It’s a regular occurrence for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Justin Bonsignore when the series visits Stafford Motor Speedway.
Sitting in the grandstand watching the track’s weekly SK Modified division feature, with envy. The feature is regularly loaded with many of the same drivers Bonsignore competes against with the Whelen Modified Tour.
“I’m always thinking ‘I wish I was out there.’” Bonsignore said. “I don’t ever like to go to the racetrack and watch, especially when it’s guys that I race with on a normal basis. I get kind of frustrated when I’m not in the event. It definitely will be exciting. Stafford puts together, I think, one of the best run shows anywhere. They do a good job with marketing and they know how to get the fans and everybody involved.”
This year there will be less watching and more doing for the Holtsville, N.Y. driver.
In addition to running full-time on the Whelen Modified Tour with his Ken Massa owned M3 Racing team, Bonsignore will join the ranks of the Modified Tour regulars also chasing a championship at Stafford as a full-time competitor in the track’s SK Modified division.
Bonsignore will drive for team owners Art and Ken Barry weekly at Stafford in the SK Modified division.
“I’m hoping that it will help me at Stafford in general,” Bonsignore said. “I seem to be a person that the more laps and more track time I get at a place I tend to run better. And Stafford is one of the places on the [Whelen Modified Tour] that I struggled with the most. We’re very inconsistent there and I think that’s a lot on me more than the race team. For me, that’s the big thing of it, to try to be a better racecar driver at Stafford.”
The team also hopes to compete full-time in the SK Modified division at Thompson Speedway.
“There’s only seven events and four of them I’m already there for the [Whelen Modified Tour] races,” Bosnignore said. “So it’s really just a matter of coming up with three more Wednesdays to take off from work and travel. It’s not a bad thing. And Thompson has a good car count so you can build up points. And it’s more seat time. Why leave the car home? If it’s capable to go out and race and do both, why not try to go out have some fun and try to win some races.”
The focus on the SK Modified events will mean Bonsignore will not be defending his 2014 Valenti Modified Racing Series championship he won for the Barry owned team.
“As a racer I would like to have been able to do it again,” Bonsignore said. “But logistically, some of the racetracks they’re going to are just tough to commute from from Long Island. The series I think is headed back in the right direction, but it just makes more sense for us to do the SK [Modified] deal from every side of it.
“I don’t have any plans for MRS right now. I have tried reaching out to a few people. I would like to do maybe some part-time stuff but it definitely won’t be full-time.”
Last year proved a breakout year for Bonsignore in his fifth full season on the Whelen Modified Tour. He finished a career-high third in the standings, 27 points behind champion Doug Coby and just five points behind second place Ryan Preece. He had a series leading three victories (matched by Bobby Santos III) and 10 top-10’s in 13 events. Overall, the 26-year old Bonsignore has six series victories over 73 starts in the division.
“Last year was a big year for us [with the M3 Racing team],” Bonsignore said. “We changed pretty much everything. We pretty much hit the reset, besides with a couple crew guys and myself and the owner. We had all new chassis’ and all new motors. Billy Michael stepped up becoming the crew chief last year. It was total reset. And to come out of the box and run the way we did, between New Smyrna at the start of the season and then pretty much through most of the summer, it kind of took us by surprise. But it just became natural as we got later in the year, we were just expected to run good.
“I think we’re only going to get better. Me and Billy have a good relationship. We’re building a second SPAFCO car this year to have a spare. It definitely got a little stressful at times only having the one car to run the whole schedule. I think having two [cars] and being a little bit better prepared will be good. And we finally built a notebook so that we can go back to some of the tracks and off the truck be a little bit better. I think we’re going to be in a better position on paper. Hopefully we can go out and execute it the way we did in  and minimize the few mistakes and hopefully be there at the end of the year.”