Justin Bonsignore did nearly everything he could do on Sunday, but unfortunately for him it wasn’t enough. The driver from Holtsville, N.Y. won the battle at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park’s (CT) World Series, however, it was Doug Coby winning the war and clinching his third straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.
Bonsignore took the lead from Timmy Solomito on lap 130 and pulled away from the field to win the Sunoco World Series 150.
“We knew we were going to have a car like this and Billy Michael prepared another amazing race car at Thompson,” Bonsignore said. “I can’t thank the crew enough, amazing pit stop. It’s our fifth win at Thompson, but it’s probably the worst one we’ve ever had given the circumstances. There’s a lot worse things I could be doing in my life and I get to race cars with a bunch of guys, my friends. Congrats to the 2 (Coby), we kept them honest this year. This is a little depressing, I’m not going to lie.”
Although he was able to climb out of his No. 51 and celebrate in Victory Lane on Sunday, Bonsignore admitted that it was bittersweet watching Coby celebrate the championship.
“I said before the weekend I wasn’t going to get down on myself about it, but I wasn’t totally convinced I’d just win it and put the pressure on him,” he said. “When you get to pull into Victory Lane and then he takes over from there it’s definitely a bummer. We kept them so honest this year. Everybody thought they’d walk away with it this year, the second half of the year we really turned it on.
“We’re not going to hang our head on any of this. Nine or ten points, we can count this points probably in one race. All and all an amazing season, to finish second is nothing to be ashamed of.”
Coby used a conservative strategy throughout the 150-lap race and finished sixth to wrap up his fourth career NWMT championship. His streak of three straight titles is also the first of its kind under the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour banner.
“What can I say? It’s so hard to do this. These guys just don’t stop,” Coby said of his Mike Smeriglio III team. “I want to tip my hat to the 51 (Bonsignore) team and the 16 (Timmy Solomito) team, they really put the pressure on us this year. Everybody said we were going to walk away with it with a couple changes last year to start the season. Man it was tough, it’s just so tough to win on this series. We’re just so appreciative.
“I know we win a lot of poles and a lot of races and now three championships in a row, but we’re so appreciative of what we have on this team. I’m so thankful of everyone who makes this happen.”
With his fourth championship, Coby joins a list of Modified legends to accomplish that feat. The list includes greats like Richie Evans, Jerry Cook, Mike Stefanik and Tony Hirschman Jr. That is an honor that Coby doesn’t take lightly.
“The greats of our sport,” he said. “I’m honored to be mentioned among them. I’m honored for the accomplishment to have done this. It’s so special. We’re going to celebrate with our fans, our friends and our families because there’s a lot of sacrifice that goes into this.”
2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece flew in to Connecticut Sunday morning after competing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Kansas Speedway Saturday night. He started from the rear of the field due to the driver change and charged to a runner-up finish.
“All the way from Kansas, it was a good day,” Preece said. “Jon (McKennedy, who practiced the car) fought the same things I fought. We just needed to make adjustments to help the center, but pretty good car, really good car. It’s just hard when you’re not here to practice or anything but I’m happy with second place.”
Jimmy Blewett rebounded to finish third after making an early pit stop to change a leaking tire. Donny Lia and early leader Timmy Solomito rounded out the top five.
For an on-demand recap of Sunday’s Sunoco World Series 150, visit Speed51.com’s updates on NASCAR Home Tracks.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos
Unofficial Sunoco World Series 150 Results
|20||78||Walter Sutcliffe, Jr.|