Tag Archives: Limited Sportsman

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. 

KYLE GERO UP FRONT IN LIMITED SPORTSMAN TITLE CHASE AT THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK

Noah Watts/Myracenews photo

By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park 

THOMPSON, Conn. — With just three races remaining in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season, Kyle Gero is right in the middle of a tight Limited Sportsman championship race. 

The former Thompson Mini Stock competitor, and New London-Waterford Speedbowl X-Car champion, is second, just eight points out in the title fight. He’s trailing two-time and defending division champion Shawn Monahan, who has three wins in the first seven events.  

For Gero, this season has been about improving the setup and continuing to seek his first victory after a little bit of a learning curve over the last few years. Moving to the Limited Sportsman division was a welcomed challenge for Gero, who seems to be excelling in his second season. Before returning to Thompson competition, Gero had been off for more than one decade at the Connecticut oval. His Mini Stock days were in the early 2000s. 

“Going from a front-wheel drive car that made around 125 horsepower to a rear-wheel drive car that makes over 300 is definitely a huge difference. The track was familiar to me, and I had been up to Thompson watching races, but one of the things I’m just now starting to get down is what they had to do to the track in turns three and four for the road course,” Gero said. “When I ran before, there was a line there where you could gauge where you were in the turn, but now there isn’t. It was something I struggled last year with while trying to find some marks to stick with every lap.”  

Even though he started his season with two finishes outside the top 10, since then, it’s been all about consistency. Gero finished fifth in the third race of the season and has followed it up with three second-place efforts and a fourth.  

“I’ve always thought that we are going to the track with a chance to win, otherwise we wouldn’t go. We did a lot of work over the winter, so it doesn’t surprise me to be where we are at. What’s surprised me the most is my ability to see what has been going on out on the track,” Gero said. “The guys up front have been beating and banging a little bit more at the beginning of races, and I’ve just been sitting back and watching it and saying that I would capitalize when something happens. We’re very grateful to be where we are at.” 

His career started at a young age, competing in go-karts for many years, winning races and countless championships. In fact, in one season, he was able to win all the races in his division, traveling from Connecticut to Maine to compete each week. After building the Mini Stock and competing for a few years, it was time for a step away.  

“I needed a break, and my dad needed a break after that,” Gero said. “I had my eyes on something different at the time, but I wish I would have stayed with it. I raced four-wheelers for a few years competitively, then I started helping some guys out at the track with their cars and I decided I would step back into it slowly.” 

His slow step back into racing saw him carrying a championship trophy at another Connecticut track, then decide it was time to step back to Thompson to try and chase a NASCAR championship.  

“Just as much work goes into the go-kart compared to the race car,” Gero said. “The 10-race schedule isn’t too much for us – working full-time and having limited help, it works.” 

Gero also knows competing in the Limited Sportsman isn’t easy. A total of 36 drivers have taken the green flag this season, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a few more drivers enter the division before the end of the year. For Gero to be only eight points back with three races left, he’s pleased. 

“We are starting to learn more about what we need to do with the setups,” Gero said. “The adjustments have been big for us. These cars are over 3,000 pounds and it takes a lot to wheel one of them. You have a big heavy race car with a decent amount of power, they aren’t going to handle that great. I’ve always been a smooth driver and being smooth in a Sportsman almost goes out the window. You have to manhandle them.” 

For now, with the support of his dad, family and crew, as well as Advanced Overhead Door, Thames Electric, 1-800-blacktop, Tick Mike, Park Roway Commercial Doors, JS Landscaping, KLT Industries and Lathrop Construction, Gero is in a good position to chase two goals down the stretch.  

He’s hoping to earn his first win and contend to become the Thompson Limited Sportsman champion as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. 

“Just have to take it race by race — I try not to points race because it can mess up your head and take a little bit of the fun away,” Gero said. “We definitely have to be a little better on the setups. We are doing a little bit different package for the last three races. 

“There is always that chance of a championship, which would be amazing. I want to win a race but standing up there on the stage at the end of the year is why we are all doing this.” 

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park returns to NASCAR racing action on Sunday, September 1, with all five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions and Lock City Drift. Race fans and teams are reminded that this is the make-up date for the June 30 show that was rained out. 

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.