Category Archives: NASCAR

Doug Coby Bests Justin Bonsignore To Claim Bud 150 Crown

Tom Morris/Myracenews photos

THOMPSON, Conn. — The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour took center stage at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday, August 14 for the third time in 2019 with the 30th running of the Budweiser King of Beers 150. Coming into the race three drivers were considered the ones to watch. Points leader Doug Coby looked to extend his perfect streak of top ten finishes on the season, second place Ron Silk sought his third consecutive series victory, and third place defending champion Justin Bonsignore was looking for his seventh consecutive win at Thompson. 

Coby earned the early edge by grabbing the pole in group qualifying earlier in the evening, but Bonsignore made sure to keep the five-time champion in his sights, staying within striking distance of Coby through the first half of the race. A caution on lap 83 brought the field to pit road where Jon McKennedy exited first and Justin Bonsignore beat Doug Coby back to the track giving him his best shot at the lead all night. 

A poor restart for McKennedy allowed Bonsignore to storm to the lead with 90-laps to go, but an impressive power move by Craig Lutz saw Bonsignore fall back to second where Doug Coby was waiting to pounce. While Bonsignore and Coby battled it out for the runner-up spot with 50-laps to go, Lutz opened a .422 second lead seeking his first Whelen Modified Tour victory. A pair of cautions forced Lutz to fend off both Bonsignore and Coby, but a hard charging Bobby Santos III proved too much for Lutz, who was forced to relinquish the lead on lap 128 leaving Lutz, Bonsignore and Coby hoping for one more shot at the win. 

They got their wish with just over ten laps to go as the fifth caution of the night led to chaos when Lutz spun his tires while Santos broke a shifter ending his day. The ensuing caution set up a clash between Doug Coby and Justin Bonsignore, but it was Coby who claimed another Thompson win and his fourth win of 2019. The victory was extra special as it came just days shy of Coby’s 40th birthday. 

“This is a special place for me and my family,” Coby said on Thompson Speedway in Victory Lane. “What a great race. My last Modified Tour race in my 30s and I won it. What a great decade it was for me and I hope my 40s are even better.” 

Justin Bonsignore settled for a runner up finish and saw his winning streak at Thompson come to an end. “It’s tough when you’re that close. It just didn’t work out tonight,” Bonsignore said after the race. “You’re not going to win every race. We were prepared for it to happen. I’ve probably been more prepared (to lose) as it’s gone more and more – we lost to the best car this year.” 

The NEMA Midgets followed up the Whelen Modified Tour with a 25-lap feature that saw Todd Bertrand lead the early laps of the event seeking a repeat victory after winning the same race in 2018. However, a mechanical failure 14 laps into the race sidelined Bertrand handing the advantage to points leader Avery Stoehr. Stoehr went on to earn the win defeating Randy Cabral by a margin of just over a second. The win was Stoehr’s first at Thompson in the NEMA Midgets and his best finish at the Big-T since a fourth-place result in 2015. 

In addition to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NEMA Midgets, Thompson’s five NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions also took to the track with only a handful of races remaining before the season finale in October. First up were the Sunoco Modifieds where Keith Rocco looked to continue to solidify his position as the frontrunner for what would be his eighth Thompson title. Rocco carried a 38-point lead into the race over Todd Owen and it was those two drivers who battled it out for the first ten laps. While Rocco would manage to fight off his rival, it wouldn’t be the last challenge for the reigning champion in the 30-lap feature. Rocco also defended his position against a hard-charging Woody Pitkat, but it was Ronnie Williams, who defeated Rocco in May, who offered the biggest challenge making several dives for the lead right up to the final corner. It wasn’t enough to dethrone the champion however as Rocco claimed his third win of the season and extended his points lead to 44. 

“(Williams) was really good. I do have to say tonight he showed me a lot of respect and that goes a long way,” Rocco said of his rival after the race. “He ran me like a gentleman tonight and that goes a long way – If we could race like that every night the two of us could put on one heck of a show.” 

