Category Archives: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

AMERICAN CANADIAN TOUR INVADES THOMPSON SPEEDWAY SATURDAY NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES DIVISIONS ALSO SET FOR ACTION

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

THOMPSON, Conn. – The American Canadian Tour Late Model stars invade Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Saturday for their first of two races at the Connecticut oval this season.

Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models will have the night off from competition, giving drivers a chance to compete in the ACT race and chase the checkered flag in front of their hometown fans.

William Wall, who currently leads Thompson’s Late Model standings, has one victory on the season, and is planning to compete in the ACT race. Wall won the Sunoco World Series ACT feature last year and certainly has plenty of experience running at the front in the division.

Saturday’s 75-lap feature will pay $5,000 to winner, and is the second round of the Summer Kickoff Series for ACT teams. Thompson names like Tom Carey III, Mark Jenison, Ryan Morgan, Woody Pitkat and Brian Tagg are expected, and they won’t be the only local competitors in competition.

Rich Dubeau leads the list of ACT drivers with one victory and the early lead in their standings. Other drivers who have been victorious early in the season include Jason Corliss, Scott Payea and Bryan Kruczek. In the last four years of Thompson competition, four different drivers have captured wins – with Wall being the only Whelen All-American Series competitor to triumph. All four of those races were part of the Sunoco World Series.

Dubeau is running his fifth season of ACT competition and is coming off his first career win last time on the track.

“It’s awesome, I feel super fortunate,” Dubeau said. “When I was racing Super Streets at Canaan Fair Speedway, and the ACT Tour showed up, I’m not going to lie, I was really intimidated by them. I remember saying there was no way that we were ever going to be on that tour. It was awesome to even get a chance to start running on the tour, but do be at the point where we are now, it’s really cool.”

For Dubeau, Thompson didn’t start off as one of his strongest tracks. He says a slight motor problem hurt his speed on the long straightaways Thompson offers, but last year, the engine builder found the problem. That was clear in the Sunoco World Series, as Dubeau rolled to the lead and led 68 of the 75 laps before being swept up in a wreck.

“Thompson is my second favorite track. I love the high-speed tracks, and this has always been seen as one of my strongest tracks,” he said. “Going into the race last year at Thompson, I don’t think anyone inside the team had strong expectations, but I told them we were going to run well. I’m super confident going there, but at the same time, it’s racing.”

ACT’s championship battle invades Thompson with a list of regulars looking to keep gaining crucial points. Jimmy Hebert is joined by Dylan Payea and Ryan Kuhn at the bottom of the top five in the current standings, and all three of them are expected Saturday. Names like Jonathan Bouvrette, Christopher Pelkey, Stephen Donahue will also compete. Jake Johnson, who crossed the finish line first in the Sunoco World Series race last year, but later failed post-race inspection, is expected to come back to the track.

Four of Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions are also going to be in action. In the Sunoco Modifieds, there is no doubt that Keith Rocco is the early favorite to hoist another title trophy. Rocco has three podium finishes in the first three races, including a victory, and leads the title chase by 28 points already. Mike Christopher Jr. and Todd Owen are trying to close in the gap.

Bryan Narducci’s impressive streak lives on another day as the Colchester, Connecticut, driver leads by 36 points with victories in the first three races. Dating back to last year, Narducci has now been victorious in seven straight SK Light Modified® races at Thompson. Slipping a bit under the radar, Cornelius Flynn and Albert Ouellette round out the current podium.

With three races down in the Limited Sportsman, no drivers have finished inside the top five in every event. And that just goes to show the competitive nature of Thompson’s Division IV class. Ryan Waterman, Brent Gleason and Shawn Monahan have already been victorious this season, but Waterman’s three top 10 efforts have him at the top of the championship standings by 26 points over Gleason. Zachary Robinson, who has one top five, is third, 27 points back.

And in the Mini Stocks, all eyes are on three drivers who have separated themselves from the rest early in the year. Jared Roy, Scott Michalski and Steve Michalski are the three winners so far, and they lead the standings in that order, all separated by just eight points.

Saturday’s action gets underway at 3:15 p.m. when the grandstands open. Practice will roll until approximately 3:30 p.m., followed by qualifying racing taking the green flag with the SK Light Modifieds® first at 4:45 p.m. Feature racing will follow the conclusion of qualifying, and will begin at approximately 6 p.m. The final race of the night will be the 75-lap showdown for the ACT Tour division.

