Category Archives: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

Ronnie Williams Hopes To Seal The Deal in Thompson 125

Second-Year Driver Has Been Fast Learner on NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

Over the three-decade history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, various standout drivers have come to the series as graduates from Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut.

Whether it was the late Ted Christopher, Woody Pitkat, champion Doug Coby, or current rising star Chase Dowling, the half-mile asphalt at Stafford has provided drivers a chance to mix it up with some of the best New England has to offer — and in the process — help prepare themselves for a move to the next level.

Right now, it seems like that Stafford experience is helping another rising star climb his way towards the top.

Ronnie Williams, who has 12 career Stafford wins and eight of them in the premier SK Modified division, has put together quite the striking beginning to his Whelen Modified Tour career. Although his finishes on the track haven’t necessarily shown the speed under the hood of the No. 21 Gershow Recycling/Empower Financial Chevrolet, Williams has already been a threat to visit Victory Lane this season.

“Chase (Dowling) and I raced together back in the SK Lights at Stafford, and we both moved to SKs at about the same time,” Williams said. “We were racing and winning against guys like Ted Christopher, Keith Rocco, Rowan Pennink, Doug Coby. You had all of these guys that were at the top of the tour and you were already racing against them. When I started on the tour, I kinda knew how they raced and how to race around them. Having their competition there (at Stafford) allowed for a faster learning experience, and now I am able to apply it.”

AUDIO: Williams Excited To Get Back To Action at Thompson

Williams, along with the rest of the Whelen Modified Tour competitors, will be back in action Wednesday night when the Whelen Modified Tour makes their second of four appearances at the 0.625-mile Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park high-banks. The fifth race of the season comes as an outlier to the other three at Thompson, since this battle will only be for 125 laps, instead of 150.

Williams is hoping to redeem himself from a little misfortune during the Icebreaker 150 in April, where the Ellington, Connecticut, driver was fastest in practicequalified on his first career pole, and was running second in the 150-lap race when the field hit the start/finish line for the white flag.

Ronnie Williams #21 runs up the back of Justin Bonsignore #51 late in the 2018 Icebreaker Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park April 9th 2018 Michael Jaworecki Myracenews Photo

A  move to the inside of eventual race winner Justin Bonsignore ended with contact between the two cars and Williams in the outside wall in Turn 1, ending his efforts to capture his first career checkered flag. Even though he finished 19th, he slowed plenty of speed throughout the weekend, and proved he could put himself in the right position to pounce towards the end of the race.

“I was telling one of the guys on the crew, the lap times in practice didn’t really mean anything to me, but it was good to see we were fast. When we won the pole, I knew we had some momentum, but there wasn’t much time to really think about it because the race came up so quickly. Even going to the race, I knew we were going to be fast, we were brought back a little bit and had a little bit of a power steering problem, we were fast at the end of the race,” Williams said.

“I made a decision to make a move on Justin going into turn one, and was it the right move? I don’t know. I’ll know for next time what to do, or at least try and know. The whole weekend was a really great confidence booster for us going forward.”

Off that confidence booster, Williams finished 14th at Stafford, but last time out, the No. 21 came home with a sixth-place finish at Massachusett’s Seekonk Speedway. Out of the four races the Whelen Modified Tour has completed this season, South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway was the one that was difficult for him, but the troubles didn’t only stem from his performance on the track.

Ronnie Williams’ crew services the #21 Gershow Recycling Chevy at Myrtle Beach Speedway March 17th 2018 Michael Jaworecki Myracenews Photo

“Myrtle Beach was definitely tough, I was happy to get out of there,” Williams said. “That day was just bad. I went to a Red Robin afterwards, and I asked for a chocolate milkshake, and they said their milkshake machine was down. I knew it was a bad day.”

Even though the combination with Bertuccio provided Williams a chance to take his career to the next level, the early stages of his days on the Whelen Modified Tour didn’t come without a struggle.

“It was definitely a totally different learning experience, even just going to the track and having an hour straight of practice, I wasn’t accustomed to that, or even the time trials, even though we did very well with them,” Williams said. “Last year, I went to like 15 different tracks I hadn’t raced at before. I’m getting acclimated to all of the new tracks, and trying to be fast at the same time.”

As he enters his 16th career start on Wednesday at Thompson, winning a Whelen Modified Tour race would be the pinnacle of his young racing career.

“I’ve been watching Whelen Modified Tour races since I was young, I live a mile from Stafford, so every Friday night I went down there and watched racing,” Williams said. “It was always my dream to race on the tour. Winning is something I have always wanted to do, especially with the Bertuccio team. To win with them, that would be a special one to knock off my list.”

