Category Archives: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

Veterans Return to Thompson Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman Division

Not much has changed in the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman division at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and for anyone who follows the division closely, that’s a good thing. Last season, two of the all-time best in class Scott Sundeen and Larry Barnett battled for the championship right down to the final event. Sundeen came out the victor earning his 3rd title in 4 seasons.

When you listen to the drivers tell it, each will say that the competition in the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman division is at an all-time high. Any mistake throughout the 10 race season puts any team quickly behind, but that’s why they all keep coming back. For these drivers the fierce competition motivates them to success.

Many point to Corey Hutchings as the one to beat who has been dominant the last two years winning 8 times, which is half of the 16 races contested. For Hutchings, the key for him is getting out of the upcoming Icebreaker weekend unscathed. In the last two Icebreakers, a wreck and a flat tire ruined what could have been solid finishes in the season opener, forcing the team to play catch-up all season.

“The Icebreaker has been my Achilles heel,” reflected Hutchens. “This year with having an expanded 10-race schedule you can maybe overcome a bad finish, but with a 7 race schedule it is difficult to overcome.”

The Archillies heel for four-time champion Larry Barnett has been keeping his equipment under him all season. Unfortunately for him, bad luck has already struck last year’s championship runner-up. During the open test held Easter weekend, Barnett’s engine expired forcing him to send it back to the engine builder just 11 days before the season begins.

Barnett openly says that he wasn’t prepared going into 2015. He waited to the last minute to get his car ready and said, “I just didn’t work hard enough to beat these guys last season.” That has changed in 2016.

“I had the most fun last year that I’ve had in a long time racing,” said Barnett who came up a mere 8 points or 4 on track positions from winning the title. “We’ve worked a lot harder this offseason because not winning a race and coming close to the championship proved to light a fire under me.”

For Sundeen, he expected to retire his championship winning car from a year ago and run it on the Northeast Street Stock Tour. However, his new Thompson ride isn’t finished yet making the 36 team a mystery heading into the season. Nobody, including Sundeen himself, knows what to expect or which car in his stable he will be driving.

Enter some of the other players who could make an impact on the division. Frank L’Etoile Jr. returns for his second season after registering two third place efforts in 2015.

“I feel more comfortable in the car, more conformable around each driver as I’ve learn their tendencies,” said L’Etoile defending Stafford Speedway Dare Stock Champion. “It makes it a little easier this year because I have more confidence.”

Another driver beaming with confidence is Josh Wood. He just needs a good dose of consistency. Last season, Wood earned a season best runner-up finish at the Sunoco World Series totaling 4 top-5s and 1 top-10 on the year. His other finishes were all 15th or worse.

“Last year was a learning experience and I am very comfortable in the car,” said Wood. “I think I need to be aggressive, but not too aggressive. Drive smart and not get myself into dumb situations and I know can pretty competitive.”

Jesse Gleason won in July last season and is in the process of starting a new business. 2016 will be his last for the foreseeable future as he transitions into a new phase of his career. Gleason has two goals with the first being a track championship and the other seeing his brother Brent Gleason get to victory lane for the first time. Brent is still seeking his first Thompson victory with a runner-up finish being his best effort to date.

The Icebreaker kicks off the season on the weekend of April 9-10. An additional practice day is scheduled for Friday, April 8. For more information on Thompson Speedway news and events, visit www.thompsonspeedway.com.

Garbarino Teams With Blewett For 2016

Starrett Joins Mystic Missile Racing As Primary Sponsor

Team Release
March 30, 2016

MYSTIC, Conn. – Legendary NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car owner Bob Garbarino will be back during the 2016 season with a new driver and national sponsor as he begins his 56th season and will be teamed with another legendary family name in modified racing in Jimmy Blewett.

A new sponsor, the L. S. Starrett Company of Athol, Massachusetts, will be the primary sponsor of the potent team.   Starrett was founded in 1880 and manufactures more than 5000 precision tools, gages, measuring instruments and saw blades for industrial, professional and consumer markets worldwide.

