Home Cooking: Justin Bonsignore Scores Whelen Mod Tour Buzz Chew 200 Win At Riverhead 

Justin Bonsignore celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 Sunday at Riverhead Raceway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

Last week Ron Silk and his Haydt-Yannone Racing team rolled to a massive $35,000 payday in a dominant winning performance in the NAPA Spring Sizzler 100 at Stafford Speedway. 

For much of the day Sunday at Riverhead Raceway it looked like the momentum of winning the biggest event in Modified racing was going to carry Silk to his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at the historic Long Island bullring. 

In the end though, it was Riverhead maven Justin Bonsignore who shut down the Silk train from rolling to another win. 

Bonsignore used a lap 193 restart to grab the lead from Silk and then held Silk off on a green-white-checkered finish to win the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 Sunday at Riverhead Raceway. 

The event, which was originally scheduled for Saturday but moved due to rain, was extended from 200 to 212 laps due to a late caution. 

It was the 10th career Whelen Modified Tour victory at Riverhead for Bonsignore, of Holtsville, N.Y., who was a regular at the track before going full-time on the Whelen Modified Tour. 

“You’ve got to keep yourself in these things late in the race,” Bonsignore said. “Cautions fell our way. Just unbelievable to get No. 10 here. I can’t thank my whole crew enough. [Crew chief] Ryan Stone and the entire team.” 

Silk, of Norwalk, held on for second after leading 164 laps. 

“We had a great car,” Silk said. “It was the best car we’ve had here in a while. I thought I was a little bit better than [Bonsignore], even after he got by me there. But it’s just really hard to pass, we’re all hanging on at that point. … This is the best we’ve run here so far, so hopefully we’ll be a little better.” 

Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass. was third. 

“I was just really hanging on,” McKennedy said. “We made the best of it. We had a really good car, we were just a little bit too tight … to run with [Silk] and [Bonsignore]. But overall the team did a great job. This is one of our worst tracks so to come out of here with a solid top-three I’m proud of that.” 

Bonsignore joins Silk, Austin Beers and Doug Coby as winners this year after four Whelen Modified Tour events. Silk won the season opening event at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, Beers won at Richmond (Va.) Raceway and Coby won at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H.

It was the 36th career series victory for Bonsignore, giving him sole possession of fourth place on the division’s all-time win list. Before Sunday he was tied with Coby and Tony Hirschman Jr. Mike Stefanik (74 wins), Reggie Ruggiero (44 wins) and Ted Christopher (42 wins) make up the top three on the list. Bonsignore will now look to match Mike Ewanitsko’s series record of 11 victories at Riverhead. The track will host the series two more times this year. 

Bonsignore won the pole Sunday, but gave up the lead to Silk on lap 29. Silk remained stout out front through a plethora of cautions through the day. 

The eighth caution of the event on lap 187 proved to be Silk’s undoing. Bonsignore was able to beat Silk on the lap 193 restart. 

“That caution [on lap 187] was really good for us,” Bonsignore said. “I got a really good restart and he spun the tires bad. We got down in front of him.” 

Silk didn’t let Bonsignore get away though. Silk got to the inside of Bonsignore and the pair banged for the lead for two laps. Silk got back out in front of Bonsignore for the lead on lap 197, but a seven car wreck behind the leaders brought out the caution and the sent the running order back to the previous lap for the green-white-checkered finish. 

“He could roll beyond the apron of [turns] one and two,” Bonsignore said. “I couldn’t hold the bottom. We were beating and banging. I thought we were going to wreck with that yellow came out [on lap 197]. Thank god we didn’t.” 

Silk was able to challenge Bonsignore low off of turn two on the final lap, but Bonsignore held him off to the checkered. 

The event was cause for a big shakeup in the standings after four events. Coming into the race Silk held a one-point lead at the top of the standings over Austin Beers, with Bonsignore in third, two points off the lead, and Coby in fourth, five points behind Silk. 