THOMPSON 125: Race Center | Entry List | Point Standings 

Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes:

Smooth Riding: The quick start for Justin Bonsignore should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed his career closely of late. The Holtsville, New York, driver has finished top three in the championship standings in all but one of the last four years, and he already finds himself at the top of the pack with four races complete in 2018. He won at Seekonk on June 2, and his first victory with new crew chief Ryan Stone came as part of the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson in April. The win was his sixth on the Connecticut high-banks, which places him at the top of the list of active series competitors. He leads the championship standings by seven points, and couldn’t be heading to a much better track to attempt to keep his roll going.

Ready To Score: Both Chase Dowling and Craig Lutz are inching closer to their first career Whelen Modified Tour wins. The two rising stars have four consecutive top 10 finishes to open 2018, and Dowling is coming off a second-place effort in the Seekonk 150. Lutz, who finished second in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson earlier this year, has been consistent, but quiet, so far. Dowling, a Roxbury, Connecticut, driver has 13 Thompson starts, and one career pole in last year’s Sunoco World Series 150. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to see either driver carrying the black and white silk at the end of the Wednesday night affair.

Strong Field: Much like the Icebreaker 150, the assembled field for Wednesday’s Thompson 125 brings together top modified talent from across New England. Jimmy Blewett will make his third start of the season, driving his family No. 76, while Burt Myers, a former champion of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, is making his return to New England driving for Eddie Harvey. On the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series front, defending Thompson Late Model champion Ray Parent will make his series debut driving a car out of the LFR Chassis department.

Whelen All-American Series: Thompson’s NASCAR divisions will compete in their third race of the season on Wednesday night.. The Sunoco Modifieds, Limited Sportsman, Late Models and Mini Stocks will all compete in qualifying and feature racing as their season closes in on the halfway point.

Up Next: The sixth race of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season will take drivers down south to Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, on June 23.

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Thompson 125 entry list 6/14/2018

The 5th race on the NASCAR WMT tour at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park is this Thursday’s June 14th (Rescheduled from June 13th).

Below is the list of  32 cars (It will grow to 33 with the addition of Ray Parent)  for this Wednesdays Thompson 125 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Justin Bonsignore in the Phoenix Communications Inc who is 2 for 4 on the season and the winner of the spring Icebreaker event in April has to be an early favorite. He is also coming off a big win at Seekonk  Speedway 2 weeks ago over Matt Hirschman who is not entered this week.

Justin is only 7 points ahead of Chase Dowling who has 12 top 5’s in his 4 years on the tour but is looking for that first win in the 15-40 Connection machine.

Craig Lutz, Timmy Solomito and Rob Summers round out the top 5 in points and all of them would love to get a win an close that gap win Justin.

Once again Max Zachem has withdrawn due to the hand injury suffered at the Icebreaker.  Max still has about 6 weeks of recover ahead of him.

As I mentioned above Ray Parent the 2017 Thompson late Model champion will make his NASCAR WMT debut as announced by Kyle Sousa at NASCAR Home Tracks.

Thursday — Garage opens: 1:45 p.m. ET; Final Practice: 4-5 p.m.; Group qualifying: 7 p.m.; Thompson 125: 8 p.m. (approx.)

