Category Archives: Thompson Speedway

Coby makes history, wraps up third consecutive Whelen Modified title in Thompson

(THOMPSON, CT) – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park saved the best for last in 2016, crowning several champions on the final day of the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing, presented by Xtra Mart including a champion in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Defending series champion Doug Coby looked to earn his third consecutive title and fourth in the last five seasons after extending his points lead on Justin Bonsignore and Timmy Solomito with a victory at Stafford Motor Speedway on October 9th. Coby came into the race with a 20-point advantage over Bonsignore and a 48-point lead over Solomito and only needed to finish 16th or better to lock up the championship.
Coby started off the race on the right foot, qualifying for the outside pole next to Solomito who led the first portion of the event with Coby hot on his trail. Things changed around lap-73 however when a caution brought the cars to pit road where Justin Bonsignore made up ground and Coby lost ground setting up a battle between Solomito and Bonsignore for the second half of the event. While Coby kept his eye on the prize for a title, his closest rivals for the championship battled it out for one last win of the season. Bonsignore finally took the lead with twenty laps remaining and would hold on to win his fourth race of 2016 while Coby worked his way to a sixth place finish and a third consecutive title, a series record in the modern era which dates back to 1985.
“Every (championship) is different and every one is special for a different reason. There’s many ways to win them and many ways to lose them. We just found a lot of ways to win them. It goes back to preparation and having a car that’s just good everywhere we go. We obviously had a little better than a sixth place car today but I had to play it cool and just keep my eye out for who was around me and what the situation was if the caution came out,” Coby told reporters after securing the title. “I didn’t even want to be sixth. I would have rather been on the bottom if a restart had come later so I was trying to get fifth, but I was playing it cool.”
When asked how it feels to be considered among the greatest in his sport and the only driver to ever win three consecutive titles since 1985, Coby said he takes none of his titles for granted and knows how hard it is to win one title, let alone three.
0u0a0594-2“It’s neat, but it doesn’t matter what era you’re in. It’s difficult to win a championship and it’s still seventeen races and a war you have to win. We won a lot of the battles. Tonight Justin Bonsignore won the battle and did what they had to do,” Coby said. “We just put ourselves in the position all year with a really clean season. I don’t think there’s any question that during the season we just chipped away every week and got our wins.
As for Bonsignore, he called his race victory bittersweet, enjoying the moment of capping off his season with a strong win but lamenting on his failed attempt to dethrone the champion in the closing months of the 2016 campaign.
“It’s probably the worst win we’ve ever had at Thompson under the circumstances, but there’s a lot worse things I could be doing with my life and I get to race cars with a bunch of guys I call my friends,” Bonsignore said during his visit to victory lane. “We kept them honest for sure this year, but it is a little depressing I’m not going to lie.”
Starting off the day’s racing action was the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman series, which featured the tightest points race of the weekend as far as track championships where concerned at Thompson. Ryan Waterman entered the final event of the season with a slim 10-point lead over Scott Sundeen. The two drivers have been at the top of the class all year with Waterman recovering from a slow start in the Icebreaker to notch four second-place finishes and seven top-five finishes prior to the season finale, using pure consistency to maintain his points lead on Sundeen who also had seven top-five finishes including four third-place finishes and a single win in the August feature.
The race started with near catastrophe for both championship contenders as Corey Fanning spun in traffic, nearly collecting Waterman and causing damage to Sundeen’s car forcing Sundeen to make repairs under caution. Sundeen was able to continue, but from the back of the field while Waterman was able to maintain a position in the top ten for much of the 20-lap event. While it was not the strong showing fans have become accustomed to by Waterman, the young driver managed a sixth-place finish, one spot better than Sundeen, to score his first Thompson track championship and he did it without winning a single race in the Limited Sportsman series.
“It feels like it’s not happening,” Waterman said in victory lane. “I would have never guessed I would be able to do this. I knew (Sundeen) was in trouble, but I was also in trouble because in the same wreck Scott Sundeen was in I bent something on the front end and the car was really slow.”
While Waterman celebrated a championship, another driver celebrated success in the Limited Sportsman season finale as Phil Jacques came home with the race win after a hard fought battle with Brent Gleaimg_0758-2son in the closing laps. An emotional Jacques was brought to tears in victory lane as he celebrated with his family by his side.
“I don’t even know what to say. Today is twenty years to the day from the first time I ever set foot here (at Thompson),” Jacques said. “We’ve lost a lot of good friends this year and it’s been a little rough. I couldn’t do it without all these guys who helped me. We struggled. We were quick in practice on Friday and yesterday the car was just junk. If you had asked me yesterday if I thought I’d be here today I would have told you ‘not a chance’.”