Coby and his Tommy Baldwin Racing team started Sunday’s event two-laps down from the field for an impound infraction before the event. Coby ended up 19th, two laps down from the leaders. Beers was running fourth on the final lap but was involved in a wreck in the final corner and ended up 17th. 

The unofficial standings following the event put Bonsignore in the lead with Silk one point behind him in second. Beers is now third in the standings, 19 points behind Bonsignore, with Coby fourth, 25 points off the lead. 


  1. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod fan says

    Once again the NWMT proves it is the premiere mod series. Great battle between the 51 and 16 . The 01 ruins so many good battles on the track. She gets lapped every 5-7 laps and is in the way. She needs to be parked sooner.

  2. Well done Melissa Fifield for completing the race, staying out of everyone’s way on a packed tiny track and being predictable. The opposite of that would be Jack Handley, sideways coming out of the corners, blocking Silk trying to lap him and causing the caution with the 3. Horrible racing that Silk avoided being collected in only by luck and quick reactions. Add Sapienza one up on Fifield as well for helping to end Brunnhoelzl’s day.

  3. Wondering if anyone saw who turned the 64? Being second in the points, I was hoping Flo would show a replay of the incident. And come on, if you can’t correctly pronounce the name of the defending series champion, maybe you shouldn’t be doing the podium interviews 🤷‍♂️

  4. How many times did the 01 get the lucky dog? Wow, she kept the 7NY 2 laps down!!!!! 😝 Incredible that the 01 finished the race ONLY 3 laps down, perhaps the best finish in years. The timing of the cautions worked out perfectly to keep the 01 closer to the lead lap.

    And then there were two. Coby tumbles in the points, Beers stumbles, leaving JBon and Silk. If they don’t each use a Mulligan, it will be a fascinating NWMT season.

    But the best part of the weekend was that the 7NY had the wrong gear!!!!

    ⚙️ ⚙️ ⚙️ ⚙️ ⚙️ ⚙️ ⚙️ ⚙️ ⚙️ ⚙️ ⚙️ ⚙️ ⚙️

    So they had to change the gear, an impound violation, which resulted in starting with the 2 lap deficit.

    The 7NY started two laps down, and finished two laps down. 🤕

  5. wmass01013 says

    Coby could not get the LUCKY dog because penalty laps cannot be made up with the Lucky Dog spot.

  6. Great racing by Silk and JBon. Either one could have dumped the other numerous times. They are showing by example that respectful racing is awesome, and the way it should be. And implicitly, they are showing that those that do not race cleanly are a bunch of stupididiotmorons.

  7. I think it’s safe to say the TBR after their dominance last year have taken their eyes off the ball this season. Initial indication were there, this is about as big a muff as they come. You can bet Coby must have been seething making laps yesterday.
    At the caution just before the 51 passes the 16 the observation was made a caution was not what Silk wanted to see, a classic. Then Coss goes on a riff about Silk having a good car, quality, respectful drivers all around him, he’s been strong on all the restarts so he should be just fine. Well that didn’t happen did it? Announcing is a really tough job and the reason most announcers stick to the cliche’s boring us to death. Just continue to do what you’re doing Mr Coss your calls are perfect in my book.
    So what’s the consensus good race? Looked a little MRS’ie to me with a soupcon of razzle dazzle. NASCAR took our live timing away a while back and now can’t even get a decent running order graphic working right. I can see who’s on first but what’s on second and I don’t know on third is hard to follow. Add in the swing and a miss on the driver intro’s my hat goes off to the young Haley belting out great renditions of the National Anthem and God Bless America although her parents should definitely consider buying her a new pair of jeans.

  8. What takes so long for the NWMT to update the standings? A couple years ago, the standings would be updated by the time I got home from the track, or shortly thereafter. And that speedy result might have been because I shamed them on it. Taking a week to update the results in this day and age of instant results is disrespectful. The fans, teams, industry and owners deserve better.

    Come on NWMT, you must do better!

