Story By: JASON CUNNINGHAM / NASCAR – RIVERHEAD, NY – Justin Bonsignore held off Ryan Preece through a furious finish to capture the Buzz Chew Auto Group 200 checkered flag Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway.
A native of Holtsville, New York, Bonsignore took the lead for good on Lap 171 and drove to his fifth career victory at the Long Island quarter-mile.
It marked the 16th career Whelen Modified Tour victory for Bonsignore, who has won four of seven in 2018 as the season nears the halfway point. He now has a 33-point lead atop the standings.
Bonsignore won his seventh career pole earlier in the afternoon, but Timmy Solomito gained the lead from the drop of the green. Preece moved to the front on Lap 19, and it was a two-horse race with Bonsignore from there.
Preece had a commanding lead when a caution came out on Lap 100. On the ensuing restart, Preece appeared to get loose, allowing Bonsignore to move to the front. There would be one more lead swap with 60 to go before Bonsignore’s decisive pass.
Preece settled for second while Doug Coby came home third as only the podium drivers finished on the lead lap. Dave Sapienza and Solomito brought home the top five.
Craig Lutz rallied from a mid-race incident to finish sixth, followed by Chase Dowling, Tom Rogers Jr., Kyle Soper and Ronnie Williams.
Dowling is second in championship points, behind Bonsignore and 18 in front of Solomito. Lutz and Preece are fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Whelen Modified Tour will return to points-paying action on Saturday, July 21 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The All-Star Shootout will be contested the day before at the “Magic Mile” in Loudon, New Hampshire.