Category Archives: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

NICK JOHNSON CLINCHES FIRST THOMPSON LATE MODEL TITLE

EDGES TOM CAREY III FOR WHELEN ALL AMERICAN SERIES CROWN

 BY KYLE SOUZA, FOR THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK

 THOMPSON, Conn. – When you look at the final NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model point standings at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, you see four drivers who captured a checkered flag. In fact, those four drivers were the only competitors to celebrate in Victory Lane this season in a division that saw 29 drivers take the green flag at least once.

But, at the top of those standings, the eventual champion of the 2018 season had a zero in the win column. Nick Johnson, a native of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, is celebrating his first Thompson championship in the No. 6, even though he didn’t visit Victory Lane. Johnson finished in the top five in all seven races, including a fifth-place in the season-finale, which helped him seal the crown.

Johnson was the only driver to score top five finishes in every event, and also the only driver to finish inside the top-10 in all seven races. He defeated Tom Carey III by just a mere three points in the closest battle across all four of the Whelen All American Series divisions at Thompson.

“Not at all,” Johnson said when asked if he thought he could win the title at the beginning of the season. “My immediate thought was I just wanted to come and win. We didn’t even think we were going to run a full-time schedule but one thing leads to another, and here we are.”

Entering the finale, Johnson knew he wasn’t going to win the title by just comfortably riding around the .625-mile oval. He started deep in the back, and watched Tom Carey III, his closest challenger, pull away from him. Carey got all the way to the front, and finished third, just inches behind Buddy Charette for that spot.

Even though he finished in front of Johnson on the track, it wasn’t enough to get the title.

“Honestly, going into the season, the goal was really to win races. We didn’t achieve that goal, but it ended up leading to the championship,” Johnson said. “Once we ended up leading the championship standings, it was going to be hard to back away from it. We decided to just run with it and see what we could do.”

In the end, after seven months, Johnson’s decision turned out to be the right one. While he defeated Carey but just three, Mark Jenison, who won the final race of the season, ended just 13 points out after doing everything he could.

William Wall was fourth, 15 back, while Ryan Morgan, who won a season-high three races, rounded out the top five.

“Those few laps, I was just watching the yellow car (Carey) and making sure I stayed with it,” Johnson said. “There were a few times where I had no where to go, and I was fast enough to pass, but it’s not really a track you can run three-wide. I just had to have patience, wait, and when the opportunity presented itself, I took it. I was pretty surprised to be honest.”

Johnson will be officially crowned champion at the 2018 Banquet & Awards Celebration, with a date to be announced at a later date.

KEITH ROCCO ADDS ANOTHER SUNOCO MODIFIED TITLE TO HIS RESUME

DEFEATS TODD OWEN IN FINAL THOMPSON STANDINGS

 BY KYLE SOUZA, FOR THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK

 THOMPSON, Conn. – For the seventh time in his Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park career, Keith Rocco is celebrating a championship in the Sunoco Modified division.

The Berlin, Connecticut, driver captured the 2018 championship by 18 points over Todd Owen on the strength of four feature wins in seven championship events.

Rocco finished inside the top five in all but one race, the finale, where he was caught up in a wreck that actually happened under caution in the midst of the Sunoco World Series 30-lap feature. Luckily for the veteran, he didn’t need the points to hold the trophy again.

“We got run over when the yellow was out from behind, but thankfully we just had to start the race to lock this up,” Rocco said. “It would have been pretty stressful if that wasn’t the case.”

The title pushes him into second all-time in NASCAR Whelen All American Series track championships, with a total of 16. Rocco has seven at Thompson, three at Stafford Motor Speedway and six at New London-Waterford Speedbowl – all tracks in the “Nutmeg State.”

He only trails Joe Kosiski, who has 17 titles, for the most all-time. The championship marks his third straight in Thompson’s Sunoco Modified division. He has been driving for Mark Payne behind the wheel of the No. 57 in the Division I class.

“We just surrounded ourselves with great people,” Rocco said. “The past 10 years we have collected a lot of championships. To have that many over the years, I just can’t thank all my guys enough and everyone that has helped me enough.”

Over years of competing on the .625-mile oval, Rocco has always seemed to have the speed he needed to win races, and win a lot of them.

“We’ve had really good success here,” he said. “Ever since the first time I drove a modified here I feel in love with the place, the high-banks, the speed and the racing.”

By winning the season-finale, Todd Owen finished second in the championship standings, 18 points from the top. Kyle James was third, 37 back, while Troy Talman was fourth and Marcello Rufrano, a Rookie of the Year contender, rounded out the top five.

The battle at the top of the Sunoco Modified standings wasn’t much of a race through the summer, with Rocco pulling away. He indicated after the race he would be back next season to compete again.

“It’s so fun,” Rocco said. “We didn’t struggle today, but we didn’t have the speed we wanted. It just makes us word harder and come back stronger next year.”

Rocco will be officially crowned champion, along with the other four NASCAR Whelen All American Series title holders, at the 2018 Awards Banquet and Celebration, with a date to be announced soon.

