Tag Archives: Limited Sportsman

GERO, MONAHAN AND FULLER SET TO BATTLE FOR THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK LIMITED SPORTSMAN CROWN

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park / Tom Morris/Myracnews photos

THOMPSON, Conn. — The Limited Sportsman division has three drivers, with three different backgrounds, all searching the season championship at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.  

Kyle Gero, in just his second full-time year in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division, leads the standings by 10 points over two-time and defending champion Shawn Monahan. Behind them, Meghan Fuller is just 16 back. The three drivers will battle it out for the final time as part of the Sunday portion of the 57th annual Sunoco World Series, October 11-13.  

Gero is a rather newcomer to the division, who says he still feels like a rookie contender. Monahan is a polished veteran, who knows how to get the job done in the championship battle, having won the last two. Fuller, who has extensive racing background in her family, is searching her first title, but has been successful across Connecticut this season at two tracks, and nationally in the NASCAR standings.  

“Obviously we want to win the race, but the goal was just to say consistent and be where we are at right now, having a chance at the championship,” Gero said. “I’m more than happy with how the season has turned out, and very thankful to be where we are at.” 

Gero’s year has been filled with consistent runs, as the Uncasville, Connecticut, driver has earned top five finishes in the last seven feature races — proving he knows how to be there at the end. He’s driving a car that Monahan sold him a few years back. It has the speed it needs. 

“I wouldn’t consider myself surprised, because we have put in a lot of work in the shop and I think the finishes prove that we are bringing a good piece to the track every week,” Gero said. “If you aren’t checking every bolt on the car, it gives a chance for parts to break and bad things to happen. We’ve had a lot of hard work.” 

With the Sunoco World Series the only race left on the schedule, and only a 10-point lead as his cushion, Gero thinks he might need to turn things up just a bit. 

“I haven’t been as aggressive as I need to be during the heat races, I always considered them as a good opportunity to prove what you have for the day, but I think I need to be more aggressive, knowing that if something does happen, we are going for it,” Gero said. “We’re going out with a must-win mentality.” 

Thompson competitors earn 50 points for winning a feature race, while each position down through the field earns two less, meaning second earns 48, third receives 46, etc. In heat races, the winner earns five points, with a one-point drop throughout the top five, with fifth earning just one. 

For Monahan, the season has been filled with checkered flags, bent up sheet metal, and broken equipment. In his first year driving the ‘Swaggin Wagon’, he’s been to Victory Lane in four of the nine races, but also has two finishes outside the top 10. Last year, he rolled to the championship. This year, he’s going to have to come from behind heading into the finale. And he’s perfectly OK with that. 

“With the one broken transmission, and when I took the ride through the infield a few races ago I damaged the brake line, and I had to run the rest of that race a half of a lap down because I simply wasn’t able to stop,” Monahan said. “To go through those types of situations and still have a shot at the championship, I would love to get the third one. But I’ve already decided that I’m also OK with not getting it – because respect that we have among the top running cars, the cards just have to fall where they will.” 

Monahan’s no stranger to this position. Winning the last two titles in one of Thompson’s most competitive divisions, he seems to know what it might take in the final 20-lap race of the season. But, as Gero mentioned, Monahan also agrees the heat race will matter in the final tally. 

“I’m going to perform my best, and I’m going to gain as much as I can,” Monahan said. “I would say as a spectator at the racetrack, you should enjoy the qualifying round just as much as the main event. I can’t afford to lose anything going into this race. If I can’t get there, I simply can’t get there. But if there is an opportunity, I know the value of holding the checkered flag in the qualifier just as much as the feature at the World Series.” 

The misfortune for Monahan during the season might have him coming from behind, but he seems more than ready to do it. 

“People are going to look into the record books 10 years from now and remember who the champion was, not so much who finished second,” Monahan said. “To win two-in-a-row has been an honor. If you took a vote, I probably would have been counted out mid-season. But a few things have gone our way. I never could have imagined this was going to take place. It could go either way.” 

For Fuller, this season has been filled with positives, both at Thompson and over at Stafford Motor Speedway. Between the two tracks, she has 24 top 10 finishes, and will be in contention to win both titles heading for the finales. On a NASCAR national level, Fuller is also inside the top 10 in both the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division V championship standings, and the UNOH Youth Achievement Award battle. 

