Justin Bonsignore had a season to remember on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Bonsignore won eight out of the 16 races on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this past season. Bonsignore swept all four races at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and the two races at Riverhead Raceway in New York. He won at Seekonk Speedway back in June and at Bristol Motor Speedway back in August.
Bonsignore had a huge point lead where he clinched the championship at the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway.
For Bonsignore’s crew chief Ryan Stone, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship is special. Bonsignore told 22News that Stone has been through a lot.
” Ryan (Stone) has been through a lot. He was a driver for a long time. Ran different divisions. Ran SK for a while which I think helps us as a team. He can see in the race car sometimes and he goes is it doing that and I go yeah and I can pick up on it couldn’t put my finger on it but yeah that’s right. That’s a huge asset to our team. He’s dedicated to his craft. He’s work full time obviously for us. He puts in many hours a day every day of the week. He doesn’t take a day off. He just wants to win. That’s why we brought him on board. He’s just unbelievable all year. The whole team between the shop crew and the pit crew they did a great job. Your nothing without your team.” Said, Bonsignore,
Bonsignore started racing in Go-Karts and now to be a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion it is surreal He grew up racing in Long Island and going to Riverhead Raceway and watching the modifieds. Bonsignore always thought he could do it at that level.
” You come up here as a kid like these weekends. You come up to the Fall Final. You come up to the World Series and sit in the stands and watch everybody race. You watch guys like (Mike) Stefanik, Teddy (Christopher) and your like man I just want that shot and fortunately I got it. We took our lumps. We went through some times and that weren’t always so great. Through all that Ken and Jean (Massa) and M3 their whole company stuck behind us. We brought Phoenix (Communications) on a couple years ago. They stuck behind us have 17 was pretty rough. Everybody just believes in me. I believe in my team. It’s really rewarding. I really enjoy seeing my crew guys happy.” Said Bonsignore
Bonsignore joins an elite list of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champions such as Mike Stefanik, Richie Evans, Jeff, and Rick Fuller, Tony Hirschman, Bonsignore told 22News that he thought about a little bit.
” NASCAR has a Whelen Hall of Fame room and I think that might get pretty emotional when I put my name in there because long after I am gone or long after I am done racing. My name will always be in that room and I’ve seen (Doug) Coby do that a couple times now and it really looks like a cool and neat honor. I think it will slowly just keep sinking in.” Said Bonsignore
For car owner Ken Massa winning the 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship means everything. Massa has tried to win a championship for nine years. He told 22News that his team is unbelievable with what they have done.
” Just loss for words.” Said Massa
Ryan Stone came on board as crew chief before the 2018 season. The team switched chassis as they went from Spafco to LFR.
” The chassis change was huge. Ryan (Stone) was the difference maker. The way he gelled with the team right away. Overall he’s a great guy. Two hundred percent all the time. Everyone obviously thinks it’s the chassis that made the difference. I think it’s Ryan Stone.” Said Massa
For Massa, without a doubt, he wants Justin Bonsignore as his driver. Massa started believing in him in the first meeting they had in Massa’s office.
Ryan Stone became Bonsignore’s crew chief before the start of the 2018 season. Stone told 22News that it means the world to him and the race team.
” Really the biggest thing was just knowing my family, my sister, my brother, my nieces and nephews that was what really struck me was just my family was here this day (October 14). It was pretty emotional. Thinking that they were all here. It was just a special day.” Said Stone
Stone never thought in a million years he would have the season like they this past year. He thought that they could win maybe three to four races and thought they could contend for the points and the championship and be consistent
” This series is so tough. There is so many good teams and good drivers and good crews and just the whole thing. It’s an amazing season. It’s one that were all very proud of. It worked out. We never in a million years thought we could dominate the year with how the 2 (Coby) has been and the 16 (Solomito) was last year. The fact that Fuller was coming on board with Chase (Dowling) and those guys. They pushed us hard all year. It’s an amazing thing be hard to back up for sure but we’re gonna try.” Said Bonsignore
Justin Bonsignore and his team will be honored at the NASCAR Regional Awards Banquet in Charlotte, NC on Friday, December 7.
He will begin his title defense at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday, March 16, 2019.