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Whelen Modified Tour Stat Advance: Thompson

Analyzing the Thompson 125 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — In the middle of a three races in three weeks stretch, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action Wednesday with the Thompson 125 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, Connecticut. Below is a look at the race itself and some of the selected participants.

 Thompson 125 Race Setup:
This marks the Whelen Modified Tour’s second stop at Thompson this season. Timmy Solomito of Islip, New York earned his first career victory in the Icebreaker 150 at the track in April. Three-time champion Doug Coby of Milford, Connecticut sits atop the standings after four races and he heads to Thompson where he swept all four series visits in 2015.

 At Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park:

• The track opened in 1940 and was immediately dubbed “The Indianapolis of the East” because its .625-mile, banked layout dwarfed all others in the northeast at the time.
• In 1951, Neil Cole won the first NASCAR Grand National division race at the track, driving a 1950 Oldsmobile. NASCAR Hall of Fame member David Pearson won a Grand National event in 1969.
• The facility plays host to four NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events each season, including the season opener and the season finale. It also has a full accompanying road course that hosts non-NASCAR events throughout the year.

• There have been 131 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races held at Thompson, more than any other track has hosted.
• Mike Stefanik owns 15 career wins at Thompson, most of any driver. Ted Christopher leads all active drivers with 13 wins at the track.

 Thompson Data:
Race: #5 of 17 overall
Race Date: Wednesday, June 15 at 8:45 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .625-mile paved oval
Race Length: 125 laps (78.125 miles)

 Qualifying/Race Data:
2015 Winner: Doug Coby
2015 Pole Sitter: Woody Pitkat
1-lap Qualifying Record: 123.367 mph (2011, Bobby Santos)
125-lap Race Record: 99.769 mph (2011, Doug Coby)

 Active Category Leaders at Thompson:

1. Ted Christopher … 13
2. Doug Coby … 5
3. Bobby Santos … 4
Ron Silk … 4

1. Ted Christopher … 7
2. Bobby Santos … 5
3. Donny Lia … 4
Ryan Preece … 4

 Top Fives
1. Ted Christopher … 34
2. Jamie Tomaino … 20
3. Ron Silk … 17

Top 10s
1. Ted Christopher … 49
Jamie Tomaino … 49
3. Todd Szegedy … 27

 Laps Led
1. Ted Christopher … 1,750
2. Doug Coby … 771
3. Donny Lia … 645

1. Jamie Tomaino … 131
2. Ted Christopher … 89
3. Wade Cole … 85

 Selected Driver Highlights:
Jimmy Blewett (No. 4 Starrett Dodge)

• Is ranked ninth headed into this weekend with back-to-back podium finishes entering the Thompson.
• Has five career Whelen Modified Tour wins, including one at Martinsville and two at Stafford.
• Returned to full-time competition this season with owner Bob Garbarino’s Mystic Missile team.

 Justin Bonsignore (No. 51 M3 Technology Chevrolet)
• Sits second in the Whelen Modified Tour standings with three top fives in four starts.
• Finished third in the season opener at Thompson and has three of his eight career wins at the track.
• Has 12 top 10s in 22 career Thompson starts.

 Doug Coby (No. 2 Dunleavy’s Repair Chevrolet)
• Won all four Tour races held at Thompson in 2015 and never started worse than second in any of them.
• Has two wins this season, both at Stafford, after starting from the pole in each event.
• Owns five wins, 15 top fives and 27 top 10s in 47 career starts at Thompson.
• Has finished in the top five in eight of the last 10 races at Thompson.

 Eric Goodale (No. 58 GAF Roofing Chevrolet)
• Finished seventh in the season opener at Thompson.
• Has started all four races this season inside the top six and is 12th in the standings with one top five and two top 10 finishes.
• Has three top fives and 13 top 10s in 25 career starts at Thompson.

 Donny Lia (No. 8 Sypher Construction/Bardahl Chevrolet)
• Two-time Tour champion is third in the series standings with three top 10s in four starts.
• Has three career wins at Thompson.
• Has five top 10 finishes in last six races at Thompson.

 Rowan Pennink (No. 3 Cape Cod Copper Chevrolet)
• Has one career win at Thompson, along with eight top fives and 18 top 10s in 34 career starts at the track.
• Has completed more than 95 percent of all laps contested at Thompson since the start of 2007 season.