The Sunoco Modifieds also crowned a Thompson champion, but for many there was never a question who would hoist the trophy at the end of the day. Keith Rocco has enjoyed a historic season, dominating the series with no finish worse than 4th coming into the final event, four wins and a 23-point advantage over NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Ryan Preece. A finish of tenth or better would guarantee Rocco a title, but it would not come easy.
0u0a0262-2Despite starting in the back after skipping practice and qualifying days to run the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in Kansas, Ryan Preece made quick work of the field and cracked the top five in the opening laps of the 30-lap feature. Preece worked his way to second place in the first half of the event, engaging in an intense battle with Rowan Pennink while Rocco worked his way into a top five position as well. Preece made one final effort at relinquishing the lead in the closing laps, finally making the pass on Pennink on the final lap after seemingly running Pennink into the top groove to secure a win. However it was not enough to best Keith Rocco who took the title in the Sunoco Modified division at Thompson with yet another top-five finish, ironically his worst finish of the 2016 campaign.
“We definitely hit something in August with the car. Even today we weren’t at our best, but we were good enough,” Ryan Preece said after the victory. “I was just kind of riding there behind Rowan (Pennink) between laps ten and twenty watching his car, seeing when it was going to start freeing up. Right when it did I think I beat on it a little too early and I freed myself up. I knew I wasn’t going to get him on the outside so I started working the bottom – I’m sure Rowan has (ran me up the track) before. Racing is racing if you look at it like that.”
The champion, Keith Rocco, reflected on an impressive 2016 Sunoco Modified campaign where only himself and Preece reached victory lane noting that he took a conservative approach in the final race of season to try and capture yet another Thompson track title.
“It was tough. There’s time when you’ve really got to think about the big picture. The way the racing has been up here it’s been getting pretty rough for the leader so we didn’t really want to put ourselves in a predicament,” Rocco said. “You race all year for that one trophy. You race every night for a trophy, but it’s pretty special to get this one because it’s not just one night. It’s a whole season.”
0u0a0379-2The International SuperModified Association also crowned a champion at Thompson at the Sunoco World Series. Providing some of the fastest racing of the weekend, the ISMA series drivers took to the track for a 50-lap feature where Mike Lichty hoped to put the finishing touches on a championship run. Looking to chase down the title himself, defending champion Dave Shullick, Jr. put on an impressive performance, staring from the front and doing everything he could to wrestle the points lead away from Lichty.
Shullick had a little help after Lichty experienced mechanical issues in the middle of the race, forcing him to retire and surrender the title to Shullick who not only repeated as series champion, but as winner of the Sunoco World Series ISMA race at Thompson Speedway with a dominant flag-to-flag run.
“This car has been amazing all weekend,” Shullick said after his win. “We just tried to be calm with it and not make a mistake. We figured it would be good at the end and it was – Hats off to Mike (Lichty) and the tough battle they gave us all year.”
0u0a0320-2Finally in the NEMA Lites, PJ Stergios came home with a victory in that series’ penultimate race of the season. Stergios, who grew up racing quarter midgets at Thompson’s Little-T, outraced his points rival Jim Chambers to the line. Chambers edged closer to a championship with a runner-up finish while Stergios put some distance between himself and Danny Cugini, who was unable to start the event due to engine issues, for the second spot in the standings with one more race on the schedule.
NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED SERIES SUNOCO WORLD SERIES 150 FINISH TOP-10: 1. Justin Bonsignore (Holtsville, NY); 2. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 3. Jimmy Blewett (Howell, NJ); 4. Donny Lia (Jericho, NY); 5. Timmy Solomito (Islip, NY); 6. Doug Coby (Milford, CT); 7. Woody Pitkat (Stafford, CT); 8. Eric Goodale (Riverhead, NY); 9. Matt Swanson (Acton, MA); 10. Dave Sapienza (Riverhead, NY)
XTRAMART LIMITED SPORTSMAN SERIES FINISH TOP-10: 1. Phil Jacques (Dudley, MA); 2. Brent Gleason (Griswold, CT); 3. Corey Hutchins (Salem, CT); 4. Chris Meyer (Norwich, CT); 5. Dwayne Dorr (Ledyard, CT) ; 6. Ryan Waterman (Daneislon, CT); 7. Scott Sundeen (Sutton, MA); 8. Jack Aquilina (Oakdale, CT); 9. Rob Janovic, Jr. (Waterford, CT); 10. Al Stone (Durham, CT)
SUNOCO MODIFIED SERIES FINISH TOP-10: 1. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 2. Rowan Pennink (New Egypt, NJ); 3. Ronnie Williams (Tolland, CT); 4. Woody Pitkat (Stafford, CT); 5. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 6. Matt Gallo (Berlin, CT); 7. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 8. Danny Cates (Chaplin, CT) ; 9. Nick Salva (Prospect, CT) ; 10. Mike Benevides (Westerly, RI)
NEMA LITES FINISH TOP-10: 1. PJ Sturgios (Newmarket, NH); 2. Jim Chambers (Atkinson, NH); 3. Joey Sipriano (Waterbury, CT); 4 Todd Bertrand (Danielson, CT); 5. Anthony Payne (Fair Lawn, NJ); 6. Ben Mikitarian (Northborough. MA); 7. Chad Labastie (Uxbridge, MA); 8. Meg Cugini (Marshfield, MA); 9. Nikki Carol (Andover, NJ); 10. Kevin Iannarrelli (Shirley, MA)
ISMA FINISH TOP-10: 1. Dave Shullick, Jr. (North Ridgeville, OH); 2. Mike Ordway, Jr. (Windham, ME); 3. Mark Sammut (London, ON); 4. Ben Sietz (Bourne, MA); 5. Mike McVetta (Wellington, OH); 6. Timmy Jedrejzek (Independence, OH); 7. Chris Perley (Rowley, MA); 8. Mike Netishen (Auburn, NH); 9. Allison Cumens (Glenmoore, PA); 10. Joey Payne (Madera, CA)

