RICHMOND, Va. — After finishing last in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season opener at New Smyrna, Justin Bonsignore knew he needed a strong run at Richmond Raceway.
By leading 57 of 150 laps on Friday, that’s exactly what happened. Bonsignore passed Tommy Catalano, who searched for his first series win, with 10 laps to go to win the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 150.
“It’s been a long seven weeks,” Bonsignore said. “Smyrna was out of our control. You’re going to have parts failures in this series. It was just important to come back and try and have a good day.”
Bonsignore won the pole Friday afternoon and led the first 10 laps of the race before a Bryan Dauzat spin brought out a caution. He lost the lead on the pit cycle but regained it on Lap 18 for the next 36 laps.
With 49 laps to go, Max McLaughlin led after a restart and battled with Catalano, who led a race-high 69 laps. McLaughlin lost the lead to Catalano and Bonsignore quickly moved by McLaughlin for second.
Shortly after, Bonsignore had caught Catalano. They battled for several laps, but with 10 laps to go, Bonsignore passed Catalano for the lead and hung on for his 32nd series victory.
“He showed a lot of speed throughout the whole race,” Bonsignore said. “He had probably the best car for a long time, but I thought once we got a clear track and could start edging toward him, our car was a little better on the long run.
“Our car fired off on the last set of tires… We got to [Catalano] with eight or 10 to go, and from there, you’re just trying to run good, smooth laps.”
McLaughlin finished 12th after leading 10 laps. Patrick Emerling, an Xfinity Series co-owner, crashed after 62 laps and finished 25th.
2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman finished 13th despite leading two laps and contending for most of the race. It was Newman’s first NASCAR-sanctioned race since the 2021 Cup Series finale at Phoenix Raceway. He drove for a new team owned by Hermie Sadler and Virginia Senator Bill Stanley.
Through two races, Catalano and Eric Goodale are tied atop the series standings. Goodale finished sixth at Richmond after finishing second at New Smyrna.
Next up, the Whelen Modified Tour heads to Riverhead Raceway in New York on May 14.