Category Archives: Weekly Paved Track Racing

Tagg Claims Late Model Title In Dramatic Fashion At Thompson Speedway

75 Logo FINAL
(THOMPSON, CT) – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park crowned it’s first of fourteen champions that will be named this weekend as the track kicked off the biggest racing weekend in New England on Friday, October 16th, the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing, presented by XtraMart.
Friday’s racing action featured intense qualifying races for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Monster Mini Stocks, the Valenti Modified Racing Series, the North East Street Stock Tour, the New England Truck Series and the North East Mini Stock Tour as well as the first feature event of the weekend, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model season that set the pace for what promises to be a wild weekend of non-stop racing action at the Big T.
Drivers in the Late Model series didn’t waste any time adding some drama to the title fight with a pair of highly competitive heat races that saw the points lead for the main event stand at only three points. Brian Tagg held the points lead over Keith Rocco despite receiving damage in an early crash during his heat race. Tagg recovered from the incident to finish fifth in the heat while Rocco made the most of his heat race by winning the qualifying event.
The action only got more intense once the Late Models hit the track for their feature event. While Rocco appeared to have a smooth race, consistently running in the top five for the 25-lap event, Tagg faced another near miss when a lap one caution in turn two nearly collected his car. Tagg’s issues didn’t stop there after the driver found himself marred back in 8th place after being penalized for a rough driving incident involving Earnest LaRose, while Rocco maintained a top three position in third.
Tagg recovered however, working his way to fourth, one position behind Rocco, which would have secured him the championship. With less than two laps to go Rocco made a big move to pass Jeff Smith for second, putting himself two spots ahead of Tagg and in position to win the Late Model championship without winning a single event on the year. With the biggest move of the night, Tagg, who would not be defeated, passed Smith on the final lap to claim third place and win the championship by a single point, while Larry Gelinas went on the win the race. The event also marked the final race for Danielson, CT native, Glenn Boss, who finished fifth.
Tagg, a rookie and newlywed who grew up watching races at Thompson, commented on his miraculous championship win in victory lane.
“It’s something I never would have thought of,” said Tagg. “We had a good car all day and in practice and I knew we were going to have a good car in the heat race. I was worried about the heat race. That was my biggest concern.”
Tagg took the blame for his contact with LaRose and apologized for the incident. He recalled seeing his points rival Rocco take away second position as he worked his way back to the front and what it was like knowing one spot stood between him and a championship title with less than two laps to go.
“A lot of things (went through my mind). Devastation. Still having hope. You never know what could happen,” he said. “It was just crazy. I knew Rocco was going to try everything to get by Smith. He did. He used him up, but he got by him. Hey you have to do that. He’s running for a championship too. He knows what’s going on. It’s unreal.”
The Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing continues Saturday, October 17th where the North East Midget Association, Valenti Modified Racing Series, American Canadian Tour, Monster Mini Stock, North East Street Stock Tour, New England Truck Series, North East Mini Stock Tour, Pro 4 Modified and Lite Modifieds will take to the track for one more ride on the 2015 season. Qualifying for Sunday’s events will also take place throughout the afternoon.
LATE MODEL SERIES FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Larry Gelinas (Buxton, MA); 2. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 3. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA); 4. Jeff Smith (Old Lyme, CT); 5. Glen Boss (Danielson, CT); 6. Wait Sutcliffe (East Haven, CT); 7. Buddy Charette (Woodstock, CT); 8. Lloyd Anderson, Jr. (Wauregan, CT); 9. Brandon Warren (Chicopee, MA); 10. Josh King (Vernon, VT)


UnknownRiverhead, NY Oct. 14th.
By Bob Finan

The new owners of Riverhead Raceway have hit the ground running towards the 2016 race season and on Monday announced the divisional rules for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz through track GM John Ellwood introduced a new race class during the announcement, the Riverhead Modified Crate division. It was also disclosed the Charger division would no longer race as a stand alone class with teams from the Chargers having two options for racing at Riverhead Raceway in 2016.

Looking towards the racing future, the new management team felt it necessary to incorporate the Charger cars into either the Late Models, Super Pro Trucks or Figure Eights moving forward. The 2016 rules for both those popular forms of racing reflect the inclusion of the Chargers into both divisions. One common thread for both the Late Models and Super Pro Trucks will find both divisions mandated to run a Crate Engine for 2017, with the 2016 rules providing a Crate Engine option. The Figure Eights and Blunderbusts will be permitted to run engines that conform to the 2016 rule book for the immediate future. The NASCAR Modified and INEX Legend Race Car engine and general rules will again conform to the 2016 specifications set forth by both sanctioning bodies.

