Tag Archives: Sunoco Modifieds

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Honors Champions at Mohegan Sun

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park celebrated the 2015 oval track season this weekend at Mohegan Sun at its annual award ceremony honoring four division champions in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Woody Pitkat celebrated his 2nd Sunoco Modified title, while Scott Sundeen was honored as a 4-time Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman champion. Late Model driver Brian Tagg and Mini Stock competitor Dave Trudeau each took home their first career championship.

For Pitkat, it was his first season driving for car owner Stan Mertz in the Sunoco Modified division and the combination found immediate success. The duo placed in the top-10 in every race this season including five 2nd place finishes. Pitkat won the Modified title in 2006 in his first full-time season in the division to compliment his 2002 Late Model crown. It is the first championship for Mertz as a car owner at Thompson Speedway.

Late Model driver Brian Tagg saw his childhood dreams come true when he accepted the championship trophy before a large group of supporters. Tagg grew up attending races at Thompson Speedway with his dad, a former Sunoco Modified champion, who won the championship in the Speedway’s 50th anniversary season. This year’s Late Model triumph came in as the 75th season was celebrated. 2015 was Tagg’s rookie season in the division.

Scott Sundeen defended his 2014 championship from one year ago to earn his 4th title in his 14th season competing in the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman division. Each of his championships were won while driving the same race car, which was proudly on display Saturday night at Mohegan Sun. With the banquet complete, that chassis will be retired as a champion after winning two races in 2015.

Sundeen will be back next season to attempt his 3rd straight championship.

Dave Trudeau has been a long time competitor at Thompson Speedway, but 2015 was his first taste of the champion’s champagne after earning the Mini Stock title. Trudeau was a factor all season by finishing 2nd in 3 of the first 4 races. His two victories came in the month of August only to pad his point lead heading into the Sunoco World Series where he captured the crown.

Special awards were presented to the Rookie of the Year including Sunoco Modified driver, Ryan Morgan who finished 5th in the final standings on the strength of 4 top-5 finishes in 2015.  William Wall led laps and registered two podium finishes to earn Late Model Rookie of the Year honors. Xtra Mart Limited sportsman driver Josh Wood was the Rookie of the Year in his division with 4 Top-5 finishes and 5 Top-10s. Robert ‘Bob’ Ducharme earned the honor in the Mini Stock Division by earning 2 Top-10 finishes. Each rookie driver was measured by his performance both on and off the racetrack.

In 2015, Thompson Speedway introduced the new Triple Crown Series in the Mini Stock and Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman Division. The Series became a race within a race as points counted for both the track championship and the Triple Crown. In the Mini Stocks, the Triple Crown races were held on June 10th, July 29th, and August 26th and Eric Bourgeois was honored as the first Triple Crown winner. Xtra Mart Limited sportsman driver Corey Hutchings won two of the three Triple Crown races that were held on June 10th, July 8th, and August 12th to earn the award in his division.

The John Hoenig Memorial Award, which recognizes one individual for their hard work and dedication to the Speedway, was presented to Olivia Bouchard.

Bouchard was born into racing and grew up around racetracks along the east coast. She has spent countless hours working tirelessly at Thompson Speedway in many different capacities. She has been responsible for speedway marketing, NASCAR licensing, the redesign of speedway awards, coordination of autograph sessions and many behind the scenes tasks. She has shown unmatched devotion to Thompson Speedway and its competitors. Bouchard was presented with the prestigious award that is given in her great-grandfathers name as part of Thompson Speedway’s Awards Celebration.

As a final conclusion to the Awards Banquet, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park management announced that 2016’s schedule would expand to include ten NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races. The complete schedule will be released at 7PM E.T. on December 8th, through a live broadcast with Victory Lane Radio. Tune in at www.victorylaneradio.com.

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Announces New Season Pass Program for 2016 Season

(THOMPSON, CT) – Thompson Speedway Motorsports announced today a new 2016 season pass program that will be available for purchase beginning Friday, Nov. 27. The passes will be sold at a special Black Friday discount from Friday through Monday, Nov. 30. This exciting new program gives loyal fans and teams the ability to purchase paddock passes or general admission tickets for select events at huge discounts.
The Platinum Paddock Pass offers the ultimate package for the racing enthusiast, including general admission and paddock access to all oval and road course events to be held in the 2016 season. With a minimum of 18 races already scheduled for next year, this option is a great way to enjoy everything that TSMP has to offer, including four NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races, all NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events, the Historic Oval Invitational, the Vintage Motorsports Festival, Open Wheel Weekend, SCCA races and more. The Platinum Paddock Pass will be on sale for Black Friday for $399 from Friday, Nov. 27 to Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. The price for the pass from Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 will be $449. After April 1, 2016 the price for the pass will go up to $499.
TSMP is also offering a Silver Paddock Pass and Silver General Admission Pass for NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour fans. These include admission to all four events at a discount of up to 15%. The Silver Paddock Pass will be offered for just $199 for the Black Friday sale. From Dec. 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, it will be discounted to $209 and after April 1, will be offered for $219. The Silver General Admission Pass will be offered at $159 during the Black Friday sale event. From Dec. 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, it will be discounted to $169 and after April 1, will be offered for $179.
TSMP will be announcing the full 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series oval schedule on Tuesday, December 8th. Following this announcement, Gold Season Passes, which include admission to all 2016 oval events will also go on sale.
To purchase a season pass, visit www.thompsonspeedway.com or call the office at 860-923-2280. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube for the most recent news and announcements about the 2016 racing season at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Four Track Champions Will be Crowned at Sunoco World Series

75 Logo FINALThe Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing presented by Xtramart at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park is the biggest short track event in the northeast. As a result, winning the event is prestigious to say the least. In each of the 4 weekly divisions it is likely a win this weekend will equate to a track championship.

