JUSTIN BONSIGNORE OPENS WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR SEASON WITH THIRD-PLACE FINISH AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
BY SOUZA MEDIA/KYLE SOUZA
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Justin Bonsignore opened the 2021 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season and his quest for a third series championship with a third-place finish at Martinsville Speedway on Thursday night, April 8. The driver of the No. 51 Coastal-Fiber, Kenneth Massa Motorsports machine was forced to start at the tail of the 35-car field after originally qualifying seventh, as the team found a potential leak and were forced to take a deeper look prior to the green.
While the car was sitting on the grid, Bonsignore’s team noticed a slow drip of water, and elected to bring the car back to the garage. Luckily, there were no major problems. He would enter the car and buckle the belts just moments before the green flag, and would begin to chase towards the front through a stacked field of cars in front of him.
“Just had to take the safe route and make sure everything was good. You don’t want to take any chances,” Bonsignore said of having to start at the rear.
If anything, all it did was give Bonsignore fans a chance to watch him dice through the field at one of NASCAR's most historic tracks. Bonsignore took the lead for the first time just after halfway, and was the top contender for the start of the second half of the race. During a caution period with 52 laps to go, the Ken Massa Motorsports team went to work with fresh tires and some adjustments, and Bonsignore quickly took back control of the lead after restarting third.
However, it just wasn’t meant to be in Virginia. Eventual race winner Eric Goodale and second-place finisher Tyler Rypkema passed Bonsignore in the final laps and Bonsignore would settle for third. The third-place finish was the 16th consecutive top-five finish for Bonsignore in Whelen Modified Tour action. The run at Martinsville came behind the wheel of a brand new car prepared by Ryan Stone.
“We did a longer run early in practice and we knew we had good speed, with not a lot of fall-off, the car was great to drive,” Bonsignore said. “There were no new-car jitters today. We raced our way up through the field, and had some really good strategy again by Ryan Stone. We just missed it on adjustments during the final stop. To continue the top-five streak is cool. Starting at the tail and working our way into the top-three is a really good day. If you can’t win, you have to go out and run in the top three. We were able to get the season off on the right foot.”
Bonsignore returns to the track on Sunday, April 25, when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will visit Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut. Following the tour race, Bonsignore will compete in the Tri Track Open Modified Series event at Monadnock Speedway on May 1.
For more information on Justin Bonsignore, visit JustinBonsignore.com and follow on Facebook. For more information on Souza Media, visit KyleSouza.com and follow Souza Media on Facebook.
STORY BY SOUZA MEDIA/KYLE SOUZA
HOLTSVILLE, N.Y. -- With the offseason finally in the rear-view mirror, Justin Bonsignore begins the quest for his third NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship on April 8 at Martinsville Speedway. The Holtsville, New York, native leads a list of over 35 of his closest Modified competitors back to the Virginia oval for the first time since 2010 -- as Bonsignore and the Kenneth Massa Motorsports team look to get the season started off on the right foot.
For the opener, Bonsignore will carry sponsorship from Coastal Fiber, LLC, a local Virginia company that is a full service fiber optic construction and splicing company. Already an established part of the team, Coastal Fiber founder Mark Langevin also is the owner of Phoenix Communications, Inc., Bonsignore's primary sponsor on the Tour.
"I am very excited to partner with Coastal Fiber and return to the track with my entire KMM team at Martinsville," Bonsignore said. "After a long winter, I can't wait to begin chasing our third championship together."
In one previous start at Martinsville, Bonsignore drove the Kenneth Massa Motorsports machine to a second-place finish in 2010. With some experience in his pocket, Bonsignore hopes to better that by one spot this time around. With 29 career Whelen Modified Tour wins, currently tied for sixth all-time with six-time series champion Doug Coby, Bonsignore has become the top contender on the tour. In the last three years of tour competition, the 33-year-old has 17 wins in 41 starts -- ending up in Victory Lane an astounding 41% of the time. He looks to become just the fifth driver in the history of the series to win back-to-back titles.
To start the season at Martinsville, one of NASCAR's most historic tracks, has Bonsignore more than excited.
