Streaker: Justin Bonsignore Gets Record Setting Win In Whelen Mod Tour Miller Lite 200 At Riverhead

Justin Bonsignore celebrates a record setting victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Miller Lite 200 Saturday at Riverhead Raceway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

Visits to his home track of Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Justin Bonsignore typically have more often than not ended with him celebrating victory or a finish near the front of the field. 

Saturday resume of accomplishments for the Holtsville, N.Y. at the historic bullring got a special new record added to it. 

Bonsignore held off Timmy Solomito on a green-white-checkered finish to win the Whelen Modified Tour Miller Lite 200 at Riverhead Saturday. 

It was the record setting fourth consecutive series victory at Riverhead for Bonsignore, the reigning series champion. 

Before Saturday – in 63 Whelen Modified Tour events at Riverhead since 1985 – only Bonsignore, Mike Ewanitsko (1997-98) and Ryan Preece (2012-13) had ever won three consecutive series events at the track. 

Now Bonsignore, who swept both series events at the track last year and this year, takes sole possession of the streaking title at Riverhead. 

“It’s cool to get another win here,” Bonsignore said. “That’s four in a row. I think that’s pretty special. I like the history of our series and I’m proud that now we have that. That’s in our hat.” 

It was Bonsignore’s eighth series victory overall at Riverhead in 18 career starts there, which is second best all-time with the series behind Mike Ewanitsko’s 11 victories from 1987 to 2000 over 35 starts. In his 18 starts at Riverhead since 2007 Bonsignore has 15 top-five finishes. 

Solomito, of Islip, N.Y., ended up second. Craig Lutz of Miller Place, N.Y. was third. 

It was the second consecutive series victory for Bonsignore following a win last week at Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway and his fifth series win of the season. It was his 13thwin over the last 29 series events dating back to the start of the 2018 season. It was his 25thseries victory overall. 

Solomito went by Tommy Rogers Jr. for the lead on lap 147. Bonsignore got by Rogers for second on lap 164. By lap 177 Bonsignore had found his way to Solomito’s bumper as the pair worked heavy lapped traffic. 

“I found some grip down low and was making some headway there,” Bonsignore said. “It was going to be hell of a battle if it stayed green. His car was still really good and we were deep in lapped traffic.” 

Caution flew on lap 183 and on the lap 189 restart Bonsignore was able to power by Solomito on the outside for the lead. 

“I got good drive on the top and he kind of spun his tires a lot and I was able to hold him down into [turn] one,” Bonsignore said. “If you can get your left front in front of him into [turn] one as the outside guy you’re kind of in control of what they’re going to do. We were able to muscle the lead away from him.” 

The caution flew once again on lap 191 and then once again on the ensuing restart to set up a green-white-checkered overtime finish. 

On the final restart Bonsignore and Solomito made contact at the green with the pair going side-by-side for the lap. Bonsignore took advantage off of turn four coming to the white flag and Solomito had nothing for him on the final circuit. 

“There’s nothing on the bottom … but the way they moved the restart line, you couldn’t take the outside and be the leader,” Bonsignore said of his decision to take the inside on the final restart. “It was just too risky. But we had a really good car. It stayed pretty good.” 

Said Solomito: These guys gave me a great car. You just can’t be on the outside here anymore. The guys on the bottom they just want to run you up. We got run up at the beginning of the race. Fought back, got back to the lead. Then you know, just kind of got run up a little bit at the end of the race. It’s what you’ve got to do here. … Hopefully it was exciting for the fans. We wanted one spot better but we’ll take what we can get.” 

Lutz, who won the pole for the event, ran with the leaders all race. 

“We were there [at the ened], just a little too tight to capitalize,” Lutz said. “The two guys in front of me, they’re really good. Another third place finish, a good run for us.” 

Series points leader Doug Coby had a rough day at Riverhead. After spinning early in the event the five-time series champion fought back to the top-10 in the late going. But he ended up in a final lap skirmish, backing in reverse from turn four across the start-finish line as the last car on the lead lap in 15thplace. 

Coby came into the event with a 37-point lead over second place Bonsignore in the standings. Bonsignore cut that lead to 19 points with three events remaining this season. The series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Musket 250 on Sept. 21, then to Stafford Speedway for the NAPA Fall Final 150 on Sept. 29 before closing the season with the Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson Speedway on Oct. 13.




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Comments

  1. JBon takes the home field advantage for all he can.

    The absolute best part of the race was when the 51 and 85 were side-by-side right behind the 2 in a turn. The 2 slows, the 51 bumps into the 2, and the 2 spins across the noses of the 51 and 85 in turn 4. It was poetic. Very early too, around lap 13. The 2 went to the back and had to work. Make sure you watch the show on Wednesday, NBCSN.

    Silk loses ground with very little races left.

    Good to see the 16 run well. Liz should be very excited.

    Melissa Fifield with MORE mechanical gremlins. After only 5 laps, the power steering fails. Fire that Crew Chief.

  2. Great race, JBon showed them how to get it done. Rodgers used his stuff up to early, could have possibly been a factor later in the race. Good to see Timmy up front and Lutz definitely on the verge of getting his first win. To bad for Silk, had a great run going going until he got ran over ultimately knocking him out of a good finish that would have tightened the points up. What can I say about the 01, weekly maintenance program not there, needs to be corrected quickly.

  3. Congrats to Justin and the #51 team. Refreshing to finally see Timmy Solomito have a good run in Eric Sandersons #16 car. Maybe they’ve reached a turning point with that car

  4. Liz Cherokee says:

    Sorry dareal I wasn’t at Riverhead to see the best performance by Timmy Stolimoto in a while. I was actually out on Martha’s Vineyard at Aquinnah (formely called Gay’s Head until political correctness changed the town’s name about 20 years ago). The towns out there might be dry, but trust me, I was powering down some Stolimoto of my own! I’m looking forwar to leaf peeping and seeing the race at New Hampshire in a few weeks.

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