Zuidema & Palmisano Share Late Models Wins; Boss, O’Sullivan Also Victorious
Thompson, CT — Early evening rain could not dampen the spirits of the Thompson faithful and the strong field of competitors that gathered on Thursday Night. Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT, made it two in a row in the Sunoco Modified division. Danny Fields of Deep River, CT, scored the victory in an ultra-competitive extra-distance event for the Mini Stocks. Jeff Zuidema of N. Brookfield, MA, and Marc Palmisano of Hadley, MA, shared Late Model victory lane in the division’s doubleheader. The likes of Mike O’Sullivan of Springfield, MA in the Pro Stocks; Larry Barnett of Ledyard, CT in the Limited Sportsman; and Glenn Boss in the TIS Modifieds; turned their luck around with victories in their respective divisions.
Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT, scored his second straight victory in the Sunoco Modified division at Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. The feature was slowed almost immediately for an opening lap incident that involved Paul Supernant. Point leader Kerry Malone had problems under the caution getting towed to pit road. Bobby Grigas led the opening three laps before giving way to the charge of Keith Rocco. Tommy Cravenho ran in the third position. Bert Marvin, Jimmy Blewett, and Woody Pitkat were making tracks to the front.
For the first half of the race, Rocco had stretched out his lead over Grigas and Cravenho. Rocco’s bid at a victory ended with an incident that involved a number of cars deeper in the pack. Grigas was also collected in the melee.
On the restart, Cravenho was the new leader followed by Pitkat, Marvin, and Danny Cates. Pitkat followed Cravenho for a pair of laps before taking over the top spot. Once out front, Pitkat was able to distance himself from the pack.
Blewett was involved in a heated battle with Josh Sylvester for the fifth position. A bobble by Blewett gave Sylvester some breathing room and allowed Eric Goodale to take a position away. Over the final two laps, Cates began to apply pressure on Marvin.
Pitkat went on unchallenged to the checkers. Cravenho finished a solid second. Marvin maintained third at the line over Cates. Josh Sylvester completed the top five.
Mike O’Sullivan of Springfield, MA, turned a recent string of bad luck around with a popular win in the Pro Stock division. A pile-up in turn one on the opening lap involved a number of good cars including George Bessette, Norm Wrenn, and Dave Berghman. Mike Rivard, Nick Ribbe, Dave Silvia, and Jim Banfield were also involved. Fred Astle, Jr. had problems at the start of the event, failing to come up to speed at the drop of the green flag.
On the restart, O’Sullivan and Jay Macedonio went side-by-side for the top spot. O’Sullivan was able to grab the lead with Derek Ramstrom coming along for the ride and into the second position. Jeff Connors was a man on the move working his way from deep in the pack to run in the third position.
During the long green flag run, the lead duo of O’Sullivan and Ramstrom had distanced themselves from third-running Connors. With the field strung out Ramstrom continued to dog leader O’Sullivan. Berghman and Macedonio had a short-lived battle for the fourth spot with Macedonio retaining the position.
Over the final stages, Ramstrom trailed the leader but could not muster up a real challenge for the lead. O’Sullivan raced to his second win of the season over the hot-shoe Ramstrom. Jeff Connors had a solid performance finishing third over Macedonio. Berghman recovered from the early race incident to finish fifth. Ron Yuhas, Jr. made his Pro Stock division debut, finishing in the seventh position.
The Mini Stock division took the spotlight on Thursday night with their annual extra-distance event. At the end of 25 laps, it was Danny Fields of Deep River, CT, claiming the victory. Fred Michalski took advantage of his pole starting position to lead the opening portion of the main event. With Michalski out front the likes of two-time winner Tim Taylor, point leader Mike Romano, and Danny Fields were making their way through the field.
By lap 10, Taylor had worked his way into the second position behind Michalski. Taylor inherited the lead when leader Michalski appeared to lose an engine. Michalski lost control of his mount as he scrambled to get down pit road. A number of cars were collected in the skirmish including Fred’s brother Scott.
