NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 2022 special award winners


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The 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season featured 16 races, 67 drivers and more than 2,750 laps completed from February through October.

While Jon McKennedy claimed the biggest prize of the season, the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship, there were several special awards that were claimed by a variety of drivers.

Below are the special award winners for the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.

Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award: Justin Bonsignore

Justin Bonsignore, driver of the #51 Phoenix Communications, Inc., poses for a pole award photo during the Eddie Partridge 256 for the Whelen Modified Tour at Riverhead Raceway on September 17, 2022 in Riverhead, New York. (Mike Lawrence/NASCAR)
Justin Bonsignore, driver of the No. 51 Phoenix Communications, Inc. Modified, poses for a pole award photo during the Eddie Partridge 256 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Riverhead Raceway on September 17, 2022. (Photo: Mike Lawrence/NASCAR)

For the second straight year, Holtsville, New York, native Justin Bonsignore earned more No. 1 starting positions than any other driver.

The driver of the No. 51 Modified for team owner Ken Massa secured four Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Awards, one fewer than his total last season when he won the same season-long award.

He was able to turn three of those four pole positions into victories, beginning with Richmond Raceway on April 1. He followed that up with poles and victories at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire, on June 18 and New York’s Riverhead Raceway on Sept. 18.

His other pole came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he finished 12th after leading the first two laps.

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 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season included Matt Hirschman (three), Ron Silk (two), Jake Johnson (two), Coby (one), Timmy Solomito (one), Jimmy Blewett (one), Ronnie Williams (one) and Tyler Rypkema (one).

Doug Coby, driver of the #7 John Blewett Inc. Modified races during the CheckeredFlag.com 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Larry King Law's Langley Speedway on August 27, 2022 in Hampton, Virginia. (Ryan M. Kelly/NASCAR)
Doug Coby, driver of the No. 7 John Blewett Inc. Modified, races during the CheckeredFlag.com 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway on August 27, 2022. (Photo: Ryan M. Kelly/NASCAR)

Phil Kurze Mid-Race Leader presented by Josten’s: Doug Coby

While he didn’t compete in every NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race this season, Doug Coby still earned a pair of special awards.

The first of those awards 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 last year 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.

In the 12 races that Coby competed in this season, he was the leader at the halfway mark in four of them. That’s two better than both Ron Silk and Jon McKennedy, who were each the leader at halfway in two events this season.

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.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Austin Beers

Austin Beers, driver of #64 Lumiere Electrical, Dell Electric, Andrew James Interior, AP Marquadt & Sons Modified gets into his car during the Phoenix Communications 150 for the Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on October 9, 2022 in Thompson, Connecticut. (Rachel O'Driscoll/NASCAR)
Austin Beers, driver of No. 64 Lumiere Electrical Modified, gets into his car during the Phoenix Communications 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on October 9, 2022. (Photo: Rachel O’Driscoll/NASCAR)

The first year on the road with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was full of learning experiences for Northampton, Pennsylvania’s Austin Beers, but it was well worth the effort and paid off with the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.

Beers, who competed in four races in 2021 in preparation for his first full season with the Tour in 2022, competed in all 16 races and finished the year ranked fifth in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings.

Driving for team owner Mike Murphy, Beers collected one top-five and seven top-10 finishes against the best Modified drivers in the United States. His best race of the season came at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, where he earned a third-place finish.

Sunoco, the racing fuel of choice for all of NASCAR’s racing divisions, has been involved in motorsports since the 1960s and continues to be involved today as the Official Fuel of NASCAR and the sponsor of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.

Hoosier Tire Lap Leader Award: Doug Coby (Owner: Tommy Baldwin Jr.)

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 Doug Coby, who led the most laps three times during the 2022 season. Matt Hirschman also led the most laps three times during the season, but Coby got the nod thanks to his higher finishing position in the final NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings.

In all, Coby led a whopping 573 laps during the 2022 season despite missing four races. Hirschman, who himself only competed in seven races, led the second most laps at 384.

Justin Bonsignore, who won a season-high four races during the 2022 campaign, was third on the laps led list at 377. They were the only three drivers who led more than 300 laps during the season.

Justin Bonsignore, driver of the #51 Phoenix Communications, Inc., adds a decal to his car during the Eddie Partridge 256 for the Whelen Modified Tour at Riverhead Raceway on September 17, 2022 in Riverhead, New York. (Mike Lawrence/NASCAR)
Justin Bonsignore, driver of the No. 51 Phoenix Communications, Inc., adds a decal to his car after winning the Eddie Partridge 256 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Riverhead Raceway on September 17, 2022. (Photo: Mike Lawrence/NASCAR)

Whelen Engineering Winner of the Race Award: Justin Bonsignore

While Bonsignore fell short of his fourth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship in 2022, he still managed to win the most races throughout the year to secure the Whelen Engineering Winner of the Race Award for the 2022 season.

Bonsignore captured four wins during the 16-race season, starting with his first victory at Richmond Raceway on April 1. He collected his second triumph of the season at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire, on June 18.

He didn’t win his third race of the year until September 3, when he conquered New York’s Oswego Speedway. He claimed his fourth and final triumph of the 2022 season at New York’s Riverhead Raceway on September 17 with his victory during the Eddie Partridge 256.

The Whelen Engineering Winner of the Race Award goes to the driver with the most NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins throughout the season. The award is sponsored by series title sponsor Whelen Engineering.

Bonsignore was one of only two drivers to win multiple races during the 2022 season, with the other being Coby, who scored three victories this year. Other race winners in 2022 included champion Jon McKennedy, Eric Goodale, Corey LaJoie, Anthony Nocella, Craig Lutz, Jimmy Blewett, Mike Christopher Jr., Matt Hirschman and Kyle Soper.

Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Award and Hoosier Tire Most Improved Award: Ron Silk

Ron Silk, driver of the No. 16 Blue Mountain Machine and Future Homes Modified, during practice for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 27, 2022. (Adam Fenwick/NASCAR)
Ron Silk, driver of the No. 16 Blue Mountain Machine and Future Homes Modified, during practice for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 27, 2022. (Adam Fenwick/NASCAR)

While Ron Silk fell six points shy of his second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship, he did still manage to collect a pair of special awards during the 2022 season.

Silk collected the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Award as well as the Hoosier Tire Most Improved Award during the 2022 season.

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.

Three drivers – Silk, Andrew Krause and Austin Beers – each earned two Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Awards this year. Silk was awarded the season-long award based on his higher finishing position in the final NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings.

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. Silk secured the award for his team owners Tyler Haydt and Joe Yannone, who were in their first season as team owners on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

In the team’s first year, Silk was able to earn eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes as well as two pole positions.