Bullish: Justin Bonsignore Wins Whelen Mod Tour Thompson 125 At Thompson Speedway

Justin Bonsignore celebrates victory in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125 Thursday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont)

THOMPSON – With his roots planted in the tight confines of Riverhead Raceway in Riverhead, N.Y., Justin Bonsignore has earned a reputation as the master of the tiny bullring tracks the past few years on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Thompson Speedway is the antithesis of bullring. High banks and high speed is the personality of the historic .625-mile Thompson Speedway oval.

For Bonsignore the bullrings of the Whelen Modified Tour might feel like home, but Thompson has certainly become his favorite home away from home.

Bonsignore, of Holtsville, N.Y., showed once again Thursday that when it comes to the Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson, he has to be considered a favorite every time the division comes to town.

Bonsignore capitalized on a great pit stop and then held off Rowan Pennink over the closing stages to win the Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125 Thursday at Thompson Speedway.

It was Bonsignore’s 15th career Whelen Modified Tour victory since 2011, and seventh at Thompson Speedway.

“I fell in love with the place right from the start,” Bonsignore said. “I’m not afraid to drive it in deep and run it up to the wall and just stomp back into the throttle. It’s not much finesse here, you’ve just got to be a bull in a china shop.”

Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., was second and Doug Coby of Milford third.

It was the second consecutive series victory and third victory in five Whelen Modified Tour events in 2018 for Bonsignore. He also won the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson on April 8. He won the most recent series event at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway on June 2. Bonsignore also has finishes of fifth (Myrtle Beach Speedway) and eighth (Stafford Motor Speedway) this season.

Bonsignore credited the hot start to the change to an LFR chassis for this season and the arrival of crew chief Ryan Stone during the offseason.

“More than anything the crew chief and the driver have to gel and we gelled right from the first lap [of the season]. Our cars are great. … Ryan is just, he’s meticulous. He lives and breaths this stuff. He doesn’t go home. He stays at the shop until midnight every day and just works and works and works and he’s just very prepared.”

It was the Stone led bunch that helped Bonsignore get the jump on the field following a lap 95 pit stop.

Bonsignore took the lead from pole sitter Doug Coby on lap nine but Coby went back to the lead on lap 24.

Coby and Ryan Preece went on to put on a show in a feisty battle for the lead from lap 50 until the first caution of the event flew on lap 92.

Bonsignore came into the pits fourth behind Coby, Preece and third place Pennink. He left pit road in front of Coby.

“The guys won us that race,” Bonsignore said. “They got us off of pit road first, right in front of [Coby], which was good.”

Said Coby: “They always have a fast pit crew so I think we all know we’re chasing [Bonsignore’s team] all the time in the pits. They would have probably won the race anyway. If he came out second I think he was better than me at the end so he would have cleared me and drove away.”

Pennink moved past Coby to second on a lap 113 restart and looked to have something to challenge Bonsignore four about five laps after the restart.

“I was a little bit better than [Bonsignore] the first four or five laps after that last restart,” Pennink said. “I just kind of decided to stay behind him and size him up for a couple laps and then pretty much as soon as it got time to go by him my car started getting tight and he started pulling away a little bit.”

Said Bonsignore: “Rowan gave us a good run those last 15 laps or so. I was able to get back in a rhythm and drive away from him.”

Bonsignore, looking for his first series championship, left Thompson holding a 19-point lead in the standings over Chase Dowling (ninth). Craig Lutz (seventh) sits third in the standings, 29 points behind Bonsignore.

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  1. So I guess it’s not the chassis change right Dareal? Now the driver is saying that it’s the chassis change. Get your mind around the fact that the chassis (unbenounced to you) is why the 51 AND the 2 are where they are today. Sorry loser.

  2. So how’s the chassis change going for the 58? They have been junk since going to Spafco. That team was strong last year. What a mistake that was. Sorry. Just stating the obvious.

  3. Hey dareal
    I think coby should of won .
    I feel like this guy bosignore is very lucky to run with us ct boys…ct is great and also added 4000 jobs this month
    Back to my hedge fund

  4. Bonsignore is on his way, Still has two races left at both Riverhead and Thompson too. He will just need respectable finishes at Loudon which hasn’t been kind to him in the past. Kudos to Thompson for running another efficient weekday show. I love how they run the main event at the set time(8pm) and don’t wait until the end of the night. No pre-race circus. Leaving a feature for after the tour race helps outgoing traffic situation. Well done all the way around Thompson. Other tracks should learn from them. Can’t wait for the BUD 150 in Aug.

