Category Archives: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

Solomito Claims First NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Victory in Thompson Icebreaker

IMG_0163(THOMPSON, CT) – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park hosted its 131st Whelen Modified Tour Event on Sunday, April 10th capping off an action packed weekend in the 2016 Icebreaker and kicking off the tour’s season schedule with a first time winner in victory lane.

Timmy Solomito was crowned the champion of the Icebreaker 150 after benefiting from a great pit stop that helped him earn the lead in the second half of the event and hold off series veterans Ryan Preece, Justin Bonsignore and defending champion Doug Coby to claim his first win in the series in his 36th start.

“I’ve been coming to Thompson many years watching races. It’s always been a dream of mine to turn right onto that stretch and turn into Victory Lane. To do it in such a great car with the 16 team really means a lot,” said Solomito. “I got my start with Wayne Anderson on the tour and it’s catapulted me to where I am now. I just can’t thank everybody who believed in me and has been behind me this whole time enough.”

Solomito took the lead after a great pit stop put him and Bonsignore ahead of Preece, who led the first 81 laps of the event. It would be several laps before Solomito was able to wrestle the lead away for good and set the pace for the remainder of the event. “The guys on the 16 had an incredible stop. We picked up a lot of track position there. We had a car that was very stable. We didn’t really kill it in the beginning, but we picked them off one by one. We got to the top 7 and then picked up the spots that we needed on pit road and that’s what helped us win,” he said.

Preece, who returned to the Modified Tour after racing several races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, said his race started strong, but he just did not have enough to best Solomito in the end. “They had a really good car,” Preece said after the race. “I thought we were going to have something for (Solomito).” Bonsignore and Coby held on to place 3rd and 4th respectively while Ron Silk rounded out the top five for a solid finish in the first event of the Modified Tour season.

The Sunoco Modified series kicked off the afternoon with big names vying for their first win of the season at the Big T. Series regulars Keith Rocco, Preece, Ted Christopher and Rowan Pennink led the field to green in the 30-lap feature with Rocco and Christopher reigniting their rivalry by engaging in a cat-and-mouse game all race long. The two survived a slew of cautions and two green-white-checker restarts to finish in the top two spots with Rocco’s extreme precision on each restart helping him hold on for the win.

Rocco said he enjoyed the hard fought battle with Christopher as he charged towards the checkered flag. “Ted is always fun to race with. Switching this tire compound, the racing is just like me and him in Waterford – There’s going to be a lot of good shows this year with the new Hoosier tire,” Rocco said.

While Rocco and Christopher celebrated great performances in the season opener, a few big names were not so fortunate. Series regular Rowan Pennink saw a good run go sour after spinning twice in the last few laps, causing the two green-white-checker restarts that ended the race. Reigning champion Woody Pitkat, who has experienced minimal mechanical setbacks over the past few years in the series, saw his day end early after a hard crash on lap 3 eventually led to mechanical failure later in the race. Ryan Preece started the race strong but had to fight back after an early pit stop to finish sixth.

The Vintage Outlaw series ran its second race at Thompson following its 2016 premier event on Saturday. Sunday’s race saw a repeat victory from Jim Lowrey who started up front and stayed there the entire race, fighting off challenges from Glen Boss and others to start the season off with a bang.

“When you come here twice and there’s double features you want to win both,” Lawrey said. “I feel pretty good. My car was very good both days. Today offered a little more bite off the corner, which was good. The other guys are getting racier so it’s going to get more interesting later on in the season.”

The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) saw a first time winner in its northern series season opener and third race of the national season with Garrett Hall of Scarborough, Maine who worked his way to the front 51 laps into the 75-lap feature and never looked back.

Hall beat out fellow young gun Derek Griffith to claim his first trophy in the series and said he was proud to come out on top at Thompson, a place where he is still a relatively green driver compared to others in the field. “I ran back here a couple years ago in the World Series and we finished in the top ten, not quite what I was hoping for but we came down here and got some track time. It paid off,” Hall said. “(Winning at Thompson) is something a lot of people don’t get to experience.”

