Tag Archives: Mini Stock

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park to Pay Out Over $600,000 in Purses in 2016

Over the course of it’s 10-event season, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) will pay out over $600,000 in prize money – a $100,000 increase from 2015. Over $220,000 of those funds will go directly to its own six divisions.

The Sunoco Modified division will have more than $12,000 in purse money on the line for their big event, the 3rd annual Sunoco Modified 20/20 Sprint on Wednesday, July 27. This event will see the winner walk home with $2,000, and pay out $1,500 and $1,000 to 2nd and 3rd place, respectively. The race will pay $325 for 10th and $200 to start. The first two points races of the night will be 20 laps, but it’s the final 10-lap race which will determine the purse payout, making for an exciting finish to the segment-race event.  Over the course of the 10-event season, Sunoco Modified teams will be the beneficiary of nearly $100,000 in prize money, before contingencies.

The Late Model division’s main event of the season will be their own 20/20 Sprint event on Wednesday, June 1. This segment-race format will be run the same way, with the winner taking home $1,000 at the end of the night, as well as a guaranteed starter position for the American-Canadian Tour race at the World Series. The drivers in 2nd and 3rd place will take home $700 and $575, respectively, and the total purse for the night will be $7,675.  Late Model drivers will fight for nearly $60,000 over the course of their 2016 campaign.

The big night to win for the Limited Sportsman division will be the Limited Sportsman Long Distance race on Wednesday, May 18. The winner of this 40-lap feature will take home $750, with 2nd and 3rd taking $500 and $350, respectively. The total purse for this event will be $4,255.  This is part of over $30,000 in prize money for TSMP;s Division 3 drivers.

The Mini Stock division will have the opportunity to take home a little extra at their special 25-lap feature on For the Fans Night, on Saturday, July 9th. This event will see the purse raised to $300 for the winner, $225 for 2nd and $200 for 3rd, for a total purse of over $2,000, part of the $15,000-plus to be paid to Mini Stock teams.

TSMP’s non-NASCAR divisions, the Trucks and Lite Modifieds, will also have their own purses for their 20-lap events. The Trucks will receive an evenly-distributed purse of $2,615 and the Lite Modifieds will receive $2,590 in awards.

In addition to the event purses, a healthy contingency program will be announced in the weeks leading up to the season-opening, Icebreaker.  At the season-ending awards banquet, over $25,000 will be paid out in point fund money for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and Triple Crown Series.

With more races and more prize money on the line, this promises to be a strong season for car counts at the famed 5/8-mile historic oval. For more information about the 2016 season, visit our website http://www.thompsonspeedway.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube for the most up-to-date information about our events.

ACT Crowns Champ In Return to Thompson Speedway

WorldseriesThe second night of the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing weekend, presented by XtraMart at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park saw eight champions crowned over the span of nine feature events throughout the evening with the centerpiece of the night’s racing action being the long awaited return of the American Canadian Late Model Tour (ACT) for the first time since 1992.

The 100-lap feature saw some of the best Late Model drivers in both the United States and over the border in Canada take to the track as the series crowned it’s latest champion, Wayne Helliwell, Jr., and saw the possible end of a storied career for one of the series most successful stars. While Helliwell took home the big trophy at the end of the night the race itself saw a victory for Brian Hoar who scored his 42nd career victory in the series and capped off the night with a major announcement.

“I’m just really excited,” said Hoar who expanded on his record setting series-high win total. “It’s been a really emotional road for me the past couple of weeks because I made the decision to hang the helmet up for a while. This is it for a little while.”

The win was Hoar’s second of the year after only making four starts on the season in the series. Hoar took the lead following a late race restart and escaped a pileup in turn one in the closing laps to dominate the final ten laps of the race.

While Hoar celebrated in victory lane Wayne Helliwell celebrated his own victory with his third series championship. Helliwell avoided several accidents and overcame fluid being sprayed on his car to claim a top ten at Thompson and the title.

“Anything can happen. This week at the shop was every night just checking and finding things and it was amazing how many little things that we could find that had been there all along, but it’s a big deal now,” he said. “Overall it was a great day.”

The Valenti Modified Racing Series crowned its champion on October 17th as well in Woody Pitkat who started on the pole for the 50-lap feature and ran in the top three for the duration of the event to clinch the title. Pitkat only needed a top three finish to best Chris Pasteryak for the championship and after starting on the pole Pitkat’s victory was seldom in doubt. Pasteryak gave it his best shot, finally cracking the top five after a lap 35 caution, but Pitkat held on strong and finished second in the event to Keith Rocco to claim his first Valenti Modified Racing Series title. The championship is also a first for car owner Peter Kulessa.

