By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
THOMPSON, Conn. — After a 10-event schedule that included five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions and countless touring series classes, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park crowned NASCAR champions and honored special award winners on Sunday afternoon, with the annual awards banquet at the Clubhouse.
In the Sunoco Modifieds, Keith Rocco celebrated his eighth career track championship, extending his lead with the most in the history of the Connecticut oval. Rocco earned four wins – three in points events and the other in the 10-lap sprint as part of the Sunoco Modified 20/20. Rocco entered the finale with a comfortable lead and left the Sunoco World Series with a 36-point winning margin. The title also tied Rocco with Joe Kosiski for the most NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I track titles, with 17.
Behind Rocco, on the heels of two wins of his own with car owner Dan Avery, Woody Pitkat celebrated his second-place points finish, while Todd Owen, Troy Talman and Ronnie Williams finished the top five. Also honored, Corey Barry, Adam Gada, Paul LaPlante, Justin Albernaz and Kyle James wrapped the top 10.
His second Late Model championship might have included a rough patch in the summer months, but William Wall wasn’t going to let it slip from his fingertips. Wall’s sixth-place finish in the finale earned him the title by a mere four points, capturing him the crown for the second time in the last four years. Behind him, Rookie of the Year winner Derek Gluchacki, who scored his first career victory in the finale, settled for second, while Mark Jenison was third. Woody Pitkat, who earned a division-high three wins, was fourth, and Matthew Lowinski-Loh fifth. Brian Tagg, Paul Charette, Rick Gentes, Ryan Morgan and 2018 champion Nick Johnson rounded the top 10.
Bryan Narducci quickly is becoming one of the top rising talents in the country, as the Colchester, Connecticut, driver sealed his second straight NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division III national championship in 2019. Alongside it, Narducci celebrated Thompson’s SK Light Modified title at the awards banquet, after earning seven wins in 10 races, and scoring victories in 11 of 15 for the division over the last two years. Narducci will celebrate his NASCAR crown in Charlotte, North Carolina, next weekend.
Behind him in the final SK Light Modified standings, Albert Ouellette, Wayne Burroughs Jr., John O’Sullivan and Nathan Pytko rounded the top five. Anthony Marvin, Mikey Flynn, Brett Gonyaw, Steven Chapman and Alexander Pearl finished the top 10.
Kyle Gero wasn’t going to let anyone take the Limited Sportsman title from his grasp, as the Uncasville, Connecticut, native earned his first career title in a consistent season. He didn’t visit Victory Lane, but won by five points over two-time champion Shawn Monahan. The path for Gero wasn’t an easy one, but his top five finishes, and clean nose, helped him officially celebrate the crown on Sunday. Monahan was second, followed by Ryan Morgan, Corey Fanning and Jason Chicolas. Tied for fifth, Meghan Fuller was sixth, while Brent Gleason, Al Stone, Ryan Waterman and Scott Sundeen were the top 10.
In a Mini Stock finale that went down to the final lap of the season, Doug Curry captured the Mini Stock title, and celebrated an emotional night at the banquet. Curry lost his father just after the Sunoco World Series and dedicated the championship to him. His path to a first championship at Thompson came in his first year of competing at the .625-mile track. The Michalski brothers, Steve and Scott, tied for second, while Jared Roy and Russ Barboza were fourth and fifth. Behind them, Charles Canfield, Ian Brew, David Trudeau, Evan Bourgeois and Joe Bavolacco were the top 10.
Outside of the champions, the awards banquet also honored Rookie of the Year winners and Most Improved drivers for the 2019 season. In the Mini Stocks, a fifth-place finish in points earned Russ Barboza the Rookie crown, while Jared Roy scored the Most Improved Driver award.
After scoring his first win, Derek Gluchacki captured Late Model Rookie honors, while Matthew Lowinski-Loh used his fifth-place points finish to score the Most Improved Driver. Jordan Hadley earned the Rookie award in the Limited Sportsman, with Meghan Fuller hoisting the Most Improved award, after heading into the finale in the contention for the title. In the Sunoco Modifieds, Adam Gada was crowned Most Improved, while Corey Barry celebrated the Rookie award.
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