Bill Michael, crew chief for driver Justin Bonsignore and the No. 51 Kenneth Massa Motorsports Tour-Type Modified, announced Tuesday his resignation from the team. Michael will explore other options over the coming weeks.
“I had a child about a month and a half ago and the time commitment that it takes to keep things operating the way we had been the second half of this year was just too much to take,” Michael said. “It would hurt my family life and it would hurt the race team with me not being 100% committed. I felt it was best for my family, myself, and this race team for me to step aside.
“I have no plans to help anybody else. I’m not leaving these guys to go jump ship and help anybody else. I’m actually still hoping to help these guys if they choose to keep the shop in Connecticut. It’s 20 minutes from my house so if I can get away from my house maybe one night a week I’d love to spend it at the shop helping these guys win a championship in 2017.”
Following a second-place finish in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship standings in 2016, team owner Kenneth Massa said Michael deserves much of the credit for what the team has accomplished in the last three seasons.
"Bill Michael has taken Kenneth Massa Motorsports to a higher level and we will miss him," Massa said in a team press release. "He brought us to an elite level organization, which contended for wins and championships in two of his three seasons. We wish Bill the best of luck. Wherever he goes, he will be a tremendous asset."
With Michael calling the shots, Bonsignore and KMM recorded four victories during the 2016 season. Much of the credit for the team’s success has been tied to innovations led by Michael and his team. Chief among the changes in recent years was a switch to Spafco Chassis.
“Switching to Spafco was a big leap for us as a team,” commented driver Justin Bonsignore. “We always try to look for that next advantage in the Series, and Billy led us to Spafco. We’ll spend the offseason looking for that next advantage.”
Coming off of a career-best season in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competition, Bonsignore echoed the testaments of his team owner.
“I want to thank Bill Michael for everything he has done for our team over the past four seasons, aside from assembling a championship caliber team and leading us to nine wins, Bill has become a great friend who has taught me many valuable lessons both on and off the track,” he said. “I will always value our time together, and hope to remain great friends. I wish him the best of luck in the future.”
Massa made it clear that the team looks forward to continued success and will continue to push toward a championship in 2017
“As a team we will evaluate the program entirely. We will look to find a replacement who will gel best with Justin and the rest of the team,” Massa said. “And just as we do each off season, we will evaluate all of our options for equipment to put the best cars on the track next spring. With our new facility in Connecticut, a strong crew, and all the momentum of last season, I am confident our success will continue to grow.”
The team confirmed that the search for a replacement Crew Chief will begin immediately.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Contributions from Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor - Twitter: @RobBlount
-Contributions from Kenneth Massa Motorsports Press Release
-Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com