“We’ve improved a lot since last year, we’ve had some good finishes, and my dad and uncle Jimmy have found a few things with the car that have really helped,” Fuller said. “The car is at the point where I feel comfortable enough to succeed with it.” 

At Thompson, Fuller has finished inside the top 10 in all but one race, which was early in the season. In the last two, she’s been inside the top five. She’s also earned heat race points in all but one race, allowing her to keep a tally that is helping her down the stretch. 

“I didn’t think I would be in contention for the championship, but it’s definitely a great experience to have,” Fuller said. “Everyone will know who they are racing against, with the points being close with all three of us. I don’t really think I need to change anything and be more aggressive – I think I just need to race the whole year and hopefully get it done.” 

The 57th annual Sunoco World Series will take the green flag on Friday, October 11, and roll through Sunday, October 13. The event begins on Friday, with practice sessions running throughout the afternoon, and qualifying heat racing set to begin at approximately 4:30 p.m. Feature racing on Friday includes the Granite State Pro Stock Series, Late Models, Open Vintage Modifieds and Senior Tour Auto Racers. 

Saturday, action begins early with practice at 9 a.m., while qualifying racing begins at 2:30 p.m. There are 10 different feature races planned for Saturday night. Sunday, action begins at 1 p.m., with the season-finale for Thompson’s Sunoco Modified division. The NEMA Lites, ISMA Supermodifieds and TSMP Limited Sportsman will also join the headliner of Sunday — the Sunoco World Series 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. 

Admission to the paddock area for the entire three days is $75, with grandstand general admission set at $55. Any seniors (65+), veterans and active military will have general admission tickets priced at $50, while kids 12 and under are free in general admission.  

Thompson’s annual breakfast and dinner buffets will also take place during Sunoco World Series weekend. The breakfast buffet runs from 7-11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday and is $14 per person. The dinner buffet runs from 5-11 p.m. on Saturday night only and is $24 per person. For any children 12 and under, the dinner buffet is $14.  

For more information on Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, fans should visit the track on the web, www.thompsonspeedway.com, and follow the track on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

Pitkat Earns Second Two-Win Weekend of 2019 at Thompson

Noah Watts/Myracenews photos

THOMPSON, Conn. — The stars of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions took center stage on Labor Day Sunday, September 1, a makeup day after the original event was rained out in early summer. With only three races left in the championship battles, competitors in each division were seeking every advantage they could get as time runs out on the season.

Woody Pitkat had a big afternoon — earning two wins on the same day for the second time this year at Thompson, continuing his late-summer surge in his push for the Late Model and Sunoco Modified titles. In the Late Model division, former champion William Wall held a 13-point advantage over Pitkat coming into the weekend’s 25-lap feature, but Pitkat carried momentum having won two of the last three races. Wall took an early lead before a late-race caution allowed Pitkat to take the top spot. 

It looked like Pitkat was well on his way to another win before another caution set up a two-lap sprint to the finish. Ryan Morgan, who sat third in points coming into the afternoon, wrestled away the lead from Pitkat with an aggressive move that left Pitkat frustrated after the checkered flag waved.

While Morgan was initially named the winner, his car was disqualified post-race after he refused inspection. That handed Pitkat his third win of the season, putting him within ten points of William Wall for the championship lead. The penalty also eliminated Morgan from the points battle — meaning the championship will likely be decided between Pitkat and Wall. 

Pitkat was given the opportunity to speak in victory lane at the end of all of the feature events where he thanked his sponsors. “I can’t thank these guys enough. I felt like I pretty much had that race won and got used up there for the win. Some people want to race like that, but that’s not how I race. I’m glad we were able to get the win,” said Pitkat.

Pitkat also scored a dominating win in the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature, but his chances of earning that title are slim going into the final two events. Keith Rocco came in with a sizable 44-point advantage over Pitkat, and despite a dominating run, Pitkat left with a still-sizable 40-point deficit. Pitkat was proud that he was able to celebrate a victory with his family, having not yet learned he was the Late Model winner as well.

“I just wanted to win so bad,” Pitkat said. “I was really mad (about the Late Model finish) and wanted to win and when I get mad for some reason it makes me race a little harder. I just wanted to win one today really bad. My family is here, and they don’t get to come out every time. It’s nice to win when they’re here.”

