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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Caution Free 200 Laps
Highlights Non-Stop Action at Monadnock Speedway
Polly Reid

Who needed a caution? Most likely everyone but Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, NY who made his winning move with twenty-five to go in the chem3.com sponsored, Ken Massa owned modified passing Ryan Preece for the lead and never looking back scoring a convincing victory in a record setting caution free NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour O’Reilly Auto Parts 200 at Monadnock Speedway.

Bonsignore crossed the stripe with a 3.939 second margin of victory over Ryan Preece, Eric Goodale third, rookie Tommy Barrett, Jr. fourth, point leader Doug Coby fifth and Matt Hirschman sixth, the only cars on the lead lap.

“I really didn’t think we had a car to win it by half way,” said Bonsignore in victory lane. “Then it stayed green I asked is everyone as bad as we are and they said they were worse. Next thing you know, Ryan just kept getting bigger and bigger, I could see he was really holding on. Then I was trying to be patient with all the lap cars and not mess this one up, Billy Michael (crew chief) he nailed it again tonight.”

This is Bonsignore’s fifth career NWMT victory and his second of the 2014 season. Bonsignore is also the defending winner of this event where he led the most laps one year ago on the fast, quarter mile high banked oval.

“Ryan started to fade quicker than I expected,” continued Bonsignore. “I thought it would come down to the last ten laps- we just tried to set a pace and not deviate from it- I’ve learned from the MRS car up here you have to save the tire and who would have thought it would go green to checker tonight. I love coming here- I wish we could come here a few more times with the Tour.”

Bonsignore backed up his top of the chart practice speed by setting fast time earlier in the day winning the Coors Light Pole Award. Bonsignore led the first lap but it was Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT in the East West Marine sponsored, Eric Sanderson owned modified that set the pace taking the lead on the second circuit and went to task on the continuous green flag run putting car after car a lap down.
“I knew around lap 50 or 60 that my car was good so I took it easy but at the same time tried to lap every car that I could,” said Preece. “ I wasn’t trying to catch them but if I caught them I was going to go around them and basically make it that if at the end of race, there was a caution, there would be enough cars a lap down, that if I wore the car out, I wouldn’t fall too many spots back. Fortunately we went 200 green. I can’t remember the last time that happened.”

By lap twenty-five, the leaders, Preece, Bonsignore, Goodale, Timmy Solomito and Barrett were well into working lap traffic.

At the halfway mark, Preece had cruised his way to a full straight-away lead over Bonsignore, the distance between first and second remaining consistent through the next sixty circuits. It was around thirty-five to go that it became clear that Bonsignore was closing that gap. Suddenly, by lap 171, Bonsignore was within a car length and a few quick circuits later made his winning move passing Preece low into turn three exiting turn four the new and final leader on lap 175.

“He was just really running the top looking for grip,” said Bonsignore about closing in on Preece for the winning pass. “We started really getting into lap traffic, then Ryan washed up in the middle of one and two and I said ‘you know what, I can back out if it didn’t work out’. I think he didn’t put up too much of a fight.”

The field continued under green and this time, it was Bonsignore who upped the pace and continued the business of working lap traffic bringing the chem3.com modified across the line for the win.

This is the first time Bonsignore has collected multiple wins in one season his first coming at the season opener at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. “It’s cool to come back to victory lane. Mike Stefanik actually said it to me years ago, ‘especially at my age, you win one, you’re good for five or six races then people start to ask, when are you going to win again?’ It happens to everyone, not just legends like Mike. It feels good to get back to victory lane.”

“If it was a 175 I think I could have held him off,” said Preece referring to the original O’Reilly Auto Parts 175 in 2012. “I knew he was coming, I just tried not to burn myself up and hold on for second.”

Eric Goodale from Riverhead, NY started third and held the position bringing the GAF Roofing/Riverhead Building Supply sponsored, Edgar Goodale owned modified to the line for a podium finish.

“We started off real well, taking it easy for the first 100 laps then about lap 140 I started losing some drive up off the corner and it was getting tough to get around some of the lap cars.” Goodale credits his team for all the hard work getting ready for O’Reilly 200 after a disappointing previous week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “I can’t say enough about this team. We wrecked some cars last week up in New Hampshire, we worked hard all week- Jason Shephard and all the guys putting this thing back together, I can’t thank them enough. It’s pretty cool to destroy it one week then come back and have a top three car the next week.”