Coby Marches To Fourth Championship

Third Straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Crown; Bonsignore Wins At Thompson

 THOMPSON, Conn. (Oct. 16, 2016) – It took 10 seasons, bouncing between full and part-time rides, for Doug Coby to get his second career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory.

Since then, though, the Milford, Connecticut, driver has compiled a resume that puts him among the elite Modified drivers of all-time.

Coby drove his No. 2 Dunleavy Repair/A&J Romano Construction Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish in Sunday’s Sunoco World Series 150 presented by XtraMart at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park to cap off his fourth career championship. He finished 12 points ahead of race winner Justin Bonsignore to claim the trophy.

In the process, Coby joined NASCAR Hall of Famers Jerry Cook and Richie Evans, as well as NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Mike Stefanik and Tony Hirschman Jr., as the only drivers in NASCAR Modified 69-year history to win four or more championships.

He also became the first driver in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour era, which began in 1985, to win three straight titles. All three have come since he teamed up with car owner Mike Smeriglio III. Over the last six seasons, Coby has collected 21 wins. In the two years he didn’t win the championship, he was fifth in 2011 and second in 2013.

Coby won five times this season, to seventh all-time on the tour’s win list. He entered the finale with a 20-point cushion on Bonsignore and needed to only finish 17th or better to wrap up the title.

Bonsignore qualified seventh and drove his No. 3 Phoenix Communications Inc. Chevrolet to the lead past Coors Light Pole Award winner Timmy Solomito with 21 laps remaining. But Coby, who started second had drifted as far back as 14th, picked off enough positions in the closing laps to secure the crown.

Sunday was Bonsignore’s fourth win of the season.

Former tour champion and current NASCAR XFINITY Series regular Ryan Preece finished second at Thompson, followed by Jimmy Blewett, Donny Lia and Solomito.

After Coby, Woody Pitkat, Eric Goodale, Matt Swanson and Dave Sapienze rounded out the top 10. Swanson began the weekend having already clinched Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.

