Justin Bonsignore Revels In Whelen Modified Tour Title At NASCAR Awards Banquet

Justin Bonsignore on stage at the NASCAR Awards banquet in Charlotte Friday (Photo: Jim DuPont)

By Denise Dupont

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Ten years ago Ken Massa of Bellport, N.Y. decided to venture into NASCAR competition and purchased a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car. He reached out at that time to Justin Bonsignore from Holtsville, NY to drive. So in 2010, the long road that led the team to 2018 NASCAR Championship Celebrations in Charlotte, NC story began there.

In 2018, the Mass owened team zeroed in the right combination to win eight of the sixteen races and captured five poles. Overcoming previous challenges, the team achieved success early in the season and built on it.

“It has been a long time coming, it required a lot of support from Ken, Janine and the kids along with M-3 Technology over the years.” Bonsignore said Friday before being honored at NASCAR’s Awards banquet in Charlotte. “They never gave up on me and I never gave up on them. We had some up and down times, went through a lot with different cars and unfortunately a few different crew chiefs. We accomplished all of this with Ryan [Stone] as our crew chief and all the changes we made off- season: including LFR coming on board. Ken spent a lot of money and Phoenix re-invested in the team and stuck with us. That allowed us to pull it all together so quickly and come together for the year that we had. Eight wins and five poles.

“It has not sunk in completely yet. It is just surreal and it will be hard to match it.”

Bonsignore on defeating five-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby:  

“It was awesome winning the championship this year. Doug [Coby] and I have a good relationship. We rib on each other a lot and like to have fun. But there is nobody that I want to beat and I am sure that he would say the same thing about me. It is a friendly rivalry. We try not to have too many issues together and race against each other. To be the guy to finally was able beat him this year it makes it even much more special. They have accomplished this a bunch of years, great years. We have been close to them three out of the four years in particular and we possibly could have won three of those. To finally come out on the winning end of it and do it in the fashion that we did with the season that we had makes it special. It also makes the #2 team hungry for where they need to get back to where they need to be. Ryan and the whole team is now working real hard to make sure that we don’t get behind for 2019.”

Bonsignore on the 2019 Whelen Modified Tour Schedule: 

“I think that the NWMT tour and Jimmy Wilson do a great job with the race schedule keeping it at a reasonable level. This year there are a couple more races. From budgeting perspective and keeping good car count, it is at a really good level right now. It is unfortunate that we lost a couple of tracks. I love going to different tracks so I am glad to see a couple of new tracks coming on board, especially South Boston. I have not raced there and I am excited to go there.  It is definitely interesting and exciting to see Wall Stadium back on the schedule. That will be a tough race. Then you have all your normal tracks, you bread and butter tracks – Stafford, Thompson, Riverhead… all the tracks support the tour year after year. We love going to those places with all the diehard New England fans. So I am excited to get going here at Myrtle Beach.”

Bonsignore on losing Bristol Motor Speedway from the Whelen Modified Tour Schedule: 

“As a driver I am disappointed, but I see the big picture from our team. It is tough to go down there for the guys on the team especially in the middle of the week. We have a very well budgeted team so I can imagine how hard it is on some of the smaller teams to get your crew to go down and then run at a race track that is as demanding as it is.  I thought the race at Bristol was great last year. They had a good package. The PJ1 wore away and I think that it was better for the modified race. I am really happy that we did win it. We made a really big effort to win it after hearing the rumbling that the track may go away from the schedule next year. We are glad we did it and got the last tour awards for the track so that is pretty cool.” 

Bonsignore on any changes coming to the team for 2019 

“I kind of put everybody on the team on the spot right after Thompson by asking: ‘Who is ready to do this again next year?’ Everybody on the team gave a big thumbs up. I do not anticipate any major changes in 2019. Phoenix Communications, our sponsor, should be coming back. We are hopefully going to keep this team together for a long time. Aside from Ryan [Stone] joining last year, he was the only new crew member for a while. We are finally hitting the top of where we need to be and I do not see why anyone would want to go do something different. I am excited to go racing with them all the time. They are good friends. Their families are always with us and we are having a lot of fun. They have become a second family to me. I hope they feel the same and we can continue this group as long as they want to go racing. We have one LFR car here with us for the banquet and the other one is home having work done to it over the winter after that New Hampshire crash. We just have to clean the cars up a little and refresh the parts where needed. They were both brand new cars this year so nothing major needs to get done. The [cars] were kept pristine by Ryan and the guys. So we will do a little maintenance on the drive train and all that good stuff and we will be ready to go to Myrtle Beach.” 