Garbarino said it was a hard choice to tab his next driver but he feels Blewett will fit in fine, despite being away from the modified tour a few years, running the DIRT modified series.

“You never know what is going to work and with Jimmy being away from the tour the past couple of years, I know he is looking to get back and make a good impression. I think the timing is right for Jimmy as a driver and is the right fit for my team.”

Blewett too is equally excited about the prospects of running the No. 4 Mystic Missile. “I have some unfinished business and getting back to the modified tour and winning races, I feel this is the best opportunity at this time.”

“I talked with Bob early in the winter and I told him I was available to drive. I know that Bob had his choice of several top drivers and I am glad that he chose me.” Blewett said.

Blewett comes from one of the first racing families of New Jersey with his father, John, Jr. and his brother, John III, running modifieds and winning at tracks up and down the east coast and Jimmy is hopeful that this new team will bring Garbarino a fourth title and his first.

Garbarino won the modified tour titles in 2007 and 2009 with Donny Lia as the driver and in 2010 with Bobby Santos.

Jim Ballou, the marketing manager for Starrett says “The whole company is excited about the new sponsorship deal with Garbarino and Blewett.”

When we met Bob before our executive board meeting, we knew of his success in his 50-plus years in racing and we feel honored to sponsor a legend in the sport. Bob has a reputation of doing things the right way and that is the way that we at Starrett have done business since 1880.”

Ballou states ”The company will have hospitality tents at races in Bristol, Tennessee, and Loudon, New Hampshire, and is looking forward to thanking the many loyal employees, education partners, distributors and users of Starrett products.

Our valued customers recognize the quality and precision in all Starrett products. We believe that the exposure through NASCAR sponsorship will introduce the Starrett brand to new customers looking for a competitive edge.”

Having a national sponsor such as Starrett is nothing new to Garbarino and he feels that not only will his team benefit from the new sponsorship but that the whole modified tour will reap the rewards of having Starrett on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

“I feel that this is a win-win situation for everyone.” Bob said.

The Starrett No. 4 will make its 2016 debut at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, Connecticut, for the annual running of the Icebreaker, the traditional season opener for the Whelen Modified Tour.

Mohegan Sun to Once Again Host Thompson’s Championship Awards Banquet

(THOMPSON, CT) – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park officials announced on Friday that the Annual Championship Awards Banquet would return to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT on Saturday, December 17. The venue played host to the Banquet for the first time last December, bringing the annual event to a new level of excellence with music, improved trophies and the Champions’ cars on display.

Woody Pitkat, last year’s Sunoco Modified champion, enjoyed having the event at Mohegan Sun as it reminded him of the past NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour banquets. “It’s a great facility. We used to go there for the NWMT banquet, before it was moved down to North Carolina, and it was always a great time… It’s great knowing that it’s going to be back there this year.”

“The banquet hosted at the Mohegan Sun Casino put on by the staff of TSMP was an amazing event,” remarked 2015 Late Model Champion, Brian Tagg. “My team and I, my family, and sponsors were so grateful to be honored like we were there. It goes to show you how hard Josh Vanada and his staff at TSMP work to make sure the competitors, sponsors, teams, and families are recognized for all of their hard work and support. I am lucky enough to have been there on the maiden voyage and hope to get back there again!”

This year drivers and teams from all four Thompson NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) divisions will be invited to return to Mohegan Sun, the Official Hotel and Casino of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Tickets will go on sale for the Banquet on Monday, October 24.

The Championship season for Thompson’s NWAAS season will kick off at the 42nd Annual Icebreaker, April 8-10. Thompson’s own four divisions, the Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, XtraMart Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks, will be racing on Sunday afternoon leading up to the first championship event for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

For more details about the Icebreaker, or any of TSMP’s other events, be sure to visit their website, www.thompsonspeedway.com, and stay connected with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

 

Thompson 2016