Next up was the SK Light Modifieds® where points leader Bryan Narducci sought his sixth win of the year, with Albert Ouellette not far behind. However, neither driver would last long in the race, as the two points leaders were caught up in a multi-car incident only six laps into the 20-lap feature opening the door for a new winner to shine in the division. That driver was Teddy Hodgdon, who outraced former Thompson Mini Stock champion Wayne Burroughs, Jr. for his first Thompson victory. 

“I’ve always wanted to win here since I started last year. We’ve been very close many times, but we were able to do it tonight. The car was on rails,” the 18-year-old Hodgdon said in Victory Lane. “The car went away a little bit towards the end. (Burroughs) was coming. I knew he was better on the long run than I was, so I just had to defend, and we ended up getting a victory.”  

Sporting the closest points battle of Thompson’s five divisions, the Limited Sportsman series saw Shawn Monahan step up to the plate to take full control of the points race scoring his third victory of the season in dominating fashion. Monahan made it look easy cruising to a 1.4 second lead and walking away with a trophy and an eight-point lead over Kyle Gero putting Monahan in prime position to earn his third consecutive division title. 

“I’m going to take any win I can get – we can’t let go now. We’ve got a goal and there’s not even time out there to run in second place because somebody can get you when you least expect it,” Monahan said after the win. 

In the Mini Stocks, the points race was shuffled after both Scott and Steve Michalski, who sat first and second in points respectively with only six points separating them, each had problems in their heat races. This opened the door for Doug Curry, who was third in points facing a 35-point deficit, to cut into their lead. He took full advantage of his opportunity leading nearly the entire race and scoring his second win of 2019 making him the first multi-race victor in the Mini Stocks this season. Despite their troubles the Michalski’s still maintained a tight grip on the top two spots with finishes inside the top ten. Scott Michalski goes into the Labor Day race with an eight-point lead over Steve Michalski. 

Finally, the Late Models took to the track for a 25-lap feature with William Wall holding a 17-point advantage over Woody Pitkat for the championship. The points battle took a backseat to some division veterans however as Brian Tagg, Rick Gentes and Ryan Morgan, all virtually eliminated from the title hunt, looked to score a late-season win. Brian Tagg came away with the win while Woody Pitkat picked up minimal points over William Wall as the title contenders finished fourth and fifth respectively. 

Racing action returns to Thompson on Labor Day weekend for a makeup day of on-track action on Sunday, September 1. NASCAR’s Whelen All American Series divisions will take center stage as drivers seek valuable points with only two more races before the Sunoco World Series of Racing season finale in October.  

WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR 30TH ANNUAL BUD 150 FINISH TOP-10: 1. Doug Coby; 2. Justin Bonsignore; 3. Craig Lutz; 4. Jon McKennedy; 5. Timmy Solomito; 6. Jimmy Blewett; 7. Andrew Krause; 8. Patrick Emerling; 9. Matt Swanson; 10. Woody Pitkat 

NEMA FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Avery Stoehr; 2. Randy Cabral; 3. Paul Scally; 4. Mike Horn; 5. Bethany Stoher; 6. Jake Trainor; 7. Sammy Swindell; 8. Andy Lunt; 9. Jeff Champagne; 10. Todd Bertrand 

SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 2. Ronnie Williams (Tolland, CT); 3. Woody Pitkat (Bellingham, MA); 4. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 5. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA); 6. Noah Korner; 7. Corey Barry (Brooklyn, CT); 8. Kyle James (Westerly, RI); 9. Adam Gada; 10. Danny Cates 

SK LIGHT MODIFIEDS© FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Teddy Hodgdon (Danbury, CT); 2. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 3. Nathan Pytko (Oxford, MA); 4. Wesley Prucker; 5. Anthony Marvin (Colchester, CT); 6. John O’Sullivan (Salem, CT); 7. Todd Taylor (Stonington, CT); 8. Matt MacDougall (Derby, CT); 9. Albert Ouellette (Ellington, CT); 10. Mikey Flynn (Hampden, MA) 

LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Shawn Monahan (Waterford, CT); 2. Jason Chicolas (Sutton, MA); 3. Moose Douton (Niantic, CT); 4. Kyle Gero (Baltic, CT); 5. Brent Gleason (Griswold, CT); 6. Corey Fanning (Mapleville, RI); 7. Meghan Fuller (Auburn, MA); 8. Al Stone (Durham, CT); 9. Ryan Morgan (Franklin, CT); 10. Tommy Shea (New London, CT) 

