TC Tops in Sunoco Mods Again at Thompson; McKinstry Mini Stock Northern Challenge Winner; Ramstrom, O’Sullivan, Monahan & Marcotte Also Continue Winning Ways

Thompson, CT — Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT, continued his domination of the Sunoco Modified division with his seventh victory of the season. A special night for the Mini Stocks found Chris McKinstry of E. Thetford, VT victorious in the Mini Stock Northern Challenge. McKinstry also scored the top honors in the Northeastern Mini Stock Touring season portion of the Challenge. Thomspon’s own Jeff Moffat of Warwick, RI, also shared the limelight.

A mid-season drought ends for Derek Ramstrom of Worcester, MA, with a Super Late Model victory on Thursday night. Tommy O’Sullivan of Springfield, MA, returned to his winning ways in the Late Models scoring his third win of the 2010 season. It is a handful of wins for Shawn Monahan of Waterford, CT, who posted his fifth in the Limited Sportsman division win at Thompson. In open-wheel action, R.J. Marcotte of Millville, MA, streaked to his second straight TIS Modified victory.

Earlier in the year, Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT, had utilized last lap passes to score his victories. He has been applying his prowess a bit earlier in the events as of late en route to his mounting win tally. Dave Salzarulo set the pace in the opening laps of the Sunoco Modified main event. Before the completion of the first lap, Salzarulo gave up the lead to Rowan Pennink. When the field completed lap two it was Cates as the new leader. Ronnie Silk was making his presence known relegating Pennink back to third ahead of his Falmouth Ready Mix teammate Ryan Preece. Woody Pitkat joined the freight train in fifth.

[Photo Gallery] by Adam Fohlin

Cates set sail at the head of the pack; motoring out to a sizeable advantage. Christopher had finally worked his way through traffic and into the thick of the battle. Preece had taken the position from Pennink taking Pitkat along for the ride. The duo continued to make progress as they both were able to get by Silk. A spin by Wayne Arute brought out the caution.

Silk and Pennink headed down pit road under the caution. On the ensuing restart on lap nine, Cates had to contend briefly with Pitkat, who rocketed into second. Cates settled back into his groove as the leader getting a bit of breathing room from Pitkat. The battle for third got a little too close for comfort as Preece and Christopher made slight contact exiting turn two. An incident involving Nichole Morgillo necessitated the caution.

Cates chose the bottom groove on the lap 13 restart. That move did not work out as well on this restart as Pitkat was able to grab the lead away on lap 14. Christopher got by Cates and into second. He immediately got alongside Pitkat. Christopher was the new leader on lap 15. Cates was trying everything to get back into the fight for the lead. Preece, who faltered on the restart, regained his momentum taking third from Cates. Not to be outdone, Cates worked over Preece for third once again.

Out front, Christopher enjoyed a two-car length lead over Pitkat. Cates continued to lead Preece while Silk had worked his way back to the fifth position. A caution for an incident on lap 24 that involved Arute, Dave Flammia, Dave Roys, and Richie Mann, erased Christopher’s advantage.

Christopher got a great jump on the restart to reclaim the lead. Preece and Cates swapped the third spot several times on lap 25. This allowed Silk to join the battle for third. Pitkat remained in striking distance over the final two laps but he could not muster up a challenge. Christopher took down his seventh win of the season over Pitkat. Preece bested Cates to finish third. Silk finished in the fifth position.

A bold move at the drop of the green flag gave Derek Ramstrom of Worcester, MA, his fifth Super Late Model victory of the season. Ramstrom dove low on front row starters George Bessette and Jim Banfield to make it three wide entering turn one. Banfield slowed up trying to extricate himself from the mix. He was collected from behind sending Banfield and Mike O’Sullivan spinning and bringing out the caution

On the second attempt at a start, Ramstrom easily took the top spot from Bessette. Gelinas made it three wide exiting turn four to complete the first lap to put his entry into the second position. By lap four, Ramstrom enjoyed a sizeable advantage over Gelinas and Mike Stefanik. O’Sullivan recovered to run in fourth.

The field got strung out with Ramstrom holding his advantage over Gelinas, who enjoyed a similar cushion back to Stefanik in third. O’Sullivan ran alone in fourth over Rick Fuller. Banfield rounded out the top five. While Ramstrom was lengthening his lead, Stefanik began to reel in Gelinas. With less than five laps remaining, Stefanik had caught Gelinas. Lap-after-lap Stefanik would peek low in the turns but settled back in behind on the straight-aways. At the checkers it was all Ramstrom. Gelinas’ runner-up performance ended his win streak at three. Stefanik had a season-high third place SLM finish. O’Sullivan and Fuller completed the top-five.

Tommy O’Sullivan of Springfield, MA, posted his third Late Model victory on Thursday night. Wayne Coury, Sr., and Randy Waterman went fender-to-fender to open the Late Model main event. Contact between Coury and Waterman caused Waterman to falter giving Coury the lead and opening the door for Mark Jenison to take over second. O’Sullivan immediately began to pressure Jenison for second. Rick Gentes and John Materas were battling for the fifth spot; with Gentes ultimately claiming the position. O’Sullivan had jumped to the inside of Jenison. Gentes was glued to the back bumper of Jenison in fourth.