The season opener for the Late Model series provided a familiar sight as the Rocco brothers, Keith and Jeff, fought for the lead for much of the 25-lap event before making contact on lap 18, taking each other out of the race. The incident caused substantial damage to both cars, including removing much of Keith Rocco’s roof. The two brothers shared some choice words on the track as safety officials responded to the crash and later continued their dispute in the infield while the race continued.

The front of the field continued to be the worst place to be for drivers in that event with Ernie LaRose, who inherited the lead after the restart, making hard contact with the turn one wall and also saw a potential race win fade away. Another caution would soon follow when Rick Gentes spun out from second place, causing a chain reaction involving several other cars including reigning champion Brian Tagg, who was running third.

One driver who did manage to find success at the front was William Wall, who turned a pole position start into his first victory in the series. “This is definitely the biggest win of my career right now,” Wall said. “Just getting this together, all the ducks finally fell in a row. It was awesome. Words can’t describe it. The cautions helped me out a little bit. I had a real bad push the whole race so every time the caution came out if I could get to the outside I knew I’d have a real good chance of getting a position. The cautions fell in my favor today and that’s what it took.”

Other events held over the course of the evening included the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman Series where Scott Michalski took home the checkered flag in a dominating win and the Mini Stocks where defending champions David Trudeau picked up right where he left off in October with a trip to victory lane.

The 2016 Icebreaker also marked the final weekend for longtime Thompson personality Russ Dowd who, after over thirty years with the speedway, announced his retirement in the offseason. Dowd was honored in a pre-race ceremony on Sunday afternoon and has provided play-by-play for all 130 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at Thompson prior to officially turning the microphone over during the 2016 Icebreaker weekend.

NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR ICEBREAKER 150 TOP-10: 1. Timmy Solomito (Islip, NY); 2. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 3. Justin Bonsignore (Holtsville, NY); 4. Doug Coby (Milford, CT); 5. Ron Silk (Norwalk, CT); 6. Donny Lia (Jericho, NY); 7. Eric Goodale (Riverhead, NY); 8. Jimmy Blewett (Howell, NJ); 9. Rowan Pennink (Huntingdon Valley, PA); 10. Woody Pitkat (Stafford, CT)

SUNOCO MODIFIED SERIES TOP-10: 1. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 2. Ted Christopher (Plainville, CT); 3. Ronnie Williams (Tolland, CT); 4. Adam Norton (Palmer, MA); 5. Bert Marvin (Colchester, CT); 6. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 7. Steven Kopcik (Newtown, CT); 8. John Catania (Agawam, MA); 9. Rowan Pennink (New Egypt, New Jersey) ; 10. Kyle Traynor (Marlboro, MA)

VINTAGE OUTLAWS TOP-10: 1. Jim Lowrey (Tilton, NH); 2. NO NAME #23; 3. Darrel Dutch (Greenville, RI); 4. Glen Boss (Danielson, CT); 5. Gary Byington;  6. No Name #17; 7. Ed Milligan; 8. Tom Bouregard; 9. Ben LeVangie; 10. Tom Cerroni (Smithfield, RI)

XTRA MART LIMITED SPORTSMAN TOP-10: 1. Joshua Wood (Palmer, MA); 2. Corey Hutchins (Salem, CT); 3. Scott Sundeen (Sutton, MA); 4. Jesse Gleason (Lisbon, CT); 5. Al Stone (Hurham, CT); 6. Larry Barnett (Moosup, CT); 7. Ryan Waterman (Danielson, CT); 8. Randy Waterman (Danielson, CT); 9. Allen Coates (Ledyard, CT); 10. Frank L’Etolle, Jr. (Wethersfield, CT)

PRO ALL STAR SERIES RACE TOP-10: 1. Garrett Hall (Scarborough, ME); 2. Derek Griffith (Hudson, NH); 3. David Garbo (Stonington, CT); 4. Trevor Sanborn (East Parsonfield, ME); 5. Ben Rowe (Turner, ME); 6. Mike Hopkins (Hermon, ME); 7. Larry Gelinas (Buxton, ME); 8. Joey Doiron (Berwick, ME); 9. Glen Luce (Turner, ME); 10. Derek Ramstrom (Worcester, MA)