Comments

  1. Whether you are a dedicated fan of the NWMT or not you can’t help admire the level of excellence the series brings to the table. Fuller’s full time entry is gone as is Preece. But with top tier cars in Bonsignor, Coby and Solomito you have three teams willing to do and spend any amount to win a championship. The second tier including Lutz, Sapienza and Summers and Goodale are top drawer as well. Not to forget the invaders like the 7NY, Emerling, Fuller’s LFR next year and everyones favorite Matt Hirschman. And all of them are well mannered, well spoken ambassadors of the series. They virtually always say the right thing at the right time. I’m thinking of Solomito who crashed out of the World Series race at Thompson. Tough spot for the guy to be in but he put in all on his own shoulders and took the blame. What a guy.
    Screw Bristol and the empty seats that show up on TV as a testament to how futile the long trip was in the middle of summer. Wall is better and will be packed. South Boston will be empty but it’s warm and part of a well designed early season two race swing south. The Musket is still new and now rightfully takes it’s place as the marquee event with no competition from Bristol.
    I love the cast iron block, 4 barrel modifies but the NWMT is definitely the cream of the crop.

  2. Congratulations.

    The 51 has assembled a dream Dream Team.

  3. Crazy in NY says:

    “I love the cast iron block, 4 barrel modifies but the NWMT is definitely the cream of the crop”
    Ahhh..I get it now. It’s the metal the block is cast from that makes a series great. Who knew?

  4. Oh no you don’t. Say anything you like Mr. NY. I have only two goals here and neither involves a tug of war with anyone. Try to find something positive in everything even when everything you’ve said may not be completely positive. And don’t mess with a porcupine.
    Happy holidays!

  5. So the metal the engine blocks are made from determines how good a touring series is? Always thought the NWMT used cast iron blocks. Even cup cars use Iron blocks, so what gives? Has someone come up with an affordable aluminum block? Still don’t see the connection between the engine block, and series. I’m so confused. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!!!

  6. wmass01013 says:

    Don’t waste yur time Doug on HIM, he wont give any credit to the WMT or any drivers!!!
    IT’s all his world and nothing else matters

  7. Whoa!. You guys must be really bored now that this is the off season.
    I just used an alternative way to refer to VMRS engine rule cars as opposed to the NWMT and their aluminum block spec engines. I’ll make sure never to do that again.
    But let’s talk about the NWMT. They are the cream of the crop regionally aren’t they?. Best funded, professional, fastest lap times. Can’t say enough about how classy guys like Coby, JB and Solomito are. Preece moving into the Monster Series. And the crowds. They draw the strongest numbers even with the highest prices. By far.
    That said I’ve also gone on to heap unfettered praise on SK’s, Sk Lights, the ROC, TTOMS, VMRS, Stafford Opens, Street Stocks and more. Stafford LM’s and LLMs have been a challenge.
    I get it. It’s the times we live in. The zero sum game. Taking sides. Identity modified loyalty syndrome. But really squabbling over a couple series like the TTOMS and NWMT. Who cares. They’re all fun to watch, the better series doesn’t make those that are loyal to the one series better people. In many cases they are the same chassis, engine, driver and team in both series.
    Here’s my REGIONAL, asphalt modified Cream of the Crop Awards
    NWMT Cream of the crop for highest level of competition and excellence in a modified touring series.
    VMRS Cream of the crop for the most diverse regional track schedule, consistently strong car counts and best competition.
    TTOMS Cream of the crop as unchallenged and most popular open modified series
    ROC Cream of the crop western Northeast region modified touring series.
    Justin Bonsignor- cream of the crop driver of the best modified regional team without challenge in 2018.
    Matt Hirschman_ cream of the crop as the most popular driver in 2018. Popular defined as the sum of those that love him and those that hate him.
    Cream of the crop for most informed and civil forum participant in 2018-Fast Eddie
    Cream of the crop for most entertaining forum participant in 2018-Crazy in NY
    Cream of the crop award for shortest and best comments-Elect
    Cream of the crop for biggest wind bag in 2018- Doug
    Are you sick of hearing cream of the crop yet? i went too far didn’t I?

  8. wmass01013 says:

    I have always HATED Comparing drivers with different series against others, I LOVE MODIFIEDS and don’t care if WMT, VMRS, ROC, SMART,WSMT, TTOMS, RIVERHEAD, WALL STADIUM, BOWMAN GRAY, Mahonig Valley or any other place they race, just give me good weather and a decent entry list and lets Race!!!!

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