SILK CONTINUES THOMPSON MASTERY WITH
Rocco, Zuidema, Bessette,
Larose, Sullivan & Michalski Weekly Winners
Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, CT, looked like a man on a mission as he
battled to his second Whelen Modified Tour win of the season and
third win of his career at Thompson International Speedway in the
Budweiser New England Dodge Dealers 150. It was a night for the
young guns as Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA, and Bobby Santos
III of Franklin, MA joined Silk on the podium.
An exciting race to the finish found Keith Rocco of Wallingford,
CT, in victory lane in the Sunoco Modifieds. In other Whelen
All-American Series racing, Lady Luck was finally on the side of
George Bessette of Danbury, CT, who scored his first Pro Stock
feature win of the 2008 season. It was a handful of victories for
Late Model ace Jeff Zuidema of N. Brookfield, MA and Ernie Larose of
Plainfield, CT scored a popular win in Limited Sportsman division.
Brian Sullivan took over the ride for his brother Tim in the
family-owned TIS Modified to score the victory in only his second
start. Scott Michalski led his racing family with a Mini Stock
After torrential rains soaked the speedway grounds, time trials for
the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour were cancelled. The starting grid
for the Budweiser New England Dodge Dealers 150 was determined by
the current point standings. Point leader Chuck Hossfeld led the
opening laps before giving way to Todd Szegedy. An incident on lap 4
involved Eddie Flemke, Ryan Preece, Glenn Tyler, Kevin Goodale,
Ricky Fuller, and Woody Pitkat.
The pack ran single-file as the laps began to mount. Szegedy
continued to lead with Hossfeld and Ted Christopher. The racing was
finally slowed when the second caution flew on lap 42 for a spin by
During the early stages of the event several front runners had
encountered problems. After losing the top spot to Christopher,
Szegedy encountered mechanical troubles under an early race caution
necessitating a push to pit road and behind the wall. Szegedy was
able to continue several laps down.
Ronnie Silk, who had worked his way to the second spot, found
himself at the spinning end of a confrontation with Eddie Flemke.
The field was able to miss Silk. Flemke received a penalty to the
tail end of the longest line for his actions.
During a caution period at lap 55 a host of cars headed to pit road
for service. When things sorted out, Silk was leading with Bobby
Grigas, who short-pitted, in second. Grigas capitalized on the
restart; moving past Silk and into the lead. Hirschman followed
through. Contact between business partners Flemke and Reggie
Ruggiero necessitated another caution.
Back under green, Grigas continued to lead Hirschman.
Lap-after-lap, Hirschman dogged Grigas. Early leader, Christopher,
faltered while Stefanik was coming on strong. The veteran started to
show his prowess after the century mark; joining Grigas and
Hirschman. Silk meanwhile was fully recovered from his earlier
incident to apply pressure to Stefanik. A bid for the third spot was
slowed when Christopher spun to bring out the caution.
On the lap 112 restart, Hirschman took over the lead from Grigas
with Silk following through in second. Bobby Santos was also able to
motor by and into third. Silk’s march to the front was completed
when he took the lead on lap 116. At lap 120, Christopher was back
Contact between Hossfeld and Stefanik sent the Mystic Missile
sliding. Both drivers were able to continue, barely missing a beat.
The eleventh caution of the event flew; however, for a spin by Wade
Cole on the other end of the speedway.
A handful of green flag laps led to a ruckus that began after
bumper tag near the front of the pack. Hirschman was the aggressor
on the lap 139 restart taking over the lead from Silk. Santos
to run in third followed by a hard-charging Christopher.
Silk was not done as he raced his way back by Hirschman and into the
lead. The front five ran nose to tail as they took the white and
checkered flags. With two laps remaining, Pitkat ended up against
the turn four wall.
The race went into overtime, with a green, white, checker,
single-file restart at lap 152. An uneventful final two laps gave
Silk his third career win. Hirschman settled for second over Santos
and Christopher and Stefanik
All three career victories for Silk have come at Thompson. By
virtue of his victory, Silk has earned a guaranteed starting spot
for the North-South Shootout for his car owners David and Sandra
Keith Rocco of Wallingford, CT, dominated much of the 35-lap Sunoco
Modified feature but found himself defending his lead in the late
stages of the event. After a heated battle for the lead with Tommy
Cravenho, Rocco went on to score his second win of the season at
Bobby Grigas took advantage of his front row starting spot to take
the early lead. Green flag racing was short-lived when a caution
flew on the first lap for an incident that included John Catania,
James Harrison, and Dave LaCroix. On the restart, Rocco looked like
he was shot out of a cannon rocketing out from his fifth starting
position to take the lead before the completion of the lap.
Rocco immediately distanced himself as Ceravolo muscled his way
past Grigas. Cravenho and Woody Pitkat also were able to gain
positions on both Grigas and Josh Sylvester. Kerry Malone and Jimmy
Blewett ran outside of the top five. Point leader Danny Cates was
mired in traffic outside of the top-ten.
A spin by Sylvester prompted the second caution. Under yellow, both
Grigas and Jimmy Blewett brought their cars on pit road for service.