    What is even more bizarre is that the last couple races have been updated piecemeal. Only a couple columns were updated at a time, taking several days for the whole table to be updated. Bizarre.

  9. 🍸🍸🍸 Liz Cherokee 🍸🍸🍸 says

    Melissa did a fabulous job yesterday. This was clearly her best finish at Riverhead to date and I totally love it! I’ll even drink twice to it!
    Bottoms up boys!

  10. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod fan says

    the 01 finished 3 laps down because of the lucky dog rule. Remove the rule and the 01 finishes 40 laps down. Several times I saw a car have to fall back in line when coming up on her which in turn ruins the racing I pay $$$ to see.
    Go to a restaurant and have someone cook your meal who does not belong cooking it…. Just my opinion as a paying customer.

  11. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod Fan,
    Based on the rules of qualification for the event, she has as much right to be on the track as anyone else. How can you say she doesn’t “belong” when she’s been racing full-time on the series for 10 years and is good enough to qualify for every feature? Obviously she belongs in the series if she’s good enough to qualify for every event. Until more cars show up and make qualifying an actual competition to earn a starting spot for the feature rather than just a way to decide where everyone starts, then she has every right to be out there and absolutely belongs. If I go to a restaurant and have someone cook my meal that I don’t think belongs cooking it then I just don’t go back to that restaurant. I don’t keep going back over and over again. If you don’t think all the people racing in the field are worthy of the price you have to pay for a ticket then maybe just don’t buy a ticket until those in the field satisfy what you think belongs out there.

  12. So far, the 7NY gets a penalty for spring rubbers at the Monadnock race, then has to change the gear at Riverhead while impounded.

    What’s gonna be next?

    What is the bigger deterrence: the $1,500 penalty for the spring rubber violation, or the 2 lap penalty for changes while impounded?

  13. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod fan says

    Every car qualifies so that takes care of that theory. She can not maintain a speed on any track. Gets lapped every 4 or 5…ok sometimes 7 laps. She needs to run an SK lite and learn how to drive a mod… Drops out of races with “handling” issues?!?!?!? how can a car have handling issues when its running slowly on the bottom getting lapped?…. Lets hope she cant afford an Indy car. Shawn will let her out on the track.

  14. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod Fan,
    How is it that “Takes care of that theory”. I’m arguing the point that you said that she doesn’t belong on the track with the series. If the series doesn’t attract enough cars so that it’s a situation where everybody who shows up makes the show, then everybody shows up belongs on the track. You can argue until you’re blue in the face otherwise, but she belongs on the track and in the series simply by showing up to every race.

  15. Shawn, did the NWMT do away with minimum speed rules? Or have the minimum speed rules been changed such that the minimum speed limit is much lower than in the past? The 01 seems to be as slow as cars that have been given the black flag for failing to meet minimum speed.

  16. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod fan says

    I’m not going to bend at the knee for the sake of political correctness on this issue. Has anyone ever seen her pass a car at speed?….ANYONE?….. and the embarrassment with the Most popular driver award…. Her gang ended that award with their online voting onslaught….. Pass a car at speed…. Just 1….. SHOW ME.

  17. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod Fan,
    You keep going back the well on how slow she is, but you refuse to recognize the core issue of the matter of why she is there. It’s not about political correctness whatsoever. And it’s not about how many cars she might pass. It’s about the fact that she has found a series where she can show up and know that she has the equipment, ability and competiveness to make the field every time she shows up. It’s not her fault that the series doesn’t attract enough competitive teams to send cars home. She is not a product of political correctness. She is a product of a lack of team owners wanting to compete with the series. And again, you can’t say she doesn’t belong, because she has every right to be on the track as long as she shows up and they don’t send any cars home after qualifying.

  18. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod fan says

    Ok. Does anyone agree with me that maybe just maybe she should be in a lower Mod division? Maybe belongs is the wrong word to use…. She lacks the experience to race a full blown mod and it really shows. I never said anything about anyone not having the right to do what they want. I’ll leave the topic alone now.

