Category Archives: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

Justin Bonsignore Aiming For Seven Straight NWMT Wins at Thompson

Justin Bonsignore Aiming For Seven Straight NWMT Wins at Thompson 

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (Tom Morris/Myracenews photo)

THOMPSON, Conn. — When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park next week, Justin Bonsignore will be aiming to add to his historic streak. 

Bonsignore, a Holtsville, New York, native, has won six consecutive Whelen Modified Tour races at the Connecticut oval. He swept all four series events at Thompson last year en route to his first career title and won both the Icebreaker and the Thompson 125 so far this season. He’s the only driver to accomplish the feat in the 144-race Whelen Modified Tour history of the track and has done it all driving for Ken Massa.

All eyes have now turned towards the Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150 next Wednesday, August 14.  

“We anticipate every time that we go to the track we will have a shot at it, but we also know that the streak isn’t going to last forever,” Bonsignore said. “I’m confident enough in my team to say that we can win the race when we get there, no matter how many in a row we have.” 

Prior to Bonsignore, multiple former Whelen Modified Tour champions had won four races in a row at Thompson, including Doug Coby, who swept all four races in 2015 en route to his title. Bonsignore has won the last six races from starting positions of fourth or better and has led 280 laps over the stretch. He might not have led all the laps or been the dominant car in all races, but he’s found his way to Victory Lane one way or another, which is a credit to him and his team. The average car count over the span is over 28 cars per event. 

“Every time we go there, it’s in the back of your head how unbelievable it is and you wonder how much longer it will go,” Bonsignore said. “On one hand, I am prepared for it to end, but at the same time, I think we will be bummed when it does happen. Especially if we lose it and finish second in the race. When you sit back and look at it 10 years from now, you’ll be able to appreciate what you did.” 

Entering Thompson, although he’s won two races at the high-banked oval this season, he also was able to hold the checkered flag at Riverhead Raceway, his home track, in July. But with two DNF’s early in the season, the defending series champion has a 42-point hole in the title chase. Coby, a five-time series champion and Thompson winner himself, leads by 24 over Ron Silk, another former champion and Thompson winner. The three veterans look to be the favorites to contend for the title down the stretch. 

“Those are two guys that are two of the best right now and we right there with them,” Bonsignore said. “I’m still confident in what we are going to bring to the track, especially because we brought something totally different the last time, even though we had won five in a row. I go into Thompson with my head held high and a lot of confidence.” 

With Ryan Stone on the pit box, Bonsignore knows he will have a strong car to drive to give himself a chance to keep the streak going. The Bud 150 provides fans a chance to watch pit strategy play out, as drivers can take four tires during the event whenever they wish.  

“Ryan is always tinkering with setups, trying to evolve to the next setup,” Bonsignore said. “We’re trying to make our own gains. But the strategy is tough to even sit back and talk about, because one caution at a weird time can throw everything for a loop. We might go in with a game plan, but if you don’t get the cautions when you planned, you just adjust. This is a big event. It’s right up there as a marquee event and has been around for many years. We’ve been fortunate enough to win it a few times.” 

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park returns to action on Wednesday, August 14, when the Whelen Modified Tour invades for the Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150. All five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will also be in competition, along with the NEMA Midgets, where veteran sprint car star Sammy Swindell will compete. 

If needed, the inclement weather date for this event is Thursday, August 15.  

For more information on Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, visit the track on the web at www.thompsonspeedway.com, and follow the track on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

Ron Silk Survives Chaotic Overtime Restart For Second Straight Win

BYKYLE SOUZA NASCAR.COM AUGUST 3, 2019

Photo Adam Glanzman/NASCAR

STAFFORD, Conn. — Perfect timing for one, worst timing for another.

Doug Coby dominated the Stafford 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway, leading the first 147 laps before a caution flew for the first time. After a chaotic overtime restart, Ron Silk was the beneficiary of some fresh tires and a daring three-wide move to the take the lead and the win.

The former series champion earned his second consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour checkered flag — which was also his 13th career and second at the Connecticut half-mile.

RACING-REFERENCE: Stafford 150 Race Results

“We are just continuously putting ourselves up towards the front, in position to have things happen like what happened tonight,” Silk said. “A lot of times, you make your own luck. My team has improved dramatically and the guys are doing a great job.”

It was Doug Coby’s night before a crash in turn three suddenly changed the complexion of the race. Coby was fastest in practice, earned his sixth Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award in qualifying, and drove away with the race early. It was looking like Coby was going to celebrate a complete sweep of the night and his 13th career Stafford win.

But the caution changed everything.

With only six cars on the lead lap, pit strategy was key in the finishing order. Teams are only allowed to take one tire per pit stop under caution, but most of them made their way down pit road more times than one during the yellow. Coby’s Mayhew Tools team elected to take three tires, but he was also down pit road another time for fuel only. After four stops, he restarted sixth for the final dash.

Matt Swanson and Justin Bonsignore took the green flag on the front row, but it wasn’t long before Silk took the top spot with a daring three-wide move off turn two. From there, it wasn’t quite clear sailing, as Jon McKennedy was on the back bumper looking to pounce. But Silk was able to hang on for his third Whelen Modified Tour win of the season.