After the feature race winner Keith Rocco congratulated Pitkat and spoke about his dominating performance on his way to the checkered flag.

“We had a great car all year at all the races we ran. We should have contended for a lot more wins, but I’ve got to thank everyone on my team they worked real hard,” said Rocco. “This thing was just fast tonight.”

Pitkat, who overcame a 21-point deficit to Pasteryak in the last two races of the season, said he wasn’t even sure he would be in the running for the title when the season began. “We came out of the box and we were really consistent. We were good all year. We faltered a little bit in the summer months – Chris had such a bad start to the season but then he picked it up when we had a bad time,” he said. “Hat’s off to those guys. They did an awesome job. They won five races and we won two. Obviously they were really good. It’s just unbelievable.”

The NEMA Midgets kicked off the evening with the Shane Hammond Memorial Race, a 25-lap feature honoring Hammond who lost his life in a NEMA Midget in 2008 at Thompson. John Zych only had to turn the key and start the race to clinch his second championship in three years. Zych last held the title in 2013 and started eighth in the 25-lap race, working his way up to third in the first five laps. Zych would settle for third while Randy Cabral, who started at the rear of the field, would take the win, passing teammate Todd Bertrand with less than two laps to go. Cabral finished runner-up to Zych for the title and said it was an emotional win for him in honor of his good friend Shane Hammond.

“I started out the day with a little bit of bad luck and I think we just turned it around,” said Cabrel. “Shane was one of my best friends and to this day he’s still my best friend. I tell everybody and it feels good to finally win it.”

Champion John Zych said that while he wanted the race win he was more than happy to walk away with the biggest trophy of the night for the NEMA Midgets instead.

“We’re happy with third. Just too tight at the end of the race,” he said. “I’m really excited about the championship and I want to thank NEMA and all the fans for coming out but especially my dad who puts a ton of time in the car and that’s really why I won the championship.”

The Monster Mini Stock feature provided a bit of drama and a great story as a first time champion was crowned and a winner was honored for the final time in his career. Despite numerous crashes throughout the fifteen-lap event, Dave Trudeau of Mansfield, CT held on for his first championship in the series despite getting caught up in a wreck of his own. While Trudeau celebrated his accomplishment as the champion, Louis Bellisle put a fitting cap on his own driving career. The driver held on to win in dramatic fashion to claim a win in his final race before retiring from the sport.

In its premier season the North East Street Stock Tour crowned its first champion after several heavy hitters saw their championship hopes fade in the 20-lap feature. Joe Arena took home the hardware after entering the event third in points but benefited from cautions that took his closest competitors, Geoff Rollins and Chris Douton who entered the event first and second in points respectively, out of the running. Ed Puleo would also benefit from the many cautions spread throughout the event to claim a win in the series finale at the Big T.

The New England Truck Series held their penultimate race of the season before crowning their champion next week in Waterford. Bert Oullette would go on to dominate much of the race running a smooth line around the Big T on route to his third win of 2015 and his second in a row, but the win did not come easy. A late race caution bunched up the field leading to an intense battle in the final two laps between Oullette and Roger Turbush who actually took the lead off of turn two on the restart. Not to be denied, Oullette performed a dive bomb move in the final turn relinquishing the top spot and holding on for the victory.

Toby Wells finished his season strong in the North East Mini Stock Series claiming both the championship and the win in the 20-lap feature, while Andy Major took home his first Pro 4 Modified title after finishing the season in a tie with Derek Robbie and claiming the tiebreaker with the most wins on the season. The Lite Modified closed out the night with Tony Membrino, Jr. taking the win.

The action continues Sunday afternoon with open wheel action at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park as the Sunoco Modifieds, Limited Sportsman, NEMA Lites, and Super Modifieds cap off the World Series weekend at Thompson, and of course a champion will be crowned in the final event of the weekend, the Sunoco World Series 150 Whelen Modified Tour event.