The Limited Sportsman division has featured one of the most dramatic points battles all season at Thompson and that trend continued over Labor Day weekend with Shawn Monahan, who overcame a slow start to the season including a last-place finish in early June, looking to build on his eight-point lead over Kyle Gero. 

The 20-lap feature proved to be disastrous for Monahan, who found himself involved in a three-car accident eleven laps in after fighting for the lead with Scott Sundeen and Ryan Morgan. It would not be the only spin of the night for Monahan, who was relegated to a 16th place finish, while his closest competitors for the title, Kyle Gero and Megan Fuller, each earned top-five finishes. Gero now carries a 16 points advantage over Fuller with two races remaining while Monahan finds himself 17 points behind in his journey for a third consecutive title.

Meanwhile, Ryan Waterman scored his second Limited Sportsman win of 2019 in a brand new car. Waterman, who is well out of the points battle, said the race was a good opportunity for his team to test out the new equipment in preparation for next season. He added that just because the title is out of reach doesn’t mean he will let off the gas in the final events of 2019.

“It was a blast today. I needed this after the last couple of weeks,” Waterman said. “This was kind of a shakedown to try some new stuff, so we didn’t have to mess with our primary car. We learned some more information for the other car too. I want to finish races and just be smart and patient. This race took a lot of patience to get to the front.”

The Mini Stock division continued the tightest points battle at Thompson, as Scott Michalski held a scant eight-point advantage over Steve Michalski coming into the 15-lap feature. Curry, who had won two of the last three events dating back to July, battled for the lead for much of the race and two laps remaining he made his move underneath leader Charles Canfield but was unable to complete the pass. 

Canfield earned his second victory of the season at Thompson.

“It was definitely fun racing with Doug. With two or three laps to go, I knew he was there, and I saw him have a run. I got a little nervous, but I just had to drive a little harder. He’s got a really good car and a really good crew. It was tough holding him off,” Canfield said.

By virtue of his runner-up finish, Doug Curry cut his points deficit down to only seven points and Steve Michalski pulled within only a single point from Scott Michalski who failed to crack the top five.

Finally, the SK Light Modified® title has been all but secured by Bryan Narducci, who came into the Labor Day weekend 20-lap feature with five wins and a 65-point edge on Albert Ouellette. Narducci continued his domination, controlling the bulk of the race and earning his sixth win of the season at Thompson.

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park jumps right back into the racing action on Sunday, September 8 with the penultimate races of the 2019 schedule, the Sunoco Modified 20/20 and For the Fans event. 

LIMITED SPORTMAN FINISH TOP-10: 1. Ryan Waterman (Danielson, CT); 2. Jordan Hadley (Oakdale, CT); 3. Kyle Gero (Baltic, CT); 4. Brent Gleason (Griswold, CT); 5. Meghan Fuller (Auburn, MA); 6. Al Stone (Durham, CT); 7. Jason Chicolas (Sutton, MA); 8. Steve Kenneway; 9. Corey Fanning (Mapleville, RI); 10. Randy Waterman, Sr. (Danielson, CT) 

MINI STOCK FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Charles Canfield (East Haven, CT); 2. Doug Curry (Norwich, CT); 3. Dave Trudeau, Sr. (Mansfield, CT); 4. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT); 5. Russ Barboza (Griswold, CT); 6. Al Stone, III (Durham, CT); 7. Scott Michalski (Danielson, CT); 8. Andrew Krzeminski; 9. Ian Brew (Woodriver Junction, RI); 10. Bill Sylvia

LATE MODEL FEATURE FINISH TOP-10: 1. Woody Pitkat (Bellingham, CT); 2. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 3. William Wall (Millbury, MA); 4. Nick Johnson (Rehoboth, MA); 5. Derek Gluchacki (Dartmouth, MA); 6. Tony Macrino (Waterford, CT); 7. Mike Nenevides (Westerly, RI); 8. Mark Jenison (Warwick, RI); 9. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA); 10. Buddy Charette (Woodstock, CT)