“This is probably the first time in my career I’ve run 200 green flag laps and I have to say, I feel pretty good after 200 like that,” said Goodale. “I wish I had a little bit more there at the end, we started to catch Ryan, but we just ran out of laps.”

“Justin loves this track,” said winning car owner Ken Massa. “This one makes me a little nervous but he loves it and I think that’s what does it all. I wasn’t 100 percent worried when Ryan took the lead in the beginning. I thought it would come around because obviously, you would think you’d have three or four cautions. Then about 50 to go, I took out my watch and started timing what was going on and I saw that Justin was making a little bit of ground so I came over the radio and said ‘you know you can catch him. Justin asked, ‘what’s he doing,’ and I said ‘he’s as loose as everyone else out there. If you have a little bit more, give it to us and I think it can happen and that’s what happened.”

“I think it shows that we’re trying,” said Massa about now having two Tour wins so far this year. “We’ve always been a contender, we’re just able to hold it together this year- a lot has to go out to Bill (Michael) and the team- the team – everyone works good together, their happy and the motors staying together is definitely a big help.”

“To be honest, this year is my first year here as a crew chief,” said winning crew chief Bill Michael. “I’d have to say this was Justin. The benefit we had is that Justin does run Art and Ken Barry’s MRS car and they’ve been here twice. I’ve been able to bounce things off of them – I give them a lot of credit for helping me out and see what they had been making for changes and it seemed to work.”

“I was nervous when Ryan took off but then again, running the MRS, especially since it was green, it was very good for Justin because he had to save his tires. He came on the radio and told us he was just riding and wanted to know if everyone else was riding then he just turned it up on his own and went forward.”

“It was a quick turnaround,” said Michael about going from Loudon to Monadnock. “I’m at the shop full time and all the guys come every single night and give me a hand. We actually had a lot of damage after Loudon, it was almost like the week before at Riverhead. We strip it down every week, get it all ready and try to make sure every piece is as perfect as it can be- I have to thank those guys, they help me do every part of it.”

At this moment, not able to answer the question ‘when was the last time a NWMT event went green to checker caution free,’ Jake Marosz did recall in ’79 or ’80 (pre ‘Tour’ days), that a 100 lap event went caution free at Stafford Motor Speedway. This will be a new and most likely long standing statistic to add to the NWMT Trackside Report.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday August 8th for the Call Before Dig 811 150.

Notes from Monadnock Speedway:

Top Three – Overtime Comments

Justin Bonsignore

Strategy: “We knew what times we needed to run, we knew how we needed to pace ourselves and we just stuck to it. And we actually didn’t have to pick up the pace with 50 to go, we maintained and Ryan kept falling off. Once I got by him I made sure to save again in case there was a late restart- we stuck to the plan and it worked.”

Defending his win: “It’s awesome, two in a row. We run so good here and I get around this place so good. I really didn’t think it would ever go green to checker – it probably wasn’t the best race for the fans but it worked out in our favor.”

The pass: “I never thought we’d be able to run Ryan down from half a lap at that point but his car just really fell off and we were able to keep probably the most forward drive in the car. Unbelievable.”

Ryan Preece
Season turning around for the defending NWMT Champion: “We started with a clean slate,” said Preece referring to the team’s recent forward progress in consistent finishes. “We’ve been unloading good, a lot of good communication – we’re getting there, we just missed it that little bit tonight. Justin was able to move to the bottom and I just kind of lost my drive.”

Eric Goodale
Pre-race: “Me and Bobby Santos were joking in the pits earlier betting on when the first caution would come out- he was in single digits and I was at 10. We blew both expectations out of the water there.”

Recovering from last weekend: “This was the car we raced on Saturday (at Loudon). It was tough because I had to spend a lot of hours at work and it’s tough for me to get in the shop. Sunday morning, we all met at the shop, striped both cars down to the chassis- nothing but the seat left in both of them- then we got one back Monday morning and thrashed on it all week to get it back together. It just goes to show how much my team cares about it and how good they are. We had a car capable of winning last week at Loudon and unfortunately it didn’t pan out for us there but we came here, a small track and we were able to run up front again. They do a damn good job.”

Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: July 20, 2014

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