The last time the North-South Shootout was held at the fast half-mile Concord Speedway in North Carolina in 2010 was also the last time Justin Bonsignore raced the event. Now the race is headed back to Concord, and now Bonsignore is headed back to the North-South Shootout.
The 2014 Valenti Modified Racing Series champion will be piloting his M3-Tech No. 51 Modified that he usually races on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Concord in the John Blewett III North-South Shootout 125 for the Dunleavy's Truck and Trailer Repair Tour-Type Modifieds on Saturday, November 7.
"It's a great race track and as soon as they made the switch to go there we were all definitely gung-ho to go back," said Bonsignore. "It's a place that's fun even in practice when you're out there by yourself and it produces great racing as well. I'm pretty excited."
Bonsignore said the uniqueness of the triangular-shaped race track is what makes him and so many other Modified drivers love the place.
"Every corner is different and you just have to attack the race track the way you drive it," he said. "Getting through that dogleg flat out when you're sideways and battling other cars is just a lot of fun. It's a driver's track."
A win at the North-South Shootout would be a great way for any driver to finish out the season, but especially for Bonsignore after the tough season he had in 2015.
Bonsignore had just about everything go wrong this year. Parts failures, crashes, you name it. But when things clicked, he and his team were as fast as ever, as shown by their strong second-place run in the NWMT season finale at Connecticut's Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
The 27-year-old Long Island driver said that the finish at Thompson won't necessarily give the team any momentum, but it certainly helps him out as he prepares for the North-South Shootout.
"This season if it could go wrong it did, and you start to doubt yourself at times," he said. "So to run as strong as we did at Thompson makes me have confidence in myself and reminds me that I haven't forgotten how to contend for wins."
More than that, it's the North-South Shootout. It's a win that every Modified driver wants to add to their resume. Bonsignore was a contender for the win in the 2010 edition of the event, but mechanical issues ended that prematurely.
"It would be amazing," said Bonsignore. "It's a marquee event. Any time you can win a race with any driver's name attached to it, especially John Blewett's, that puts a little extra to it. You always want to win big events. I've been lucky enough to win the Richie Evans memorial at New Smyrna, so this would be cool to add another one like that with John's name."
Entry forms for the $10,000-to-win John Blewett III Dunleavy's Truck and Trailer Repair Tour-Type Modified North-South Shootout event, as well as the $5,000-to-win Mr. Rooter SK Modified event, are currently available by visiting www.northsouthshootout.net.
Practice day kicks off the 13th Annual North-South Shootout on Thursday, November 5. Additional practice and qualifying will take place on Friday, November 6, with the North-South Shootout main events taking the green flag on Saturday, November 7. The features will consist of a 125-lap race for the Pro All-Stars Series South Super Late Models, a 60-lap event for the Southeast Trucks, 75-laps for the Limited Late Models, the Mr. Rooter 50 for the SK Modifieds and the John Blewett III Memorial 125 for the Dunleavy's Truck and Trailer Repair Tour-Type Modifieds.
For more on the 13th Annual North-South Shootout, visit www.northsouthshootout.net.
-51 Sports Press Release. Photo Credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com