Solomito finished third in the championship standings, while Lia was fourth, one point ahead of Max Zachem.

The Sunoco World Series 150 presented by XtraMart will air on NBCSN on Friday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.

Coby, Bonsignore, Swanson and other top performers from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be honored on Saturday, Dec. 10 in Charlotte for the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards celebration. The event will be held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame at the Charlotte Convention Center for the seventh consecutive year.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Sunoco World Series “150” pres by XTRAMART Results


At Thompson International Speedway

Thompson, Conn.

Lap length: 0.625 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

  1. (7) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY, Chevrolet, 150 laps, 83.046 mph.
  2. (11) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  3. (10) Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J., Dodge, 150.
  4. (12) Donny Lia, Jericho, NY, Chevrolet, 150.
  5. (1) Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Ford, 150.
  6. (2) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  7. (3) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  8. (5) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  9. (17) Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
  10. (15) Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  11. (21) Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 150.
  12. (20) Jeff Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  13. (19) Max Zachem, Preston, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  14. (8) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Chevrolet, 149.
  15. (9) Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass., Chevrolet, 148.
  16. (26) Gary McDonald, Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Chevrolet, 148.
  17. (22) Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn., Chevrolet, 146.
  18. (13) Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT, Chevrolet, 143.
  19. (25) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H., Chevrolet, 124, handling.
  20. (24) Walter Sutcliffe Jr., East Haven, Conn., Chevrolet, 119, handling.
  21. (4) Rob Summers, Manchester, CT, Chevrolet, 108, steering.
  22. (14) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 101, engine.
  23. (18) Kyle Ellwood, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 81, carburetor.
  24. (27) Gary Byington, Unionville, Conn., Chevrolet, 75, handling.
  25. (16) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y., Chevrolet, 45, accident.
  26. (23) Calvin Carroll, Newton, N.J., Chevrolet, 39, accident.
  27. (6) Shawn Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Chevrolet, 25, engine.

Race Statistics

Time of Race: 1 hour 7 minutes 44 seconds

Margin of Victory: 1.241 seconds

Fastest Qualifier: T.Solomito (120.689 mph, 18.643 seconds)

Caution Flags: 6 for 31 laps.

Lead Changes: 5 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders: T. Solomito 1-50; D. Coby 51; T. Solomito 52-73; W. Cole 74-76; T. Solomito

77-129; J. Bonsignore 130-150.

Standings: 1. D. Coby, 684; 2. J. Bonsignore, 672; 3. T. Solomito, 638; 4. D. Lia, 577;

  1. M. Zachem, 576; 6. J. Blewett, 574; 7. E. Goodale, 570; 8. R. Silk, 565; 9. M.

Swanson, 543; 10. C. Dowling, 543.

