(THOMPSON, CT) – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Parked celebrated a night dedicated to veterans and members of the U.S. Military on Wednesday, June 1st with the track’s Whelen Military Night featuring the 3rd Annual Late Model 20/20 Sprint. Going into the night four drivers were seeking the hat trick as they sought to win the first three races of the season at Thompson in their respective series. A few found success, while others surrendered their undefeated record as new faces found their way to victory lane.
The highlight event of the night was the Late Model 20/20 race, a three-segment race featuring two twenty-lap features, set by inverted points standing and inverted results from segment one respectively, and a final ten-lap segment. The first two races payed out championship points and track wins and the final race payed out a $1,000 prize and a guaranteed starting position in the American Canadian Tour (ACT) event later this season at the World Series.
Larry Gelinas was able to play spoiler to William Wall’s push for a third consecutive points win in the series after winning segment one, but Wall held on to finish second before the field was reset, which forced the two drivers to work their way back to the front in segment two to try and defend their strong starts in the feature. For the second segment both drivers would make their way through traffic to race for the lead, but it was Wall who came out on top for his third win in four races while Gelinas suffered a mechanical error sending him hard into the turn one wall. Gelinas walked away from the incident while Wall celebrated in victory lane before segment three.
“I got a real great start. Luckily I was able to wiggle my way through and I was able to get in front of some of these other guys. I was just really lucky off the start is all I can say. Everything fell right where I wanted it to,” said Wall. “All the late race restarts gave me a run for my money. I can’t thank this team enough.”
Wall’s quest to take the overall win and claim the $1,000 prize and guaranteed entry in the ACT event was not an easy one as he battled from green flag to checkered flag with Rick Gentes to take the victory in the final ten-lap sprint to the finish. Gentes stayed on Wall’s quarter panel the entire final segment and nearly spun out trying to finally complete the pass out of turn four on the final lap. In the end Gentes had to settle for second place while Wall found himself in victory lane celebrating another successful night at Thompson Speedway
“That was probably the hardest ten laps I’ve ever had to drive in a Late Model,” an exhausted William Wall said after the race. “(Gentes) is one of the best. He’s been around Late Models for so long so racing against him, that’s it right there. That’s the guy you have to beat. Going side by side with him and rubbing paint was fun.”
Wall said he has been pleasantly surprised by his strong start to his sophomore season in the Late Model series and added that he is looking forward to taking part in the ACT series event during the World Series in the fall.
The Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman Series started off the night and saw a first time winner roll into victory lane as Phil Jacques led every lap on route to not only his first Thompson victory, but his first ever completed event on the track after several past attempts ended in less-than-stellar outings. Jacques faced a hard fought battle from Ryan Waterman on his way to the checkered flag, but said he had a great car and a lot of confidence in his team to help him get to the end in front. “I knew if I hit my marks (Waterman) wouldn’t get to me. I’ve got more motor than him. He handles a little better than me and he was getting into the corner better. I knew if I hit my marks I’d be good,” Jacques said in Victory Lane. “It’s the first time I’ve finished a race (at Thompson). I had a heck of a time. We’ve been battling one thing after another, broken parts, rookie mistakes on my part, but we finally got the monkey off our back.”
Josh Wood, who won the first two races of the season at Thompson, was unable to make it three in a row but did manage to work his way up to third before the end of the night after starting outside the top ten, continuing a strong start to his season.
The Mini Stock feature saw the champion in victory lane once again with Dave Trudeau taking the checkered flag for the third consecutive race, becoming one of two drivers to complete the hat trick and remain undefeated after three races of the season at the Big-T. Trudeau was humbled in victory lane to be able to celebrate such a great start to his season as he works towards defending his 2015 title. “It’s great. It’s like a dream and I haven’t woken up. It’s fantasyland. I never start the season this good. I’m usually top five so this is my record,” Trudeau said. “We’re going to try (for four wins in a row) and see what happens.”
The final race of the season saw another driver accomplish the hat trick as Keith Rocco defended his unbeaten streak in 2016 with a strong performance and dominant win during the 30-lap Sunoco Modified Series event. Rocco had to fight off a strong run by series regular Ryan Preece, but in the end Rocco would not be denied another victory. “I’m finding what it’s like to have fun again I guess. We didn’t cut any corners when we put this car together,” Rocco said after his win. “We’ve got all the pieces of the puzzle in line right now and everything’s going smooth.”