 Woody Pitkat (No. 85 Stuart’s Automotive Chevrolet)
• Has one top 10 finish, at Thompson, in four races this season.
• Has three poles, 11 top 10s, and three runner-up finishes in 30 career starts at Thompson.
• Was the Icebreaker 150 runner-up the last two years.
• Won the 2006 and 2015 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championships in the Sunoco Modified division.

 Ryan Preece (No. 6 TS Haulers/Riverhead Raceway Chevrolet)
• The 2013 NWMT champion has 15 career wins in 125 career starts on Tour, and this week makes his third appearance of the season.
• Has one win, four poles, 21 top 10s and an average finish of 11th in 33 career starts at Thompson.
• Won the 2012 and 2014 Thompson NWAAS track titles in the Sunoco Modifieds, where he has 18 career wins.

 Bobby Santos (No. 44 Tinio Corp./Dan Kelley/Curb Records Chevrolet)
• Has four wins, five poles, 19 top 10s and an average finish of 14th in 36 Thompson races.

 Ron Silk (No. 82 Horton Avenue Materials Chevrolet)
• Won at New London-Waterford Speedbowl to become third different winner in first three Whelen Modified Tour races of the season
• Finished fifth in the season opener at Thompson in April.
• Has four wins, 17 top fives and 26 top 10s in 41 career starts at Thompson.

 Timmy Solomito (No. 16 Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises Ford)
• Recorded his first career Whelen Modified Tour win in the season opener at Thompson, leading 50 of 150 laps en route to the victory.

 Up To Speed:
• This is the 32nd season of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour racing. The inaugural race was contested March 31, 1985 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
• The 2015 schedule features 17 points races at nine different tracks across four states.
• The first three races of the season featured three different winners — Timmy Solomito, Doug Coby and Ron Silk.
• Doug Coby is the only multi-time winner this season with two wins at Stafford.


Intensity Building in Thompson Weekly Divisions Ahead of Wednesday Program

Joseph Fernandes Photo

(THOMPSON, CT) – It will be a busy night at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Wednesday night as six divisions and a drifting exhibition will all take on the 5/8 mile oval. The Whelen Modified Tour is the headliner with Timmy Solomito attempting to duplicate his efforts from Icebreaker weekend and get back to victory lane They will be joined by the NEMA Lites that are in town with point leader Danny Cugini. That is just the tip of the iceberg with a racing card that features fiercely contested battles in the track’s weekly divisions.

In the Sunoco Modified division the question is whether or not anyone can stop the roll that Keith Rocco is on right now. Rocco has won every one of the three events contested so far. His toughest competition has come from rival Ryan Preece, who has been runner-up to Rocco the last two times out. One driver that has risen to gain the attention of many in the class is the rookie driver Stephen Kopcik who is coming off his career best finish of third. So far he is one of few this season who could keep pace with the duo of Rocco and Preece.

“To be honest, I figured out how to drive the track,” said Kopcik. “I still have a lot to learn, but I learned a lot in that race. That whole day I was running better lines where I could drive it in and see what I could do different. The car was really on point that night too. With the car being good and me being able to figure it out we can get good results.”

Rocco is currently 3rd in the NWAAS National Standings and, like him, late model driver William Wall has garnered 3 victories as well.  His strategy has been to simply stay out of trouble early and take a well-prepared car to the front when the time is right. Wall’s team has done their homework, but the rest are closing in. Larry Gelinas was able to secure a win in the first of two features during the last event, but crashed his race-winning ride the second feature when fluid from his car got under the tires.

In the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman, the typically veteran dominated class has been taken over by the youth movement. Over the past few seasons the topic of conversation has revolved around drivers like Scott Sundeen, Larry Barnett, and Corey Hutchings. Each have been competitive, but have lacked that little extra speed to catch the young guns. Josh Wood has won twice and Phil Jacques earned an emotional first career win at the last race. Ryan Waterman is knocking on the door as well and it is only a matter of time before he is holding the trophy at the end of the night.

Similar to the Sunoco Modified division and Keith Rocco, Dave Trudeau has had the Mini Stock field covered. He has 3 straight wins and has shown no signs of slowing down. Wayne Burroughs Jr. is the only other driver this season to finish on the podium in every race and, as a result Trudeau hasn’t been able to distance himself in the point battle, even with his dominance in victory lane. He only holds a 14 point, or 7-feature position advantage over Burroughs in second. One slip in a 10-race schedule and the tables can turn quickly. When it is that close it puts even more pressure on running well in the heats, which pays five points to the winner, four for second place and so on through the top-5. Qualifying begins at 5pm on Wednesday night.

