THOMPSON, Conn. —
(This story will be published in Area Auto Racing News on Tuesday morning.)
Justin Bonsignore knew going into Sunday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season finale at Thompson that he would have to win the race in order to even be in contention for the championship.
And when the checkered flag flew at the end of the season ending 150 lap race, Bonsignore took down his fourth win of the season and the 12th of his NWMT career behind the wheel of the M3 Technology, Phoenix Communications No. 51.
“We just won our fourth race of the season and our fifth at Thompson, the World Series is an amazing accomplishment, I think we have won every big weekend here,” Bonsignore said.
The winning move came on lap 130, when Bonsignore cut to the bottom under race leader Timmy Solomito and the two drivers did a little bit of rubbing in turn three. Bonsignore came out the other side with the lead, while Solomito was left sliding backwards as the handling continued to go away.
“Timmy and I made contact on the restart before that and I didn’t want to race him like that. We were rough against each other at Riverhead and I didn’t want to do that again,” Bonsignore said. “We are good friends and I just don’t wanna race like that, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I was giving him a bump here and there and he bobbled just enough for me to get a good run off turn two and we drag raced into three.”
“I got free going in there and when you get free going into these turns you wash up the hill and into the other guy and we made a little bit of contact. He could have gotten back to my bumper and moved me again, but he didn’t and I appreciate that.”
Ryan Preece, who started at the rear of the field since he didn’t qualify the car on Saturday, charged late and finished second in his TS Haulers No. 6. Preece had an eventful race of trying to move through traffic, but settled in fourth in the second half of the race and didn’t look to have much in the car to try and charge to the front. However, when Solomtio and Donny Lia started racing in the final laps, Preece made the move and ended up second when the feature went checkered.
Jimmy Blewett made a late charge to finish third behind the wheel of the Starrett Tools No. 4. He had to go to the tail of the field after cutting a tire down in front of the field in the early stages, but for the second straight week he made the move to the front in the final laps.
“I’m just happy to finish in the top three again and give these guys a good sendoff to finish the year again,” Blewett said.
Lia finished fourth and Solomito, who was at the point for much of the race, was forced to a fifth place finish with a car that clearly wasn’t handling well in the final laps. Doug Coby finished sixth, with Woody Pitkat, Eric Goodale, Matt Swanson and Dave Sapienza rounding out the top 10.
With his sixth place finish, Coby captured his third consecutive championship on NASCAR’s oldest touring series.
“It’s awesome, every one of these is different and is special for many reasons,” Coby said. “There are many ways to win them and many ways to lose them, but we have found many ways to win them. It just goes back to preparation and having a car that is good everywhere we go. We obviously had a little bit better car than sixth, but we had to kind of play it cool and keep my eye out for who was around me and know the situation if a caution was to come out. I was just playing it cool out there and riding around.”
RESULTS: Justin Bonsignore, Ryan Preece, Jimmy Blewett, Donny Lia, Timmy Solomito, Doug Coby, Woody Pitkat, Matt Swanson, Dave Sapienza, Jamie Tomaino, Jeff Goodale, Max Zachem, Rowan Pennink, Bobby Santos, Gary McDonald, Wade Cole, Ron Silk, Melissa Fifield, Walter Sutcliffe Jr., Rob Summers, Chase Dowling, Kyle Ellwood, Gary Byington, Craig Lutz, Calvin Carroll, Shawn Solomito