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Justin Bonsignore Makes It Four Straight at Riverhead

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — Another track, another streak for Justin Bonsignore.

The defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion earned his fourth straight victory at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night in the Miller Lite 200, adding his eighth career win at his home track. He took the lead from Timmy Solomito on a restart with 11 laps to go, and held off Solomito in overtime to score the win.

It was the fifth victory of the season for Bonsignore, and his 25th career in Whelen Modified Tour competition. He’s the only driver in the 64-race history at the track to win four straight, breaking a previous tie with Mike Ewanitsko and Ryan Preece, who both had three. The win also helped Bonsignore close the gap in the championship standings with just three races remaining.

“Anytime we come here, we want to win. We love coming home,” Bonsignore said. “I’ve just been really fortunate with good cars here with Ryan (Stone, crew chief), to be able to win four in a row.”

Bonsignore’s path to Victory Lane saw him fend-off another local favorite. He started second, but dropped to the bottom of the top five early, and had to spend much of the middle of the race charging back through. Former track champion Tom Rogers Jr. led from laps 32 to 124, driving away from the field before a caution flew just after the halfway point.

Rogers would struggle to keep his podium running spot, while Solomito took control of the race out front on lap 146, and Bonsignore followed by Rogers shortly after. Bonsignore would chase down Solomito as the two cut through lapped traffic, but didn’t quite seem to have the run to try and get around.

But a caution with 16 laps to go changed that.

Bonsignore worked the outside of Solomito on the restart, and was able to clear him for the top spot. He would have to hold his ground as the leader during two final restarts, but was able to accomplish the task.

Solomito would finish second, his best effort of the season, while Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole winner Craig Lutz was third. Kyle Soper, Riverhead’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified points leader, was fourth, followed by Patrick Emerling.

Chuck Hossfeld was sixth, followed by Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender J.B. Fortin, J.R. Bertuccio, Rogers and John Beatty Jr.

After starting inside the top five, contact between Bonsignore and Doug Coby sent Coby spinning early. The points leader would charge back into the middle of the top 10, but after contact in the final corner, he spun again, and finished 15th.

Coby leads Bonsignore by 19 points in the standings, while Ron Silk is third, 45 back. The Miller Lite 200 will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, September 11, at 6 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track for the Musket 250 presented by Whelen at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as part of the second Full Throttle Weekend on Saturday, September 21.

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Justin Bonsignore Tightens Points Battle With Oswego Win

OSWEGO, N.Y. — Justin Bonsignore knew it was going to take a few checkered flags if he wanted to climb his way back into the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship battle.

With five races to go, Bonsignore proved on Saturday that he isn’t out of it yet. He scored his fourth victory of the season in the Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s at Oswego Speedway, earning the victory as part of the track’s annual Classic Weekend.

It was the 24th career win in Whelen Modified Tour competition for Bonsignore and his first at the ‘Steel Palace’ of Oswego.

“It’s unbelievable. There is a lot of history at this track,” he said. “I’ve wanted to win here every time we have come here.”

Bonsignore might not have posted the fastest lap times all day, but, when it mattered, his car shined. For the first 64 laps, he chased the back bumper of Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole winner Rob Summers in the race for the lead. He passed Summers at lap 65, and led through until a caution at lap 99, when Tyler Rypkema spun.

Then, his Phoenix Communications crew went to work. They got him out at the front of the cars that pitted and took fresh tires, but, he had to restart third, behind Patrick Emerling and Tommy Catalano.

It didn’t take him long to get back to the top spot. Before the field exited turn two, he was the leader once again.

Bonsignore had to hold off defending race winner Matt Hirschman on a final dash to the finish, but was able to accomplish the task. While the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Chevrolet struggled to turn through the center of the corners, Bonsignore was able to make it work.

He beat Hirschman to the line by .146 seconds. Following Hirschman, former Whelen Modified Tour champion Ron Silk was third, with Craig Lutz and Bobby Santos III completing the top five.

Doug Coby was sixth, followed by Eric Goodale, Timmy Solomito, Chase Dowling and Tommy Catalano.

Coby leads Bonsignore by 37 points, with Silk 44 back with four races remaining in the championship points schedule.

The Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s will air on NBCSN on Thursday, September 5, at 6 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track for the second appearance at New York’s Riverhead Raceway on Saturday, September 7.

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Justin Bonsignore Spins To Win Third Straight at Riverhead Raceway

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — Saturday night short-track racing at the highest level of modified racing.

There was contact, and even spinning, but it was enough for Justin Bonsignore to score his third straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night.

Bonsignore restarted to the inside of track regular John Beatty Jr. in overtime, and coming to the checkered flag, contact between the two drivers sent Beatty up the track, and Bonsignore spinning nose-first towards the frontstretch wall. In the midst of his spin, he crossed the line first in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200.

The victory was Bonsignore’s third of the season and his 23rd career in Whelen Modified Tour competition. He becomes just the third driver in series history to win three straight at Riverhead, joining Mike Ewanitsko and Ryan Preece as the only drivers to accomplish the feat.

“The restart before I was able to hang with him a few laps, but John had a better car, and I was really shocked he took the outside on the last restart,” Bonsignore said. “He gave me a good shot getting into three, but you are coming to the checkered. I hate racing like that. But these races are so hard to win, and we need to win all of the races we can to get back in this points race.”

