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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour



Santos Earns WMT Pole with New Track Record at Thompson Speedway

The 2010 season officially got underway at Thompson International Speedway with Day One of the traditional Icebreaker. Bobby Santos III of Franklin, MA, made an impressive debut in the famed “Mystic Missile”; qualifying on the pole for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Keith Rocco of Wallingford, CT and Derek Ramstrom, defending champions of their respective divisions, scored opening day victories.

With the 2010 season quickly approaching car owner Bob Garbarino announced that Bobby Santos III would be the driver for his championship race team. In his first attempt to qualify, Santos not only put the #4 on the pole for his new car owner, he did it with a new track record of 18.418 seconds.

Chris Pasteryak of Lisbon, CT, Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, MA, and Mike Stefanik of Coventry, RI, qualified inside the top five. Burt Myers of Walnut Cove, NC, an icon in southern Modified racing, who has gained notoriety as a TV star on History Channel’s Madhouse, made the trip north of the Mason-Dixon Line to compete in his first NASCAR (Northern) Whelen Modified Tour. He rounded out the top-five in Coors Light qualifying. The top-ten cars will redraw for position to make up tomorrow’s starting line-up.

Keith Rocco of Wallingford, CT, running for a new team at Thompson for the 2010 season and the defending track champion, was back to his old and winning ways; scoring a victory in the first race of a weekend twin bill for the Sunoco Modifieds. Rocco jumped from his pole starting position to lead the opening laps.

After the events first and only caution on lap one, leader Rocco had plenty of company from Ted Christopher, Rowan Pennink and Ronnie Silk. Danny Cates quickly joined the mix. The top-five ran nose-to-tail as the edged away from the rest of the field.

With ten laps down, Christopher began to pressure Rocco for the top spot. Silk ran in third followed by Cates and Pennink, who was beginning to fall back. At halfway, Christopher continued to dog Rocco as the duo entered lap traffic. Silk and Cates ran in close proximity. Christopher looked low on Rocco lap-after-lap in turns one and four but could not muster up a pass.

On lap 18, Christopher got up along side of Rocco. The two went wheel-to-wheel with Christopher leading lap 19 by inches. The two continued to run side-by-side for the distance of lap 20 before Rocco was able to take the regain the top spot. Silk, too, was able to get by Christopher. Over the final two laps, Rocco edged away from the fierce battle for second. Christopher was able to motor by Silk for the second spot as they exited turn four while Rocco ran unchallenged to the checkers.

Breaking from tradition, the Super Late Models were the second of the twin bill on Saturday. (The Late Model division has traditionally run on Saturday.) Defending divisional champion, Derek Ramstrom of Worcester, MA, bested the strong field of Super Late Models in convincing fashion.

Pole sitter Larry Gelinas suffered mechanical failure on a lap two restart handing the lead over to Ramstrom. Dennis Maxfield took up pursuit in the second spot with heavy pressure from Mike O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan was able to make the pass on Maxfield on lap seven and immediately began to cut into Ramstrom’s lead. The battle for the fourth position began to heat up between Steve Desmarais and Norm Wrenn.

At halfway Ramstrom’s lead had diminished to five car lengths while Maxfield ran a distance back. Desmarais still had his hands full with Wrenn. The distance between the lead Ramstrom and second-place O’Sullivan had stabilized.

With only a handful of laps remaining, Wrenn was able to get by Desmarais. He was immediately able to run down Maxfield; but ran out of time. Ramstrom headed to the victory followed by O’Sullivan, Maxfield and Wrenn and Desmarais.

Heat races were also held for all six divisions of NASCAR Weekly Racing Series action.

The racing action resumes tomorrow, Sunday, April 11, with Day Two of Icebreaker 2010. Feature action will include the Mini Stocks, Limited Sportsman, TIS Modifieds, Late Models, Super Late Models, and Sunoco Modifieds followed by the headlining NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Pit gates open at 8:30 AM with grandstands opening at 10AM. The green flag falls for the first of the six NASCAR Whelen All-American Series features at noon. The anticipated start time for the Whelen Modified Tour is 3:45PM

For a complete listing of Sunday’s schedule visit or contact the Speedway hotline at 860-923-2280.\

Sunoco Modified 25-Lap Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Keith Rocco, Wallingford, CT; 2. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT; 3. Ronnie Silk, Norwalk, CT; 4. Danny Cates, Chaplin, CT; 5. Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, PA; 6. Kerry Malone, Needham, MA; 7. Nichole Morgillo, Wallingford, CT; 8. Tim Sullivan, S. Windsor, CT; 9. Bert Marvin, New London, CT; 10. Woody Pitkat, Stafford, CT.

Super Late Models 25-Lap Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Derek Ramstrom, Worcester, MA; 2. Mike O’ Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 3. Dennis Maxfield, Fitchburg, MA; 4. Norm Wrenn, Nashua, NH; 5. Steve Desmarais, Somerset, MA; 6. Jim Banfield, S. Glastonbury, CT; 7. David Darling, Seekonk, MA; 8. Mike Brightman, Acushnet, MA; 9. George Bessette, Danbury, CT; 10. Jeramee Lillie, W. Warwick, RI.T

  Source: Russ Dowd / Thompson International Speedway
Posted: April 10, 2010

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