LATE MODEL SERIES TOP-10: 1. William Wall (Shrewsbury, MA); 2. Larry Gelinas (Buxton, MA); 3. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 4. Marc Curtis (Brookfield, MA); 5. Nick Johnson (Rehoboth, MA); 6. Rick Gentes (Harrisville, RI); 7. Walt Sutcliffe (East Haven, CT); 8. Michael Bennett (Willington, CT); 9. James Banfield (South Glastonbury, CT); 10. Tom Carey, III (Orange, MA)

MINI STOCKS FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Dave Trudeau (Mansfield, CT); 2. Scott Michalski (South Killingly, CT); 3. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 4. Ed Field (Deep Rivier, CT); 5. Jordan Hadley (Quaker Hill, CT); 6. Nick Anderson; 7. Eric Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 8. Doug Curry (Groton, CT); 9. Robert Ducharme Foster, RI); 10. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT)

Dreams Come True For Solomito

First Career Whelen Modified Tour Win Comes At Icebreaker

IMG_0200THOMPSON, Conn. (April 10, 2016) – Timmy Solomito’s dreams came true Sunday afternoon.

The 24-year-old from Islip, New York, ran away with the 42nd Annual Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park to secure his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory. Solomito powered past former champion and current NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Ryan Preece to lead the final 34 laps of the Icebreaker 150 en route to the checkered flag.

“I never thought this day would come,” Solomito said. “You lie in bed thinking about things like this. This is a dream come true.”

The victory came in Solomito’s 36th career start. He is in his second full season driving the No. 16 Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises Ford for Flamingo Motorsports. The team had won tour championships with Mike Stefanik (2006) and Preece (2013) before turning to the Long Island native.

Solomito’s previous best finish was third, four times, including the final two races of 2015.

Preece settled for a runner-up finish, while Justin Bonsignore finished third. Defending tour champion Doug Coby, who was looking for his fifth straight win at Thompson, won the Coors Light Pole Award Saturday but faded late Sunday to finish fourth. Ron Silk rounded out the top five.

The race went green for the first 81 laps. The first caution allowed for all the teams to come down pit road, and Solomito gained three spots to move up to fourth on the restart. Preece, who led the first 85 laps, gave up the lead to Bonsignore, before Solomito powered into the lead for the first time. Preece got the lead back briefly, but Solomito regained the point and steadily pulled away. He won by 3.512 seconds.

Donny Lia, Eric Goodale, Jimmy Blewett, Rowan Pennink and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top 10.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will race next in the NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 24.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Icebreaker 150 Results

Sunday

At Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

Thompson, Conn.

Lap length: 0.625 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

  1. (13) Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Ford, 150 laps, 93.464 mph.
  2. (2) Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  3. (10) Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  4. (1) Doug Coby, Milford, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  5. (5) Ron Silk, Norwalk, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  6. (3) Donny Lia, Jericho, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  7. (6) Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150.
  8. (9) Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J., Dodge, 150.
  9. (8) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Chevrolet, 150.
  10. (7) Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  11. (4) Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  12. (16) Max Zachem, Preston, Conn., Chevrolet, 150.
  13. (19) Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass., Chevrolet, 150.
  14. (15) Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, N.Y., Chevrolet, 149.
  15. (18) Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass., Chevrolet, 149.
  16. (11) Shawn Solomito, Islip, N.Y., Chevrolet, 149.
  17. (24) Jamie Tomaino, Howell, N.J., Chevrolet, 149.
  18. (17) Rob Summers, Manchester, Conn., Chevrolet, 148.
  19. (14) Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 148.
  20. (12) Brendon Bock, Franklin Square, N.Y., Chevrolet, 147.
  21. (23) Andrew Krause, Holmdel, N.J., Chevrolet, 147.
  22. (26) Gary McDonald, Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Chevrolet, 144.
  23. (22) Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn., Chevrolet, 144.
  24. (20) Jeff Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y., Chevrolet, 141.
  25. (25) Troy Talman, Oxford, Mass., Chevrolet, 140, handling.
  26. (21) Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y., Chevrolet, 125, electrical.
  27. (27) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H., Chevrolet, 50, handling.

 

Race Statistics

Time of Race: 1 hour 0 minutes 11 seconds

Margin of Victory: 3.512 seconds

Fastest Qualifier: D.Coby (120.702 mph, 18.641 seconds)

Caution Flags: 2 for 16 laps.

