WINCHESTER, N.H. – Todd Szegedy's 15th career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory was one of his most dominant.
Szegedy started on the pole and led every lap to capture the Monadnock 200 at Monadnock Speedway on Sunday. He expertly motored away from any and all challengers over several restarts, including second-place finisher Justin Bonsignore and Ron Silk earlier in the event.
For Szegedy, the 2002 Tour champion, a little practice made perfect. The Ridgefield, Conn., driver ran a pair of 25-lap Modified features at Monadnock last weekend.
"Coming here certainly helped," said Szegedy, who is tied for 12th on the all-time Whelen Modified Tour win list. "It's a unique track, and there's a little bit of knick-knacks on the track that you've got to learn to figure it out. We figured it out.
"I knew what the car needed. We struggled a little bit in practice, threw a big change at it and put it on the pole. We got this Mike Smeriglio Ford in Victory Lane."
Silk posted the most persistent threat over the first 100 laps of the 175-lap event, but his car faded over the final few laps and he finished fourth.
Bonsignore, however, came to life late. After starting seventh, Bonsignore did what most of the Top-10 cars did – he rode single file as everybody played the track position game. But he moved under James Civali for third on Lap 136, and then eight laps later he was under Silk in lapped traffic for second.
Bonsignore, the 2010 Tour Rookie of the Year, had one last chance with a restart to the outside of Szegedy with 13 laps remaining, but he couldn't pull it off.
"The car just took 20-25 laps to get going," Bonsignore said. "It's unfortunate – but it was a pretty rough start to the season for us, so we'll definitely take it."
"I was a little concerned that I was pushing it too hard (early), but I was trying to drive it as safe as I could," Szegedy said. "There were times I was only half-throttle. Most of the race, I was half-throttle on the backstretch... just saving. I got a couple car (length) lead and then tried to keep the lead down the straights."
Matt Hirschman finished third, his best finish of the season, with Silk and Civali rounding out the Top-5.
But this day belonged to Szegedy.
"He had the best car today," Hirschman said. "They've got a lot of smart people over there."
For Szegedy, it was a point of pride that he was victorious on the banked quarter-mile Sunday.
"I'm not known for being great on short tracks, but (crew chief) Phil Moran prepared an awesome car for me. It makes my job a lot easier," Szegedy said.
Series points leader Rowan Pennink, who finished second in each of the first three events of the season, finished 10th to unofficially hold onto his lead over Silk atop the standings.