(Tom Morris/Myracenews photos)
THOMPSON, Conn. — For the third time in 2019, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will invade Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday night. The 30th annual Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150 will bring NASCAR’s top stars back to Connecticut for a crucial race in the tour’s championship battle.
Joining the Whelen Modified Tour, all five of Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions and the NEMA Midgets will also battle. Not only will fans be able to watch some of NASCAR’s best, they will also witness sprint car veteran and champion Sammy Swindell compete in a Midget for Bertrand Motorsports, and some of the top local talent from New England in their short-track action.
On the Whelen Modified Tour championship front, Doug Coby, Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore enter the race as the title favorites with just six races remaining in their season. Coby leads Ron Silk by 24 points, but Silk is coming off back-to-back series victories at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Stafford Motor Speedway.
Bonsignore is chasing some history at Thompson on Wednesday. The driver of the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Inc. Chevrolet has been to Victory Lane in the last six tour races on the high-banks and is showing no signs of slowing down. Bonsignore didn’t lead the most laps in the Thompson 125 in June but was in the right position when it mattered most. He’s become the only driver to win five, and the only driver to win six races in a row at Thompson over the last four months.
Coby and Silk aren’t going to be far behind him. Both have their eyes set on the championship chase and are former winners at TSMP. Coby most recently won the finale en route to the title in 2015, but Silk hasn’t carried the checkered since 2012 in the Icebreaker.
Outside of them, there are over 25 more drivers planning to compete. Jon McKennedy will be behind the wheel of the famed No. 7NY for Tommy Baldwin, while the Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle continues with Sam Rameau entering the race ahead of Timmy Catalano and J.B. Fortin. Fans can also watch for names like Jimmy Blewett, Matt Swanson, Eric Goodale and Chris Pasteryak. Woody Pitkat, who has won the last two Late Model races at TSMP, will also compete in the Danny Watts owned No. 82 Chevrolet.
Through the first five races of the NEMA season, Avery Stoehr leads Todd Bertrand and Randy Cabral in their championship fight.
Speaking of Pitkat, he will be looking to continue to close the gap in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model standings in the 25-lap feature. Pitkat is just 17 points back of former champion William Wall, who has one victory, but top 10 finishes in all five races. Derek Gluchacki, who’s looking for his first TSMP win, is 26 points back.
The Limited Sportsman point chase might be one of the tightest in New England. With the top four drivers separated by just nine markers, anything can, and will happen when the green flag drops for their 20-lap race Wednesday. Kyle Gero, in search of his first title, leads by just one over Shawn Monahan and seven over Meghan Fuller. Ryan Morgan is fourth, while Brent Gleason, with one victory, is fifth.
The top two in the Mini Stock standings are separated by just six points, with two drivers named Michalski showing the way at the top. Scott leads Steve, but both are not going to give an inch going down the stretch. They both have been to Victory Lane, along with four other drivers this season, making it six winners in six races. Fans can watch names like Russ Barboza, Evan Bourgeois and Ian Brew, who are all inside the top 10 in the points chase but haven’t been to Victory Lane just yet.
Albert Ouellette and John O’Sullivan look to close the gap to the top of the SK Light Modified® championship standings. Ouellette is looking for his first career win, while O’Sullivan was able to earn his first checkered flag on July 28. They will join the rest of the competitors in a 20-lap feature race.
Fresh off his second win in six races, Keith Rocco is in prime form in search of another Sunoco Modified title. The Berlin, Connecticut, driver leads the standings entering the mid-week special, but Woody Pitkat is trying to close in. Pitkat was able to earn his first victory of the season on July 28 and followed it up with a second-place finish on August 4.
Grandstand admission opens at 2:30 p.m., while NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams will hit the track for one-hour of practice from 3:55-4:55 p.m. Qualifying races for the NEMA Midgets will begin at 5 p.m. Fans should note that the Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150 is not the final race of the night – as the Mini Stocks and Late Models will follow the tour race.
Grandstand admission is $50, while seniors (65+), veteran and active military are $45. Children 12 and under are free. Anyone who wishes to purchase a pit pass for the evening can do it for just $55.
For more information on Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, fans are encouraged to visit www.thompsonspeedway.com, and follow the track on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.