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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Fresh off of his win in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season opening race, Justin Bonsignore heads to Stafford Motor Speedway for the 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler with a ton of momentum on his side. In the season opener at Thompson, Bonsignore and his #51 M3 Technology team qualified second and ran in the top-3 for the entire race before Bonsignore made the winning pass around Woody Pitkat with 9 laps to go.

"That win was huge for our team," said Bonsignore. "Any time you can start the season off with a real good finish it just gets everything started off on the right foot and to be able to do that with a win is that much better. We're looking forward to Stafford, we had a real good run there last year in the Sizzler and it would be nice to continue the streak we've been on lately and get another win."

Over the winter, Bonsignore and the #51 M3 Technology team made several changes. They acquired a SPAFCO chassis, a NASCAR Spec Engine, and they have a new crew chief in Billy Michael. The new combination got off to a slow start in Daytona with mechanical issues relegating them to a 18th place finish, but that all got turned around in the season opening event and Bonsignore's win has him looking forward to the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler at Stafford.

"I feel like every time we go to the racetrack we have a good chance to win," said Bonsignore. "I have a real good team, I'm real confident in my guys, and I have a strong feeling that we'll be in contention. We debuted a SPAFCO chassis down in Florida and we also ran that car at Thompson and that's the car we'll be bringing to Stafford. We made a few changes over the winter with the chassis, we have a NASCAR Spec Engine in the car now, and we have a new crew chief with Billy Michael. It seems like everything has been clicking so far and there's a lot of good communication between me, Billy, SPAFCO, and the Robert Yates people. Everything has been jelling really well."

Although Bonsignore wasn't a dominant car during the Thompson race, he credits an adjustment that he and his crew made to his car during their pitstop as a deciding factor in his ability to get past Pitkat in the closing laps and win the race. With the Sizzler being 200-laps long, sometimes a good pit strategy can trump a fast racecar and Bonsignore is confident in both of those aspects and expects to be among the challengers for the checkered flag.

"We had a good car at Thompson and we made an adjustment on our pit stop and that helped us to contend with the top couple of guys and we were in the right position at the end of the race," said Bonsignore. "We just maintained and bided our time and when we felt it was time to go we made an extra push for it and the adjustment we made really helped with that. The Sizzler seems to play out where you have a plan in place before the race but depending on how the race is playing out your strategy could be altered. Ultimately you'd like to pit around halfway or a little bit after halfway to have good tires for the end of the race but stuff like that all goes out the window as soon as another team makes a different strategy move. If we can start off the year with 2 wins in a row that would be great."

With the history and tradition behind the Spring Sizzler, Bonsignore says that if he can improve on his second place finish from last season and get to the top step on the podium, it would be the biggest win of his career and it would play into his goal of winning as many races as he can this season without worrying about the points standings.

"Winning the Sizzler would be bigger than the Thompson win," said Bonsignore. "Stafford has a lot of great history and they call the Sizzler "The Greatest Race In The History Of Spring" for a reason. To be able to win at Stafford would be huge at some point during my time on the Tour and there wouldn't be any better race to do that than the Spring Sizzler. I like racing at Stafford. If you look at the stats, it's probably one of my worst tracks, but it's similar to Riverhead in that you have to be smooth, have a lot of finesse, and you don't really attack the racetrack. I think Stafford fits right into my driving style but our finishes don't really show that. We're just taking things one week at a time and doing the best we can and we'll worry about points stuff later in the year if it comes down to that."

The 43rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler gets underway Friday, April 25 with a practice session for Stafford's weekly divisions. The practice session will be open to the public at no charge. The run for the Coors Light Pole position gets underway on Saturday, April 26 with time trials for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races for Stafford's weekly divisions. Saturday's action wraps up with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions as well as a feature event for the Northeast Mini Stocks. The Sizzler continues on Sunday, April 27 with the NAPA Auto Parts Pit Party followed by Stafford's SK Modifieds® and Late Models joining the Whelen Modified Tour in feature action.

Tickets for the "Greatest Race in the History of Spring" are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.

For more information on the 43rd annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

  Source: Scott Running / Stafford Motor Speedway
Posted: April 11, 2014

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