  19. Let me add to the 01 discussion. This is an old topic and has quite a history.

    The 01 used to run the MRS when it was fledging. She could run there until the MRS got popular and car counts went up. She couldn’t make the MRS shows. So as the MRS was growing, it was attracting cars from the NWMT, and the NWMT car counts were going down. So the 01 moved to the NWMT where she could make the show because there was little to no chance there was going to be ample cars showing up and sending cars home. Rarely has a car been sent home on the NWMT in many, many years.

    When more cars show up and the NWMT decides NOT to let everyone that showed up to run, the 01 surely will not qualify.

    So because of the fact of low car counts on the NWMT, anybody that shows up is considered qualified.

    The 01 equipment can run, the driver appears to be afraid of going fast. That’s obvious from watching and listening.

    As far as running in a lower series… imagine her running in the Stafford SK series. That is an extremely competitive series, and she’d get destroyed, or destroy most of the field as a traffic cone. Think of how awesome the Stafford SK series is, and what would happen if a traffic cone were on the track.

    I’m wondering what the minimum speed rule is at these races.

  20. And after this many years, the 01 driver has shown zero improvement. She is the red lantern, the back marker to the back markers.

    The 01 has been manifested by many chassis and cars, engines, etc., and no improvement. It isn’t the car. The driver has shown she simply can not run better than the back marker, by far. If after all these years they can’t get a car to run, they should have been banned.

  21. Darealgoodfella,
    How can you rationalize “banning” someone from the series when the series can’t fill all the starting spots available? There have been plenty of drivers over the years with the series who were significantly slower than most of the other field for numerous years and they weren’t banned. Maybe NASCAR needs to drop the number of starting spots available for each event to about 20-22 cars and make getting in the race a competition again.

  22. I’m not rationalizing anything. “Rationalization” is not a good way to characterize the discussion of the 01 and minimum speeds, lap times and the number of cars allowed in a race contrasted with the number of cars that show up to a race.

    Think of whiskey and bourbon. All bourbons are whiskey, but not all whiskies are bourbon.

    Shawn wrote, “It’s about the fact that she has found a series where she can show up and know that she has the equipment, ability and competitiveness to make the field every time she shows up.”

    So is making the field is an evaluation before the race on the track? Yes, it is called qualifying, as in qualifying to get into the race. Earning the spot. When the field is short, and all cars that show up will get in the race, qualifying is moot, and then qualifying to get into the race does not exist and has NOTHING to do with equipment, ability and competitiveness. NOTHING. Pass tech and you are in the race. That’s the problem. Uncompetitive, detrimental cars can now get in the race.

    When I’m watching a race, I’m timing when the lead cars will be coming up on the 01 and if they will have to suspend racing and hold their line to get by, or can they race and go for a pass. That sucks.

    The number of cars that show up to an event has nothing to do with whether a car or driver is qualified to compete in a race. Yet, if less cars show up than the maximum number of cars that can run the race, all cars are qualified???? No, just no, that makes no sense.

    The way the current rules and protocols are set up, there is a galactic disconnect between qualifying to get into the race, and being qualified to compete in the race.

    Qualifying to get into the race and then being qualified to compete on the track are two very different things.

    Let’s say that for a given race, 30 is the maximum number of cars allowed to make the field. So 27 cars show up, and therefore, all cars will make the field. Not on speed, but because no other car could have been faster to displace the slowest car(s).

    So let’s now say that a race has a limit of 30 cars, and 34 cars show up to enter. The additional cars are on par with the 7NY, 51, 16, and 79, and when they run the qualifying laps, they run as expected. The 01 runs as it always does and does not make the show, it does not qualify to run in the event.

    Same 01 car, does not qualify. The number of cars that showed up has no effect on the performance of the 01, yet the number of cars that shows up can preclude the 01 from making the show. Does that make sense?

