Justin Bonsignore aims to keep momentum going at Riverhead

A victory was what Justin Bonsignore needed, and that’s exactly what he got last Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway.

The two-time defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion has battled bad luck and mechanical gremlins all year and, other than his win at Richmond Raceway in April, seemingly could not buy a strong run.

That all changed at Monadnock, where he took advantage of slower traffic to steal the lead from Matt Hirschman late in the race to earn his 33rd Tour victory.

Now with momentum on his side, Bonsignore returns to the track that is statistically his best.

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during the Duel at the Dog 200 for the Whelen Modified Tour at Monadnock Speedway on June 18, 2022 in Riverhead, New York. (Nick Grace/NASCAR)

New York’s Riverhead Raceway hosts the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 this Saturday (8 pm ET on FloRacing), and Bonsignore is looking forward to going back to a track that has treated him so well in the past.

“I’m excited to get back to Riverhead,” Bonsignore said. “The win at Monadnock was a good confidence booster for us. We’ve been struggling lately at Riverhead for the way we know we can run, especially at our home track.

“I’m hoping we can capitalize on some momentum and try to hang with Doug Coby, who’s been unbelievable there in the last few races, no matter what car he drives. The track has changed some over the last two years, and we’re looking forward to trying to get back to Victory Lane.”

Bonsignore is an eight-time winner with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Riverhead dating back to 2011, and he also claimed the 2011 Riverhead Raceway Modified track championship. His most recent win at the track came in 2019, and since then, he has rarely finished outside the top five.

The lone exception is a 25th-place finish at Riverhead earlier this year, caused by a mechanical issue beyond Bonsignore’s control.

The victory at Monadnock was vital for Bonsignore, who is doing everything he can to keep himself in the hunt for his fourth (and third consecutive) Tour championship.

Bonsignore enters Saturday’s race sixth in the standings, 35 points behind leader Ron Silk. Bonsignore is the only driver in the top 10 in the standings with a victory, but multiple finishes outside the top 20 have hindered him in his quest for a fourth title.

Now with two victories in the bank, we could be witnessing the start of a summer renaissance for the 34-year-old native of Holtsville, New York.

Timmy Solomito, driver of the #66 Natural Designs, Highmark during the Miller Lite 200 for the Whelen Modified Tour at Riverhead Raceway on May 14, 2022 in Riverhead, New York.  (Mike Lawrence/NASCAR)

Timmy Solomito, driver of the #66 Natural Designs, Highmark during the Miller Lite 200 for the Whelen Modified Tour at Riverhead Raceway on May 14, 2022 in Riverhead, New York. (Mike Lawrence/NASCAR)

When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour last visited Riverhead in May, Timmy Solomito led the field to the green flag.

He ultimately led 17 laps during the race before fading to a fifth-place finish at his home track.

This week, the nine-time Tour race winner and native of Islip, New York, is back in action at Riverhead as he looks to stop drivers like Bonsignore, Doug Coby and Ron Silk from taking home the trophy.

Riverhead is a track with which the Solomito family is intimately familiar. Shawn Solomito, Timmy Solomito’s brother, is a two-time Modified track champion at the Long Island bullring.

In addition, three of Timmy Solomito’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victories have come at Riverhead. His last visit to Victory Lane at Riverhead came in 2017, when he led 158 lapses en route to victory.

Four members of the Solomito family have made NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts at Riverhead. Jerry Solomito Sr. made two Tour starts at Riverhead while his three sons, Timmy, Shawn and Jerry Jr., followed in his footsteps and have raced against the Tour at Riverhead.

It’s been a few minutes since a member of the Brunnhoelzl family raced in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

That honor belongs to George Brunnhoelzl III, a four-time champion who made three Tour starts during the 2019 season.

On Saturday night, the Brunnhoelzl name returns to the Tour when Eddie Brunnhoelzl III, George Brunnhoelzl III’s cousin, makes his return to the series for the first time since 2015. He’ll pilot a car fielded by the McDonald family in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200.

Eddie Brunnhoelzl III is a regular weekly competitor at Riverhead, having earned a best finish of second so far this season. He is currently fifth in the Modified division weekly standings.

The Brunnhoelzl family has made 38 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts at Riverhead between four family members, with Eddie Brunnhoelzl III’s father, Eddie Brunnhoelzl Jr., earning the family’s only Riverhead Tour win in 1995.

  • Despite being winless this year, Ron Silk holds a 10-point advantage over Eric Goodale in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings entering Saturday’s race at Riverhead. Tommy Catalano, Jon McKennedy and Austin Beers complete the current top five.

  • In addition to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event, four NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series divisions will be in action Saturday at Riverhead. They include the Crate Modifieds, INEX Legend Cars, Blunderbusts and Street Stocks.

  • Current Riverhead Raceway Modified division championship leader Kyle Soper heads the list of weekly competitors entered in Saturday’s Tour race. He is joined by the aforementioned Eddie Brunnhoelzl III, John Beatty Jr., Chris Young and Dylan Slepian, all of whom are ranked within the top 10 in the weekly standings at the track.

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