Justin Bonsignore didn’t look to have the fastest car for much of the Thompson 125, but when it was time to crown the winner, he found his way to the front.
The Holtsville, New York, driver scored his third victory of the 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, using a late caution to get out front of the field on pit road.
The win was his 15th career, his seventh on the Thompson high-banks, and it helped to continue an early-season roll that has him at the top of the championship standings with five of 16 races into the record books.
“The (pit crew) guys won us that race, they got us out in front of Doug (Coby),” Bonsignore said. “Track position is so important, if we didn’t get it, I don’t think we would have won as easily as we did. If you can roll the top here, and have good drive-off, you can just roll away from the guys on the bottom.”
A pit stop during the first of two cautions on lap 92 for fresh Hoosier rubber saw Bonsignore enter the pits running fourth, but when he left, he was looking at clear track in front of him. On the restart, Bonsignore drove away from Coby, who led a race-high 82 laps, but that wasn’t the only challenge he faced in the final circuits.
After another quick yellow flag, Bonsignore had to fight-off a charge by Rowan Pennink, who was all over the back bumper of the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Inc., Chevrolet looking to spoil Bonsignore’s success. In the end, Pennink was forced to settle for second.
Coby was third, followed by defending race winner Ryan Preece, who finished fourth. Preece chased the back bumper of Coby’s car through lapped traffic for much of the middle portion of the race battling for the lead, but lost crucial track position on pit road, and wasn’t able to rebound. Dave Sapienza rounded out the top five.
Timmy Solomito was sixth, followed by Craig Lutz, Rob Summers, Chase Dowling and Matt Swanson.
Bonsignore led 43 laps, and holds a 19-point advantage in the championship standings over Chase Dowling, while Craig Lutz is third, 29 points back.
I talked to @JBonsignore earlier today and thought he just seemed over the moon ecstatic about the start to his season.
Now he’s won again and I said this just adds another layer. pic.twitter.com/o52q2DWXQ8
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) June 15, 2018
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, on June 23.