Auto Racing: Hot Bonsignore creates breathing room

GEORGE FAELLA PHOTO | Jim Marrone hung on to the roof while Tonny Peterson drove through a wall of fire during the Tonny Peterson Hell Drivers stunt show at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night.

Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville continued his Riverhead Raceway hot streak Saturday evening when he backed up his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory of a week ago with a win in a 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature. The victory, Bonsignore’s third of 2011 at the quarter-mile, moved him into a comfortable lead in the Whelen All-American Series points race. He holds a 30-point advantage over John Fortin with five scheduled races remaining.

It wasn’t until the final few laps that Bonsignore was able to pull away slightly to drive to his sixth career victory.

GEORGE FAELLA PHOTO | Tonny Peterson drove this Dodge pickup truck on two wheels around the entire track.

As sweet as the victory was for Bonsignore, it came with some scheduling conflicts for the driver and his car owner, Ken Massa. This Saturday the NASCAR WMT will be run at New Hampshire Speedway, with a late-afternoon start scheduled. When asked about the conflict, Bonsignore said, “Like the last time we ran at New Hampshire, I’ll have a plane waiting to take me back to Long Island, but it’s going to be really tight getting back here in time to run the feature. We might not make it.”

Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown, seeking his first win since 2008, crossed the line second. Robin Vollmoeller of Riverhead turned in a third-place performance. They were season-best finishes for both drivers. Bill Park of Manorville and Chris Young of Calverton completed the top five.

It was 17 years to the day when Shawn Patrick of Brightwaters claimed his first career Late Model win. What better way for Patrick to mark the occasion than with a win in a 25-lap feature?

That is exactly what the veteran driver did, driving to his second win of 2011 and fifth overall in his career. Kevin Metzger of Massapequa was second and Scott Kulesa of Georgetown, Mass., finished third.

Besieged by mechanical gremlins over the past few Super Pro Truck races, defending champion Roger Turbush of Riverhead overcame all the bad luck Saturday night, leading wire to wire to win the Miller Lite 20 for his second win of the year. Turbush drove to his seventh career Super Pro Truck win and afterwards was one relieved driver. Dave Koenig of Freeport came in second, with Lou Maestri of Deer Park third.

The defending Legend Race Car champion, Kevin Nowak of Medford, made a bold pass on two cars at once that paid off for his second win of the year in a 20-lap affair. Chris Young of Calverton, the current championship leader, provided Nowak with his most serious challenge over the final eight laps of the contest, staying with the race leader lap after lap. However, in the end Nowak posted the win, and Young claimed second place. Justin Strumpf of Selden, Young’s nearest rival in the title fight, was third and trails Young by 10 points.

Dennis Nelson of Coram notched the Four-Cylinder Enduro win when he topped the field in a 50-lap race. Nelson moved his car out front on Lap 11 for a lead he never surrendered. Eric Kandler of Coram took second and Don Nelson Jr. of Rocky Point was third.

Dennis Scott of Riverhead won the Full-Size School Bus Demolition Derby. In order to claim his first career win, Scott had to outlast two familiar foes, his future son-in-law, Michael Rommeney, and NASCAR Modified driver Ken Darch.

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