Category Archives: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

Monahan Earns First Win for Swaggin’ Wagon in Limited Sportsman Long Distance Race

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park hosted its second weekend of oval racing in 2019 with the annual Limited Sportsman Long Distance race and military night presented by Pepsi. The afternoon included five feature events comprising of all of Thompson’s local divisions as well as ceremonies to honor local veterans with members of the military past and present admitted for free to enjoy the races.

The afternoon started with the 4th Annual Limited Sportsman Long Distance feature, a 30-lap race, ten laps more than a normal Limited Sportsman event, that serves as the crown jewel of the division’s season at Thompson. The race proved to be eventful with ten cautions waving and a familiar name finding his way to the front. Defending champion Shawn Monahan took the #55 “Swaggin’ Wagon” to victory lane after debuting the station wagon-themed vehicle at the Icebreaker in April. Monahan benefitted from the race being changed to single-file restarts which allowed him to get some breathing room as Icebreaker winner Ryan Waterman tried to hunt him down. Monahan survived one final restart and a three-lap shootout to take home the trophy

“The division is pretty stout. It’s unfortunate how the race went today. A little on the boring side, but it was close for the first few laps,” Monahan said after the race. The reigning champion said he was proud to give the fans a show all the same and park his new car in victory lane. “We knew I could have kept the car just the way it was in that final race at the World Series and shown back up and ran well, but I’ve always been one to do something different. Really I wanted the fans to have something to cheer for. I think that the competitors maybe dislike it enough to make sure they put their own tire marks on the side of it which is all good. If I can finish the race I’ll take all the tire marks they can give me. To win you’ve got to finish.”

The Late Models experienced some drama earlier in evening to start off the racing action. Before the division’s 40-lap feature even took the green flag Tom Carey, III, who earned the first victory of the season in the Icebreaker and finished in the runner-up spot in points last year, crashed out of his heat race and thus was not featured in the main event. Carey was a favorite coming into the season and his absence made the feature a prime opportunity for other drivers to establish themselves as the frontrunners for the title in 2019.

Ryan Morgan and Woody Pitkat established themselves at the class of the field during the race with Morgan taking the early lead and Pitkat making the pass for the top spot several laps later. Pitkat held the lead until a restart on lap 24 when Morgan was able to wrestle away the top spot after a full lap of side-by-side racing between the leaders. Another restart on lap 12 set up another battle between Morgan and Pitkat with Morgan getting the jump. However, a third name worked his way into the mix as William Wall passed Pitkat for second and set his sights on the lead. The battle led to an epic finish as Wall made a dive bomb move for the lead on the final turns of the last lap racing side by side with Morgan in a photo finish. Morgan was awarded the win after scoring ruled he hit the line first with a difference of .002 seconds separating him from Wall.

“I think that’s the closest one so far in all of my racing days. I thought (Wall) got me to be honest. We were banging doors and everything,” Morgan said after the race. “It is what it is. We were just a little free up top. Will is a hard charger and I knew it was coming, but I was able to hold him off and that’s all we can ask for.”

The Mini Stocks were next with a 15-lap feature and Icebreaker winner Steve Michalski looking to establish himself as the early title favorite. The battle for the win came down to Michalski and Jared Roy with Roy having the edge for the bulk of the event. Roy was able to hold on for the win in a dominating effort while Michalski took second place. The win was Roy’s first  in any division at Thompson in his third season of racing at the Big-T.

“I saw (Michalski) creeping up a couple times and I just kept my composure, hit my marks and acted like he wasn’t there. I saw him there with five to go and I told myself to take a deep breath and keep doing what I was doing,” Roy said after the race. “It took me from two years ago at the Icebreaker until now to win. I held second in points all year last year until the last race. Hopefully we get a championship this year.”

In the SK Light Modifieds® Bryan Narducci was looking to continue his unprecedented consistency seeking his sixth win in the division’s 20-lap feature. Narducci started mid-pack in his attempt to remain perfect in the division at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and had to work his way to the front eventually taking second place before a caution at the halfway point tightened up the field and set up a showdown between Narducci and Steven Chapman. The battle was short-lived as Chapman suffered equipment failure at the drop of the green giving Narducci the lead which he never relinquished. The win keeps Narducci perfect in his Thompson campaign in the SK Light Modifieds® with six wins in six starts.

