Gentes, Sundeen, Oliveira, & Michalski Score Wins at Thompson
Thompson, CT — Jimmy Blewett of Howell, NJ, comes up big when big races are on the line at Thompson International Speedway. Blewett took the lead in the early going of the Sunoco Modified 50-lapper; going on to score a dominating win. Earlier in the season, Blewett swept twin events for the Sunoco Modifieds. The victory earned Blewett a guaranteed starting spot SK-Type Modified event of the 6th Annual John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout scheduled for November 7&8, 2008. Blewett is the defending champion of the event.
George Bessette of Danbury, CT, also took a commanding victory in the Pro Stock division during Thursday Night Thompson Thunder. Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI, made it two in a row in the Late Models. Scott Sundeen of Douglas, MA, took top honors in the Limited Sportsman feature. Scott Michalski of South Killingly, CT scored a victory in Mini Stocks while Leo Oliveira of Raynham, MA, triumphed in the TIS Modifieds.
Jimmy Blewett of Howell, NJ, made it look easy with his dominating win in the Sunoco Modifieds. The initial lap of the event proved to be disastrous for Keith Rocco, who’s #6 went up in smoke with a reported engine failure. The race stayed green with the opening laps featuring a fierce battle for the lead between Jimmy Blewett and Kerry Malone.
The two went wheel to wheel before Blewett took the top spot on lap four. Malone was not far behind as the battling between the two continued. With six laps on the board, Pitkat had moved into the third spot with Josh Sylvester, Bobby Grigas, Danny Cates, and Tommy Cravenho running in a secondary pack.
The first caution flew on lap 13 when the #77 stalled on the front stretch. Bert Marvin and Grigas brought their rides down pit road under the caution.
The restart pitted Blewett against Malone, and Pitkat. Blewett handily resumed his lead. Green flag racing was short-lived when the yellow flew for an incident that involved Marvin and others. Cravenho took advantage of the caution to get service from his crew.
After a pair of cautions, the front three of Blewett, Malone and Pitkat had broken away from Josh Sylvester, Danny Cates, and Ceravolo.
At halfway Blewett continued to lead Malone and Pitkat. Ceravolo was applying heavy pressure to Sylvester for fourth. Cates was being chased by Steve Masse and Bobby Grigas. Cravenho and Marvin where locked in a heated battle at the tail end of the top-ten.
On lap 29, Pitkat stepped out of line getting to the inside of Malone. Ceravolo had gotten by Sylvester, who had fallen into the clutches of Cates. Pitkat was unsuccessful in his first attempt at the runner-up position. While the two battled, Blewett was getting away. Pitkat settled back in line waiting for the next opportunity. He was finally able to make the pass for the second position before ten-laps to go.
The field got strung out over the final ten laps. Jimmy Blewett had stretched his lead to nearly a straightaway over Pitkat. Ceravolo had cut into the distance between himself and Malone.
Blewett ran alone to the checkers. Teammates Pitkat and Malone scored podium finishes. Ceravolo and Cates completed the top five.
After a relatively quiet early season, George Bessette of Danbury, CT, has come on strong in the later part of the season. On Thursday night, Bessette posted his second win in three weeks. Jeff Connors took the early lead over fourth-place starter Ron Yuhas, Jr. Fred Astle freed himself from a pack of cars to emerge in the third position. Norm Wrenn and Derek Ramstrom were making tracks to the head of the field.
A scary looking incident that involved Jeff Zuidema brought out the red flag early. It was the second week in a row that Zuidema made hard contact with the wall in his Pro Stock. Zuidema was able to walk away. Point leader Mike O’Sullivan was collected in the incident as well.
On the restart, Connors was once again able to jump out to the lead. Astle and Wrenn were able to use the inside groove to get around Yuhas. Contact between Bessette and Ramstrom sent the #35 spinning to bring out the caution on lap five.
Astle was able to get the lead away from Connors on the ensuing restart. Bessette was on the move during the green flag run taking over the second spot. Teammates Wrenn and Dave Berghman ran third and fourth. Yuhas was losing ground on the outside groove giving up positions to Macedonio, Gentes, and Ramstrom.
