THOMPSON, Conn. — Wednesday evening saw three-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore reach an important milestone at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
By dominating the second half of the Thompson 150, Bonsignore earned his 13th NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at the five-eighths-mile track. This puts him in a tie with Tour legend Ted Christopher on the series’ all-time list for Thompson victories.
Bonsignore had to battle 2011 champion Ron Silk all the way to the checkered flag to bring home the historic win.
“It feels amazing to tie Ted Christopher on the all-time wins list [at Thompson],” Bonsignore said. “It’s something we had been wanting to do for a couple of years now. I was just trying to mind the gap with Ron [Silk], and I didn’t know how much he had left in the tank.
“On that last restart, he gave me a lot of respect.”
Bonsignore admitted matching Christopher’s Thompson win total was a moment that was long overdue.
From 2018-19, Bonsignore won seven of eight races, including six in a row.
The turn of the decade featured diminishing returns for Bonsignore around Thompson. He gradually fell down the running order with each appearance, which culminated into an abysmal showing last October that saw him finish two laps down in 14th.
Once he got fresh tires and clean air, nothing could stop Bonsignore from adding another accomplishment to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour record book.
“For a place where we had so many wins, we really lost our confidence in the last year and a half,” Bonsignore said. “We got lapped a bunch of times in October, but [Ryan] Stone went to work on this car and tried something really different today. We missed it a little bit on the first set [of tires], but it was really good on the second set.”
Silk tried everything to keep pace with Bonsignore and even found a couple of good looks underneath him for the lead. A late-race caution failed to provide Silk another opening, and he was forced to watch Bonsignore take the checkered flag.
“I don’t think I could have gotten [Bonsignore] anyway,” Silk said. “He was a little bit better than we were. He could roll the center better, but it was still a good effort. I was loose during the first run and made some aggressive changes to tighten us up for the second. We just got it a tiny bit too tight.”
With one more visit to Thompson scheduled on the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour calendar in October, Bonsignore has an opportunity to inch closer to another late series legend in Mike Stefanik, who holds the record for most Thompson wins with 15.
Following Silk in the finish order was the most recent Thompson winner in Eric Goodale, with Austin Beers and Craig Lutz completing the top five.
Rounding out the top 10 finishers were Bobby Santos III, Patrick Emerling, Doug Coby, Anthony Sesely and Tyler Rypkema.
Mini Stock Results
Steve Michalski and Dave Trudeau brought down the Mini Stock field to take the first feature event green flag of the evening.
After setting the early pace, defending champion Kevin Moore took command ahead of Trudeau on lap four as Jarred Roy and Kyle Wing began to move up through the field. Moore kept his foot in the firewall, but Roy caught up to his rear bumper late in the going before contact between the two took all the air out of Roy’s right front tire.
Kevin Moore would take down his first win of the season followed by Dave Trudeau and Eric Bourgeois.
SK Light Modified Results
Todd Douillard and Danny Gamache lead the SK Light Modified field to the green on Wednesday night.
Gamache would run with the early lead with his outside groove starting position as Nick Hovey, John O’Sullivan and Isaiah Newcomb broke into the picture. Working his way up, O’Sullivan would lead lap eight over Gamache with Tyler Chapman all over his rear-bumper.
Chapman jumped inside O’Sullivan to begin a side-by-side battle for the lead while hard-charging Alexander Pearl and Megan Fuller made their way into the top-five. After taking the lead, Chapman went from a mirror-full of O’Sullivan to a stalking Alexander Pearl looking for his third-consecutive SK Light victory.
Pearl jumped low under Chapman with 10-to-go as the young-gun duo duked it out over and over again with O’Sullivan getting a front-row view in third. After settling back and cooling down his Hoosier Racing Tires, Pearl could only watch as Tyler Chapman returned to O’Reilly victory lane with John O’Sullivan hanging on for third.
Late Model Results
The ACT-type Late Models would be the last track championship division to take the field with Devin Deshaies and Matt Lowinski-Loh leading the field to green. Lowinski-Loh took down the early lead while leading American-Canadian Tour rookie Andrew Molleur following in second as Deshaies played defense against Jake Johnson, Conner Souza and Nick Johnson 12-car-lengths back in third.
The spirited battle for fourth continued through the halfway point before Nick Johnson bested the group to begin his chase of Deshaies. The lone caution flag would fall on lap 22 as contact from Jake Johnson sent Souza into the spin cycle in turn four to restack the field.
Molleur would start outside Lowinski-Loh under the restart green flag with three laps to go but it was Matt Lowinski-Loh who got the jump and took down his first win of the season and a celebratory donut or two in the infield grass.
Andrew Molleur and point-leader Nick Johnson rounded out victory lane.