Nbr Driver Owner Car Crew Chief Sponsor
1 01   Melissa Fifield   Kenneth Fifield Chevrolet   Chad Dow   Crowells Towing
2 1   Burt Myers   Eddie Harvey Chevrolet   Eddie Harvey   Citrusafe / Dunleavy Truck & Trailer
3 2   Doug Coby   Mike Smeriglio III Chevrolet   Phil Moran   Mayhew Tools
4 3   Rowan Pennink   Jan Boehler Chevrolet   Greg Fournier   Cape Cod Copper / USNE Inc.
5 6   Ryan Preece   Ed Partridge Chevrolet   Jeff Preece   TS Hauler
6 7   Jon McKennedy   Tommy Baldwin Chevrolet   Tommy Baldwin   Accell Construction Inc.
7 14   Blake Barney   Richard Barney Chevrolet   Robert Barney   Atlantic Sprinkler
8 15   Chase Dowling   Rob Fuller Chevrolet   Steven Kopuk   15-40 Connection
9 16   Timmy Solomito   Eric Sanderson Ford   Stanley Szaban   Starrett
10 18   Ken Heagy   Robert Pollifrone Chevrolet   Desmond Gorman   Buoy One Seafood
11 20   Max Zachem   Ken Zachem Chevrolet   Ken Zachem   MP2 Motorsports / Lu-Mac’s
12 21   Ronnie Williams   Joseph Bertuccio Chevrolet   Michael Bologna   Empower Financial Advisory
13 23   Joe DeGracia   Paul Degracia Chevrolet   Jimmy Zacharias   PJ DeGracia Contracting
14 24   Andrew Krause   Diane Krause Toyota   John Cooke   Supreme Manufacturing
15 25   Calvin Carroll   Joe Carroll Chevrolet   Stash Butova   Power With Prestige / Cruising With Betty
16 26   Gary McDonald   Sean McDonald Chevrolet   Chad McDonald   Lakeland Landscaping Supply / TRC Electric
17 33   Wade Cole   Wade Cole Chevrolet   Richard Rodenbaugh   Performance Engines / Kendal Oil
18 36   Dave Sapienza   Judy Thilberg Chevrolet   Tommy Grasso   Sapienza Enterprises
19 38   TBA   Linda Rodebaugh Chevrolet   Robert Bourne   Performance Engines / Kendal Oil
20 44   Bobby Santos III   Sully Tinio Chevrolet   Bob Santos   Sully Tinio / Olivas Market
21 46   Craig Lutz   Russell Goodale Chevrolet   Douglas Ogiejko   Riverhead Building Supply
22 51   Justin Bonsignore   Kenneth Massa Chevrolet   Ryan Stone   Phoenix Communications Inc.
23 54   Tommy Catalano   Amy Catalano Chevrolet   TBA   Catalano Motorsports
24 58   Eric Goodale   Edgar Goodale Chevrolet   Jason Shephard   GAF Roofing
25 63   Austin Pickens   Steve Pickens Chevrolet   Jeff Deminck   Siteone Greenbrier
26 64   Rob Summers   Mike Murphy Chevrolet   Steve Lemay   Hoosier Tire East / FastTrack Electrical
27 66   Shawn Solomito   Jerry Solomito Chevrolet   Jerry Solomito   AAA Consulting / Anti-3 Protect Series
28 75   Chris Pasteryak   Charles Pasteryak Chevrolet   Cam McDermott   Dawley’s Auto
29 76   Jimmy Blewett   John Blewett Sr. Chevrolet   Rob Ormsbee   Starrett / John Blewett Inc.
30 78   Walter Sutcliffe, Jr.   Steven Sutcliffe Chevrolet   Kevin Anderson   Close Enuff Racing
31 82   Woody Pitkat   Danny Watts Jr. Chevrolet   Jarod Zeltmann   Horton Ave. Materials
32 85   Ron Silk   Kevin Stuart Chevrolet   Kenny Stuart   Stuart’s Automotive
33 89   Matt Swanson   John Swanson Ford   John Swanson   Starrett

Waterman Wins Second Consecutive Limited Long Distance Event at Thompson

The old saying goes better late than never and Thompson Speedway can certainly attest to that. After Mother Nature sidelined the Limited Sportsman Long Distance & Military Night presented by Pepsi event in May oval racing action finally returned to the Big-T for the second time in 2019 on Thursday, June 7 with a large local crowd turning out for the rescheduled races. The annual showcase of local racing’s biggest stars honored veterans and members of the military while also putting track divisions front and center as the race for Thompson championships heated up.

The main event of the night was the marquee race of 2019 for Thompson’s Limited Sportsman division, the 30-lap long distance race. The feature provided a variety of circumstances as a new face shined, veterans experienced bad luck and a familiar name took the checkered flag. Division newcomer Thomas Hanley showed some muscle in the first ten laps holding the lead through several cautions and even fighting off veteran Ryan Waterman to hold the lead for the first third of the race. Unfortunately for Hanley his great run would be spoiled when he became part of a wreck on lap ten and was relegated to a last place finish.

An earlier caution was a multi-car pileup out of turn four, a problem spot for many drivers over the course of the night, on the very first lap of the race that created issues for several contenders most notably veteran Scott Sundeen who retired from the event after sustaining heavy damage. Another veteran driver and Icebreaker winner Shawn Monahan experienced his own troubles during a later caution forcing him to make quick repairs before the race returned to green.

When everything settled it was Ryan Waterman who charged his way to victory leading the bulk of the final 20 laps of the feature and fighting off a hard comeback charge from Monahan who recovered from his crash to finish second after passing Larry Barnett in the closing laps. Waterman also won the 2017 long distance event after the initial winner Brent Gleason was disqualified following post-race inspection, but in 2018 Waterman did it his way and took the victory through effort and execution.

“The plan was to be smart and be smooth. I wanted to come here and win and that’s what I did,” Waterman said in victory lane. Later he told reporters he enjoys long distance racing and felt his car was better on the longer runs. “I’d rather it be a 50-lapper like they used to be years ago, but I’ll take anything I can get. I like long races. My car loves the long races. I guess it takes me a little while to get going there. That’s why it took me a while to get by (Thomas Hanley). I’ll take a long race any day.”

