A STORY BY NASCAR.COM/Kyle Souza
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — Another track, another streak for Justin Bonsignore.
The defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion earned his fourth straight victory at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night in the Miller Lite 200, adding his eighth career win at his home track. He took the lead from Timmy Solomito on a restart with 11 laps to go, and held off Solomito in overtime to score the win.
It was the fifth victory of the season for Bonsignore, and his 25th career in Whelen Modified Tour competition. He’s the only driver in the 64-race history at the track to win four straight, breaking a previous tie with Mike Ewanitskoand Ryan Preece, who both had three. The win also helped Bonsignore close the gap in the championship standings with just three races remaining.
"Anytime we come here, we want to win. We love coming home," Bonsignore said. "I’ve just been really fortunate with good cars here with Ryan (Stone, crew chief), to be able to win four in a row."
RACING-REFERENCE: Miller Lite 200 Race Results
Bonsignore’s path to Victory Lane saw him fend-off another local favorite. He started second, but dropped to the bottom of the top five early, and had to spend much of the middle of the race charging back through. Former track champion Tom Rogers Jr. led from laps 32 to 124, driving away from the field before a caution flew just after the halfway point.
Rogers would struggle to keep his podium running spot, while Solomito took control of the race out front on lap 146, and Bonsignore followed by Rogers shortly after. Bonsignore would chase down Solomito as the two cut through lapped traffic, but didn’t quite seem to have the run to try and get around. But a caution with 16 laps to go changed that.
Bonsignore worked the outside of Solomito on the restart, and was able to clear him for the top spot. He would have to hold his ground as the leader during two final restarts, but was able to accomplish the task. Solomito would finish second, his best effort of the season, while Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole winner Craig Lutz was third. Kyle Soper, Riverhead’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified points leader, was fourth, followed by Patrick Emerling.
Chuck Hossfeld was sixth, followed by Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender J.B. Fortin, J.R. Bertuccio, Rogers and John Beatty Jr. After starting inside the top five, contact between Bonsignore and Doug Coby sent Coby spinning early. The points leader would charge back into the middle of the top 10, but after contact in the final corner, he spun again, and finished 15th.
Coby leads Bonsignore by 19 points in the standings, while Ron Silk is third, 45 back. The Miller Lite 200 will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, September 11, at 6 p.m.
STORY BY NASCAR.COM/Kyle Souza
OSWEGO, N.Y. — Justin Bonsignore knew it was going to take a few checkered flags if he wanted to climb his way back into the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship battle.
With five races to go, Bonsignore proved on Saturday that he isn’t out of it yet. He scored his fourth victory of the season in the Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s at Oswego Speedway, earning the victory as part of the track’s annual Classic Weekend.
It was the 24th career win in Whelen Modified Tour competition for Bonsignore and his first at the ‘Steel Palace’ of Oswego.
"It’s unbelievable. There is a lot of history at this track," he said. "I’ve wanted to win here every time we have come here."
RACING-REFERENCE: Toyota Mod Classic 150 Race Results
Bonsignore might not have posted the fastest lap times all day, but, when it mattered, his car shined. For the first 64 laps, he chased the back bumper of Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole winner Rob Summers in the race for the lead. He passed Summers at lap 65, and led through until a caution at lap 99, when Tyler Rypkema spun. Then, his Phoenix Communications crew went to work. They got him out at the front of the cars that pitted and took fresh tires, but, he had to restart third, behind Patrick Emerling and Tommy Catalano.
It didn’t take him long to get back to the top spot. Before the field exited turn two, he was the leader once again.
Bonsignore had to hold off defending race winner Matt Hirschman on a final dash to the finish, but was able to accomplish the task. While the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Chevrolet struggled to turn through the center of the corners, Bonsignore was able to make it work. He beat Hirschman to the line by .146 seconds. Following Hirschman, former Whelen Modified Tour champion Ron Silk was third, with Craig Lutz and Bobby Santos III completing the top five.
Doug Coby was sixth, followed by Eric Goodale, Timmy Solomito, Chase Dowling and Tommy Catalano. Coby leads Bonsignore by 37 points, with Silk 44 back with four races remaining in the championship points schedule. The Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s will air on NBCSN on Thursday, September 5, at 6 p.m.