Thompson, CT — The Featherlite Modified Series made their second visit of the season to Thompson International Speedway for the presentation of the Pepsi 125. Winners on the evening were Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT and Bob Polverari of W. Springfield, MA. In NASCAR Weekly Racing Series action it was none other than Ted Christopher back in victory lane in the Sunoco Modifieds, with Dick Houlihan of Berkeley, MA in the Pro Stocks, Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI in the Late Models; Ed Puleo, of E. Haven, CT in the Strictly Stocks, Roger Larson of Milford, MA in the Minis; and Les Rose, Jr. in the Pro-Four Modifieds also taking wins.
Ted Christopher made his debut in the Gary Cretty owned #26 Modified and put on a dominating performance to take his second consecutive Featherlite Modified Tour victory. Jerry Marquis extended his point lead with a runner-up spot while “the Reg” Reggie Ruggerio joined the others on the podium. Two Riverside Park Speedway Alums showed the way in the Non-Qualifiers race as Bob Polverari of W. Springfield, MA took the checkers ahead of Ricky Miller of Agawam, MA.
Dick Houlihan has been a strong contender all season and the number two point man proved to be the strongest on the night. Joe Perry led the pack of Pro Stocks to the green for the start of the 30-lap feature event. Green flag racing was quickly slowed when point leader Roger Godin, who was piloting Jim McCallum’s machine after suffering a blown engine in practice, and Liane Lombardi got together prior to the completion of the first lap. On the restart Ken Kohler jumped into the top spot followed by Steve Ribbe. Contact between the two sent the pack scattering and the yellow flying. Dick Houlihan had inherited the lead when the green flew again on lap three and would show the way for the remainder of the event. The trip to victory lane was not an easy one; however, as Jeff Zuidema applied heavy pressure to Houlihan throughout the late stages of the event. The win was Houlihan’s second of the season.
Survival was the name of the game in the SK Modified feature event and when the dust settled it was Ted Christopher sitting in victory lane for the second time that night. Local favorite Tom Tagg had an impressive run, leading several laps before relinquishing the lead to Christopher. Recording a career best SK Modified finish was young Matty Adanti coming home in third. Point leaders Todd Ceravolo and Bert Marvin were each collected in one of the numerous cautions that marred the event. The win marked Christopher’s fourth this season.
Rick Gentes exhibited an aggressive driving style to take the Late Model feature win. Charles Bailey III, of CT took the lead from the drop of the green and checked out to a half a straightaway lead. A yellow on lap 7 for a spin by 32 & 31 erased Bailey’s lead and ultimately his shot at the win. When racing resumed Bailey was shuffled back as Rick Gentes, John Falconi and Scott Bronczyk battled for the top spot. Gentes would come out the leader on lap 11 with a three-wide pass for the point. The top five ran nose-to-tail for the final tens laps of the event with Gentes recording his second straight Late Model triumph.
A wild and wooly Strictly Stock event saw Ed Puleo come from the back of the pack after a lap six caution to take down his third victory of the season. A pile-up on lap one of the event eliminated several quick cars including the leader Bart Ramos, point leader Scott Cook, Bill McNeil, and Frank Kiser, Jr. After several attempts at the green Mark Jenison and Tim Taylor put on a heated battle for the lead. In the meantime Ed Puleo was working his way to the front. Puleo took command of the race from Jenison on lap 15 and would not be headed.
After a successful Mini Sprint career, Les Rose, Jr. earned his first career victory on asphalt and with it the distinction of beating George Savary in the Pro-Four Modifieds. Rose took the lead on the first lap and battled Savary for the bulk of the event. The two raced nose-to-tail from lap 10 through 17 when Savary passed Rose for what appeared to be anther victory. Rose, however, had other ideas and took the lead coming out of turn three on the white flag lap. Pumping his fists as he crossed under the checkers, Rose, took the victory and ended Savary’s streak. Roger Larson took the lead, from his ninth starting spot, with a three-wide pass for the point, to take the victory in the Mini Stock division.
SK Modified Event: Ted Christopher, Plainfield, CT; Tom Tagg, Oxford, MA; Matty Adanti, Old Saybrook, CT; John Sneade, Oxford, MA; David Kutka, Jr., Westbrook, CT; Leo Adams, Putnam, CT; Tom White, Calverton, NY; Curt Brainard, Canton, CT; John White, Baiting Hollow, NY; Robert Palmer, Griswold, CT.
Pro Stock Finish: Dick Houlihan, Berkeley, MA; Jeff Zuidema, N. Brookfield, MA, Jerry Marquis, Broadbrook, CT; Rusty Murray, Tiverton, RI; Steve Ribbe, Kingston, MA; Roger Godin, Spencer, MA; Chuck Docherty, Springfield, MA; Ron Louro, Warren, RI.
Late Model Finish: Rick Gentes, Woonsocket, RI; John Falconi, Marlboro, MA; Lonnie Mecteau, Plainfield, CT; Jeff Zuidema, N. Brookfield, MA; Jeff Plakias, Agawam, MA; Charles Bailey III, Plainfield, CT; Walt Sutcliffe, Jr., E. Haven, CT; Gerry Konopka, Lebanon, CT; Bill Wheeler, Sag Harbor, NY; Scott Bronczyk, N. Grosvernordale, CT.
Strictly Stock Finish: Ed Puleo, E. Haven, CT; Mark Jenison, Brooklyn, CT; Tim Taylor, Danielson, CT; Kevin Mason, W. Warwick, RI; Jeff Hesselton, Auburn, MA; Scott Cook, Uncasville, CT; Todd Dean, Danielson, CT; John Berchem, W. Greenwich, RI; Ken Fecteau, Franklin, MA; Mike Cavanaugh, Coventry, RI.
Mini Stock Finish: Roger Larson, Milford, MA; Rod Rixham, Sutton, MA; Billy Prisco, Pawtucket, RI; Cindy Larson, Milford, MA; Gene Vitiello, Pascoag, RI; Harold Jones, Sr., Danielson, CT; David Clark, Plainfield, CT; Chris Gagnon, Moosup, CT; Ray Fitzgerald, Worcester, MA; Dennis Coates, Wrentham, MA.
Pro-Four Modified Finish: Les Rose, Jr., Raynham, MA; George Savary, Westwood, MA; Richard Savary, Rob Murray, Tiverton, RI, George Sherman, Framingham, MA.
Sources: Thompson Speedway PR