Taylor had inherited the top spot with Fields now in second. Taylor got the jump on the restart but not without some pressure from Fields. Romano joined the fray making it a three car battle for the top spot.
An incident that began with Bert Ouellette collected a number of cars to bring out the caution. On the ensuing restart, the lead pack headed to turn one three wide. Romano dove low trying to gain positions on Taylor and Fields. When things shuffled out it was still Taylor, Fields, and Romano. Chuck Rogers had a bird’s eye view of the battle in fourth.
In the closing laps, Fields was glued to the back bumper of leader Taylor. With five laps to go the lead pack entered lapped traffic. Fields made his move with only three laps to go. He dove low on Taylor entering turn one of lap 22 to take over the lead. Romano duplicated the move on lap 23 relegating Taylor to third. Fields went on to win his third of the season. Romano came home second followed by Taylor. Rogers and Roger Ducharme rounded out the top five.
Jeff Zuidema of N. Brookfield, MA, scored his fourth Late Model win of the season in the first of the doubleheader for the division. After an extended rain delay, the Thompson International Speedway was able to get racing action underway on Thursday night with the running of a Late Model make-up postponed from Icebreaker weekend in April.
By virtue of his win that opening race weekend, Zuidema started on the pole with Marc Palmisano and Rick Gentes taking chase. With the division point leader out front the teams quickly got single-file running off laps. Near the halfway marker in the 20-lapper, Palmisano began to get racy as did Gentes. Zuidema was up for any and all challenges moving on to win an uneventful feature. Palmisano; however, did not have as easy of a time maintaining his second position. Gentes had to settle for third followed by Tommy O’Sullivan and Conrad Cote.
In the night capper for the Late Models, Marc Jenison jumped out to the early lead with Marc Palmisano and Tommy O’Sullivan taking chase. O’Sullivan had made his way past Palmisano and headed straight for the leader.
O’Sullivan got a great run getting up along side Jenison. Gentes, who had wrestled his way to the front, made it three-wide heading into turn one for the lead. Jenison was able to get away while the others made heavy contact. Both O’Sullivan and Gentes headed down pit road for repairs.
Back under green, Jenison led briefly before giving up the top spot to Palmisano. Several laps later, Zuidema began to show his hand. After halfway, he had moved passed Jenison for the second spot. Gentes and O’Sullivan had made their way back into contention.
In the end, it was all Palmisano taking the win over Zuidema. The two had flip-flopped positions from earlier in the evening. Gentes, O’Sullivan, and Jenison rounded out the top five.
After winning the season opener, Glenn Boss had been shut out of TIS Modified victory lane. He would not be denied his second feature win of the season on Thursday night. After struggling to get things going in the TIS Modified main event, things settled down to give way to a great race for the lead and the win. Boss took over the top spot from early leader Richie Ferriera with only a handful of laps complete. Boss immediately felt the pressure from a hard-charging Kurt Vigeant, who had muscled his way into the second spot.
Vigeant tried every move on leader Boss; using both the high groove and low groove looking for the fast lane to the lead. The veteran racer turned back all challenges. Vigeant got a great run on the final lap. The two made contact exiting turn four. With smoke pouring off both cars, Boss took a narrow win over Vigeant. Cam McDermott finished a distant third followed by Shane Michalski and Ferreira.
Larry Barnett of Ledyard, CT, had been uncharacteristically shut out of Limited Sportsman victory lane since early Spring. A string of bad luck has plagued the former divisional champion over the last few weeks. All that changed on Thursday night with his second feature victory of the season.
The opening laps of the Limited Sportsman main event featured a spirited battle for the lead between Barnett and Ed Puleo. After running side-by-side for a number of laps, Barnett got free to take over the top spot.
A spin by Jay Sundeen brought out the event’s first caution on lap eight. The restart gave Puleo another shot at Barnett’s lead. The veteran was up for the challenge retaking his place at the head of the pack. Scott Sundeen had made the most of the restart to settle into second ahead of Puleo.
