Tag Archives: Whelen Modified Tour

Craig Lutz Breaks Into Victory Lane in NAPA Fall Final at Stafford

KYLE SOUZA NASCAR.COM SEPTEMBER 29, 2019

Photos Tom Morris/Myracenews

STAFFORD, Conn. — For the second straight year, the NAPA Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway produced a first-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour winner.

Craig Lutz in Victory Lane after winning the NAPA Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway October 29th 2019 Tom Morris/Myracenews

Craig Lutz took the lead from Doug Coby on a restart with 33 laps to go, and drove away from Coby, and defending series champion Justin Bonsignore, to earn his first career checkered flag in his 66th series start.

Prior to Sunday, Lutz had finished inside the top five in four of his 12 Stafford starts, including the last three. He had also finished inside the top five in eight of the 14 races in 2019.

For the first time, the Miller Place, New York, driver was able to celebrate a trophy.

RACING-REFERENCE: NAPA Fall Final 150 Race Results

“The first win is always special,” Lutz said. “Everyone kept on asking me when it was coming. To finally knock one off, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Lutz started ninth and rode inside the top 10 for the duration of the race, but shined when it mattered most. Chris Pasteryak earned his first career Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole award in qualifying, and led the first six laps, before Coby took control.

Bonsignore took the lead from Coby just before halfway, and paced the field until a caution just after lap 100, when leaders pitted multiple times for tires. It would be the only caution of the day that Coby, Bonsignore and Lutz entered pit road.

Pasteryak would lead eight more laps after cycling back to the lead, but couldn’t hold the top spot, as Coby slid by, then a restart gave Lutz his opportunity. Lutz passed Coby and never looked back, minding a gap back to Bonsignore for the final 10 laps.

“I just didn’t look in my mirror,” Lutz said. “I have an awesome spotter, who has a lot of experience, and he kept telling me to stay smooth and hit my marks. That’s what I kept doing.”

Bonsignore would finish second, while Coby settled for third. Chuck Hossfeld, who missed practice and qualifying on Saturday, charged from the rear of the field to finish fourth. Matt Swanson was fifth.

Ron Silk finished sixth, followed by Bobby Santos III, Woody Pitkat, Chase Dowling and Patrick Emerling.

Coby leads Bonsignore by 19 points with one championship points race remaining in search of his sixth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.

The NAPA Fall Final 150 will air on NBCSN on Friday, October 4, at 7 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track for the annual Sunoco World Series at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, the final race of the season, on Sunday, October 13.

Justin Bonsignore Spins To Win Third Straight at Riverhead Raceway

BY KYLE SOUZA NASCAR.COM JULY 7, 2019

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — Saturday night short-track racing at the highest level of modified racing.

There was contact, and even spinning, but it was enough for Justin Bonsignore to score his third straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night.

Bonsignore restarted to the inside of track regular John Beatty Jr. in overtime, and coming to the checkered flag, contact between the two drivers sent Beatty up the track, and Bonsignore spinning nose-first towards the frontstretch wall. In the midst of his spin, he crossed the line first in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200.

Buzz Chew Chevy Cadillac 200 winner at Riverhead Raceway Justin Bonsignore July 6th 2019 (Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews)

The victory was Bonsignore’s third of the season and his 23rd career in Whelen Modified Tour competition. He becomes just the third driver in series history to win three straight at Riverhead, joining Mike Ewanitsko and Ryan Preece as the only drivers to accomplish the feat.

“The restart before I was able to hang with him a few laps, but John had a better car, and I was really shocked he took the outside on the last restart,” Bonsignore said. “He gave me a good shot getting into three, but you are coming to the checkered. I hate racing like that. But these races are so hard to win, and we need to win all of the races we can to get back in this points race.”

RACING-REFERENCE: Buzz Chew Chevrolet 200 Race Results

Beatty looked to have the car to beat in the final stages. He passed Timmy Solomito for the lead on lap 150 and was at the point for a near run to the finish, until a caution for a wreck down the backstretch with three laps to go closed the field up. Beatty selected the top lane, and when the field went down into turn one at the green, the contact started between the two leaders.

John Beatty #5 jumps to the inside of Timmy Solomito #16 and Justin Bonsignore #51 at Riverhead Raceway July 6th 2019 (Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews)

They leaned on each other the final two laps, until the contact in turn four, coming to the checkered, sent Bonsignore spinning. Beatty, a regular in Riverhead’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I Modified class, was disappointed in the result, but happy with his effort. He nearly became the first track regular in more than two decades to win a Whelen Modified Tour race at the oval.

“I was just keeping up with the pace and my car just kept getting better and better (before the last yellow),” Beatty said. “Everyone races their own way. I’m not the kind of guy to drive someone up a lane or two, but Justin did his job. He won the race.”

Timmy Solomito, who led 37 laps, crossed the line third. Solomito took the lead for the first time on lap 76, after contact between Coby and Solomito sent Coby spinning in turn one, while racing for the lead. Ron Silk and Craig Lutz rounded out the top-five.

RACING-REFERENCE: Justin Bonsignore Career Riverhead Stats

Coby rebounded to sixth, while Patrick Emerling, Eric Goodale, Tom Rogers Jr. and Tommy Catalano completed the top 10.

Coby leads the championship point standings by 31 over Silk, while Bonsignore is third, 32 points back.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as part of their annual Monster Energy Cup Series weekend on Saturday, July 20. Select drivers will also compete in the All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire on Friday, July 19.

Max Zachem to Honor the Late Cliff Nelson at the Rescheduled NAPA Spring Sizzler

By Michael Jaworecki

There are many people in racing that help teams get through a long expensive race season. One of the really great people that helped so many was Cliff Nelson. Cliff passed away early this month and with his passing left a huge hole in New England racing.

Cliff was big supporter of Max’s racing career, and with his passing the team and another good friend and supporter Bruce Bachta wanted to do something special to honor Cliff.

Max had limited plans to run the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2019, only a June race at Thompson and the July race at New Hampshire were on Max’s radar. His 2019 season was to be spent working around the NEMA schedule for his future brother-in-law and future wife Meg Cugini.

Then Max’s unofficial “step dad” Bruce approached Max and inquired about what cars he had in his garage. Max had an SK and an MRS Modified in his garage . Bruce responded “That’s great lets going Whelen racing” from there the rest is history and the 2019 NAPA Spring Sizzler to honor Cliff was added to the schedule.

Since Bruce came on board to get Max to the Sizzler Max and the team have been busy preparing the black #20 ready to enter in the weather delayed NAPA Spring Sizzler. On the back of that car will be the familiar Cliff Nelsons Motorsports decal that has graced many a race car.

Max spoke so highly of Bruce ” He has done so much for me I can’t thank him enough. What makes this weekend more special in a sad way is the passing of Cliff Nelson who was such a big supporter of mine”.

Max also wanted to thank all the sponsors that help to get his race cars to the track. Lu Macs, MPZ Trucking LLC, East End Sanctuary, New England Race Fuels, Billy the Kid Engines and Foxwoods Resort Casino. With out great sponsors the race cars in his garage would probably stay in the garage.

The NAPA Auto Parts 200 48th annual Spring Sizzler will finally get the green light this Saturday May 11th at the Stafford Motor Speedway. In the field will be the #20 Max Zachem Modified to honor his late friend Cliff Nelson.