THOMPSON, Conn. — Story and photos by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza —
On a cold, windy day at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, stars of the New England racing scene opened their season with a test and tune on Saturday.
Some of the top names of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour were in attendance, as were some of the Thompson NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division stars. The day included constant practice sessions with divisions from not only the Whelen Modified Tour and Thompson, but across New England.
Drivers from the NEMA Midgets, NEMA Lites, North East Street Stock Tour and other divisions also tackled the oval.
Whelen Modified Tour Stars Tackle Thompson
Among drivers of the Whelen Modified Tour was defending three-time champion Doug Coby, who unloaded two cars to take to the track. Coby and his crew chief Phil Moran were preparing for their second year with the new LFR chassis. Last year, they dominated the final few races and drove away with the title.
Joining Coby in the LFR chassis department was Bobby Santos, who unloaded the brand new machine for the first time. Santos told Race Chaser Online that the goal is the same as always with the new car — to win races and chase the title. He doesn’t yet know if they will be a step above any other drivers with the new car. Donny Lia also unloaded his LFR No. 8 modified and took some laps on the track.
Youngster Timmy Solomito was on track with his Flamingo Motorsports No. 16, a year after finishing sixth in the point standings and finishing the year strong. He was joined by defending Rookie of the Year Chase Dowling, behind the wheel of his S&S Paving No. 9.
XFINITY Series regular Ryan Preece drove his No. 6 TS Haulers modified on Saturday. He will be running a partial schedule on the tour this season while he continues his XFINITY career as well.
Rowan Pennink drove the No. 3 BRE Racing machine for the first time in preparation for his campaign in 2016. Max Zachem also rolled his brand new paint scheme out of the trailer with his No. 20 MPZ Motorsports ride.
That’s just a taste of some of the cars that were in attendance on Saturday.
Thompson Regulars, Touring Drivers Hit the Track
The Late Model division had some strong attendance on Saturday. Both Jeff and Keith Rocco unloaded their Late Models, Jeff with the Dunleavy Truck and Trailer Repair stickers on the quarter panels for the first time. Keith not only drove his Late Model, but also multiple modifieds ranging from SK to Tour-Type Cars.
Stars of the Mini Stock division also took time, as did the drivers of the Limited Sportsman and SK Modified divisions. Rowan Pennink sat behind the wheel of the No. 16 Ceravolo racing SK to take some laps. Defending Thompson SK champion Woody Pitkat was in his No. 6 seat as he prepares to go for a back-to-back championship.
Drivers from the North East Street Stock Tour, including former Seekonk Speedway Street Stock champion Ryan Lineham, unloaded on Saturday to tackle the 5/8 mile oval.
Thompson Speedway opens the 2016 New England racing season with the Icebreaker on April 8-10 weekend. The weekend will include the Pro All Star Series (PASS) and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour headlining the action, along with touring series and Thompson NASCAR divisions.
To purchase tickets for the event or check out the schedule for the IceBreaker and 2016 season, fans can visit www.thompsonspeedway.com
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer and press writer, and is also the Media Director for both the Granite State Pro Stock Series and the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
Email Kyle at: [email protected]
Follow on Twitter: @Kouza34
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