As number registrations continue to file in and the Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series rosters begin to take shape, the track’s premier SK Modified® division has just added another NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver for the 2015 season. Reigning Valenti Modified Racing Series champion Justin Bonsignore will join the SK Modified® ranks behind the wheel of Art Barry’s #21 car and will race for the championship
“We’re going to try it every week,” said Barry. “We’ve won 2 championships in the MRS and the plan is to start out, see what we can do, and see if we can find a sponsor along the way. Justin wants to race at Stafford, I think the seat time will help him in other series at Stafford and it will be nice for me to come back home and race.”
“This is awesome, especially to be able to do it with Art and Ken Barry,” said Bonsignore. “I’ve gotten to know them really well the last couple years and we have had a lot of success in the MRS series. I think we were all looking to do something different this year, I’ve been wanting an SK deal at Stafford for a long time and it’s definitely a track that I’m looking to get some more seat time at. The competition at Stafford is second to none, it’s like a tour race every Friday night, and we’re glad that we’re going to be part of it. We’d like to be able to contend for the championship and I think we’ll be a really good team. Weekly racing is a little different from Tour racing with the amount of tires and the handicapping system, so it’ll definitely be a challenge. Stafford has the most competitive field in the Northeast but we’re hoping we can be in contention every week and hopefully win a couple of races. I don’t see why we can’t be a contender. I’m really excited, I want to get the season started already. I like working with Art and Kenny and I think we’re going to have a good time.”
While Bonsignore has logged plenty of laps in Whelen Modified Tour competition at Stafford over the past five seasons, he will be a rookie behind the wheel of an SK Modified® car. Despite his lack of experience, Bonsignore says he is familiar with the sprint race format from his days at Riverhead and that he and the Barry team have everything they need to be competitive right from the start.
“It’s going to depend on how we come out of the box,” said Bonsignore. “We’ll have the open practice and at least I’m not going to a new track. I just have to adapt to a new driving style to run in an SK car. I’m used to the sprint race distance from racing at Riverhead, so I don’t think that will be a big deal. I’m always confident that we’ll adapt to things quickly and that we’ll be able to compete right out of the box, but you always have to be ready for the other side of things, you never know. I’m hoping that I can get comfortable with the track and I know it’s a little different between a Tour car and an SK car.”
Bonsignore and the Barry team have yet to settle on an engine builder, but Bonsignore will be piloting a brand new SPAFCO chassis as he makes his SK Modified® debut. And as Bonsignore says, “it’s always nice to be driving new equipment.”
“We haven’t even started building the car yet,” said Bonsignore. “They’re taking the MRS car that I drove to the championship this year and that is going to be Matt Swanson’s car in the SK Lights and they’re going to build a brand new car for this year. New cars are always nice to drive and we’re going to go all out, that’s for sure. The MRS car was a great car and my tour car was a sister car to the MRS car and we had a lot of success. I think we learned a lot this year and Kenny has put some new ideas together to come out with a newer design and we’ll also have another new SPAFCO car for the Tour with the #51 team. Kenny always builds great stuff so I have no worries, I think we’re going to be good. The engine is the one mystery still. We’ve talked with a few different people and we’re going to mull it over a little longer over the holidays and hopefully we’ll know around the first of the year.”
Bonsignore will begin his foray into the SK Modified® division with the running of the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler on April 24-26. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information on the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
– Stafford Motor Speedway press release
– Photo credit: Speed51.com