Champ Trail -
October 17, 2017
The headline attraction in New England last weekend was the 55th Annual
World Series at the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway. Eighteen different
divisions were in competition over a three day span.
The action began on Friday, October 13 with three feature events and the
crowning of the first champion of the weekend named in Thompson’s late model
division. Matt Lowinski-Loh capped off his season with a statement win in
the 25-lap late model feature. Ray Parent’s conservative strategy prevailed
as he secured a ninth place finish and wrapped up the division championship.
The longest event of the first night of World Series weekend was the 60-lap
feature of the Granite State Pro Stock series, a new addition to the Friday
night lineup of the annual event. Derek Ramstrom held off Derek Griffith for
the feature win in a dominating performance. Numerous wrecks shadowed the
event which seemed to take forever to complete. Closing out the night were
the Lite Modifieds in a 20-lap feature that saw a competitive field of
drivers each looking for one more win on the 2017 season. Third generation
driver, Bryan Narducci, who started up front and finished up front in
dominating fashion led every lap of the event on route to a victory.
Day two for the World Series of Speedway Racing was long and busy once
the rain stopped. It proved to be a busy one as a slew of new champions were
named in both touring and track divisions as the biggest weekend in New
England racing continued. Six of the eight different races were held over
the course of the afternoon, each resulting in a champion being named for
their specific series or division as a packed crowd turned out to enjoy and
afternoon of non-stop on track action at the Big-T.Eight. Fog caused the
speedway to curb activities until Sunday. The Valenti Modified Racing
series, the Northeastern Midget Association, the American Canadian Tour, the
Mr. Rooter Pro Truck Series, the New England Pro 4 Modifieds, Street Stocks
and the North East Mini Stock Tour were scheduled over the course of the
afternoon and evening. In addition there was qualifying for the Whelen
Modified Tour and Sunoco SK type Modifieds. Thirty five Whelen Modifieds and
26 Sunoco SK type Modifieds were on hand.
The American Canadian Tour served as the night’s main event crowning a
champion with a two-man battle established coming into the evening’s season
finale race. The tour’s 75-lap feature began with a tribute to series
founder Tom Curley in a touching pre-race ceremony featuring a playing of
“Donny Boy” on bagpipes. Curley passed away at the age of 73 earlier this
year and before the green flag flew ACT drivers presented a series of
four-wide tribute laps in honor of the man who helped establish their series
back in 1986. Eddie MacDonald and Woody Pitkat battled it out for a win in
the final ACT race of the 2017 campaign. Despite a strong run in the second
half of the event, Pitkat was unable to make a move on MacDonald who had a
strong car from start to finish and survived numerous restarts on route to
his first win at Thompson and his second of the season in the ACT division.
The Valenti Modified series crowned its own champion before the day even
started with points leader Anthony Nocella already earning enough points to
clinch the title coming into the final event of the season for the popular
local division. Nocella became the eighth different champion in the history
of the Valenti Modified series and not only clinched the title, but also won
the race after several contenders were sidelined from a series of on-track
incidents during the 50-lap event.
Other Saturday winners at Thompson were Todd Bertrand in the NEMA
Midgets, Dave Trudeau in the Mini Stocks, David Berghman in the Pro Fours
and Nick Maniatis in the Northeast Mini Stocks.
In Whelen Modified Tour qualifying on Saturday, Chase Dowling scored his
first career pole award on Saturday. Driving the 15-40 Connection modified
for Rob Fuller, Dowling posted a fast lap of 18.991 seconds (118.477 mph)
around the 0.625-mile oval. Dowling was the only driver to break the
18-second bracket in qualifying and will make his 41st career start on
Sunday from the top spot.
Whelen Modified Tour points leader Doug Coby was second fastest. Coby ran
a fast lap of 19.035 seconds (118.203 mph) behind the wheel of his No. 2
Mayhew Tools Chevrolet. Ryan Preece, who already has two victories at
Thompson this season, was third in the qualifying. Rob Summers and Craig
Lutz rounded out the top five.
Dale Wobrink started off the Sunday activity as she presented the 2017
Sonny Richards award post-posthumously to Ted Christopher. Shawn Waddell
accepted the award for Christopher. Christphers last win at Thompson was his
99th Sunoco Modified victory at the Thompson Speedway on September 10th.
