HAMPTON, Va. — Kyle Bonsignore’s trip to victory lane at Langley Speedway on Saturday night was a blissful execution of the routine.
With a smile that could light up the entire Hampton Roads region, the 34-year-old accepted his trophy, conducted interviews and posed for photos.
The fact that this was the Bay Shore, New York native’s first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win in almost five years didn’t become evident until he was told he was about to receive a sticker.
“What sticker?” Bonsignore asked before realizing he was primed to commemorate his victory with a checkered flag decal next to the name plate on his pink and gray No. 22 modified.
The detail was easy to forget for a driver who entered the night with a 58-race winless streak on the Modified Tour. During the time in between Bonsignore’s first victory (Stafford Motor Speedway in September of 2018) and his triumph Saturday, his cousin Justin Bonsignore won 19 races and three Modified Tour championships.
“It’s been a really long drought,” Kyle Bonsignore said. “It’s really hard to keep coming back, but you keep coming back for nights like this.”
Bonsignore noted his win Saturday at Langley was ironically similar to his victory at Stafford all those years ago. He won his first Tour race after leading the final five laps, and only the final five laps. He pulled off the same feat Saturday in dramatic fashion, stealing the lead from Austin Beers with five to go and beating his rival in a dash to the finish.
Beers led the first 145 circuits of the 150-lap race. But Bonsignore’s speed was evident, too, as he spent the entirety of the event lurking behind Beers in second.
Beers and Bonsignore both knew the latter had the faster car. After Bonsignore made the pass, Beers fought hard to take back the spot before settling for the runner-up result.
“I knew he was going to do everything he could to get back to my bumper, and I would have done the same thing to him,” Bonsignore said of Beers. “I immediately went into defensive mode. Our car was really good off the corner, and here that’s everything, so he couldn’t get a good enough run through the corner and off. So as long as I could hold him off on entry, I knew I could pull away from him enough on the straightaway to not have to worry about him as much.
“I probably was over-driving it those last few laps trying to keep him behind me. If I would have just done what I was doing, I probably would have pulled away. But there was just a few laps to go, so I did whatever I had to do.”
Beers confirmed he did everything he could to get back to Bonsignore, but he had no intentions of making any kind of move that might cause an accident. He said Bonsignore took the lead clean, and that he was going to race clean in return.
Bonsignore’s win at Langley is the new high point of a 2023 season that has seen the team succeed in many ways. His average finish of 10.3 thus far this year is tied for his second-best average for a season in his career. He has seven top-10 finishes in 12 races, including a fourth-place effort at New York’s Riverhead Raceway in June.
Justin Bonsignore finished third ahead of Ron Silk in fourth and Kyle Ebersole in fifth.