THOMPSON, Conn. — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Tim Bradbury/Getty Images for NASCAR photo —
Race ten of the 2015 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season is ready to commence this evening at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, Conn.
It will be the third time this season that NASCAR’s oldest touring series hits the five-eighths-mile, high-banked oval and so far this season, Thompson has been Doug Coby’s personal playground.
The driver of the Dunleavy Trucks and Trailer Repair No. 2 modified has proven dominant, winning both events by leading most of the laps and driving away in the late circuits.
While the tour rolls into Thompson, the championship standings continue to close up and have surprised many. Ryan Preece, from Berlin, Conn., holds the championship lead by a mere four points over Stafford’s Woody Pitkat. Preece, the most recent winner on the tour this past Friday night at Stafford Motor Speedway, has three victories, five top-fives and nine top ten finishes in the nine events this season.
Pitkat, the second place runner in the standings to this point, has one victory as part of the Stafford Spring Sizzler, but has also been extremely consistent in 2015. His eight top-five finishes leads all drivers and he joins Preece as the only two drivers to have finished in the top ten in all of the events completed.
Defending champion Coby comes into the Wednesday night event third in the points, only 17 points from the top, and he is closely followed by the Mystic Missile and driver Todd Szegedy — who is only 17 back of Coby.
With raceday on the horizon, a look at the entry list may surprise some fans. Originally, rokkie contender Troy Talman had been entered behind the wheel of his regular No. 3 modified but that has since changed. Talman posted on Facebook that the BRE Racing machine would not be ready for action on Wednesday evening. However, in quick fashion, Talman landed a ride with David Hill and southern-based Hillbilly Racing, piloting the No. 79 in a one-race deal.
With Talman in action on Wednesday evening, he continues his fight towards the Rookie of the Year honors without interruption — but a new driver will be carrying the number three. In an agreement to put the famous No. 3 on his own car for Wednesday night to gain the team owner points, Derek Ramstrom will be piloting the Seekonk Grand Prix No. 3. Ramstrom has competed on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on five occasions in his career, but has yet to score a top ten finish to this point.
The other big addition to the entry list this week includes Ted Christopher behind the wheel of the Our Motorsports No. 22 modified in place of Keith Rocco. Rocco, who missed the last event at Stafford, continues to fight a hand injury that will keep him out of the wide on Wednesday evening. Chris Our made the decision to nab former champion and multi-time Thompson Speedway SK Modified winner Christopher to fill the seat.
In place of Christopher, Andy Seuss will be coming from Hampstead, N.H. to drive the Bob Katon owned No. 13 J&R Precast modified. Seuss drove a number 13 at Monadnock just a few short weeks ago. Steve Masse, a single car team effort based out of Bellingham, Massachusetts, has also entered behind the wheel of the No. 31 modified. The updated entry list now holds 31 drivers and all are expected to start the 150 lap event.
The event will be race 10 of 15 on the season for the modified tour drivers and will boost them into the final season stretch with a tight championship battle.
Fans that can not make it out to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park can catch all the action live on fanschoicetv.com with live video and added audio from the Victory Lane Radio Network.
Up next for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour after Thompson is the Bristol Motor Speedway, next Wednesday evening.