    Whether a car or a driver is qualified shows up on the track in the race.

    Qualifying to get into a race is very different than being qualified to compete on the track, be competitive, and not being an impediment to the top competitive cars. There is the quality of the equipment, the productiveness of the setup, the skills of the driver, how many spots available, how many cars show up, and how many provisionals.

    The number of cars that could run a race should be what the track can safely accommodate. That’s the way it used to be, or so I’m told. When the maximum cars allowable to start was reduced a few years ago because of low car counts, it was silly. It looked bad because if the original starting car limit was 32 and 23 cars were showing up didn’t mean the maximum number of cars allowed to start had to be reduced to try to match the number of cars showing up.

    Reducing the starting car limit to attempt to weed out the traffic cones is not a cure. Let’s say 24 cars maximum is the limit, and 28 cars show up that are all very good. But this track used to allow 32 cars to qualify when lots of cars were showing up. So the 28th place car is only a few thousandths behind the 24th place car in qualifying, and would definitely be in the show back when the car limit was 32. So, no, fiddling with the max number of cars in an attempt to get the traffic cones off the track is not an option.

    The lack of competitiveness is the problem. The impact on the racing is a problem with product quality. The competitive drivers do not need the obstruction that the extremely slow, noncompetitive cars bring to the track.

    At this point, there should be no disagreement that if the regular driver of the 01 were to turn laps in the 7NY, 51, 16, or 79, the lap times would be on par with those in the 01. That has nothing to do with qualifying to make the race, but everything about being qualified to actually compete on the track in the race, and not be a detriment.

    The 01 is good enough to get in the show when there are low car counts, but not good enough when there are more cars than the maximum cars allowed. Makes no sense. The capability of the 01 did not change.

    The 01 is the worst of the worse. By far. The perennial back markers like the 18, 26/7, 33 (RIP) were not as bad as the 01 is. Sometimes they had a really bad day, but they would be 🏴 and yanked, or parked themselves. And the record of the 01 was perhaps worst last season. After all these years, it should be better, much better. The racing of the competitive cars is impacted by the 01 and having to constantly know where it is to plan or evade competitive moves. When the 01 is near a turn, there is no chance to pass, all cars are forced up the track into a non-competitive posture. Watching this on a tiny track recently like Riverhead is the perfect example.

    Lap times need to be used, regardless of the number of cars showing up, to eliminate cars that can not make a minimum lap time. This can be determined with data, historical data, practice times, and race times. A minimum lap time needs to be established, especially when less cars show up than the race maximum allows. This will weed out the traffic cones. A lap time based system should also be used when more cars show up than the race limit maximum.

    If the car counts were healthy, the 01 would functionally and effectively be banned. Just as it was from the MRS. It is simply not a competitive operation, and it is a detriment to the racing product on the track. The 01 impacts the racing in a negative way. But because of numerous factors, car counts are low and operations that otherwise could not exist for they would never make it into a race, and have no place participating, continue to get into races.

    So since the 01 is no better today than it was when it began many years ago, and there is no screening process in place to keep this car off the track to prevent it from impacting the racing product, it needs to be told it isn’t a quality operation that improves the racing product on the track, it actually is a detriment to the racing product, and don’t come back until it can run and not be a detriment.

    Look at all the grief Dave Marcis got for all his slowness that caused accidents. When he was running, there was constant chatter to install some sort of minimum lap time rule.

    Or another option, or in addition to a minimum lap time rule, is that if a car goes down X many laps (in the first Y many laps of the race?), the car is parked.

    Back in the day when more cars showed up than could run, it was highly likely that the current qualifying procedures would cull these noncompetitive cars to prevent what is going on now. Something needs to be done to clear the track so the competitive cars can race unimpeded. Once the 01 gets parked, which is often, the racing becomes racing, and not evading the traffic cone.

