Category Archives: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

Todd Owen rides consistency to overall win in 20/20 Sprint Event at Thompson

     Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park saluted the fans during the track’s penultimate oval season event on Sunday, September 10, the annual For the Fans Night and 20/20 Sprint Sunoco Modified event. The night featured giveaways and fan appreciation activities as the spotlight on the track was put squarely on the local drivers and divisions of Thompson with one final chance to gain points and a win before the season finale in October.
     The evenings main event was actually a series of three races, all featuring the drivers of the Sunoco Modified division looking for points, wins, and a big payday. The Sunoco 20/20 Sprint features two points paying races and a final 10-lap shootout with the ultimate goal of every driver to finish as high as possible, thus collecting the least amount of points in the process, with the lowest score after the three events earning one driver a payout and the glory of being the overall 20/20 Sprint winner. Three different victors were crowned over the course of the evening, starting with two of the division’s biggest stars each taking home a trophy for winning one of the 20-lap features.
     The first feature event was an important one for a local racing legend, Ted Christopher, who started in the top three and worked his way through traffic and restarts to claim his 99th career victory at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Christopher said he was proud of the achievement, but admitted he forgot how competitive Thompson Speedway can be. “It’s like the WWF out there,” Christopher said in victory lane. “It was fun. It’s been a while since we’ve had a Sunoco win here. We had a really good car today. It’s only the second time I’ve driven it.”
     Christopher looked to make the evening a big one for his career as he came within two positions of taking win number 100 in the second 20-lap segment of the 20/20 Sprint, but it was not meant to be. Despite working his way through traffic following the inversion of the starting order based on the first feature’s finish, Christopher made contact with the backstretch wal on a restart which eventually led to hard contact between Christopher and Matt Gallo taking both drivers out of the remainder of the event. Hoping to defend his 2016 title, Keith Rocco pounced during the second segment and took his own victory. “It’s tough. It’s pretty much impossible to drive away unless you’ve got a car that’s about a half second faster,” Rocco said. “On old tires for these races it’s pretty exciting for the fans.”
     While Christopher and Rocco drove home with trophy’s they were not consistent enough to take the overall 20/20 Sprint win however. That right went to Todd Owen, who sits second in the points behind Keith Rocco and turned a third place finish in segment two and a pair of second place finishes in the first and final segments into a big payday. Owen finished second to Troy Talman in the final ten-lap sprint, securing the 20/20 Sprint title to close out the evening. “It’s the big picture. You had to be there all three races to be in the hunt. My hat’s of to all my guys. We races FridaySaturday, and Sunday and we finished second last night with this car and had to change it over. This is really all for them. I’m just fortunate enough to drive this thing,” Owen said.
     Owen will have a chance at a title when the World Series come to Thompson in October. He sits second behind Rocco with Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat, and John Studley all also within range of stealing the title from the reigning champion in October.
     The Late Models kicked off the evening with Ray Parent looking to build on his points lead and defending champion William Wall working to make up ground, but it was a new name that found his way into victory lane at the conclusion of the 25-lap feature. In his first race back after a work injury sidelined his racing venture Ryan Morgan took the checkered flag for his first win of the season and first win at Thompson.
     After crossing the finish line Morgan said it was an emotional experience to return to the track and win right off the bat. “it’s been really hard. I go to the race track week in and week out. I live at the race track so it’s great to be back and driving again and it’s even better to get a win in my first race back. I’ve never won here at Thompson, but I’ve come close. With the help of my team and my family, that’s how I got here. It’s a team effort,” said Morgan.
     With one race left in the upcoming World Series of Racing in October, championship contenders Ray Parent and William Wall had a pair of impressive runs, but they weren’t able to separate from each other in the points finishing fourth and sixth respectively in the race. Parent, who drove a special Make-A-Wish themed car for the For The Fans event, holds the points leads over Wall going into the season finale next month.
     The Limited Sportsman 20-lap feature saw the best of the division duke it out for a victory with the championship still up for grabs. Points leader Shawn Monahan saw early success, but it was his closest competition in the points Scott Sundeen who drove his way to the front enduring three way battles and an early race caution to take home the trophy.