NEMA MIDGETS FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Randy Cabral; 2. Todd Bertrand; 3. John Zych; 4. Seth Carlson; 5. Avery Stoehr; 6. Cole Carter; 7. Jim Chambers; 8. Paul Scally; 9. Alan Chambers; 10. Jake Smith

VALENTI MODIFIED RACING SERIES FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 2.  Woody Pitkat (Stafford, CT); 3. Dave Ethridge (Portland, CT); 4. Jon McKennedy (Chelmsford, MA); 5. Chris Pasteryak (Jewett City, CT); 6. Rowan Pennink (New Egypt, New Jersey); 7. Dylan Kopec (Palmer, MA); 8. Mike Keeler Danbury, CT); 9. Anthony Nocella (Worburn, MA); 10. Eric Berndt (Cromwell, CT)

AMERICAN CANADIAN TOUR FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Brian Hoar (Williston, CT); 2. Brad Babb (Windham, ME); 3. Jimmy Hebert (Williamsville, VT); 4. Ray Parent (Tiverton, RI); 5. Brandon Atkins (AuSable Forks, NY); 6. Rowland Robinson, Jr. (Steuben, ME); 7. Wayne Helliwell, Jr. (Dover, NH); 8. William Wall (Shrewsbury, MA); 9. Mark Jenison (Warwick, RI); 10. Emily Packard (E. Montpelier, CT)

MONSTER MINI STOCKS SERIES FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Louis Bellisle; 2. Mark Panaroni (Ivoryton, CT); 3. Christopher Viens (Putnam, CT); 4. Jordan Hadley; 5. Steve Michalski; 6. Mike D. Veins (Putnam, CT); 7. Ian Brew (Wood River Junction, RI); 8. Mike Anzalone; 9. Robert Ducharme; 10. Dave Trudeau (Mansfield, CT)

NORTH EAST STREET STOCK TOUR FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Ed Puleo (Branford, CT); 2. Joe Arena (Bristol, CT); 3. Steve Kenneway (Lowell, MA); 4. Josh Wood (Palmer, MA); 5. Tyler Janovsky (Whitingham, VT); 6. Jack Aquilina (Oakdale, CT); 7. Kyle Casagrande (Stafford Spring, CT); 8. Josh Galvin (Oakdale, CT); 9. Frank L’Etoile, Jr. (Weathersfield, CT); 10. Patrick Tanguay (Lebanon, ME)

NEW ENGLAND TRUCK SERIES FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Bert Oullette (Ellington, CT); 2. Roger Turbush (Riverhead, NY); 3. Frank Dumicich, Jr. (E. Quoque, NY); 4. Joshua Stringer (East Killingly CT); 5. Erin (Dumicich) Solomito (E. Quoque, NY); 6. Car #15JR (no name available); 7. Car #15 (no name available); 8. Todd Taylor (Stonegton, CT); 9. Brandin Chase (Concord, NH); 10. Tyler Chapman (Mystic, CT)

NEW ENGLAND PRO 4 MODIFIEDS FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Dave Richardi (Norton, MA); 2. Andy Major (Brookfield, MA); 3. Randy Cabral (Plymouth, MA); 4. Derek Robble (Bellingham, MA); 5. Phil Lausier (Hudson, NH); 6. Norm Wrenn, III (Amherst, NH); 7. Randy Clark, Jr. (W. Yarmouth, MA); 8. Doug Meservey, Jr. (Harwich, MA); 9. Mark Charette (Wolcott, CT); 10. Tom Royer (Swanzey, NH)

LITE MODIFIEDS FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Tony Membrino (Berlin, CT); 2. Brett Gonyaw (Vernon, CT); 3. Carlos Gray (Manchester, CT); 4. Payton Henry (Willington, CT); 5. Nick Salva; 6. Randy Churchill, Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 7. Todd Douillard (Palmer, MA); 8. Andrew Molleur (Shelton, CT); 9. Nathan Pytko (Douglas, MA); 10. Wesley Prucker (Stafford Springs, CT)

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Four Track Champions Will be Crowned at Sunoco World Series

75 Logo FINALThe Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing presented by Xtramart at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park is the biggest short track event in the northeast. As a result, winning the event is prestigious to say the least. In each of the 4 weekly divisions it is likely a win this weekend will equate to a track championship.

Xtramart Limited Sportsman

The closest battle is in the Xtramart Limited Sportsman division where two of the best in speedway history are separated by only 2 points or 1 position on the race track. Scott Sundeen is a 3-time track champion and he holds the upper hand over 57-time feature event winner Larry Barnett. If Sundeen wins the title, the two will be tied for the most championships in the division with 4 apiece.

The championship chase could come down to what happens during qualifying on Saturday with such a slim margin between the two. Points are awarded to the top-5 finishers of the heat races. 5 points go to the winner, 4 points to second, and so on through the top-5 meaning the point lead could change hands on Saturday before the green flies for the feature on Sunday afternoon.

Barnett has been absent from victory lane all season, which is a rarity in his career. Sundeen won the 2nd of 2 features on Icebreaker weekend and tallied a win in the most recent event contested. In that race, he was involved in an early incident on track that forced him to come from the back before driving to victory lane.

