WATCH LIVE: Sunoco World Series at Thompson
But, with the Tour season and title now behind, and Thompson’s Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing on the calendar for this coming weekend, Bonsignore and the No. 51 Ken Massa Motorsports team are putting all their focus on getting back to victory lane at ‘The Big T’.
This all coming on the heals of not only sealing the title, but also scoring a long-awaited win at another famous Connecticut track, one that has been a thorn in his side his entire driving career, Stafford Motor Speedway.
“It was nice to cap off the championship run with getting that Stafford win. It was a long time coming there after being close a lot of times, but to get that nailed down was pretty cool, and just a great way to seal the championship. It definitely doesn’t hurt having the momentum heading to Thompson,” Bonsignore told Speed51.
Of the 12 Thompson wins, Bonsignore won six straight from April 2018 to June 2019. Three of the Long Island native’s Thompson triumphs have come on the 2016, 2018, and 2019 World Series weekends, in 150-lap races. For 2021, not only will the race be an Open competition event, it will also be the return of the Thompson 300, a race which originally ran from the late-1970’s until 2005.
I was disappointed that we couldn’t get there this year with the Tour, but to bring back the 300 and everything that goes into that race, we’re very excited to go back there. It is one of our best tracks statistically and I enjoy going there, especially on World Series weekend. We’ll see how we unload, see how the race unfolds, and what might come of it.
Choosing to concentrate on winning the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title for the bulk of the season, Bonsignore and the 51 camp chose not to compete in the five originally scheduled Outlaw Open Modified Series at Thompson during 2021. Despite not having the most up to date notes compared to teams that ran the full Thompson schedule, Bonsignore is confident that the Ryan Stone led team can get up to speed in Friday and Saturday practices well before race day on Sunday.
“We’re not too worried about, we know what our baseline setup is going to be each and every time we got to Thompson. It’s still the same old race track, only just a little older each year. I’m not concerned on that side of things. If anything, I just don’t know where we’ll stack up against other guys since it’s not a Tour race. Hard to say how we’ll run against the Open cars.”
Two key things to remember about the Thompson 300, only green flag laps will count towards race distance, and no green flag run will be longer than 75 laps, a rule seen in many long-distance Late Model races such as the Snowball Derby, at which time a competition yellow will be thrown to allow teams to pit for service.
In addition, while the $20,000 winner’s check is the primary goal, the is the addition a bonus $50 a lap for the leader at the time.
“The lap money does make it enticing to get up and lead, but the tires are really soft and they are going to wear out quickly. At the same time, there’s going to be the 75-lap consecutive rule, so you know when the cautions are going to fall if you get a long green run,” Bonsignore explained.
“Really, you just need to let it unfold and see how your strategy goes as the race goes on, it’s something that nobody knows how to approach at this time. But we have a Plan A, and we’ll adjust it on how the race goes along, plus what adjustments we need to make as the cautions fall or don’t fall.”
Naturally, Bonsignore wants to be the one to hoist the first Thompson 300 winner’s trophy, and bring it back to Long Island at day’s end.
“Definitely would be awesome if we could pull it off, especially since it’s not going to be easy by any means. A lot of good cars are going to be there. It’s a test of endurance for the teams, the drivers, and the cars. It’s a cool event to be a part of with a nice payday. If we can get that trophy in the trophy case, it will be one to remember forever.”
See all three days of the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing from Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park live on Speed51.TV this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; October 8-10.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51