Thompson Speedway returns to action on June 15th as the venue welcomes the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for the Thompson Modified 125. The night will also feature the Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, Limited Sportsman, Mini Stocks and the return of the NEMA Lites in addition to the second of four Whelen Modified Tour events at the track in 2016.
XTRA MART LIMITED SPORTSMAN FINISH: 1. Phil Jacques (Dudley, MA); 2. Ryan Waterman (Danielson, CT); 3. Joshua Wood (Palmer, MA); 4. Scott Sundeen (Sutton, MA); 5.Tommy Shea (New London, CT); 6. Frank L’Etoile, Jr. (Wethersfield, CT); 7. Ed Puleo (Branford, CT); 8. Brent Gleason (Griswold, CT); 9. Al Stone (Durham, CT); 10. Larry Barnett (Moosup, CT); 11. Dennis Blais (Norwich, CT); 12. Troy Waterman (Killingly ,CT); 13. James Bendiak Hopkinton, MA); 14. Hank Stott (Medway, MA); 15. John Carpenter North Grosvenordale, CT); 16. Ed Correia, Jr. (Raynhyam, MA); 17. Dan Coutu (Canterbury, CT); 18. Corey Hutchings (Salem, CT)
LATE MODEL 20/20 SEGMENT 1 FINISH: 1. Larry Gelinas (Buxton, ME); 2. William Wall (Shrewsbury, MA); 3. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA); 4. Tom Carey, III (Orange, MA); 5. Rick Gentes (Harrisville, RI); 6. Jared Materas (Westfield, MA); 7. Lloyd Anderson, Jr (Wauregan, CT); 8. Paul Charette (Woodstock, CT); 9. Brandon Warren (Chicopee, MA); 10. Marc Curtis (Brookfield, MA); 11. Michael Bennett (Willington, CT); 12. Jason Paquette (Canterbury, CT); 13. Corey Fanning (Mapleville, RI); 14. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 15. Ernie LaRose (Moosup, CT)
LATE MODEL 20/20 SEGMENT 2 FINISH: 1. William Wall (Shrewsbury, MA); 2. Marc Curtis (Brookfield, MA); 3. Brandon Warren (Chicopee, MA); 4. Rick Gentes (Harrisville, RI); 5. Lloyd Anderson, Jr (Wauregan, CT); 6. Jared Materas (Westfield, MA); 7. Michael Bennett (Willington, CT); 8. Jason Paquette (Canterbury, CT); 9. Tom Carey, III (Orange, MA); 10. Larry Gelinas (Buxton, ME) 11. Corey Fanning (Mapleville, RI); 12. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 13. Paul Charette (Woodstock, CT); 14. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA)
LATE MODEL 20/20 SEGMENT 3 FINISH: 1. William Wall (Shrewsbury, MA); 2. Rick Gentes (Harrisville, RI); 3. Marc Curtis (Brookfield, MA); 4. Lloyd Anderson, Jr (Wauregan, CT); 5. Michael Bennett (Willington, CT); 6. Brandon Warren (Chicopee, MA); 7. Jared Materas (Westfield, MA); 8. Tom Carey, III (Orange, MA); 9. Jason Paquette (Canterbury, CT); 10. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA)
MINI STOCK FINISH: 1. Dave Trudeau (Mansfield, CT); 2. Eric Bourgeois (East Haaddam, CT); 3. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 4. Brad Caddick (Wyoming, RI); 5. Scott Michalski South Killing,y CT); 6. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT); 7. Doug Curry Groton, CT); 8. William Schoeler Warwick, RI); 9. Nick Matera Warwick, RI); 10. Roger Ducharme (Foster, RI); 11. Ed Field (Deep River, CT); 12. Jordan Hadley Quaker, Hill, CT); 13. Christopher Viens (Putnam, CT); 14. Keith Ballou Pascoag, RI); 15. Nick Anderson (Oxford, MA)
SUNOCO MODIFIEDS FINISH: 1. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 2. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 3. Steven Kopcik (Newtown, CT); 4. Ronnie Williams (Tolland, CT); 5. Adam Norton (Palmer, MA); 6. Woody Pitkat (Stafford, CT); 7. Jason Sundeen (Douglas, MA); 8. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 9. Kyle Trainor (Marlboro, MA); 10. Andrew Charron (East Greenwich, RI); 11. Paul LaPlante (North Attleboro, MA); 12. Jeff Gallup (Agawam, MA); 13. Kyle Kafro (North Windham, CT); 14. Joey Parker (Weymouth, MA); 15. Mike Benevides (Westerly, FI); 16. Rowan Pennink (New Egypt, New Jersey)