First up were the Sunoco SK type Modifieds. Ryan Preece and early leader
John Studley made contact on lap 13. Keith Rocco was waiting in the wings
and took advantage of the situation as he jumped into the lead. Rocco held
the lead until lap 28 when Chase Dowling got underneath and rode him up
allowing Todd Owen to take the lead. Owen ended up taking the win with
Dowling, second and Rocco, Thompson Motorsports Park Sunoco Modified
championship. Rocco is looking to make it three titles following this coming
weekend at Waterford.
Rocco had a few choice words for Dowling after the event. “There’s a
reason I’ve got more championships than that kid does wins,” Rocco said of
Timmy Solomito ended the season the same way he started, with a win.
Solomito won the season opener for the Whelen Modified Tour Series. Along
the way he scored a win at the Langley Speedway plus two at his home track,
Riverhead Raceway. He capped off his season with a win at Thompson’s World
Series. His crew rolled out a back-up car after a mis-cue in Saturday
Doug Coby led the early going before pitting following a caution on lap
80. He needed to finish eighth or better to sew up the championship. Coby
led laps 1-82, Craig Lutz led laps 83-107, Ron Silk led laps 108-144, Justin
Bonsignore led lap145 and Ron Silk led laps 146-153 before being moved by
Timmy Solomito who led laps 154-155.
By virtue of his fifth place finish Doug Coby wrapped up the 2017 series
championship by six points over Solomito. Justin Bonsignore finished up the
year in third spot with Rowan Pennink and Eric Goodale rounding out the top
For the first time in series history the owner’s title went to a team
that wasn’t hosting the championship driver at the end of the year. Ed
Partridge and TS Motorsports was presented with the owner’s trophy thanks to
the efforts of Ryan Preece, who forwent a full season of driving for the
driver’s title to focus on advancing his career in select NASCAR Xfinity
Series events over the course of the season. Preece said he was proud to
help bring Partridge a title and end the season on a high note.
Other Sunday winners at Thompson were Jeff VanPelt in the Limited
Sportsman, Ryan Bigelow in the NEMA Lites, Dave Shulluck in the ISMA Supers
and Allen Coates in the Street Stocks.
A big at-a-boy to Thirty Two Signs and all the hundreds of fans who have
purchased items and donated are proud to announce that next week at the
Waterford Speedbowl Thirty Two Signs will be presenting a check in the
amount of THIRTY THOUSAND EIGHTY FIVE DOLLARS to the Christopher Family.
Special thanks to all those who have made this happen!!
On a sad note, Gene White, 90, passed away at his home in Stonington, CT
on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, leaving his wife, Nancy, of 53 years. Gene was a
World War ll veteran serving in the Marines. He was an avid race car driver
winning many trophy's in modified, stocks and sprints. White was a five time
winner at the Riverside Park Speedway. He also raced at the Thompson
Speedway and at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
On the speedway stock market scene last week, two of the three speedway
stocks had positive results. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.85 to 21.84 and
Dover Entertainment went up 0.10 to 2.20 while the International Speedway
Corporation dropped 0.85 to39.30. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went
up 0.46 to 55.83 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.24 to 33.01
while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.13 to 18.39.
Two of the three car manufacturers ended the week on a positive note.
General Motors went up 0.96 to 45.88 and Toyota went up 1,53 to 123.38 while
Ford dropped 0.25 to 12.05. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot
dropped 1.33 to 164.47 while Lowes went up 0.48 to 82.33. In big team
sponsors stocks, McDonalds went up 5.77 to 165.37, Coca-Cola went up 7.19 to
225.30, Target went up 3.74 to 60.85 and Fedex went up 1.52 to 222.22 while
Aarons Rentals dropped 2.29 to 42.10.
On the tube this week:
Thursday, October 19
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1
7:00 PM, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Thompson, CT NBC Sports Net
Friday, October 20
3:30 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
12:30 PM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Kansas practice, NBCSN
2:30 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas practice, NBC Sports App
4:30 PM, NXS Kansas final practice, NBC Sports App
6:00 PM, MENCS Kansas qualifying, NBCSN
Saturday, October 21
11:00 AM, MENCS Kansas practice, NBC Sports App
1:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
1:30 PM, MENCS Kansas final practice, NBCSN
2:30 PM, NXS Countdown to Green, NBC
3:00 PM, NXS Kansas race, NBC
Sunday, October 22
11:30 AM, Classic NASCAR: 1993 Daytona 500, FS1
12:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
2:30 PM, MENCS Countdown to Green, NBCSN
3:00 PM, MENCS Kansas race, NBCSN
6:30 PM, MENCS Post Race show, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN
10:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and
R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.
Phil Smith has been a columnist for
Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
Smith / Champ Trail