Justin Bonsignore Completes Thompson Sweep & Celebrates Championship

Caps 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Title Run With Eighth Victory

THOMPSON, Conn. — Justin Bonsignore couldn’t have dreamt of a better way to end his championship season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Bonsignore captured his eighth win of the season in the Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, ending his title run by celebrating both a race win and a dominating championship.

The win allowed the Holtsville, New York, driver to become the fourth driver in the modern era of the Whelen Modified Tour to sweep all of the events at Thompson in the same season. Steve Park (1996), Mike Stefanik (1998) and Doug Coby (2015) are the other three to accomplish the feat.

“It’s been unreal, ever since we unloaded at Myrtle Beach, we have had a great race car at every single race track,” Bonsignore said. “To come here and to sweep the season, there are only a few select people who have done that, and it means a lot to me. It’s important.”

RACING-REFERENCE: Sunoco World Series 150 Results

Bonsignore started third, but ran just outside the top five for the first half of the race. During a caution on lap 81, he rolled the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Chevrolet to pit road and changed tires. Quick work by his team allowed him to exit the leader of the race, and he never relinquished the top spot.

“We didn’t have the best car, but the pit crew did a great job and got us out there in the end. The car was really good on the second set of tires,” Bonsignore said. “It was the same thing we did all year at Thompson. We were going to race hard because we didn’t have anything to lose today.”

RACING-REFERENCE: Justin Bonsignore’s 2018 Season

He defeated Chase Dowling by 97 points in the final championship standings, with an average finish of 3.4 and top-10 finishes in all but one event.

Jon McKennedy used a late stop for tires, and passed Ron Silk in the final turn, capping his season with a second. Silk was third, followed by Ryan Preece, who led a race-high 83 laps. Burt Myers rounded out the top five.

Doug Coby was sixth, followed by Matt Swanson, Bobby Santos III, Chris Pasteryak and Eric Goodale.

The Sunoco World Series 150 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, October 18, 7 p.m.

Bonsignore and his Kenneth Massa Motorsports team will be honored with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour top finishers arnd special award winners at the NASCAR Awards Charlotte on Friday, Dec. 7.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Sunoco World Series 150 Results

Sunday

At Thompson International Speedway

Thompson, Conn.

Lap length: 0.625 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

  1. (3) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150 laps, 85.638 mph.
  2. (5) Jon McKennedy, Chelmsford, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
  3. (9) Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT, Chevrolet, 150.
  4. (2) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  5. (7) Burt Myers, Walnut Cove, N.C., Chevrolet, 150.
  6. (4) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  7. (15) Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
  8. (10) Bobby Santos, III, Franklin, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
  9. (19) Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  10. (18) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  11. (17) Anthony Nocella, Woburn, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
  12. (8) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  13. (13) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  14. (1) Ronnie Williams, Ellington, Conn., Chevrolet, 149.
  15. (14) Kyle Bonsignore, Bay Shore, N.Y., Chevrolet, 149.
  16. (23) Blake Barney, Lakewood, N.J., Chevrolet, 149.
  17. (25) Sam Rameau, Westminster, Mass., Chevrolet, 149.
  18. (12) Rob Summers, Manchester, CT, Chevrolet, 149.
  19. (22) Tommy Catalano, Ontario, N.Y., Chevrolet, 148.
  20. (21) Shawn Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Chevrolet, 148.
  21. (26) Gary Putnam, Vernon, Conn., Chevrolet, 148.
  22. (24) Ken Heagy, Calverton, N.Y., Ford, 148.
  23. (16) Calvin Carroll, Newton, N.J., Chevrolet, 147.
  24. (29) Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn., Chevrolet, 147.
  25. (27) Walter Sutcliffe Jr., East Haven, Conn., Chevrolet, 143.
  26. (11) Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 132, accident.
  27. (20) Andrew Krause, Holmdel, N.J., Toyota, 131, ignition.
  28. (31) Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Ford, 93, suspension.
  29. (33) Cory Osland, East Hampton, N.Y., Chevrolet, 88, mechanical.
  30. (6) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 82, ignition.
  31. (32) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H., Chevrolet, 72, handling.
  32. (30) Dave Salzarulo, Monson, Mass., Chevrolet, 33, engine.
  33. (28) Gary McDonald, Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Chevrolet, 0, accident.

 

Race Statistics

Time of Race: 1 hour 5 minutes 41 seconds

Margin of Victory: 0.448 seconds

Fastest Qualifier: R.Williams (120.553 mph, 18.664 seconds)

Caution Flags: 6 for 28 laps.

Lead Changes: 1 among 2 drivers.

Lap Leaders: R. Preece 1-83; J. Bonsignore 84-150.

Standings: 1. J. Bonsignore, 693; 2. C. Dowling, 596; 3. D. Coby, 575; 4. T. Solomito, 545; 5. C. Lutz, 541; 6. R. Summers, 515; 7. E. Goodale, 495; 8. D. Sapienza, 477; 9. R. Williams, 461; 10. C. Pasteryak, 431.