Wall secures title as Gentes wins Late Model race

(THOMPSON, CT) – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park kicked off its annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing, presented by Xtra Mart, on Friday, October 14th, setting the stage for an action packed weekend that will see several track and series champions crowned as well as the champion of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series on Sunday afternoon.
The Speedway crowned its first of four track champions set to be named over the course of World Series weekend on Friday with the first night of racing capped off by a 25-lap Late Model feature.  William Wall looked to complete his impressive 2016 campaign with a title after starting off the year strong with his first series win in the Thompson season opening Icebreaker weekend. Wall tallied four wins overall this year leading into the World Series, but still held a scant 14-point lead on series regular Rick Gentes who only had one win coming into the series finale. Gentes drove a strong and consistent season however, never finishing outside the top-6 and scoring eight top-5 finishes.
Wall started off strong, winning his heat race and securing more points for some added cushion entering the 25-lap feature event, but Gentes would not make it easy for the young star as the two stayed within reach of each other throughout the bulk of the race. Gentes and Wall held steady in positions two and three respectively for over half of the event, surviving several early cautions in the process, and while their battle raged for a title it was Tom Carey, III who ran away with the lead. Carey hung on to finish first, however his car would be disqualified in post race inspection for illegal fuel leaving Gentes as the winner of the race. However, it was not enough to give the series veteran a title. William Wall finished fourth in the event, more than good enough to secure his first title in the Late Models at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
“I kept (Gentes) in my front windshield the whole time being conservative, but at the same time aggressive it was a really hard thing to do tonight. This whole Wall Motorsports team did such a good job all year. I can’t thank them enough,” Wall said following his championship win. “We never said we were fast enough. We always went that extra mile to get a little bit more and a little bit more. You have to keep up with these guys (in the Late Models). They’re the best.”
Much of the night leading up to the final Late Model race of the season featured qualifying and practice for the remaining events of the Sunoco World Series weekend as well as a look into the past as several antique racing clubs took center stage, paying tribute to the history of local racing and acknowledging the long history Thompson Speedway has with motorsports in New England.
Starting off the night’s main events were the New England Antique Racers (NEAR), featuring a variety of historic cars including everything from tribute vehicles to classic racers and paint schemes, offering a peak into the past in a ten-lap showcase described as an “exhibition of the history of modified racing”. Mike Taschereau won the overall event with his grandfather’s antique #27JR car, a vehicle dating back to the 1970s. Tom Maciag took home the trophy for the Sportsman vehicles featured in the race with a Moose Hewitt themed car.
The Vintage Outlaw series continued the showcase of classic racecars as drivers of that club took to the track to show off their own brand of hard driven competition. Racers brought refurbished historic racing vehicles in hopes of taking home the hardware and after fifteen laps it was Jim Lowery who came home the winner. “It’s always fantastic to come to Thompson and race,” Lowery said in victory lane. “I appreciate Thompson for inviting the vintage customers and outlaws I compete with.”
Capping off the triple-header of antique clubs taking to the track were the Senior Tour Auto Racers (STAR) who held a fifteen-lap feature dominated by Darryl Dutch, with Michael Keddy taking home a trophy for top finishing Sportsman car in the event.
With day one of the Sunoco World Series in the books, day two will offer even more racing action with another track champion set to be crowned. In addition to naming the track champion of the Mini Stocks at Thompson, the NEMA drivers, Pro 4 Modifieds, Northeast Mini Stock Tour, Lite Modifieds, American Canadian Tour and Valenti Modified will also showcase the best racing talent New England has to offer.
LATE MODEL FEATURE FINISH: 1. Rick Gentes (Harrisville, RI); 2. Ray Christian, Jr. (Uncasville, CT); 3. William Wall (Shrewsbury, MA); 4. Nick Johnson (Rehoboth, MA); 5. Larry Gelinas (Buxton, ME); 6. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 7. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA); 8. Scott Serydynski (West Greenwich, RI); 9. John Lowinski-Loh (Backstone, MA); 10. Jeff Smith (Old Lyme, CT); 11. Christopher Garside (Waterford, CT); 12. Randy Tucker (Millis, MA); 13. Crystal Serydynski (West Greenwich, RI); 14. Jared Materas (Westfield, MA); 15. Ryan Morgan (Mystic, CT); 16. Brandon Warren (Chicopee, MA); 17. Corey Fanning (Mapleville, RI); 18. Louis Romiza (East Falmouth, MA); 19. Stuart Wheeldan; 20. Jeremy Lillie; 21. Michael Bennett (Willington, CT); 22. Nick Uhrig; DQ: Tom Carey, III
NEW ENGLAND ANTIQUE RACERS FINISH: 1. Mike Taschereau; 2. Paul Jacques; 3. Steve Brown; 4. Tom Maciag; 5. Harry Dutton; 6. Jack Proulx
VINTAGE OUTLAWS FINISH: 1. Jim Lowery (Tilton, NH); 2. Glenn Boss (Danielson, CT); 3. Gary Byington (Framington, CT); 4. Ben LeVangie (Plymouth, MA); 5. Ron St. Germaine (Rochdale, MA); 6. Doug Sogolow (Canterbury, CT); 7. Bill Boudreau (Coventry, RI); 8. Jim Kelly (East Marichs, Long Island, NY)
SENIOR TOUR AUTO RACERS FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Darryl Dutch; 2. Scott Poirier; 3. Jocelyn Laliberte; 4. Ed Milligan; 5. Gregg Massini; 6. Tom Beauregard; 7. Charles Wilcox; 8. James Allen; 9. Unknown (#66); 10. Michael Keddy