Bert Marvin, who had struggled since the drop of the green flag, hit
pit road as well.
After bumper tag on the restart, Rocco was able to maintain his
lead. A heated battle for second between Cravenho, Ceravolo, Pitkat
and Malone was cooled by a caution for a spinning Grigas. Malone
gave up a spot inside the top five for service to his #79.
Pitkat failed to come up to speed on the restart bringing his car
behind the wall on lap nine. Rocco was able to get away on the
restart as Cravenho and Ceravolo resumed their battle for second.
Blewett had worked his way into the fourth position before the
caution waved again for a spin by Ricky Shawn.
The mount of Blewett faltered on the ensuing restart sending the
pack scattering. When racing finally resumed, it was still Rocco at
the helm. The division continued to struggle after lap 10. Through a
series of restarts, Cates had moved into the third position behind
Rocco and Cravenho.
At the halfway marker, Rocco led Cravenho and Ceravolo, who had
retaken third, Cates, and Eric Goodale inside the top-five. The lead
duo began to break away slightly while Ceravolo and Cates battled.
Grigas was looking to fight his way back into the top-five as was
Once Cravenho and Cates got nose to tail, they were able to run
down the leaders. Ceravolo began to look racy with Cravenho on lap
22. Goodale continued to hold off Grigas and Malone.
On lap 25, Cravenho moved to the inside groove to take the lead
from Rocco. On lap 27, Rocco slid to the inside groove to retake his
lead once gain. With the action up front, Cates and Ceravolo were
swapping positions up back as well.
The exciting Sunoco Modified main event culminated with Rocco
streaking under the checkers to take his second win of the season.
Cravenho settled for second. Ceravolo was able to take the third
position from Cates. Grigas edged out Goodale to finish fifth.
George Bessette of Danbury, CT turned his luck around with a
much-needed Pro Stock feature win on Thursday night. A string of
misfortunes found Bessette starting on the pole. Norm Wrenn and Fred
Astle, Jr. took chase. Jay Macedonio ran in fourth while Mike
O’Sullivan and Steve Desmarais were locked in a battle for the fifth
position. Dave Bergman retired from the event on lap 11.
Mechanical trouble befell hot-shoe Derek Ramstrom, who dropped off
the lead lap on the fourteenth circuit. At halfway, the top two had
rolled out to a steady advantage. Astle had his hands full with
Macedonio. On lap 17, O’Sullivan had joined the fray. Jeff Connors
was making tracks toward the fight as well.
Bessette poured it on in the late stages of the event. The “Mad
Dog” had a half straightaway lead over Wrenn. Macedonio had passed
Astle for third. The running order was shuffled when, after going
three-wide, there was contact between Astle, Connors, and
O’Sullivan. The green flag remained out of the speedway as the three
gathered it up.
A lap later, Wrenn slipped up in turn two opening the door for both
Macedonio and Astle. Connors also was able to get by a faltering
Wrenn. Up front it was all Bessette; cruising to his first victory
of the season. Macedonio came home second ahead of Astle, Connors
and Wrenn inside the top five.
Late Models started out with a bang as contact between the front
row starters on the opening lap with the Jenison spinning. With
racing finally underway it was Rick Gentes showing the way. Gentes
immediately stretched out his lead leaving Conrad Cote and Tommy
O’Sullivan to battle for second.
Cote freed himself of O’Sullivan to take chase of Gentes. Jeff
Zuidema and Marc Palmisano were also able to take positions from
O’Sullivan. Cote caught Gentes and took over the lead on lap eight.
Zuidema and Palmisano continued their assault moving into second and
At the halfway point of the event, Zuidema was glued to Cote. A lap
later, Zuidema was scored as the leader. Cote had to defend his
position over Palmisano. The two went door-to-door for a pair of
laps before Cote relinquished the runner-up spot. Early leader
Gentes headed down pit road on lap 20.
Zuidema was able to maintain his advantage over Palmisano over the
closing laps of the race to score his division-leading fifth victory
of the 2008 season. Palmisano finished second followed by Cote,
O’Sullivan and Mark Oliveira.
Ernie Larose of Plainfield, CT, became a two-time winner on
Thursday night besting a solid field of Limited Sportsman
competitors. Larry Barnett took the lead early but it was anything
but smooth sailing once out front with company from Larose. Scott
Sundeen ran comfortably in third a ways ahead of Paul Palen and
Jesse Gleason before the caution flew for a multi-car incident in
On the ensuing restart, Larose made a bid at Barnett’s lead but
settled back into second, albeit briefly. Larose patiently worked
over Barnett to take the lead with five laps remaining. Sundeen
followed through moving into the second position.
The #5 of Chris Bisson went up in smoke to bring out the caution on
lap 16. The restart now pitted Sc. Sundeen against Larose. Larose
was up for the challenge and ran to his second victory of the 2008
season. Sundeen was the runner-up followed by Barnett, Puleo and Joe
The TIS Modified division kicked off the racing action for the
evening with newcomer Brian Sullivan of S. Windsor turning in an
impressive performance to score the victory. The opening lap was
marred by an incident that involved RJ Marcotte, Kurt Vigeant, and
Leo Oliveira, after the pack entered turn one three-wide. On the
second attempt at the start, a fierce battle erupted for the top
spot between Richie Ferreira and Glenn Boss. After a pair of laps,
Boss was the new leader. The field got strung out under race
conditions. Boss led Ferreira and Shane Michalski.