The third caution flew for a spin by Scott Rotherforth. Both Yuhas and Connors ducked down pit road for service.
A lap shy of halfway, Bessette asserted himself as the new leader taking over the top spot from Astle exiting turn two. Once out front, Bessette quickly built up a sizeable advantage. Ramstrom was working his way through the pack. He moved past Macedonio into fifth on lap 19 and immediately hunted down Berghman. Wrenn had begun to pressure Astle for second.
Over the final stages of the event, Bessette had checked out on the field while the remainder of the top five ran nose to tail. Wrenn waited until the final lap to step out of line. Wrenn muscled his way inside Astle but skated exiting the turn giving Astle the edge he needed to cross the line in second. Berghman and Ramstrom came down to the checkers side-by-side with Macedonio closely tailing. Bessette cruised to the victory over Astle and Wrenn. Ramstrom edged Berghman to take fourth.
It was a costly night for O’Sullivan. He began the night as the point leader but slipped to fifth. Fred Astle, Jr. now sits atop the Pro Stock point standings five point races remaining in the 2008 season.
Persistence paid off for Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI, who fought hard for the Late Model victory. The opening laps were highlighted by a spirited battle for the top spots that included Jeff Hartwell, Marc Jenison, Rick Gentes, and Pete Yetman. Hartwell held the point with the other three bearing down. Five laps in, the trio of Hartwell, Jenison, and Gentes looked to make it three wide. When things shuffled out it was still Hartwell in the top spot. Gentes had made his way into the second position and went looking for more.
Gentes and Hartwell went door-to-door for the lead lap after lap before Gentes finally took sole possession of the lead on lap ten. Yetman had begun to slip back relinquishing the fourth position to Conrad Cote. The front two began to distance themselves from the field at the halfway-marker as Jeff Zuidema and Marc Palmisano joined the fray.
While Gentes continued to stretch his lead, Cote picked off another position moving into the top three. Yetman was able to get back by Jenison. In the final five laps, Zuidema made his first appearance inside the top five. The lead pack entered heavy lapped traffic over the final few laps. Unfazed, Gentes wove his way through traffic en route to his second straight victory. Hartwell finished a season-high second over Cote. Yetman and Zuidema completed the top five.
Scott Sundeen of Douglas, MA, held back all challenges to score the Limited Sportsman victory on Thursday night. Randy Jurcik took over the top spot from pole sitter Fred Bates on lap one. He held the lead through a lap #6 restart when the Sundeen duo of Scott and Jay headed to the front of the pack. Scott led his son Jay as Larry Barnett and Ed Puleo began to show their hands.
Jesse Gleason spun from inside the top ten to bring out the caution once again. A number of competitors were collected including early leader Bates. On the ensuing restart, Sc. Sundeen resumed his lead with Barnett now taking chase. Barnett immediately went on the offense for the elder Sundeen’s lead.
With five laps to go, Barnett dove low exiting turn three in an attempt at the lead. He was unable to maintain his momentum and settled back into line in second. Over the final laps, Sc. Sundeen maintained a two-car length advantage to score his third win of the season. Barnett settled for second followed by J. Sundeen. Ed Puleo and Joe Campbell rounded out the top-five.
Leo Oliveira of Raynham, MA, turned his front row starting position into his second win of the season in the TIS Modifieds. Oliveira took command of the main event from the drop of the green. During the first half of the race, much of the pack ran in single file formation. After halfway, things got racy for the third position. Glenn Boss held the point holding back the challenges of Kurt Vigeant and John Studley. The three jockeyed for positions for the next handful of laps.
Oliveira and Brian Tagg watched their lead disappear when the first caution of the event flew for a spin by R.J. Marcotte. On the green-white-checker restart Oliveira was able to retain his lead. Vigeant got a good run to pressure Tagg for second. Boss and Brian Sullivan tailed. At the checkers, it was all Oliveira. Tagg had a career night finishing second. Vigeant, Boss and Sullivan made up the remainder of the top five.
A determined Scott Michalski of S. Killingly, CT held off a late race challenge to score his third win of the season. Michalski took the lead early holding on through a number of cautions including an incident involving Roger Ducharme, who spun from the fourth position. The incident collected a number of cars including point leader Mike Romano.