“I’m sure it will be fun,” said Sundeen. “It’s always a rough race and if it’s anything like last year it is going to be a war out there. I’m not worried about Larry; Whatever happens, happens.”

For Barnett it hasn’t been an easy season mechanically. For one reason or another, mostly voluntary, the engine has been out of his car 6 times and there have been 7 events to date. His season started with a borrowed engine, before he could put his power plant under the hood. Then it was problems with the valves and the camshaft that resulted in starting the process all over again. This weekend Barnett comes in with an entirely new drivetrain that has been untested.

When asked about racing Sundeen for the title, Barnett said “He’s rougher than what some people think and way cleaner than what other people think. He’s not going to give you an inch. We can race pretty cleanly near each other and not give up any extra space.”

Sunoco Modifieds

Woody Pitkat, Keith Rocco, and Ryan Preece are household names not only in modified country, but nationwide for their success at the Connecticut short tracks. It’s no surprise that the Sunoco Modified championship comes down to three of them.

Pitkat has a 14-point advantage over Rocco and 18 tallies over defending champ Preece. Preece has a division high 4 wins this season yet Rocco has momentum on his side coming off two straight victories in the previous two events. Pitkat is still winless so far.

At the end of the 2014 season, Pitkat was left without a ride when his car owner decided not to field an entry at the track. In January, Stan Mertz announced he would turn the reigns of his fledgling Sunoco Modified team over to Pitkat. The move marked a significant step for the racing operation after spending several years in the Pro-4 Modified ranks before dabbling in the more powerful Sunoco Modifieds with Mertz and Max Zachem behind the wheel.  Although the two have yet to visit victory lane at the Big T, the pair have collected 4 runner-up finishes and have had luck on their side.

Mertz’s team is a small team that doesn’t garner the attention as other teams do. They don’t use the same engine builder as most teams, instead they really on power from Norm Perry. Perry works tirelessly on the cars and is a key component to the team’s success.

As for Mertz, he’s been a fan of Pitkat for years. “When I brought Woody on board I knew we would be right in the hunt,” said Mertz. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined my team would be in position to win the championship heading into the World Series.”

Moving up to the Sunoco Modified division has been an eye opener for Mertz, but the little team that could might just be the Cinderella story of 2015.

Pitkat will be chasing 3 modified titles this weekend all in prestigious divisions. Headlined by his quest to become a first time Whelen Modified Tour Champion, he also holds the point lead in the Valenti Modified Racing Series standings.

Each of the title contenders is in the midst of more than one title bout this weekend. Preece is tied for the lead in the Whelen Modified title chase as Rocco is in the running to capture the Late Model title.

Late Model

Rocco trails Brian Tagg by only 7 points with one race remaining. Tagg is no stranger to Thompson after running five seasons in the Thompson Modified division, but this is his rookie season in a late model. Although Rocco has 4 Sunoco Modified crowns at Thompson, this will be his first Late Model championship should he come out on top.

“Rocco has the advantage for being there before, but circumstances dictate everything,” said Tagg. “My attitude is the same. Just get out there and keep going. Keep your head down and focus on us.”

Tagg’s first and only Late Model win came in the second segment of the Dunkin’ Donuts Late Model 20/20 Sprint. Rocco has not gone to victory lane in 2015, but his twin brother Jeff has won 4 of the last 5 events.

“I’ve been there before and I know where I need to be,” said Rocco. “I don’t have to worry about cracking under pressure. In both divisions we are in the same position so I need to go out win the heat race and win the feature and hope the other guys have trouble.”

With full late model fields each week, Jeff Rocco and Rick Gentes both still have an outside chance at the title sitting 29 markers out of the lead. William Wall is 5th trailing by 36 points.

Mini Stock

The mini stock title hunt has come down to a two horse race with Dave Trudeau up 30 points over Scott Michalski. Trudeau is peaking at the right time by capturing victories in the last two events. Michalski on the other hand won 3 of the first 4 races this season including a sweep of two feature events on Icebreaker weekend.

Trudeau brought a brand new car to the track at the start last season, but he elected to park it this year to run “old faithful,” his older but more trusted ride in 2015. That decision along with a move to put Engines by Andy motors under the hood has created the perfect combination.

“I’m trying not to think about it,” said Trudeau. “Everyone has been telling me to keep focused and concentrate. I’m not very patient; I’m aggressive, but if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.”

Should Trudeau win the championship, it will be the first of his career.

Three days of racing action begins for the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing presented by Xtramart on Friday, Oct. 16th and concludes on Sunday, Oct 18th. For more information including the event schedule visitwww.thompsonspeedway.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@thompsonspdwy) and Youtube for the latest news and updates.