THOMPSON SPEEDWAY SET TO CLOSE SEASON WITH 57TH ANNUAL SUNOCO WORLD SERIES
By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
THOMPSON, Conn. — Twenty different divisions of racing, championship coronations, a full campground and a packed pit area will be just some of the major headlines when Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park closes the season this weekend, October 11-13, with the 57th annual Sunoco World Series.
Headlined by the finale for the 16-race championship points schedule of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, three days of racing will take place. On top of the racing, fans will be able to experience the property like never before with their campers, visit the clubhouse for the annual breakfast and dinner buffets, take a hayride on the track Sunday morning, and more.
All five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will crown their champions, while multiple touring series divisions from across New England also crown their titleholder. Friday, the weekend begins with the title battle for the NWAAS Late Models, with three drivers separated by just 20 points.
With three victories on the season, Woody Pitkat leads William Wall by five points. Both drivers are former champions – with Pitkat earning his title in 2002 and Wall capturing the crown in 2016. Behind them, Derek Gluchacki sits 20 back, looking for his first win of his career – but also for the top two to stumble so he can contend for the title.
Friday’s headliner is the Granite State Pro Stock Series, back for another year of World Series action. The Pro Stocks were a weekly division at Thompson for more than a decade, with the last full-time season coming in 2012 – a year that Derek Ramstrom earned his third track title. Their 50-lap feature will come as the finale of the Friday night schedule – one that also includes feature action for the Open Vintage Modifieds, Senior Tour Auto Racer Sportsman and Senior Tour Auto Racer Modifieds.
Saturday, action begins early with one of the most packed days in all of racing. Ten different feature races will close the night, but a full slate of qualifying and practice will take place starting at 9 a.m. Qualifying begins at 2:30 p.m., with the NEMA Midgets, ISMA Supermodifieds, Sunoco Modifieds, Limited Sportsman, American Canadian Tour, Pro 4 Modifieds, NHSTRA Late Model Sportsman, Exit Realty Truck Series and NEMA Lites all set to qualify. After group qualifying rounds for the Whelen Modified Tour, ten feature races will begin with the championship finale for the NWAAS Mini Stocks.
Former champion Scott Michalski leads by just one-point over Doug Curry in that battle, with Steve Michalski third, just three points out. Based on the standings, and the way these three drivers have run this season, it should come right down to the final lap.
Bryan Narducci has already earned the SK Light Modified championship in 2019, but he will look to add his stamp with a seventh win in the 20-lap feature. Names like Wayne Burroughs Jr., Albert Ouellette, and Nathan Pytko look to keep their top five points position while earning their first career win.
Following the NEMA Midgets and Pro 4 Modified feature races, some of the top Late Model drivers from across New England, and Thompson’s own stars will come together for the 75 lap ACT Tour finale. Points leader Rich Dubeau enters the race looking to seal his title, while East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, rising star Ryan Kuhn hopes to seal the ACT Rookie of the Year crown. Local Thompson drivers expected to compete include Pitkat, Wall, Gluchacki, Mark Jenison and more.
The top modified drivers will also compete for the 50-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature. Coming off twin feature races at Lee USA Speedway, the series will crown will officially crown Mike Willis as the champion. Former series champions Anthony Nocella and Woody Pitkat split the two races at Lee USA. The NHSTRA Late Model Sportsman, Exit Realty Trucks, North East Mini Stock Tour and Street Stock Showdown Series will also run features on Saturday night.
Sunday, action begins with the annual fan hayrides around the track at 10 a.m. Fans can access the hayrides via the grandstand ticket booth, and they will leave every 20 minutes. Pre-race ceremonies begin at 12:35 p.m., followed by the finale for the Sunoco Modifieds, which begins the most important day of Thompson’s season. Keith Rocco, in search of his eighth track title, leads by 40 points over Pitkat entering the 30-lap finale. The World Series Sunoco Modified feature always brings out the top local modified drivers and includes a full field of cars.
The Limited Sportsman title battle will close, with Kyle Gero looking to seal his first track title, leading by 10 points entering the weekend over Shawn Monahan. For Monahan, his last two track titles have shown he knows how to get the job done in the season-finale, while behind the top two, Meghan Fuller looks for her first career crown, 16 points out.
The ISMA Supermodifieds and NEMA Lites will compete next, followed by the 150-lap finale for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Five-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby leads by 19 points over Justin Bonsignore, who is looking for his second straight title. With around 40 cars expected, anything can happen in the most important tour race of the season. In August, Coby went to Victory Lane, while Bonsignore won the other two races at TSMP this year.
Tickets for the weekend are $55 in general admission, a pass that is good for all three days. Those seniors (65+), active military, and veterans, can enter general admission for $50. A pit pass for the duration of the weekend is $75. There are no one-day passes for this event, and children 12 and under are free in the grandstands. Any children that plan on entering the paddock area will have to pay the full price.
The annual breakfast buffet runs from 7-11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, priced at $14 per person. The dinner buffet runs from 5-10 p.m. on Saturday night, priced at $24 per person.