THOMPSON, Conn. —
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park kicked off its annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing, presented by Xtra Mart, on Friday, October 14th, setting the stage for an action packed weekend that will see several track and series champions crowned as well as the champion of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series on Sunday afternoon.
The Speedway crowned its first of four track champions set to be named over the course of World Series weekend on Friday with the first night of racing capped off by a 25-lap Late Model feature. William Wall looked to complete his impressive 2016 campaign with a title after starting off the year strong with his first series win in the Thompson season opening Icebreaker weekend. Wall tallied four wins overall this year leading into the World Series, but still held a scant 14-point lead on series regular Rick Gentes who only had one win coming into the series finale. Gentes drove a strong and consistent season however, never finishing outside the top-6 and scoring eight top-5 finishes.
Wall started off strong, winning his heat race and securing more points for some added cushion entering the 25-lap feature event, but Gentes would not make it easy for the young star as the two stayed within reach of each other throughout the bulk of the race. Gentes and Wall held steady in positions two and three respectively for over half of the event, surviving several early cautions in the process, and while their battle raged for a title it was Tom Carey, III who ran away with the lead. Carey hung on to finish first, however his car would be disqualified in post race inspection for illegal fuel leaving Gentes as the winner of the race. However, it was not enough to give the series veteran a title. William Wall finished fourth in the event, more than good enough to secure his first title in the Late Models at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
“I kept (Gentes) in my front windshield the whole time being conservative, but at the same time aggressive it was a really hard thing to do tonight. This whole Wall Motorsports team did such a good job all year. I can’t thank them enough,” Wall said following his championship win. “We never said we were fast enough. We always went that extra mile to get a little bit more and a little bit more. You have to keep up with these guys (in the Late Models). They’re the best.”
Much of the night leading up to the final Late Model race of the season featured qualifying and practice for the remaining events of the Sunoco World Series weekend as well as a look into the past as several antique racing clubs took center stage, paying tribute to the history of local racing and acknowledging the long history Thompson Speedway has with motorsports in New England.
Starting off the night’s main events were the New England Antique Racers (NEAR), featuring a variety of historic cars including everything from tribute vehicles to classic racers and paint schemes, offering a peak into the past in a ten-lap showcase described as an “exhibition of the history of modified racing”. Mike Taschereau won the overall event with his grandfather’s antique #27JR car, a vehicle dating back to the 1970s. Tom Maciag took home the trophy for the Sportsman vehicles featured in the race with a Moose Hewitt themed car.
The Vintage Outlaw series continued the showcase of classic racecars as drivers of that club took to the track to show off their own brand of hard driven competition. Racers brought refurbished historic racing vehicles in hopes of taking home the hardware and after fifteen laps it was Jim Lowery who came home the winner. “It’s always fantastic to come to Thompson and race,” Lowery said in victory lane. “I appreciate Thompson for inviting the vintage customers and outlaws I compete with.”
Capping off the triple-header of antique clubs taking to the track were the Senior Tour Auto Racers (STAR) who held a fifteen-lap feature dominated by Darryl Dutch, with Michael Keddy taking home a trophy for top finishing Sportsman car in the event.
With day one of the Sunoco World Series in the books, day two will offer even more racing action with another track champion set to be crowned. In addition to naming the track champion of the Mini Stocks at Thompson, the NEMA drivers, Pro 4 Modifieds, Northeast Mini Stock Tour, Lite Modifieds, American Canadian Tour and Valenti Modified will also showcase the best racing talent New England has to offer.
LATE MODEL FEATURE FINISH: 1. Rick Gentes (Harrisville, RI); 2. Ray Christian, Jr. (Uncasville, CT); 3. William Wall (Shrewsbury, MA); 4. Nick Johnson (Rehoboth, MA); 5. Larry Gelinas (Buxton, ME); 6. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 7. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA); 8. Scott Serydynski (West Greenwich, RI); 9. John Lowinski-Loh (Backstone, MA); 10. Jeff Smith (Old Lyme, CT); 11. Christopher Garside (Waterford, CT); 12. Randy Tucker (Millis, MA); 13. Crystal Serydynski (West Greenwich, RI); 14. Jared Materas (Westfield, MA); 15. Ryan Morgan (Mystic, CT); 16. Brandon Warren (Chicopee, MA); 17. Corey Fanning (Mapleville, RI); 18. Louis Romiza (East Falmouth, MA); 19. Stuart Wheeldan; 20. Jeremy Lillie; 21. Michael Bennett (Willington, CT); 22. Nick Uhrig; DQ: Tom Carey, III
NEW ENGLAND ANTIQUE RACERS FINISH: 1. Mike Taschereau; 2. Paul Jacques; 3. Steve Brown; 4. Tom Maciag; 5. Harry Dutton; 6. Jack Proulx
VINTAGE OUTLAWS FINISH: 1. Jim Lowery (Tilton, NH); 2. Glenn Boss (Danielson, CT); 3. Gary Byington (Framington, CT); 4. Ben LeVangie (Plymouth, MA); 5. Ron St. Germaine (Rochdale, MA); 6. Doug Sogolow (Canterbury, CT); 7. Bill Boudreau (Coventry, RI); 8. Jim Kelly (East Marichs, Long Island, NY)
SENIOR TOUR AUTO RACERS FINISH (TOP-10): 1. Darryl Dutch; 2. Scott Poirier; 3. Jocelyn Laliberte; 4. Ed Milligan; 5. Gregg Massini; 6. Tom Beauregard; 7. Charles Wilcox; 8. James Allen; 9. Unknown (#66); 10. Michael Keddy
CREDIT: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park