Whelen Modified Tour championship battle heats up with four races to go

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As the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway (Saturday, September 4, at 7:30 p.m. ET on TrackPass) for the second time this season, two-time and defending series champion Justin Bonsignore holds a narrow eight-point lead over Patrick Emerling in the title fight with four races remaining in the season.

The duo took control of the points standings following the fourth race of the season at Jennerstown (Pennsylvania) Speedway — a race won by Bonsignore – and quickly ran away as the two championship contenders. At the time, Emerling held a one-point advantage, and neither has allowed any other drivers into the championship talk since.

A quick glance at the stats shows why the two have separated themselves. They each have nine top-10 finishes in the 10 races contested thus far, with Bonsignore putting together eight top fives and a win, compared to seven top-five finishes and two wins for Emerling. And since Jennerstown, they have finished in consecutive finishing positions three times — including a one-two result at New York International Raceway in Lancaster, that was won by Emerling.

In the series‘ first visit of the season to Oswego Speedway in June, Emerling finished third while Bonsignore was fourth.

Bonsignore entered the Whelen Modified Tour‘s most recent race at Beech Ridge (Maine) Motor Speedway with the largest advantage between the two to date — 12 points. However, a third-place effort by Emerling coupled with an eighth-place result for Bonsignore cut four points off the lead, landing Emerling within eight points (413 to 405) heading into this Saturday night‘s showdown.

Bonsignore is chasing his third Whelen Modified Tour championship after winning two of the past three. He broke up a four-year run of titles by Doug Coby with his win in 2018, then sandwiched another Coby championship in 2019 (his sixth overall) by taking last year‘s series championship.

Emerling is looking to cap off a breakout season with his first title. He had only tallied one series win in his previous 10 seasons (2017 at Bristol Motor Speedway) and his seven top-five finishes this year are a career-best.

Following Oswego, the series heads to Richmond Raceway on Friday, September 10. They then return north to wrap up the season with a stop at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway and the season finale at Stafford (Connecticut) Motor Speedway for the third stop of the year at the famed short track.

Patrick Emerling, driver of the #07 Captain Pip\
Patrick Emerling, driver of the #07 Captain Pip\