     The victory was Sundeen’s first of the year in the division and was an exciting one for the veteran wheelman who spoke about the tough battle to the front in victory lane. “We had a really good car. They were being rough up front and I just stuck my nose in and got them with a couple to go,” Sundeen said.
      Sundeen closed the gap on Monahan with his victory, but Monahan still holds the top spot going into the World Series after a strong fourth place run. Brent Gleason, who sits third in points, also enjoyed a great finish with a second place result followed by Steve Kenneway in third, Monahan, and Ryan Waterman in fifth.
In the Mini Stocks a former champion returned to his winning ways, and just in time too as the season draws to a close. It has not been an easy year for 2015 division champion Dave Trudeau, but he recovered well and finally found his way back to victory lane for the first time since the 2017 Icebreaker weekend in April. Trudeau is out of contention for a title, sitting over a hundred points back from first in eleventh place, but the veteran competitor did not let that damage his winning spirit as he celebrated a hard fought win in victory lane after holding off Jacob Perry and Nathan Taylor in a three-wide battle to the finish in the closing laps of the 15-lap feature.
     “We definitely didn’t have the fastest car here. The thing was tight. We were wicked loose off the corners. We got lucky and started up front with a pole,” Trudeau said. Jacob Perry and reigning champion and points leader going into October Wayne Burroughs finished second and third respectively followed by Eric Bourgeois, who sits a close second in points, in fourth. Steve Michalski rounded out the top five.
     Finally in the Lite Modifieds Glenn Griswold made his way to victory lane. The driver known as “War Horse” sealed the deal despite a last lap dive bomb move by Chris Viens who spun coming to the checkered flag in turn four.
     Thompson has one final weekend in store for race fans as the biggest event of the season, the World Series of Racing, takes place from October 13 through the 15 with three nights of championship races to decide track champions and the new titleholder for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series Tour.
SUNOCO MODIFIED 20/20 SPRINT SEGMENT ONE TOP-10: 1. Ted Christopher (Plainville, CT); 2. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 3. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 4. Steve Masse (Bellingham, MA); 5. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 6. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA); 7. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 8. Nick Salva ( Prospect, CT); 9. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 10. Timmy Jordan (Brooklyn, CT)
SUNOCO MODIFIED 20/20 SPRINT SEGMENT TWO TOP-10: 1. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 2. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 3. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 4. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 5. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 6. Joey Gada (Uncasville, CT); 7. Andrew Krause (East Brunswick, NJ); 8. Marcello Rufrano (North Haven, CT); 9. Stephan Masse (Bellingham, MA); 10. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA)
SUNOCO MODIFIED 20/20 SPRINT OVERALL FINISH TOP-10: 1. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 2. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 3. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 4. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 5. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 6. Stephan Masse (Bellingham, MA); 7. Nick Salva (Prospect, CT); 8. Ted Christopher (Plainville, CT); 9. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA); 10. Joey Gada (Uncasville, CT)
LATE MODEL FINISH TOP-10: 1. Ryan Morgan (Pawcatuk, CT); 2. John Warren (Chicopee, MA); 3. Mathew Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 4. Ray Parent (Tiverton, RI); 5. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 6. William Wall (Shrewsbury, MA); 7. Paul Charette (Woodstock, CT); 8. Mark Jenison (Warwick, RI); 9. John Lowinski-Loh (Millville, MA); 10. Ryan Kuhn
LIMITED SPORTSMAN FINISH TOP-10: 1. Scott Sundeen (Sutton, MA); 2. Brent Gleason (Griswold, CT); 3. Steve Kenneway (Lowell, MA); 4. Shawn Monahan (Waterford, CT); 5. Ryan Waterman (Danielson, CT); 6. Jesse Gleason (Lisbon, CT); 7. Michael Palin (Dudley, MA); 8. Larry Barnett (Moosup, CT); 9. Kevin Bowe (Smithfield, RI); 10. Corey Fanning
MINI STOCK FINISH TOP-10: 1. Dave Trudeau (Mansfield, CT); 2. Jacob Perry (Pawcatuck, CT); 3. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 4. Eric Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 5. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT); 6. DJ Trudeau (Mansfield, CT); 7. Douglas Curry (Groton, CT); 8. Mitchell Bombard (Willimantic, CT); 9. Mike Anzalone (Plainfield, CT); 10. Nick Matera (Warwick, RI)
LITE MODIFIEDS FINISH: 1. Glenn Griswold (Vernon, CT); 2. Glenn Korner (Canton, CT); 3. Albert Ouellette (Ellington, CT); 4. Rick Williams (East Hampton, CT); 5. Chris Viens (Putnam, CT); 6. Chris Correll (Old Lyme, CT); 7. Ed Chicoski (New Hartford, CT)
Written by Jason Bleau

