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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour


Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
by Polly Reid

Surviving a late race caution, Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, NY in the Ken Massa owned, M3 Technology sponsored Chevrolet held off a stout field of competitors as he brought the field to green for the final three circuits to score his first win of the 2016 season in the NWMT Budweiser King of Beers 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Coors Light Pole winner Doug Coby of Milford, CT was second at the line with Bobby Santos of Franklin, MA third, Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT fourth and Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT fifth.

“I just can’t thank everybody enough,” said Bonsignore in victory lane. “Ken Massa, Billy Michaels, this whole team, Phoenix Communication came on board -the guys nailed the pit stop, they got us off first of the guys that took three- I’m at a loss for words here, it’s been almost a year since I won and that was really starting to eat at me, it was tough. We’re back tonight, we’ve shown we can run with these guys- the second half, we’re going to make a charge for the championship.”

Bonsignore qualified third for the Bud 150 making his move to pass Ron Silk for second on lap 22. Meanwhile, Doug Coby in the Mike Smeriglio III owned, Dunleavy Repair/A&J Romano Construction sponsored Chevrolet was dominating the event stretching his lead by up to twelve car lengths by the time Bonsignore moved into second. While Bonsignore appeared to be making gains, Coby was on rails keeping a strong distance between the lead and the rest of the field.

The first caution of the night on lap 54 gathered up the action as Coby, Bonsignore, Silk, Chase Dowling and Woody Pitkat the top five led the way with the field following down pit road. The pits became a sudden flurry of activity with the field in for service.

Chase Dowling, Eric Goodale, Rob Summers were the first three off pit road with Bonsignore and Coby following for the top five.
As Dowling brought the field to green on lap 61, by lap 62, Coby had passed Dowling on the backstretch for the lead with Bonsignore on the heels of Coby. Within five circuits, Coby and Bonsignore, nose to tail, made it a two car breakaway. Santos had made his way to third with Silk and last Friday night’s winner at Stafford, Jimmy Blewett the top five on lap 67.

Bonsignore made his move for the lead tucking low heading into turn three, side by side Coby, emerging the new leader on lap 74. At the half way mark, it was Bonsignore, Coby, Santos, Silk, Blewett, Timmy Solomito, Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat, Donny Lia and Brendon Bock the top ten.

Now, it was Coby on the heels of Bonsignore with Santos in the hunt, Silk and Blewett the top five by lap 100 as the long green run continued. Bonsignore led the way working lap traffic, while Coby filled his rear view mirror. The second caution of the night on lap 126 was for Silk up against the turn one outside wall. As Silk pulled away, the field gathered up for the double file restart with now 17 to go.

Bonsignore on the outside, nailed the lap 133 restart taking Santos, Pitkat and Preece with him while Coby in the bottom groove, was shuffled back in line to fifth. “You know how it works here,” said Coby. “You spin the tires on the bottom. Bobby spun the tires on the bottom too, it’s just how it goes.”

The field was pulled back in for the third and final caution of the night on lap 142 when contact spun the #75 of Shawn Solomito in turn four.
A quick caution, it was now three to go to the checkers.

The NWMT Bud 150 came down to a double file restart on lap 147, Bonsignore, Santos, Pitkat, Coby and Preece the top five came to the green. Bonsignore securely in front had Coby on his bumper but Bonsignore was not to be denied as he held off Coby and the rest of the field- Bonsignore scored his ninth NWMT win, his fourth at Thompson, his first for 2016.

Bonsignore, Coby, Santos, Pitkat and Preece the top five, Max Zachem crossed for sixth with Ron Silk, Donny Lia, Shawn Solomito and Jeff Goodale completing the top ten.

“Today, we had a really good car,” said Bonsignore. “We qualified up front, that was probably the biggest thing. We’ve struggled to qualify because we’ve gone out first or second all season. We qualified third, stayed up there, got by Silk- Doug was a little better than us the first set, we knew that. Got the pit stop, we were the first car off with three tires which is unbelievable, the guys are awesome. I guess Doug was really tight to start that second run- I wanted to put pressure on him to see if he would burn his stuff up. Kind of what he did to me last year where he had a better car and just kind of toyed with me a little bit. Then I got a good run, I figured I’d pass and try to drive away- if he caught me we would duke it out at the end. We were starting to edge it out a little bit- the yellows probably helped just because I was able to get really good restarts. The last one, I didn’t want to see. It would have been nice to come back and just finish that one out. Doug got a good run- fourth is always such a good spot to start here- I had to throw a block on them. When you have a car like that, you just can’t give these things away, they are hard to win. We want to be the guy that can beat them. They are consistently the best team every week- to beat them tonight is huge. It’s a compliment to them because they are the best right now. We are trying hard to catch them and beat them, it’s just really tough. Like I said, this is huge for us, we really needed it.”

“I kind of thought if I could get him it would be on the first lap of the restart,” said Coby about the final yellow with three to go. “Get a run off of two and dive bomb him going into three but Bobby got a good enough run to stay underneath me going into three – I did have a good enough run, I think, to cut in front of Bobby and get down next to Justin, but Bobby was good enough there too. Justin kind of split the difference between the two of us and I didn’t want to take any chances, I know how these cars handle with three laps to go – I certainly could have made some move and Bobby wouldn’t have really had a choice but to get into my left rear- I certainly didn’t want to have two races in a row with a couple of laps left and end up with a bad finish.”

“We’re happy to finish second,” said Coby. “It’s a great day for us, we were second fastest in practice, won the pole and finished second so you can’t really complain. But it just sucks when things like last week happened- tonight would not have been a big deal if last week we had just taken care of business. That’s how it goes.”

“Both restarts we were able to get a good run,” said Bonsignore. “Doug had a good run on that second one, I had to throw a little bit of a block but you have to do what you have to do to win these races. It’s probably the cleanest feature here in a long time.”

“We had the cautions we needed,” said Santos about how the cautions fell. “I just screwed up on the last restart, I just spun my tires a little bit. The bottom is so hard on restarts here.” Santos echoed what Coby had said earlier about restarting on the bottom. “I’m very happy, it was a good run. We’ve struggled up until lately, our team is going in the right direction, doing a good job.” Santos took the green flag fifth wheeling the Tino Corp/Dan Kelley/Curb Records Chevrolet to third by the half way mark. Santos remained in the hunt, just coming up short at the end. “We were excellent right through practice, we were just a little too free in the race to really race with Doug and Justin. If we had it just a little bit tighter I think we could have challenged him. It was a good night, it’s been a struggle, I’m happy with a third.”

The tenth race of seventeen in the NWMT season, points matter. Coby continues to lead the way with 397, Bonsignore stays second with 382, Timmy Solomito in third with 362, Donny Lia fourth with 354 and Jimmy Blewett fifth with 349.

Hats off to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for their efforts getting the show in. If you missed it, the NWMT Budweiser King of Beers 150 will air on NBCSN Friday August 26th at 8pm ET.

Next Wednesday, August 17th the NWMT heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for the combination race with the NWSMT. The Chrome Horn will be there with Denise DuPont’s live updates of the Bush’s Beans 150.
Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
: August 11, 2016

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