At the Icebreaker this spring, Justin Bonsignore became the first driver in series history to notch five straight wins in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at one track. On Wednesday night, the #51 Phoenix Communications team extended that record to six, taking down the win in the Thompson 125. On his way to becoming "King of Thompson" with 11 total wins. Only two legends sit above him in Thompson wins, Tour Master Mike Stefanik with 15 and late wheelman Ted Christopher ironically at 13. The win did not come easy, as all race Bonsignore was haunted by the #46 Riverhead Building Supply machine driven by Craig Lutz, who has been on a tear lately. Lutz looked like he may get his first and long over due Tour win. After the pit stop, it would be evident that Bonsignore in the Ken Massa owned 51 would just be too strong for the field, for anyone to really mount a challenge. “At lap 100, I was confident that if it just stayed green I would be fine, but when the yellow came out, I was sitting there wondering who was going to pit, who wasn’t going to pit. When McKennedy only took two tires, I knew what his car was going to do.
Our car was just so good on three tires.” Bonsignore told NASCAR reporters. Doug Coby, who set the Mayhew Tools pole, would finish 2nd, with Craig Lutz, who led a race high, 73 laps in third. Burt Myers would take over the ride for the injured Dave Sapienza, and would practice, qualify, and race very well, finishing 4th. Ron Silk in the Stuarts Automotive #85 would round out the top 5. The next stop for the Whelen Modified Tour is the Riverhead Speedway about a month away. The tour will go to a track known for hard nose racing and home to Bonsignore. The 51 team needed this win to put them back in striking distance in the points to defend their championship. With a close battle atop the standings, led by Doug Coby, Ron Silk 31 points back, Justin Bonsignore, wood Pitkat and Craig Lutz 64 points back.
Connecticut native and now Monster Energy Cup Star Ryan Preece would make his return to Thompson and modified racing for this mid week show. Preece would struggle in his Tour car and finish 14th in his #6. Earlier onin the night he would win a great Sunoco Modified race after battling hard with young driver Max McLaughlin, McLaughlin was in a Keith Rocco rental and it was the first time he has ever seen Thompson or an asphalt modified. There was no doubt he had Mike “Magic Shoes” McLaughlin DNA the second he hit the track. He put on a show and made moves like some that have been running Thompson there whole life still do not make in the #88. It may have been one of the more exciting races at Thompson since the passing of the late and great TC. Many were entertained and impressed, Max was up here originally to get some laps at Thompson before the K&N race that was Scheduled in a few weeks, but it was announced it was cancelled this week. Bryan Narducci would continue to be undefeated in the Lite modifieds at Thompson.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series will take on the Monadnock Speedway this saturday, for 100 ground pounding laps. It is unsure how many cars are entered for this event up in the mountains of New Hampshire, but it will be sure to be a good show all around, as all of the NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions will be in action. Brian Robie and Todd Patnode will be pulling double duty in their Sportsman Modifieds and their Tour Modifieds, those 2 have been the best show up at Monadnock in the Sportsmen Modifieds this season, with Robie taking down the win last time out.
Mike Willis Jr out of Grantham NH sits atop the points after 2 events into the schedule, with Dylan Rock sitting in 2nd, 11 points back. Our very own, Brandon Wilkinson caught up with the points leader of the series to get his thoughts; “I’m excited to keep the momentum going at a track we’ve struggled at.” said Willis, who finished inside the top 5 once last year at Monadnock. Willis has acquired a new crew chief in Dennis Harty, a known setup man in the state of New Hampshire. “Dennis is awesome, he’s just another asset to our already great team.” Willis, among others look to go to victory lane tomorrow night, so if you’re in the area come on out to Monadnock Speedway, for 100 laps plus NASCAR Whelen All American Series action. New Hampshire is native to many of the regular stars of the MRS series and many know the high banks of this bull ring very well. The weather looks to be about perfect so take the short drive to Winchester NH for some thunder in the hills Saturday Night. Also, for those looking for some dirt action Lebanon Valley Speedway is running double features Saturday to make up for last weeks rain outs. Whats better then Big Block modifieds at the high banked half mile dirt oval? Two times Big Block Madness!! BW