Category Archives: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

RYAN PREECE RETURNING TO THOMPSON NEXT WEEK

CURRENT MONSTER ENERGY CUP SERIES STAR SET FOR SUNOCO MODIFIED & NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR RACES

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

THOMPSON, Conn. – Current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series star Ryan Preece is returning to his racing roots next week.

The Berlin, Connecticut, driver will compete in both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125 and the 30 lap Sunoco Modified feature next Wednesday, June 5 right here at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

“It’s another chance for me to race, and I think that’s a huge part of it. I always enjoy going to this race,” Preece said. “Thompson and I have a love-hate relationship, where I have had some really good runs, but also a lot of bad luck, where things haven’t worked out.”

In 43 career Thompson starts in Whelen Modified Tour competition, Preece has three wins – one of them driving for Eric Sanderson and two for Ed Partridge. Next week, he will sit behind the wheel of the No. 6, owned by Partridge. He has been to Victory Lane in two of his last six Thompson starts, including the Thompson 125 back in 2017.

The car he will compete in for the Whelen Modified Tour race will be brand new for him on the track. He’s been working on the car down south to prepare it for action.

“It’s a place I enjoy racing at because it’s so difficult to position yourself at the end of the race to have the track position, but also have the speed,” Preece said. “It’s something I am looking forward to doing.”

In Sunoco Modified competition, Preece is no stranger to the front of the field. He has two championships in the competitive class in 2012 and 2014, and picked up a victory last year driving for the Moniz family, adding to a list of many checkered flags.

“The Sunoco Modified is still up in New England with the Moniz family, I’ve been running that car for about eight years, and it’s been a great relationship,” the JTG Daughtery Racing driver said.

Even though he will have just limited practice behind the wheel, the veteran of modified racing isn’t concerned about it.

“I feel confident in the setups we are bringing and the people that are preparing the cars. I have more than enough laps to know what I need,” Preece said. “It’s a tough place to race at, but I do feel confident that we will have some good cars.”

For Preece, one of the most important parts of returning to New England and his racing roots is coming home to see his hometown fans that have been watching him compete on the Cup circuit. In his first 13 starts this season, Preece has a best finish of third in Cup action at Talladega Superspeedway. He also was in the front draft at the finish of the Daytona 500 in February.

“I remember when I was younger and watching Tony Stewart come to Thompson and do a match race. Going there, from the Northeast, and from Connecticut, having raced weekly there and run the Whelen Modified Tour for many years, it’s something that I make a point to get back and show that I love the racing,” Preece said. “I want to continue to do it when I can.”

Preece isn’t going to be the only driver chasing the checkered flag in these two modified races next week. In the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125, Justin Bonsignore looks to make it six Thompson victories in a row driving the No. 51 Phoenix Communications Chevrolet for Ken Massa. Names like Doug Coby, Timmy Solomito, Woody Pitkat and Ron Silk aren’t going to be far behind.

When the Whelen Modified Tour was in town for the Icebreaker back on April 7, Bonsignore beat Silk, Eric Goodale, Patrick Emerling and Coby to the finish line. The Thompson 125 is well known for the pit strategy teams will use during the race.

It will be important for fans to keep an eye on when cars pit early in the race, because it’s likely they will stay out in the second half while some of the leaders pit, creating thrilling final restarts. Bonsignore is the defending winner of the race.

In the Sunoco Modifieds, George Brunnhoelzl III adds to a star-studded field making a start for Justin Albernaz in a backup car. NASCAR K&N Pro Series East regular Max McLaughlin will begin to tune-up his Thompson driving line in the same feature, as the rising star will compete in a car for Keith Rocco Racing. Rocco and Ronnie Williams scored the first two wins of the year.

Drivers return to the track at Thompson on Wednesday, June 5, for the Thompson 125. The schedule includes qualifying and feature racing for all five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions and the Whelen Modified Tour.

For more information, including the full schedule for this special event, fans are encouraged to visit www.thompsonspeedway.com. To keep up with the latest Thompson news, follow the track on social media via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Michael Jaworecki Myracenews Photo

Busy Month of June at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

Hometown Favorites To Chase Victory Lane in ACT Tour Event June 15th

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

THOMPSON, Conn. – The month of June is going to be the busiest of the season for NASCAR racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

On Wednesday, June 5, the stars of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour return for their second of four visits this season in the Thompson 125. That will be followed by the return of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and American Canadian Tour on Saturday, June 15, a special event fans won’t want to miss. The month ends with the second of the Street Series for Lock City Drift and a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series throwdown on Sunday, June 30.

