All posts by Tom Morris

Zack Robinson Wins 2019 Stafford Street Stock Championship

Tom Morris/Myracenews photos

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Zack Robinson came into the 2019 Street Stock season at Stafford Speedway behind the wheel of a new car with a new team.  Robinson was undeterred by the fact that he was driving a new car for a new team.  He and the #89 RSMPCO.com / First Class Automotive team owned by Bill Anderson quickly showed that they had championship potential by winning their third race together and three of the first 7 races of the 2019 season.  Robinson gained the points lead midway through the 2019 season and remained on top until the end of the year to claim his first track championship.

“It definitely feels good to win the championship,” said Robinson.  “We were this close in 2017 and we had some mishaps, which was my own fault.  We moved on from that and we came into this year with our heads held high for a new season.  The Anderson family came to us over the winter and asked us if we could help fix their car.  We went through a couple of things and we decided we would build a brand new car from scratch.  We started with a bare frame from the side of my garage, we went to Joe Hamm for a roll cage, and then we did the rest of the car ourselves.  We finished fourth in the first race of the season and we thought that was pretty good for a new car.  The plan was to win as many races as we could and when we started clicking them off four or five weeks into the season we decided we were going to stick it out and see where we could go with it.”

Where Robinson and the #89 team went with their early season success was an almost permanent place in the top-5 every Friday night during the Street Stock feature events.  After opening the year with a fourth place finish, Robinson finished the second race in 18th place,  That 18th place finish on May 11 would turn out to be the only race of the 2019 season that saw Robinson finish lower than 7th.  Robinson closed out the year with 5 wins, 16 top-5, and 19 top-10 finishes.

“Coming into the season our goal was to win the most races and I think we got that done,” said Robinson.  “First of all I have to thank the Anderson family for giving me the opportunity to drive this car.  Joe Brockett, he’s the one behind this car and he made it happen every week and got the car to the front for us.  Ryan Churchill, his father, his whole family, my stepdad, my mom, my father, my grandparents, everyone that’s involved with this car, thanks to Jeff, Tick Mike, and all the sponsors.  First Class Automotive, Jason with Royal Screw Manufacturing, Jet Electric, JSB, Hopkins Construction, Swanson Buick-GMC, Defenders of Charity, and everybody who’s involved with this car.”

Robinson’s victory on July 12 moved him into the Street Stock point lead for the first time.  From there, Robinson slowly built his lead up to where he came into the NAPA Fall Final with a comfortable 30-point margin over Meghan Fuller.  Robinson recorded a third place finish at the NAPA Fall Final, which was his 12th podium finish of the season in 20 starts and he claimed the championship by a final margin of 26 points over Fuller.

“My plan from the start of the last race was to do what we had been doing all year and that was to go for the win,” said Robinson.  “The car started to fall off a little bit and I was kind of happy that we didn’t get a late caution flag.  This is a great accomplishment and I’m proud of the whole team.”

Now that Robinson has claimed his first championship at Stafford, his plans for 2020 season are yet to be determined..

“Right now our plans are up in the air at the moment,” said Robinson.  “We were thinking about possibly going to the Late Model division next season but now that we’ve won the championship, we might have to come back to try to defend it.”

Robinson will officially be crowned the 2019 Street Stock Champion at the 50th Annual Stafford Speedway Champion’s Awards Banquet, scheduled for Friday, November 15 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor.  Tickets to the awards banquet are $50 and are on sale now.  Tickets can be ordered by calling the track at 860-684-2783 or they can be ordered online at www.staffordspeedway.com

For more information, visit www.staffordspeedway.com, checkout Stafford Speedway on Facebook or Twitter, or contact the track office at 860-684-2783.

DOUG COBY AND JUSTIN BONSIGNORE TO DECIDE NWMT TITLE AT SUNOCO WORLD SERIES

BY KYLE SOUZA, THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK 

Tom Morris/Myracnews photos

THOMPSON, Conn. — When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour rolls into Thompson for the 57th annual Sunoco World Series October 11-13, two drivers are going to be in contention to earn the series championship. 

Doug Coby, a five-time champion looking to add to his historic resume, leads defending Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore by 19 points. For Coby, a solid day should help get the job done without even having to win the race. For Bonsignore, he is going to have to do everything he can to close the gap, and hope Coby has a bit of a stumble. 

“We’ll have a good car, but I know they are going to have a good car,” Coby said. “You have to figure Justin is going to win and go lead the most laps like he usually does. We are going to have to be every bit as good.” 

For Coby, this season has been filled with a return to the top. After a 2018 season that only included one victory, which wasn’t up to his standards, he watched Bonsignore dominate. A change in his shock package, combined with some improved setups, has given him four checkered flags in the 15 races this year. Coby went to Victory Lane in the Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150 at Thompson in August and finished inside the top five in the other two races at TSMP this year.

