Flip Flop: Justin Bonsignore Tops Whelen Mod Tour Winchester Fair At Monadnock, Claws Back In Title Hunt

Justin Bonsignore celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Winchester Fair at Monadnock Speedway Saturday (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

On the track this season with the Whelen Modified Tour, Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore had essentially mirrored each other from race to race to race over the first 12 events of the season. 

Week after week, wherever one finished, the other wasn’t that far away. 

That all changed last Saturday at Oswego Speedway when Justin Bonsignore was involved in a late crash battling for second place. Bonsignore had to settle for a 15th place finish in the event, allowing Ron Silk to extend what was a 1-point lead in the standings coming into the event to a 17-point lead leaving the track. 

Saturday the bad luck roles got reversed at Monadnock Speedway. 

Bonsignore started on the pole and led every lap on the way to victory in the Winchester Fair 150 at Monadnock Speedway. 

“We needed this after this last week,” said Bonsignore, who sustained a broken left thumb in the Oswego wreck. “I made a big mistake last week and just put myself in a bad spot racing for a championship. Guys worked all week on the car. … All the Connecticut crew guys just hustled all week to get this car turned around because we’ve been running it lately and it’s paying big dividends for us.”

It was the fourth win of the season for Bonsignore and the 39th series victory overall for the Holtsville, N.Y. driver. It was his fifth win in 11 series starts at Monadnock. 

Austin Beers of Northampton, Pa. was second and Sam Rameau of Westminster, Mass. was third.

Silk was involved in a lap two wreck and finished 12th in the 19-car field. The difference allowed Bonsignore, unofficially, to gain 16 points on Silk in the standings with Silk back to holding onto a 1-point lead like he had before the Oswego race on Sept. 2. 

“We’re back in it,” Bonsignore said. “It looks like he might have had a bad night tonight. You just can’t give up in these things. Four more to go and it’s going to be a dogfight.” 

With his second place finish Beers closed from 42 points off the lead to 32 points off the lead. 

With a 19-car field it marked the first time in Whelen Modified Tour history (720 races since 1985) that the series has run three consecutive events with starting fields of less than 20 cars. There was an all-time series low 15 cars at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. on Aug. 26 and 18 cars at Oswego on Sept. 2. 

Doug Coby used a fifth place finish to clinch the three-race Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup for his Tommy Baldwin Racing team. 

Baldwin announced on Aug. 20 that his team would be taking a hiatus as he dealt with a cancer diagnosis. The team returned to contend for the special mini-series that included this year’s first series event at Monadnock and the series event at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. 

“Just to be here with our family and with Tommy battling cancer, he’s a warrior. He told us from the beginning he was going to fight through us and he’s been courageous enough to share his battle. … To be here as the Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup champion, it just means a lot. We missed two races and it kind of threw our season up in the air, but we’ve got a great group of guys and Tommy really wanted to be here to do this. 

It took less than two laps for the race to go bad for Silk. 

Coming off turn four on lap one the car of Jacob Perry kicked slightly up the track off the corner and made contact with the rear of Silk’s car. The contact turned Silk and sent Perry’s car driving over the front end of Silk’s car. It set off a 7-car pileup on the frontstretch. 

Silk went to the pits for repairs and made it back on track without losing a lap. 

On the ensuing restart Silk spun just as the green came out, bringing the yellow back out again. Silk went to the pits for repairs once again and was able to remain on the lead lap. 

Bonsignore held the top spot on the next restart, setting in a motion a green flag stretch that would run to the event’s conclusion. 

After getting up to 11th briefly, Silk settled in at 12th for the remainder of the event. Bonsignore put Silk a lap down with 45 laps remaining. 

Beers went by Coby for third with 23 laps remaining and overtook Rameau for second with 12 laps to go. By the time Beers moved to second Bonsignore held just over a four second lead on the field. 

Doug Coby celebrates winning the Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup Saturday at Monadnock Speedway (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

Whelen Modified Tour Winchester Fair Results (click to enlarge)


  1. 19 cars, that is Sad at Monadnock I’d rather watch paint dry, put a fork in them. They’re done !! an most of those guys are just part time drivers. I hope all those guys are happy that they keep beating Mellisa, give yourselfs a, that a boy

  2. 19 cars on a 1/4 mile track still had lots of racing going on, especially after the early wreck. Glad they were smart enough to adjust the schedule for possible weather issues. The 3 touring series ran first, then the weekly classes. The rain never showed, so they got everything in.

