July 8th, 2018
JUSTIN BONSIGNORE TOPS RYAN PREECE IN FAST PACED BUZZ CHEW AUTO GROUP 200 WMT EVENT AT RIVERHEAD RACEWAY SATURDAY
Bob Finan PR
Under ideal weather conditions Saturday the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour converged on Riverhead Raceway for the Buzz Chew Auto Group 200 and when the fast paced race concluded the red hot Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville posted his fourth win of 2018 after a fierce battle with Ryan Preece. The triumph was the 12th career overall Modified win for Justin at his home track where he also won the 2011 championship. The race was perhaps the fastest in the 33-years the WMT has visited Long Island as a mere three cautions for twenty-one laps allowed for the contest to be completed in just over 49 minutes.
In qualifying Bonsignore would lay down the quickest lap of the 30 cars on hand with a lap of 11.934 with Timmy Solomito second quick at 11.976. The two former go-kart rivals would bring the field down for the green flag with Solomito edging out front with Bonsignore in close quarters. Justin would lead the 13th lap before Solomito roared back to lead the 14th-18th circuits with Bonsignore and Ryan Preece who qualified third applying the pressure. Preece worked his way around Bonsignore before making a bid for the lead payoff on lap 19 overtaking Solomito for the race lead. Once out front Preece would settle it nicely at the front of the field as he began to set a torrid pace getting away from Bonsignore, Solomito, Craig Lutz and defending WMT champion Doug Coby who made up the top five.
Preece would remain the leader until a restart was needed after Rob Summers and Craig Lutz got together in turn two. Summers was forced to pit while Lutz motored on from the 101st lap incident that would prove to be the final caution flag of the event. When the race resumed on lap 111 Bonsignore made his way back out front of Preece and it was clear to the large crowd on hand these two drivers and cars would determine the outcome. With a 89-lpa green flag run to the end of the race Bonsignore and Preece more often than not found themselves amid lapped traffic which made for some exciting racing between the two for the lead. What evolved was a high speed game of cat and mouse ducking under or racing around the traffic that surrounded them as the fans roared with approval.
On lap 139 Preece going down the backstretch was able to use lapped traffic to his advantage executing a daring move to get by Bonsginore for the race lead to start lap 140. Ryan, who traveled from his Xfinity start for Joe Gibbs Racing at Daytona Friday night to compete in the 200 would set the pace until the 171st circuit when Bonsignore would come calling for the race lead for the third and final time in the race.
Over the final 29 laps Justin hit hits marks and drove off to the popular win. "What a race" Justin boasted as he exited his car, "Ryan and I just race each other so well, we did it at the last race at Langely and now here tonight, I had a blast" With four wins on the season not lost on Justin is the team that stands behind him, "It seems no matter where we race now we are fast right off the truck" Bonsignore offered, "Ryan Stone and the guys are spot on with our Phoenix Communications/M3 Technology Chevrolet, on to New Hampshire to see if we can continue this roll we are on".
As soon as runner-up Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. exited his TS Haulers Chevy he ran over to Bonsignore and sat on the race winner's rub rail in victory lane as the two smiled and chatted about the show they just put on for the fans. "There is such a mutual respect between Justin & I that allows us to race each other as hard as we do" a tired Preece noted, "I hope the fans enjoyed it" Doug Coby of Milford, Ct. would complete the podium and again was left wondering what he had to do to break the recent stranglehold Long Island drivers/teams have at Riverhead. "Again we were third in class to the Island boys" Coby quipped while standing by his Mayhew Tools Chevy, "we're gaining on it here. These guys run a lot of laps here but at least we were the first Connecticut car over the line, again"
Dave Sapienza of Riverhead made a late race charge to finish fourth in the DSR Racing Chevy after qualifying 10th, Timmy Solomito of Islip completed the top five in his Starrett Tools Ford. Craig Lutz of Miller Place, Chase Dowling of Roxbury, Ct., Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead, Kyle Soper of Manorville and Ronnie Williams of Ellington, Ct. completed the top ten.
The Buzz Chew Auto Group 200 was completed in 49:26 and featured seven lead changes among three drivers. While 28 cars were slated to start the race NASCAR WMT Officials in conjunction with track owners Edde & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz elected to start all 30 entrants with 24 cars running at the conclusion of the race.
Buzz Chew Auto Group 200: 1. Justin Bonsignore 2. Ryan Preece 3. Doug Coby 4. Dave Sapienza 5. Timmy Solomito 6. Craig Lutz 7. Chase Dowling 8. Tom Rogers Jr. 9. Kyle Soper 10. Ronnie Williams 11. Chris Pasteryak 12. Tommy Catalano 13. Kyle Ellwood 14. Burt Myers 15. John Beatty Jr. 16. Blake Barney 17. John Fortin Sr. 18. Eric Goodale 19. John Fortin Jr. 20. Rowan Pennink 21. Ken Heagy 22. Rob Summers 23. Calvin Carroll 24. Walter Sutcliffe Jr. 25. Roger Turbush 26. Wade Cole 27. Gary McDonald 28. Joe DeGracia 29. Cory Midgett 30. Melissa Fifield