After a challenging 2017 NASCAR WMT season Justin Bonsignore roared back in 2018. After a year where even though he finished 3rd in points it was still a struggle. He only led 4 laps, went winless and qualifying was not his strength either with an average starting position of 11.3, not the season he was hoping for. Justin has been running on the tour since 2009 but that first championship had proved elusive but that all changed last year.
2018 was quite a different story, in the off season the M3 Technologies Phoenix Communications Inc. team made wholesale changes. The team switched to LFR chassis, brought on Ryan Stone as Crew Chief and from their first race together a 5th place finish at Myrtle Beach the team just clicked.
Out of 2590 total laps run on the 2018 NASCAR WMT tour Justin finished 2589 of those laps, only a crash in the Musket 250 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway while leading on the last lap kept him from finishing every race in the top 10. The impressive finishes kept on coming all season, 8 wins, 5 poles and 12 top 5’s out of 16 races. Justin even swept all 4 races at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
While Justin and the team a have spent the off season preparing for 2019 Justin has been racing in the Indoor Auto Racing Series to defend his other title from 2018. So far except for a 10th place finish in Allentown he has run up front to leaving Justin in a position to win his second championship in a row. He recently sold his Midget to Bobby Webber owner of Star Speedway, Bobby put Justin back in the car for this weekend’s Indoor races in Syracuse NY keeping the title hopes alive.
One thing though when you win a Championship it’s a long off season before you get back to the track to defend your title. I caught up with Justin this week and we spoke about the championships, the upcoming NASCAR WMT season and what 2019 holds for him.
“I’m really excited for 2019, nothing on our team has changed we have the same cars, same crew chief and same crew. All we did was maintenance on the cars and motors. The Equipment was all new at the start of the 2018 season and they are ready to go for the Performance Plus 150 Presented-Kleen at Myrtle Beach SC. March 15th”
I asked Justin how he feels coming into the season as the defending Champion. “It’s actually kind of surreal, it will be cool to roll into Myrtle Beach to defend our title. Its going to be hard to match last season but we are going to try.”
In addition to his 10th full season on WMT Justin will be racing 8-10 nights at his home track Riverhead Raceway. Justin will wheel the #03 Ken Darsch Modified out of Riverhead NY. Justin said that he is at the track ever week when he is not tour racing so why not race. “I hope we can bring home a win or two for Ken and Denise. We will start with the first 2 races, then take a few weeks off and return the week before the Islip 300, run the 300 and go from there.”
I also spoke to Justin about other races coming up this year, I mentioned the ROC race at Spencer the night before the Oswego WMT race, the Tri Track Open Modified Series or any other series. “Right now, I have no plans for any other races or series although no one has asked. If a quality ride came along like the backup Mike Leaty car that Ryan Preece piloted for last year’s Tribute to Pops Leaty race I would be interested.”
This weekend he defends one title but next week Justin will start his defense of the NASCAR WMT crown in Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety- Kleen at Myrtle Beach Speedway
Note: Justin has already set fast time for Friday March 8th Syracuse race, a step toward trying to take a second title in 2 years.
Photo: Michael Jaworecki Myracenews