Stafford Springs, CT — As the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour prepares for their final visit of the 2014 season to Stafford Motor Speedway, the race for the championship is as tight as ever. Doug Coby currently leads Justin Bonsignore by a scant 4 point margin, and the Tour heads to Loudon, NH before coming to Stafford for the NAPA Fall Final Weekend on Sept. 27-28.
With Bonsignore looking to erase that 4-point deficit, he is still in search of his first win at the Connecticut half-mile facility. Bonsignore has won 2 of his 5 career pole positions at Stafford, with both pole positions coming in qualifying for the NAPA Fall Final Weekend. To date, Bonsignore’s best career finish at Stafford has been a second place effort. He finished second in last year’s NAPA Spring Sizzler and he matched that effort again with a second place finish in the June TSI Harley-Davidson 125. Bonsignore has had some extra practice at Stafford this season driving Art Barry’s #21 machine in the Valenti Modified Racing Series. In his 3 Stafford VMRS starts this season, Bonsignore has twice finished third along with a seventh place finish. Bonsignore knows he needs a good finish to stay in championship contention, but he also realizes it will be a tall task at Stafford.
“The last couple of years at Stafford, between Doug [Coby] and Bobby [Santos], they’ve been pretty tough to beat”, said Bonsignore. “Stafford hasn’t been one of my better tracks so it would be nice to be able to gain some points on Doug at New Hampshire before we get to Stafford. On the other hand, we seem to run better at Stafford when we have a two-day show versus the one-day impound events and we have 2 poles at Stafford. It certainly wouldn’t hurt for us to be on pole again because more often than not at Stafford, a good qualifying effort makes your race a lot easier and smoother than starting in the back since track position is going to be so important.”
Bonsignore will have some winning momentum on his side coming to Stafford as he won the most recent VMRS race at Airborne Speedway with Barry’s #21 team.
“Any time you can win a race, it gets your confidence level up high and there’s nothing better than winning races,” said Bonsignore.
On paper, the experience factor would seem to lie in Coby’s favor. Since the 2012 season, Coby has won 5 of the 14 NWMT races at Stafford and Coby is also the 2012 NWMT champion as well as being the championship runner up last season to Ryan Preece. Bonsignore has yet to win at Stafford and he is also a newcomer to racing for a championship, but rather than say he is at a disadvantage, Bonsignore is looking to the positives.
“Being in the championship race is a new situation for us,” said Bonsignore. “I’m not really sure if I’d rather be leading the points or chasing the leader like we are now. I haven’t really been looking at the points but we’re getting down to it now with only a couple of races left and I’m sure it’s going to be a hot topic of conversation when we get to Stafford. All we can do is keep the same game plan we’ve had all year long with regards to qualifying and the race and not deviate from what’s gotten us to the point we’re at now. The 2 team hasn’t missed a beat all year long and with us being new to the championship chase maybe that will help us out. We’re definitely looking forward to going back to Stafford and hopefully we can build up some breathing room between us and Doug and the 2 team. But with how strong they’ve been this year, we know that’s going to be tough to do.”
The Whelen Modified Tour cars will qualify for the NAPA Fall Final 150 on Saturday, Sept. 27 before hitting the track for 150 laps on Sunday, Sept. 28. The famous NAPA Pit Party, a meet and greet with drivers and teams, will take place from 11:00am to noon on Sunday, Sept. 28.
-Stafford Motor Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Brenda Meserve/Speed51.com