Story By: NEALIE STUFFLET / LFR CHASSIS – BELLPORT, NY – Kenneth Massa Motorsports has announced its 2018 plans for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Veteran driver Justin Bonsignore will drive a LFR Car as he races for the NWMT championship with Ryan Stone as his crew chief.
“I’m very pleased we were able to put this deal together after a tremendous amount of work,” said Ken Massa, team owner. “This will bring our team to the next level. We didn’t have the season we wanted to last year and after an exhaustive process, speaking to all the manufactures, and a handful of crew chiefs, we have it nailed down. I’m ready to put our team and sponsor back in Victory Lane and work toward earning our first championship in the series.”
Additionally, it was announced that Phoenix Communications Inc., a leading provider of fiber optic construction services to the telecommunications industry and municipalities throughout the northeastern United States, will continue its partnership with KMM serving as the primary sponsor of the No. 51 NWMT race car.
“The anticipation for the 2018 NWMT season has been building since last season’s finale at Thompson,” said Mark Langevin, President of Phoenix Communications. “The effort and dedication from Ken and Justin has always been there, so to see that high level of determination continue into the offseason spoke volumes. Last season didn’t go the way we had hoped but had its moments that showed just how close we were to making our way back into Victory Lane. With the changes made this offseason to both car and crew we cannot wait to see what the future has in store for the No. 51 team.”
Bonsignore will start his ninth season with KMM in 2018. He has scored 12 wins during his NWMT career and ranked in the Top-3 in final championship standings in three of the past four years.
“I’m very excited and anxious to get the 2018 season started, racing can be a humbling sport and the 2017 season didn’t turn out to be the season we had hoped for,” said Bonsignore. “I feel that bringing Ryan (Stone) on board and making the switch to LFR Chassis will elevate our team back to the level we need to be to contend for wins and a championship. Ryan and I have always been friendly at the races, and I feel our chemistry will be there right away, along with having Rob (Fuller) in our corner for support, I am very confident that this season will be a successful one.”
“None of this would be possible without the return of Phoenix Communications Inc. coming back on board,” continued Bonsignore. “Mark and Marie Langevin stood behind us with their full support last year, and I really want to get them and my team of guys back to Victory Lane more than anything else.”
Calling the shots for Bonsignore will be 20-year racing veteran Ryan Stone, who won the 2011 NWMT championship as crew chief for Ron Silk. He has more than a decade of experience in modified racing as a driver, car chief and crew chief including three years working at LFR.
“This is a great opportunity for me to get back home to Connecticut and get back working with the modifieds and LFR which is where my heart is,” said Stone. “I’m glad I got the experience to work in the South for a short time to see what it was all about, but I’m excited to get back up North and work with Justin and Ken. I spent a lot of time with Rob while we built the LFR brand so I know we will have the equipment that can contend for a championship.”
Massa was pleased to have Stone join the team, someone he felt would be a perfect fit.
“It’s funny, because we approached Ryan earlier and he turned us down, but I guess I owe it to Rob for keeping after it,” said Massa. “Eventually Ryan came back to the table and we were able to finish the deal. Rob put in a lot of work to make this happen, and showed that he was determined to get the 51 Team in LFR equipment, and that means a lot when there are so many choices of what car to run.”
Rob Fuller created LFR in order to take modified chassis design and customer service to the next level. Since its inception in 2014, LFR has secured the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship every year.
“A team like KMM can go to any design car they want honestly,” said Fuller. “I have had my eye on them for a couple years now and knew they were a better group than what they were showing, and thought they would be a perfect addition to the LFR team. Ken and Justin came to the LFR shop before the holidays and their reaction to the cars was what I hoped it would be. Ken explained that he watched our house car this year and was impressed with our results. Also, the teams that made a change to LFR in recent years, all had immediate improvements in performance. Justin was just as impressed and is ready to start winning races again. I believe this team will be back where they belong in 2018.”
KMM will kick-off the racing season with the opening NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Myrtle Beach Speedway on March 17th.