THOMPSON , Conn. — Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park hosted a busy day of racing on Saturday, Oct. 12 to kick off the 57th Annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing, after Mother Nature rained out the first night of on-track action Friday. With a combined twenty divisions set to race over 48 hours, the Sunoco World Series promised plenty of highlights to close the season.
The day started with the championship race for the Thompson Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division, with a 25-lap feature deciding a three-way battle for the title. Leading the way coming into the weekend was Woody Pitkat — whose late season charge, including three wins in three months — helped him build a six-point advantage over 2016 champion William Wall and a 20-point lead over division newcomer Derek Gluchacki.
The feature proved to be quite stressful for the championship contenders with 30 cars on track. While Gluchacki ran up front most of the race to challenge for his first win, Wall and Pitkat found themselves mired back in traffic hoping to earn solid finishes. Unfortunately, Pitkat was unable to escape unscathed during a restart five laps into the race as he was collected in a multi-car incident in turn three ending his race early — leaving Wall and Gluchacki to decide the title. Gluchacki did everything he could, taking the lead and leading the most laps on route to his first win. However, a sixth-place finish was all Wall needed to secure his second title.
“Once I saw (Pitkat crash) and he was parked for the afternoon I knew I had to get a top ten if Derek Gluchacki won it,” Wall said. “I remember my first championship in 2016 I had a little bit more of a cushion and coming into this one behind the eight-ball meant I really had to work for it.”
The Late Model drivers of the American Canadian Tour took to the track later in the evening for the final race of their season. Rich Dubeau held an 81-point lead over second place Jimmy Hebert in a season that saw Dubeau score a series-high eight top fives and perfect string of top tens in the first nine events as well as two wins — tied for most on the season. While Dubeau couldn’t make it a perfect season of top ten finishes, ending the day in twelfth, he did secure his first championship in an ACT career that has been all about building to the next step of success one year at a time.
“I’m just the driver. This is a total team effort. There’s no way I could go out and win a championship on my own. It takes a complete team,” said Dubeau. “It’s been progression. We were in tenth place in the points standings our first year. We went to seventh place, fifth place, then fourth and now we’re here. It doesn’t even seem real.”
As for the race win, that went to Jonathan Bouvrette, who benefitted from a lap-one incident that impacted all of the top five starters. Their bad luck was Bouvrette’s gain as he survived the caution filled race to drive to a dominant win, his first ever in the American Canadian Tour.
“It’s a monster track. This is a really cool place. It’s a pleasure for me to win my first ACT race here,” Bouverette said. “I was behind the wreck. It was a very fast car. That’s why we got the win today.”
The Granite State Pro Stock Series took to the track for a 50-lap feature, their penultimate race of the 2019 season. Joey Doiron entered the event with a 55-point advantage over Ray Christian, III as he sought to wrap up a championship after finishing runner-up last season. Christian looked to be in perfect position to score maximum points on the day, leading more than half the race, however, after battling with Eddie McDonald for over ten laps and two restarts, Christian finally conceded the top spot 37 laps into the race allowing McDonald to drive away to the win.
“(Ray Christian) was really quick. I was worried about him all day, but my guys did a great job,” MacDonald said. “I’ve always loved coming to Thompson so to get another win here is awesome.”
The Valenti Modified Racing Series closed out their 2019 with Mike Willis Jr. entering the 50-lap World Series feature holding a 54-point advantage over Thompson Speedway regular Ronnie Williams for a championship. Williams let his experience at Thompson shine, starting up front and staying there for the duration of the race earning a dominant victory, his third of the year.
“After finishing second in the spring this means a lot,” Williams said in Victory Lane referencing his second-place finish in the Thompson Icebreaker at the start of the year. “We had a fast race car all weekend. I’m confident in these guys and I think we showed in the end how much speed this car has.”
Mike Willis, Jr. didn’t have the race he wanted after finishing outside the top twenty thanks to damage obtained from an on-track incident, but he was still able to hold on for the championship, his first in the Valenti Modified Racing Series. “The car was the best car I ever had here but then I got dive bombed and the car wasn’t handling good after that,” Willis said. “I thought we were going to get (the title) last year and it didn’t go our way. It was important for me to get this championship in a touring series.”
The 2019 Thompson SK Light Modified® champion Bryan Narducci earned his seventh win of a dominant season on a last lap pass of Albert Ouelette. Narducci locked up the title in September after securing a 64-point lead over Wayne Burroughs, Jr. for the championship.
The Northeastern Midget Association finished their 2019 season with the annual Shane Hammond Memorial Race, where Avery Stoehr followed in his father Russ Stoehr’s footsteps to become a NEMA Champion for the first time while Ben Seitz took home the feature win. Finally, the Pro-4 Modifieds finished off the night capping off their 50th season with a 22-lap feature won by Rob Riccardi.
LATE MODEL FINISH TOP-10: 1. Derek Gluchacki (Dartmouth, MA); 2. Tom Carey, III (Warwick, RI); 3. Mark Jenison (Warwick, RI); 4. Joey Parker (Weymouth, MA); 5. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 6. William Wall (Millbury, MA); 7. Tony Macrino (Waterford, CT); 8. Alexandre Tardif (Notre Dame des Pins, QC); 9. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA); 10. Ryan Linehan (Hope Valley, RI)
ACT LATE MODEL FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Jonathan Bouvrette (Blainville, QC); 2. Woody Pitkat (Bellingham, MA); 3. Mark Jenison (Warwick, RI); 4. Ryan Kuhn (E. Bridgewater, MA); 5. Dylan Payea (Milton, VT); 6. Derek Glychaki (Dartmouth, MA); 7. John Donahue (Graniteville, CT); 8. Michael Mitchell (Cumberland, RI); 9. Ryan Morgan (North Franklin, CT); 10. Bryan Kruczek (Newmarket, NH)
VALENTI MODIFIED RACING SERIES FINISH TOP-7: 1. Ronnie Williams (Ellington, CT); 2. Chase Dowling (Roxbury, CT); 3. Craig Lutz (Miller Place, NY); 4. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 5. Joey Cipriano (Waterbury, CT); 6. Donnie Lashua (Canaan, NH); 7. Cameron Sontag (Sterling, MA)
GRANITE STATE PRO STOCK SERIES FINISH TOP-10: 1. Eddie MacDonald (Rowley, MA); 2. Ray Christian, III (Uncasville, CT); 3. Cory Casagrande (Stafford Springs, CT); 4. Ryan Kuhn (East Bridgewater, MA); 5. Reid Lanpher (Manchester, ME); 6. Jimmy Renfrow, Jr. (Candia, NH); 7. Josh King (Vernon, VT); 8. Devin O’Connell (Madison, CT); 9. Joey Doiron (Berwick, ME); 10. Tommy O’Sullivan (Springfield, MA)
SK LIGHT MODIFIED® FINISH: 1. Bryan Narducci (Colchester, CT); 2. Albert Ouellette (Ellington, CT); 3. Alexander Pearl (Salem, CT); 4. Brian Sullivan (Tolland, CT); 5. Kyle Ellwood; 6. Noah Korner (Bloomfield, CT); 7. Jon Puleo (Branford, CT); 8. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 9. Teddy Hodgdon (Danbury, CT); 10. Robert Bloxsom, III (Stratford, CT)