The Thompson 125 in scheduled for Wednesday, June 15. Qualifying heats for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly divisions begins at 5pm, with pre-race ceremonies to follow at 6pm. Joining the racing card will be the NEMA Lite division. For more information or to purchase tickets visit

Whelen Mod Tour News & Notes: Thompson

Joseph Fernandes Photo.

Three-time Champ Returns to Track Where He’s Been Dominant

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The only blip on Doug Coby’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park radar came in the season opener in April, when the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour point leader finished fourth — ending a stretch of four consecutive wins at the track for the three-time series champion.

The Milford, Connecticut driver has eight top five finishes in his last 10 starts at Thompson, including four wins, six podium finishes, four poles and 439 laps led over that span. Now Coby heads into Wednesday night’s Thompson 125 as the defending champion of the event, a race he dominated by leading 124 of 125 laps en route to victory in 2015.

Timmy Solomito of Islip, New York, won the season-opening race at Thompson, and he leads a slew of drivers into the .625-mile, high-banked oval looking too slow Coby’s momentum toward another championship season.

Race: Thompson 125
Place: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, Thompson, Connecticut
When: Wednesday, June 15
Time: 8:45 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .625-mile oval
2015 Winner: Doug Coby
2015 Pole Sitter: Woody Pitkat
Event schedule: Wednesday, June 15 — Practice, 4-5 p.m.; Qualifying, 7 p.m.; Driver autograph session, 7:45 p.m.; Thompson 125, 8:45 p.m.
Track contact: Theresa Condict, (860) 923-2280,
Track Twitter: @ThompsonSpdwy
Event hashtag: #Thompson125
NASCAR Contact: Jason Christley, 386-547-2469,; Twitter: @Jason_Christley


Fast Facts
The Race:
  The Thompson 125 is the fifth of 17 championship points events in the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. It is the second of four events at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

The Procedure:  The maximum starting field per the official entry blank is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 31 cars will have secured starting positions based on two-lap qualifying. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 125 laps (78.125 miles) and the tire change rule is three tires, any position.

The Track:  A .625-mile high-banked oval that opened in 1940, Thompson was the first entirely asphalt track in the nation and the largest in New England for five decades. Thompson has played host to 130 Whelen Modified Tour races all-time, more than any other track, and is one of two facilities to welcome the tour in each of its previous 31 years of competition.

Race Winners: There have been 35 different race winners at Thompson, led by Mike Stefanik’s 15 victories.

Pole Winners:  There have been 44 different pole winners at Thompson, led by Tony Hirschman’s 13. Bobby Santos maintains the tour’s track qualifying record at 18.237 seconds (123.376 mph), set on April 10, 2011.

Tune-In: The race will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, June 22 at 5 p.m.

Thompson 125 Notes:
Solomito Strong Opener: The only driver to slow the Doug Coby train at Thompson, Timmy Solomito opened up the 2016 season by winning the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson. The win was the first of his career for the Islip, New York driver. Solomito followed that effort with a top-five run at Stafford two weeks later.

Bonsignore’s Strong Start: Justin Bonsignore has three career wins at Thompson, and the driver from Holtsville, New York, is off to one of the strongest starts of his Whelen Modified Tour career. Bonsignore sits second behind Coby in the standings with three top five finishes through the first four races of 2016, fifth-place runs in each of the two races at Stafford this season. He also finished third at Thompson in April’s season opener.

Blewett Inches Closer: Jimmy Blewett’s return to the series for longtime car owner Bob Garbarino has been a good one, one that’s getting better with time. He finished third at Waterford and followed that with a runner-up finish at Stafford to give the Howell, New Jersey driver podium finishes in each of his last two races. Blewett has five career wins, though this is just his second full-time season on the Tour since 2008.

Back Home: NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ryan Preece of Berlin, Connecticut returns to the Whelen Modified Tour again this week to drive the No. 6 for team owner Constance Partridge. Preece, who currently sits 18th in the Xfinity Series standings, is the 2013 Tour champion and a four-time championship runner-up. He finished second in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson in April, his first of two starts this season to date.

NASCAR Home Tracks: SK Modifieds On The Thompson 125 Bill
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will be highlighted as part of the Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125 program. The track’s premier Sunoco Modified division will compete in their 30-lap feature event, Multi-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Keith Rocco leads the division by 20 points over Ryan Preece.