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William Wall Captures Second Late Model Title To Kick Off 57th Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing

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) 

Matt Hirschman bags fourth Mahoning Valley Speedway Octoberfast win.150 lapper worth $5000

By DINO OBERTO WALTER SMITH PHOTO

(LEHIGHTON, PA. 10-12-19) Octoberfast 2019 at Mahoning Valley Speedway showcased a talent laden field of Modified drivers that saw a number of top contenders in position for the $5000 win but when the checkers fell on the 150 contest it was yet another victory going to perennial favorite Matt Hirschman as he scored an unprecedented fourth Octoberfast in the eight year history of the event.

Hirschman took the lead from Austin Kochenash 25 laps from the finish and then stayed solid the rest of the way to earn his 14th overall win of 2019 and 18th at Mahoning Valley.

Kochenash made a great run back towards the front after a spin and pit stop with 13 laps to go for an impressive runner-up. Austin Beers showed lots of potential and was third, Earl Paules, who was a factor throughout notched fourth while Don Wagner completed the top five.

“Everything just worked out well for us tonight, being in the right spots at the right times. What a way to bookend the season here, winning the 100 lap opener and now back-to-back in the Octoberfast,” said Hirschman.

“This a good paying race and we really appreciate Mahoning Valley Speedway putting on the event. It’s a nice crowd that’s here, a nice day and very glad to be here.”

A redraw after qualifying heats saw BJ Wambold and Paules on the front row and when chief starter Bob Stull, who was flagging his final race at Mahoning, waved the race commencing green, it was Paules who hurried to the early lead.

Wambold settled into second with 2019 division champion Bobby Jones, Tyler Haydt and Brian DeFebo closely in tow.

As Paules was running a rapid pace he was also getting plenty of pressure from Wambold. Likewise Jones had his nose stuck in with the front pair which produced some very exciting action.

On lap 17 Wambold aimed to the inside of Paules and was able to grab the lead, but it would be short lived as Jones made his way to the front three laps later.

Unfortunately for the newly crowned champ his hopes for a second Octoberfast where dashed when he got caught up in a wreck on the back straight from cars from the tail end of the field.

At the resumption Paules was back in front and again had Wambold on his tail.

By lap 44 Kochenash and Hirschman had motored into second and third respectively, however, Paules pressed on as the leader despite the heavy company.

After a great 41 lap stint at the head of the pack, Paules gave way to Kochenash who drove to his inside on lap 72. Paules would not waver from second and stayed close with Kochenash while holding off the advances from Hirschman.

On lap 95 a caution waved for a spinning John Markovic and it would be at that period that most of the front runners opted to make a pit stop for new tires. Kochenash though remained on track.

“When I saw all of those cars pit I knew I was in trouble at that point because they didn’t have to use their cars as hard with the new tires on. But my tires where still good so we elected to stay out,” said Kochenash.

Indeed Kochenash was correct about those with fresh American Racer rubber. Paules was back to second 12 laps in and soon after Hirschman ran third and before long that trio was battling for the lead.

Hirschman and Paules where running side-by-side in the direct path of Kochenash. By lap 124 Hirschman, who was on the low lane, nipped Paules and on the ensuing circuit was able to complete the race winning pass on Kochenash.

There was no looking back from there on as the No. 60 showed the prowess that has become the trademark in win after win when it comes to high stake races.

“It was a good racing all night and guys raced clean and when you do that here you can always go side-by-side and run two grooves-plus and after we came back through I was able to make passes and do them clean and get to the lead and keep it to the finish,” said Hirschman.

Following a lap 134 restart Kochenash while fighting for second with Paules spun under tight conditions on the front straight. He then dove to the pits, changed tires and made an incredible charge back before time ran out and had to settle for runner-up.

“Right before that restart my tires began going away and I was running for second and then the spin happened and it was just racing hard at that point. We came back through though,” offered Kochenash who recorded his sixth second place tally of the year.

