We LOVE when there is a mid week show. It makes the week feel so much shorter and any week with more racing than not is a win in our book. As always, Wednesday nights Thompson 125 was a great show. All the regular divisions, except for the SK lite, were there with good car counts. The Whelen Modified Tour was in town long with the NEMA Lite cars.
It was a beautiful night for racing, the kind of weather we have been waiting for!! Early on I thought that it looked like the crowd could have been a bit better then it's like we blinked and the place filled up. Right around 6 as the heats where finishing up and the pre-race ceremonies were about to start we turned around to see a line waiting for tickets at the ticket booth and the bleachers looked to be full already. Its always nice to see a show fill up with fans!
Thompson is known for packing in a lot of racing in a short window of time and last night was no different. The NEMA lite kicked off the feature racing where Chad LaBastie took home the win. The NEMA was followed up by the largest field of late models that we have seen in awhile. They had two full fields for qualifying and a total of twenty one cars took the track for the feature race. It was good to see a truly full field take the track. Not only were there a lot of cars but the racing was awesome. We got to watch Ray Parent and Tom Carry drive side by side, door to door for a few solid laps. At the end of the battle Ray Parent came out with the win. It was really an awesome show to watch and one of the best late model races we have see in a long time. We are modified lovers so if we are saying it was a good race that should tell you something!!
As expected, the Limited Sportsman feature was anything but disappointing. There were a lot of good battles throughout the whole field. Rubbing is racing as they say and lots of hard eight wheel racing was had. Ryan Waterman was working hard just below the top three trying to move through the field. Waterman made Sundeen work to earn his spot. Larry Barnett ran away with the solid win followed up by Shawn Monahan and Scott Sundeen. The Mini Stock Feature followed with Eric Bourgeois taking the checked flag followed by Wayne Burrough Jr and Doug Curry.
The Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125 always is a toss how the shorter race will play out and how it changes the strategies of the teams. There was a change to the normal ‘standard operating procedures’. Instead of the normal timed two lap single car qualifying there was group qualifying for the Whelen Tour. The qualifying session left Donny Lia on the pole in the #7ny Baldwin car to start the Thompson 125.
It was an exciting race, started with the number seven looking strong but unfortunately he got black flagged early on. The officials called him for a restart violation and he had a drive through penalty which put him to the back of the field where they would later end up part of a wreck and unfortunately leave the race on the hook. There is a lot of talk going on about this call and understandably.....He had a great car and would have been a contender no doubt. There was a lot of back and forth with different strategies playing out as the race went on. The number three team of Ole Blue with a new car looked stout all night. They took their tires earlier than the rest of the front runners did. They rode out font or towards the front for most of the race to come out with a P2 finish to follow the P1 they grabbed the first time Ole Blue was at Thompson for this season at the Icebreaker. Chase Dowling and the fifteen team where having a very strong run. He was racing back and forth challenging Ryan Preece, driver for the number six team, taking the lead at one point in the race only to end up leaving on the hook as well with Lia after losing position during a stop. It was disappointing to see this; we were thinking he was going to have the best finish he has had yet.
Andy Suess make the trip from the south in the beautifully prepared number eleven LFR car. He had another unfortunate run. In turn two the eleven car’s right front was torn off after contact with TC. The team worked for several green flag laps to repair the car but in the end the team was not able to get back out on the track.
Two drivers that were talked about a lot coming into the mid week race were Teddy Christopher who was wheeling the Dan Watts owned machine number eighty two and also Jon McKennedy who was behind the wheel of the Brady Family’s double zero. Both of them drove as expected. They were all out, making some exciting and daring moves. In doing so they not have made many friends but gained spots none the less. Theses two drives put on the show that we expected to see. While they may not have finished top five, they made the race interesting to watch.
The end of the race a caution could have helped, it fell a bit flat, but I guess we can’t expect every lap to have you on the edge of your seat but we can hope for it! All in all it was an exciting race and in the end Ryan Preece was able to bring home the win. Preece was followed by Rowan Penninck in second and Santos in Third, Coby a much needed fourth and Goodale rounded out the top five drivers for the night. For current point standings and results for the Whelen Modified Tour click HERE
We had to wait till after the Tour race for the Sunoco Modifieds to take the track. There were struggles keeping the race under green to get started. As it seemed that we would not get full laps complete.. I am not sure if it was because of all the tour rubber being down, if it was just late or just one of those races. Once the race got rolling we saw a lot of what this division is so well known for, the weaving and passing type of driving from a very talented field of drivers. Troy Talman running one of Keith Rocco’s cars starting up front was able to dominate and take the win. Troy has been successful in the SK lite division but this would mark his first Sunoco Modified win. Congratulations to Troy on wheeling that car right into victory lane! For current Thompson point standings click HERE.
The Wednesday night show at Thompson is just the beginning to a busy weekend of racing. We are looking forward to Stafford this week. It maybe a ‘regular’ week but the car counts have been high and the racing has been solid. This week the Wild Thing Karts will be joining in for the Friday night show as well. We are hopeful for another great night of racing.
On the docket for Saturday - we are excited to say that The New London Waterford Speedbowl is on the list! George Whitney of the Speedbowl and his daughter sat with us for a bit at Thompson. He told us he brought the Whelen K&N car to Thompson to help promote Whelen and the upcoming K&N race at Thompson. What a sharp car! Saturday is the date for open practice at The ‘Bowl. George informed us it is for all divisions including Wednesday night and Tour Type Mods. We will be sure to be by and check out the action, see who comes out to practice their cars and say hi to some people we may not have seen yet this year. Make sure you say hi and we will as always have cameras in hand so look for photos next week of the Bowl rides. We are very excited for next weekend June 24th as it will be the opening show for the ‘Bowl!! #BowlStrong
We are also looking forward to the Modified Touring Series race where they will be ‘invading the island’ on Saturday. Weather permitting and logistics falling place we will be heading that way to check out what is sure to be another great race and the first race ever for the MTS at Riverhead. From what I understand this is the first non NASCAR tour to be at the Head in a long time. Seekonk had such good racing throughout the whole field and on a similar bull ring track we would expect nothing less this Saturday. The MTS race should have a whole different dynamic, as many of the MTS drivers have never been to Riverhead, also many of the Riverhead regulars will be entering with their weekly Tour Type modifieds. Ryan Preece will not be the only one bringing his Whelen Tour cars. Eric Goodale and Donnie Lia in the 7NY will also be in attendance in their tour cars.
You just might see a few more Long Island drivers show up too. Big gun MTS regulars will be there for the invasion of the Island like Woody Pitkat, Rowan Pennink, Jon McKennedy among many others. Treat yourself to the show and support The EXIT Realty Modified Touring Series. For current points and previous race results on the MTS click HERE.
Hope everyone will be able to get out, enjoy a race as it seems the warmer weather is finally here to stay! If you see us this weekend stop by, say ‘hi’ and as always MT #ModOn