Winner of the special award of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 2021

More than 65 drivers won the green flag in at least one race on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2021. In the end, Justin Bonsignore won his third series championship, making it only the fourth rider in Tour history to accomplish this feat.

Bonsignore also won three other special awards for his efforts during the season. Two more drivers also ended 2021 with hardware.

Below are the winners of the special prizes for the 2021 season of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

TIED TOGETHER: Championship celebration of the modified tour 2021

Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award: Justin Bonsignore

Justin Bonsignore, left, celebrates winning one of five Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Awards during the season. To win the pole, riders will receive a “Big Stick” lever, courtesy of Mayhew. (NASCAR)

The Holtsville, New York native has only won twice on the way to the series championship this year, but Bonsignore has started at the front of the field more often than any of his competitors.

Bonsignore won the Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award Pole five times in 2021, reaching its overall score of 2018 when it also won the series title.

His pole at Jennerstown Speedway on Memorial Day weekend ended with his leading 136 of 150 laps and the checkered flag. The other four poles ended with 3rd, 3rd, 2nd and 24th (DNF, mechanical failure).

Bonsignore boosted his career to a total of 19 poles, placing him 12th on the all-time list for the series.

Mayhew Tools, founded in 1856, is the oldest manufacturer of punches and chisels in the United States and is expanding its extensive line of professional products in the United States to include crowbars, pneumatics, cable ties, and more. In 2020 the company expanded its product line to include a complete line of bits and sets with double drives and socket wrench sockets.

Mayhew’s world-class hand tools are sold worldwide through an extensive distribution network serving the industrial, automotive, hardware and construction industries. Mayhew Tools began sponsoring the Whelen Modified Tour Stock 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, Ryan Preece won two pole awards in 2021, while Matt Swanson, Max McLaughlin, Jon McKennedy, Matt Hirschman, Ron Silk, Tom Rogers Jr. and Anthony Nocella won one each.

Phil Kurz Mid-Race Leader presented by Josten’s: Justin Bonsignore

Bonsignore also received a special award in honor of Whelen Engineering’s former Vice President of Motorsports, Phil Kurz.

The late Short, recently honored with a plaque in the Whelen Hall of Champions at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, was a strong advocate of short-distance racing. He helped improve the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour before his death in 2018.

This year’s award, given to the driver who led half of the majority of the races, went to Bonsignore. He was in the lead in four of 14 mid-lap events in the 2021 season, with only Preece (twice) joining him on the list of drivers who did so more than once.

Josten’s, the official provider of the NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy, Daytona 500 championship ring, Indy 500 championship ring and more, calls itself 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: Justin Bonsignore (Owner: Ken Massa)

Justin Bonsignore, driver of the # 51 Coastal Fiber LLC Chevrolet, during the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200 for the Whelen Modified Tour at Martinsville Raceway in Martinsville, Virginia on April 8, 2021. (Adam Glanzman / NASCAR)
Justin Bonsignore, driver of the No. 51 Coastal Fiber LLC Chevrolet, in action during the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200 at Martinsville Speedway on April 8, 2021. (Adam Glanzman / NASCAR)

Every year Hoosier Tire supplies racing tires for the ground-demanding modifications on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and also sponsors the Hoosier Tire Lap Leader Award.

The award is given to the car owner of the driver who leads the most laps in a race most frequently during the season and honors the team that was the dominant force at the front of the field.

In 2021 it was Bonsignore. In the No. 51 Chevrolet owned by Ken Massa Motorsports / Phoenix Communications, Bonsignore led 643 laps this season, including at least one in 11 of 14 races.

He was in the lead for the most laps in three races, ahead of Matt Hirschman and Preece, who made it in two events.

Hoosier Tire Most Improved Award: Dylan Slepian

Dylan Slepian, driver of the # 70 Eastport Feeds Chevrolet, during qualifying for the Miller Lite 200 for the Whelen Modified Tour at Riverhead Raceway on September 18, 2021 in Riverhead, New York.  (Adam Glanzman / NASCAR)
Dylan Slepian, driver of the Eastport Feeds # 70 Chevrolet, pictured during qualifying for the Miller Lite 200 at Riverhead Raceway on September 18, 2021. (Adam Glanzman / NASCAR)

Hoosier Tire also provides the Most Improved Award for every NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event, including the special end-of-season award. In 2021, Dylan Slepian received the honor.

The native of Dix Hills, New York, competed in three races during the season and took two top 10 finishes, both on his home track, Riverhead Raceway.

In the only other event he competed, Slepian finished 11th in Riverhead in September. His finishes in ninth, ninth and eleven were the top three of his Whelen Modified Tour career.

Slepian, a regular in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series at Riverhead, also took second place in the track’s weekly scoring that year.

Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Award and Whelen Engineering Race Award winner: Patrick Emerling

Emerling wins the Whelen Winner Award
Patrick Emerling will celebrate the Miller Lite 200 at Riverhead Raceway on September 18, 2021. (Adam Glanzman / NASCAR)

Patrick Emerling didn’t get the championship year he wanted in 2021, but he amassed his fair share of hardware in 14 races.

For its success, Emerling received both the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger and the Whelen Engineering Winner of the Race Awards for the season.

The Hard Charger Award is given to the rider who advances the most positions during a race. The Postseason Award is given to the driver who receives the award in most races compared to his competitors throughout the season.

That year Emerling was at his best, winning three times – the NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway, the Tour debut at New York International (Lancaster) Speedway and the finals of three events at Riverhead Raceway.

With his three wins – which were the most in the series in 2021 – Emerling also won the Whelen Engineering Winner of the Race Award.

Outside Emerling, current NASCAR Cup Series driver and 2013 Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece also won three races in 2021. The tiebreaker was the driver who finished higher in the championship standings, and Emerling, a native of Orchard Park, New York, was Bonsignore’s runner-up.

Behind Emerling and Preece, Bonsignore, Coby and Ron Silk won twice in 2021. Eric Goodale and Matt Hirschman achieved individual wins.

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