All of the racing will give fans a chance to watch open-wheel, full-fendered and drifting action all in one place over the course of just 25 days.

“June is a very busy month on all fronts here at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park,” Terry Eames, General Manager of Thompson Speedway, said. “We’re excited for it. This is the first time that the K&N Pro Series and the ACT Tour have been on the same track on the same day in some time. This continues to show our commitment to oval track racing.”

On Saturday, June 15, Late Model drivers will have their chance to showcase their talent against some touring series invaders. The normal 25-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature race will not take place that night – giving teams a chance to focus specifically on the extra distance ACT event.

William Wall is no stranger to Victory Lane in the ACT Tour at Thompson. Wall, a former Thompson Late Model champion and Millbury, Massachusetts native, picked up the victory in the Sunoco World Series 75 lap race last season. He finished second on the track, but a post-race technical inspection issue for the winner gave Wall the victory in front of his hometown crowd.

“Running with the ACT Tour is always tough, there is a lot of luck involved and running for 75 laps instead of our normal 25 laps is definitely different,” Wall said. “It’s really important to me. I always like to see the local guys bring it home. I’m really going to put my best put forward and hopefully stay in the top five or 10 in the early part of the race, and go at it the last 15 laps.”

This season, Wall already has put quite the impressive list of finishes together in the first two races. He finished second in the Icebreaker, and last time on the track, in the 40 lap extra distance main, Wall finished second once again.

“We definitely learned a lot in the 40 laps, we tried a new package thinking about running the ACT Tour race and learned a lot about the car,” Wall said. “We basically used the last race as a learning experience.”

Tom Carey III is also no stranger to the front of the pack in ACT Tour competition. Carey has already run a few races with the ACT drivers this season, when he took the No. 5 down to Richmond Raceway in Virginia and up to Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine, where he finished 12thin a competitive field.

“They are coming to our house, which is nice, the home field advantage is always a great thing,” Carey said. “After the ACT race at Thompson last year, I felt like I had a really good shot to win the race before it all came to a sharp halt on the backstretch. But, we still turned some heads and we know we have the speed to do it. We ran some of the fastest laps all day.”

Carey won the Icebreaker, but in the second Thompson race of the season, a crash in the heat race forced him to miss the feature event. He’s switched to a second car in the stable for the month of June, while his first car takes a trip to be repaired.

For now, his focus is on the next Whelen All-American Series event on June 5, as he looks to begin his climb back to the top. But shortly after the conclusion of that event, he’ll be taking the No. 5 to the track seeking hometown glory with the ACT stars.

“It definitely adds a little bit more excitement and it makes us more hungry. It’s nice to go out on the track you know and the people you always race in front of, and the ACT guys are the top dogs in our division, when they come to town, you want to defend the home turf,” Carey said. “It’s nice for the fans to be able to see that the competition they are watching on a regular show is strong enough to run with some of the best in ACT.”

Multiple other Thompson local competitors are also expected to compete in the ACT event – adding another dimension to a touring Late Model division that has a long list of storied veterans. In the Sunoco World Series event last year, local competitors inside the top 10 at the finish included Wall, Woody Pitkat, Ryan Morgan and Mark Jenison.

On the same night as the ACT return, one of the highlights of the month will certainly be when the Thompson 100 takes the green flag for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

Racing at Thompson continues on June 5, when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour makes their second visit of the season. A full night of racing action begins with practice for the Whelen All-American Series divisions at 2:30 p.m., followed by a one-hour session for the Whelen Modified Tour from 4-5 p.m.

Qualifying action begins at 5:05 p.m. with the Sunoco Modifieds and feature events will follow. For the full schedule of events, and more information on the entire month of June, fans are encouraged to visitwww.thompsonspeedway.com.

For the latest news surrounding the oval, follow Thompson on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

JUSTIN BONSIGNORE LOOKS TO KEEP STREAK ALIVE IN THOMPSON 125

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

THOMPSON, Conn. – Defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore clearly has mastered Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

The Holtsvile, New York, driver picked up his fifth straight Thompson win at the Icebreaker on April 7 – becoming the first driver in the history of Whelen Modified Tour action at the .625-mile oval to win five consecutive events. With 10 career Thompson wins, Bonsignore leads all active drivers on the high-banked oval.