Tickets for this event are just $25, while seniors (65+), veterans and active military can enter for just $20. All kids 12 and under are free into the grandstands. For those interested in getting up close with the cars and stars of Thompson, a paddock pass is available for $40. Camping is allowed for the weekend and is $25 per spot. Those reservations can be made once arriving on Thompson property.

For more information on Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, fans are encouraged to visit www.thompsonspeedway.com. For the latest news, follow the track on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Bonsignore Earns Sixth Straight Thompson Win in Whelen Modified Series

By Jason Bleau

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Series made stop number two of four to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday June 5 once again bringing the best modified drivers in the country to the nation’s oldest paved racing oval. The main event contained several storylines with NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender Ryan Preece returning to his roots in the modifieds and the series’ two most recent champions seeking to continue their respective dominant performances at the Big-T.

Championship points leader Doug Coby looked to return to victory lane at a track he dominated few short years ago earning four consecutive series titles in the process. However, the heavy favorite was defending champion Justin Bonsignore who sought to increase his record setting winning streak at Thompson to six after sweeping all four races in 2018 and winning the Icebreaker in April. Bonsignore paced practice while Coby earned his fourth pole of the season putting the two favorites at the front of the field to start the event.

Surprisingly neither driver turned out to be the show stealer in the early goings as they were both overpowered by Craig Lutz who took the lead on lap 13 and led past halfway. By lap 77 Bonsignore made up the gap and found himself within striking distance of the lead. Bonsignore finally completed the pass on lap 86 and used lap traffic to his advantage to stretch his lead. A red flag scenario 26 laps from the finish bunched the field up and brought pit strategy into the equation. While Jon McKennedy beat Bonsignore out of the pits Bonsignore got the jump he needed on the restart taking the lead for the final time and storming to his sixth consecutive series win at the Big-T.

“At this point even after last year we won the four and we wondered who was going to come out next year and have better cars than us. You have to manage expectations and I think we’ve been doing a good job of that. You know you’re not going to win all of these races in a row but if you put yourself in position to have a shot that’s all you can ask for. At some point the streak will come to an end – When you get into situations like this you know how to handle your expectations and not let your emotions get too high or too low,” Bonsignore said after his win.

Doug Coby used fresh tires to finish in the runner-up position while Craig Lutz settled for third, Burt Myers fourth and Ron Silk in fifth. Ryan Preece had trouble finding speed all race long in his return to the Whelen Modified Tour relegating him to a 14th place finish.

Preece may not have had the run he was looking for in the Whelen Modifieds, but the Sunoco Modifieds were a different story serving as the first showcase of Ryan Preece’s return to Thompson earlier in the night. The 30-lap feature saw Preece work his way through traffic and eventually find himself battling for the lead against Max McLaughlin, a North Carolina phenom racing in his first start at Thompson in a Keith Rocco owned machine. It would take until lap 26 for McLaughlin and Preece to finally race side by side but a lap later Preece wrestled the lead away and never looked back leading the final three laps and scoring a homecoming victory at a track where he has seen much success.

“We got really lose really early. I started searching around for grip and found some on the bottom and made it work,” Preece said in Victory Lane. “I want to thank Thompson for having us all here and making this a big event. We had fun.”

The Mini Stock division has been one of the most competitive series early on in the 2019 season at Thompson with only four points separating Steve Michalski from Jared Roy after two races. Both drivers came into the event with wins seeking an advantage in the third event on the calendar. Jared Roy managed to nab a runner-up giving him an edge over Steve Michalski who finished in eight. However, it was a different Michalski that went on to celebrate in victory lane. Scott Michalski controlled the race for much of the 15-lap feature with Jared Roy on his bumper for nearly every lap. Roy picked his moment in the final lap, nearly passing Scott Michalski on the backstretch and taking the advantage off of the final corner. However, Michalski would not be denied and used momentum on the top groove out of turn four to rocket to the lead winning the race by .002 seconds, one of the closest finishes in Mini Stock history at Thompson.

“(Roy) was there. He actually had a car that was a little faster, but I used the track. He pinched his car on the inside, and I was able to maintain my momentum off the corner. It was a great race,” Scott Michalski said after his win. “I was the pied piper almost the whole race. He came up and I knew he was a click faster. I had my hands full. It was a great time.”

