A Big Car driver who switched to midgets in the 1930s the popular driver was voted “King Doodlebug...” in the first National Midget Racing Poll conducted by Illustrated Speedway News in 1946 (referencing the catchy name for the midgets in that era).
The 1940 Central States Racing Association Champion also won the 1946 Zeiter Michigan-Ohio circuit Title.
The 5-foot 6-inch, 140 pound, driver won individual track titles at Cleveland, Ohio in 1937 and 1938, as well as the 1946 Detroit VFW Speedway crown. In 1946 Bonnell won 9 features in a row and 14 out of 18 starts in two weeks. Historians have him winning 56 features in 1946, among them a 100-lap midget event at the famed Langhorne, Pennsylvania mile dirt track. Bonnell almost won the 1947 Langhorne event, but ran out of fuel on the 97th lap while leading.
He retired from racing at the peak of his career in the early 1950s and died in 1980 at age 70.