Wanting to provide a more cost effective open wheel option, the Riverhead Modified Crate division has been formulated and introduced for 2016 and will compliment the weekly NASCAR Modified racing. The Riverhead Modified Crate division will mandate the use of a sealed GM 602 Crate Engine. All engines must remain as delivered by General Motors. It is mandatory that all Crate Engines be purchased & sealed by Riverhead Raceway. Penalties for tampering with a GM 602 Crate Engine or engine seals will include the confiscation of the engine, a $1,000 fine, and the loss of all track points accumulated.

A stock Holley 650 CFM carburetor part number 0-82651 will be the only carburetor permitted. The RMC machines will be allowed the option of running either 8″ or 10″ wheel and will race on a 8″ tire approved by Riverhead Raceway. The RMC teams will be permitted a tire inventory of 8 tires maximum for their first race and will have one tire added to the team inventory per event they compete in. Several other cost saving rules and procedures are in place for the Riverhead Modified Crate division and can be viewed at

Rules for the Riverhead Modified Crate as well the Late Models, Figure Eights, Blunderbusts and Super Pro Trucks are now posted on our web page, Teams with further questions concerning the 2016 rules package should e-mail the track at

A complete 2016 race schedule and other exciting announcements concerning the new era of racing at Riverhead Raceway will be released in the days and weeks to come!

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Statistical Advance: Thompson

nwmt-lgAnalyzing The Sunoco World Series 150 At Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 14, 2015) – The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will draw the 2015 season to a close and crown a champion with the Sunoco World Series 150 on Sunday at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Below is a statistical look at the performance of the tour and selected drivers at the track:

Sunoco World Series 150 Setup:

  • Doug Coby and Ryan Preece enter the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season finale tied atop the championship standings while Woody Pitkat ranks third, just four points back. Coby will vie for his third title (2012, `14) and Preece his second (2013) while Pitkat is in search of his first.
  • Coby has won the first three events this year at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Only two drivers have swept a season at Thompson (Steve Park-1996, Mike Stefanik-1998). Coby has four career points wins at the track.
  • Coby has led 340 of 425 (80%) laps contested this year at Thompson.
  • Preece is the defending winner of the Sunoco World Series 150, his only previous victory at the track. Pitkat has captured two of the last six Thompson poles, but has yet to win there.
  • Three drivers entered for the Sunoco World Series 150 have previously won the traditional season finale event: Ted Christopher (4), Preece (1) and Bobby Santos (2).
  • Christopher is the only driver in NWMT history to clinch the title by winning the season finale, which he did in the 2008 Thompson World Series. Mike Stefanik won the season finale in his 1991 and `97 championship campaigns, but he had already clinched the title prior to the final race.

 At Thompson Speedway:


  • Opened on May 26, 1940 as the largest and first entirely-asphalt track in New England at the time.
  • An inaugural member track of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, now in its 34th season. Ryan Preece is the defending track champion out of the track’s headlining Sunoco Modified division.
  • Held NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 1951, 1969 and 1970, and 27 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East events from 1988-2009.
  • Held the inaugural NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event on March 31, 1985, a race won by the late NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans.


  • Thompson has played host to 129 NWMT races, the most in the tour’s 31 seasons.
  • There have been 34 different race winners at Thompson, led by Mike Stefanik’s 15 victories.
  • There have been 44 different pole winners at Thompson, led by Tony Hirschman’s 13.
  • Jamie Tomaino is the only driver that has participated in all 129 previous NWMT Thompson races.
  • There have only been three races won in wire-to-wire fashion at Thompson, the last by Rick Fuller in 1997.
  • Bobby Santos was the youngest Thompson race winner at 22 years, 11 days in 2007.
  • Stefanik was the oldest Thompson victor at 54 years, 10 months, 25 days in 2013.

 Thompson Data

Race:  #15 of 15 overall, #4 of 4 at Thompson

Track Layout:  .625-mile asphalt oval

Banking/Turns:  26 degrees

Race Length:  150 laps (93.75 miles)


Qualifying/Race Data

2014 Race Winner:  Ryan Preece

2014 Pole Winner:  Woody Pitkat

Qualifying Record:  Bobby Santos, Dodge, 18.237 seconds, 123.376 mph, April 10, 2011

  Active Category Leaders at Thompson: Wins

  1. Ted Christopher … 13
  2. Doug Coby … 4

Bobby Santos … 4

Ron Silk … 4


  1. Ted Christopher … 7
  2. Bobby Santos … 5
  3. Donny Lia … 4

Ryan Preece … 4

Top Fives

  1. Ted Christopher … 34
  2. Jamie Tomaino … 20
  3. Ron Silk … 16

Top 10s

  1. Jamie Tomaino … 49
  2. Ted Christopher … 48
  3. Todd Szegedy … 26

Laps Led

  1. Ted Christopher … 1,750
  2. Doug Coby … 672
  3. Donny Lia … 645

Laps Completed

  1. Jamie Tomaino… 15,820
  2. Ted Christopher … 11,687
  3. Wade Cole … 9,420


  1. Jamie Tomaino … 129
  2. Ted Christopher … 88
  3. Wade Cole … 83

 Select Driver Highlights:

Justin Bonsignore (No. 51 M3 Technology Chevrolet)

  • Has eight wins, five poles and 50 top 10s in 87 career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts.
  • Ranks 11th in points with seven top 10s in 14 races, highlighted by wins in both Riverhead Raceway events.
  • Has three wins, 10 top 10s and an average finish of 14th in 20 career starts at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

 Ted Christopher (No. 22 Canto Paving/Ferguson Waterworks Chevrolet)

  • The 2008 NWMT champion has 42 wins, 24 poles and 198 top 10s in 360 career starts. His 42 wins rank third all-time and his 24 poles are eighth.
  • Is looking to end a 54-race winless drought. It’s the second-longest such streak in his career. His first win came in his 94th race.
  • Sits 13th in points with six top 10s in 12 starts. Did not participate in two events.
  • Has 13 wins, seven poles, 48 top 10s and an average finish of 13th in 88 career NWMT Thompson starts. Also won the non-points UNOH Showdown in 2012.
  • Has a record four Sunoco World Series 150 wins, including three in a row from 2008-10.
  • Is a five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champion at Thompson out of the Sunoco Modified division. Has 98 overall career victories at the track entering this week’s events.

 Doug Coby (No. 2 Dunleavy’s Repair/HEX Performance Chevrolet)

  • The 2012 and 2014 NWMT champion has 16 wins, nine poles and 89 top 10s in 171 career starts.
  • Has already set career-highs with six wins and 10 top fives. Is tied with Ryan Preece for the championship lead, and will attempt to become the first back-to-back champion since Tony Hirschman in 2004-05.
  • Won from the pole the last two times out at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Stafford Motor Speedway.
  • Has led 731 laps this year, which currently ranks seventh in NWMT single-season history. Could rise as high as fifth if he leads 146 of 150 this week.
  • Has four wins, a pole, 25 top 10s and an average finish of 11th in 45 career Thompson NWMT starts. Also won the inaugural non-points UNOH Showdown in 2011.
  • Has won the Thompson Icebreaker and Stafford Spring Sizzler and Fall Final, leaving the Thompson World Series as the only one of the four traditional Connecticut season-opening or season-closing events not yet on his resume.

 Chase Dowling (No. 9 S&S Asphalt Paving/Dunleavy’s Repair Chevrolet)

  • The 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
  • Ranks ninth in points with seven top 10s and a best finish of third at Riverhead in August.
  • Only three drivers (Todd Szegedy-10, Ken Barry-8, James Civali-8) have earned more than seven top 10s in their Sunoco Rookie of the Year season.
  • Has an average finish of 15th across his first three races at Thompson.

 Patrick Emerling (No. 07 Buffalo Auto Auction Chevrolet)

  • Has six top fives and 24 top 10s in 68 career starts with a best finish of second, recorded in September at NHMS.
  • Is in position for his first career top-five points finish on the strength of a career-best eight top 10s.
  • Has a pole (Aug. 2015) five top 10s, an average finish of 12.5 and a best result of seventh (twice) in 15 starts at Thompson.

 Eric Goodale (No. 58 GAF Roofing/Supreme Skylights Chevrolet)

  • Has a win, a pole and 44 top 10s in 100 career starts.
  • Maintains the NWMT’s active lead for consecutive starts, now at 98 races.
  • Ranks seventh in points after 14 races with nine top 10s and a best finish of fourth on two occasions.
  • Has 12 top 10s, an average finish of 13th and a best result of third (Aug. 2013) in 23 starts at Thompson.

 Donny Lia (No. 8 Sypher Construction/Bardahl Chevrolet)

  • The 2007 and 2009 NWMT champion has 17 wins, 21 poles and 86 top 10s in 168 career starts.
  • Eighth top 10s in 14 starts this year has him eighth in the points standings. Has finished sixth or better in each of the last five races after difficult first nine races of the season.
  • Has three wins, four poles, 17 top 10s and an average finish of 13th in 38 career Thompson starts.

 Woody Pitkat (No. 88 Buzz Chew Chevrolet/Elbow East Chevrolet)

  • Has three wins, four poles and 54 top 10s in 105 career starts.
  • Is third in points with career-best totals of 10 top fives and 13 top 10s. Won the Stafford Spring Sizzler and the non-points All-Star Shootout at NHMS.
  • Has three poles, nine top 10s, an average finish of 15.5 and a best result of second (2014 & `15 Icebreakers, Aug. `15) in 28 NWMT Thompson starts.
  • Thompson’s 2006 NWAAS champion out of the Sunoco Modified division, where he is the current points leader with one race remaining.