Xtramart Limited Sportsman

The closest battle is in the Xtramart Limited Sportsman division where two of the best in speedway history are separated by only 2 points or 1 position on the race track. Scott Sundeen is a 3-time track champion and he holds the upper hand over 57-time feature event winner Larry Barnett. If Sundeen wins the title, the two will be tied for the most championships in the division with 4 apiece.

The championship chase could come down to what happens during qualifying on Saturday with such a slim margin between the two. Points are awarded to the top-5 finishers of the heat races. 5 points go to the winner, 4 points to second, and so on through the top-5 meaning the point lead could change hands on Saturday before the green flies for the feature on Sunday afternoon.

Barnett has been absent from victory lane all season, which is a rarity in his career. Sundeen won the 2nd of 2 features on Icebreaker weekend and tallied a win in the most recent event contested. In that race, he was involved in an early incident on track that forced him to come from the back before driving to victory lane.

“I’m sure it will be fun,” said Sundeen. “It’s always a rough race and if it’s anything like last year it is going to be a war out there. I’m not worried about Larry; Whatever happens, happens.”

For Barnett it hasn’t been an easy season mechanically. For one reason or another, mostly voluntary, the engine has been out of his car 6 times and there have been 7 events to date. His season started with a borrowed engine, before he could put his power plant under the hood. Then it was problems with the valves and the camshaft that resulted in starting the process all over again. This weekend Barnett comes in with an entirely new drivetrain that has been untested.

When asked about racing Sundeen for the title, Barnett said “He’s rougher than what some people think and way cleaner than what other people think. He’s not going to give you an inch. We can race pretty cleanly near each other and not give up any extra space.”

Sunoco Modifieds

Woody Pitkat, Keith Rocco, and Ryan Preece are household names not only in modified country, but nationwide for their success at the Connecticut short tracks. It’s no surprise that the Sunoco Modified championship comes down to three of them.

Pitkat has a 14-point advantage over Rocco and 18 tallies over defending champ Preece. Preece has a division high 4 wins this season yet Rocco has momentum on his side coming off two straight victories in the previous two events. Pitkat is still winless so far.

At the end of the 2014 season, Pitkat was left without a ride when his car owner decided not to field an entry at the track. In January, Stan Mertz announced he would turn the reigns of his fledgling Sunoco Modified team over to Pitkat. The move marked a significant step for the racing operation after spending several years in the Pro-4 Modified ranks before dabbling in the more powerful Sunoco Modifieds with Mertz and Max Zachem behind the wheel.  Although the two have yet to visit victory lane at the Big T, the pair have collected 4 runner-up finishes and have had luck on their side.

Mertz’s team is a small team that doesn’t garner the attention as other teams do. They don’t use the same engine builder as most teams, instead they really on power from Norm Perry. Perry works tirelessly on the cars and is a key component to the team’s success.

As for Mertz, he’s been a fan of Pitkat for years. “When I brought Woody on board I knew we would be right in the hunt,” said Mertz. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined my team would be in position to win the championship heading into the World Series.”

Moving up to the Sunoco Modified division has been an eye opener for Mertz, but the little team that could might just be the Cinderella story of 2015.

Pitkat will be chasing 3 modified titles this weekend all in prestigious divisions. Headlined by his quest to become a first time Whelen Modified Tour Champion, he also holds the point lead in the Valenti Modified Racing Series standings.

Each of the title contenders is in the midst of more than one title bout this weekend. Preece is tied for the lead in the Whelen Modified title chase as Rocco is in the running to capture the Late Model title.

Late Model

Rocco trails Brian Tagg by only 7 points with one race remaining. Tagg is no stranger to Thompson after running five seasons in the Thompson Modified division, but this is his rookie season in a late model. Although Rocco has 4 Sunoco Modified crowns at Thompson, this will be his first Late Model championship should he come out on top.

“Rocco has the advantage for being there before, but circumstances dictate everything,” said Tagg. “My attitude is the same. Just get out there and keep going. Keep your head down and focus on us.”

Tagg’s first and only Late Model win came in the second segment of the Dunkin’ Donuts Late Model 20/20 Sprint. Rocco has not gone to victory lane in 2015, but his twin brother Jeff has won 4 of the last 5 events.

“I’ve been there before and I know where I need to be,” said Rocco. “I don’t have to worry about cracking under pressure. In both divisions we are in the same position so I need to go out win the heat race and win the feature and hope the other guys have trouble.”

With full late model fields each week, Jeff Rocco and Rick Gentes both still have an outside chance at the title sitting 29 markers out of the lead. William Wall is 5th trailing by 36 points.

Mini Stock

The mini stock title hunt has come down to a two horse race with Dave Trudeau up 30 points over Scott Michalski. Trudeau is peaking at the right time by capturing victories in the last two events. Michalski on the other hand won 3 of the first 4 races this season including a sweep of two feature events on Icebreaker weekend.

Trudeau brought a brand new car to the track at the start last season, but he elected to park it this year to run “old faithful,” his older but more trusted ride in 2015. That decision along with a move to put Engines by Andy motors under the hood has created the perfect combination.

“I’m trying not to think about it,” said Trudeau. “Everyone has been telling me to keep focused and concentrate. I’m not very patient; I’m aggressive, but if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.”

Should Trudeau win the championship, it will be the first of his career.

Three days of racing action begins for the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing presented by Xtramart on Friday, Oct. 16th and concludes on Sunday, Oct 18th. For more information including the event schedule visitwww.thompsonspeedway.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@thompsonspdwy) and Youtube for the latest news and updates.