Last Lap Thriller: Justin Bonsignore Wins Whelen Modified Tour Mohegan Sun 100 At NHMS 

Justin Bonsignore celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Mohegan Sun 100 Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

LOUDON, N.H. – For many years when you talked to successful drivers on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour about racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, many would say being in second place at the white flag was the best place to be. 

Justin Bonsignore came to NHMS this weekend with that philosophy turned around. 

And maybe part of that 

“I knew kind of all week that I wanted to be leading at the white [flag],” Bonsignore said. 

Maybe that plan came from recent history of events at the track, maybe it came from losing out to Ron Silk for victory one week ago on the Wall (N.J.) Stadium bullring. 

“More than anything all week we just talked about being on the offense,” Bonsignore said. “I was on the defense a little bit last week and I lost the race because of it. When you’re on the offense maybe other people will second guess their moves. Sometimes you just don’t want to lose and today was that day.” 

Bonsignore, of Holtsville, N.Y., came out on top of a three-driver last lap showdown to win the Whelen Modified Tour Mohegan Sun 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday. 

It was the second points paying Whelen Modified Tour victory for Bonsignore at NHMS. He got his first win at the track on Sept. 24, 2016. He also won the Whelen All-Star Shootout exhibition event at the track in 2018. 

Doug Coby of Milford was second and Ron Silk of Norwalk third. 

The race was red-flagged for rain on lap 69 with Bonsignore then holding a 1.3 second lead over Tyler Rypkema. After an hour delay to dry the track the race went back to yellow and all the leaders went in for pit stops. 

A slower than expected pit stop dropped Bonsignore to 10th place for the lap 79 restart. 

Coby restarted in the lead with Silk second and Matt Swanson third. By the time caution flew for the stopped car of Bobby Santos III on lap 83, Bonsignore was up to sixth. 

While Coby and Silk were swapping the lead out front, Bonsignore was clawing his way back to the front. On lap 94 Bonsignore went by Patrick Emerling for third. A lap later he got by Silk for second. 

On lap 96 Bonsignore got by Coby for the lead in turn two, but Coby wrestled the lead back in turn three. 

On lap 99 Bonsignore found the lane under Coby for the lead in turn to put his plan in motion and set up for the wild final lap. 

Heading into turn three on the final lap Coby looked to be taking the outside lane to challenge Bonsignore, and Silk looked to be making a banzai run low into turn three under Bonsignore. 

Bonsignore was able to block Silk’s run through the corner, 

“I just had such a run,” Silk said. “They came off the wall. They were a little better than I was right at the end and I had gotten close to [Bonsignore]. … I just had a big run down the backstretch and they were side-by-side. There was enough pavement to get under [Bonsignore] and I got in there and he covered it. He got into my right front. We were going to crash if I kept it in there. You do what you have to do on the last lap. It’s so vulnerable as the leader. He did what he had to do.”

Coby was was able to cross over Bonsignore off of turn four. Bonsignore and Coby came off of turn four side-by-side and hit side-by-side twice in the drag race to the checkered with Bonsignore edging Coby at the line. 

“I knew all week what my first move was going to be off of [turn] two if I was the leader,” Bonsignore said. “But anything after that is just instinct of what the other guy is going to do. I was pretty shocked that Doug was willing to stay to the outside and I think he made a really good move. But really what threw me off was [Silk] having such a run from third. That was my next instinct. I looked high to see where [Coby] was and I looked in spot mirror because the spotter is screaming ‘[Silk] is looking low’. I just threw a huge block on him because you have to. That’s just the way the last lap plays out here. Luckily he lifted. We got down to [turn] three and just drove it in. I thought [Coby] would try to roll the top on me the way it was playing out, and he put a good crossover on me. But our car was really good from the center off [the corner] and even with the bad angle to the corner I had, I just stood in the throttle and I was able to carry more momentum than [Coby] thankfully. I just kind of kept working my way down [to the inside] in case he built any run. I just tried to [hit him in the side] a little bit. Really more than anything, those guys ran me cleaner than the last lap typically plays out here. I think that just shows the respect between the three of us.”

Said Coby: “When he went down there I didn’t have a run to go down there so I was figuring if I could get to the top and make [Bonsignore hit me]. Silk got the run that I needed. When [Bonsignore] back across my nose, I needed Silk to kind of rough [Bonsignore] up a little bit. I probably would have rolled around the outside and beat him or he would have slowed down enough that I could have crossed him over and cleared him. It was awkward because when he slid across my nose and I tried to cross over I actually had to stomp the brakes really quick to make sure that I could get as clean a cross over as I could. Then the car just got tight when I was on the bottom and tried to gas it by him, I couldn’t clear him so I just hit his nerf bar. I knew coming off the corner that my momentum was broken and that unless I got a push from somebody he was going to have better momentum.

“He was going to win anyway. He came off the wall and wiggled me. He was already ahead when that happened. I just didn’t have the momentum that I needed and I knew it.” 

Austin Beers of Northampton, Pa. was fourth and Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, N.Y. was fifth.

Bonsignore set the pace out front from the pole, but the lead swapping began quickly. 

On lap three Anthony Nocella got by Bonsignore for the lead in turn three. Three laps later Bonsignore went back to the top spot. 

A shuffling among the top four had Coby blasting toward the front and grabbing then lead from Bonsignore on lap 10. A lap later Bonsignore went back to the spot. 

On lap 14 it was Silk taking his first turn out front, but Bonsignore took the lead back before the lap was completed. On lap 16 Silk made the lead change stick briefly, but Bonsignore took back the top spot a lap later. On lap 18 it was Silk once again going back out front, but Bonsignore regained the spot again on lap 19. That lead swapping between the two took place on laps 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. After Bonsignore went back to the lead on lap 25 he began to get some breathing room out front before Coby moved to second.  