The Limited Sportsman hosted an eventful 20-lap feature starting with a strong early run from Kyle Gero as the early leader. Gero soon found himself fending off Scott Sundeen who was able to wrestle away the lead prior to a caution nine laps into the race. When the green waved again Gero was able to get an advantage but Sundeen fought hard on the inside line eventually going for a spin in turn four bringing out another caution and ending his quest for a win. Despite another strong restart Gero fell from the lead as Corey Fanning took the top spot, but it was Fanning who brought out the next caution after his car began leaking fluid, sending two other cars spinning and forcing Fanning out of the event. The final restart allowed veteran Brent Gleason to pull away with the lead with less than ten laps to go. Gleason would dominate the second half of the race and take home his first win in the Limited Sportsman in 2019.

“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve struggled the last year and a half. I put a new package together last year and it did not work out. We worked hard week in and week out. This thing almost didn’t make it today. We didn’t make it the last race, it died with two to go. This thing was coughing and sputtering the last eight laps I was praying to make it,” Gleason said in Victory Lane. Gleason dedicated his win to his aunt and uncle who he said have suffered some significant loses over the last year.

William Wall earned an impressive and dominant victory in the Late Model division, his first of the year, extending his points lead as title challengers Woody Pitkat and Ryan Morgan both finished outside the top five. The SK Light© Modifieds closed out the night with Bryan Narducci looking to continue his perfect win record at Thompson seeking a seventh victory in his seventh start in the division. Narducci worked his way through traffic to the top five when a significant wreck eleven laps into the 20-lap feature brought out the red flag for track cleanup. Narducci found himself trapped in third place after the restart allowing Steven Chapman to pull away. Narducci was able to move to second with four laps to go and on the final turn of the final lap Narducci drove it in deep, pushing Chapman up the track and took the win continuing his perfect run in the SK Light© Modifieds.

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park continues its busy June schedule on Saturday, June 14 as the American Canadian Tour (ACT) series takes center stage with a 75-lap feature serving as the night’s main event. The Late Models will be off that afternoon to allow drivers the chance to run in the ACT race while the Sunoco Modifieds, SK Light© Modifieds, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks hold their regularly scheduled features as the 2019 racing season continues.

NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR THOMPSON 125 FINISH TOP-10: 1. Justin Bonsignore; 2. Doug Coby; 3. Craig Lutz; 4. Burt Myers; 5. Ron Silk; 6. Eric Goodale; 7. Matt Swanson; 8. Sam Rameau; 9. Max Zachem; 10. Woody Pitkat

SUCONO MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 2. Max McLaughlin (Mooresville, NC); 3. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 4. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA); 5. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 6. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 7. Ronnie Williams (Tolland, CT); 8. Mike Christopher, Jr. (Plainville, CT); 9. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 10. Timmy Jordan (Plainfield, CT)

MINI STOCK FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Scott Michalski (Danielson, CT); 2. Jared Roy (Sterling, CT); 3. Dave Trudeau, Sr. (Mansfield, CT); 4. Russ Barboza (Willimantic, CT); 5. Joe Bavolacco (Stratford, CT); 6. Mike Anzalone (Plainfield, CT); 7. J.T. Suprenant (Central Village, CT); 8. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT); 9. Evan Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 10. Glynn Roy (Sterling, CT)

LATE MODEL FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. William Wall (Shrewsbury, MA); 2. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 3. Mark Jenison (Warwick, RI); 4. Derek Gluchacki (N. Dartmouth, MA); 5. Buddy Charette (Woodstock, CT); 6. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA); 7. Ryan Morgan (North Franklin, CT); 8. Tom Carrey, III (New Salem, MA); 9. Jared Materas (Westfield, MA); 10. Jason Palmer (Berlin, CT)

LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Brent Gleason (Griswold, CT); 2. Zack Robinson (Putnam, CT); 3. Ryan Morgan (North Franklin, CT); 4. Meghan Fuller (Auburn, MA); 5. Kyle Gero (Uncasville, CT); 6. Ryan Waterman (Danielson, CT); 7. Kevin Mason (West Warwick, RI); 8. Randy Waterman, Jr. (Danielson, CT); 9. Jason Chicolas (Sutton, MA); 10. Al Stone (Durham, CT)

SK LIGHT© MODIFIEDS FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Bryan Narducci (Colchester, CT); 2. Steven Chapman (Ellington, CT); 3. Bert Oulette (Ellington, CT); 4. Mikey Flynn (Hampden, MA); 5. Brett Gonyaw (Vernon, CT); 6. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 7. Nathan Pytko (Salem, CT); 8. Marc Burke; 9. Matt Rzewnicki (Chicopee,MA); 10. Keith Caruso (Millbury, MA)

Photo: Tom Morris Myracenews

Thompson Back In Action For Thompson 125 Wednesday

NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR HEADLINES MID-WEEK SHOWDOWN

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

THOMPSON, Conn. – For the second time in 2019, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is set to invade Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park this week.

