THOMPSON, Conn. — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for NASCAR photo —
Four races are into the record books for the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour campaign and three different winners have carried the checkered flag.
Doug Coby swept both races at the 1/2 mile Stafford Springs and the other two went races were won by Timmy Solomito (Thompson IceBreaker) and Ron Silk (New London-Waterford Speedbowl).
Now, coming off the dominating performance by Coby at Stafford on June 3, the Whelen Modified Tour drivers are ready for the second of four stops at the 5/8 mile Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
On Wednesday, the mod squad will compete in the running of the Thompson 125 — an annual June stop on NASCAR’s oldest touring series.
Coming into the race, Coby leads the championship standings by 24 points over Justin Bonsignore and 28 points over Donny Lia. Though Coby swept all four events at Thompson during the 2015 season, he didn’t do as well when the tour hit Thompson back in April. He did cross the stripe in fourth during the IceBreaker 150, but with the domination Coby had last season, some were speculating he had “lost his touch.”
The three-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion said that was far from the truth.
“The fourth place at Thompson is still pretty damn good, that’s my second best finish ever at the IceBreaker,” Coby said. “Everyone was all disappointed because we finished fourth and they expected us to win. It just blows my mind that this is where this has gotten, where people think something is wrong if we finish fourth.”
For Coby, the season is off to a strong start with two victories, but for some others, solid, consistent runs have them towards the top of the championship. Bonsignore finished third at the IceBreaker, the first appearance of the season at Thompson.
He followed that up with a 5th at the Sizzler at Stafford, then a 17th at the Speedbowl because of an overheating issue. However, they rebounded quickly the last time out, grabbing a fifth place run at the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 at Stafford. He comes into the track he left with a third place finish in April poised to carry his first checkered flag of the season.
Lia sits third in the standings after three top-10 runs, but sneaking right in behind him is Max Zachem. The Preston, Conn. driver has also collected three top-10 runs in the first four races of the season and has surprised some with the consistency and speed the team has shown. He tore it up with some of the best in the final laps at the Speedbowl on May 14 and hopes a return to Thompson Wednesday will see another top-five run.
“The way we have started off our season is just a surreal feeling,” Zachem said. “We started at the test session at Thompson with a blown motor and it really threw us behind the eight ball from the start, but my team kept digging and the key in this series is being there at the end of the races. It doesn’t pay anything at lap 20.”
This will be the 131st Whelen Modified Tour race in the history of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and 35 different drivers have taken the checkered flag — led by the 15 races won by veteran Mike Stefanik. Timmy Solomito added his name to that list with his victory earlier in the season in the IceBreaker 150.
Among all the drivers on the entry list for Wednesday’s race, Coby leads all with five career victories at the 5/8 mile oval, followed by Bobby Santos, who has four career wins.
The Whelen Modified Tour will practice from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and time trials will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night. The Thompson 125 is expected to go green at approximately 8:45 p.m.
Live updates from the track throughout the entire day of racing can be found on the Race Chaser Online Twitter, by following @RaceChaserNews.
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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