BY KYLE SOUZA, FOR THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK
THOMPSON, Conn. –As the 56thannual Sunoco World Series gets ready to take the green flag this Friday, multiple of the 17 divisions planning to race have a tight championship battle entering the weekend.
Off a rain-shortened race at Lee USA Speedway last weekend, the Granite State Pro Stock Series will make a stop at Thompson with just two races left in their championship points schedule. And as he looks for his first series championship, Devin O’Connell leads the standings by 20 points over Joey Doiron entering the 60-lap feature on Friday night.
With two wins this season, O’Connell has been among the cars to beat at every track, while Doiron, who has consistently been a threat all season, will look to close the gap. Cory Casagrande, who doesn’t plan on attending Friday’s race, is third, 68 points back, meaning the top two are going to decide the title going forward. Friday’s 60-lap feature will include some of the top Super Late Model talent in New England as the championship battles heats up.
In the Valenti Modified Racing Series, one of Thompson’s own is going for the title. Woody Pitkat, who runs as a regular in Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series, leads the points by 15 over Mike Willis Jr. Pitkat, who has already competed in two different cars this season, will run another one on Saturday night. As Speed51.com reported on Wednesday afternoon, Pitkat will drive for veteran Todd Patnode in the 50-lap World Series feature, which is the final race of the season for the Valenti crowd.
Willis, who has been consistent all season, scored a win in the Tri Track Open Modified Series event at Claremont Speedway earlier, which helped propel him to success in the VMRS division. With Anthony Nocella third, 47 points out, it will be a two-horse race to decide the champion.
Set for a 75-lap feature Saturday night, the American Canadian Tour comes to Connecticut with their own battle. Scott Payea leads by 26 on Eddie MacDonald, while Jimmy Hebert is third, 40 points back.
In the International Supermodified Association (ISMA), Tony Bowes enters the weekend just 16 points up on Doug Edwards. With Sunday’s 50-lap ISMA feature set to decide the champion, the fight will go right down to the final laps for one of the most coveted titles in Supermodified racing.
With just one race left on their schedule, the North East Mini Stock Tour also has a close battle at the top of their championship race as well.
The NEMA Midgets, NEMA Lites, Pro 4 Modifieds, EXIT Realty Pro Truck Challenge and Street Stock Showdown Series also come into the weekend in the midst of title battles.
In Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions, the battle at the top has all but been decided. Keith Rocco leads Troy Talman by 48 in the Sunoco Modifieds, while Eric Bourgeois leads by 37 in the Mini Stocks. Nick Johnson, in search of his first Late Model championship, leads by four over Tom Carey III, with William Wall 15 back and Mark Jenison 19 out. In his quest for a second straight title in the Limited Sportsman, Shawn Monahan leads by 43 entering the finale.
The 56thannual Sunoco World Series gets underway on Friday, when cars take to the track for the first time with practice beginning at 11 a.m. with the Granite State Pro Stock Series. Friday’s events include the finale for the Whelen All American Series Late Models, along with the 50-lap GSPSS feature. The Lite Modifieds, Open Vintage Modifieds and STAR will also compete Friday.
Saturday morning gets underway early and will end with eight different races before the day is out. After the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour completes practice and qualifying, the NEMA Midgets, American Canadian Tour and Valenti Modified Racing Series drivers will be among the first to compete in Saturday feature racing, along with the Mini Stocks. The Pro 4 Modifieds, EXIT Realty Pro Truck Challenge, North East Mini Stock Tour and Street Stock Showdown add to the list.
Sunday, in the finale of the weekend, the Sunoco Modifieds, Limited Sportsman, NEMA Lites, ISMA Supermodifieds and the Whelen Modified Tour will run their feature events.
Over the course of three days, the annual breakfast buffet and prime rib dinner will be available in the clubhouse, another part of the weekend fans won’t want to miss. Thompson’s concession stands will also be open for the entire weekend.
After all that, if fans aren’t quite ready to leave, campers are allowed to stay on property until 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon.
Fans can enter the paddock area for $75, which is one price for all three days. Any fans that wish to enter the grandstands can do so with a general admission ticket at $55, while seniors (65+), veterans and active duty military members can enter at a price of $50. As always, any children under the age of 12 are free.
Camping is also available for the weekend. Fans can catch-up with the latest World Series information by visiting www.thompsonspeedway.com, where you can find the full schedule. Follow the track on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.