Confident and composed, Ron Silk dominates the IceBreaker 150 at Thompson

THOMPSON, Conn. — Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park has been the site of many milestones for Ron Silk on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

From tallying his first three Tour victories at the Connecticut facility to surviving a crucial title tilt against rival Justin Bonsignore in October, Silk regularly rises to the occasion whenever the series visits the historic, 0.625-mile oval.

The status quo remained in place for Silk in Sunday‘s IceBreaker 150. A dominant performance from the defending Modified Tour champion enabled him to secure his seventh Thompson victory and build some crucial early season momentum in the point standings.

RELATED: Complete Thompson race results

Once the green flag waved for the IceBreaker 150, Silk knew his silver No. 16 Modified could set a commanding pace as soon as he climbed from the fourth starting position.

“I was confident before the pit stop,” Silk said. “I had driven to the lead there and was able to drive away from everybody. This was a fantastic car from the start of the race, and I‘m just pumped to be back in Victory Lane.”

The only setback Silk endured during his stalwart day at Thompson occurred while in the pits, as a slow stop caused him to lose the lead to fellow Modified Tour veteran Patrick Emerling.

It only took Silk one corner to re-assert control over the field. Using the bottom line on the restart, Silk muscled Emerling up the track and claimed the top spot, and he did not receive a significant challenge for the lead during the remaining laps.

Emerling, who settled for third, was not pleased with how the final restart played out. Not only did Emerling believe Silk was overly aggressive with his maneuver, but he maintained Silk should have been penalized for a premature launch.

“I kind of feel like Martin Truex Jr. the other day at Richmond,” Emerling said. “[Silk] jumped the start and then took us way up the hill. I‘m just going to run him like that in the future, but I thought officiating would have caught that.”

Despite his frustrations, Emerling found solace in his second top-five performance of the season. After being eliminated in an early crash at Richmond the previous week, Emerling felt the IceBreaker 150 was more indicative of the speed prevalent in his first three starts with Rich Gautreau.

With the Thompson race reinforcing the optimism he already had in the program, Emerling believes he can keep tallying strong runs and make a charge for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title.

“We had the car to beat today,” Emerling said. “It took us a little bit to get going, but we were the fastest car right at the end. Everyone did an awesome job. I did everything right, but I got beat by a jumped start. We‘re coming, though.”

Just like at Thompson on Sunday, Silk will be standing in the way of a potential championship for Emerling and the rest of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour field. Aside from a sixth at Martinsville Speedway in November, Silk has not recorded a finish outside the top three in his last seven races.

Silk has every reason to believe he can defend his title after winning two of the first three events in 2024. For now, Silk is content with celebrating another milestone at Thompson with everyone at Haydt-Yannone Racing.

“[My confidence] is pretty high,” Silk said. “Richmond was a nail-biter, and we could be looking at three in a row. Should of, could of, would have, but we‘ll go to the next one and try and get another one.”

In a repeat of the most recent Modified Tour event at Thompson, Jake Johnson placed second behind Silk, matching a career-best finish in the process. Emerling, Justin Bonsignore and Tyler Rypkema made up the rest of the top-five finishers.

Rounding out the top 10 were Craig Lutz, Austin Beers, Kyle Bonsignore, Matt Hirschman and Matt Swanson.

Following two consecutive weeks of on-track action, the Modified Tour gets a break before heading to Monadnock Speedway on May 4.

The Granite State Derby will make up the first leg of the Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup at Monadnock, with FloRacing set to provide live flag-to-flag coverage.