Confidence Booster: Justin Bonsignore Returns To Victory Lane At Thompson With Whelen Mod Tour

Justin Bonsignore celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 150 Wednesday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – In his last four NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events at Thompson Speedway before Wednesday, Justin Bonsignore had finishes of second, fourth, fifth and 14th. 

For most drivers that would be a string of finishes that would hardly be deemed disappointing. 

For Bonsignore, those were painful numbers to look at. And understandably so. Starting with the 2018 Icebreaker to the 2019 Sunoco World Series, Bonsignore had seven victories in eight events at Thompson, including a streak of six consecutive wins. To go four events without a victory hurt for the Holtsville, N.Y. driver. The pain was made even worse in last October’s Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson when he finished 14th, two laps down. 

“When you win seven out of eight, the run we we’ve had here was kind of frustrating for us,” Bonsignore said. “To get lapped here last year was a big wake up call. This is my favorite track. To struggle like we did here I was really down on myself, like not wanting to come. You just don’t know how you’re going to run.” 

“… For a place with so many wins, we really lost our confidence over the last year and half here.” 

Wednesday Bonsignore got to put the frustration behind with a milestone return to victory lane at Thompson. 

Bonsignore held off the challenges of Ron Silk over the closing laps to win the Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 150 presented by 

It was Bonsignore’s 13th career Whelen Modified Tour victory at Thompson, tying him with Ted Christopher for second place at the track for series wins. Mike Stefanik is the all-time leader with 15 series victories at Thompson. Bonsignore was making his 42nd series start at Thompson Wednesday.

“It feels amazing,” Bonsignore said. “To tie Teddy Christopher on the all-time win list is something we’ve been wanting to do for a couple years now.” 

It was the 38th career Whelen Modified Tour victory for Bonsignore and his third this season. 

Silk, of Norwalk, was second and Eric Goodale of Riverhead, N.Y. third. 

On his cool down lap Bonsignore left the checkered flag in turn one in memory of John Blewett III, who was killed at Thompson during a Whelen Modified Tour event on Aug. 16, 2007. 

“I left the flag up there in turn one, that’s where John Blewett was killed,” Bonsignore said. “I saw Doug Coby do that years ago and I always wanted to do that and today is that day that we lost John all them years ago. He was the biggest badass there was. If we could do anything to honor him, that’s pretty cool.” 

Silk saw his lead at the top of the standings shrink from eight points to two points over Bonsignore. 

“I was just really super loose the first run before the pit stop so we made some aggressive changes to tighten it up and it worked, the car was much better,” Silk said. “But right where he could start rolling in the middle of the corner I had to wait jut an instant and he could kind of get that lunge on the corner. They had a little bit better car than we did, but it was a good effort.” 

Goodale, who won the Sunoco World Series 150 last October at Thompson, had a season best finish but was left frustrated by Silk’s aggressiveness on the late restarts. 

“Got used up out there a little bit. [Silk] clears himself on you a few times, it gets you angry,” Goodale said. “… It certainly didn’t help getting pinballed out there up top. Happy to bring it home third. We were stout all day.” 

Pole-sitter Austin Beers was fourth and Craig Lutz had a season best finish of fifth. 

Beers left Thompson third in the standings, 41 points behind Silk. Coby, who finished, eighth, is 47 points off the lead in fourth in the standings.

The 23-car field was smallest starting field ever for a Whelen Modified Tour event at Thompson Speedway. Wednesday’s event marked the 151st Whelen Modified Tour event at the track since the series’ inception in 1985. The previous low for a Whelen Modified Tour starting field at Thompson was 24 cars, which happened four times.

Coby went to the lead past Beers at the start. Beers fought back and the pair came to the line side-by-side to complete the first lap with Coby edging Beers at the line. Beers was able to get by Coby through turns one and two, but an incident in turn two involving Anthony Nocella and Matt Swanson brought out the caution and put Coby back out front. 

On the lap eight restart Coby was able to hold the top spot with Anthony Sesely moving from fourth to second past Beers. 

By lap 30 it was Coby checked out by nearly a second from second place Beers with Bobby Santos III in third, Goodale in fourth and Silk running fifth. 

After stalking Beers for 15 laps, Goodale got a run on Beers off turn four on lap 48 and completed the pass for second place through turns one and two on lap 49. 

Caution flew for the second time on lap 50 for the stopped car of Anthony Bello on the backstretch with Coby leading, Goodale second and Beers third. 

On the lap 56 restart it was Coby holding his advantage out front with Santos moving past Beers for third and Eric Berndt going from sixth to fourth. 

After getting to fourth on the restart, Berndt went on a tear to the front of the field. On lap 63 Berndt got by Santos in turn three to take over third. A lap later he used the same move to overtake Goodale for second. And on lap 65 Berndt found the lane under Coby to take over the lead.

The third caution flew on lap 68 when Max Zachem, running near the back of the field, spun just in front of the leaders in turn four. 

The caution sent almost all of the the leaders to pit road. Justin Bonsignore, who came in fourth, won the race off pit road with Goodale coming off second and Coby third. A slow stop dropped Berndt from the lead down to 15th. 

“We just had a miscommunication between me and the crew,” said Berndt, who was making his first series start since 2013. “I thought the crew was done. I popped it in gear and it fell off the jack. … It put us behind the eight-ball.” 

Sesely stayed out under caution and assumed the race lead. On the lap 76 restart it was Bonsignore immediately overtaking Sesely with Coby following to second and Silk moving to third. 

With Bonsignore, Coby and Silk running 1-2-3, caution came back out on lap 86 for the spinning car of Woody Pitkat in turn four. 

