STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. (WWLP) – Justin Bonsignore clinched his third NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship and won the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final 150 at Stafford Speedway on Saturday evening.
Bonsignore took the lead from Anthony Nocella on lap 78. The event went the first 130 laps without a caution. Bonsignore and the field came down to pit road for tires on lap 132. The green flag came back out on lap 137.
Matt Swanson brought out the final caution of the event on lap 146 for a spin in turn 2 that also involved several other cars. The race would finish on a green-white-checkered restart. Doug Coby briefly led but Bonsignore regained the lead before coming to the white flag. Bonsignore would win his first race on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Stafford in 41 starts and clinch his third NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.
Bonsignore talked about the win and the championship to 22News, “It’s special. To join the people that we’ve join now with three championships or more especially Michael (Stefanik) and Tony (Hirschman) for what they’ve accomplished. Doug (Coby) is still accomplishing. It’s really special. More than anything I am happy we got over the hump here and finally win a race and the way we did it. Our car was just so good. Hated to see those cautions at the end. They nailed the pit stop. They nailed the adjustments. Just a great way to do it.”
“It’s hard to put this into words. You don’t know what to think or say. Just so proud of my guys more than anything. From top to bottom from the sponsors to my owners Ken (Massa) and Janine (Massa) to the crew which Ryan (Stone) leads. Just everything works and then their wives, their girlfriends and their families that sacrifice their vacations and they sacrifice so much. It just means so much. Just a lucky guy to drive for these guys,” Bonsignore continued.
Ryan Stone is Justin Bonsignore’s crew chief. He talked to 22News about winning his third NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship
“It means everything. It’s an unbelievable accomplishment. We never dreamed we would be this successful. Great group of guys. They had a great team when I got here. Just the way that Justin (Bonsignore) and I have bonded. The relationship that we formed with all the guys. It was so easy we transitioned right into their program. It’s just a lot of hard by a lot of great guys. Dedicated guys that have been with Ken Massa for so long. You can’t even put it into words right now. It’s an amazing feeling to finally win at Stafford,” Stone said.
Ken Massa is Justin Bonsignore’s car owner. He told 22News what it meant to win a third championship.
“It’s all the hard work The time dedicated. The crew. It’s all of that,” Massa said.
Doug Coby finished the race in second. He talked about his race to 22News, “Really weird day at the track. We all struggled for speed. The track was really slow There was a time where we were running 20 flats and that’s pretty crazy in a tour mod. We just didn’t have a whole lot of side bite in the car today and got really free on that long run. The middle of the long run, I was really bad and then I started to change some stuff. I think if it had stayed green, I could’ve had a car that won and it didn’t stay green and we knew we had to come for tires. We knew it had to be rears (tires) just to make sure the thing had drive. We tried to free it up. We knew we had to be fast on the restarts. Tried everything we could and it didn’t work.”
Patrick Emerling finished the race in third. He talked about his race to 22News, “Congrats to Justin and the whole 51 team. They did a helluva job. They’re tough guys to beat. Proud of what we did all season. I think we ended on a high note with a top three. We finished the season with our heads up high. We raced to the best of our ability.
Kyle Bonsignore finished in fourth and Craig Lutz rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Anthony Nocella, Tyler Rypkema, Ronnie Silk, Eric Goodale, and Ronnie Williams.
The date for the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season opener has been announced and they will have their season opener at New Smryna Speedway in Florida on February 12. The full 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule will be announced at a later date.