"To open the season down at Martinsville just makes everything even more special and adds to the prestige of the Whelen Modified Tour and this event," Bonsignore said. "To win at Martinsville would be huge for all of us. I'd love to take the grandfather clock home back to New York."
The only practice sessions runs from 2:30-4 p.m., while single-car qualifying will take place at 6 p.m. The feature is scheduled to take the green flag at 8 p.m. The Whelen Modified Tour opener is just the start of a full weekend of NASCAR racing at Martinsville that will include both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup Series.
The Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200 will have a tape-delayed broadcast on NBCSN on Wednesday, April 14 at 5 p.m.
For more information on Justin Bonsignore, visit JustinBonsignore.com and follow him on Facebook. For more information on Souza Media, visit KyleSouza.com and follow on Facebook.
Photos: Tom Morris Racing Photography
A PRESS RELEASE BY SOUZA MEDIA/KYLE SOUZA
HOLTSVILLE, N.Y. -- Justin Bonsignore continues to add to his 2021 calendar.
The Holtsville, New York, driver, and two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, announced on Friday he will compete for Jimmy Paige in the six Tri Track Open Modified Series events. Bonsignore will drive the same No. 00 he drove for Paige in the 2020 Tri Track finale at Stafford Motor Speedway, where the combination finished fourth in the Modified Classic 81.
“I am really excited for an opportunity to run the Tri Track Open Modified Series in 2021 and drive for Jimmy Paige and his entire team,” Bonsignore said. “I enjoyed racing with them at Stafford, and loved the family atmosphere.”
The combination will begin their tenure together at Monadnock Speedway in the Tri Track opener on Saturday, May 1. Bonsignore is no stranger to Monadnock -- having won the Whelen Modified Tour event at the track in 2020. Paige and the No. 00 team have also shown plenty of speed at Monadnock in previous events.
Bonsignore will also compete with the team at Star Speedway (May 22), Seekonk Speedway’s annual $10,000 to win Open Wheel Wednesday (June 30), Star Speedway’s annual SBM (July 24), Monadnock (August 14) and Seekonk’s annual Haunted Hundred (October 23).
Bonsignore will also compete for Ken Massa Motorsports, chasing his third NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title in 2021. The team also has intentions of competing in the historic Thompson 300 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park as part of Thompson’s Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing in October, and the annual Islip 300, set for November 13.
For more information on Justin Bonsignore, follow his new athlete page on Facebook and visit justinbonsignore.com -- where Bonsignore currently is running a deal on apparel. T-shirts are just $12 plus shipping, while every purchase of a Hoodie will come with a free t-shirt of the same size.
For more information on Souza Media, visit Souza Media on Facebook, or visit kylesouza.com.
A PRESS RELEASE BY SOUZA MEDIA
HOLTSVILLE, N.Y. -- After scoring their second championship together on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2020, Ken Massa Motorsports and Justin Bonsignore have announced that Phoenix Communications Inc. will return to the team as title sponsor in 2021.
Based in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Phoenix Communications started operations in 2000, and they consider themselves to be New England's leading provider of fiber optic network construction and testing. They install the fiber optic cable that provides homes, businesses, universities, and the entire telecommunications industry with internet, phone, security and a number of other services that are critical to daily operations.
The partnership between the three has produced double-digit wins and multiple titles on the race track.
"We're very excited for our sixth season with Mark Langevin, Marie Langevin and the entire Phoenix Communications, Inc., group as the primary sponsor of our team in 2021," Justin Bonsignore said. "We can't wait to chase our third Whelen Modified Tour championship together and look for continued success."
Team owner Ken Massa pointed towards the teamwork in the group, which includes Phoenix, as to why the combination has been successful.
“Phoenix Communications ownership gives our team needed inspiration, which elevates our team to want to compete at a higher-level in all aspects,” Ken Massa, team owner, said. “Having them on our side only makes us stronger.”
Justin Bonsignore, Ken Massa Motorsports and the Phoenix Communications team will open their 2021 season in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Martinsville Speedway on Thursday, April 8, 2021.
"We had a couple of really long tenured clients of our company that attended the Whelen Modified Tour races, and when the opportunity came up for sponsorship, the rest is really history," said Mark Lengevin, president of Phoenix Communications, said in 2018 of the partnership. "Being at a race is a great environment, and (before the sponsorship) I personally had never been to any of the Whelen Modified Tour races, but it’s always a good time. There is always a smile on someone’s face."
