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Justin Bonsignore has a fifth and a first in the first two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races of 2018 to take the early points lead. (Adam Glanzman/NASCAR)

PIT BOX: Justin Bonsignore Looks To Continue Sizzling Start

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour roll into Stafford Motor Speedway for the 47th Annual Spring Sizzler at the historic Connecticut oval Sunday. And we’ll have a new winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this weekend, as the series heads to Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway for a Saturday night showcase.

NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR at STAFFORD

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Justin Bonsignore and Jon McKennedy have shown, in the first two races of the season, they’re championship contenders after offseason changes. Now the tour heads to Stafford, and a host of drivers are looking to join the fray.

Bonsignore took advantage of a late-race fuel miscue by McKennedy to score the win at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. He’ll take the points lead to Stafford, where he has just 10 top fives in 31 races there and yet to win.

Among the drivers looking for a breakthrough: Craig Lutz and Chase Dowling each opened the season with back-to-back top 10s and sit just eight poins behind Bonsingore.

Doug Coby leads active drivers with 10 tour wins in 51 races at Stafford, and will look to get his season back on track in his chase for a sixth NASCAR title. Defending Sizzler winner Ryan Preece has seven wins and is coming off an impressive victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend.

RACING-REFERENCE: Previous Whelen Modified Tour races at Stafford | Whelen Modified Tour drivers’ career stats at Stafford

Bobby Santos III is the last driver to win back-to-back Spring Sizzlers (2013 and 2014).

RACE FACTS

RACE NAPA AUTO PARTS SPRING SIZZLER 200
PLACE Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway
DATE Sunday, April 29
TIME 3:15 p.m. ET (approx.)
TRACK LAYOUT Half-mile oval
2017 WINNER Ryan Preece
2017 POLE Doug Coby
EVENT SCHEDULE Saturday— Garage opens: 8:15 a.m. ET; Practice: 11-11:45 a.m.; Final Practice: 12:20-1 p.m.; Group qualifying: 2:30 p.m.

Sunday — Garage opens: 9:30 a.m.; Driver autograph session (on track): 11-11:50 a.m.; NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler 200: 3:15 p.m. (approx.)

TWITTER @StaffordSpeedwy
HASHTAG #NAPASpringSizzler #NWMT

RACE CENTRAL LIVE | ENTRY LIST | TICKETS

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The maximum starting field is 33 cars, including provisionals.

Qualifying groups will be determined by each vehicle’s overall fastest single lap from the official practice sessions.

The first 27 cars will secure starting positions based on group qualifying session. The remaining six spots will be awarded through the provisional process.

Each group qualifying session will be five (5) minutes in duration and the fastest single lap speed of each vehicle will determine starting positions 1st through 27th. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on a vehicle after the vehicle enters the track to begin the qualifying session. Vehicles may not
return to the track or make any further qualifying laps unless directed to do so by a NASCAR Official or in the event of a caution. If a vehicle returns to pit road, the vehicle’s qualifying attempt is complete.

The NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler 200 will be 200 laps (100 miles). Maximum of three (3) crew members permitted over the wall at any time during the event. Teams may only change one (1) tire on a single pit stop. Teams will be permitted to swap/move tire locations.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is eleven (11) tires per team. Four (4) tires used for qualifying must be used to begin the race. The tire change rule is four (4) tires, any position.


NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES EAST at LANGLEY

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The only thing for certain is Todd Gilliland will not be driving into Victory Lane. But that won’t mean his father may not be celebrating another win.

After taking the first two races of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season, the NASCAR Next driver from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, is the defending race winner at the .396-mile oval. But he does not have Langley on his list on his partial K&N Pro schedule he’s running this year. That opens the door for a new face to emerge. They might not have to look far.

Gilliland’s teammate at DGR Crosley, Tyler Ankrum, is coming off a fourth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. And earlier Monday, the team announced that NASCAR Next alumni Tyler Dippel will be driving for the team for the remainder of the season. Dippel will step into the No. 54 Noah Gragson drove to a third-place at Bristol.