MINI STOCK FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Doug Curry (Norwich, CT); 2. Jared Roy (Sterling, CT); 3. Glen Thomas, Jr.; 4. Ian Brew (Woodriver Junction, RI); 5. Joe Bavolacco (Stratford, CT); 6. JT Suprenant (Central Village, CT); 7. Scott Michalski (Danielson, CT); 8. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT); 9. Evan Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 10. John Ekdahl (Chepachet, RI) 

LATE MODEL FEATURE TOP-10: 1. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA); 2. Ryan Morgan (Franklin, CT); 3. Rick Gentes (Harrisville, RI); 4. William Wall (Millbury, MA); 5. Derek Gluchacki (Dartmouth, MA); 6. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 7. Nick Johnson (Rehoboth, MA); 8. Mark Jenison (Warwick, RI); 9. Buddy Charette (Woodstock, CT); 10. Mike Benevides (Westerly, RI) 

Stafford Speedway’s Late Model 50 Offers $10,000 Purse

Tom Morris/Myracenews photo

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway’s Late Model division takes center stage this Friday, August 16 with the extra distance Late Model 50.  Not only will Late Model drivers be racing extra laps, but they will also be racing for extra cash.  The Late Model 50 carries a purse of $10,000 with the winner guaranteed to win $1,200.  Add the $125 iRacing and $25 N.E. Racing Fuel, Sunoco contingency bonuses, and the winner’s share increases to $1,350.  A regular 30-lap Late Model feature pays $800 to win, which is what the third place finisher in the Late Model 50 will take home.  10th place pays $325 with the race paying $250 to start.

In addition to purse and contingency bonuses, Late Model drivers will also have an opportunity to take home even more cash thanks to the Gaston Racing Enterprises High Roller Challenge.  Similar to the Gambler’s Challenge for the NAPA SK 5K event, Late Model drivers pay $50 into a prize pool with Bill Gaston matching the driver’s contribution up to $1,000.  The GRE High Roller Challenge will max out at $2,000 if 20 drivers enter.  The distribution of the money will be left to chance as the race winner will roll a die in NAPA Victory Lane to determine the bonus payout.  The four options are; winner takes all, split evenly among the top-5 finishers, 6th through 10th place finishers, or the 11th to 20th place finishers.  The GRE High Roller Challenge currently stands at $1,600 with 16 competitors entered.  Late Model teams can still enter the GRE High Roller Challenge by contacting the track office or registering this Friday at the track prior to the start of the qualifying heats.

The race for the Late Model 50 checkered flag will be wide open as there are only 2 previous Late Model 50 winners in the starting field.  Michael Bennett, driver of the #31 Aubuchon Hardware Chevrolet, is a two-time Late Model 50 winner in 2015 and 2017 and Paul Arute, driver of the #82 Supreme Industries Chevrolet, is the defending champion of the Late Model 50.  Both Arute and Bennett are winless and they will be eager to make the Late Model 50 their first win of the 2019 season.

Tom Fearn and the #92 King Ward Coach Lines team leads all Late Model drivers with 7 wins this season and he has recorded 14 top-5 finishes in 15 starts this season, but Fearn has never won an extra distance feature at Stafford in his career, spanning back to the early ‘90s and the ProStock division.  Fearn holds a commanding 106-point lead over Michael Wray in the chase for the Late Model track championship, which means Fearn can afford to take some extra chances in pursuit of his first career extra distance feature victory.

Other drivers who have reached victory lane this season in the Late Model division includes Kevin Gambacorta and the #23 Lavigne Law team, Al Saunders and the #40 American Sleeve Bearing team, and Michael Wray and the #42 DMW Graphics team, who have all won twice.  Drivers with a single feature win to their credit this season are Adam Gray and the #97 Meadows Motor Car team and Cliff Saunders and the #14 American Sleeve Bearing team. 

