Three-Time Series Champion Ready For NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Jersey Shore 150
Race Advance/Story by Souza Media
HOLTSVILLE, N.Y. – With 36 career wins, ranking him fourth on the all-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins list, Justin Bonsignore will hit a milestone this Saturday night when the Tour visits Wall Stadium Speedway.
The three-time series champion will make his 200th career start on the Tour – spanning from his first in 2007 to 2023. Bonsignore has started at least one race in every season except 2008, and has been full-time since 2010. He’s been driving for the same team - Ken Massa Motorsports - for the entire time. The team has accomplished three championships (2018, 2019 & 2021) with countless wins, top-fives, top-10s, poles and more.
So far this season, Bonsignore has been strong in the first seven events. The Holtsville, New York, native has one victory and six top-five finishes along with two poles. His 200th career start will come at Wall, a place Bonsignore is still looking for his first win, but he only has two previous Tour starts there, with a best finish of sixth last year.
Ryan Stone joined the team as crew chief in 2018. He’s been with Bonsignore for 78 of the starts and during that span and they have 24 of his 36 career wins accomplished together. When Stone decided to join the team in the offseason after the 2017 season, he left JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series to do it.
“When I joined the team, Justin was established doing it for over 10 years at a high-level,” Stone said. “At that time Justin had the experience to drive, understand the cars and what he needed in the car to go fast. He just knows what we need for the feeling when we go to all the different tracks we have on the schedule. Going from places like Riverhead, a small bullring, all the way to somewhere like a high-speed New Hampshire, it’s two totally different disciplines as a driver. With experience comes communication and understanding how to manage the races. When I came in, it was just a matter of making the equipment be where it needed to be.”
The team has frequented victory lane at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and Riverhead Raceway since Stone has joined the group, but also have wins at various other tracks including the likes of Bristol, Stafford, Seekonk, Oswego, Monadnock, Jennerstown and White Mountain Motorsports Park.
“Having an eight win season in 2018 and a six win season in 2019, you don’t see it often,” Stone said. “Today, we don’t have the dominance that we may have had when I first joined the team but there have been some changes with the cars and the series. The formats are a bit different with some of the no change tire races versus pit stops, the tires are a bit different… We've been challenged just like everyone else. It shows you how hard it really is to have consistent speed at all of these different tracks. But it also shows you how incredible our years were when we first started working together. We hold ourselves to a high standard and it’s really not as easy as sometimes our team or some of the other teams make it look.”
Over his 200 starts, the core group of some of the team members have been together the entire time, something you just don’t see often at this level of racing, especially with the demanding schedule the Whelen Modified Tour has this year and some of the previous seasons.
Stone says it’s a reflection on owner Ken Massa and Justin Bonsignore as to why it still clicks so well.
“Half of our team is from Long Island and the other half from Connecticut with maybe one or two others sprinkled in and some of them have just been together forever, far before I got here,” Stone said. “That’s a reflection on them. These guys have been racing together a long time and that’s so hard to do. I’ve been on several teams and it just doesn’t happen. It’s incredible that it’s even been six years since I started working with them. They are great to work with. Ken gives us everything we need and Justin gives us everything he has to make sure we run up front.”
Justin Bonsignore will make his 200th career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start on Saturday, July 8 at Wall Stadium Speedway in the Jersey Shore 150. The start will be followed by a race just seven days later at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Whelen Modified Tour - one of the many major events of the season.
Saturday’s race day schedule includes practice from 3:30-4:30 p.m., followed by qualifying at 6 p.m. and the green flag for the race at 8 p.m. The event will air live on FloRacing.TV for those who can’t make it to the track.
For more information on Justin Bonsignore, fans are encouraged to visit JustinBonsignore.com and follow his Athlete page on Facebook for the latest news and updates.