Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville took the lead with 25-laps remaining in the Eddie Partridge 256 Saturday night and drove off his his ninth career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory. The win is the second in as many WMT races in the month of September for Bonsignore who won the September 3rd event at the Oswego Speedway and the late season hot streak has entrenched Justin into the tussle for the 2022 WMT drivers championship.
By Bob Finan
In qualifying Justin Bonsignore won the Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award with a lap of 11.649 edging out Patrick Emerling who toured the quarter mile at 11.678. At the start of the race Bonsignore and Emerling broke out front with several players waiting in the wings including Doug Coby, Eric Goodale, Kyle Bonsignore and Ron Silk. With live pit stops on the infield of Riverhead Raceway in play for the first time in 70 WMT starts at the track fans would get to see pit strategy up close and personal. Just after the 100-lap mark Emerling was able to inch around Bonsignore for the lead but shortly thereafter on lap 139 during a caution flag Emerling ducked onto pit road for two rear tires.
As the race moved along Emerling with his new rubber was on the march from the rear of the field during green flag runs and many wondered when Justin Bonsignore, Doug Coby and Ron Silk would make their stops. The answer came during a lap 187 caution flag that saw that trio and others come for their two change tires. Emerling, who ran the Xfinity race the night before in Bristol, Tn. and was working on just two hour of sleep was the new race leader but knew that eventually Bonsignore, Silk, Coby and others on newer tires would become players for the win.
After a couple of side by side laps between Emerling and Bonsignore, Justin would move the M3 Technology Chevy into the race lead for good on lap 231. After being presented the Eddie Partridge 256 trophy from track GM John Ellwood, Justin reflected, “it’s a shame we lost Eddie last year, but is is unbelievable what Riverhead does each and every week to honor him. I’m so happy they keep the racing going for all of us”. As for his winning car Justin shared, This is the best car we’ve ever had here, and I think we could have won it at 200 laps. Momentum is a thing and now I’ve knocked off two wins in a row”.
Aside it being Bonsignore’s 9th WMT at Riverhead, the victory bumped his overall win total to 17 at the track where he won the 2011 NASCAR Modified championship at. That ties Justin with Axel Anderson, Tom McCann, Bob Park, Gary Winters & Ryan Preece for 24th on the all time win list.
Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, NY was second in the Captain Pip Marina & Hideaway Chevy and afterwards noted, “the cautions just didn’t fall in out favor there, we are disappointed with second and I guess that’s a good thing”. As for the late race side by side battle with eventual winner Bonsignore, Emerling shared, “I could have run him a little bit rougher, but I guess we’re proud of running him clean there”.
Ron Silk of Norwalk, Ct. crossed the line third in his Blue Mountain Machine entry in a race he really wanted to win for Partridge with whom he won the 2011 WMT title with, “would of been great to win Eddie’s race but we got ourselves a third”.
Doug Coby of Milford, Ct was fourth in the Baldwin Automotive entry with Eric Goodale of Riverhead fifth in the GAF Roofing Chevy.
Eddie Partridge 256: 1. Justin Bonsignore 2. Patrick Emerling 3. Ron Silk 4. Doug Coby 5. Eric Goodale 6. Austin Beers 7. Craig Lutz 8. Timmy Solomito 9. Kyle Soper 10. Jon McKennedy 11. Dave Sapienza 12. Tommy Catalano 13. Roger Turbush 14. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 15. Ken Heagy 16. John Beatty Jr. 17. Chris Turbush 18. Walter Sutcliffe Jr. 19. Matt Brode 20. Gary McDonald 21. Kyle Bonsignore 22. Melissa Fifield 23. JB Fortin 24. Dylan Speian 25. Donny Lia