CIVALI QUICK ON QUALIFYING DAY FOR THE
WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR AT THOMPSON
OPENING DAY ICEBREAKER WINS TO
MARVIN AND ZUIDEMA
New England racing season is officially underway as the traditional
Icebreaker commenced at Thompson International Speedway on Saturday
afternoon. The main attractions are slated for tomorrow, Sunday, April
6, 2008 beginning at 12 Noon with the Northeastern Midget Association,
six divisions of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Racing, and the
headlining Whelen Modified Tour.
On Saturday, James Civali of Meriden, CT, stole the show when
he turned a lap of 18.585 seconds and an average speed of 120.097 to
earn the Coors Light Pole. Bobby Grigas of Marshfield, MA, was second on
the clock with a time of 18.613 seconds. The top five in qualifying
included Todd Szegedy, Ronnie Silk and Jimmy Blewett. After the redraw
it will be Grigas leading the field to green as the Whelen Modified tour
embarks on NASCAR’s 60th year of Modified racing. Silk, Blewett,
Szegedy, and Civali will make up the top five for Sunday’s 150 lapper
that is scheduled to go green at approximately 3:15PM.
Bert Marvin of New London, CT, bested a strong field of
Sunoco Modifieds to earn the first checker of the 2008 season for the
Whelen All-American Series at Thompson. A strong field of Sunoco
Modifieds totaling 34 took the green flag for the first of two feature
events scheduled for Icebreaker weekend. Bert Marvin led the field to
green after his heat race victory but quickly gave up the front spot to
Keith Rocco. Woody Pitkat followed through into second before the first
caution flew for a spin by Danny LaJeunesse.
On the restart, Bert Marvin got out of shape exiting turn
two. A number of top running cars were collected as the scramble ensued.
Kerry Malone, Josh Steeves, and Bobby Grigas, who was making his first
Sunoco Modified start, and others sustained damage.
Contact between the leaders, Rocco and Pitkat, on the second
attempt at the lap four restart resulted in both cars making heavy
contact with the outside wall. Several other cars were collected as well
including Shelly Perry, Ken Bouchard. Pitkat was complaining of shoulder
pain and was transported to the local hospital as a precaution.
Marvin inherited the lead when racing finally resumed with
Doug Coby, Danny Cates, and Josh Sylvester in two. After a handful of
cautions for minor spins racing finally got underway with Marvin and
Coby waging a short battle for the lead while Jimmy Blewett, who came
from deep in the pack, raced hard with front running rookie Josh
Sylvester. Blewett moved into the fourth position by lap 10. During the
longest green flag run of the event, Marvin began to distance himself
By the halfway marker, Cates had company in the form of
Blewett while the best battle on the field was for the fifth position
between Sylvester, Eric Goodale, and Tommy Cravenho. Up front it was all
Marvin. A caution on lap 20 for a spin by Anthony Burr brought out the
caution and bunched up the field once again.
On the restart, Blewett appeared to be on a mission. He first
took the third spot from Cates. Less than a lap later he took the second
spot from Coby. A caution stopped all progress but lined Blewett up on
the rear bumper of Marvin for the single-file start.
Marvin held his position on three successive attempts to
complete the final two laps.
The final lap was quiet up front with Marvin cruising to
victory over Blewett and Coby. Two up-and-coming drivers Danny Cates and
Josh Sylvester rounded out the top-five.
“We won the Icebreaker,” said an excited Marvin in victory
lane. “It is an awesome accomplishment to beat Jimmy Blewett.”
Marvin will look to return the feat tomorrow for the second
half of the twin bill for the Sunoco Modifieds.
Jeff Zuidema of N. Brookfield, MA, looked flawless en route
to victory in the first of the twin 25s for the Late Models on
Icebreaker weekend. Marc Palmisano took the lead from pole sitter Jay
Stuart to start the first Late Model feature event of the 2008 season.
Stuart was not giving up without a fight. Sparks were flying as the two
duked it out for the top spot. An intense battle for the third spot
heated up between Rick Gentes, Corey Hutchings and Jeff Zuidema.
Gentes had made his way to third with Zuidema quickly gaining
ground before the caution flew on lap 11 for a spin by Al Mandarino.
When the racing resumed Zuidema bolted from fourth to second in a single
lap. He quickly went to work on leader Palmisano.
Zuidema led by a nose at the stripe to start lap 15.
Palmisano ran the entire lap fender-to-fender with Zuidema but had
nothing for the new leader. Zuidema stretched his lead over the final
laps. Palmisano settled for the second spot over Stuart, Gentes, and
The Whelen All-American Series divisions participated in
qualifying on Saturday with Danny Fields and Mike Romano claiming Mini
Stocks heat race victories. Jesse Gleason and Scott Cook were tops in
the Limited Sportsman division. Norm Wrenn and Mike O’Sullivan split Pro
Stock qualifying honors. In the Northeastern Midget Association it was
Erica Santos and Adam Cantor taking home heat race victories.
Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (Top-Ten): 1.
Bert Marvin, New London, CT; 2. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ; 3. Doug Coby,
Milford, CT; 4. Danny Cates, Chaplin, CT; 5. Josh Sylvester, Lebanon,
CT; 6. Todd Ceravolo, Gales Ferry, CT; 7. Kenny Horton, Guilford, CT; 8.
Glenn Griswold, Vernon, CT; 9. Brad Vanhouten, Wading River, NY; 10.
Ricky Shawn, Bradford, RI.
Late Model Feature Finish (Top-Ten): 1. Jeff
Zuidema, N. Brookfield, MA; 2. Marc Palmisano, Hadley, MA; 3. Jay
Stuart, Preston, CT; 4. Rick Gentes, Woonsocket, RI; 5. Corey Hutchings,
Salem, CT; 6. Tommy O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 7. Conrad Cote, Lisbon,
CT; 8. Mark Oliveira, Blackstone, MA; 9. R.J. Marcotte, Millville, MA;
10. Mark Jenison, Danielson, CT.