Bonsignore, who dominated en route to his first title last year with eight wins, has five victories this season, including two at Thompson. Entering the Bud 150, Bonsignore had won six straight Whelen Modified Tour races at TSMP, but he finished second that night, breaking the streak. Trailing Coby by 19 points might be a product of two DNF’s early in the season at South Boston Speedway and Wall Stadium Speedway. 

“We’ve thought for a while now that we needed to win every race. In the last four races, we have two wins. We’re doing what we need to do, but we spotted those guys too many points in the beginning of the year,” Bonsignore said. “We’re doing a great job. I’m happy. We just need to go there (to the World Series) and win the race, and if other things happen and we need to change our strategy, we will go with that.” 

For Coby, his 19-point lead might give him the chance to relax a bit in the early laps and settle in. But, as the Milford, Connecticut, driver knows, there is no safe spot in the field. In the 2017 Icebreaker, Coby started third, but didn’t complete a whole lap after a wreck on the backstretch ended his day. He knows anything can happen, but a strong finish will do the trick. 

“Even if we have some challenges, I’d like to think we can finish there,” Coby said. “If you get caught up in someone else’s mess, and you blow the right-front off, we could be running up front and be caught up in something and finish 20th. It’s really going to come down to the last lap.” 

Bonsignore has 11 wins in 36 Thompson starts, and he’s finished inside the top two in the last seven races at the Connecticut oval. 

“Every time we unload at Thompson, first lap I know what I am looking for, and I know the feel we need. You have a lot of confidence there when you win races,” Bonsignore said. “I’m excited to go and hopefully end the season on a high note. It’s been an amazing year. Five years after what we did last year, we backed it up. We have a lot of confidence; we will just go down swinging. Until they hand him the trophy, we are not out of it.” 

Coby knows putting a whole day together could earn him a sixth championship, which would put him past Tony Hirschman for the second most titles in the Whelen Modified Tour modern era. That would leave Coby trailing just the late Mike Stefanik, who had seven. 

“We should qualify up front, and if you qualify good, you should be able to get through half of he race without too much aggression. Then, it’s just a matter of if everyone comes in together and takes tires, you have to have a good stop, and be in the right lanes on the restarts,” Coby said. “Hopefully we have a good car that keeps us out of trouble. It’s going to be a barnburner.”

The 57th annual Sunoco World Series will take the green flag on Friday, October 11, and roll through Sunday, October 13. The event begins on Friday, with practice sessions running throughout the afternoon, and qualifying heat racing set to begin at approximately 4:30 p.m. Feature racing on Friday includes the Granite State Pro Stock Series, Late Models, Open Vintage Modifieds and Senior Tour Auto Racers. 

Saturday, action begins early with practice at 9 a.m., while qualifying racing begins at 2:30 p.m. There are 10 different feature races planned for Saturday night. Sunday, action begins at 1 p.m., with the season-finale for Thompson’s Sunoco Modified division. The NEMA Lites, ISMA Supermodifieds and TSMP Limited Sportsman will also join the headliner of Sunday — the Sunoco World Series 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. 

Admission to the paddock area for the entire three days is $75, with grandstand general admission set at $55. Any seniors (65+), veterans and active military will have general admission tickets priced at $50, while kids 12 and under are free in general admission.  

Thompson’s annual breakfast and dinner buffets will also take place during Sunoco World Series weekend. The breakfast buffet runs from 7-11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday and is $14 per person. The dinner buffet runs from 5-11 p.m. on Saturday night only and is $24 per person. For any children 12 and under, the dinner buffet is $14.  

For more information on Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, fans should visit the track on the web, www.thompsonspeedway.com, and follow the track via social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Three Drivers Separated By Three Points in Thompson Mini Stock Title Battle

Scott Michalski, Steve Michalski & Doug Curry Set To Fight For Crown at Sunoco World Series 

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park 

THOMPSON, Conn. — The closest of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park’s five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship battles is going to go right down to the final lap of the Mini Stock feature on Sunoco World Series weekend. 

Right now, just three points separate the top three drivers in the Division V class – with former champion Scott Michalski showing the way over Steve Michalski and Doug Curry. Scott is the only one of the three to have previous championship glory, but the other two are no stranger to Victory Lane. Steve has eight career Thompson wins, while Curry, who busted onto the scene in 2019, has two victories in the nine races so far this season. 

All three drivers will battle it out for the crown as part of the 57th annual Sunoco World Series at Thompson, October 11-13. The Mini Stocks will qualify on Friday night and run their 15-lap finale as part of the Saturday program. 

“My car hasn’t really been up to speed,” Scott Michalski said. “I parked my car for two years, so when I went back racing, I went to the Icebreaker to have fun and turn some laps, and I said, ‘why not, I’ll go back and run another race’. It kind of hooks you in.” 

Scott Michalski has one victory this season, which came during the Thompson 125 in June. Other than his win, Michalski has finished inside the top 10 in all nine races. His worst finish is a seventh-place effort. 