Lead Changes: 6 among 3 drivers.

Lap Leaders: R. Preece 1-85; J. Bonsignore 86-93; T. Solomito 94-102; J. Bonsignore 103; T. Solomito 104-110; R. Preece 111-116; T. Solomito 117-150.

Standings: 1. T. Solomito, 47; 2. R. Preece, 44; 3. J. Bonsignore, 42; 4. D. Coby, 40; 5. R. Silk, 39; 6. D. Lia, 38; 7. E. Goodale, 37; 8. J. Blewett, 36; 9. R. Pennink, 35; 10. W. Pitkat, 34.

Cugini Claims First Thompson Win on Chilly First Night for Icebreaker Weekend

Dan Cugini - NEMA Lite(THOMPSON, CT) – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park kicked off its 2016 season in style on April 9th with its first series of races as part of the 42nd Annual Icebreaker weekend. In addition to setting the field for Sunday’s events, including the season opener for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, day one of racing was highlighted by a 20-lap feature for the NEMA Lites which offered plenty of competitive racing action to kick off their 2016 season.

The event started smooth for front row starter Ryan Bigelow, who engaged in an intense battle with Jim Chambers through the first five laps of the event before their battle for the lead resulted in contact on turn four. The incident forced an early retirement for both drivers and Anthony Nocelia who was also collected in the wreck and changed the complexion of an already competitive race by taking out the two strongest cars in the early going.

Their misfortune worked to the benefit of Dan Cugini who, after experiencing mechanical issues in the heat races worked his way to the front and took the lead on lap 12. Cugini would dominate the rest of the race and claim his first ever win at Thompson Speedway and what he considers one of the biggest trophies of his career so far.

“This is the Thompson Icebreaker. This is special to anyone. It’s one of those events that everyone wants to win. I’ve got mine, I love it and I want to do it again,” Cugini told reporters after his win. “We’ve been in the top three a bunch of times and we finally got one. It’s tough to win here. You have to have a good setup. If you can’t drive it in deep you’re not going to win.”

Adding to Cugini’s impressive win was the fact that he had to hold off early leader PJ Stergios and last year’s champion and runner-up respectively, Anthony Payne and Randy Cabrel, to get to victory lane. Avery Stoher rounded out the top five.

Another highlight event of the night was the season debut of the Lite Modified series, which saw a repeat winner in Tony Membrino, Jr. who defended his win at the end of last season during World Series weekend. Membrino was one of many drivers that followed up victories in the season finale last fall with strong runs in the 2016 Icebreaker, but it was not an easy road to victory lane. Membrino had to endure a hard charging Corey Barry and Matt Rzewmicki throughout the early running of the event and then defend his lead in a three-lap dash after Rzewmicki lost an engine and created an extended caution. Membrino never let up and took home the checkered flag, starting 2016 the same way he left 2015. Membrino took time in victory lane to pay tribute to a driver the racing world lost in December of last year, Ronald “Ron” Bouchard. “He was a real close member of this community,” Membrino said. “Without (Ron) modified racing wouldn’t be what it is today.”

Kicking off the first night of the 2016 Icebreaker feature events was the Vintage Outlaws series. The first event of the series third season saw a pair of drivers dominated the field as Jim Lowrey and Darrel Dutch traded the lead throughout the fifteen-lap feature. Despite an impressive early lead by Dutch it was Lowrey who came out on top after making an impressive lap-three pass and never looking back.
Lowrey said he got off to a slow start but it didn’t take long for him to find his groove and take the first trophy of the season. “I was just going easy. We were told at the driver’s meeting that everybody was fresh this year on new tires. We just wanted to be careful. Once I got heat in the tires and it hooked up it was really going good,” Lowrey said.

The North East Street Stock Tour (NESST) opened their second season with a 20-lap feature on the Big T, presented by RAD Auto Machine. Defending champion Joe Arena started the race strong, taking a comfortable early lead after starting on the pole and holding that lead for the first half of the event until the race’s first caution came out on lap ten.