Ryan Preece (No. 6 TS Haulers/East West Marine Chevrolet)

  • The 2013 NWMT champion has 15 wins, 14 poles, 40 podiums, 55 top fives and 77 top 10s in 122 career starts.
  • Is tied with Doug Coby for the points lead on the strength of three wins, seven top fives and 13 top 10s.
  • Has a win (2014 World Series), four poles, 19 top 10s and an average finish of 11th in 31 NWMT Thompson races.
  • Earned the 2012 and `14 Thompson NWAAS track titles in Sunoco Modifieds, where he has 16 career wins.

 Keith Rocco (No. 57 M&M Stone Creations Chevrolet)

  • The 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year has three top fives and 12 top 10s in 29 career NWMT starts with a best finish of third in the 2012 Stafford Spring Sizzler.
  • Has an average finish of 12th with a best run of fourth (June Thompson) in seven starts this year.
  • Has four top 10s and an average finish of 14th in 10 career NWMT starts at Thompson.
  • A four-time NWAAS Thompson track champion out of the Sunoco Modified division, where he has 36 career wins.

 Bobby Santos (No. 44 Tinio Corp./Dan Kelley/Curb Records Chevrolet)

  • The 2010 NWMT champion has 13 wins, 16 poles and 58 top 10s in 106 career events.
  • Sits 10th in points with eight top 10s and a best result of third in the Icebreaker. Did not participate in the August Riverhead race.
  • Has four wins, five poles, 19 top 10s and an average finish of 14th in 34 Thompson races.
  • Is one of eight drivers with multiple wins (2007, `12) in the Sunoco World Series 150. His first career win came in the 2007 event.

 Timmy Solomito (No. 16 Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises Ford)

  • The 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year has a pole and 16 top 10s in 34 career starts with a best finish of third at Riverhead in September 2013 and twice at Stafford this year (June, Oct.).
  • Ranks sixth in points with eight top 10s through 14 events.
  • In nine Thompson starts he’s posted seven top 10s with an average finish of 11th and a best result of fourth in the 2014 Icebreaker.

 Todd Szegedy (No. 4 Montanari Fuel Dodge)

  • The 2003 NWMT champion has 19 wins, 10 poles and 125 top 10s in 201 career starts.
  • Sits fourth in points with 10 top 10s in 14 outings in his first season with Mystic Missile Racing, highlighted by a July victory at NHMS.
  • Has three wins, three poles, 26 top 10s and an average finish of 13th in 48 career NWMT starts at Thompson.

Other Driver Notes:

  • Ray Graham Jr. and Kyle Soper will attempt to make their NWMT debut in this event while John Beatty Jr. will look to make his first season appearance.
  • Not only will Jamie Tomaino continue his run of participating in every single NWMT event at Thompson, but he’ll also compete in every race on the schedule for the sixth straight season. He’s started 596 of the 601 events in tour history.
  • James Civali won the 2007 Thompson Icebreaker. He has nine top 10s and nine DNFs in 22 career starts there.

 Up To Speed:

  • This is the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s 30th Anniversary season. The inaugural race was contested March 31, 1985 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
  • The 2015 schedule features 15 points races at seven different tracks across four states.
  • Doug Coby opened up his title defense with a win from the pole in the Thompson Icebreaker 150 on April 12.
  • Woody Pitkat earned the NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 victory on April 26 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
  • Ryan Preece emerged victorious at New London-Waterford Speedbowl in the Mr. Rooter 161 on May 30.
  • Preece made it two-in-a-row with a victory in the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 on June 5 at Stafford.
  • Coby won at Thompson for the second consecutive outing with the Mr. Rooter 125 victory on June 10.
  • The Riverhead Hoosier Tire East 200 was postponed one day by rain, then dominated in victory by Justin Bonsignore.
  • Todd Szegedy won the Andy Blacksmith 100 presented by Donate Life New England on July 18 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
  • Coby notched the first bullring win of his career on July 25 when he reached Victory Lane at Monadnock Speedway in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 200.
  • Preece made it two-in-a-row at Stafford when he won the Call Before You Dig 150 on Aug. 7.
  • Coby moved to three-for-three in 2015 at Thompson when he won the Budweiser King of Beers 150 on Aug. 12.
  • Preece notched his first Bristol victory when he won the rain-delayed and abbreviated Bush’s Beans 150 on Aug. 19.
  • Bonsignore turned in the 2015 Riverhead sweep as he won the Riverhead 200 on Aug. 29.
  • Coby won from the pole at NHMS on Sept. 26.
  • Coby made it back-to-back wins from the pole with another triumph at Stafford on Oct. 4.
  • 75 Logo FINAL