The feature was uneventful to the finish as Barnett scored a convincing victory over Sundeen. Puleo, Larose, and Jesse Gleason completed the top five.
Action gets back underway next Thursday night with an action-packed night of NASCAR All-American Series racing. The Whelen Modified Tour makes their way back to Thompson on Thursday, August 14th. For more information visit www.thompsonspeedway.com or call the Speedway hotline at (860) 923-2280.
Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Woody Pitkat, Stafford, CT; 2. Tommy Cravenho, Raynham, MA; 3. Bert Marvin, New London, CT; 4. Danny Cates, Chaplin, CT; 5. Josh Sylvester, Lisbon, CT; 6. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ; 7. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY; 8. Todd Ceravolo, Gales Ferry, CT; 9. Geoff Gernhardt, Salem, CT; 10. Ricky Shawn, Bradford, RI.
Mini Stock Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Danny Fields, Deep River, CT; 2. Mike Romano, Pascoag, RI; Glendale, RI; 3. Tim Taylor, Wauregan, CT; 4. Chuck Rogers, Quaker Hill, CT; 5. Roger Ducharme, Foster, RI; 6. Ron Rixham, Jefferson, MA; 7. Leo Defevers, Brooklyn, CT; 8. Billy Pomposelli, Chepachet, RI; 9. Scott Jassaume, Danielson, CT; 10. Tyler Poulin.
Late Model Feature Finish (Make up from April 6, 2008) Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Jeff Zuidema, N. Brookfield, MA; 2. Marc Palmisano, Hadley, MA; 3. Rick Gentes, Woonsocket, RI; 4. Tommy O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 5. Conrad Cote, Lisbon, CT; 6. Mark Jenison, Danielson, CT; 7. Mark Oliveira, Blackstone, MA; 8. John Materas, Voluntown, CT; 9. Jeremy Sadowski, Voluntown, CT; 10. Andy Gasper, Andover, MA.
Late Model Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Marc Palmisano, Hadley, MA; 2. Jeff Zuidema, N. Brookfield, MA; 3. Rick Gentes, Woonsocket, RI; 4. Tommy O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 5. Marc Jenison, Danielson, CT; 6. Mark Oliveira, Blackstone, MA; 7. Conrad Cote, Lisbon, CT; 8. John Materas, Voluntown, CT; 9. Pete Yetman, Peru, MA; 10. Jeremy Sadowski, Voluntown, CT.
Pro Stock Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Mike O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 2. Derek Ramstrom, Worcester, MA; 3. Jeff Connors, Ellington, CT; 4. Jay Macedonio, Somerset, MA; 5. Dave Berghman, Seekonk, MA; 6. Steve Desmarias, Westport, MA; 7. Ron Yuhas, Jr., Groton, CT; 8. Rich Bertone, Danvers, MA; 9. Dave Silvia, Warwick, RI; 10. Nick Ribbe, Kingston, MA.
Limited Sportsman Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Larry Barnett, Ledyard, CT; 2. Scott Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 3. Ed Puleo, Brandford, CT; 4. Ernie Larose, Plainfield, CT; 5. Jesse Gleason, Lisbon, CT; 6. Randy Jurcik, Chaplin, CT; 7. Joe Arena, Bristol, CT; 8. Chris Douton, Waterford, CT; 9. Paul Palen, Pelham, NH; 10. Gerald Sevigny, Brooklyn, CT.
TIS Modified Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Glenn Boss, Danielson, CT; 2. Kurt Vigeant, Oxford, MA; 3. Cam McDermott, Scituate, RI: 4. Shane Michalski, Woodstock, CT; 5. Richie Ferreira, Raynham, MA; 6. John Studley, Framingham, MA; 7. Leo Oliveira, Raynham, MA; 8. Jesse Berthiaume, Mendon, MA; 9. Bart Ramos, Putnam, CT; 10. Brian Tagg, Oxford, MA.
Sources: Dale Wolbrink/Thompson International Speedway PR