WITH REPEAT WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR TITLE
2015 NASCAR Whelen Modified Series concluded its
most competitive championship battle to date at
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on October 18th
to close out the Sunoco World Series of Speedway
Racing weekend presented by XtraMart. The Sunoco
World Series 150 began with the tightest
championship battle in series history with three
drivers within four points of winning the title and
even a little early snowfall for spice right before
the green flag waved.
Doug Coby and Ryan Preece entered the season finale
event in a tie for the championship and Woody Pitkat
sat only four points out of the lead with at least a
third place finish in the points mathematically
secured. Coby won the pole for the event while
Pitkat and Preece started in the top five to make
for a tight battle throughout the race as each
sought an edge in the championship battle.
While Coby and Preece had relatively calm runs in
the 150-lap feature, Pitkat had an up and down fight
for his first Whelen Modified Series title
throughout the event enduring an early crash, a
penalty by NASCAR and issues on pit road to finish
fifth. Preece ran in the top ten all race long and
finished seventh after his car fell off late in the
event, but it was Doug Coby who secured his second
consecutive series championship and the race win
after making a pass on runner-up Justin Bonsignore
with five laps to go.
The championship is Coby’s third in the past four
years and makes him the first driver in ten years to
win two consecutive championships in the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Series. It also puts him third on
the all-time championship list, behind seven-time
champion Mike Stefanik and five-time champion Tony
Coby credited his team for helping him sweep the
World Series weekend, winning the pole and the race
and claiming the most laps led in the 150-lap
feature. The race win also made Coby only the third
driver, along with Stefanik and Steve Park, to sweep
every race at Thompson during the Whelen Modified
“Just so proud of everyone and how they battled the
whole season. We won seven races out of fifteen and
six poles and it’s so competitive in our series it
just shows how much effort they put in to be here,”
Coby said. “It sucks that the race season ends you
know. We really want to keep it going and this would
have been a great one for us to keep going – What a
great day for us.”
Ryan Preece secured a runner-up spot in the points
standing with his top ten finish and Pitkat placed a
career-best third in points. Pitkat commented on his
dramatic race saying it was a hard fought battle to
stay in the title hunt.
“We were pretty behind the 8-ball,” he said. “It was
a tough outcome. You know what was going on and what
you’re going for. It’s a big deal. You’re going for
a championship – unfortunately we just had to battle
all day. I never give up and I just drove my butt
off all day.”
Pitkat did have one reason to smile on the day
however, taking the Sunoco Modified Series title
earlier in the day despite Preece, who was within
striking distance of the title, taking the race win.
Keith Rocco, who was second in the points coming
into the event, was unable to compete after his car
was disqualified following his heat race earlier in
Pitkat had a relatively dominant event in the 30-lap
feature, but was unable to hold off Preece in the
closing laps and had to settle for second place on
the track, but first on the season.
“It’s pretty amazing, the team that we put together
here,” said Pitkat after the race. “It’s like the
little train that could really. It’s a low budget
team – Obviously we were real consistent this year.
Nothing fell off the car, which was awesome. We
really wanted to win tonight. I really thought we
had it. Obviously it wasn’t meant to be. It really
stinks when you come to this last race and you get
these people that haven’t run up here all year and
they cause cautions out there at the end of the race
when we could have had it won. It is what it is.
Hats off to Ryan and those guys. They had a heck of
The XtraMart Limited Sportsman Series kicked off the
final day of the Sunoco World Series at the Big T.
The event saw past champions Scott Sundeen and Larry
Barnett, each seeking another title, with only two
points separating them coming into the weekend,
while Corey Hutchings had an outside shot at
claiming the title himself.
In the end Sundeen came out on top while Hutchings
took home a victory in the final race of the season.
After the race Sundeen said he was excited to add
championship trophy number five to his collection.
“It actually feels awesome. I think this was the
toughest one to win with it going down to the wire
with Larry (Barnett),” said Sundeen. “I know I can
race with Larry anytime, inside or outside, because
I know we might touch sometimes, but we’ll never
take each other out. I told him this morning if I
lost the championship to him, I don’t want to lose
to anybody but I’d rather lose to him.”
