Story Courtesy of Souza Media
Photo Michael Jaworecki/Myracenews
Waterbury, VT and Naples, ME — Some of the top local Late Model stars are expected on Wednesday when Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park roars back to life for the second time this season. Although the special mid-week event will be headlined by the second round of the Outlaw Open Modified Series, with the Nutmeg State 75 presented by Twisted Tea worth $5,000 to the winner, the Late Models are one of five local divisions in action.
Competitors are set for a 25-lap feature in what will be a hotly contested battle. Some of the top drivers from the Icebreaker are expected back for another round. One of those drivers is Woody Pitkat, a multi-time Thompson Speedway champion who is no stranger to success over the last few years. Pitkat swept both races in the COVID-shortened 2020 season at the 0.625-mile oval, including the 50-lap World Series showdown where he took home $4,800 in purse and lap money.
In 2019, Pitkat came just a few laps from championship contention, but a wreck took him out of the race late. Over the last three years, he’s been the winningest driver in the tough division.
“We were dominant there with the car last year and the new tire this year for the Late Models has given us a little bit of a curveball,” Pitkat said. “But, everyone is in the same boat out there on the tires. We just have to continue to work on the car and get it better.”
Pitkat will be looking to advance from his fourth-place finish at the Icebreaker driving for Hartwell Motorsports, a team which has proven to be a successful combination. He’s expected to be joined by the likes of Nick Johnson, Mark Jenison, Shawn Monahan and Icebreaker winner Tom Carey III, among others. Carey is coming off his first career American-Canadian Tour triumph at White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday and will be carrying momentum.
Pitkat is hoping the adjustments the team made over the two-month break will help the speed in his entry.
“We had something good going at the Icebreaker during the heat race, but I got nervous and I asked my crew to change it a little bit and it didn’t work out,” Pitkat said. “What worked last year didn’t quite work this time around. Hopefully we have a good night and we can have a good finish.”
Pitkat is also one of several drivers who have declared Thompson Speedway their “home track” in the inaugural New England Late Model Challenge Cup. Brian Tagg, Ryan Morgan, Charles Bailey III, and others are chasing a $5,000 top prize for the Challenge Cup champion. Contingency prizes from Port City Racecars/Crazy Horse Racing, Five Star Race Car Bodes, and ARBodies are also on the line.
Outside of the Late Models, the Sunoco Modifieds return to competition with a 30-lap feature, while the Mini Stocks are set for a 15-lap contest. The SK Light Modifieds are set for 20 circuits, coming off their photo finish at the Icebreaker, while the always exciting Vandi Auto Supply Limited Sportsman will hit the track for 20 laps of their own.
Headlining the night is the Nutmeg State 75 presented by Twisted Tea for the Outlaw Open Modified Series. Some of the top names in asphalt Modified racing are expected to visit the Connecticut oval. Names like Mike Christopher Jr., Matt Swanson, Jon McKennedy, Keith Rocco, Ronnie Williams and others have already entered what should be a tight field of racers.
NASCAR Cup Series regular Ryan Preece, a two-time Thompson Speedway Modified champion, has entered both the Nutmeg State 75 presented by Twisted Tea and the July 7 Sam Adams Wicked Hazy IPA Spirit of 76. In local action, Rocco (Sunoco Modifieds), Carey (Late Models), Jared Roy (Mini Stocks) and Larry Barnett (Limited Sportsman) all look to back-up their victories at the Icebreaker and grab their second straight.
At the Icebreaker, Ron Silk won the debut of the Outlaw Open Modified Series in a 125-lap event. The Nutmeg State 75 is the second of six events, culminating with the $20,000-to-win Thompson 300 as part of the World Series of Speedway Racing on October 8-10.
All of Thompson’s Wednesday night races will be sponsored by Boston Beer Company and Hartford Distributing. The Wednesday schedule also includes races on July 7, August 11, and September 15.
Qualifying for the Nutmeg State 75 presented by Twisted Tea begins at 6:00pm on Wednesday, June 16 with features to follow. The pits for the June 16 program open at 2:00pm with practice set for 4:00-5:30pm. The main grandstands open at 3:30pm. All six divisions that are in action will compete in both qualifying and feature racing. The 75-lap, $5,000-to-win showdown for the Outlaw Open Modified Series will wrap up the night.
General admission is $30 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6-12, and free for kids ages 5 and under. and under. Speed51.TV will also have a live pay-per-view broadcast for those who can’t make it to the track. Sign up at www.speed51.tv/products/ppv-outlaw-open-modified-series-at-thompson.
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