Whelen Modified Tour Notebook: Justin Bonsignore Rides Wave Of Momentum Into Thompson Event

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Justin Bonsignore (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

A couple months ago, three-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore was nowhere near the title battle between Ron Silk and Jon McKennedy.

Two consecutive victories at Oswego Speedway and Riverhead Raceway has shifted momentum in Bonsignore’s favor and made him a favorite to claim his fourth title as the series heads to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park this weekend for the Phoenix Communications 150.

“We’re really excited to head into Thompson,” Bonsignore said. “It’s been one of our best tracks over the years, and the World Series weekend is always a special event in the New England area. We’ve really hit on something with the car over the past couple of weeks, and we think that’s going to carry over into Thompson, as well.”

RELATED: Phoenix Communications 150 entry list

Two finishes below 20th at New Smyrna Speedway and Riverhead put Bonsignore in the hole that he has been trying to climb out of all year.

While Bonsignore believed he could shake off those poor showings, inconsistency during the summer further hindered his progress back toward the front of the field. Despite the struggles, Bonsignore and his team were not ready to let a fourth title escape their grasp.

Following a 12th-place run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Bonsignore has not recorded a finish worse than sixth over the past five races. This has erased his deficit from 25 points after New Hampshire to just three, putting him in a tie for second with Silk.

With 12 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victories at Thompson on his resume, including six in a row from 2018-19, Bonsignore is confident he can enter the season finale at Martinsville Speedway with the points lead. But he expects Silk and McKennedy to battle him all the way down to the last lap of the year.

“It’s going to be a dogfight during these last two races,” Bonsignore said. “Jon and Ronnie are really good drivers and have really good teams, so this’ll be exciting for the fans. Whoever does the best in these two races is likely going to win the championship, as well, so we’ll have to execute all day and keep ourselves in a position to win when it gets down to it.”

Bonsignore will search for his 13th Thompson win and fifth on the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season when the green flag flies for the Phoenix Communications 150 at 4 p.m. ET. The event will be streamed live on FloRacing.

Mike Christopher Jr. back with Tommy Baldwin Racing

While three points separate the top three in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver standings, there are almost no questions over who the owner’s champion will be once the checkered flag flies at Martinsville.

Tommy Baldwin Racing has been a dominant force in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour all season long, with six-time champion Doug Coby, Jimmy Blewett and Mike Christopher Jr. all taking the iconic No. 7NY to Victory Lane at least once in 2022.

For the Phoenix Communications 150, Baldwin has tabbed Mike Jr. to pilot his car around Thompson. Mike Jr. impressed many in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour garage area earlier this year by outdueling the series veterans at Jennerstown Speedway for his first win at the age of 23.

The nephew of 2008 series champion Ted Christopher and son of former racer Mike Christopher, Mike Jr. has plenty of knowledge and experience to rely on as he continues to grow more comfortable competing at some of the most storied facilities in the northeast.

Another win for Mike Jr. in Sunday’s Phoenix Communications 150 would be the sixth for Baldwin on the 2022 season and further pad out their advantage over the rest of the field in the owner points.

Ryan Preece piloting Ole’ Blue at Thompson

The iconic No. 3 Ole’ Blue Modified owned by Jan Boehler will have a familiar face behind the wheel at Thompson on Sunday.

Ryan Preece, the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, will climb into the famous ride for his fourth start on the 2022 season. This is the second time Preece has competed in Ole’ Blue this year after he scored a top 10 in the season-opener at New Smyrna.

Preece previously ran Ole’ Blue during the early days of his Modified career from 2008-10. In that timeframe, Preece picked up three of his 25 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victories and claimed a second-place points finish in 2009.

Now back with his old team again, Preece is looking to claim an eighth consecutive top-10 finish that dates to his 2021 season with the late Eddie Partridge. All three of Preece’s top 10s in 2022 have come with a different organization.

Should Preece take home a checkered flag Sunday afternoon, it would be his fourth triumph in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson. His most recent victory at the track came in 2017 while driving for Partridge.


  • Craig Lutz turned an inconsistent season around during the most recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Thompson by leading a race-high 119 laps to claim his fourth career victory. Lutz will be searching for his third consecutive victory at Thompson on Sunday afternoon.
  • Doug Coby is back in his own No. 10 Modified for the Phoenix Communications 150. He drove the same car to a third place finish at Thompson in August, but he ended up drawing the ire of teammate Jimmy Blewett after contact on the fronstretch sent the 7NY into the wall, knocking Blewett out of the race.
  • Bobby Santos III is making his fourth start of 2022 behind the wheel of the No. 44 owned by Lawney Tinio. Santos has won at Thompson five times during his career, but a win on Sunday would break a dry spell that followed his victory in the Musket 200 at New Hampshire in 2020.
  • The last time Timmy Solomito won a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race was back on Oct. 15, 2017 at Thompson, his second at the track. Solomito has come close to Victory Lane several times since that day, but will look to finally earn another win driving for his family-owned team.

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