While he didn’t take home the title, Corey Hutchings
said he was content to walk away with some hardware
of his own and end the season on a high note.
“We came up a little short on the points but we had
a great season,” he said. “I’ve had great success
(at the World Series). I wish I had more success on
Ice Breaker weekend. I love this weekend. It’s the
best weekend of the year. Ending the season on a
high is great because it’s a long off-season.
Winning the last race is the ultimate high.”
In the International Super Modified Series (ISMA) a
first time champ was crowned in Dave Shullick Jr., a
second-generation driver whose father is considered
a legend in the series. Shullick came into the event
seeking his first title and not only took the
championship, but his first race win at the Big T.
“It was pretty awesome,” Shullick said in victory
lane. “Winning finally (at Thompson) means a lot to
me. I love this place. That’s three for three in New
England this year so we’re excited about that. It’s
awesome (to win the championship). In a sport where
your father is a legend you always look for things
that he never did and this is one thing he’s never
done so this is awesome.”
Anthony Payne went on to claim his first NEMA Lite
Championship, adding his own name to the history
books as he joined his father Joey as a NEMA
champion, making them only the second father-son
pair to each win a championship in the series.
With the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing
weekend in the books Thompson Speedway Motorsports
Park closes out its 75th anniversary season in
style. The Big T will return to action in 2016 with
its annual Icebreaker event in April.
XTRAMART LIMITED SPORTSMAN FINISH (TOP-10):
1. Corey Hutchings (Salem, CT); 2. Joshua Wood
(Palmer, MA); 3. Jesse Gleason (Lisbon, CT); 4.
Scott Sundeen (Sutton, MA); 5. Jack Aquilina
(Oakdale, CT); 6. Larry Barnett (Moosup, CT); 7.
Matt Lowinksi-Loh (Milford, MA); 8. Corey Fanning;
9. Chris Meyer; 10. Mike Malburn (Sterling, CT)
SUNOCO MODIFIED FINISH (TOP-10):
1. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 2. Woody Pitkat
(Stafford, CT); 3. Kerry Malone (Needham, MA); 4.
Ted Christopher (Plainville, CT); 5. Ryan Morgan
(Mystic, CT); 6. Bert Marvin (Colchester, CT); 7.
Nick Ladyga (Voluntown, CT); 8. Jason Sundeen
(Douglas, MA); 9. Stephen Kopcik (Newtown, CT); 10.
John Studley (Framingham, MA)
ISMA SUPER MODIFIEDS FINISH (TOP-10):
1. Dave Shullick, Jr. (N. Ridgeville, OH); 2. Rob
Summers (Vernon, CT); 3. Mike Lichty (Innerkip,
Ont.); 4. Trent Stephens (Ravenna, OH); 5. Ben Seitz
(Bourne, MA); 6. Chris Perley (Rowley, MA); 7. Bobby
Santos (Franklin, MA); 8. Mark Sammut (London,
Ont.); 9. Otto Sitterly Canajoharie, NY); 10. Jeff
Locke (Raymond, NH)
NEMA LITES FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Scott
Bigelow (East Hampton, CT); 2. John Zych, Jr.; 3.
Randy Cabral (Plymouth, MA); 4. Anthony Payne; 5.
Avery Stoehr (Lakeville, MA); 6. Paul Scally
(Raynham, MA); 7. Dan Cugini (Marshfield, MA); 8.
Paul Bigelow (Kensington, MA); 9. Meg Cugini
(Marshfield, MA); 10. Dennis O’Brien (Deerfield, NH)
NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED SERIES FINISH: 1. Doug
Coby (Milford, CT); 2. Justin Bonsignore
(Holtsville, NY); 3. Timmy Solomito (Islip, NY); 4.
Todd Szegedy (Ridgefield, CT); 5. Woody Pitkat
(Stafford, CT); 6. Patrick Emerling (Orchard Park,
NY); 7. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 8. Ted Christopher
(Plainville, CT); 9. Chase Dowling Roxbury, CT); 10.
Donny Lia (Jericho, NY)
Theresa Condict / Thompson
Speedway Motorsports Park
October 18, 2015