“I knew there were only six of us on the lead lap at that point and I thought you had to take the tires,” Silk said of the mindset during the yellow. “There were 146 green flag laps, our tires were shot.”

After restarting sixth, Coby managed to charge back to a third-place finish, while Swanson was fourth, and Craig Lutz fifth.

Justin Bonsignore was sixth, followed by Jimmy Blewett, Bobby Santos III, Sam Rameau and Patrick Emerling.

Coby leads by 24 over Silk in the championship point standings, while defending series title holder Bonsignore is third, 42 back.

The Stafford 150 will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, August 7, at 7 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track on Wednesday, August 14, at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for the Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150.

PIT BOX: Doug Coby Returns Home Looking To Pad Points Lead

BYKYLE SOUZA NASCAR.COM JULY 29, 2019

Photo (Jim Dupont/NASCAR)

Two stops at two historic Connecticut ovals are going to play a major role in the championship battle for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Friday, the first of those stops brings drivers back the Stafford Motor Speedway for the Stafford 150, the second of three events at the half-mile this season. The NAPA Spring Sizzler, originally scheduled for April, didn’t take the green flag until the middle of May.

Let’s hope Mother Nature has better plans this time around.


Doug Coby grew up racing at Stafford Motor Speedway.

The Milford, Connecticut, driver, and now five-time Whelen Modified Tour champion, spent his days rising through the ranks of racing on Friday night’s as part of Stafford’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program. Coby won a championship in both the Late Model and Pro Stock divisions at the Arute family-owned facility before he went to the big dance.

Fifty-five starts later in Whelen Modified Tour action at Stafford, his success is definitely no fluke. Coby has 12 wins and 23 top-five finishes to his credit, including a victory in the NAPA Spring Sizzler this season, where he led 20 laps en route to what was his second win of the campaign. Since then, he’s also added another checkered flag. Coby leads by 28 over Ron Silk with seven races to go, and while he looks to continue to add to the record books, a little bit of home cooking could be in order.

2019 Stafford 150 Logo

Speaking of Silk, the Norwalk, Connecticut, native is no stranger to Stafford himself. In 47 of his own starts, Silk has one victory (2011), but has made a habit of finishing well. He finished third in the NAPA Spring Sizzler in May, leading 11 of the 200 laps. During his pairing with his current team, Kevin Stuart Motorsports, Silk has three top-five runs in five races. The 2011 Whelen Modified Tour champion is also coming off a major triumph at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he captured the win in the Eastern Propane & Oil 100.

Chase Dowling might be the car to beat. Driving for veteran Jamie Tomaino, Dowling is coming off a podium run at NHMS, but showed plenty of speed in the Sizzler. The rising star, who is a former frontrunner in Stafford’s SK Light and SK Modified divisions, led 78 laps in the Sizzler and was leading the field before a rear-end issue sidelined him in the final laps.

Craig Lutz is another driver to keep an eye on. Lutz has seven consecutive top 10 finishes at the half-mile, including back-to-back second place runs. In the Sizzler, Lutz finished second to Coby, leading five laps before Coby slid around in the final laps.

Joey Cipriano III, Andrew Molleur and Mark Bakaj, all drivers who run weekly at Stafford, are also expected to compete.

RACE FACTS

RACESTAFFORD 150
PLACEStafford Motor Speedway, Stafford, Connecticut
DATEFriday, August 2
TIME9:15 p.m.
TELEVISIONNBCSN, Wednesday, August 7, 7 p.m. — FansChoice.TV (Live Broadcast)
TRACK LAYOUTHalf-mile paved oval
2018 WINNERDoug Coby
2018 POLEChase Dowling
EVENT SCHEDULEFriday: Garage Open: 1:45 p.m., Final Practice: 4-5 p.m., Group Qualifying: 6:35 p.m., Driver Autograph Session: 7:15 p.m., Stafford 150: 9:15 p.m.
TWITTER@Staffordspeedwy, @NASCARHomeTrack
HASHTAG#Stafford150, #NWMT

RACE CENTER | ENTRY LIST

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: 

The starting field for the Stafford 150 is limited to 31 starters, including provisional positions. The first 25 drivers will secure starting positions through the qualifying process. The remaining six positions will be awarded through the provisional process.

NASCAR group qualifying is in place for this event. Qualifying order will be determined by each vehicle’s fastest single lap from the official practice session. The number of groups for qualifying will be determined by NASCAR. Each group qualifying session will be five (5) minutes in duration and the fastest single lap speed of each vehicle will determine the starting positions 1st through 25th. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on a vehicle after the vehicle enters the track to begin the qualifying session. Vehicles may not return to the track or make any further qualifying laps unless directed to do so by a NASCAR official or in the event of a caution. If a vehicle returns to pit road, the vehicle’s qualifying attempt is complete. Once a vehicle’s qualifying attempt is complete the vehicle must proceed directly to the designated impound area once it enters pit road. In the event of a caution, all vehicles must exit the track. Vehicles that elect to continue must proceed directly to the re-entry area of pit road and stop to the outside of pit road. No adjustments or repairs may not be made to any vehicle on pit road or in the re-entry area during a caution.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is eleven (11) tires per team. Four (4) tires must be used for qualifying and to begin the race. The tire change is four (4) tires, any position.