Justin Bonsignore is looking to keep his dominant roll going on Saturday at Riverhead Raceway.
The Holtsville, New York, driver enters the Miller Lite 200 with a 75-point advantage in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship standings on the heels of six victories in the first 12 races.
And one of those victories already came at Riverhead, his home track, in July. Bonsignore grew up racing on the quarter-mile New York oval, and has transitioned his success from the weekly division over to the Whelen Modified Tour — scoring five wins in 15 starts.
In July, Bonsignore passed Ryan Preece for the lead with just 29 laps to go and went on to score his fourth win in his last seven starts at his home track.
“I’m excited, obviously it was a great race there last time, and unfortunately Ryan isn’t going to be there,” Bonsignore said. “I’m hoping we have the same car we had in July.”
Even though Bonsignore has dominated Riverhead finishing inside the top five in his last seven starts there, he knows the task of winning isn’t going to be easy. Local favorite John Fortin will look to score his first Whelen Modified Tour win — and Fortin is already a two-time winner there as part of the Whelen All-American Series this season.
Timmy Solomito, who enters the race third in the Whelen Modified Tour points standings, has been to Victory Lane in three of his last five starts.
“Hopefully everyone else has the same car they had, and we can be that much better again,” Bonsignore joked. “But I’m sure everyone will get better. It will be a lot of fun to go back home. Hopefully it will be a good race like the spring with some long runs — it was a good time.”
Bonsignore’s dominance rolled him into Oswego Speedway with a 64-point gap, but while Chase Dowling struggled and finished 12th after being involved in a wreck, Bonsignore was able to extend it once again with his second-place finish.
He’s finished either first or second eight times this season, but still isn’t ready to talk about winning the championship.
Instead, he has his head down on the task at hand.
“Obviously he is parked in the middle of the track, so you see what happened to him,” Bonsignore said of Dowling’s wreck at Oswego. “But we were going for the win. I even feel like I gave it away a little bit. We are racing for wins, but at the same time, we aren’t going to do anything stupid. I’m going to play it safe and race the way people should be racing. Our guys are getting us the track position off pit road so we aren’t in the middle of the mess that happens.”