    Great dual between Preece and Coby. Preece stuck to the bottom lane all night. Never ventured up high. Chassis debate aside, that race was won in the pits. My only two questions of the evening are why did the lapped cars pit with the leaders and why was the 82 not allowed to pit if he was the lucky dog. He wasn’t given his lap back until the entire field had pitted and they were going back to green. Seemed like Woody got screwed on that deal.

    Odds an Ends: Preece Lighting is worst nickname ever. Spaz, lose the pink. Pink isn’t fast. The 21 sank faster than my attention span for a certain welder who frequents this site.

  5. Great night of racing, no carnage, 51 got the job done. Great job by the 01 not to finish last only because the 7ny dropped out early.

  6. RaceDayNH says

    Hi Shawn… is there anyway for you to get clarification on that pit stop? That was definitely a head scratcher

  7. So let’s see, the 6 would be in 4th place if he didn’t miss a race, and the 3 would be in 2nd place if he didn’t miss a race. Just using points per race averages. The 3 is only 3 points behind the 2, and the 3 missed a race.

    Jeffrey, you are right, of course.

    The 2 was running the special flux capacitor last night.

    JBon is doing some nice driving, very smooth. And the new crew chief helps, a lot. Stay out of trouble and finish well.

    You can yap about the fake chassis war all you want, but the one common denominator between all the top running cars is they have the best crew chiefs. Was that too obvious?

    The pit stops made a Y-U-G-E difference. More than any chassis.

    So what happened to the 15? Somebody sneak some kryptonite in last night?

    Very disappointing to see the 7NY fade out. Too many car problems.

    It was a very good event, highlighted by the ~50 laps of the 6 trying to get by the 2. There was something going on all over the place.

    What happened to the 21? Disappeared.

    Too many cars with realizable high expectations fell out last night.

    Doesn’t matter where Preece starts, he’ll be up front in a few laps.

    Great crowd, maybe room for one more person.

    Great spectator attendance with plenty of cars from NH, MA, NY, and RI.

    Thompson runs a good show. Keeps it moving along.

  8. RaceDayNH,
    Let me see what I can find out.

  9. wmass01013 says

    I know WOODY was Upset on the radio after the race and was talking about why ap down, spotter said something about free pass car cant pit or that to be free pass car again he would have to pass all the cars to be 1st car 1 lap down, but all were confused, I admit I don’t know all the free pass rules

  10. FYI, I heard on Chase’s radio that he had a right rear going down at the end of the race.

  11. Another great day at Thompson.There is no chassis war.That obvious.It’s all about how the hotrod is setup, serviced on pit road, driven by the driver with help from a good spotter.It’s about the whole package boys and girls.Preece should be forced to start every race at the rear just to wow the crowd, he is among the best I have ever seen.The good news is we have two more races at Thompson and Stafford also.Took the Orient point ferry for the first time.It made it a 5 hour trip instead of 3-4 hours, but still added to the enjoyment of the entire day.

  12. knucklesmahoney says

    Too bad for the 7. Can’t catcha break lately it seems. I think of the entire field, he’s probably the best raw driver out there. Look at his record. 3 time MRS champ, super modified champ, TTOMS champ. the kid just gets it done, and then pulls off because of power steering issue. That’s just sucks.

  13. RaceDayNH says

    The only thing I can think of for having the lapped cars pit with the lead lap cars was running into issues with not enough pit stalls. Sometimes at Stafford I will see some of the back markers sharing the very last pit stall when there are high car counts. I usually sit in 4 at Stafford so I noticed this most recently at the sizzler… So maybe with so many front running cars a lap down, they had them pit when pit road first opened to avoid too many cars coming in with the backmarkers on the second round of pit stops. Because besides some sort of logistical issue like that with the track, I see no reason why lapped cars should come in with the leaders… as for the woody situation, I don’t even have a guess besides just some sort of lineup miscommunication. He definitely seemed to just get screwed

  14. RaceDayNH says

    And my guess is that he won’t be at the next WMT race. I saw him this past weekend testing at Monadnock in his ISMA ride. The Monadnock ISMA race was rescheduled to June 23rd… I mean he could just be testing incase the Langley Speedway race gets rained out I guess

  15. Any one know why the 44 withdrew.i know the 85 had motor problems in practice.Also what was the tire rule for pit stops. Thanks.

