PLATTSBURGH, NY — Justin Bonsignore of Islip NY added his name to the first time winners list with the Valenti Modified Racing Series on Sunday afternoon 9/7/2014. Entering race number 14 of the year, Bonsignore in the Art Barry owned SPAFCO sponsored number 21 has had 11 top 10 finishes, including five second-place runs going into the day. Bonsignore is seven points behind points leader Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley PA, who came away from Airborne with a sixth place finish.
Still, it wasn’t one of the easiest days for Bonsignore who experienced a broken rack and pinion in a practice session. During the feature he lost power steering, had no radios and late in the race the car started shutting down. With all that he had Tommy Barrett Jr. of Millis MA stalking him for the last 10 laps.
In victory lane Justin said, “They played the game pretty well with saving their tires and we expected that. It was a long day. We had no power steering, no radios and with 10 to go I think the battery died. It (the car) would shut off half way down the straightaway. I hate to win them that way, but I had to run Tommy up each corner, it was my only chance. I thought I was running out of fuel and was just doing what I had to do to win the race. I’m glad to get the 21 to victory lane, it’s a legendary car. It’s been an awesome year, but to get the win for Art Barry and crew is really cool.” When asked about the track Justin said, “I wasn’t too excited to come all the way up here, but what a fun race track. Progressive banking is what I said Modifieds need to put on a good race, hopefully we can come back again.”
Because of the Saturday rainout, Barrett made a last-minute decision to haul to Airborne for the Sunday rain date and early on it looked like the decision was the wrong one. Starting towards the back of the feature and gradually falling to the rear, Tommy spun off turn two causing a yellow flag on lap 79. That allowed him to pit for adjustments. On his return, it took him only 11 laps to work his way into the runner-up spot behind Bonsignore, where he finished.
Barrett said, “The first 70 laps the car was pretty loose, we came in and tightened the car up, the guys did the right adjustments and we went to the front and Justin was able to keep me behind him. Racing for the win I would have done the same thing to him.” About the track, he said “Yea, I love this place, reminds me of a bigger Canaan, it’s fast and got the banking. Hopefully we will come back with the series.”
Chris Pasteryak of Lisbon, CT just keeps cranking out those steady and consistent finishes with a third place at the end of the 100 lap grind. The multi-time MRS champion was sitting third in the point standings prior to Airborne with 13 top 10 finishes out of 14 starts. Pasteryak came from his fourth place starting position to take over the lead from pole sitter Max Zachem on lap 32, but couldn’t hold off a determined Bonsignore. The #21 stalked Pasteryak for 36 laps before taking over the point on a lap 80 restart.
Pasternak said, “I had a pretty good day. Just a little free from the get-go and I figured I should lead some laps when I had the chance. What a place. I wish they could set this place just down the street from my house. It’s a blast to drive and it’s a lot of fun you can really race here.”
Pole sitter Max Zachem from Preston CT in the Lu-Mac’s Package Store/Dunleavy Truck Repair #20CT led the first 31 laps and finished a hard fought fourth.
Another driver who had an impressive run was Matthew Mead of Richmond NH. Having some tough luck in previous starts this year, Matt turned in a stellar performance driving the Fenton Family Auto sponsored, Ron Townson owned modified to a fifth place finish. Mead said, “It was a great race. This is a really cool place. Our times were decent all through the day. We weren’t the quickest, but the car felt strong the whole time. We had a great starting position that certainly helped. We had to put a rear clip on after Waterford and since then our times have been better and we’ve been fast everywhere. We just needed some luck today we got it.”
Heat winners were #25 – Rowan Pennink and #5CT. – Chris Pasteryak
Race – Airborne, VMRS 100.
Track – Airborne Park Speedway 0.500 miles.
Time of race – 37: 46.081.
Margin of victory – no margin of victory. Number 21 transponder went dead at end of race.
Best lap time – 16.077.
Best speed – 111.961.
Best lap. – 52 – Chris Bakaj.
1. – 21 – Justin Bonsignore – Islip, NY.
2. – 9 – Tommy Barrett, Jr. – Millis, MA.
3. – 5 CT. – Chris Pasteryak – Lisbon, CT.
4. – 20 CT – Max Zachem – Preston, CT.
5. – 77 – Matthew Mead – Richmond, NH.
6. – 25 – Rowan Pennink – Huntingdon Valley, PA.
7. – 38 – Mike Willis Jr. – Grantham, NH.
8. – 50 – Carl Medieros Jr. – Westport, Ma.
9. – 53 – Norm Wrenn – Nashua, NH.
10. – 45 – Dan Meservey Jr. – Brewster, MA.
11 – 17 – Donnie Lashua – Canaan, NH
12 – 99 – Richard Savary – Canton, MA.
13. – 52 – Chris Bakaj – Colchester, CT
14 – 0 – Mike Holdridge – Madison, CT
15. – 44 – Jean Paul Cyr – Milton, VT
16. – 66 – Dylan Kopec – Palmer, MA
17 –2 – Jeff Malave – Manchester, CT
Sources: Jim Snape/YankeeRacer.com