Thompson, CT — Blue skies finally dawned on Thompson Speedway for a thrilling night of NASCAR All-American Series racing action on Thursday Night. With a make-up event on the schedule, Hitchcock Racing Teammates Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT, and Kerry Malone of Needham, MA, shared Sunoco Modified honors. Tim Taylor of Wauregan, CT, continued his winning ways in the Mini Stocks as they shared the spotlight with the Sunoco Modifieds with a 30-lap main event.
In full-fendered action, Norm Wrenn of Nashua, NH, bested a great field of veteran competitors to take down an eventful Super Late Model feature event. John Materas of Voluntown, CT, earned his second win of the season in a caution-free Late Model main event. Chris “Mouse” Douton of Waterford, CT, scored the Limited Sportsman victory after a spirited battle. Brian Tagg of Oxford, MA, ran to his second victory of the season in the TIS Modified.
[Thompson July 30 Photo Gallery] by Adam Fohlin
Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT, ended his winless streak at Thompson with a victory in the 30-lap make-up feature originally scheduled for June 11. It had been nearly a year since Pitkat had graced victory lane at the Thompson oval. His last win came on July 31, 2008. Rowan Pennink’s stay at the front of the first feature was short-lived as Pitkat and Jimmy Blewett made quick work of the early leader. Rocco had worked his way into third and took the second spot away from Blewett before the caution flew on lap four for a spin by Ricky Shawn.
On the restart, Pitkat retained his spot at the head of the field. Rocco applied immediate pressure as Tim Sullivan ran strong in third. The lead duo was locked in a side-by-side battle for the lead for several laps with Rocco taking the advantage to complete lap nine. Christopher moved into the fourth position while Blewett had faded. On lap 12, Sullivan watched his great run come to an end when he received the consolation flag for leaking fluid. Up front, Rocco continued to lead Pitkat by a narrow margin. A spin by Jodi Johnson brought out the caution and slowed the action.
Christopher rocketed into second spot on the lap 16 restart and was making a bid for the lead when the caution flew for an incident that involved Kerry Malone and Bert Marvin. A bobble by Rocco on the ensuing restart opened the door for the outside row of Pitkat and Ceravolo. Pitkat took over the top spot once again.
After another quick caution, Rocco regained his composure on the restart to make his way back into the second spot. Danny Cates had moved into third over Christopher and Ceravolo. A handful of laps later, Pitkat continued to lead Rocco, Christopher, Cates, and Ceravolo inside the top five. Blewett ran just outside the top five.
The complexion of the race changed drastically on lap 24 when Rocco made hard contact with the outside wall in turn two. Christopher was put to the tail end of the field for his involvement. The remaining six laps were uneventful for Pitkat, who run uncontested to the checkers. Cates drove to a runner-up finish followed by Blewett, Ceravolo, and Eric Goodale.
In the night capper, Rowan Pennink led the field to green with Kerry Malone in tow. After thrashing to get their car race-ready, Keith Rocco was ready to race; moving from sixth to third in the opening lap. His move to the front was negated when apparent mechanical failure put Danny Cates into the outside wall.
Malone was able to take over the top spot on the restart. Malone was immediately able to get some distance from second-running Pennink. After slight contact, Rocco was able to move past Christopher. Christopher immediately fell into the clutches of Jimmy Blewett. The earlier winner on the evening, Pitkat headed to pit road with mechanical failure to end his night.
The battle for the second position was heating up. Ceravolo began applying pressure to Pennink while Rocco lay in wait. Ceravolo got underneath Pennink on lap 13 to take over second. Rocco was able to follow through to move into third.
A scary looking incident on lap 15 saw Ricky Shawn spin; coming to rest in the groove. Dave LaCroix, with nowhere to go, t-boned the Shawn’s #8. Both drivers were able to walk away.
On the restart, Malone opted to restart in the outside groove and resumed his lead. Christopher got a run on the outside moving into the second position. Rocco was third followed by Eric Goodale. Ceravolo fell back to fifth after the restart. Ceravolo began to claw his way back getting by Goodale for fourth.
On the final stretch run to the checkers Malone was able to extend his lead to five car lengths over Christopher. Rocco trailed Christopher by a similar margin. Ceravolo ran in a distant fourth. There was a great battle for the fifth position between Goodale and Pennink. Malone cruised under the checkers to take his first victory of the season. Christopher came home second ahead of Rocco, Ceravolo and Goodale.