Back to green after a late race restart, Michalski had his hands full holding off a hard-charging Danny Fields. The two entered the final lap side-by-side. They were virtually even exiting turn four. Michalski pulled ahead heading to the checkered flag winning his third of the season by mere feet over Fields. With his runner-up finish Fields took over the point lead from Romano. Mike Viens, Eric Bourgeois, and Steve Michalski rounded out the top-five.
Woody Pitkat, Tommy Cravenho, Brett LeBlanc, Dave Nordman, and Keith Rocco each received a $200 bonus from Bruce and Pat Webber from Independent Truck Service after a random draw of finishing positions.
Thompson Speedway will be dark next Thursday Night in preparation for Sunoco Modified Mania on Saturday and Sunday, September 6 & 7, 2008. The Whelen Modified Tour will headline a full weekend of competition that will also include the True Value Modified Series and the Race of Champions Tour. Thompson’s own Sunoco Modifieds, TIS Modifieds, and Pro Four Modifieds will also be part of the action. For more information contact the Speedway hotline at (860) 923-2280 or visit www.thompsonspeedway.com.
Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ; 2. Woody Pitkat, Stafford, CT; 3. Kerry Malone, Needham, MA; 4. Todd Ceravolo, Gales Ferry, CT; 5. Danny Cates, Chaplin, CT; 6. Steve Masse, Bellingham, MA; 7. Bobby Grigas, III, Marshfield, MA; 8. Tommy Cravenho, Raynham, MA; 9. Josh Sylvester, Lebanon, CT; 10. Bert Marvin, New London, CT.
Pro Stock Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. George Bessette, Danbury, CT; 2. Fred Astle, Jr., Westport, MA; 3. Norm Wrenn, Nashua, NH; 4. Derek Ramstrom, Worcester, MA; 5. Dave Berghman, Seekonk, MA; 6. Jay Macedonio, Somerset, MA; 7. Rick Gentes, Woonsocket, RI; 8. Jim Banfield, S. Glastonbury, CT; 9. Steve Desmarais, Westport, MA; 10. Dave Silvia, Warwick, RI.
Late Model Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Rick Gentes, Woonsocket, RI; 2. Jeff Hartwell, Putnam, CT; 3. Conrad Cote, Lisbon, CT; 4. Pete Yetman, Peru, MA; 5. Jeff Zuidema, N. Brookfield, MA; 6. Marc Palmisano, Hadley, MA; 7. Mark Jenison, Danielson, CT; 8. Norm Wrenn, Nashua, NH; 9. Tommy O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 10. John Materas, Voluntown, CT.
Limited Sportsman Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Scott Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 2. Larry Barnett, Ledyard, CT; 3. Jay Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 4. Ed Puleo, Brandford, CT; 5. Joe Campbell, Moosup, CT; 6. Randy Jurczik, Chaplin, CT; 7. Jesse Gleason, Libson, CT; 8. Geral Sevigny, Brooklyn, CT; 9. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, MA; 10. Tommy Shea, New London, CT.
TIS Modified Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Leo Oliveira, Raynham, MA; 2. Brian Tagg, Oxford, MA; 3. Kurt Vigeant, Oxford, CT; 4. Glenn Boss, Danielson, CT; 5. Brian Sullivan, S. Windsor, CT; 6. Shane Michalski, Woodstock, CT; 7. John Studley, Framingham, MA; 8. Cam McDermott, Scituate, RI; 9. Richie Ferreira, Raynham, MA; 10. Jesse Berthiaume, Mendon, MA.
Mini Stock Feature Finish (Top Ten): 1. Scott Michalski, S. Killingly, CT; 2. Danny Field, Deep River, CT; 3. Mike Viens, Seekonk, MA; 4. Eric Bourgeois, E. Haddam, CT; 5. Steve Michalski, Brooklyn, CT; 6. Tim Taylor Wauregan, CT; 7. Glynn Roy, Sterling, CT; 8. Chuck Rogers, Quaker Hill, CT; 9. Tyler Poulin, Millville, MA; 10. Chad Baxter, Pascoag, RI.
Sources: Dale Wolbrink/Thompson International Speedway PR