Bonsignore Nurses Failing Motor To Finish Line To Win VP Racing Fuels Indoor Auto Racing Championship Title By 27 Pointsadmin
By TED SCHMIDT
Before Newly crowned Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Racing Fuels champion Justin Bonsignore could be proclaimed the winner of the 2018 points battle, he had to struggle with an ailing race car over the closing laps of Saturday night’s 40 lap Indoor Racing Series season finale.
Bonsignore’s No. 51 Lafler/ Orange was noticeably off the pace in the closing laps of Saturday’s 40-lap feature, but the Holtsville, Long Island, N.Y. driver managed to hang on.
“Something definitely broke in the motor,” related Bonsignore. “I don’t know yet just what, whether or not it is catastrophic and we lucked out or if maybe we just broke a lifter or something stupid or a plug fouled. I don’t know much about these engines but I know it didn’t sound good and when it sounds like that it normally blows.
“We had some good luck on our side this weekend. Last night we avoided three or four wrecks, tonight we salvaged a finish when we probably should have blown up so somebody was looking after us tonight. Sometimes you need luck more than speed in these indoor races and we’ll take that for sure.”
During one of the caution periods, Bonsignore was advised that if the motor let go, to get off the track and try not to oil the track.
“Once it stayed running for five or six laps it stalled and I restarted it,” explained Justin. “That led me to think it might be a valve or something like that. I got some advice to take it easy, that there were not that many cars left on the racetrack. Once I knew that there were only ten or eleven cars left, I knew he (Erick Rudolph) couldn’t beat me so at that point it was ‘half throttle and don’t do anything stupid’. I don’t know how it made it, but it did. We’ll take it for sure.” Bonsignore’s pace was slow slackened in the final laps that rival Rudolph actually lapped him.
Bonsignore described what it means to win an Indoor Racing Series Championship.
“It’s huge. I’ve been coming since 2005 as a fan for a while, then I raced a Champ Kart for a while. I was always fast but never won a race except for Providence one year. I never got a Gambler’s Classic. We started running TQs, and this is our third full year and we have steadily gotten better.
“This year we came out of the gate and won a race (the season opener in Allentown) and we were consistent in every race, top three and top five. It’s huge. You come to these races and you have the best of the best from every form of racing in this area. You have Dirt Mod guys, Sprint Car guys, Asphalt Modified guys, Supermodified guys, you have everybody. It’s just so diverse, to come out here and run with them is just fun.
“To go out and actually be the best of them over the season means a lot. It’s really humbling and I hope we can represent the Series well throughout the summer and see what we can do for net year.”
With the Indoor Racing Series Championship firmly in his grasp, Bonsignore looked forward to the upcoming NASCAR Modified season.
“Winning the Indoor Championship gives you so much momentum and confidence,” confided Bonsignore. “Back in 2016, we won half of the races the last half of the season and it just skyrockets your confidence. Everybody gets so amped up. A couple of my guys came to help me here but all my guys were texting and wishing me luck all night.
“I’m going to go into (the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Opener) at Myrtle Beach in a month with so much confidence. We have a brand new crew chief, a brand new race car, and I couldn’t be more excited. I just hope it continues through the summer and hopefully we can win another title at the end of the summer.”
While many of the asphalt modified racers head to Florida for the World Series of Racing, Bonsignore has elected to not enter the action at New Smyrna and concentrate on being ready for the Whelen Modified Tour Opener at New Smyrna in March.
“I was hoping to be on an early flight tomorrow morning, but we made some major changes to our Tour team so we though it was best to stay home and get prepared 100 percent for the Tour. I’m going to miss going to Speedweeks,” Bonsignore said. “This is the first one I’ll be missing in five or six years but we’re looking big picture, to the Tour, and I want to be totally prepared when we get to Myrtle Beach.”
Bonsignore’s Modified Car owner Ken Massa had said they intended to leave from Albany and deadhead it to New Smyrna Beach, Fla., to run in a five race Tour Type Modified series starting this past Monday. But on Saturday, the pair said their plans had changed.
“We decided that with all the work we had to do on the car with the LFR cars we’re running this year, there would be too much stress on the team to go down there.
“The Mod tour added a Myrtle Beach race last year and this year that is three weeks from New Smyrna’s races. We want to be fully prepared for Myrtle Beach and the Mod Tour so we’re staying on Long Island,” Massa added.