Justin Bonsignore, driver of the #51 Phoenix Communications, Inc. car looks on during the Jersey Shore 150 for the Whelen Modified Tour at Wall Stadium Speedway on July 9, 2022 in Wall Township, New Jersey. (Kostas Lymperopoulos/NASCAR)
(Photo: Kostas Lymperopoulos/NASCAR)

NOTEBOOK: Justin Bonsignore looking for victory in Claremont debut

We’re more than halfway through the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season, and only one series regular – Justin Bonsignore – has made his way into Victory Lane.

Bonsignore has won twice this season, earning victories at Richmond Raceway in April and New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway in June.

While that may bode well for him in advance of the Clash at Claremont 150 this Friday at Claremont Motorsports Park (8:45 p.m. ET on FloRacing), something working against Bonsignore is the fact that he’s never raced at the 0.333-mile paved oval.

“We’re always excited to visit a new track with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour,” Bonsignore said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge of figuring out the track quickly and contending for not only the win in the race, but the Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup title. Ending the month of July on a high note is important to us.”

RELATED: Claremont entry list | Race preview

The history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Claremont is brief. Dating back to 1985, the Tour has only visited the track twice. Richie Evans won the inaugural race at Claremont in 1985, with James Civali winning the only other previous event in 2007.

Of those entered, only a handful have previous NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour experience at Claremont. They include championship leader Ron Silk, Matt Hirschman and Jon McKennedy. Each of them finished in the top 10 the last time the Tour visited Claremont, with Hirschman finishing the best among them with a second-place result.

Bonsignore continues his effort to gain ground in the Tour standings after a tough start to his season. He’s currently fourth in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour standings, 25 points in arrears of Silk with less than half of the season remaining.

He’s not out of the championship hunt yet, and another victory Friday could certainly help him further close the gap to Silk.

Final race of the season for JDV Productions

The Clash at Claremont 150 at Claremont Motorsports Park serves as the final race of the season for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour partner and event promoter JDV Productions.

Led by veteran promoter Josh Vanada, JDV Productions has become a dedicated partner to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour by promoting a handful of events on the schedule each season.

This year, JDV Productions brought the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to a trio of New Hampshire tracks – Claremont, Lee USA Speedway and Monadnock Speedway – in addition to Pennsylvania’s Jennerstown Speedway.

RELATED: Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup standings entering Clash at Claremont 150

In addition to serving as an event promoter, JDV Productions also launched the Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup this season. The three-race miniseries that includes the events at Claremont, Lee and Monadnock offers competing teams the opportunity to battle for additional purse money.

Claremont serves as the finale of the Whelen Granite State Short Track Cup, with the winning car owner receiving a $5,000 prize. Tommy Baldwin Racing currently leads the standings ahead of Friday’s race, which will see Doug Coby return to the wheel of the No. 7NY Modified.

Coby (Lee), Mike Christopher Jr. (Jennerstown) and Bonsignore (Monadnock) picked up victories in the three previous JDV Productions events this season.

Tickets for Friday’s Clash at the Claremont 150, as well as VIP JDV Experience tickets, are available by visiting JDVProductions.com.

Jake Johnson, driver of the #3 Propane Plus – Lin’s Propane Trucks, enters his car during the Inaugural Granite State Derby presented by USA Insulation for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, New Hampshire on May 21, 2022. (Adam Glanzman/NASCAR)
Jake Johnson, driver of the No. 3 Propane Plus – Lin’s Propane Trucks Modified, enters his car before the Inaugural Granite State Derby presented by USA Insulation for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Lee USA Speedway on May 21, 2022. (Photo: Adam Glanzman/NASCAR)

Momentum on the side of Jake Johnson

While rookie Jake Johnson remains winless with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour so far this season with Boehler Racing Enterprises, he recently crossed his first Modified victory at New Hampshire’s Star Speedway.

The victory, which came in a non-NASCAR event last Saturday, was an important landmark for Johnson as he continues to adapt to Modified racing after previously racing Late Models.

“It’s a huge win for me, but you know, it’s a huge win for everyone,” Johnson said at the time.

His rookie season in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has featured both positives and negatives.

The positives include his maiden NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour pole at Lee USA Speedway, where he led three laps and finished fifth. He also secured a seventh-place finish at Monadnock Speedway.

On the negative side of things, Johnson failed to finish his most recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at New Jersey’s Wall Stadium Speedway due to a mechanical issue. He also struggled for speed and battled mechanical issues in his Tour debut at New York’s Riverhead Raceway, where he finished 24th.

Notes:

  • The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be joined by four weekly racing divisions Friday at Claremont Motorsports Park. The Six Shooters, Mini Stocks, Pure Stocks and Street Stocks will all compete for weekly series points prior to the Clash at Claremont 150.
  • After making his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut at Monadnock Speedway earlier this year, Brian Robie is back for his second Tour start this weekend. He finished 23rd in his maiden Tour start at Monadnock.
  • Sam Rameau is back for his third NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start of the season. In his last race at Monadnock, Rameau started fifth and finished a career-best fourth.