out of their way to have all these awards and their big championship shindig. Not a big fan when it was the 51 team getting all the accolades or Coby for that matter over and over again. Silk and that HYR team the new guys on the block will be a different matter. Good to see.
    Whelen and those chiselers at Mayhew appreciated as well. Rocks that a lot of modified racing depends on year in and year out.

  3. What Would Melissa Fifield Say? says

    Oh Darelgoodfella how longs it been now you’ve been pulling my pig tails about 7 years? Some would say you’ve been hard on me but I’m thinking it’s more like you’re hard for me. Thy protests too much seems obvious. Perhaps a little jealous of my success as a very popular driver. More then that an 11th place driver in the 2023 NASCAR Modified Tour standings. That puts me light years ahead of you doesn’t it? In the drivers seat and in the record books as opposed to a butt in the bleacher seats never to have appeared in the standings in any race.
    You know what they say Darealgoodfella? It’s better to be in peoples thoughts even if it’s not flattering then to never to be thought of at all.
    I appreciate all my fans Darealgoodfella and perhaps you a little more. Thinking of me virtually all the time is quite an honor that I shall continue to try to live up to.
    Best of luck and God speed.

    Respectfully (not) Melissa Fifield

  4. Nascar announced a 7 year 7.7 billion dollar media deal with Fox NBC and Amazon. The deal will begin 2025 and run through 2031. It is 1.1 billion per year up from 820 million per year media deal currently in place. What is interesting is 5 races will be exclusively held on Amazon Prime. Xfinity will be carried on CW starting in 2025. No mention of trucks or modifieds and KandN series on the article I read. Now that this is in place will the owners and tracks be looking for a bigger percentage of the tv revenue pie. They have been hinting at it for a few years now.

  5. the trucks will have their entire season on fs1 again per the releases.

    and the tracks aren’t getting a bigger piece and they know it. the owners will be getting a bigger piece and they know it.

    nascar has been negotiating the charter system with teams for over a year now. and by most of the accounts the monetary splits aren’t really the hold up right now. the biggest hold up is teams want charters to become permanent, and nascar doesn’t. and nascar wants some sort of system to cap the spending of the teams so they don’t waste all the new money they will be getting.

    hopefully its a good thing the mods and other stuff weren’t included in the deals and they can continue to do what’s best for the tracks and series and not becoming just a throw in with cup. cant think of a much better situation than flo right now for this level of stuff.

  6. Thanks Zig.

    I don’t follow the National series much. I know a couple of old timers I talk to about racing are really upset about the streaming Cup races. Wasn’t there a big deal when Nascar went to FS1 with this contract. It wasn’t on a lot of cable systems. You don’t seem to hear many complain about it anymore. It worked out OK. Other than needing a detective to figure out what channel and what time the races were on. Honestly, they could probably use some cost controls in Nascar. They aren’t drawing a full field currently and this is after dropping the field down to 40 from 43 a few years ago. I seem to remember in past contracts there was a clause that the tv partners could claw back some money if Nascar did not have a full field of cars at races.

    I do think the Modified tour and Nascar home tracks has found a good home with FLO.. I hope it continues. On some of the Dirt racing boards a few posters seem to think an increase may be coming for FLO subscriptions. Someone received a survey asking what a fair price for the service was. Someone also mentioned you might not get all the other sports when he recently renewed for $150 and they specifically asked which sport he wanted. I personally watch some of the hockey games on the service so if that is the case I will be disappointed. This past weekend was the first weekend this year there was no live circle track racing on the platform since last Feb.

  7. There are 36 charter cars. Those are basically the only 36 cars that get paid. As far as NASCAR is concerned these days, 36 is a full field for cup.

    But yes, old people will be unhappy. The type of people who can’t figure out how to stream or how to look at an app for channels, or even simply remembering. It’s not hard.

    NASCAR can’t keep catering to these type of people, or the sport will die when they die. (sooner rather than later).

    Linear TV is dying. Cable is dying. RSNs are dying. You can’t let those anchors drag you down with it.

    And yea, i expect flo to get more pricey pretty soon. Someone has to pay for larsons sprint car series.

  8. “Linear TV is dying”
    Boy is that an understatement it’s more like it’s dead and those complaining are kicking the dead horse.
    The NFL in the slow but steady process of decoupling from broadcast TV and going to pay via ESPN, Amazon and the NFL Network.
    As a UConn fan following the men’s and women’s teams you definitely need a program to find out where the games are. they spread them out across a number of different content providers. Recently they had two games on FloHoops that is actually part of FloSports which is FloRacing. The UConn fans howled a merry tune about that move not realizing the Big East made a deal with FloSports. Sound familiar?? The monthly subscription price too much they said for two games not aware of everything else on Flo including many other UConn sports.
    I got the FloSports survey and answered it. They are definitely going to make changes. Right now all the sports are included and that’s proving to be a waste for Flo since the different types of fans only watch the sport they’re interested in for the most part. The survey sounded like they want to split the sports off and offer different tiers. Like racing only, maybe continue it at $150. The different price points depending on what’s included. I believe they mentioned something over $300 plus for all sports. I personally answered in a way that was receptive to racing only at $150 but $300 plus would not be looked at favorably were it the only choice. But between you and me I’d pay $300 plus it’s still a good deal as far as I’m concerned.
    A friend that’s probably 5 times smarter then me just upgraded her Roku to Ultra. She struggled with making the switch from her old clunker and agonizes about adding and subtracting apps to it whereas I cruise in and out of the best deals like I’m a lady of the night turning cheap tricks.
    It’s all changing and you have to keep up. I have four 20 something tenants and they don’t even own a TV. For them it’s all apps, ala carte, computers, smart phones and tablets.
    There’s deals all over the place and great content but you need to be nimble to find them. If you’re stuck on one size fits all you’re missing out and probably paying more then you need to in the process.
    It’s the off season. Consider joining the conversation on what you watch, how you watch it, what you’re willing to pay for it so some of we old dogs can learn some new tricks.

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