THOMPSON – Santos Wins NASCAR Whelen Mod Tour Race

Kyle Souza Featured, Northeast 0 Comments

August 16, 2013 – Story by Kyle Souza – Finally Mother Nature played nice and Thompson Speedway was able to put on a racing program on Thursday night. Along with the 5 weekly track divisions, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was set to run their second of three races at the big T.

The Sunoco Modifieds were the first feature that rolled out onto the 5/8ths mile oval. Ryan Preece has been on a tear through New England, winning modified races at almost every track possible. Early on in this one, he took the point and pulled away from the field. His only challenge on the night, came from Thompson Speedway Modified point leader Keith Rocco. He charged to the back bumper and hounded Preece for much of the laps, until big problems ensued in turn one. Stan Mertz blew the motor on his #6 modified.

The leaders spun in the oil from his car and both when spinning into the outside wall. The two front runners, in the pits on a hook. Rocco was able to repair the #88 enough to come back for a sixth place finish, which is key in the championship chase. Woody Pitkat inherited the lead after the incident and picked up his first win of the season at Thompson. Dennis Perry had a strong run for second, with Kerry Malone finishing third.

The Monster Mini Stocks followed the mods, with even more exciting and bumper to bumper racing. A few cautions for single car spins slowed the event at the start, but once the racing got going up front it was hot and heavy. Nathan Taylor and Scott Michalski battled side by side with 5 laps remaining, not giving each other an inch. When they went in turn one, the both were collected in a spin, sending them both to the tail with hopes of winning on BUD night gone. Joe Baxter was in the right place at the right time running third and found himself picking up his second win of the season. Chad Baxter was able to hang on for second, with Eric Bourgeois finishing in third.

In the 20-lap Lite Modified main event the domination of Cam McDermott continued. Coming into Thursday night, he had won all but two races this season in the division. He quickly jumped to the lead from his 4th place starting spot and never looked back, winning the race by the distance of the front stretch. John Studley won the other two events this season and was able to come home second. Joseph Boivin had a good running, finishing in third spot.

Glen Boss rolled underneath the checkered flag for the third time this season in the Late Model division on Thursday night, taking a slim two point lead away from the track. He made a daring three-wide move early on to get by Chad LaBastie and Marc Curtis for the lead. He pulled away by almost half the track to find himself sitting back in Thompson Speedway victory lane. The two men that he passed to get to the lead, held on for second and third. LaBastie held off the challenge with Curtis quickly crossing in third spot. Rick Gentes, the current point leader coming into the night, came home fourth.

The Limited Sportsman division saw Bill McNeil sit in Victory Lane. Bill has been running at the Seekonk Speedway the past few weeks, due to the rainouts that Thompson has had. On this night he returned to his home track, not missing a beat. Kevin Mason took the early lead in his #37, but McNeil was not to be denied. He slid underneath Mason with two laps to go, after hounding the back bumper for the first 17 laps. He found himself sitting in Victory Lane for the first time this season, with Mason hanging on to finish second.

The next event on track was the big one, the BUD 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Bobby Santos took the pole in time trials earlier in the day, with a blistering lap. Ryan Preece was slated to start P2, with the modifieds roaring onto the Thompson Speedway.

Once the green flag finally flew, Santos took off from the field. He fought a few early cautions from incidents including Bryan Chew and Rob Fuller, but once the race went green it was all his. A stretch under the green flag from lap 26 to lap 109, let Santos open up a whole straightaway lead on second place Todd Szegedy. WOW. He was absolutely gone, with the field sitting behind in his dust. For much of that time, the battle for third was hot and heavy. Ryan Preece, Doug Coby, and 7-time tour champion Mike Stefanik battled hard. Each swapping the position until the yellow flag flew at lap 109.

With the yellow over the speedway, all of the leaders took the hard left and headed down pit lane. Bobby Santos led the field in, but he did not come out in the lead. He stalled his #44 on the pit lane, letting Todd Szegedy and Justin Bonsignoire take the lead. What a twist on the race, since the leader for the first half was now stuck back in 6th on the restart. He didn’t stay there long. He worked the outside lane and took the lead back with 20 laps to go.

He was able to avoid a few incidents, along with two Green-White-Checkered finishes to put his #44 in Bud 150 victory lane. Donny Lia, defending winner of the race came home second, with Eric Goodale finishing third.

The Thompson Speedway will resume action next Thursday August 22nd, with the Valenti Modified Racing Series joining the weekly racing program.

Photo Credit: Darren McCollester/Getty Images for NASCAR

 

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