The Late Model 50 is scheduled for this Friday, August 16th and Stafford’s 4 other weekly racing divisions including the SK Modified® division will join the Late Models in feature action.  General Admission tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for kids 6-14 with kids 5 & under free.  Reserved seating is priced at $23 for all ages.  All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.  Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles. 

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

Tyler Leary Back On Track Heading Into Stafford Late Model 50

Stafford Motor Speedway photos

(Stafford Springs, CT)—Stafford Speedway’s Late Model division is taking center stage this Friday, August 16 for a 50-lap extra distance event that carries a purse of $10,000.  Tyler Leary, Hatfield MA native, is looking to end a victory drought that dates back to the NAPA Fall Final in 2017, a stretch of nearly 2 years.  Leary and the #11 Amherst Trucking / Raynor Garage Doors team head into the Late Model 50 feeling like the extra distance event could be the perfect opportunity to end their winless streak.

“I’m feeling pretty good about the race actually,” said Leary.  “If you had asked me three or four weeks ago I probably would have said absolutely not.  It’s been almost 2 years since we’ve last seen victory lane.  It’s been frustrating for sure but we just keep working at it.  I almost can’t even describe how frustrating it’s been.  I know there’s some other guys out there who have had the same thing where they go through a dry spell.  We’ve lacked some consistency this year but it would be such a relief to get another win.  I’m hoping if we can hit the setup good and have the tires right where we want them, we can be a contender.”

Leary looked like he was well on his way to ending his winless streak 2 weeks ago, pulling away from the field after starting from pole position but a caution with 4 laps to go erased his large lead and he ended up spinning on the restart after contact from another car.  Leary recovered to finish 6th and he followed that up with a 4th place finish last week, which was only his 5th top-5 finish of the season.  With the team struggling to find the perfect setup for the #11 car, Leary feels like he and his team are back on track to be able to find their way back to NAPA Victory Lane.

“We finally got the car going pretty good,” said Leary.  “We’ve always had a fast car during the day this season, we just couldn’t quite figure out the feature-time setup.  We were decent for the first 3 weeks and then we tried chasing the car and we dialed ourselves right out of it.  We made a decision with Bob Fill, 2 or 3 weeks ago, to go back to square one and start over.  Ever since we’ve done that, the car has been pretty good.  We ran away from the field two weeks ago and had a mishap at the end of the race and then last week, I believe the three cars that finished in front of us were all on new tires and we were on old tires.  With plenty of tires in our inventory, we feel like we have a good shot this Friday and hopefully we can get the job done.  My car gets better as the race goes on and our fastest laps of the race are usually after lap-20.”

With Leary sitting 154 points behind Tom Fearn in the chase for the Late Model track championship, Leary says his focus for the remaining 6 races in 2019 are all about returning to NAPA Victory Lane and putting together a good base for the #11 team to build on for the 2020 season.

“The points chase has been over for us for a few weeks so we’re not even looking at points now, we’re just going for wins,” said Leary.  “A win would be huge for us, especially in a big event like the Late Model 50.  The High Roller Challenge that GRE6 is putting on is a wonderful thing and not only me, but everyone who races at Stafford appreciates all the contingency sponsors and the people who put up the big money for events like this.  It would be huge to not only win, but to have some extra purse money and take these last 6 races and look at some things that we can take into next year.”

In addition to his #11 Late Model machine, Leary will also be looking to get his SK Modified® program on track after struggling through his rookie season behind the wheel of the #1 Amherst Trucking / Raynor Garage Doors SK Modified®. 

“I’ll be the first to admit that I’m too hard on myself, but I also know that you don’t just hop into an SK Modified® and find instant success,” said Leary.  “Obviously I’d like to be doing a little better and run a little more in the top-10 every week.  You have to slowly adapt the driver to the car and the car to the driver, so it’s been a slow process but we’re going to take the next 6 weeks and grind it out and get better prepared for next season. 

The Late Model 50 is scheduled for this Friday, August 16th and Stafford’s 4 other weekly racing divisions including the SK Modified® division will join the Late Models in feature action.  General Admission tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for kids 6-14 with kids 5 & under free.  Reserved seating is priced at $23 for all ages.  All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.  Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking along with overnight parking available for self contained Recreational Vehicles. 

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