The Mini Stock division began the night with a 15-lap feature and an opportunity for title contenders to gain an early advantage on the season with two-time defending champion Wayne Burroughs unable to attend the event. While 2015 champion Dave Trudeau led the early segments of the race it didn’t take long for another familiar name to make his way to the front of the pack. After taking the checkered flag in the Icebreaker in April Eric Bourgeois further solidified himself as a contender for the 2017 title with his second win to start the season. In victory lane Bourgeois took the time to thank the members of the military present for the race keeping in spirit with the theme of the night.

“I have to say thank you to all the veterans,” Bourgeois said. “I can’t be here to race if it wasn’t for those guys keeping us free. Thank you to them. This means a lot to me and I’m so glad they made this up for them.”

Next up the Sunoco Modifieds put on an entertaining and eventful 30-lap feature that nearly turned into a war of attrition for some of the divisions biggest stars. Ryan Preece began the event out front and battled series regular Woody Pitkat and reigning champion Keith Rocco throughout the opening laps. Things got interesting as the battle got even more heated 11 laps into the race and Rocco made a power move for the lead. In an attempt to regain the top spot Preece made his own bold move out of turn four resulting in both leaders spinning into the infield and Pitkat inheriting the lead.

Things didn’t let up as a massive multi-car pileup on the restart brought out the red flag after Timmy Jordan spun in front of the second half of the field resulting in an incident that saw Matt Gallo ride the top of the outside wall. All drivers walked away from the wreck without injury, but it wouldn’t be the final caution of the night. In total six caution flags flew before the halfway point of the feature and seven were flown in the event overall. When things settled in Pitkat resumed the lead, but Rocco would make a comeback working his way through the field in mere laps to take the lead by the halfway point. Despite a hard charge from Pitkat, Rocco held on for his second win of the season putting him once step closer to yet another Sunoco Modified title at Thompson.

“It was a great night for us. Hopefully we put a good show on for the fans. Weeknights are tough here and it’s a pretty good crowd tonight,” Rocco said after his win. “(Woody Pitkat) was aggressive and I was aggressive too. I was frustrated getting put around after leading the race, so I was out to make my way to the front one way or another. I did what I had to do.”

Finally, the night closed out with the Late Model division with a 25-lap feature. Former champion William Wall experienced trouble early on and would go on to finish last after winning in April’s Icebreaker. Up front though it was a battle of two cars, Ernie LaRose and Ryan Morgan, who battled for the lead for most of the race.

It all came down to a pair of cautions in the final five laps. After leading much of the race LaRose found himself at a disadvantage during the first restart when Morgan took the lead. A quick caution stacked up the field again and Morgan was able to muscle his way forward for a second time while Larose found himself on the receiving end of a bump that sent his car around and hard into the turn three wall, ending his day two laps short of the finish. Morgan had a third great restart and took home his second victory at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Race fans won’t have to wait very long for racing action to return to Thompson. The Big-T welcomes back the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for the Thompson 125 on Wednesday June 13 where Justin Bonsignore hopes to extend his points lead and add to his win total after conquering the Icebreaker event at Thompson April and crossing the line first as Seekonk earlier this month.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

LIMITED SPORTSMAN LONG DISTANCE FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Ryan Waterman (Danielson, CT); 2. Shawn Monahan (Waterford, CT); 3. Larry Barnett (Moosup, CT); 4. Chris Meyer (North Franklin, CT); 5. Brent Gleason (Griswold, CT); 6. Mike Malbaurn (Moosup, CT); 7. Steve Kennaway (Lowell, MA); 8. Meghan Fuller (Auburn, MA); 9. Jesse Gleason (Lisbon, CT); 10. Ed Correia (Raynham, MA)

MINI STOCK FEATURE FINISH: 1. Eric Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 2. Dave Trudeau (Mansfield, CT); 3. Jared Roy (Sterling, CT); 4. Doug Curry (Norwich, CT); 5. Chris Taylor (East Lyme, CT); 6. Dave Trudeau, Jr. (Mansfield, CT); 7. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT); 8. Keith Ballou (Pascoag, RI); 9. Evan Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 10. Tommy Silva (Gales Ferry, CT)

SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 2. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 3. Steve Masse (Bellingham, MA); 4. Marcello Rufrano (Northhaven, CT); 5. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA); 6. Cam McDermott (Canterbury, CT); 7. Kyle James (Ashaway, RI); 8. Paul LaPlante (North Attleboro, MA); 9. Robert Palmer (Lisbon, CT); 10. Ronnie Williams (Tolland, CT)

LATE MODEL FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Ryan Morgan (Gales Ferry, CT); 2. Rick Gentes (North Smithfield, RI); 3. Nick Johnson (Rehoboth, MA); 4. Paul Charette (Woodstock, CT); 5. Chad Baxter (Pascoag, RI); 6. Joey Parker (Weymouth, MA); 7. Michael Lindquist (Sandy Hook, CT); 8. Glenn Boss (Danielson, CT); 9. John Warren (Chicopee, MA); 10. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA)