Bonsignore Ready For Riverhead Return
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. – After getting the monkey off his back last week, Long Island’s Justin Bonsignore will return to his home track with the momentum needed to defend his Riverhead 200 victory.
A darkhorse favorite to contend for the 2012 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title, Bonsignore and the No. 51 M3 Technology team has encountered more than its share of adversity this year, primarily due to three accident DNFs. His struggles had been even greater at Thompson (Conn.) Int’l Speedway, where he had posted a career average finish of 19th.
The Holtsville, N.Y., native reversed both trends on Sunday, however, when he made a late-race pass and powered to victory in the Town Fair Tire Northern 75.
The Thompson win was the second of his career. The first came in the 2011 Riverhead 200, a victory he hopes to defend when the Whelen Modified Tour returns Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway this Saturday, Sept. 15.
“I’m pretty excited, especially since we were able to win last week,” Bonsignore said. “It definitely puts a little more pressure on us to go two weeks in a row and then two years in a row at Riverhead, but it is a place we expect to run good.”
Now in his third full-time Whelen Modified Tour campaign, Bonsignore launched his Modified racing career in Riverhead’s famed NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified division.
He earned the track title there in 2011 while simultaneously running on the tour, and has seven career weekly Modified wins at the quarter-mile bullring, including a pair this year in just four appearances.
On the Whelen Modified Tour side, which has been the No. 51 team’s focus in 2012, Bonsignore seemed energized by his first career victory in the Riverhead 200 last year. He reeled off top 10s in seven of the last nine events following Riverhead and improved 12 spots in the standings after that win to finish seventh in points.
“It was huge to win our first race of the season outside of Riverhead, on any level, is was real big,” Bonsignore said of his Thompson triumph. “Hopefully this can be the start of a nice little streak kind of like Doug [Coby] went on at the beginning of the year.”
This year he ranks sixth with four races left on the schedule. At 73 points behind leader Coby, the title might be a tall order, but another impressive stretch run this year could realistically place Bonsignore on the championship podium for the first time in his career. As second win in a row would go a long way in constructing another strong finish.