(Stafford Springs, CT)—The 2014 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season was a breakthrough year for Justin Bonsignore. The West Islip, NY native doubled his career win total from 3 to 6 and was in the championship race with Doug Coby until several mechanical issues late in the season relegated him third in the final standings. Fast forward to the 2015 season and Bonsignore is ready to once again be a championship contender. To add to his busy schedule he will be pulling double duty at Stafford during Whelen Modified Tour events as he will pilot an Art Barry owned SK Modified® for the entire 2015 season.
“We definitely ran better at Stafford last year and I think the seat time in the SK this season will really help me,” said Bonsignore. “I always like coming to Stafford but don’t run as good as I like. I’m really optimistic for this season. We had a really good year last season and on paper we should be better this year, especially with the chemistry of me and my crew chief Bill Michael being together for a year.”
One area that might work out to Bonsignore’s advantage this season, and during the 200-lap NAPA Spring Sizzler at Stafford, is the increase in NWMT teams utilizing the NASCAR Spec Engine. Last year, Bonsignore and Woody Pitkat were the only 2 cars in the field using the spec engine and they both made 2 pit stops during the race while most other competitors only had to pit once. Bonsignore and Pitkat both finished in the top-5 last year, but with more teams using the spec engine, they won’t be the only cars having to make two pit-stops during the race.
“This year should be interesting with more teams going with the spec engine,” said Bonsignore. “Last year it was only Woody [Pitkat] and myself with the spec engines. We had to pit for fuel as well as tires because we’ve calculated it out and we’re about 20-30 laps short of going the whole race without pitting. We figure we’d need around 80 laps of yellow to make it so it’s not even worth taking that risk. It was tough coming back through the field with the two stops but if more guys show up with the spec engine, then we’ll all be in the same situation and it could make for a really interesting race and it should make our jobs a little bit easier in the race.”
If there are more teams that come to Stafford with the spec engine, then Bonsignore may actually have a small advantage over the field as he has already ran a Sizzler with a two-stop strategy.
“Last year we pitted around lap-50 for fuel once we were comfortably in our window and it’ll be interesting to see how that will change up other teams’ strategy,” said Bonsignore. “It was tough to have to come from the back twice last year, but I think that most guys will be making the switch. You have to make sure you don’t do anything stupid until you get your fuel and then go as hard as you can to get to your pitstop for tires. There usually seems to always be a caution right around halfway and that will turn the race into a 100-lap sprint to the checkered flag.”
In addition to his Whelen Modified Tour duties with the #51 M3 Technology team, Bonsignore will make his SK Modified® debut NAPA Spring Sizzler weekend driving the #21 SPAFCO car for Art Barry.
“Art, Kenny, and the whole 21 team do a great job preparing the car for me and it shouldn’t be any problem for me going back and forth,” said Bonsignore. “If anything I think I’ll be able to pick up on some small things that I can apply to the Tour car to get around the track even better. I’m excited about it. You keep hearing almost every week about someone new joining the SK division and it should be hectic to just make the show the first race. I’m thinking we can make our presence known and hopefully we can win some races this year.”
Bonsignore will kick off his double duty at the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler on April 24-26. 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 44th 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.