Justin Bonsignore in victory lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Adam Glanzman Photo)

Bonsignore Ready for Double Duty at New Hampshire

LOUDON, N.H. — To most folks, the start of summer instinctively means taking time to relax with friends and family and slowing down just a bit.

Justin Bonsignore is going to do something different with his first summer Saturday.

The three-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion is not only set to defend his New Hampshire Motor Speedway crown in the Mohegan Sun 100 in the evening, but also make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in the SciAps 200 that afternoon.

“The schedule is definitely going to be tough,” Bonsignore said. “It’s going to be a hectic weekend. We have a nice, detailed schedule on where we need to be for each thing. There’s a lot of off-track things going on as well. It’s going to be hectic. 

“It’s most important to stay hydrated, stay ready to go and keep an eye on the schedule and make sure everything is on time.”

Driving the No. 51 Chevrolet for Kenneth Massa Motorsports in the NWMT, Bonsignore has one win and five top-five finishes so far this year to sit second in the NWMT point standings, 16 points behind Ron Silk, the defending series champion.

The 36-year-old from Holtsville, N.Y. outdueled Silk and six-time Tour champion Doug Coby in a thrilling finish last season to score his second victory at “The Magic Mile.”

“Ronnie Silk has come out like gangbusters,” Bonsignore said. “Austin Beers has been really good in the last three races or so. Doug Coby will be there – he’s always good at Loudon. We had an awesome finish last year between [myself], him and Silk.

“It’ll come down to the end, the last lap, who makes the best move on the white flag lap to get off of turn four first.”

As for the Xfinity Series opportunity, Bonsignore is getting behind the wheel for one of the sport’s top organizations – Joe Gibbs Racing – driving the No. 19 Toyota, which has seen a revolving door of drivers so far this season. Other pilots of the No.19 Toyota this year include Aric Almirola, Josh Bilicki, Taylor Gray, Ty Gibbs, Brett Moffitt and Ryan Truex.

“We’re really excited with the opportunity with JGR,” Bonsignore said. “Not sure what to expect yet. We’re going to get some simulator time here soon in North Carolina. We’re hoping to put together a really good run and put a whole day together with no mistakes on pit road and the racetrack. Maybe at the end of it, we’ll have a shot at the win.”

With or without a trip to victory lane, the exposure of a New England legend to a national series audience can only provide an additional boost to Northeast racing – a reward the entire industry takes pride in.

“It’s very important for our community up here in the Northeast,” Bonsignore said. “Modified drivers, team owners, fans, everyone is a tightknit community. Everyone is really proud of each other when they get these big opportunities. At my age, I really don’t have big aspirations to go full-time or leave the Modified Tour. That’s where my home is, and I hope to stay here until the end of my career.

“Hopefully we can run well and it sheds light that there are really good race car drivers up here in the Northeast. If it could possibly help a younger driver in our series get noticed – or just put more eyes on the Modified Tour – that’s my biggest goal here. It’s just to show how good these guys are up in our area.”