Justin Bonsignore has been nothing but impressive over his last five years on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Having delivered 23 of his 35 Tour victories — and all three of his championships — during that span, Bonsignore has established himself as one of the best of the decade.
Last year, when he was looking to secure his third straight title, Bonsignore scored four wins and entered the final race of the season at Martinsville Speedway in contention for the title. The only thing that stopped him from racing for the win in the final laps that night was mechanical failure while running second.
Bonsignore’s 2022 season was filled with ups and downs. On top of his four victories spread throughout the season, he finished outside the top 10 in five of 16 events. In the four years prior, the most he had finished outside the top 10 in a single was twice.
Bonsignore’s season was not bad by the standards of most; he finished fourth in points, inside the top five in the final standings for the seventh straight year, and his four wins came at four different tracks. But for 2023, he’s hoping to gain back some of the consistency from previous years and push himself back to the top.
“Definitely, 2022 was a tough year,” Bonsignore said. “Had a lot of issues, some things out of our control, with a few parts breaking that you just don’t expect to break. We still went into the final race with a shot at the title, and that shows that when we were on, we were on.
“We struggled a bit with the tires last year. We weren’t quite as good with getting the changes right. Our entire group worked hard – just a bit inconsistent – and cleaning those things up will be top of mind for 2023.”
Consistency will be the name of the game for the Holtsville, New York native and his Ken Massa Motorsports team when the season begins at New Smyrna Speedway on Feb. 11. With a rigorous, 19-race schedule planned for 2023, he wants to get started on the right foot and keep some momentum rolling.
“Our team challenges each other,” Bonsignore said. “You just take it week by week. We try to have no mulligans. We’ve had title runs before where we had very few, or even none, and it showed you can do it last year.
“Jon McKennedy was really consistent, and that put him in a good position to win the title. You just have to minimize your bad days and make the best of them to have a shot. Anytime you can make it to tech it’s a good day. You win when you can, but otherwise, come away with the best possible result in each race.”
Bonsignore also knows that it isn’t going to be easy.
With competition on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at the highest level it’s been in years, he knows his Ken Massa Motorsports team will need to be on top of their game. With McKennedy set to defend his title, Tommy Baldwin Racing uniting with Doug Coby for Coby to chase a seventh title, and names like Ron Silk, Eric Goodale, defending Sunoco Rookie of the Year Austin Beers and others up for the fight, Bonsignore is ready for the challenge.
“I think there’s going to be a really good championship fight with a lot of good teams. There are a lot of cars that can contend for the title,” Bonsignore said. “It should be fun to go to war with them each and every week. We’re friendly in the garage on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, but we race each others’ guts out on the track. We have the best, and you want to beat the best.
“We’re just as confident as ever. Years like last year make you hungry. People want to doubt you, say things about your team… and all of it just fuels you to want to win every week and put together a solid season.
“We’ve been looking forward to 2023 since Martinsville ended.”
Bonsignore and the rest of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will begin the 2023 season at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 11. The event will be available to watch live on FloRacing.