On lap 34 it was Coby going by Bonsignore for the lead, but Bonsignore grabbed the spot back on lap 35. 

By lap 43 leader Bonsignore and second place Coby had checked out from third place Silk. By lap 48 Tyler Rypkema was all over Silk for third. On lap 49 Rypkema got by Silk to take over third. 

By lap 55 Bonsignore had opened a little more than a one second lead over second place Coby. On lap 56 Rypkema took second place from Coby, but struggled to make up any ground on Bonsignore. 

On lap 63 Bonsignore had built a 1.3 second lead over second place Rypkema. On lap 67 the first caution of the race flew for rain falling in turns one and two. The steadily moving storm cell coming from the south overtook the track quickly and sent the cars to pit road with the red flag flying with 69 laps complete. At the red flag Bonsignore led with Rypkema in second, Coby in third, Beers in fourth and Silk in fifth. 


  1. Suitcase Jake says

    The race lived up to everything NHIS is known for … Great watching the #51 come barnstorming back to the front… He had the BEST HORSE all day, But the Win was in jeopardy due to a miscue on the RR tire change…Those last laps were Excellent Racing… I appreciated the Battle, also appreciated they raced each other hard, but with respect of not dumping or spinning out or wrecking the other competitors… This is the way it should be…. Great Job Doug , Ron, & Justin !!!!! Everyone was on their feet… All the NASCAR Cup guys were watching… GOOD LOOK for MODS !!!! I hope Bobby Santos is ok .. He hit that wall a TON sideways and the Car went way up in the air on one side & I thought it might roll all the way over >>> boy that was a scary ride…..He will be sore for awhile… Those sideways hits do a number on your neck, back ,& arms with the high speed at the end of the straightaway …Glad they put a major EFFORT into drying the track …The ending was great and well worth the hour wait… Great Job done by the Track Drying Crew !!!! Monday Cup Race at noon should be Fun … Let’s hope Ryan’s experience on the slick track will play into a Top Notch Finish…Good Luck Ryan !!!

  2. NurfbarNJ says

    Xfinity and cup can’t put on a better show than that. Narly crash for the 44 of Santos. Safer barriers helped that for more severe. Glad Stafford installed them. Was we’ll worth the trip!

  3. Getserious says

    Anytime I see the phrase “ threw a huge block” I am glad I didn’t waste my time watching the “race” in question.
    Imagine someone in an Olympic mile run, hurdles, or a marathon saying that. Of course it would never happen! And you know why? Because those are sportsmen purely competing in a sport, and, unfortunately, a lot of auto-sport is no longer that.
    Simply put, physically interfering in another competitor’s race, whether it’s blocking, bumping, or throwing nails under his tires, is not sport. We used to call it cheating, actually.

  4. Just Me - The Original says

    There was no miscue on the 51’s RR tire change. When I changed tires, we always would tighten two and then the jackman moved to the next position.

  5. Hallelujah!!!!!!!

    Bonsignore finally did it!!!!! He covered the bottom at the end of the backstretch on the last lap. After all these Loudon races, and the 2P car doing the dive into turn 3 for the lead and win, it did not require excess intelligence to realize that the lead car HAD to cover the bottom on the last lap on the backstretch where the 2P car would typically do the dive and get the lead, which forced the 2P (was the lead car) car high, a bad position to be in on the last lap. Fantastic!!!!! JBon overdrove it a bit (because Silk bumped him), but made it work. Silk tried to get a twofer by going down low, but ended up bumping the 51 probably a bit faster than he liked given he was trying to hold the bottom and force Coby high. Great driving by Bonsignore.

    Where was Hirschman?

    Would have been nice if Blewett was there.

    There’s nothing like the Modifieds at Loudon… nothing. What a great race.

    So I heard that the LFR R&D car was there. 😝

  6. There was no blocking, it was taking the preferred line. On the last lap, you take the line that will increase your probability of leading at the line, keeping your car in the lead. If you are the lead car at NHMS, that line going down the backstretch on the last lap is to go low so any following cars can not get under you for the lead. Force them up high into a tougher, slower line. That is not blocking, that is taking the best line under the conditions.

    It was about time, and I’m glad Justin Bonsignore was the driver to do it. Would have been equally pleased to see Silk do it.

    But, Bonsignore has shown how to do it and avoid the dreaded 2P car dive on the last lap for the lead. This is a precedent, and will make the Mighty Modifieds even far more exciting now at Loudon.

    We need to go back to two races per season at Loudon.

    Interesting observation… when the SPEC first came on the scene, the dive bomb move was pretty much gone. If a following car was drafting and pulled out, it did not surge ahead like the built motor cars did. The dive bomb move was THE move with the built engines. It appears that the drivers or something else has brought back the exciting dive move with the SPEC engines.

  7. Goodale on the chaotic end of last years NWMT race at NHMS.

    “Said Goodale: “I was going for the win. I knew he had a run on me going down the backstretch. I lifted early and let him slide up in front of me. I got to his back bumper. I didn’t want to cross him over that early so I got to him and he dove underneath me, he blocked obviously, and before I got to his bumper I wanted to move to not give him the shot, otherwise I had no chance. ”

    The operative word being “blocked”.

  8. Getserious says

    Bonsignore, himself, says, “I just threw a huge block on him because you have to.”
    Then keyboard expert DaCobyhater says, “There was no blocking, it was taking the preferred line.”
    The blocking is the last second hink that he put on Silk. That’s not “taking the preferred line” , like he and Coby were smartly doing in the previous 4 laps, staying low.

  9. Getserious Time and time again Goodfella makes himself the Fool I bring the popcorn and can’t wait to read his comments.

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