Justin Bonsignore will be looking to continue his dream season by firing the musket and winning the inaugural Musket 250 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 22. Bonsignore, a seven-time winner this season and the winner of the Whelen All-Star Shootout at NHMS earlier this year, is pumped up for the longest and biggest race of his career.
Bonsignore’s excitement for this epic race goes back to its original announcement at NHMS one year ago, and it extends beyond the driver and team experience.
“We've been excited for this event since they announced it last year. We are really optimistic that it will be a great show. There's a few concerns, but overall I'm really excited to see what this race will bring,” Bonsignore told Speed51.com. “It will put us on a bigger stage; it should be a really cool experience for the fans to have some more infield access to all of the series, and it will help promote all of the series there.”
This modern long haul race will evoke memories of some of the older long-distance races for the Modifieds that you often see in old programs at short tracks up and down the East Coast. But instead of attempting to replicate those old events, the Musket 250 goes above and beyond.
“It's similar to the old Thompson 300 back in the day, but it's still something different. You never know how things are going to play out. We're also going to have to prep differently as far as the car. We're going to have to be hydrated for a long event like that, too.”
After accumulating an 81-point lead entering the Full Throttle Weekend, it should come as no surprise that Bonsignore will be up on the wheel when the green flag flies.
“We haven't really been points racing all year anyways, and we're in a pretty good spot right now as far as the points are concerned,” Bonsignore stated. “So we can go out there and really go for it. But a lot can change in a hurry, so we don't want to put ourselves in a bad spot where we can lose 20 or 30 points. Still, we're going to make every attempt to win the race. It's a big payday for the Tour, with a lot of prestige and a neat trophy.”
During the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s last outing at Loudon in July, Bonsignore got a big breakthrough by winning his first race at NHMS in the 35-lap Whelen All-Star Shootout. He followed it up with a great showing the next day in the 100-lap race but came up short in the final laps.
With 250 laps to better his effort this time around, the Long Island driver is eager to finish the job this time around and earn his first points-counting victory at “The Magic Mile.”
“We had a great car when we were there in July for the All-Star race and the points race where we led the most laps,” he said. “We were in position but we got those late cautions that bunched the field up and we just got shuffled out of the lead. But that's just a product of New Hampshire. This race is going to be totally different with the need for fuel and possibly pitting under green. Don't know what the attrition rate is going to be either.”
Everything told, Bonsignore is confident that the Ken Massa Motorsports team will bring as great a piece as they have all season and that he can be the one to fire the musket at the end of the weekend.
“We'll have a really good car like we did then. I don't see why if we're there at the end of the race we won’t have a shot. Anytime you can win a New Hampshire it's amazing, but this time around we're the premier race on the biggest stage we've ever been on up there. It's going to be an event that everyone is going to remember for a long time.”
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com