SUNOCO MODIFIED FINISH TOP-10: 1. Woody Pitkat (Bellingham, MA); 2. Ronnie Williams (Tolland, CT); 3. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 4. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 5. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA); 6. Todd Patnode; 7. Joey Gada (Uncasville, CT); 8. Corey Barry (Brooklyn, CT); 9. Paul LaPlante (Scituate, RI); 10. Justin Albernaz (Rehoboth, MA)

SK LIGHT MODIFIED® FINISH: 1. Bryan Narducci (Colchester, CT); 2. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 3. Bert Ouellette (Ellington, CT); 4. Anthony Marvin (Colchester, CT); 5. Nathan Pytko (Oxford, MA); 6. John O’Sullivan (Salem, CT); 7. Matt Janisch; 8. Todd Taylor (Stonington, CT)

NASCAR CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLES HEAT UP WITH SUNDAY SPECIAL AT THOMPSON SPEEDWAY

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park 

Tom Morris/Myracenews photo

THOMPSON, Conn. — With just three races remaining in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season, championship battles will heat up on Sunday when Thompson Speedway returns to action with another Sunday showdown. As part of a full card of racing, Lock City Drift will compete in The Clubhouse Circuit Showdown, and kids will have a chance to win prize packs, giveaways and more as part of Back to School Night at TSMP. A full bouncy house will be setup on the midway along with plenty of other games and activities to enjoy on top of the racing. 

Three of Thompson’s five championship races have tight battles right at the top. In the Limited Sportsman division, Shawn Monahan is looking for his third straight title, and picking up three checkered flags has earned him his spot at the top of the standings in 2019.  

Monahan leads by just a mere eight points over Kyle Gero, who doesn’t have any victories, but has been consistent enough to stay in the fight. Meghan Fuller, who is just 20 points back, is looking to follow in the footsteps of her successful family name by earning her first title this year. Ryan Morgan (27 points back) and Brent Gleason (32 points back) complete the top five. With heat races awarding drivers points, and the large car count in this division, it’s truly anyone’s championship to win. 

The Mini Stock championship battle has two Michalski names at the top, but another driver closing in. Scott Michalski earned his first and only victory of the season as part of the Thompson 125 in June and leads by eight points over Steve Michalski. In seven feature races, these two are the only drivers to score top 10 finishes in each event. However, Doug Curry, who has been to Victory Lane in two of the last three races, is just 19 points back, looking for his first Thompson title.  

In search of his second Late Model championship, William Wall leads by 13 over Woody Pitkat, who’s been to the winner’s circle in two of the last three races. Wall has been consistent, finishing inside the top five in all but one of the Late Model races so far. Pitkat, driving for Hartwell Motorsports, is no stranger to winning success, but seems to have found a bit more over the last few races. Both drivers are former champions of the division and are going to go down to the wire battling for the 2019 crown. Ryan Morgan is third, just 22 back, while Derek Gluchacki is fourth, 28 points out. These two drivers will be right in contention if one of the top two slip. 

For the last three years, and seven times overall, Keith Rocco has been the king of Thompson Speedway’s Sunoco Modified division. And with just three races left, he leads by nearly one-race distance over the rest of the pack, 44 points, in search of another crown. Rocco has three victories in seven events and is the only driver in the field to score more than one win. Woody Pitkat is second, while Todd Owen sits third, 45 back. A total of 39 different Sunoco Modified drivers have already been on the track this season. 

Bryan Narducci’s path towards his first SK Light Modified® title isn’t going to be easy down the stretch. Albert Ouellette is second, and former Mini Stock champion Wayne Burroughs Jr. is third, quickly finding the speed under the hood of his No. 32. This could be one of Thompson’s more competitive championship battles when the final race of the season begins at the Sunoco World Series in October.  

Pit areas open for NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions at 10:30 a.m., with practice scheduled to take the first green flag at 12:30 p.m. Lock City Drift will also begin their practice and qualifying action at 12:30 p.m.  

NASCAR heat races begin at 2:30 p.m., with feature racing to follow at approximately 4:30 p.m. Fans can enter the grandstands for just $18, a ticket that will give access to both the NASCAR racing and Lock City Drift. Those seniors (65+), veterans and active military can enter the grandstands for $16. As always, children 12 and under are free in general admission.  

Anyone who wishes to purchase a pit pass can do so for $35, but fans should note that any children that enter the pit area must pay full price. 

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