Tim Taylor of Wauregan, CT, scored his fifth Mini Stock victory of the season in the division’s marquee event. The Mini Stock 30-lap extra-distance race was highlighted by a tremendous battle between father and son, Tim and Nate Taylor. Son Nate held the top spot in the early going; fending off his father. The son was able to hold off his father until lap 12, when Tim pulled ahead to take the lead. The youngster remained within striking distance of this father.
At halfway, Scott Michalski had run down the lead duo. A little farther back in the pack, the field was looking racy. Randy Churchill, who had dogged Jeff Moffat for much of the race, was able to steal the spot way on lap 16. Ron Rixham was working over Chuck Rogers.
Up front, Michalski was able to take away the runner-up position from N. Taylor. He immediately set sail for leader T. Taylor. With less than ten laps to go, Michalski was glued to the back bumper of T. Taylor. On lap 23, Michalski got alongside Taylor, to no avail. Over the final two laps, all Michalski could do was chase Taylor to the checkers. N. Taylor finished a solid third ahead of Churchill and Moffat.
Norm Wrenn of Nashua, NH, led the closing laps of a suspenseful Super Late Model main event. George Bessette battled with pole sitter Jay Macedonio in the opening laps of the event to take the early lead. He had moved out to a sizable advantage as Ricky Fuller, Wrenn, Macedonio, Mike O’Sullivan and Derek Ramstrom jockeyed for position.
An incident involving Jeff Hartwell and Steve Desmarais brought out the first caution at lap 14. On the restart, Fuller was able to get the advantage over Bessette to take over the lead. Wrenn and O’Sullivan were also able to get by Bessette. The night turned from bad to worse for Bessette as contact with Ramstrom sent both cars pit side for service. Both were able to continue.
Two aborted attempts at a restart found Fuller on the receiving end of the black flag for starting before the designated area. The ensuing restart pitted O’Sullivan and Norm Wrenn on the front row. Before the battle could really develop, another quick caution flew for an incident involving Larry Gelinas and Les Rose.
Finally back under green, Wrenn motored out to the lead over O’Sullivan. But the show was Rick Fuller, who restarted 14th. He was inside the top-five and looking for more with five laps remaining. Wrenn and O’Sullivan went nose-to-tail. Fuller was pressuring Ramstrom for the third spot. On the final lap, Fuller had to settle back in line. In the end, Wrenn was able to score his first victory of the season over O’Sullivan. Ramstrom rebounded from his early race woes to finish on the podium. Fuller settled for fourth over the legendary Mike Stefanik, who took over driving duties from Jeff Zuidema in the #19.
John Materas of Voluntown, CT, won his second Late Model feature win of the season in fine fashion on Thursday night. The race featured an early battle between Materas and Mark Oliveira with the eventual winner making his move into the top spot on lap four.
The action was a little deeper in the pack as Jeff Zuidema, Jay Stuart and Rick Gentes waged a tremendous battle for the fourth position. On several occasions, the battle went three-wide. Contact between Stuart and Zuidema opened the door for Gentes, who briefly took over the fifth spot. Zuidema battled back to regain the spot. Stuart got a bit of breathing room as Zuidema settled back into the fifth ahead of Gentes.
Back up front, Materas was able to stretch his advantage as O’Sullivan had reeled in Oliveira. For several laps, just after half-way, O’Sullivan was able to get up along side Oliveira. The battle between Stuart and Zuidema began to heat up again. Zuidema got up along side Stuart on lap 19; he was able to take the spot away on lap 20.
Oliveira and O’Sullivan were able to cut into Materas’ lead in the final stages of the event. But the Voluntown, CT racer was not to be denied as Materas took down the victory by two car lengths over Oliveira. O’Sullivan settled for the third spot over Zuidema and Stuart.
Chris “Mouse” Douton of Waterford, CT, scored his first win of the 2009 season in a Limited Sportsman thriller. The Limited Sportsman main event had the crowd on their feet as Douton and Joe Arena put on a tremendous duel for the top spot.
Eighth starting Arena had run down Douton, who had taken the lead in the early going after starting fifth. The two went door-to-door with Douton retaining his lead by a bumper over Arena. The two resumed their fierce battle after a restart on lap nine. Paul Coutu, Jr. ran in the third spot. Larry Barnett found himself boxed in by the Sundeen Family with Jay holding the fourth spot while father Scott battled with Barnett for fifth from the outside groove.
Both Jay and Scott Sundeen were able to move by Coutu. J. Sundeen began to run down the lead duo. With five laps remaining Barnett was able to grab the fifth spot from Coutu. In the closing laps, J. Sundeen made it three wide in the quest for the top spot.