Preece Continues Winning Ways With Bud 150 Crown

 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park celebrated a 28 year tradition with the annual Bud 150, the third race of the Whelen Modified Tour at the track as the series hit the middle point of its season with a slim points lead on the line. The night say dramatic finishes and hard fought battles on Thompson’s famed oval, and a rising star of motorsports continued his streak of victories while local track racers worked to find some much needed success as the season approaches its final stretch.

Riding a high like few racers ever get to experience, Ryan Preece survived a battle of wits and strategy to conquer the Bud 150 at Thompson Speedway, his second consecutive victory and third in a month’s time after Preece also captured the checkered flag in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in Iowa. The 150-lap feature came down to Preece and reigning champions Doug Coby after the two drivers pitted late in the event when Preece himself spun after apparent contact in turn two. The two drivers worked their way to the front in the last 25 laps, trading the lead several times before a last-lap duel was cut short when Coby blew a tire coming across the line for the white flag in his pursuit of Preece. Preece was awarded the victory, his fourth of the season on the Whelen Modified Tour, and said he was riding the momentum of his recent success in hopes of wracking up more victories to keep himself relevant in the sport he loves. “I’m riding the wave. I’ve got to keep winning races. My career depends on that. It’s the only way I’m going to stay relevant is by winning races, especially after the whole Iowa deal. It’s the only way I’m going to make a future for myself,” Preece told reporters after the win.

While there was debate among several drivers over the circumstances of Preece’s spinout, which some credited as “strategy” and other drivers wouldn’t comment on at all, Preece himself said that he received a nudge from behind and, after refusing to pit earlier in the event, his tires had fallen off too much at that point to keep the car stable.

Doug Coby was credited as the runner-up in the event after his crash froze the field coming across the line for the final lap. Ted Christopher and Timmy Solomito finished third and fourth and shared their thoughts after the race as well.

“I was a good run. We ran really good at Stafford and I knew we had something to build off of with that,” Christopher told reporters. “I think we were best in class because we wanted to do a late pit, but we were just too free in the beginning. It worked out for (Preece and Coby) and I knew it was going to be one of those two guys who got through.”

Points leader Timmy Solomito said he wants to ride the consistency into the rest of the season, hoping to keep a firm grip on his lead having only a slim ten-point advantage over Rowan Pennink, who captured the pole for the Bud 150 and finished seventh, following the race at Thompson.

“You have to race smart, but you have to race hard too. It’s still a long time to go in the season. You don’t want to put yourself in a position to get wiped out early and lose points,” Solomito said. “You’ve got to run hard, but you have to be smooth and you have to be there at the end. We’re focusing on the big picture right now.”

Before the Whelen Modified action the Sunoco Modifieds started off the night with an intense 30-lap feature that saw the points race tighten up and a familiar face return to the top of the leader board and to victory lane. Keith Rocco won the Sunoco race during the 2016 Bud 150 event and repeated the feat in 2017 with his second win of the season. Rocco outraced a hard charging Steve Masse in a bumper to bumper dash to the finish in the closing laps to take the victory and the points lead after Ryan Preece experienced mechanical issues early on in the event. Rocco benefited from a late caution that saw all three of the leaders at the time, Woody Pitkat, Ted Christopher, and Troy Talman, spin out of turn two. When the green waved once again Rocco took the lead and was practically pushed around the track by Masse until a last lap duel allowed Rocco to gain enough of a gap to win.

“Masse was pushing us pretty good down the straightaway, but to move to dive bomb somebody and make it stick is pretty tough. I think his car was too free to do that,” Rocco said of the battle for the lead in the closing laps. He added that he felt like his team finally caught a break in 2017 as the results allowed him to overtake Ryan Preece as Rocco continues his quest for a second straight Sunoco Modified title. Masse held on for a second place finish followed by Ted Christopher and Woody Pitkat, who recovered from their on-track incident, in third and fourth and Todd Owen in fifth.

The NorthEastern Midget Association (NEMA) Midgets were next up with yet another driver familiar to victory lane in Thompson taking the checkered flag. Randy Cabral continued his winning ways at the Big-T, adding to his impressive win total that makes him the winningest driver in the NEMA Midgets at Thompson. Cabral also claimed his second consecutive series win on the season and fended off a hard charging John Zych, the closing laps to get the job done. “I had to keep my cool and keep going,” Cabral said. “It was awesome. I love this place.” The win wasn’t enough to put Cabral in the points lead for the season, but it closed up the tight battle for the championship lead going into the series’ next event at the Waterford Speedbowl on August 12. Kyle Hamilton, Jim Chambers, Mike Horn, and Bethany Stoehr rounded out the top five in the 25-lap feature.

The Limited Sportsman 20-lap feature ended in an emotional win for Brent Gleason. It was his second consecutive victory at the track making him the first two-time winner in the division in 2017. Gleason found himself up front for much of the event, even going side by side with Shawn Monahan for nearly a full lap before taking the lead for the final time and holding on for the checkered flag. Gleason dedicated the win to his father, who he admitted recently got some bad health news, and said he wasn’t going to let anyone but him cross the finish line first. “ I knew that my car was better on the long run – I’m just glad it’s over. It took so long,” Gleason said referencing a red flag that slowed the race during a multi-car incident on lap six. The win is Gleason’s second at Thompson since he had a win disqualified for an improper engine. Gleasons called his recent success vindicating. “I didn’t have much say over that motor, but when we rebuilt it I had the say. I told them exactly what I wanted in it and we rebuilt it and while it’s a little harder to drive it helps it handle better. We may not have the best stuff but we’re the best team, or at least we try to be.” Shawn Monahan held on for second followed by Al Stone, Steve Kenneway, and Troy Waterman.

