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 www.riverheadraceway.com.

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, www.riverheadraceway.com. Teams with further questions concerning the 2016 rules package should e-mail the track at info@riverheadraceway.com.

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!

Hutchens Celebrates Winning Special Award

nascar whelen mod sou[2]Second Generation Driver Wins Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award

 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Trey Hutchens was destined to be involved in racing. Being the son of one of the most respected team engineers in NASCAR can have its pluses and minuses, but the 17 year-old is making a name for himself just fine in NASCAR’s regional touring series.

Hutchens has added another award to his young resume – 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

The second generation driver just completed his first full season driving a modified and finished a respectable 11th-place in the standings with a pair of top-10s in eight starts. He also competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2015 with two top-10 finishes in six starts.

“We had a good year but obviously we wanted to have some more top-10 finishes,” Hutchens said. “Driving a modified for the first time is a pretty steep learning curve. I was pleased with the progress that I made this year – especially since I was racing against a lot of guys who have been doing this 20 years or more.”

On driving both series during the season, Hutchens is happy for the opportunity but wishes he could have competed even more.

“Driving styles in a K&N car versus a modified are night and day,” Hutchens said. “The one thing that I feel helped me was after having a good run in one type of car, I was able to carry that over to the other car.”

One of the more impressive runs Hutchens had this season came in his second career start in the modified.

After suffering major damage to his car in a practice crash prevented him from competing in the season opener at Caraway Speedway, the second generation driver rebounded to finish 14th at the same track two weeks later. He then scored his first top-10 finish at South Boston Speedway the following week.

‘We had a part failure at Caraway and that’s certainly not how we wanted to start our season,” Hutchens said. “We rebounded and kept learning every race and kept getting better. I think our top-10 finish at South Boston reinforced to me that I could compete in this division.”

His father, Bobby Hutchens, has also raced throughout his career in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tours. While he has an established career on and off the track, the younger Hutchens doesn’t let that put any pressure on him to perform.

“Having my dad help me is a great benefit and in my opinion, he’s one of the best there has ever been to do what he has done on both ends as a driver and crew chief,” Hutchens said. “While he’s a big help he’s also my best friend and I really enjoy working and learning from him.”

For Bobby Hutchens, this year was a special one.

“I’m really proud of Trey and how hard he’s worked to get better as a race car driver,” Bobby Hutchens said. “I think we hit on something that fits his driving style over the final three races of the season and feel we can carry that over to next year as well.”

The 17-year old senior at North Davidson High School isn’t one to brag on himself but he’s also finding success in the classroom as well as the race track. He is currently at the top of his senior class and was recently elected class president.

“Trey comes home and works on his homework for hours every night and he even puts together all of his own sponsorship proposals and works to find sponsors to race,” Bobby Hutchens said. “I’m so happy for all of his accomplishments.”

The younger Hutchens also plans on following his dad’s footsteps and attend North Carolina State University and major in engineering.

“I want to keep racing and work my way up in NASCAR,” Trey Hutchens said. “I want to learn as much as I can about the engineering side of racing which will only make me a better race car driver.”

The teenager is the fourth generation of Hutchens to be involved in racing as his great grandfather, Claude, and grandfather, Bud, both owned cars at historic Bowman Gray Stadium. His dad has currently works at JTG Daugherty Racing.

“I just want to thank NASCAR and Sunoco for the Rookie of the Year Award and also Hoosier Tire for the Most Improved Team of the Race Award,” Trey Hutchens said. “I’ve been lucky to have a dad who’s helped me so much and I just want to do a good job for him.”

Judging by the caliber of person he’s become – those probably won’t be the only awards Hutchens will win in his career – on and off the track.

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