Arena maintained the lead on the restart, endured a second restart after a caution on lap 13 and held off a hard charging Steve Kenneway and Corey Hutchings to claim the first win of the NESST season in dominant fashion. “The track is really slick and I learned in the World Series don’t take the bottom groove when it’s this cold,” Arena said commenting on the chilly temperatures that dominated the first day of Icebreaker weekend. “I learned that the hard way last year. I was pretty calm about that first restart, but then the second one I thought about Steve Kenneway, he’s a tough competitor like me. I want to thank Corey (Hutchings) for giving me a little push there of two on the restart. That really bolted us to the front there.”

The New England Pro Four Modified Tour, which brought together two divisions for one big 20-lap feature, saw Norm Wrenn, III claim a victory while Allen Rieser’s fourth place finish made him the first member of Pro Four Lite Division to cross the stripe.

The New England Truck Series closed out the night with a victory for Bert Ouellette, III.

The action continues for the 2016 Icebreaker event at Thompson Speedway on Sunday, April 10th with a special Fan Appreciation Party at 11 AM, featuring a performance by American Idol contestant Timmy Brown. In addition to the season debut of the Sunoco Modified series, Limited Sportsman, Late Models and Mini Stocks the evening will also include the first race of the 2016 Whelen Modified Tour season with defending champion Doug Coby taking the pole on Saturday, his 4th in a row at Thompson, as he begins his journey to defend his title once again. He will be flanked by veteran Modified Tour driver Ryan Preece who returns to his short track roots after running in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in Texas Friday night.

NEW ENGLAND PRO FOUR MODIFIEDS: 1. Norm Wrenn, III (Amherst, NH); 2. Robin Berghman (East Providence, RI); 3. Randy Clark, Jr. (West Yarmouth, MA); 4. Allen Rieser; 5. Mark Charette (Wolcott, CT); 6. Bill Lucchesi, Jr. (Patterson, NY); 7. Mark Giordano (Dudley, MA); 8. Tom Royer (Swanzey, NH); 9. J.R. Gorman; 10. Dion Doyle (Preston, CT)

NORTHEAST STREET STORCK TOUR: 1. Joe Arena (Bristol, CT); 2. Corey Hutchings (Salem, CT); 3. Steve Kenneway (Lowell, MA); 4. Ryan Lineham (Coventry, RI); 5. Moose Douton (Waterfod, CT) 6. NO NAME, TWO #36s ON ROSTER; 7. Frank L’Etoile, Jr. (Weathersfield, CT); 8. Jim Boyle Waterford, CT); 9. Jim Silva; 10. NO NAME #77s

NEMA LITES: 1. Dan Cugini (Marshfield, MA); 2. PJ Stergios (Candia, NH); 3. Anthony Payne (Fairlawn, NJ); 4. Randy Cabral (Plymouth, MA) 5. Avery Stoher (Lakeville, MA); 6. Paul Scally (Raynham, MA); 7. Jim Cataldo (Sterling, MA); 8. Alan Chambers (Atkinson, NH); 9. Jeff Locke (Chester, NH)10. Scott Bigelow (East Hampton, CT)

VINTAGE OUTLAW: 1. Jim Lowrey (Tilton, NH); 2. Darrel Dutch (Greenville, RI); 3. Gary Byington, 4.Joe Laliberte (Quebec, Canada); 5. NO NAME #23, 6. NO NAME  #17, 7. Ron St. Germaine (Rochdale, MA); 8. Tom Bouregard; 9. Tom Cerroni (Smithfield, RI); 10. Ed Mulligan

NEW ENGLAND TRUCK SERIES: 1. Bert Ouellette, III (Eillington, CT); 2. Robert McCormick (Ridge, NY); 3. Pete Cayer, (Bristol, CT)

LITE MODIFIEDS: 1. Tomy Membrino, JR (Berlin, CT); 2. Corey Barry (Plainfield, CT); 3. Marcello Rufrano (North Haven, CT); 4. Wesley Prucker (Stafford, CT); 5. Damon Tinio (Mendon, MA); 6. Andrew Molleur (Shelton, CT); 7. Carlos Gray (East Hartford, CT); 8. Matt Rzewnicki (Chicopee, MA); DNS: Cam Sontag (Sterling, MA)

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