After battling side-by-side, Arena finally nosed ahead to lead lap 18. Once again, Jay Sundeen stuck his nose three wide. On the lap 19, Douton was able to gain a slight advantage once again.
J. Sundeen trying to be the spoiler once again made it three –wide on the backstretch. The move opened the door for Douton to take the top spot all to himself. Douton motored to the victory over Arena. Jay Sundeen bested his father Scott while Barnett completed the top five.
Brian Tagg of Oxford, MA, is proving to be one of the powerhouses in the TIS Modified division with his second victory in three races. John Studley was looking to be the sixth different winner this season in the TIS Modified division. Studley set out from the pole position and let the lion’s share of the main event.
After working his way up from his fifth starting position, Tagg caught the leader on lap 15. He was able to get underneath Studley exiting turn two on lap 17. Tagg sailed under the checkers for his second win of the season; becoming only the second driver to double-up. Studley had a career performance to finish second ahead of Cam McDermott. Glenn Boss and RJ Marcotte completed the top five.
Sunoco Modified June 11 Make-Up Feature Event (Top Ten) Finish: 1. Woody Pitkat, Stafford, CT; 2. Danny Cates, Chaplin, CT; 3. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ; 4. Todd Ceravolo, Gales Ferry, CT; 5. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY; 6. Dave LaCroix, Fitchburg, MA; 7. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT; 8. Kerry Malone, Needham, MA; 9. Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon, PA; 10. John Catania, Agawam, MA.
Sunoco Modified Feature Event (Top Ten) Finish: 1. Kerry Malone, Needham, MA; 2. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT; 3. Keith Rocco, Wallingford, CT; 4. Todd Ceravolo, Gales Ferry, CT; 5. Eric Goodale, Riverhead, NY; 6. Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon, PA; 7. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ; 8. John Catania, Agawam, MA; 9. Andrew Charron, Thompson, CT; 10. Carl Oberg, Sutton, MA.
Mini Stock 30-Lap Feature Event (Top Ten) Finish: 1. Tim Taylor, Wauregan, CT; 2. Scott Michalski, S. Killingly, CT; 3. Nate Taylor, Wauregan, CT; 4. Randy Churchill, Niantic, CT; 5. Jeff Moffat, Warwick, RI; 6. Chuck Rogers, Quaker Hill, CT; 7. Brad Caddick, New London, CT; 8. Richard Fournier, Warwick, MA; 9. Ron Rixham, Jefferson, MA, 10. Richard Blanchard, Pascoag, RI.
Super Late Model Feature Event (Top Ten) Finish: 1. Norm Wrenn, Nashua, NH; 2. Mike O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 3. Derek Ramstrom, Worcester, MA; 4. Rick Fuller, Auburn, MA; 5. Mike Stefanik, Coventry, RI; 6. Jay Macedonio, Somerset, MA; 7. George Bessette, Danbury, CT; 8. Jim Banfield, S. Glastonbury, CT; 9. Larry Gelinas, Buxton, ME; 10. Jeff Connors, Ellington, CT.
Late Model Feature Event (Top Ten) Finish: 1. John Materas, Voluntown, CT; 2. Mark Oliveira, Blackstone, MA; 3. Tommy O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 4. Jeff Zuidema, N. Brookfield, MA; 5. Jay Stuart, Preston, CT; 6. Rick Gentes, Woonsocket, RI; 7. Jeremy Sadowski, Voluntown, CT; 8. Al Mandarino, Lake Grove, NY; 9. Mike Scorzelli, Malta, NY; 10. Damon Tinio, Mendon, MA.
Limited Sportsman Feature Event (Top Ten) Finish: 1. Chris Douton, Waterford, CT, 2. Joe Arena, Bristol, CT; 3. Jay Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 4. Scott Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 5. Larry Barnett, Moosup, CT; 6. Paul Coutu, Jr., Thompson, CT; 7. Shawn Monahan, Waterford, CT; 8. Joe Campbell, Moosup, CT; 9. Joe Coates, Eastford, CT; 10. Gerald Sevigny, Brooklyn, CT.
TIS Modified Feature Event (Top Ten) Finish: 1. Brian Tagg, Oxford, MA; 2. John Studley, Framingham, MA; 3. Cam McDermott, Scituate, RI; 4. Glen Boss, Danielson, CT; 5. R.J. Marcotte, Millville, MA; 6. Brian Sullivan, S. Windsor, CT; 7. Leo Oliveira, Raynham, MA; 8. Jay Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 9. Richie Ferreira, Raynham, MA; 10. Bart Ramos, Putnam, CT.
Sources: Dale Wolbrink/Thompson International Speedway PR