BRISTOL — It sure wasn’t smooth as silk in Todd Szegedy’s eyes.
Szegedy spun after contact with Ronnie Silk as the two battled for the lead in Wednesday’s UNOH Perfect Storm 150 NASCAR Modified Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Coming out of the ensuing caution period with only 20 laps to go, Silk churned out consistent laps to score to victory while Szegedy charged from eighth to finish second. On the cool-down lap, Szegedy drove his No. 2 Ford into the back of Silk’s No. 6 Chevrolet and spun him out.
“I’m just mad and I had to vent my anger,” Szegedy said. “Whether it was my fault or his fault, I’m pretty tired of having these wins taken away from me. Racing is pretty damn humbling. What can you do? I did everything to win this race and just came up short.”
Silk saw the battle between the two Connecticut drivers as just good hard racing. However, he wasn’t surprised to see Szegedy retaliate when the race was over.
“I saw him coming,” Silk said. “I don’t think I did anything wrong unless I see a replay that shows me otherwise. But, I’ve been in that position before. We all put our hearts and soul into this so I don’t hold that against him.”
It was Silk’s second win this season and his ninth career Modified Series victory. The 29-year-old from Norwalk, Conn. had a fast car throughout the day winning the pole with a lap of 15.067 seconds (126.634 mph) and riding in the top three most of the race.
Silk’s victory denied Ryan Newman a third straight win in the event. It was a tough day for the Sprint Cup driver, who spun out early and had two flat tires on his way to a 19th-place finish.
Silk argued he had every right to being inside of Szegedy as the cars entered turn three on lap 128.
“I got a run on him coming down the backstretch and got my nose inside of him,” Silk said. “I got under him going into (turn) three. I held it down on the bottom as low as I could. He came down across my nose and made contact. He was going to see if I was going to lift or not, and I wasn’t.”
Motivated by the earlier contact and with fresh tires on his No. 2 machine, Szegedy kept riding the high line to post the runner-up finish.
“I drove up high and I just passed as many cars as I could,” he said. “If I had another five laps I could have gotten him.”
Another Connecticut driver, Ryan Preece, finished third in a Ford. Justin Bonsignore and Ron Yuhas Jr. rounded out the top five in a pair of Chevrolets.
The race was marred by a 13-car pile-up on lap 3 when Newman spun and much of the field wrecked behind him. The No. 25 car of John Smith vaulted on top and then over the No. 93 Chevrolet of Rowan Pennick. The contact tore the roof off Pennick’s car, but all the drivers emerged from their vehicles.
The 13-minute delay for clean-up marked the first of two red-flag stoppages.
The second occured on lap 112 when the No. 28 car of Ed Flemke Jr. slammed head-on into the backstretch inside wall. It caused a break in the safer barrier which maintenance crews had to weld the safer barrier back.
Six laps later, the race was slowed again as Donny Lia crashed on the frontstretch and Jimmy Blewett slammed the backstretch wall moments later. The right rear tire came off Blewett’s car and made a half-lap around the track to the entrance of pit road at turn 4.
It set up the wild finish as the race was slowed by eight cautions including one for a spin by early leadr Ted Christopher.