“I knew I had something for (Chapman) but it’s tough to pass here. It would have taken me a couple laps to work him over. Luckily, we had the caution so we didn’t have to worry about it,” Narducci said after the win. He said the victory was even sweeter as it helped him silence his critics who felt he couldn’t win from the middle of the pack. “I’ve heard a lot of slack because every time I’ve raced here I’ve started in the top three and they say I only win because I have a fast car and I’m out front – We started tenth in the feature and we won so I guess it will quiet the haters so that makes it nice.”

Ending the night were the Sunoco Modifieds with a 30-lap feature littered with wrecks that took several big names out of contention. Troy Talman, Woody Pitkat, Joey and Adam Gada, and Todd Owen who was forced to a backup car prior to the race were all involved in incidents before the halfway point of the race. All the while Ronnie Williams fended off challenger after challenger to hold on to the lead and it all came down to the closing laps as Keith Rocco, who recovered from a penalty that sent him to the rear of the field for the final restart, stole the top spot. Williams would not be denied, pushing Rocco up the track in turns three and four on the final corner edging Rocco in a drag race to the line. Williams’ margin of victory was .03 seconds capping on an eventful day of racing at Thompson.

Up next for Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park is a slew of racing events in the month of June and it all stars on Wednesday, June 5 with the Thompson 125, the second appearance of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2019. All five of Thompson’s track divisions will also continue their seasons as the race towards championship glory continues.

 UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

LIMITED SPORTSMAN LONG DISTANCER FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Shawn Monahan (Waterford, CT); 2. Ryan Waterman (Danielson, CT); 3. Larry Barnett (Moosup, CT); 4. Jesse Gleason (Lisbon, CT); 5. Jason Chicolas; 6. Zachary Robinson (Putnam, CT); 7. Corey Fanning (Mapleville, RI); 8. Kevin Mason; 9. Randy Waterman, Jr. (Danielson, CT); 10. Ryan Morgan (Franklin, CT)

LATE MODEL FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Ryan Morgan (Franklin, CT); 2. William Wall (Millbury, MA); 3. Derek Gluchacki (Dartmouth, MA); 4. Woody Pitkat (Bellingham, CT); 5. Nick Johnson (Rehoboth, MA); 6. Mark Jenison (Warwick, RI); 7. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA); 8. Rick Gentes (Harrisville, RI); 9. Jared Materas (Westfield, MA); 10. Jason Palmer (Berlin, CT)

MINI STOCK FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Jared Roy (Sterling, CT); 2. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT);  3. Doug Curry (Norwich, CT); 4. Evan Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 5. Scott Michalski (Killingly, CT); 6. Charles Canfield (East Haven, CT) ; 7. Dave Trudeau, Jr. (Mansfield, CT); 8. JT Suprenant (Central Village, CT); 9. Glynn Roy (Sterling, CT); 10. Ian Brew (Woodriver Junction, RI)

SK LIGHT MODIFIEDS® FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Bryan Narducci (Colchester, CT); 2. Noah Korner (Canton, CT); 3. Mikey Flynn (Hampden, MA); 4. Ethan Durocher (Canterbury, CT); 5. Chris Correll (New London,CT); 6. Andrew Lee (New York, NY); 7. John O’ Sullivan (Salem, CT); 8. Keith Caruso (Millbury, MA); 9. Albert Ouellette (Ellington, CT); 10. Nathan Pytko (Douglas, MA)

SUCONO MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Ronnie Williams (Ellington, CT); 2. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 3. Timmy Jordan (Plainfield, CT); 4. Corey Barry (Plainfield, CT); 5. Justin Albernaz; 6. Zachary Leone (Shrewsbury, MA); 7. John Berchum (W. Greenwich, RI); 8. Paul LaPlante (North Attleboro, MA); 9. Mike Christopher, Jr. (Wolcott, CT); 10. Jason Sundeen  (Douglas, MA)

Photo Tom Morris Myracenews

THOMPSON SPEEDWAY BACK IN ACTION HONORING MILITARY THIS SUNDAY

FOURTH ANNUAL LIMITED SPORTSMAN EXTRA DISTANCE HEADLINES NASCAR RACING CARD; LOCK CITY DRIFT JOINS PROGRAM

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

THOMPSON, Conn. – Race fans won’t want to miss the second NASCAR raceday of the season this Sunday at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Two extra distance NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races, three additional battles under the NASCAR banner, the first competitive drifting in New England with Lock City Drift and a full day of honoring the Military are just some of the headlines for a jammed Sunday of racing action.

