Justin Bonnett, the grandson of late NASCAR driver Neil Bonnett, returns to the driver’s seat this weekend for the first time since his fiery crash during the 2019 Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway. The Alabama driver will make his long awaited debut at Montgomery Motor Speedway Saturday night with the Show Me the Money Series.
“To be honest with myself I was a little nervous, but once I strapped in and got going everything went really well,” Bonnett explained on Monday’s episode of “In The Groove” on Five Flags Speedway’s Facebook page. “It was very exciting. It was a very successful weekend, I got back in the car, and we made a lot of good adjustments. I was able to feel what the car needed and it was really good. It eased me up a lot.”
As it turns out it was Bonnett’s first trip to Caraway, but it was worthwhile to gain the factory support of Fury Racecars.
“Before that I’ve never even seen it,” Bonnett continued. “But I tell you what, it’s a tight racetrack with long straightaways. It was fun. It was something different. But I have never seen it before, so it was a fun weekend for sure.”
Each milestone on the road to recovery has meant a lot for the young Alabama racer, even though it’s taken longer to get behind the wheel than he ever anticipated.
“Yeah, you know, it was definitely a long road,” Bonnett said. “I was planning to run Montgomery back in March and ended up not doing that and then all this Covid delayed my last surgery and prevented me from going to the following Montgomery race. It just didn’t line up for me. I look at it as a positive. It was a sign for me to just chill out, take my time, and get well. Now I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt since my wreck. It takes some time, but now that I’m back comfortable with the car I look back at my recovery and I say it was all worth it now for sure.”
While the whole situation has been a learning experience for Bonnett, he hopes that it can be a learning experience for the industry as well.
“I’ve had a lot of good people come up to me with good safety equipment that really want to help. I guess just out of kindness just out of the situation that went on. That’s one thing I’ve always said, ‘Don’t cut corners on a racecar especially on safety because that’s where you need it the most, especially after what went on there.”
Fans can watch Justin Bonnett make his return to racing this Saturday at Montgomery Motor Speedway live on Speed51.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51 National Correspondent - Twitter: @AllickJorgensen