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.