On the NASCAR side, the Fourth Annual Limited Sportsman Extra Distance event headlines the afternoon, as drivers in the Division III class showcase their talent for 30 laps. Last year, it was Ryan Waterman, who won this year’s opener at the Icebreaker, who captured the checkered flag in the special event.  In a division that is always known for three-wide, heart-pounding action throughout the entire field, adding 10 laps to the distance has been successful over the last three years, and has given drivers a little bit of an extra chance to get the job done.

Waterman leads the early championship standings in the division in chase for his second title, while Brent Gleason and Corey Fanning are just a few markers behind following their strong run at the opener. Defending champion Shawn Monahan looks to get back on track with his new ‘Swaggin Wagon’ after a run at the Icebreaker that didn’t quite live up to his standards.

The Late Models also take center stage, with a 40 lap extra distance show of their own planned for Sunday. With 15 extra laps on the track, Late Models drivers will set their chase towards Tom Carey III, who dominated the opener and is seeking his first title this year. But, former champions William Wall and Woody Pitkat aren’t far behind, along with names like Mark Jenison and veteran Rick Gentes.

Lock City Drift’s partnership with Thompson Speedway takes another step towards the future on Sunday with the first competitive drifting in all of New England taking place as part of this Sunday special. Through the Street Series, Lock City will give fans the chance to see drivers showcase their talent on the edge of control. Judges will select the winners at the end of each round, and overall winners will be crowned.

“Lock City Drift is excited to be welcomed into the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series family of fans this Sunday at Thompson,” Michael Lynch, the Director of Lock City Drift, said. “We will be showcasing our first Street Series competition right in conjunction with the oval track. With drifting becoming an ever-growing motorsport, it is humbling for us to have our event happening at the same time as the NASCAR racing. We hope you come out and enjoy the smoking of rubber.”

In the Sunoco Modifieds, Keith Rocco has won five of eight races dating back to last year and is showing no signs of slowing down. Rocco has the early advantage over the rest of the field following his win at the Icebreaker, but some of the top Modified talent in New England is right on his heels looking to slow him down. Former division champion Woody Pitkat has a new ride this season, while Todd Owen is looking to finally break into championship glory.

A streak is on the line in the SK Light Modifieds®, as Bryan Narducci looks to grab his sixth win in a row in a competitive class. Narducci will have to start in the middle of the pack, though, which could create some fireworks for the fans as the Connecticut rising star looks to make his way back to the front of the field. Thompson added this division to the weekly NASCAR slate in 2019, and if the opener is any indication, the support from drivers is a sign that this division will be one of the best for years to come.

In the Mini Stocks, veteran Steve Michalski opened his season with a victory at the Icebreaker, but there are multiple staple drivers in the Division V class looking to slow him down this weekend. Ian Brew comes into the event second in the early standings, while the Trudeau family is sitting in third with David Trudeau Jr. trying to chase down the two leaders.

Practice for NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions begins at 12:30 p.m., with qualifying heat racing set to roll at 2 p.m. The feature events for the second race of the season will immediately follow qualifying.

Lock City Drift’s events are included inside the schedule for the day. The full schedule of events, with times for the opening of the pit area and general admission gates, is available at www.thompsonspeedway.com.

As mentioned, any active military and veterans will be admitted for general admission free of charge. Fans can purchase a ticket at the front gate for just $18, while those 65+ can purchase for $16, and Kids 12 and under are free. A paddock pass for race teams and any fans that wish to get a close view of the cars and stars of Thompson is $35.

Race fans and teams are encouraged to visit the website for more information, and also follow the track on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Photo: Tom Morris Myracenews

Brian Tagg Looking To Return To Title Form In Late Models

PREPARING FOR EXTRA DISTANCE EVENT ON MAY 19
By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

THOMPSON, Conn. – Brian Tagg is no stranger to success at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.


The Oxford, Massachusetts, driver won the championship in Thompson’s Late Model division in 2015 – one accomplishment that easily goes down as one of the top in his racing career so far. 
He had competed in Thompson’s Sunoco Modified division previously, and also had winning success in the former Thompson Modified division and the ACT Tour before making the Late Model effort his top priority.