For more information on Justin Bonsignore, fans should follow JustinBonsignore.com and Justin Bonsignore's Athlete page on Facebook.
A NASCAR PRESS RELEASE
NASCAR announced the 2021 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour calendar, and the slate includes 14 races across six states – from Maine to Virginia. The schedule is a mix of historic Modified staples, the return of a pair of tracks and an inaugural trip to an upstate New York venue.
The 2021 season will open at Martinsville Speedway on Thursday, April 8, as part of the NASCAR Cup Series weekend. It will conclude with the traditional Fall Final race weekend at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will also race on the national series weekends at Virginia’s Richmond Raceway on Sept. 10 and New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 17.
Stafford, which has hosted 132 races for the tour since tour began in 1985, will have three dates, including the season races of the season as part of its annual Spring Sizzler weekend.
The tour will also visit Riverhead Raceway on Long Island three times: May 15, June 19 and Sept. 18. The quarter-mile bullring has hosted 64 tour races since 1985 but was unable to in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the tour’s first race at New York International Raceway in Lancaster, New York, on July 31, upstate New York will see a pair of races at Oswego Speedway — on June 12 and Sept. 4.
Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine, will have a tour race for the first time since 2005 with an Aug. 21 races. The tour has run at the third-mile oval, a long-time part of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series, five times between 1995-2005. Jerry Marquis won the most recent race there.
Pennsylvania’s Jennerstown Speedway, which returned to the schedule last year and had two events, will bring the tour back on May 29.
A STORY BY NASCAR.COM
Mike Stefanik. Doug Coby. Tony Hirschman. Jimmy Spencer. Donny Lia.
Those are the drivers who have won multiple championships on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. After a dominant 2020 campaign, Justin Bonsignore can now add his name to that very special list.
A native of Long Island, New York, Bonsignore has gone toe-to-toe with some of those legends during his Tour career. Now, he’s well on his way to establishing himself as a Modified legend of his own.
The tone was set from the outset of the season, when the series headed to Jennerstown to open things up, more than three months later than initially planned. Bonsignore had never been to the track, and he’d been out of the driver’s seat longer than perhaps any point in his career. No matter. Bonsignore sat on the pole and led every lap en route to a win at Jennerstown on June 21. The butterflies Bonsignore had from such a long offseason went away in a flash.
"My personal confidence was sky-high," Bonsignore said. "You go to another brand-new race track and you’re like ‘okay, well I just did this a couple weeks ago my first time there, so there’s no reason we can’t go to another new racetrack and do the same’."
That’s exactly what the team did. Two weeks later, on Independence Day at White Mountain Motorsports Park, Bonsignore passed Matt Hirschman late in the going en route to another win. Already, Bonsignore was up 17 points on his closest full-time competitor, Coby.
He didn’t look back.
A third win later that year at Monadnock bolstered Bonsignore’s stranglehold on the points lead. The No. 51 team finished no worse than fifth the entire season, an incredible accomplishment. They never trailed in the point standings. It was a good, old-fashioned beatdown.
A seventh at the season-ending World Series 150 at Thompson locked up the title. Bonsignore has matured as a driver throughout his career on Tour. He’ll tell you that. It’s a change he’s noticed in himself this year.
"I think as you get a little older in life, you get smarter," Bonsignore said. "I think as I’ve gotten older the last few years, it’s definitely something I’ve paid more attention to."
"I thought a lot about it over the offseason last year, and I wanted to make sure I was smarter this year with my calls. I feel like I was noticeably calmer at the racetrack during practice, during the races, making smarter decisions."
The results? A season so consistent and so dominant that his average finish in 2020 (2.7) was even lower than in 2018, when he won half the races on the schedule. It stands as the best average finish by any champion in Tour history.
Bonsignore credits his close relationship with Massa, now going on 11 years, as being a big part of the success.
"He’s all I’ve ever known on the Tour. They’re like a second family to me," Bonsignore said. "It’s not just the racing. No matter what, if the years were up or down in the past, he stuck with me, I stuck with him when things were tough on either side. We just stuck with each other. Through thick and thin, he’s always had my back, whether it’s racing-related, personal life, financial advice."
