Tag Archives: Limited Sportsman

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. 

Phil Jacques Keeping Dream Alive at Thompson Speedway

(The Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) Limited Sportsman Division has a reputation for being one of the most competitive in New England. This makes the achievement of Phil Jacques, driver of the No. 77 entry, even more impressive.  Heading into Icebreaker 2016 he was focused on consistency; finishing every race and keeping the car in one piece.

It appeared at the beginning of the season this would be a tall task. Some minor set backs, including mechanical gremlins and a self-admitted rookie mistake relegated his No. 77 entry to a 17th place finish. Soon, though, through the determination of the driver and crew, success was had. 

Jacques won his first race at TSMP on Wednesday June 1, following up with consistent finishes throughout the summer months. Describing this stretch, Jacques explained, “During summer months, we stayed in contention regularly, but a few mistakes on my part cost us better finishes than we probably could have had. Still we ended up with a 5th, 6th 6th and 5th in the next 4 races to follow.”

Heading into the final two races of the season, Jacques and his team were hungry for more. Many teams look at a rain out as an opportunity to relax, not so with Jacques and Company. The Dudley, MA driver recalls, “With a rainout on September 7th, we were on to the World Series. Even though the car was ready for battle on the 7th, we opted to go through the car and make a few more changes for the World Series. After a few intense restarts, and a very hairy 3 wide pass on some lap cars coming to the white flag, we rolled into victory lane for the second time of the 2016 season in the biggest race of the year!”

On the heels of his quick succes, Jacques was quick to thank Joe Brockett, Les Rose, Brent Gleason, Bill McNeil, Woody Pitkat, Patrick Thomas, Aaron Williamson, Scott Garrity and his girlfriend, Rachel Briana, for their contributions and support throughout the season. In addition, Jacques was grateful for his 2016 sponsors: Falmouth Ready Mix, M&R Customs of Vero Beach, Rent a Racecar, Str8Line Performance and Automotive, and Competitive Tire.

Looking forward, the driver of the No. 77 Limited Sportsman continues to pursue new sponsorships, in hopes to keep his racing dream alive.  “Financially, we were looking at the possibility of having to call off the 2017 racing season. Thankfully now we were able to move forward … We are still looking for additional sponsors to join us during the 2017 racing season,” the team announced on the Phil Jacques Racing Facebook page.
He will begin his 2017 season at Icebreaker 2017, Friday, March 31 – Sunday, April 2. For more information on Jacques or the Icebreaker, visit www.thompsonspeedway.com.

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Announces 2017 Schedule

Season Opener Icebreaker set for March 31-April 2

Thompson, CT (December 5, 2016) – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park today announced dates for the 2017 racing schedule, celebrating its 77th season on the high banked oval.  The 2017 seven event NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) schedule is highlighted by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the return of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

“This year’s schedule balances our commitment to tradition and innovation,” states Josh Vanada, General Manager of TSMP.  “The 2017 schedule preserves fan favorites while introducing unique and creative events and promotions.”

The speedway will continue to showcase Sunoco Modifieds, which will compete in eight points-counting races supported by the Late Models, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks, who will all have seven points-counting races. The Lite Modified Division will race in five of the seven events, but will not race under the NWAAS sanction.

Several touring series will be making appearances at TSMP in 2017.  At the top of the list will be the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour visiting the track four times followed by NEMA Lite making three stops. NEMA, the North East Street Stock Tour and Mr. Rooter ProTruck Series will all be appearing twice.  The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, American-Canadian Tour, Pro All Stars Series, International Super Modified Association, Valenti Modified Racing Series, Granite State Pro Stock Series, North East Mini Stock Tour, New England Pro 4 Modifieds, Vintage Outlaws, and Senior Tour Auto Racers will make single stops at the track throughout the season.

The 2017 season of racing kicks off Friday, March 31st with the 43rd Annual Icebreaker.  Eleven divisions will be featured in TSMP’s season opener, headlined by Thompson’s 135th NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race.  The Race of Champions has been added to this year’s event, featuring our four NWAAS champions. They will face off in equally prepared cars from The Racing School.  Bragging rights are on the line to determine who the champion of the champions will be.  The highly-anticipated Fan Appreciation Party and Champion’s Banner Raising will be held on the last day of the event.

Sunday, May 21: 2nd Annual Limited Sportsman Long Distance & Military Night

Wednesday, June 14: 3rd Annual NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 125

Friday, July 7-8: Inaugural NASCAR Busch North Throwback

Wednesday, August 9: 28th Annual Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150

Sunday, September 10: 2nd Annual For the Fans Event; 4th Annual Sunoco Modified 20/20 Sprint

Friday, October 13 – Sunday, October 15: 55th Annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing

About Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP), “Indianapolis of the East”, the famed 5/8 mile, high banked, oval and motorsports facility is tucked away in the beautiful countryside of Thompson, CT.   Our 2017 Schedule includes seven exciting events: March 31-April 2 (Icebreaker), May 21 (Limited Sportsman Long Distance & Military Night), June 14 (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 125), July 7-8 (NASCAR Busch North Throwback 100), August 9 (Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150), September 10 (For the Fans Event; Sunoco Modified 20/20 Sprint), October 13-15 (Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing).  To purchase tickets or a season pass, call 860.923.2280 or visit www.thompsonspeedway.com.  Follow TSMP on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube for the latest news and events.