Beatty looked to have the car to beat in the final stages. He passed Timmy Solomito for the lead on lap 150 and was at the point for a near run to the finish, until a caution for a wreck down the backstretch with three laps to go closed the field up. Beatty selected the top lane, and when the field went down into turn one at the green, the contact started between the two leaders.

They leaned on each other the final two laps, until the contact in turn four, coming to the checkered, sent Bonsignore spinning. Beatty, a regular in Riverhead’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I Modified class, was disappointed in the result, but happy with his effort. He nearly became the first track regular in more than two decades to win a Whelen Modified Tour race at the oval.

“I was just keeping up with the pace and my car just kept getting better and better (before the last yellow),” Beatty said. “Everyone races their own way. I’m not the kind of guy to drive someone up a lane or two, but Justin did his job. He won the race.”

Timmy Solomito, who led 37 laps, crossed the line third. Solomito took the lead for the first time on lap 76, after contact between Coby and Solomito sent Coby spinning in turn one, while racing for the lead. Ron Silk and Craig Lutz rounded out the top-five.

Coby rebounded to sixth, while Patrick Emerling, Eric Goodale, Tom Rogers Jr. and Tommy Catalano completed the top 10.

Coby leads the championship point standings by 31 over Silk, while Bonsignore is third, 32 points back.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as part of their annual Monster Energy Cup Series weekend on Saturday, July 20. Select drivers will also compete in the All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire on Friday, July 19.

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Justin Bonsignore Wins Six Straight at Thompson

HOMPSON, Conn. — The streak just keeps on rolling.

Justin Bonsignore became the first driver to win five consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in April, and on Wednesday, he increased that number by one.

Bonsignore scored his sixth straight win at the historic Connecticut oval, pulling away from the field after passing Jon McKennedy on a restart and never looking back.

It was the 22nd career win for the Holtsville, New York, native and his second of the season. The victory was his 11th at Thompson, a number that leads all active drivers.

“I don’t think anyone in the Whelen Modified Tour would ever think they could pull something off like this,” Bonsignore said. “Deep down, you know you have cars that always come here and you will be able to do it. But we have won them in so many different ways and there are so many different strategies.”

The strategy for this victory was rather easy to decide. Bonsignore took the lead from Craig Lutz on lap 87 after chasing him for the top spot for the middle portion of the race. But a caution on lap 100 sent Bonsignore and the rest of the leaders to pit road for fresh rubber. Once he received his new tires, there was no stopping the veteran.

He restarted to the inside of McKennedy at lap 106, and took the lead entering turn three on the following lap. From there, he pulled away from the field and rolled to victory.

“At lap 100, I was confident that if it just stayed green I would be fine, but when the yellow came out, I was sitting there wondering who was going to pit, who wasn’t going to pit. When McKennedy only took two tires, I knew what his car was going to do. Our car was just so good on three tires.”

Doug Coby, who won his second consecutive Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award in qualifying, fought a tight condition early that dropped him to the bottom of the top 10. But after a quick pit stop by his Mayhew Tools team, Coby mounted a charge up to second at the finish.

Craig Lutz, who led a race-high 73 laps, finished third. Former NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Burt Myers was fourth, driving for the injured Dave Sapienza, while Ron Silk rounded out the top five.

Eric Goodale was sixth, followed by Matt Swanson, Sam Rameau, Max Zachem and Woody Pitkat.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Riverhead Raceway in New York, on Saturday, July 6.

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Justin Bonsignore Continues Dominance at Thompson

THOMPSON, Conn. — Justin Bonsignore has become the modern day master of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

The Holtsville, New York, driver scored his fifth straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win at Thompson on Sunday afternoon in the Icebreaker 150. The victory allowed Bonsignore to become the first driver in the history of Whelen Modified Tour action at the historic Connecticut oval to win five straight.

It was the 10th career Thompson win for the defending series champion, and his 21st overall.

After Doug Coby won his second Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award and led the first 107 laps, the race took a turn for Bonsignore when the field slowed for a caution at lap 99. Bonsignore followed Coby down pit road for fresh tires, and although Coby did beat him off pit road, a penalty for running over his air hose sent Coby to the rear of the field.

While Coby fought back to finish fifth, Bonsignore took the advantage for the restart, and held off South Boston Speedway winner Ron Silk during a green-white-checkered finish to continue his Thompson dominance.

Coby and Bonsignore paced the entire weekend, running first and second, in that order, for both practice sessions and qualifying.

Silk, who qualified ninth, got back to the track in third following the pit stop, and when Coby was sent to the tail, the former series champion was in position for his second place effort.

“Things are going good,” Silk said. “It’s nice to get a win and back that up with a second today. It’s good for the guys on the team. They are all pumped up.”

Eric Goodale was third, while Patrick Emerling and Coby, who was able to work his way back up through the field, completed the top five. After three races, Coby holds a slim seven point lead in the Whelen Modified Tour championship standings.

Burt Myers was sixth, followed by Matt Swanson, Woody Pitkat, Chris Pasteryak and Jimmy Blewett.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track as part of the NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway on April 28.