Bonsignore Scores Whelen Modified Victory In Icebreaker

Justin Bonsignore picked up his sixth career Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park win in Sunday’s Icebreaker 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Photo by Adam Glanzman/NASCAR

Even though he finished third in the championship standings last year, Justin Bonsignore struggled for much of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.

As a result, over the latest offseason, his Kenneth Massa Motorsports team decided they needed to make a change. The team switched to LFR Chassis and brought Ryan Stone on board as crew chief, in what Bonsignore called a complete “reboot.”

Sunday, in the 44th annual Icebreaker at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, Bonsignore took his new combination to the winner’s circle in just their second effort as a team. The victory was the 13th of his Whelen Modified Tour career, and his sixth on the 0.625-mile high-banked oval, making him the active leader in victories at the track.

“It was tough,” Bonsignore said of his struggles throughout last year. “The 2017 season humbled me a lot as a person, as a race car driver, it was just a really tough season. To come back and have a really good car at Myrtle Beach, and come here and have luck go our way today and get a win, it’s a really good feeling.”

Even though he carried the checkered flag, his return to the winner’s circle didn’t come without an array of close calls. On lap one, Bonsignore locked the brakes up going into turn three, and nearly made contact with Rowan Pennink. Then, in the final laps, the Holtsville, New York, driver found himself chasing Jon McKennedy looking to capture Thompson magic once again.

Coming down for a restart with five laps to go, McKennedy’s No. 7 Accell Construction Chevrolet slowed in turn three, running out of fuel while in the lead. Bonsignore inherited the advantage for the final restart, but had to hold off a furious charge by Ronnie Williams on the final two circuits. Williams ended up crashing in turn one following some contact, while Bonsignore went around and captured the checkered flag.

“We had a really good car,” Bonsignore said. “I’ll take the luck any day of the week. I knew Ronnie was going to be anxious. We have all been there, looking for our first win. I got a good launch on the restart. I really just love winning at Thompson.”

Craig Lutz put together an impressive final stint of the race to charge through the field and finish second, while defending race winner Rowan Pennink, in his first race back since offseason back surgery, finished third. Ryan Preece and Matt Swanson completed the top five.

Doug Coby rebounded from two wrecks and finished sixth, followed by Rob Summers, Chase Dowling, Bobby Santos and Timmy Solomito. Earlier in the day, Ronnie Williams scored his first career pole award.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track for the NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway on April 29.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park – Thompson, CT
Icebreaker 150 – April 8, 2018

1. Justin Bonsignore
2. Craig Lutz
3. Rowan Pennick
4. Ryan Preece
5. Matt Swanson
6. Doug Coby
7. Rob Summers
8. Chase Dowling
9. Bobby Santos III
10. Timmy Solomito
11. Chris Pasteryak
12. Woody Pitkat
13. Burt Myers
14. Andrew Krause
15. Tommy Catalano
16. Calvin Carroll
17. Gary McDonald
18. Wade Cole
19. Ronnie Williams
20. Jon McKennedy
21. Manny Dias
22. Joe DeGarcia
23. Bryan Dauzat
24. Ron Silk
25. Dave Sapienza
26. Andy Seuss
27. Eric Goodale
28. Jimmy Blewett
29. Austin Pickens
30. Melissa Fifield
31. Blake Barney
32. Kyle Soper
33. Patrick Emerling
34. Kyle Bonsignore
35. Walter Sutcliffe, Jr.
36. Max Zachem

 

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