Ryan Newman took home the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 victory Wednesday night in a hotly contested opening stanza for August race weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“The Rocket” started the race in the fourth position and quickly made his way to the lead, battling with  with Todd Szegedy and Justin Bonsignore throughout the event.

“This is awesome,” Newman said from Victory Lane. “Kevin (Manion) (Crew Chief) couldn’t be here because of what happened in New Hampshire (Newman’s winning car was disqualified for a rules infraction). We had to overcome a lot of things. This is a backup engine in this car.” 

Newman’s victory was his second in a row in the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 and fourth career Whelen Modified Tour victory.

“I felt today that we had a more competitive car than last year,” he said. “I don’t think anyone anticipated all the cautions we had early. We missed Kevin Manion. I think we redeemed ourselves after Loudon.

While Newman led much of the race, pit strategy helped seal the deal for the South Bend, Ind. native.

“Szegedy was on older tires so we had an advantage over him late,” Newman said. “It was a fun race, the caution flags slowed everything… It is a lot of fun to come out here and redeem ourselves and prove again I can do it.

“Everyone I was around did a good job and drove clean. I didn’t see what happened with some of the crashes. I thought everyone showed respect except for the wrecks I didn’t see.”

Szegedy drove his UNOH-sponsored machine to a third place finish.

“I’ve got to thank UNOH for being on the car,” Szegedy said. “We did an engine swap before the race… I was in the middle of a lot of wrecks. People were wrecking everywhere. Then, a plug wire came off and I went a lap down.  I couldn’t take it easy for fear of wrecks because I didn’t want to go down a lap again. We avoided the wrecks and worked our way up to the front.”

Bonsignore had his machine near the front all night, but came up just short, coming home in second.

“We avoided some wrecks we should have been in,” he said. “Our car was good up top. I got up to fifth or sixth, then we decided to pit. I don’t know if Newman was playing with us, but he took off with about 15 to go and we salvaged what we could.  I didn’t have a chance to catch him. We were way too tight.”

James Civali and Patrick Emerling rounded out the top five. Eric Beers, Ronnie Silk, Frank Fleming, Andy Seuss and Eric Goodale finished sixth through 10th.

The UNOH Perfect Storm kicked off the Wednesday doubleheader at BMS, with the O’Reilly Auto Parts 200 the nightcap event.