The Thompson 125 will take place on Wednesday, June 5, as the stars of NASCAR’s Modified division return to the .625-mile oval chasing glory in their second of four stops this season. Thompson’s five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will also be in action over the course of the mid-week main event.

Entering the Whelen Modified Tour 125, Justin Bonsignore has to be the clear favorite. The Holtsville, New York, driver has won five consecutive races at Thompson and will look to continue to break records on Wednesday night. In April’s Icebreaker 150, Bonsignore became the first driver in the history of Whelen Modified Tour action to win five straight races at Thompson.

But Doug Coby isn’t going to let him get far away. The five-time series champion led 107 laps at the Icebreaker before a pit road penalty for running over an air hose on forced him to the tail of the field. The Milford, Connecticut, driver was still able to charge back up to a fifth place finish.

“I think we had a winning car at Thompson for sure,” Coby said. “I think we have a car that is going to show up on Wednesday and be really strong. But, everyone got a race under their belts there and they are going to make changes. The 125 lap race is totally different.”

As Coby mentions, the Thompson 125 creates a completely different animal for Whelen Modified Tour teams. Of the four stops at TSMP, this is the shortest race of all of them, which forces crew chiefs to be at the top of their game to make the right pit calls when it matters most. Drivers can take tires anytime throughout the race, and in the past, it’s been a mixed bag – with some drivers coming in early and staying out late, while others bolt tires on in the final laps and charge through the field.

Bonsignore and Coby have a full field of challengers chasing them. Although Coby has won three of the first six races, and Bonsignore has one to his credit, former champion Ron Silk and Woody Pitkat also have carried the checkered flag this year. In 50 previous Thompson starts, Silk has four wins, and he finished second at the Icebreaker. Pitkat has 42 Thompson starts, and although he hasn’t won yet, he did finish eighth in April, and has tons of experience and wins in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action in the Late Models and Sunoco Modiieds.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series star Ryan Preece returns to Thompson for the first time since last year. Preece has three career wins at TSMP, including a victory in the Thompson 125 back in 2017. He will sit behind the wheel of the Ed Partridge No. 6, and will also bring a Sunoco Modified to the track for competition.

Names like Eric Goodale, Timmy Solomito, Jimmy Blewett, and Burt Myers are also going to be in contention. The field for the Thompson 125 is expected to be star-studded.

Thompson’s five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions are also set for their third race of the season. After a win and second in the first two Sunoco Modified races, defending champion Keith Rocco leads the early standings over Mike Christopher Jr. and Woody Pitkat.

Wednesday’s Sunoco Modified field added two more stars last week, as NASCAR K&N Pro Series regular Max McLaughlin and former NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III will compete in the 30-lap event. Brunnhoelzl also returns to Whelen Modified Tour action driving for Eddie Harvey.

In the Late Models, former champion William Wall has two second-place finishes, which has allowed him to take the early advantage over Pitkat by 10 points. Wall came just inches away from a victory on May 19, when Ryan Morgan edged him out at the line. Tom Carey III picked up the Icebreaker win to open the season.

Bryan Narducci’s perfect streak is on the line in the SK Light Modifieds® as the Connecticut rising star and defending NASCAR Division III National Champion has won six consecutive Thompson races dating back to last year. With his two wins this year, Narducci has opened a large 28-point lead in the standings over Cornelius Flynn.

Steve Michalski holds a scant four-point lead over Jared Roy in the Mini Stocks, as the two drivers have shared Victory Lane in the first two events. Evan Bourgeois, the son of reigning Mini Stock champion Eric Bourgeois, is third, 10 points out.

Ryan Waterman won the Icebreaker, and with his second-place finish on May 19, Waterman is the early leader in the Limited Sportsman class. Shawn Monahan, who took his new ‘Swaggin Wagon’ to Victory Lane in the extra distance event, is second.

Thompson’s Wednesday night showdown begins when the front grandstands open at 3:30 p.m. Fans will make it in just in time to watch the only practice of the day for the Whelen Modified Tour from 4-5 p.m., followed by the beginning of qualifying races at 5:05 p.m. Feature racing will follow, with the Thompson 125 slated to take the green flag at 8 p.m.

For the latest news from Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, fans can visit www.thompsonspeedway.com, and follow the track on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tom Morris Photo