“We were here for the $5000 but still second is decent. We lost a real good friend this week, Mitch Green, and I really wanted to win this for him but second was the best we could do tonight.”

16-year old Beers had come from the back several times and was hoping to make up for the Octoberfast that got away from him last year when Hirschman passed him with six laps to go. He was as high as second with five laps remaining before Kochenash passed him for the spot.

“We just had a half inch too much stagger at the end and the car was really loose. It was a tough race coming from the back because of (pit) stops. I thought it would be pretty cool if I could have passed Matt for the win like he did to me last year but his car was really good and I had nothing for him,” said Beers.

            DeFebo, Todd Baer, Wambold, Gene Bowers and Haydt rounded out the top ten.     Annexing heat wins where Haydt, Kochenash and Jones.

Modified Feature Finish (150-laps): 1. Matt Hirschman, 2. Austin Kochenash, 3. Austin Beers, 4. Earl Paules, 5. Don Wagner, 6. Brian DeFebo, 7. Todd Bear, 8. BJ Wambold, 9. Gene Bowers, 10. Tyler Haydt, 11. John Markovic, 12. Lorin Arthofer, 13. Jake Kibler, 14. Kevin Graver, 15. Kyle Strohl, 16. Terry Markovic, 17. Eric Kocher, 18. Mike Sweeney, 19. Bobby Jones, 20. Ron Haring Jr.

WALL’S SPOOKY SPECTACULAR SET FOR SATURDAY (OCT. 19) HUGE BINGO GAME IN GRANDSTANDS

WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. ~ Daytime stock car racing and a huge Bingo game in the grandstand will highlight the annual Halloween themed “Spooky Spectacular” auto racing event at Wall Stadium Speedway this Saturday (Oct. 19). Although the current long range forecast says that October 19 will offer near perfect weather, officials are taking no chances as an October 20 rain date has been announced. Competitor pit area gates will open at 10:00 a.m., grandstand seating opens at 11:00 a.m. and qualifying starts at 1:40 p.m. with main events at 3:00 p.m.

The enormous “Boogeyman Bingo” games, which will offer several great prizes, will see the first round of Bingo start at 1:00 p.m. with the second round of Bingo starting at 2:30 p.m. Five Storm Troopers in full uniforms will also be on hand to meet and greet fans.

An impressive field of All American Auto Group Modified stock cars can be expected when a 75-lap main event offering $3,000 to the winner headlines the annual Spooky Spectacular stock car racing card.

Newly crowned three-time Modified driving champion Steven Reed of Jackson is expected to be a favorite as are 2019 top point earners Eric Mauriello of Brick, Derek Hopkinson of Toms River, Andrew Krause of Holmdel and Howell’s Kevin Davison. Danny Bohn of Huntersville, N.C. Is among the invaders who have announced an entry.

Also on the Halloween themed card will be the O’Shea’s Auto Repair Factory Stocks, led by 2019 champion Elliot Wohl of Beachwood, in a 50 lap race.

Sean Verwys of East Stroudsburg, Pa., the 2019 Green Flag Driving Experience Legend Cars champion, is expected to be in the field in a 25-lap main event and the Surfside Collision 4 Cylinder Stocks, led by recent title winner Neil Rutt III of Edison, will race in a 25-lapper.

With the season-long title chase completed drivers in all divisions can forget about earning points and race strictly for the prize money offered. Mertens Jewelers will present commemorative money clips to each main event winner.

Fans are also welcome to wear their Halloween costumes to the track to add to the fun and fans are welcome to a free pumpkin while supplies last.

Once the October 19 event is in the books all attention will turn toward the annual running of the “Turkey Derby” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend during the daylight hours.

Wall Stadium Speedway is located on Route 34 in Wall Township, N.J., just one mile north of Garden State Parkway exit 98 and Interstate 195 exit 35B. More information can be obtained by visiting www.wallspeedwayracing.com. The speedway hotline number is 732-681-6400 and email address is CKMotorsports@aol.com.