The Chrome Horn News



    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 from Coby.
    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 Hutchings.
    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.


Source:  Russ Dowd / Thompson International Speedway PR
Posted:  April 5, 2008

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