Category Archives: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

Thompson Boasts Star Studded Sunoco Modified Field for 2016

(THOMPSON, CT) – As the start of the 2016 racing season nears on April 9-10 for the traditional Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Icebreaker, the Sunoco Modified field is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in recent history.

Woody Pitkat returns as the division’s champion in the Stan Mertz owned Sunoco Modified. By virtue of winning the title, Pitkat’s team decided to rebuild the car in time for the championship banquet that was held in December for the first time at Mohegan Sun. Since that time, the car has been ready to race and to begin a title defense.

“It’s been a weird offseason because the car has been ready to go and I haven’t been to the shop all winter,” said Pitkat.

When asked if being separated from the team for five months will impact his on track performance, Pitkat felt it would make the team stronger.

“If anything a long break would only fuel the fire more because the team hasn’t been doing the daily grind. Some people may be rushing and burning the midnight oil, but we are ready to go and to fire on all eight cylinders so it will be more of an advantage to us,” he said.

2014 division champion and defending Icebreaker winner, Ryan Preece, has moved up to the national scene and is competing full time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for JD Motorsports. Preece is scheduled to be on hand for the season opener driving for Al and Cathy Moniz in the Sunoco Modified division. The husband and wife duo also back Preece’s Xfinity Series car as an associate sponsor with their company Falmouth Ready Mix appearing on the car for all 33 events this season. The remainder of his schedule will be determined on a race by race basis.

Adding his name to the list of regulars for 2016 is Rowan Pennink who hasn’t raced at Thompson full time since 2010 when he too drove for the Moniz family in the 31 machine. Pennick, the reigning SK Modified champion at Stafford Speedway, will replace Keith Rocco in the Ceravolo machine and make the weekly 4 hour drive from his home in New Egypt, NJ to compete at Thompson. Pennink will also be on hand for the Whelen Modified Tour event as he takes over the Boehler Racing No. 3 full time this season.

Rocco, a 4-time Thompson champion will return once again, but not only as a driver. He will also enter as a car owner for rookie Ronnie Williams who will run full time. Williams at just 19 years old has already garnered a lot of attention after a 6 win season at Stafford in 2015. He has never run a Sunoco Modified at Thompson and has only two starts at the track including his first ever SK Lite Modified start in 2011 at only 15 years old. It was the first time he drove anything other than a go kart. However, regardless of William’s inexperience at the Big T, he is expected to be a factor this season.

“I’m not worried at all. Keith’s cars are the best out there so at this point it is all up to me,” said Williams. “Last year I gained a lot of experience and matured a lot. I’m racing against guys I know; Keith, Woody, and Rowan. It’s going to be a new track, but I am definitely looking forward to it.”

Not only is this the first time Rocco will own a car he will race against all season for the drivers championship, it is also the first time Williams will drive a car that isn’t prepared by his family team.

Thompson Speedway opens its gates for the first time this season on Saturday March 26, for an open practice session. 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.

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Partners with Ellis Tech to Offer Exciting New Program for Automotive Tech Students

(THOMPSON, CT) – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) is excited to announce a partnership with Ellis Tech’s Automotive Technology program, offering a unique experience for students to find out what it’s like working on a real race car crew. This program is designed to help fuel a passion for racing in the next generation, and provide hands-on learning opportunities not available elsewhere.

The program is a collaboration between Taylor Therrien from TSMP, Brian Mignault, the Principal of Ellis Tech, and Brendan Smith, the Automotive Tech Program Director. The program will partner participating students with one of TSMP’s race teams. By working with a single team over the course of the season, the student will have the opportunity to develop a relationship with them, and learn about different parts of the job of a crew member. The jobs they are given will be decided by the crew chief, and can range from working on damaged body panels, changing car set-up or helping the spotter communicate with the driver. If the relationship is successful, there may be opportunities for the program to turn into a more permanent arrangement for the students.

Students will be required to commit to at least 5 races of the season, and in return will receive free admission to the events. Some of the teams participating include past champions, such as 2015 Late Model crown winner, Brian Tagg.

For more information about the program, please contact Taylor Therrien at 860-923-2280 x205 or email taylor@thompsonspeedway.com.

Buffington, Gray & O’Brien Enter Midstate Site Development Legends Series at Thompson

Three 2015 INEX Road Course State Champions First to Register

 

Open Wheel Weekend at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Open Wheel Weekend at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

THOMPSON, CT – In 2015, US Legends cars made their debut on Thompson Speedway Motorsports’ Park’s (TSMP) 1.7-mile road course.  The race, which featured as many as six lead changes per lap, was deemed by many to be the best since the track’s renovation in 2013.  On the heels of a successful inaugural event, OTB Promotions, Inc. announced they’d partnered with Midstate Site Development (MSD) to host a six-event, 10-race championship on TSMP’s challenging 11-turn course.  Three of INEX’s State Champion drivers were the first to announce their intention to become the Series’ first titlist.

Shaun Buffington, who has been racing for nearly two decades is no stranger to TSMP. He is a former competitor in the Sunoco Modified Division on the venue’s historic 5/8-mile oval.  When he returned last season, however, it was in his No. 23s Legend car and on the road course. You’d never know it was his first time on the track, though, as he navigated the circuit with

Open Wheel Weekend at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Open Wheel Weekend at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

skill in route to victory lane. The 2015 INEX Connecticut State Road Course Pro Champion described the track layout as “awesome,” further commending the track’s “smooth asphalt aiding braking, as well as the lack of abrasiveness on tires.” His goal is to be crowned the Series’ inaugural champion.

Buffington’s teammate, Tom Gray, has also entered his No. 18 Chevrolet Coupe. A former INEX Road Course Master Champion, Gray earned a 2015 INEX CT State Road Course Masters title, on his way to a third place finish in the 2015 national Road Course Masters standings.  Gray is expected to compete in all 11 races.

Open Wheel Weekend at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Open Wheel Weekend at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Maine’s Jordan O’Brien is the first Semi-Pro class driver to enter.  When OTB talked to O’Brien, he was preparing for a trip to

Sebring to shadow a Lamborghini team in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) paddock, as part of a job shadow program.  O’Brien’ passion for road racing is undeniable, citing the fact that his enthusiasm for the twists and turns began when he started racing karts at Maine Indoor Karting.  The reason he continues road racing: “I don’t like to be normal.” At 17 years of age, he’s far from the status quo.  The technical school student intends to participate in all MSD Legends Series events.

About Midstate Site Development

Midstate Site Development is a leader in heavy highway, as well as commercial and industrial construction.   MSD’s has a reputation of success in both small and large scale projects, ranging from $23,000 to $4,134,000.  They specialize not only in planning, but in properly and safely executing those plans to satisfy their customer’s needs.

About OTB Promotions

OTB Promotions, Inc. is a motorsports promotions company.  The focus is to find new and innovative ways for drivers of sports cars, stock cars, karts, and just about anything else with tires and motors to do what they love – get on the track.