Last year, DGR’s Chase Purdy finished second to Gilliland.

Langley could also help start to sort out the 2018 championship race. The top two drivers — Gilliland and defending series champion Harrison Burton — are not running the full season. That leaves Ankrum holding third place by five points over Spencer Davis and seven of Brandon McReynolds and Dippel, with Ronnie Bassett Jr. only another point behind. It’s also an opportunity for a couple drivers with championship aspirations, like Anthony Alfredo and Chase Cabre, to shake off some early season misfortune and climb back in the race.

RACING-REFERENCE: Previous K&N Pro Series East races at Langley | K&N Pro Series East drivers’ career stats at Langley 

Langley has hosted six previous K&N Pro Series events, beginning in 2011. Kyle Larson (2012) is the only eventual series champion not to finish in the top three in that season’s race at the Hampton track (he was seventh), while Sergio Pena (fifth in 2011) was the only Langley race winner not to finish in the top two in championship points at the end of the season.

RACE FACTS

RACE VISIT HAMPTON VA 150
PLACE Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway, Hampton, Va.
DATE Saturday, April 28
TIME 9 p.m. PT
TELEVISION NBCSN, Thursday, May 3 – 11 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT .395-mile oval
2017 WINNER Todd Gilliland
2017 POLE Todd Gilliland
EVENT SCHEDULE Saturday — Garage opens: 10:45 a.m.; Practice: 1:45-2:30 p.m.; Final practice: 2:45-3:30 p.m.; Driver autograph session: 5:45-6:45 p.m.; Qualifying: 7 p.m.; Visit Hampton VA 150: 9 p.m.
TWITTER @LangleySpeedway
HASHTAG #VisitHamptonVA150 #KNEast

RACE CENTRAL LIVE | ENTRY LIST | TICKETS

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The maximum starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals.

Qualifying groups will be determined by each vehicle’s overall fastest single lap from the official practice sessions.

The first 22 cars will secure starting positions based on the two-lap qualifying session. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process.

The Visit Hampton VA 150 will be 150 laps (59.4 miles) to be run in two (2) segments. The five (5) minute breaks will occur at or near the conclusion of Lap 75. At the conclusion of the break, lead lap vehicles that elected to pit will line up — in the order they were running at the beginning of the break — behind the lead lap vehicles that elected not to pit in order of running.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: Four (4) tires for practice, four (4) tires for qualifying and to begin the race for a total of eight (8) tires.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: Four (4) tires for practice, four (4) tires for qualifying and to begin the race for a total of eight (8) tires.


 

LOCAL FOCUS

The Spring Sizzler isn’t just the third race on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour calendar, it also marks the opening weekend of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing at Stafford. Keith Rocco is the defending SK Modified champion, taking the title over a pair of rising young starts: Chase Dowling and Ronnie Williams.

Cubby’s Super Late Models are the top of seven NASCAR divisions that will be racing this season at I-80 Speedway, halfway between Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska.  Tad Pospisil is the defending Division I champ at the .4-mile dirt oval and the season kicks off with Friday’s National Heath Night. Fellow dirt track Spring Lake Speedway, in Unity, Wisconsin, opens its NASCAR season on Wednesday with Opening Night presented by Whelen. Chris Ortel won the track’s Division I modified title last season.

MEDIA CENTER

RaceDayCT: Spirited First Practice Day Saturday At Riverhead Raceway

Kingsport Times News: Lancaster survives ‘Concrete Jungle’ for win

Race22.com: Philip Morris Prevails In Dominion Thriller

Winston-Salem Journal: Myers perseveres through numerous cautions to win Modified opener at Bowman Gray

WWLP.com: Stafford Motor Speedway gearing up for 2018 season and Bentley Warren to serve as Grand Marshall for Monadnock opener

Burt Myers celebrates his Modified Divison win in the Hayes Jewelers 200 on Saturday night at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Walt Unks/Winston-Salem Journal)