“It was pretty amazing because we were still learning the car. The Late Model is such a different animal and it was only my first season back at Thompson with it,” Tagg said about the title. “Racing on the ACT Tour teaches you so much, when you race against great drivers in a long race. You go back to Thompson and it gives you a different respect for it. It makes you a better driver.”


Winning Thompson’s Late Model championship was something Tagg will never take for granted. Four years later, it still feels like it was just yesterday that he sealed the deal. 


“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. You think about all of the good times, and there is really no better feeling than winning races, but to win a championship, you really need everything to go right for you,” Tagg said. “Not everyone gets the chance to have that feeling. I think about it all the time, and even though some people have more than one, just getting that one was amazing for me.”


This year, Tagg has refocused his efforts to look for another title in the competitive Division II class. In seven races last year, four drivers visited Victory Lane, including a division-high three wins by Ryan Morgan. Tagg knows a return to the top isn’t going to be easy against the likes of Icebreaker winner Tom Carey III and the remainder of the field, which includes multiple former champions.


He feels like the list of competitors is even better than it was when he won the title four years ago, making his path back to the top a difficult one.


“I knew Tom Carey III and Ryan Morgan and others were going to be tough, but with everyone so close, if you don’t start in the top five in a 25-lap race, you really have your work cut out for you. It takes you a few laps to get by someone most times,” Tagg said. “Before, there were some guys that weren’t as quick, but now, everyone is right there with you. It’s really tough. Things have changed in a good way. A lot of fans like our race because everyone is close and we really put on a good race.”


In the season opening Icebreaker, Tagg was up to eighth at one point, but fell back in the final circuits and finished 12th. It wasn’t exactly what he was looking for, but after starting back in 16th, he was able to make some moves and gain what could be crucial points when it comes down the stretch of the season.


The Late Model race at the Icebreaker followed the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Icebreaker 150, and teams were given a few hot laps to get a feel for their cars with the Modified rubber on the track. Teams were then given a few short minutes to make adjustments before the feature.


“It was a mix of both for us, having a deep starting position and the rubber down on the track. Giving us the few hot laps after the Whelen Modified Tour race, we were really free and we decided to make two adjustments to tighten the car up, but, we ended up going so far that we were tight,” Tagg said. “But we are very close.”
With how close he feels like his team is, Tagg isn’t planning to make any major adjustments ahead of the next event.


“After what we learned at the Icebreaker and after looking at the lap times, we are right there. I need to be better in the heat races, and we need to improve the car, so I can make some moves out there. I just want to win races,” he said. “Taking pictures is a really good time. Worrying about the points this early is way stressful for me. Even going down to the last race back

in 2015, we didn’t change anything and it worked out for us.”
That next event for Tagg is going to be one of the biggest of the season for the Late Models. The upcoming May 19 race will be 40 laps in distance, as the division joins the Limited Sportsman (30 laps) as the two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series classes with extra laps planned. 


“I am a huge fan of the longer distance races, coming from racing the longer events on the ACT Tour, you know you might not have to change the setup much but you do have to take care of the car,” Tagg said. “But you still have to attack this one as a 25-lap race, and you have to make sure the car is going to handle for the entire race.”
He has sponsorship from JV Mechanical Contractors, B&G Toys and Trains, Harvest Moon Health Foods, La Mountain Brothers, P&D Pizza, HMG Builders and others, and with this support, Tagg is able to compete at a high-level on the track.


For him, even though the first race of the season resulted in a finish outside the top 10, the confidence is still flowing for his race team. 
“It is pretty high, the finish at the Icebreaker didn’t really show what we are capable of. We have a top five car,” Tagg said. “The confidence is really important in racing, and we have it. Especially with our ACT Tour racing last year, we know we are better than what we showed at the Icebreaker. May and June have been my good months in the past. I’m looking forward to it.”


Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park returns to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action on Sunday, May 19, where the Late Models (40 laps), join the Limited Sportsman (30 laps) as two divisions with extra distance as part of the Fourth Annual Limited Sportsman extra distance and Military Night. All active military and veterans may enter the grandstands for free during this special event. The SK Light Modifieds®, Sunoco Modifieds and Mini Stocks also join the action.


Lock City Drift will begin their competitive drifting partnership with Thompson on the same day, as their Street Series begins. The schedule for the event has been completed and is available on the website under the event schedule tab.


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