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NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

Whelen Modified Tour Stafford Notebook: Second Again for Bonsignore, “Razzle-Dazzle” for “Preece Lightning”

Paul Lambert/STS

Ryan Preece put on another show Friday night, picking up his second straight win on the Whelen Modified Tour and ninth Tour race at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Friday Feature A Clinic in Clean Racing 

For the last 40 laps, three Modified greats: Ryan Preece, Justin Bonsignore, and Doug Coby, put on a show fighting for the win.

Coby and Bonsignore slugged it out over the course of several restarts, with Bonsignore diving under Coby on the final attempt after being forced up the track. Through it all, Preece rallied on fresher tires to make the winning pass on Bonsignore with just eight laps to go.

And all of it was done cleanly, with no sparks, no spins, and no torn-up race cars.

Coby, Preece and Bonsignore have combined for nine Whelen Modified Tour championships and 85 wins across their careers. To see the three go after another Tour racer yet again is a special moment that should not be forgotten or taken for granted.

“That was just good, hard racing,” Bonsignore said. “You know you can lean on each other, pinch each other, anticipating your move. And he’s going to be aggressive back, but not put us all in bad spots, too.”

For Coby, the battles back and forth are all about mutual respect.

“We try our best to put on a show for a little bit,” Coby, who finished fourth, said. “We all try to run each other clean. We talk a lot during the week, the three of us, just in general, about short-track racing and what our role is as drivers who people look up to.”

In that group chat the three drivers share, the texting banter should be pretty one-sided the rest of the weekend.

“Ryan will have the most fun this weekend, considering he passed both of us for the win,” Bonsignore said.

For Modified fans, no matter who you root for, just enjoy what you saw tonight. Battles like Friday night are precious memories that will be told for years to come.

Bonsignore Denied Win, Extends Points Lead

Justin Bonsignore is now 0 for 40 at Stafford after another second-place effort. But the stat is so grotesquely misleading.

Since August of 2015, Bonsignore has finished in the top-10 15 times in 18 races. He’s now finished second five times at Stafford. Friday night marked the sixth time in eight races that he’s led at least one lap.

And yet, through bad luck and poor positioning, Bonsignore has just been unable to buy a win at the half-mile oval.

“o for 40 is all I’ll hear from the Preece team,” Bonsignore said after the race.

Still, the night was a net positive for Bonsignore. Friday’s runner-up extended his points lead over Patrick Emerling, as the series heads to Beech Ridge in two weeks to begin the final five-race stretch of the season. It’s been another spectacular season for Bonsignore, who has a win and eight top-fives in nine races in 2021.

“We’re not thinking anything about the points when you’re out there,” Bonsignore said. “Third straight race we’ve gone for the win, finished second three times in a row now. We’ve just come up a little short.”

Preece has no problem with Bonsignore getting an elusive first win at Stafford. He just doesn’t want to be the man Bonsignore beats for it.

“Justin will win here eventually,” Preece said. “I’m happy I wasn’t the guy to finish second to him when he got his first win.”

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Paul Lambert is an aspiring collegiate journalist. A writer and broadcaster, Paul's excited to cover New England short track racing in 2022. Paul has also been published in the Boston Herald, Speedway Illustrated and on Autoweek.com.

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