The chemistry that he’s had building with his crew, many of whom have remained with the team for nearly a decade, was also crucial in a season with so many curveballs.
"When the schedule comes out, my guys don’t miss races," Bonsignore said. "They plan their family vacations, they plan their days off work, they plan everything around our schedule. That’s a huge commitment."
But this team had talent in the past. It always had great chemistry, too. The one thing missing? The crew chief. Enter Ryan Stone, who agreed to join the No. 51 team back in 2018. Since Stone began calling the shots, Bonsignore leads the Tour in wins, top-fives and top-10s.
"It was just instant chemistry between me and Ryan, and Ryan and the whole team," Bonsignore said. "He fit right in. He’s a funny guy. He knows when to joke and when to be serious, and the team is behind him one thousand percent. When we’re at the racetrack, everyone looks to Ryan for direction. Nobody wants to let Ryan down, and Ryan doesn’t want to let any of us down."
RELATED: Justin Bonsignore Career Stats | Ryan Stone Career Stats
Joining a select group of Modified greats didn’t sink in for Bonsignore until the championship celebration after the season finale at Thompson.
"It was really humbling to see the trophy and know we’re on there twice now, and not that many people are," he said. "The guys that are are the best of the best of our series."
With his three wins, Bonsignore sits tied with Coby at 29 — good for sixth on the all-time list. Next up are Jeff Fuller (31) and Tony Hirschman (35). Seventeen of those wins have come in the last three years.
He also has 16 career Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Awards and is 16th all-time. He’s only 12 out of fifth, a eminently reachable goal considering his recent run of success.
After earning the fruits of years and years of labor the past three seasons, you could say that Bonsignore is living the dream. It’s something he thinks about from time to time.
"There’s many days you’re driving home from work and just thinking ‘wow, this is unbelievable what we’re able to accomplish right now’," Bonsignore said. "I’m sure after all this racing stuff is done, many years from now, we can all get together, and just talk about racing, and the trips, and the fun we had and all the success we’re having."
But Bonsignore wants to put the emphasis on "many years from now." Unfortunately for the rest of the Tour competition, Bonsignore hasn’t spent too much time dwelling on the winning he’s done. After all, there’s another title to be won in 2021 and onward.
"It just makes me want to be the guy that can get to three now," Bonsignore said.
Only 32 years old, Bonsignore has a lot of racing ahead of him. More important to him than going down as an all-time driver, however, is making sure the entire No. 51 operation itself goes down as an all-timer.
"I don’t need the people to say that I’ll go down as a great driver," Bonsignore. "I don’t care for that type of brag. I want to go down, as a group, as one of the best teams, because they deserve the credit just as much as me."
No matter what happens next, it’s pretty clear that Bonsignore and the No. 51 team have already cemented themselves as one of the most unstoppable forces in Modified history.
STORY BY SOUZA MEDIA
ISLIP, N.Y. -- Justin Bonsignore drove the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Inc. Chevrolet to a third-place finish in the prestigious Islip 300 at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday.
Bonsignore, who was inside the top-five in practice, qualified eighth and ran inside the top-10 for the duration of the race.
After leading the middle stages, Bonsignore's Kenneth Massa Motorsports team elected to bring him to the pits with under 100 laps to go. From there, Bonsignore chased back through the field, and during a late green flag stint, charged into third spot, where he would finish. NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece won the race, followed by Craig Lutz.
"First off congratulations to Ryan and his team, great to see him back winning with the Modifieds," Bonsignore said. "We tried to out-tire them so to speak, pitting as late as we could for new rubber, but it may have been too late. Plus, that long caution for the oil clean-up took some laps away, but all in all, a good day."
That wraps the 2020 Modified season for Bonsignore, who is set to return to defend his Whelen Modified Tour title with Ken Massa Motorsports in 2021. A full schedule will be made available once released by NASCAR.
STORY BY RACEDAYCT.COM
When the Gary Casella owned No. 25 Tour Type Modified had a catastrophic engine failure Saturday at Thompson Speedway it meant a ripping effect going forward for the team’s plans.