  23. 🎀 🎀 🎀 Liz Cherokee 🎀 🎀 🎀 says

    Lest we forget that Melissa finidhed in the top 15 in points last year? I salute her for pursuing her dream and ignoring the voices of jealousy.
    Bottoms up boys!

  24. car counts be damned says

    dareal moron knows all. one third of the field in cup has no chance of winning but they are there.you would ban them MORON

  25. Hey Liz, it must be so exciting for the 01 fans when part-time drivers do not show up and that allows the 01 to climb in the points. That is your version of high performance. For the 01, winning is when part-timers ahead of her do not show up. The less full time drivers there are, the higher the 01 will finish. That team must be so proud. It’s all about showing up for the 01, nothing to do with performance on the track. Anyways, with the change of weather, I’m no longer wearing the warm and toasty base layers, and have switched over to the bicycling shorts. You can dream.

    As far as car counts go, it’s quality, not quantity that counts. For those of you that have not noticed, the 18 and 26 have picked up their game quite a bit. Their performances have not annoyed me the last couple seasons. The 01 appears to be getting even worse. The NWMT will be better off without the 01. I mean, would you want to see a track full of 01 class cars? As it is, we discuss the differences and preferences between quality in the NWMT , Tri-Track and MRS, and it is a consensus that the NWMT is the crème de la crème. So now, imagine a track full of 01 drivers. How many of you would go to those races? The 01 will not be missed if it did not show up.

    Right now, the 01 is running the NWMT because it is the only place it can get into the show.

    Does the MRS exist any more?

  26. Johnny Spot says

    The NWMT is the creme de la creme? Come on now duhreal, you know that’s bogus. Compare entries for Tri-Track and NWMT this weekend. Notable drivers in both events are Austin Beers, Kyle Bonsignore, Doug Coby, Matt Hirschman, Jake Johnson, Anthony Nocella and Ron Silk. Notable names at Lee that won’t be at Thunder Road are Justin Bonsignore and Jon McKennedy. Notable names at Thunder Road that won’t be at Lee are Mike Christopher Jr., Chase Dowling, Bryan Narducci, Chris Pasteryak, Matt Swanson and Ronnie Williams. And no Melissa Fifield or Tim Connolly getting in the way all day at Thunder Road like they will at Lee. I’ll take the Thunder Road field over the Lee field every day. And Thunder Road will probably have six times the fans that Lee will have.

  27. Johnny Spot, do you know what the phrase “crème de la crème” means?

    It means the best of the best.

    Wherever the crème de la crème of the NWMT show up, they usually own the top finishing spots, or the majority of the top finishing spots. That’s why they are the crème de la crème.

  28. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod fan says

    J Spot the greatest Modified drivers ever would disagree with you….. Try See Spot run.

  29. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod fan says

    ….and Liz I am not jealous. When I raced I actually passed cars.

  30. 🍸🍸🍸 Liz Cherokee 🍸🍸🍸 says

    I too passed cars on the way to work yesterday while drinking a SunnyD Vodka Seltzer (looks like a RedBull can) and blasted my horn at every bicyclist who got near me. Most of them told me I was #1, so I blew them kisses 💋💋 too!
    I’m hoping for a solid finish for Melissa on Saturday, so we can continue to build on a solid start to the 2023 season. You boys should have a drink, calm down, and enjoy life a bit more.

  31. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod fan says

    Liz I am as chill as chill gets its the facts that are making you think things are in an excited state….. I want to see the 01 penalized for rough driving…. I want to see the 01 move Jimmy Blewett up the track in the middle of 1 and 2 at Thompson. Going WEEEEEEEEEE!!! down the straights does nothing for me. Pass a car….just 1 under speed….. Drink more water Liz it is clearly needed….. Enjoy the day race fans.

  32. Deplorable, Degenerate Mod fan, you need to learn that Liz is not quite a full blown troll, but more like a 💩-stirrer, with nothing to contribute. Do not take it seriously, just have fun with it.

    Liz, will you ever pick your beloved 01 in the pick-6 contests?

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