THOMPSON, Conn. —
It had been a while since Justin Bonsignore celebrated, but Wednesday night at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, the long wait between victories came to an end.
“It was eating on me, I hadn’t won in a long time,” Bonsignore said with a smile following his big score.
He grabbed the big victory in Wednesday’s Bud King of Beers 150 — his ninth career tour triumph and his first of the 2016 season behind the wheel of the No. 51 M3 Technology, Phoenix Communications Inc. SPAFCO modified.
“The guys had a really good pit stop tonight,” Bonsignore said. “I took it easy on those restarts because those guys weren’t on fresh tires, I didn’t wanna wreck before we got a shot to win it. Doug was able to get back in front of us and I could tell he was really tight, I wanted to pounce on him. Our car just came around quicker than his tonight and I just made sure to hit my marks.”
Bonsignore started third in Wednesday’s thriller and settled in there at the drop of the green flag, pacing himself for the long distance ahead. He decided to slide by Ron Silk for second on lap 22, then set chase for defending series champion Doug Coby, who won his third pole of 2016 at Thompson and brought the field to the green. He then set chase for Coby, but didn’t close the gap much before the first caution flag of the event.
At lap 54, Andrew Krause spun in turn four and the pit crews went to work on pit road. The entire field of lead lap cars elected to pit for tires and Bonsignore’s team got the job done.
They got him out as the first car with three fresh Hoosier tires and he placed himself third for the restart. Coby lined up fourth and quickly got to the lead, but Bonsignore was right in his tracks, hounding the back bumper.
It was then that he made the winning move. He dove to the inside of Coby in turn three on lap 73, cutting to the bottom and taking over the top spot by a mere few inches over Coby at lap 74. Although Coby tried the crossover, it wasn’t going to happen. It was Bonsignore going to the point and showing the way all the way down to the final stages of Wednesday’s Bud 150.
A caution at lap 126 for a spin by Silk slowed the action again, but Bonsignore was in the lead and was able to elect the outside lane for the restart. He got back to the point, while Coby spun his tires from the second spot on the bottom lane and that gave Bonsignore what he needed out front. He held off Bobby Santos on the next run, then had to hold off Coby on the final restart of the race in order to score the victory.
It was his first win since Riverhead in August of 2015 and his first series victory at a track other than Riverhead since Thompson’s Bud 150 in 2014.
“The second caution really helped us getting Doug off our bumper there for a bit,” Bonsignore said. “I didn’t wanna see that other yellow at the end, Doug was fourth, it wasn’t a walk in the park. I threw a block, you just can’t give those races up where you have a car this good. We’ve had our problems, you don’t wish anyone bad luck but you hope they have those problems. Tonight the luck was on our side.”
It looked as though Coby would get the run he needed on a restart with four laps to go, lining up fourth and getting quickly to second. He had three laps to close down on Bonsignore and try to make a move, but he couldn’t get the job done. Still, it was a solid second place run for the Milford, Connecticut native and current points leader.
“I think anyone in the bottom lane is going to spin the tires, it’s Thompson and everyone should know that,” Coby said. “I think I had something for Justin if not caution came out, anyone caution that came out helps him because it pins those people coming to get him down on the bottom. It was very similar to last years World Series where my car was so good on the bottom. I finally figured out where to be on the track and I was trying to keep pressure on him. The caution just came at the wrong time for us and the right time for him.”
Behind the top two at the finish was Bobby Santos III, who returned to Thompson off his June victory and returned to the podium with his No. 44 Tinio Racing LFR Chassis modified. The run for Santos was a solid one — even though he didn’t truly challenge for the victory in the final laps, he was always right there in a podium position.
“We were just a little bit free compared to where we wanted to be,” Santos said. “We had a good car all night, practice was good, we qualified good and we raced good. The goal is to be in tech at the end of the night so I’m happy to be over here.”
Woody Pitkat notched his best finish of the season, a fourth behind the wheel of the No. 85 Stuarts Automotive mount and rounding out the top five was NASCAR XFINITY Series star Ryan Preece.
Max Zachem made a late race charge to finish sixth from his 16th place starting position, with Ron Silk seventh. Donny Lia, Shawn Solomito and Jeff Goodale rounded out the top-10.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action next Wednesday evening at Bristol Motor Speedway, with the combination race between the North and South tour. Race Chaser Online will have live updates on the scene on Twitter and Facebook throughout the entire day.
LISTEN IN: Hear From Some of the Top Finishers in the Bud 150 at Thompson:
Audio with race winner Justin Bonsignore:
Audio with second place Doug Coby:
Audio with third place Bobby Santos III:
Audio with sixth place Max Zachem:
Audio with fourth place Woody Pitkat:
RESULTS: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Bud King of Beers 150; Thompson Speedway; August 10, 2016
- Justin Bonsignore
- Doug Coby
- Bobby Santos III
- Woody Pitkat
- Ryan Preece
- Max Zachem
- Ron Silk
- Donny Lia
- Shawn Solomito
- Jeff Goodale
- Chase Dowling
- Timmy Solomito
- Brendon Bock
- Jimmy Blewett
- Eric Goodale
- Matt Swanson
- Rob Summers
- Jamie Tomaino
- David Sapienza
- Wade Cole
- Craig Lutz
- Andrew Krause
- Melissa Fifield
- Gary McDonald
- Rowan Pennink