Casella had planned to run two cars at the Tri-Track Open Modified Series CBYD Modified Classic 81 on Oct. 24 at Stafford Speedway with NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champions Doug Coby and Justin Bonsignore filling his stable.
The loss of a motor for Casella on Saturday meant it could be a struggle for the operation to have two rides ready for Oct. 24. Coincidentally, following Saturday’s Tour Type Open Modified event at Thompson, car owner Jimmy Paige found out he had open seat for Stafford with Chase Dowling opting for another ride. Ultimately, it all led to Bonsignore connecting with Paige to fill the seat of his well known No. 00 Modified for Oct. 24 at Stafford.
“We all saw what happened Saturday with Gary’s car with the motor letting go,” said Bonsignore, who clinched his second Whelen Modified Tour champion Sunday at Thompson Speedway. “I spoke a couple times with back and forth this week. We were still on board to do it. … He wasn’t 100 percent sure we’d be able to do it. Then I got a phone call from Jimmy Paige’s team telling me if I wanted to, and Gary couldn’t do something, they would like to run for them. I spoke to Gary and he gave me his blessing and was cool with. So we’re going to go do it with Jimmy and [crew chief] Steve LeMay and all his guys.”
Bonsignore is excited to go from one quality ride to another.
“We’ve watched Jimmy being around for a long time. … He’s got great equipment and a good team around him. Obviously I’ve watched them run these open shows the last few years with a lot of success so I’m excited to have a shot at it. I’m going from one good ride to another one. I think we’ll have a shot to contend and that’s all you can ask for.”
Bonsignore closed out his Whelen Modified Tour season Sunday with a fourth place finish in the Sunoco World Series 150. Bonsignore had three victories and nine top-five’s in nine Whelen Modified Tour events in 2020. He also won the series title in 2018.
Story by: Kyle Souza/My Race News
Two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore.
Ask the Holtsville, New York, driver 12 years ago and he would have said that phrase was a dream. Ask him now and the dream is reality.
Bonsignore and his Kenneth Massa Motorsports team clinched their second Whelen Modified Tour title at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, marking their second crown in the last three years. He did it with a fourth-place finish in the season-finale — scoring his ninth top-five finish in the nine races run in 2020. Due to COVID-19, the original schedule was cut down to just nine, with a few new tracks on the schedule. But it was a return to one of Bonsignore’s favorite tracks, Thompson, that helped him seal the crown.
The Long Island kid celebrates again.
Story by NASCAR.com
THOMPSON, Conn. — Twice in the previous four years, Justin Bonsignore won the season finale at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, and had his Victory Lane celebration cut short when he had to move out of the way for the crowning of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion.
Sunday, they made way for Bonsignore. The 32-year-old from Holtsville, New York, waited for Sunoco World Series 150 winner Craig Lutz to wrap up before celebrating his second tour championship in three years. Bonsignore finished fourth behind Lutz, Jon McKennedy and Ron Silk.
RELATED: Complete Race Results | Final 2020 Championship Points
It was his ninth top-five finish in nine races in the abbreviated season that included three victories. It also marked Bonsignore’s 15th straight top five. He entered the final weekend needing to finish 2rd to clinch the title. But after winning three of the last four races at Thompson, but watching Doug Coby crowned the champion at the end of the night — including last year’s bittersweet race win — Bonsignore looked to take both the race AND the championship.
He led 14 laps and stayed in the top five nearly the entire race, even after it was mathematically wrapped up. Bonsignore won the title in 2018 and finished eight points behind Coby last year. He’s finished in the top three in points in six of the last seven seasons.
RELATED: Justin Bonsignore Career Stats
Coby won the Mayhew Tools Pole Award Saturday but had his race cut short by a Lap 97 accident and finished 22nd. Justin’s cousin, Kyle Bonsignore, finished fifth. Sam Rameau was sixth, followed by Woody Pitkat, Calvin Carroll, Patrick Emerling and Tyler Rypkema. Rypkema collected his fifth top 10 of the season and the 23-year-old from Oswego, New York, earned the Sunoco Rookie the Year Award.
McKennedy led a race-high 51 laps and edged Coby by five for second place — 40 back of Bonsignore.