Justin Bonsignore Rolls On With Whelen Mod Tour Points Lead After Seventh In Starrett 150 At Stafford 

Justin Bonsignore (Photo: Jim DuPont)

By Denise DuPont

STAFFORD – The Phoenix Communications Ken Massa owned #51 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team came to Stafford Motor Speedway for the Starrett 150  Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway with Ryan Stone behind the wrenches and Justin Bosignore of Holtville, N.Y. behind the wheel.

Currently leading the championship point battle and knowing that Stafford is not always his best track, Bonsignore’s plan was just to survive and finish within the top ten.  Bonsignore performed quick circuits in practice and ranked fourth in group qualifying.

Bonsignore started the Starrett 150 on the outside pole after Chase Dowling of Roxbury and Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. both had to drop to the rear of the field with imposed penalties after qualifying.

When the initial green flag was thrown, Bonsignore made a move outside Doug Coby of Milford to be scored as the first race leader. He continued to lead the field until Coby came back to reclaim position one on lap 13. Bonsignore shadowed Coby lap after lap until Coby pitted to check for potential damage.

Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, MA jetted into the lead on lap 35. Bonsignore continued with a second place run until pitting during a lap 64 caution. Rejoining the field nineteenth Bonsignore had the challenge of coming up through the field mid race.

“We wanted to put three tires on the first time that we pitted to keep the balance on the car where we wanted.” Bonsignore said.

But Bonsignore’s crew was only able to take two tires before the signal was given to go green next time around.

The one tire change pit rule and fast paced cautions, found Bonsignore’s team scrambling for a strategy to both keep the car balanced and competitive. Bonsignore’s job to drive forward and stay clean. He was able to break into the top ten and then finish seventh.

“We salvaged a pretty decent finish,” Bonsignore said. “The strategy with the one tire is just tough to figure out. And we did not get it again tonight.

“It just has been a great year so we were bummed with a seventh. We will now go back to Thompson where we have had a lot of success this year and over the years. I am excited to get past Stafford. It is obviously my worst track. I just wanted to get through this knowing that we had some of my good tracks coming up – Thompson, Bristol, and Oswego. I think that we will be OK for the next several races coming up”.

Bonsignore now leads Chase Dowling by 51 points in the championship standings. An accident on lap 83 collected up Dowling who was side lined with a twenty-five place finish. Timmy Solomito is third in point standing, 64 points from the lead after a fifth place finish at Stafford.

Notes from Stafford Motor Speedway

Thoughts on the one tire change pit strategy:
Justin Bonsignore
“It is tough because NASCAR does not give you enough laps to develop your own strategy – they kind of dictate it for you. We only were able to get rights on at first pit and tried to run for a while. Half-way we were only able to get about mid-way back up. Then the car was just not balanced right on rights. We were able to come in later on and put the right rears on. We then got some track position back. We were then too tight and the balance was not right again. Every lane and lap they were just bouncing off each other and I just did not want to wreck so I was being overly cautious. In the end it was a good night.”

Thoughts on the quick cautions:
Justin Bonsignore
“I understand why they (NASCAR) are doing it because there was not a big wreck and they do not want to waste laps. The way the strategy is here, they are just trying to spice things up to make this place interesting. It did not work out for us tonight so we will go to Thompson (Speedway Motorsports Park) and see what we can do.”

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