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WINCHESTER, N.H. - Easy wins are hard to come by at quarter-mile bullrings, and Saturday proved to be no different as Justin Bonsignore held off a host of challengers to capture the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Town Fair Tire Whitcomb 200 checkered flag at Monadnock Speedway.
Bonsignore, from Holtsville, N.Y., got the advantage on Coors Light Pole Award winner Eric Goodale on the Lap 17 restart following a caution and withstood numerous challenges from the likes of Goodale, Donny Lia and Doug Coby through the balance of the 200-lap event to take home his third career Whelen Modified Tour win.
Coby, who was coming off his first win of the season in the Town Fair Tire 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, settled for the runner-up spot. After having to begin the race from the rear due to missing the driver's meeting, Rowan Pennink worked his way up to the front and finished third. Bryon Chew and Ryan Preece completed the top five.
The fourth-place effort marked the best finish for Chew in 35 career starts. Meanwhile Preece, who has finished in the top five all seven events this season, extended his career-long streak of top-10 finishes to 13 races.
Ron Silk, Andy Seuss, Richie Pallai Jr., Woody Pitkat and Eric Berndt rounded out the top 10.
For Bonsignore, who grew up running at the Long Island bullring Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway, it marks three years in a row with a victory in Whelen Modified Tour action. His first came at Riverhead in 2011 and he won at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway last year.
“I made a big push to get to the lead as soon as possible,” Bonsignore said. “I set my pace for as long as I could, fought off a few challengers, protected the bottom.
“I knew I had a better car than them, just maybe not at point, and I didn’t want to give up the spots and have to get them back later in the race.”
After Goodale and Lia took their shots at Bonsignore without success, Coby had opportunities on three late-race restarts to try to make something happen. Following the sixth and final caution, Coby looked to make one last attempt on the Lap 196 restart, but Bonsignore protected his position.
“I’m slipping and sliding out there, I got a run on Justin and he pop-shotted me going into [Turn] 3 – which I would have done to him because it’s how you win races,” Coby said. “We’re proud of second place. You’ve got to put good finishes together for the long haul.”
The big mover on the night, Pennink was able to rally for his third podium finish of the season after starting shotgun on the field.
“I don’t think it really hurt us too bad starting at the back,” Pennink said. “We had kind of had our game plan set – drove around, saved the tires as long as we could, waited until a certain point in the race and started going to the front.”
After seven of 14 races Preece now leads Pennink by 42 points with the defending champion Coby in third, 45 back.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is next in action on August 2 for the CARQUEST 150 from Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway.
The victory is the third of his career, and first at a quarter-mile track since his 2011 win at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway.
Justin Bonsignore takes the checkered flag, his first at Monadnock and third overall. Jim Rogash/Getty Images for NASCAR