“I’ve been working trying to better the car,” Michalski said. “I had my front end destroyed, and it was basically starting from square one again. I was like four tenths off for the whole season and the last race I was three tenths off. I need those three tenths and I think I might have found them.”

As he looks to earn a second track title, Michalski is feeling confident going into the finale. 

“I have just as good of a shot as they do,” he said. “All three of us have a great shot. It’s anyone’s show.” 

For Curry, the season has been about getting a full grip on Thompson, while also finding the speed he needs under the hood. His original plan wasn’t to run Thompson full-time, but now, he’s right in the thick of a championship battle he doesn’t want to lose. 

“It just worked out,” Curry said. “Despite the bad luck, we’ve been fast, and had some good runs. Just a few races ago we were 35 points out, and here we are now, one point out. Win or lose, it says a lot about our team and our attitude. We never give up. We just keep digging no matter what the situation is.” 

Curry’s season has been filled with success. He might have switched to a different car early in the year, but since then, he’s been on fire. In the last six races, he’s finished inside the top three all but once, and he finished 15th with a car failure in the other.  

“It’s never over until it’s over, until the last checkered flag flies,” Curry said. “We just have to keep doing what we are doing. Ever race is a little bit different – sometimes you must be a bit more on the defensive, and sometimes you have to be more on the offensive. I just approach the World Series the same I have approached the last nine races – go out there and try to win, and if you can’t win, get what you can get.” 

For Curry, the rebound in the standings has partly been because of his success in heat races, where he’s earned crucial points. He knows the Sunoco World Series heat race on Friday night is going to be important in the points battle. 

“The heat race is huge, we’ve gained a ton of points in those this year,” Curry said. “In total, we’ve won over half of the heat races. Five points is five points, and for me, the heat race is going to be just as important as the feature. I could have the point lead going into the feature, which would change how I approach it, but I could also come out of the heat race more points out. It’s going to be important.” 

One year after coming close to the Mini Stock title over at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Curry just wants to seal the deal. 

“It would be everything to me. This is all I’ve ever wanted – I just have wanted to be a champion,” Curry said. “When I lost at the Speedbowl last year, it was like someone ripped my heart out of my chest. I’m really hoping this is my year of redemption.” 

Steve Michalski is no stranger to success in the Mini Stock division. He’s accomplished plenty of checkered flags in his career at Thompson, but not the championship quite yet. He’s hoping to change that this year, after what’s been a trying few months for his team. 

“We’ve been through a few different cars,” Steve Michalski said. “My throttle hung in a heat race, and I demolished the primary car, and that was a stretch where there were a few races in a row, so we had to hop into another car in our stable. We ended up blowing that one up that night, but we got a top 10. We just had bad luck after bad luck.” 

Even with all those failures, Steve Michalski still has found a way to be in contention going into the finale. He’s third, just three points back, and he’s got some extra motivation and an old friend coming with him to the last race. 

“The good news is the primary car is back and I feel more comfortable in that, we are bringing our best piece to the show and it should be a really good one,” Steve Michalski said. “The backup cars, one was a little bit under power, and the other we had some break issues. In the primary car, we’ve been dialed in well and we know where it wants to be. I’m very confident in the car.” 

He just hopes all the bad luck is behind him in time for the champion celebration.

“We just go out there and race and get the best finish we can,” Steve Michalski said. “It’d be great to win. I’ve always ran out there for fun. We put a lot of time and a lot of work and effort into this. I’ve never won it, but I’ve come close. We’re in position to win it, so we have to take advantage.” 

The 57th annual Sunoco World Series will take the green flag on Friday, October 11, and roll through Sunday, October 13. The event begins on Friday, with practice sessions running throughout the afternoon, and heat racing set to begin at approximately 4:30 p.m. Feature racing on Friday includes the Granite State Pro Stock Series, Late Models, Open Vintage Modifieds and Senior Tour Auto Racers. 

Saturday, action begins early with practice at 9 a.m., while qualifying begins at 2:30 p.m. There are 10 different feature races planned for Saturday night. 

Sunday, action begins at 1 p.m., with the season-finale for Thompson’s Sunoco Modified division. The NEMA Lites, ISMA Supermodifieds and TSMP Limited Sportsman will also join the headliner of Sunday — the Sunoco World Series 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. 

Admission to the paddock area for the entire three days is $75, with grandstand general admission set at $55. Any seniors (65+), veterans and active military will have general admission tickets priced at $50, while kids 12 and under are free in general admission.  

Thompson’s annual breakfast and dinner buffets will also take place during Sunoco World Series weekend. The breakfast buffet runs from 7-11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday and is $14 per person. The dinner buffet runs from 5-10 p.m. on Saturday night only and is $24 per person. For any children 12 and under, the dinner buffet is $14.  

For more information on Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, fans should visit the track on the web, at www.thompsonspeedway.com, and follow the track on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.