Justin Bonsignore and members of his family celebrate their victory at the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship at Stafford Motor Speedway. (Ryan McBride / NASCAR)

Justin Bonsignore sealed his third career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship on Saturday, September 25 at Stafford Motor Speedway. Bonsignore achieved the goal in a beautiful way – earning his first career victory in the Connecticut half-mile after 40 failures.

Bonsignore led the field for 74 of 152 laps in the NAPA Fall Final 150, including the last two, where he moved away from six-time Touring champion Doug Coby to score his elusive first victory at Stafford. In the process, Bonsignore cemented a growing dynasty with his No.51 Phoenix Communications team, Kenneth Massa Motorsports.

The championship was Bonsignore’s second in a row and the third in the past four years. The Holtsville, New York native became just the fourth rider in the 36-year history of the Whelen Modified Tour to win three or more championships, joining Mike Stefanik (seven), Doug Coby (six) and Tony Hirschman (five ) on the list.

“I don’t even belong to that crowd, these guys are amazing,” Bonsignore said of the group. ” It is special. Coming back after last year, with the season cut short, we’ve had some really good cars every week this year. We just couldn’t organize the whole race like we have in the past and get to Victory Lane. Tonight, finally getting a win here at Stafford to crown our third championship is special.

Bonsignore used a solid car for the first 128 laps – all under green – to roll forward. He started on the outside pole after qualifying second and fell to the bottom of the top five early – but it wasn’t long before he came back on top.

He took the lead from Anthony Nocella on lap 78 and led through the yellow that was thrown on lap 129. The only time anyone beat Bonsignore was when Doug Coby got ahead of him on lap 129. line on restart for a green-white checkered finish on lap 150 – but Bonsignore rolled to the bottom of the first corner and came back in the lead, never looking back.

Stafford – a place where Bonsignore had raced well before – was the most prestigious track on the list that Bonsignore had not been at Victory Lane. Finally, he can check it off his bucket list.

“One for 41,” Bonsignore shouted after getting out of the car, leaping to the top of No.51 in celebration. “I’m so glad we were able to take the win here. Triple champion, but I can’t get past the win at Stafford. Beating Doug Coby to do it is special. It’s incredible.”

The four-year run for Bonsignore – even though he didn’t win the title in 2019 – is one of the most impressive in the history of the series. Since the start of the 2018 season, Bonsignore has 19 wins, 42 top-5, 39 top-10 and 14 poles in his last 54 races. In 15 years of Whelen Modified Tour competition – all for Ken Massa Motorsports – Bonsignore now has 31 career wins – tied with Jeff Fuller and Coby for fifth place on the all-time winning list.

Team leader Ryan Stone joined the team in 2018, and things took off from there.

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“Ryan walked right into the middle of a bunch of guys who had been together for a while,” Bonsignore said. “He just jumped in with all of us instantly. His personality matches our guys perfectly. We have a great time as a team, no matter what. Ryan hates losing more than I do. He is ruthless. We are really lucky to have found it.

The commitment that Massa and Bonsignore have shown to each other, after years of coming together, is finally paying off, to a large extent.

“Ken Massa, every time Ryan calls and says we need something he doesn’t flinch,” Bonsignore said. “The combination of leadership within our team from top to bottom is incredible. No one is pulling in the opposite direction. Everyone has one goal in mind: to come here and win races and win championships every year. Glad we were able to do it again for number three.

Bonsignore beat Patrick Emerling by 22 points in the final tally after two wins, 11 top five and 12 top 10 in 14 championship points races this season.

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