“We’ve always had great race cars no matter what, along with great teams and pit crews,” Bonsignore said. “A few of the races, the pit crew won the race for us. Really since 2014, I’ve had a lot of success there. The biggest thing is having the really good cars and crew chiefs that make really good decisions. You need the racing luck to go along with it, and everything seems to come together for me.”

Bonsignore, a driver who grew up racing at Riverhead Raceway in New York, has found a knack for the high-banks of Thompson, a completely opposite style compared to Riverhead. Why he has been able to find so much success?

“A lot of people ask me that and I can’t really say what the answer is,” Bonsignore said. “But I feel really comfortable there, it’s like going home to Riverhead — I have the same feeling when we unload. I know what I need on the first lap of practice and I know what I need for the race.”

His quest to capture a sixth consecutive victory certainly isn’t going to be easy. Bonsignore will have to fend off the challenges of names like Doug Coby, Woody Pitkat, Ron Silk, Matt Swanson and many more. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series star Ryan Preece will also join the event to compete in the No. 6 car for Ed Partridge.

With just one practice for the day due to the packed schedule, Bonsignore knows unloading off the truck well is going to be crucial.

“We’ve put an emphasis on coming off the truck better than we ever have. It’s really important practice because you want to be in that last group in qualifying and pick the right pit stall. You want to have good notes and good feedback because you are only going to get out there a few times in practice,” Bonsignore said. “Just a little bit of fine-tuning here and there, and Ryan Stone does a really good job of getting us there off the truck.”

Stone has been a major player in Bonsignore’s success over the last year and a half. After moving from a job at JR Motorsports, Stone helped Bonsignore win eight of the 16 Whelen Modified Tour races last year en route to his first championship.

“Everywhere we go with Ryan setting up the cars, we’ve been unbelievably fast. Rob Fuller and everyone at LFR have developed a really great car and Ryan has been with LFR since day one, and has a really great understanding of the cars. It’s the time and the effort he puts into the setups,” Bonsignore said. “The people working on these cars are smart.”

When Bonsignore won his fifth straight race at the Icebreaker, the emotion poured from the veteran when he climbed out of the car and stood on the nerf-bar screaming ‘five in a row!’ for the fans to hear.

“We got off to a little bit of a struggle with a bad race at Myrtle Beach and got caught in a crash at South Boston, so we were a little bit behind and we knew we were looking to turn it around at Thompson,” Bonsignore said, recalling why there was so much emotion. “From Thompson’s World Series last year until the Icebreaker all we heard was that we had won four in a row and we were looking for five. We did think about it and how much of an amazing accomplishment it was. I thought about it when people said Richie Evans or Mike Stefanik hadn’t even done it on the Tour. Everything put together, I just let loose in Victory Lane.”

Just under two weeks before the return to Whelen Modified Tour action at Thompson, Bonsignore certainly is thinking about the streak. In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition, Bryan Narducci has won six consecutive SK Light Modified® races entering this Wednesday special event as well. Both streaks will be on the line come June 14th.

“People talk about it and it’ll be something where I am going there with intentions of winning the race. Having a shot at six in a row is really special, but we also know that in racing, you aren’t going to win 10 or 20 races in a row,” Bonsignore said. “We have to be prepared for the streak to be over at some point. But I go to the race track thinking that everyone needs to come there to beat us.”

“Every single time we go to Thompson there are packed stands. The fans in that area seem to accommodate with any night we race.”

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park returns to action on Wednesday, June 5, as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour headlines the night with the annual Thompson 125. Grandstands will open for the night at 3:30 p.m., while qualifying heat racing is scheduled to get underway at 5:05 p.m. with the Sunoco Modifieds.

Fans will be able to watch all five Whelen All-American Series divisions compete in both qualifying and feature action, along with group qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour, and the Thompson 125. Fans should note that the SK Light Modifieds® will run their 20-lap feature at the conclusion of the Whelen Modified Tour race.

A paddock pass for the night is $55, while fans can enter the grandstands for $50. Any seniors (65+), veteran, or active military members can enter at $45 with the proper identification. Kids 12 and under will be free. Any fans wishing to camp on the grounds of Thompson Speedway for the night can do so for $25, but campers must be removed from the property early Thursday.

If for some reason inclement weather delays the event, Thursday, June 6, is the rain date.

For more information on Thomspon Speedway Motorsports Park, fans are encouraged to visit www.thompsonspeedway.comand follow the track on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Photo: Michael Jaworecki Myracenews