Tag Archives: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

PIT BOX:Justin Bonsignore Begins Title Defense at Myrtle Beach

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Set For 2019 Opener

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 35th season of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competition begins on Saturday at Myrtle Beach Speedway.

Drivers will head to South Carolina to begin the championship points schedule for the third consecutive season, and in the prior two, tire conservation has been key to success at the gritty .538-mile oval.

The Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen begins a 17-race calendar that will see the series stay south and head to South Boston Speedway on March 30.



Justin Bonsignore better have his best foot forward when the Whelen Modified Tour season begins on Saturday. With stout competition throughout the field, and multiple drivers improving their program over the offseason, it’s going to be difficult for Bonsignore to match the success he had last year.

WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR: 2019 Schedule | Race Center

In 16 races, the Holtsville, New York, driver won eight times and finished inside the top 10 in all but one. His average finish of 3.4 in the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Inc. Chevrolet helped him clinch the championship one race early — and part of his 2018 success was on display in the opener at Myrtle Beach. In his first race with a new crew chief and new car, Bonsignore qualified sixth, led 26 laps and opened his eventual first championship season with a top-five finish. With the same crew chief, same sponsor and same team behind him, Bonsignore is poised to begin another title run.

But he is far from the only challenger.

Doug Coby, a five-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, is seeking a sixth title as he looks to add to his long list of accolades. Coby took the No. 2 Mayhew Tools Chevrolet down south to New Smyrna’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing to get back into high-gear, and he picked up the victory on the first of five nights. With crew chief Phil Moran back on his side, and Mayhew returning as primary sponsor, Coby is hoping the 2019 season ends with a return to title form. He will look to turn around some Myrtle Beach misfortune in the opener — as over the last two years, Coby opened the season outside the top-10.

RELATED: Busy Offseason Has Timmy Solomito Ready To Chase First Title

Timmy Solomito, who won five races in 2017, but failed to visit Victory Lane last year, looks to create some more South Carolina magic. He won the first Whelen Modified Tour event at Myrtle Beach in 2017 with the same Eric Sanderson-owned team he enters 2019 driving for. After a busy offseason, including a visit to New Smyrna in February to knock the dust off the car, Solomito is hoping to get things rolling on the right foot.

Although those three drivers may be among the top challengers, the rest of the field isn’t going to be behind them. An offseason of updates has names like Eric Goodale, Matt Swanson, Craig Lutz, Dave Sapienza and 2018 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Tommy Catalano looking to pounce on their opportunity.

Matt Hirschman, who won the pole for last year’s Myrtle Beach event, is among a long list of entries for the opener.

Thanks to an agreement with FansChoice.TV, race fans across the country can watch the Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen, and the entire 17-race Whelen Modified Tour slate via a live stream on FansChoice.TV. NBCSN will also air the Whelen Modified Tour opener on Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m.


PLACEMyrtle Beach Speedway, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
DATESaturday, March 16
TIME5:30 p.m. (approx.)
TELEVISIONFansChoice.TV, 5:30 p.m. (live broadcast); NBCSN — Thursday, March 21, 6 p.m.
TRACK LAYOUT.538-mile paved oval
2018 WINNERJon McKennedy
2018 POLEMatt Hirschman
EVENT SCHEDULESaturday: Garage Opens: 8 a.m.,Final Practice: 12:15-1:30 p.m., Group Qualifying: 3 p.m.,Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen: 5:30 p.m.
HASHTAG#NWMT, #PerformancePlus150



The starting field for the Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen is 30 starters, including provisional positions. The first 24 drivers will secure starting positions based on the group qualifying session. 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 sessions. The number of groups 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 first 24 starting positions. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on a vehicle after the vehicle enters the track to begin the 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 qualifying attempt is complete. Once a vehicle’s qualifying attempt is complete, they must proceed directly to the designated impound area. Vehicles will be impounded after qualifying/inspection. Vehicles must qualify on race set up.

The Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen will be 150 laps (80.7 miles). 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 remaining tire allotment may be used for practice and/or change tires during the event. The tire change rule is four (4) tires, any position


Justin Bonsignore is Ready to Defend His NASCAR WMT Title

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

Mayhew Tools To Sponsor Whelen Modified Tour Pole Award



DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers will have an extra incentive in their search of pole awards during the 2019 season.

Mayhew Tools, a Massachusetts-based company that produces tools that serve the industrial, automotive and hardware industries across the globe, will sponsor the pole award in 2019 for the Whelen Modified Tour.

Drivers will chase the top qualifying spot in 17 championship points events, but the drivers won’t be the only ones to benefit from winning a pole award. Mayhew is bringing the crew chiefs into the fray by announcing they will produce a “Big Stick” to each crew chief who turns the wrenches on a pole winning car.

The “Big Stick” is the largest pry bar that Mayhew has ever created.


“We have a patented line of these pry bars, and sometimes the mechanics can abuse the tools, but these products have a system with a medal cap on the end so they can beat on them with a hammer,” John Lawless, the President of Mayhew Tools, said. “We ended up taking it up to five-feet long at one point, but now, we are making one that is a heavier weight than all of the others.”

Mayhew Tools is no stranger to success on the Whelen Modified Tour. The company sponsored Bob Garbarino’s famed Mystic Missile with Jimmy Blewett behind the wheel in 2016, before making the move to Mike Smeriglio Racing as the primary sponsor of then four-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby at the beginning of the 2017 season. In their first year as partners with Coby, they were celebrating Coby’s fourth straight title and fifth overall  and they were also on the car for Coby’s third-place finish in the 2018 championship standings.

RELATED: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 2019 Schedule Announced

“It’s a tight-knit group,” Lawless said of the Whelen Modified Tour community. “It’s a lot of fun. We have only been around for a short period of time, but it has made a big difference for us. People are recognizing the Mayhew name more, and still it’s a long journey. Even though people know Mayhew, they need to know what we make.”

Lawless is also excited about the opportunity to continue to increase brand awareness for Mayhew  a company that provides tools to mechanics throughout the garage area. For Mayhew, the chance to give something to each pole winning crew chief was one of the most important parts of the deal.

“NASCAR has been great to work with. This will be a good opportunity for us to get more visibility,” Lawless said. “The drivers get the awards, but we make the tools for the guys that work on the cars. We would like to give some sort of a reward to the crew chief because he is very involved in the whole process.”

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season begins on Saturday, March 16, at Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina. The first event of the season, the Performance Plus 150, will be followed by the return of NASCAR Whelen Modifieds to South Boston Speedway on March 30.

About Mayhew Tools

Mayhew Steel Products (Mayhew Tools), founded in 1856, is the oldest punch and chisel manufacturer in the United States. Headquartered in Turners Falls, MA, the company’s transition from a small tool house to industry leader comes as a direct result of their dedication, quality, reliability, and craftsmanship. While their passion for manufacturing quality hand tools has continued to fuel its century-old product line growth. Mayhew Tools, serving primarily the Industrial, Automotive and Hardware industries, are sold globally through an extensive distributor network.