The final events of the night saw points leader Wayne Burroughs, Jr. take yet another win on the season in the 15-lap Mini Stock feature.

Late Model finish is currently under review at press time.

Oval racing action returns to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Sunday, September 10 with the Sunoco 20/20 “For the Fans” event. The evening of racing will be the final opportunity for local racing division competitors to gain points, wins, or momentum as the season draws closer to the October World Series of Weekend where local champions and the Whelen Modified Tour champion will be crowned.

WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR BUD 150 FINISH TOP-10: 1. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 2. Doug Coby (Milford, CT); 3. Ted Christopher (Plainville, CT); 4. Timmy Solomito (Islip, NY); 5. Bobby Santos (Franklin, MA); 6. Andrew Krause; 7. Rowan Pennink (Huntington Valley, PA); 8. Eric Goodale (Riverhead, NY); 9. John McKennedy (Chelmsford, MA); 10. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA)

SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 2. Steve Masse (Bellingham, MA); 3. Ted Christopher (Plainville, CT); 4. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 5. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 6. Joey Gada (Uncasville, CT); 7. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 8. Matt Gallo (Kensington, CT); 9. Marcello Rufrano (North Haven, CT); 10. Kyler Cafro (Chaplin, CT)

NEMA MIDGETS FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Randy Cabral (Kingston MA); 2. Kyle Hamilton; 3. Jim Chambers (Atkinson, NH); 4. Mike Horn; 5. Bethany Stoehr (Bridgewater, MA); 6. Todd Bertrand (Danielson, CT); 7. Paul Scally (Raynham, MA); 8. John Zych, Jr. (Mendon, MA); 9. Doug Cleveland (Sudbury, MA);10. Alan Chambers (Atkinson, NH)

LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Brent Gleason (Griswold, CT); 2. Shawn Monahan (Waterford, CT); 3. Al Stone (Durham, CT); 4. Steve Kenneway (Lowell, MA); 5. Troy Waterman (Danielson, CT); 6. Meghan Fuller (Auburn, MA); 7. Jack Aquilina (Oakdale, CT); 8. Tommy Shea (New London, CT); 9. Hank Stott (Medway, MA); 10. Anthony Pandozzi

MINI STOCK FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 2. Nate Taylor (Brooklyn, CT); 3. Jacob Perry (Pawcatuck, CT); 4. Jared Roy (Sterling, CT); 5. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT); 6. Eric Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 7. Doug Curry (Groton, CT); 8. Mike Anzalone (Plainfield, CT); 9. Ian Brew (Woodriver Junction, RI); 10. Mitch Bombard (Willimantic, CT)

Written by: Jason Bleau

Preece Charges Late at Thompson

By Kyle Souza,
August 9, 2017 – 10:41pm

THOMPSON, Conn. — The wave of momentum for Ryan Preece continued on Wednesday night at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

Preece charged to the front of the 28th Annual Bud “King of Beers” 150 for his second straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory and fourth of the season.

The Berlin, Connecticut, driver passed defending champion Doug Coby with just 16 laps remaining en route to the win. In his last six Whelen Modified Tour starts, he has four wins, a second and a fourth. It was his 19th career tour victory.

“Doug put a lot more pressure on me at the end then I thought he was going too,” Preece said following his win. “I have to keep winning races. My career depends on that. We had a really good car tonight.”

Wednesday’s drive was filled with plenty of drama. While some of the top challengers pitted before the haflway point, Preece decided to wait things out and make a late pit stop for fresh rubber. However, on Lap 114, his No. 6 TS Haulers/Hoosier Tire of Calverton Chevrolet went spinning in Turn 2. Preece fired the car before going a lap down and pitted for tires two laps later.

From there, it was a hard charge to the front.

Preece worked his way into the top five and then passed leader Coby with just 16 laps remaining. While Preece showed the way for the final laps, Coby was not about to let him get away. However, on the final lap, Coby made contact with the Turn 1 wall. Coby was able to continue on and was scored as the runner-up as the race ended under caution. The yellow flag froze the field on the final lap, and NASCAR officials ruled Coby maintained a reasonable speed under caution given the track conditions.

Ted Christopher finished third, followed by Timmy Solomito and Bobby Santos.

Andrew Krause was sixth, followed by Rowan Pennink, Eric Goodale, Jon McKennedy and Woody Pitkat.

Solomito increased his championship points lead to 10 over Pennink, while Preece moved up to third — 19 back of Solomito — despite missing a race earlier in the season to get married. Coby and Goodale are each 11 points back of Preece.

The Bud “King of Beers” 150 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track next Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway with the running of the Bush’s Beans 150.