  16. JH, 44 vibration in the engine………..

  17. – I’m a modified fan first, but I also enjoy the Late Models and the Super Late Models. So, congrats to Mark Jenison for getting the surprise win in the LMs, and congrats to Ray Parent for taking his maiden voyage in a NASCAR modified. Started 23rd and finished 16th.

    As for the mods…
    – Was very surprised to see the 21 drop like a stone after qualifying so well. Had them in my scanner, but never heard what the issue was.
    – If you’re Jon McK, how’re you feeling about the #7 team right now? They seem beset with mechanical gremlins recently.
    – Really thought Coby was going to Victory Lane last night… Preece also looked stout, dogging Coby lap after lap after lap.
    – The inside lane was not the place to be on restarts.
    – Pennink drove another strong race in Ol’ Blue… How can you not love that team, with all its history? It’ll be interesting to see how far he can go in the points, having missed the first race.
    – It was a four car show last night… Coby, Preece, Bonsignore and Pennink.
    – And how about that top 10? Besides the top 4 and Timmy Solomito — guys you expect to find in the top 10 — there was Sapienza, Lutz, Summers and Swanson.
    – Nice to see Burt Myers make the haul north

  18. Spoke to the crew at the Tinio hauler.Broken crankshaft they thought.They said they will be at NHMS and will try to win there.

  19. GREAT JOB JUSTIN. I still say it’s not the chassis, driver,engine or crew, but a combination of all of the above. Yes Justin did give LFR credit, but I don’t think the chassis change is the only thing making him perform better. Not bashing LFR Fury chassis builds a good car, that they claim, makes setting up easier. There is a great article from the Hot Rod Network ” behind the scene at fury chassis” definitely worth reading. Just Google fury chassis and you’ll find the article.

  20. Of course the driver is going to give the chassis credit. doh. Especially when the crew chief was a key person at LFR/Fury. doh-doh. Love seeing those home-built Ole’ Blue cars right there with them fancy shcmancy cookie cutter chassis.

    Still kinda bummed at all the cars that disappeared due to mechanical problems. You would think that at this level, these cars would be able to run a 125 lap event with complete confidence and reliability.

  21. Wow Goodfella must be sick years of comments that the 2 car being around other cars
    is Bad 2 car can’t pass yiddy yiddy yiddy.

  22. Agree with you Darreal, love seeing ” ole blue” other there competing with the big chassis built cars. Rowan does a great job wheeling her week in and week out. You don’t hear about him all race long and he usually ends up top 5.

  23. old observer says

    Nascar called a Quicky caution which means all cars can pit which reduces caution laps which is better for the fans, especially late in the race. Lead lap cars restart in front of the lap down cars so it s not supposed to affect the restart order.
    For years the lucky dog hasn’t been able to pit before he passes the pace car unless he gives up the lucky dog position.
    PS Overall a pretty good race with lots of battles through out the field, especially for the lucky dog late in the race.

  24. The 3 qualified, ran and finished top 5 last night and at Seekonk and at Stafford. They are the real deal.

  25. Lonely at the top says

    You refer to Fury as LFR. Big mistake. If you drive a Lexus do you call it a Toyota? Manufacturing is something a monkey or robot can do. Who designed the chassis is the question? There is a lot going on at LFR these days. I have seen it first hand. They have several manufactures bidding to weld their designs together and do manufacture several components in House now. Give it time people. LFR was created by 1 man. I would take Fuller over ANY crew chief in the garage. The guy has lost his S$i& on me personally but man he knows what’s going on with these cars obviously. Just ask Ryan. He’s learned more in the past 4 years than anyone will know. It’s a shame no one sees this…… I am a first time poster. BTW Dareal. You are a dumba$$.

  26. Great post Lonely. Did you read this article.

    What do you think?

  27. I think it’s a great article showing what Fuller built and designed. They will need to keep him interested or they will fall behind and be the next one Fuller catches with their pants down. Just ask Troyer what happened when Fuller left them.

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