On the lap 91 restart mayhem ensued on the backstretch. Fifth place running Goodale slowed setting off a chain reaction that sent Kyle Bonsignore flying over the car of Andrew Krause. The crash ultimately collected at least seven cars, including previous race leader Berndt and brought out an extended red flag for cleanup. 

Justin Bonsignore got the jump on the lap 97 restart with Coby falling victim to the inside lane. Silk got by Coby for second with Beers following to third and Goodale to fourth. Coby got back in line in fifth. 

On lap 106 Silk got a run down low under Justin Bonsignore in turn one but backed out of the challenge for the lead. 

Caution flew once again on lap 110 for the spinning cars of Pitkat and Dave Sapienza in turn two with Justin Bonsignore leading Silk and Beers in third. 

Justin Bonsignore was able to get away on the lap 116 restart. Behind him Santos made the jump sixth to fourth. By lap 125 Justin Bonsignore and Silk had checked out from third place Beers. On lap 126 Goodale was able to get back by Santos to retake fourth. 

The seventh caution flew on lap 132 for the stopped car of Sapienza in turn four. On the lap 137 restart Justin Bonsignore was able to get the jump on Silk with Goodale getting by Beers for third. 


  1. Great crowd for an iffy looking weather day. Midway busy all night. I forgot why I love actually going to the track. The sounds, sights, smells, all on full display this Wednesday night. Got talking to a very knowledgeable guy in front of us, turns out he is the transport hauler driver for the Goodale team. Late night he says, it will be too late to get a ferry. Then, we gotta turn around again and head to Stafford on Friday. Then the longest haul to Lancaster.
    A stark reminder to this pen, how many dedicated people it takes to put on a show and field a car.
    Jeesh it was great to be at Thompson this particular Wednesday night. And I’m pretty sure it was Don Hoening I saw in one of his golf carts adjacent to midway. No, he wasn’t driving, as he had a nice young lady doing the chauffeuring.
    The fans turned out Jake. Nice crowd.

  2. Another race where the 51 nailed the pit stop.

    Anyone have any update on Matt Hirschman?

  3. What Bobf wrote.

    It was a great night at Thompson in the middle of the week.

    First, the crowd was great, especially considering the weather. I’m not gonna lie, but weather was pretty scary looking once in a while. But it turned out great!!!

    No doubt the weather kept plenty of people away. I drove through sprinkles on the way to the track. But the crowd was very healthy. Midway was all open and long lines. Traffic was tough getting out, good crowd. I have a long ride and almost called it off, but super glad I took the risk, it was a great night at Thompson. Saw plenty of license plates from many other states, throughout New England, and New York and Pennsylvania.

    The racing was very good. With the exception for the red flag which took out some 5 cars, racing was good. Cars were getting better throughout the race. passing throughout, cars moving up all the time.

    JBon and Silk are the absolute class of the field. They are what racing should be. They race respectfully and clean.

    The 60 was way off, no speed. Running as if they had to pull an engine out of some old pickup truck. Looked like it was running on all 7 cylinders. But then, it was a fish out of water, running a horsepower track.

    Good to see cars running all over the track, many lines of racing. Outside line was generally better, allowed the RPMs to be kept up.

    The 01 appeared to always be the Lucky Dog. 😝 Probably recovered some 6-7 laps that way.

    The pit stop where most cars came in was wild!!! 🤯 💥

    And since Doug in all of his narcissistic glory wanted to be called #1 on TV, surrounded by #1 indications, here is the next best thing:


  4. Hillary 2024 says

    Once again the fans showed up. The drivers did not. Smallest field ever for the tour at Thompson? Same with the “support divisions”. Where is everybody?

  5. What was checked in post race tech?

  6. Hillary 2024, can you please list all the competitive drivers that were not there?

    Thanks in advance.

  7. “Hillary 2024, can you please list all the competitive drivers that were not there?

    Thanks in advance.”

    Clever question you posited. Unfortunately, you disregard the essential word in his question and change it to one that addresses an altogether different question. In today’s parlance, this equates to the all-to-common deflection.

    He inquired about the number of competitors, not the quality of the racing, i.e. competitive drivers.
    As an avid reader but infrequent poster, I wish we could try to discuss issues related to Shaun’s specific article.

  8. I prefer to have a field of competitive cars and drivers. Cars that are not competitive and do not have a chance do not enhance the racing product for which I pay good money, no matter how many. Hence, I focused the subject on competitive drivers.

  9. Suitcase Jake says

    THOMPSON WAS FANTASTIC …!! GREAT CROWD FOR WEATHER… MESSAGE WAS DELIVERED.LOUD & CLEAR .. BRING IN TRI – TRACK OR NASCAR MOD TOUR & THE FANS WILL COME OUT TO WATCH THEM ON THE HIGH 26 DEGREE BANKING … LOTS OF MOVEMENT THROUGH THE FIELD… 51 was really pulling away at the end.. He could have won by half a track if spotter hadn’t pulled back on the reins to save some in case there was another yellow.. He had a large lead then started slowing, especially with a handful of laps so he didn’t stink up the Show too bad .. you can see it on the Flo replay …He was toying with the 16 … TOO BAD the # 1 got BURNT in the pits and caught up in somebody’s mistake .. That just KILLED HIS CHANCES.. Gotta keep live pit stops… Are you trying to put ” Suitcase Jake Elder ” out of business ??? Suitcase helped Dale SR early in His career,in the #2 … taught Dale tons of tricks in the early Nascar days…If you listen to Dale JR podcasts on the Making of Earnhardt series .. It’s really good , check it out .. dirty Moe ….Even has the Car Owner of the 96 Cardinal Cup Car on there , talking about Dales first Cup Ride … Great stuff ….It covers the young Dale trying to get his start in Cup .. Great stories…

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