The field makes a lap around Monadnock Speedway for the Duel at the Dog 200 on June 19, 2022 (Nick Grace/NASCAR)

Takeaways from the Duel at the Dog 200 at Monadnock Speedway

A calm and orderly Sunday afternoon for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Monadnock Speedway took an unexpected turn in the closing laps.

Although Ron Silk dominated the day, the finish to the Duel at the Dog 200 would be settled between two other veterans in Matt Hirschman and three-time Tour champion Justin Bonsignore, both of whom wanted a piece of the $83,763 purse.

RESULTS: Duel at the Dog 200 at Monadnock Speedway

It would be Bonsignore taking home the checkered flag, but the final laps were not without controversy, as Hirschman saw a potential victory erased after he was blocked repeatedly by the slower car of J.B. Fortin.

Below are the key takeaways from Sunday’s Duel at the Dog 200.

Justin Bonsignore finally shakes off bad luck

While the circumstances surrounding his win were slightly unorthodox, Justin Bonsignore was simply relieved to get back into Victory Lane at Monadnock Speedway on Sunday.

Consistently one of the top drivers on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour every year, the 2022 season has been anything but relaxing for Bonsignore through the first five races.

A victory at Richmond Raceway was the only highlight for Bonsignore prior to Sunday’s triumph at Monadnock. A 31st-place finish in the season-opener at New Smyrna Speedway immediately placed Bonsignore in a deep hole, with his other finishes aside from the victory at Richmond being outside the top-five.

Returning to familiar territory provided Bonsignore the confidence he needed to put together a strong run in Sunday’s race, as he already had three victories at Monadnock on his resume, including the most recent Tour event at the facility in 2020.

Bonsignore still faces a significant deficit in the points as the Tour enters the second half of its 2022 schedule, but his performance at Monadnock provided a reminder to the rest of the field that he will still be competitive until the finale at Martinsville Speedway.

The series’ second visit to Riverhead Raceway, where Bonsignore has eight wins, will only present another opportunity for him to bounce back.

Big Money Matt Hirschman frustrated with runner-up

While Justin Bonsignore celebrated his second win of 2022, Matt Hirschman was left fuming over how Sunday’s Duel at the Dog 200 at Monadnock Speedway turned out.

Hirschman never anticipated that a lapped car would end up costing him a win Sunday afternoon and was puzzled as to why J.B. Fortin believed he was justified in blocking him and deciding the race in Bonsignore’s favor.

Everything had gone according to plan during the afternoon for Hirschman, who had already claimed a victory earlier this year at New Smyrna Speedway and was prepared to fend off Bonsignore for the win as the two negotiated the lapped traffic.

With Hirschman not going for the championship in the Whelen Modified Tour, his goal is to win every single race he enters in the series and race everyone with respect, which is something that he felt Fortin did not do during the final laps of the Duel at the Dog 200

Hirschman plans to move forward from Sunday while also keeping the incident with Fortin in the back of his mind when the two inevitably meet again on the track.

Fortin would later issue a statement on Facebook addressing the late-race incident with Hirschman.

“Just going to start off by saying, racing is not easy and if it was there would be 100’s of cars showing up to qualify,” Fortin said. “We were hanging on from lap 100 on. What happened was definitely not intentional. I should have backed the corner up more. I struggled the whole race down in that corner. When we got down into 3 I was afraid to take Matt out with the back of the car, (or) else I would’ve turned down under the yellow. Unfortunately the right-front bumped his bar and ripped the wheel out of my hand. By the time I got ahold of the wheel Justin was to my door (and my) spotter screaming inside.

“I feel terrible for what happened. You never want to be the cause of someone’s bad day. I understand how everyone feels and sees what happened. We don’t operate as a team like that. I don’t condone taking people out of races. We were running 13 second laps with split second decisions. Sorry for costing Matt a win, not that it matters much at this point.”

The championship runs through Ron Silk

Ron Silk is quietly putting together another season worthy of a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.

Even though he came up short of a victory in Sunday’s Duel at the Dog 200 at Monadnock, Silk still managed to lead a race-high 110 laps before settling for third behind Bonsignore and Hirschman.

Silk’s strong performance only bolstered the narrow points lead he maintained heading into the weekend as he looks to tally his second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title. His lone title to date came during the 2011 season when he drove for Ed Partridge.

As with 2011, consistency has been a theme for Silk through the first six races. Despite having yet to bring home a win, Silk has not recorded a finish outside the top-10 and has now recorded a top-five finish in three of the last four races.

Silk said a win is inevitable if he maintains his streak of solid finishes and keeps plenty of distance between Bonsignore and the rest of the Tour field.

NOTES:

  • Doug Coby, who had won the last two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races he entered with Tommy Baldwin Racing, did not lead a single lap in Sunday’s Duel at the Dog 200 but still managed to bring home a fifth-place finish.
  • Fresh off his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at Jennerstown Speedway, Mike Christopher Jr. served as a last-minute replacement for Jimmy Blewett, who could not take part in Sunday’s rescheduled Duel at the Dog 200 due to a previous family commitment. Christopher struggled to climb from the back of the field and finished in 13th as the last car on the lead lap.
  • Sunday was a career afternoon for Westminster, Massachusetts, native Sam Rameau. He recorded his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour top-five finish at Monadnock, eclipsing his previous best run of sixth at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in 2020.
  • Jacob Perry brought home his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour top-10 finish after starting in the 16th position. Perry had only made two prior appearances with the series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Lee USA Speedway, which resulted in finishes of 38th and 15th.