THOMPSON – Justin Bonsignore said in his early days in short track racing many of his competitors looked at him as a pushover on the track.
This year at Thompson Speedway Bonsignore has shown that he’s learned how to be the bully when needed.
Thompson Speedway is considered the track on the Whelen Modified Tour where a most aggressive style of racing is needed for success. And nobody has had success at Thompson this year quite like Bonsignore.
Bonsignore went to the lead on lap 136 and then held on through two wild restarts late to win the Whelen Modified Tour King of Beers 150 Thursday at Thompson.
Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa. was second and Doug Coby of Milford third.
It was the third victory of the season for Bonsignore, of Holtsville, N.Y. He also won in the series’ other visit to Thompson this season on April 6. Of his six career victories with the series, three have come at Thompson. He will go to the season finale at Thompson on Oct. 19 looking to sweep the series events at the track this year.
With five events left this season, Bosnignore closed to within two points of standings leader Coby with the victory. Asked about the possibility of completing a season sweep at Thompson, Bonsignore beemed.
“That would be pretty cool,” Bonsignore said. “We want to win everywhere, but we’ve got a good knack for this place. Half my wins are here. That would be cool to come back in October with a shot to maybe win the championship and do it with a win. We’ll see how that all plays out in the next month and half, two months.”
Bonsignore started ninth and pitted on lap 41 for adjustments.
“These guys don’t give up,” Bonsignore said. “We didn’t have the best of cars to start the race. We pitted early for an adjustment. That probably was the winning move for us.”
When all the leaders headed to pit road under caution on lap 75, Bonsignore came out seventh. He was up to third when the caution flew on lap 124.
On a lap 135 restart, Coby got aggressive with leader Ron Silk to go to the front, but a lap later it was Bonsignore putting the same type of aggressive moves on Coby to take over the top spot.
“I just feel you have to be aggressive here,” Bonsignore said. “I was known more in my short track days as the guy who was a pushover. But for some reason I’ve got good a knack for it, and when you have to be aggressive at the end of the race, which is typically every Thompson race, we’ve been able to hold our own with guys for the most part.”
A late caution set up a green-white-checkered finish. Bonsignore was able to leave the field behind as Hirschman got by Coby for second.
“We didn’t have a winning car,” Hirschman said. “[Bonsignore] was definitely a little bit better. The goal is that now we’ve got a car that we can win with at the [series finale at Thompson in October].”
Said Coby: “I’m happy we survived. It didn’t look like we were going to. I just hate that we all have to drive like pigs in order to get a spot up here. Every restart we’re all slamming into each other. I’m just as guilty of it as everybody else. Justin passes me for the lead, shoves me up. I pass guys for the lead and shove them up. I don’t like racing like that, but you have to here. I’m happy that we all survived at the end. We all had good cars. It would have been a shame if we had got together and wrecked good cars.”