  3. If you see only 19 cars and that Bonsignore led every lap you would assume a boring race. But I agree with Fast Eddie, there was quite a bit of side by side racing throughout the field. Less cars=less cautions. 150 better than 200 laps at monadnock. I know Nascar won’t do it because the big 3 don’t but it would be a better show for fans if they had the top 10 draw a number to invert.

  4. Hillary 2024 says

    Didn’t the tour do an invert in the past?

  5. Is it because of the big 3 not doing it, or the teams/drivers complaining?

    They used to have redraws 10+ years ago, right? I don’t recall those being popular.

    Also, race fan facebook lead me to believe fans hate gimmicks like those?

  6. The NWMT used to have the top 5 or so in qualifying then draw a number for the actual starting position. It was a well hated and stupid gimmick.

  7. How about some stats.
    Qualifying time set the field in 13 races so far this season.
    J Bonsignor has 6 polls, Beers 5, Hirschman 1 an Coby 1 (set by time).
    In 5 events the poll winner went onto win the race. J. Bonsignor 3 times, Hirschman and Beers once each. If J. Bonsignor wins the polls there is a 23% chance he’ll win the race and if anyone wins the poll they have a 38% chance of winning if you put any store in that stat.

    Wins this season: J. Bonsignor 4, Silk 4, Beers 2, Hirschman 2, Coby 1, K. Bonsignor 1.
    The point leader Silk has never started from the poll this season.

    Why is the idea of an invert so unpopular with the NWMT? The MMTTS way of setting the poll is so convoluted through heats and an invert they don’t even care that much about who’s on the poll. SMART inverts the cars as well. If there are more races in the future with no scheduled pit stops isn’t putting the fastest car on the poll increasing the odds significantly for a boring race at the front?
    If the car with the fastest lap is winning the race 38% in a series under pressure to demonstrate more excitement isn’t it at least worth considering some kind of wild card to mix up who sits on the poll?
    How about this for a hair brained idea? Publish an invert for each race on the schedule. Then let the drivers figure out ways to outsmart the invert and see how that turns out.
    PS-J. Bonsignor admitted to his error at Oswego in the winners circle at Monadnock. If you pointed the finger at him you win.

  8. Get Your Head Out of the Sand says

    Inverts are a stupid gimmick? The big dirt late model races at Eldora, the Dream and World 100, use an invert wheel to set preliminary race and final heat race lineups. Some competitors like it, others don’t but over 100 cars still seem to show up every time. The fans that pack the place love the wheel and their $50 at the gate allowed the World 100 to pay over a $250k total purse and over $5k just to qualify.

    WMT purists can call it a gimmick and while until the cows come home, but there are certainly less people in the stand versus the days when there was a qualifying draw. Moreover, you’re definitely drawing less and less cars. Maybe it is time to think about your paying customers before you become like the SCCA with no fans and no prize money.

    There is a reason many people skipped paying $45 to see a race with potentially no lead changes at Monadnock on Saturday and stayed home and watched it and the World 100 on Flo. You need a product that people are willing to pay for.

  9. I recall several years, approximately mid-to-late 80’s, in which time trials set the first ten starting spots, then heats filled the remainder.
    I also recall a period of time trials and then three beer cans placed on the starting line, numbered 6, 8, and 10. I believe the pole person would pick to determine how many drew for starting position. Each driver would pick a can. I can’t recall whether tenth or pole drew first, but I think the former. There are videos of this on YouTube. I also recall double-file restarts for the first half of the race and single-file afterwards. That was a bad idea, in my opinion.
    Aside from the standard carps of many on here, I recall fans, including myself, enjoying it. Though possibly nostalgia from my teenage years, I think it’s a good thing to bring back, or some variation thereof. Promoters are supposed to try things. Some work; some do not.
    Ideally, I would like a hybrid, with paying to win the heats and making them longer than standard ten or 12 laps. For what it’s worth!

  10. I’ve always been a fan of inverted line ups. Invert to top 4, 6 or 8, anything to avoid the pole winner leading all the laps… gimmick or not, the tour best do something or the product suffers..

    If I never see another outside driver into, I’ll be a happy man.. same can be said for starting position by time..

  11. Just Me - The Original says

    My thoughts:
    Having heats cost the race teams more money: tires, fuel, motor wear & tear,
    repairs (potential accidents) etc. Since the field is so small, most people want to get in a good spot and just ride around.
    If people know the invert is going to be either a 4. 6 or 8, does that take away people going for the pole which pays money and would that sponsor feel comfortable about it.
    They need to get more cars before worrying about how cars are lined up for the feature

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