At the halfway markers, Michalski was applying heavy pressure to
Ferreira. The two ran nose to tail before a bobble forced both to
check up. Fourth-running Sullivan took advantage; streaking from
fourth to second exiting turn two. Sullivan immediately went after
Boss; catching the leader with less than five laps to go. The two
went side-by-side for a single lap before Sullivan asserted himself
as the new leader. An ill-handling car found Boss fighting off the
advances of Michalski.
Sullivan cruised under the checkers in only his second start.
Michalski was able to make the pass for the runner-up spot exiting
turn four of the final lap. Boss, John Studley, and Ferreira
completed the top-five.
Scott Michalski returned to his winning ways in the Mini Stocks;
scoring his second win of the season. Billy Pomposelli muscled his
way past earlier leader Fred Michalski before the first caution of
the event flew for a spin on the backstretch. The Mini Stockers were
running three-wide for third spot when a spin by Bert Ouellette
brought out the caution once again. Under the yellow there where a
pair of separate incidents, one involving point leader Mike Romano.
Things finally settled down with the likes of Danny Field, Scott
Michalski, and Chuck Rogers making their way into contention. On lap
seven, Sc. Michalski was second followed by Field, F. Michalski and
Rogers. Meanwhile, Romano was mired in traffic.
With five laps remaining, the three cars of Pomposelli, S.
Michalski, and Field ran within inches; duking it out for the top
spot. Michalski emerged from the battle as the new leader. A lap
later, Field followed through making the pass for second. Fields had
two laps to try to run down Michalski. He caught the back bumper of
the leader and on successive laps tried the inside groove. Each time
Field had to settle back in line. In the end, Michalski grabbed the
win followed closely by Field. Pomposelli, Rogers, and Steve
Michalski rounded out the top five.
Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Keith Rocco,
Wallingford, CT; 2. Tommy Cravenho, Raynham, MA; 3. Todd Ceravolo,
Gales Ferry, CT; 4. Danny Cates, Chaplin, CT; 5. Bobby Grigas, III,
Marshfield, MA; 6. Kerry Malone, Needham, MA; 7. Eric Goodale,
Riverhead, NY; 8. Josh Sylvester, Lebanon, CT; 9. Tim Sullivan, S.
Windsor, CT; 10. Ricky Shawn, Bradford, RI.
Pro Stock Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. George Bessette,
Danbury, CT; 2. Jay Macedonio, Somerset, MA; 3. Fred Astle, Jr.,
Westport, MA; 4. Jeff Connors, Ellington, CT; 5. Norm Wrenn, Nashua,
NH; 6. Mike O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 7. Jeff Zuidema, N.
Brookfield, CT; 8. Steve Desmarias, Westport, MA; 9. Rick Gentes,
Woonsocket, RI; 10. Andy Johnson, Rehoboth.
Late Model Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Jeff Zuidema, N.
Brookfield, MA; 2. Marc Palmisano, Hadley, MA; 3. Conrad Cote,
Lisbon, CT; 4. Tommy O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 5. Mark Oliveira,
Blackstone, MA; 6. Mark Jenison, Danielson, CT; 7. Jeff Hartwell,
Putnam, MA; 8. Pete Yetman, Peru, MA; 9. Randy Waterman, Killingly,
CT; 10. Jeremy Sadowski, Voluntown, CT.
Limited Sportsman Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Ernie Larose,
Plainfield, CT; 2. Scott Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 3. Larry Barnett,
Ledyard, CT; 4. Ed Puleo, Branford, CT; 5. Joe Arena, Bristol, CT;
6. Jesse Gleason, Lisbon, CT; 7. Chris Douton, Waterford, CT; 8.
Paul Palen, Pelham, NH; 9. Joe Campbell, Moosup, CT; 10. Kevin Bowe,
TIS Modified Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Brian Sullivan, S.
Windsor, CT; 2. Shane Michalski, Woodstock, CT; 3. Glenn Boss,
Danielson, CT; 4. John Studley, Framingham, MA; 5. Richie Ferreira,
Raynham, MA; 6. Cam McDermott, Scituate, RI; 7. Brian Tagg, Oxford,
CT; 8. Bart Ramos, Putnam, MA; 9. Denis Legere, N. Reading, MA; 10.
Jesse Berthiaume, Mendon, MA.
Mini Stock Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Scott Michalski, S.
Killingly, CT; 2. Danny Fields, Deep River, CT; 3. Billy Pomposelli,
Chepachet, RI; 4. Chuck Rogers, Quaker Hill, CT; 5. Steve Michalski,
Brooklyn, CT; 6. Leo Defevers, Brooklyn, CT; 7. Mike Romano,
Glendale, RI; 8. Mike Viens, Seekonk, MA; 9. Tyler Poulin,
Millville, MA; 10. Tim Taylor, Wauregan, CT.