Despite the intense battling, Coury could not get away from Jenison and O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan was finally able to make the pass on lap 10. O’Sullivan went to work on Coury for the lead. Coury put up a fight but relinquished his lead to O’Sullivan on lap 17. Once out of the top spot, Coury went backsliding losing positions to Gentes and Materas, who had worked their way past Jenison earlier.

O’Sullivan was able to extend his lead over Gentes and Materas over the extended green flag run. Materas came to life later in the race; moving to the inside of Gentes. Over the final laps, Gentes and Materas went door-to-door. O’Sullivan easily headed beneath the checkered flag with the victory. Materas’ head of steam gave him the second position over Gentes by less than a car length. Jenison and Coury rounded out the top five.

Shawn Monahan of Waterford, CT, who, in victory lane, admittedly has not made many friends in the Limited Sportsman division, may have continued to alienate his fellow competitors with another victory. Early leader Tommy Shea gave way to Scott Fanning in the opening few laps. Jess Gleason bolted into second after a bold three-wide move. Fanning and Gleason got away from a serious battle for third featuring Joe Arena and Joe Coates. A cluster of cars including Shawn Monahan, Larry Barnett, Chris Douton, Scott Sundeen and others ran two- and even three-wide just outside of the top-three.

Last week’s winner, Douton spun after contact with early leader Shea. At the same time, Gleason gave up second with a failing car. Monahan took advantage of the scramble and bolted by both Arena and Joe Coates to move into second. Scott Sundeen made it three-wide to follow Monahan through. A lap later, Shea came to rest in turn four to bring out the caution. Barnett and Douton headed pitside under the caution. Only Barnett would rejoin the field.

Monahan used the restart to steal the top spot away from Fanning. Sundeen continued to follow in his footsteps and into second. Fanning immediately had his hands full with Coates. When the caution flew again on lap 12 for an incident involving Chris LaRochelle, Monahan had only a car length advantage over Sundeen. Coates had gotten by Fanning.

The restart proved to be a breeze for Monahan, who easily reclaimed the top spot. Sundeen ran alone in second with Coates a distant third. Barnett had quickly worked his way back through after his service. Barnett moved into the top five on lap 17 passing Paul Coutu, Jr. Barnett caught Coates but ran out of time. Monahan easily raced to his fifth victory of the season over Sundeen, Coates, Barnett and Coutu.

On Thursday night the Mini Stocks took the spotlight at Thompson International Speedway. A field of 43 cars-comprised of both Thompson regulars and out-of-towners from the North East Mini Stock Touring (NEMST) series competed in a unique format that first pitted the regulars in one feature event, competitors from the NEMST in their own event followed by a combo main event.

Jeff Moffat of Warwick, RI, scored his first victory of the season when the Thompson regulars squared off. The weekly division had a hard time getting going in their feature. Scott Jussaume, currently second in the points standings, and last week’s winner Randy Churchill where both eliminated from competition in opening lap incidents. When things finally settled down it was Chuck Rogers and Fred Michalski duking it out for the lead. F. Michalski took command of the race for a couple of laps before relinquishing the top spot to Jeff Moffat.

Before halfway, Dwayne Dorr had broken into the top three. He had worked his way into second and immediately set his sites on Moffat. Meanwhile, Steve Michalski, Mike Viens, F. Michalski and Lloyd Anderson were locked in a heated battle for the third position. On

lap 10, Dorr dove to the inside of Moffat in search of the top spot. Dorr dove low then slid up in turn four. In a slingshot move, reminiscent of the Sunoco Modifieds, Moffat was able to recapture the top spot. Over the final laps, Moffat was able to distance himself from Dorr. Sc. Michalski had freed himself of the pack to run in third. At the checkers, the victory was Moffat’s. Dorr settled for the second spot over Sc. Michalski, Mike Viens, and Anderson inside the top five.

Chris McKinstry of E. Thetford, VT, acclimated nicely to the high-banks of Thompson Speedway; scoring the victory first for the North East Mini Stock Tour. It was Tim Collins taking the lead on the opening lap before giving way to Loren Smith. Smith had little breathing room as Emerson Cayer began to apply pressure. McKinstry had worked his way up from the sixteenth starting position to run in third. Cayer made a bid for the top spot; getting alongside Smith. The battle for the lead allowed the remainder of the top five to catch the lead duo.

McKinstry continued to show his prowess; moving past both Smith and Cayer. Smith’s great run came to an end after contact with the outside wall on the backstretch. The caution allowed Tim Boyle to join the fray. Boyle moved into second and immediately reeled in McKinstry. The two went side-by-side over the final laps. In a photo finish, it was McKinstry taking down the win by inches over Boyle. Cayer held on to finish third ahead of Thompson’s own Scott Michalski and Joe Kendell.

Invader McKinstry bested a very strong field of competitors to earn the Northern Mini Challenge victory. In the combo event, Moffat held off McKinstry to lead the opening laps. Dorr had advanced to the second spot. A pair of tour cars of McKinstry and Sc. Michalski were locked in a heated battle for the third position. Lloyd Anderson joined the fray making it a three-car battle for second. A battle was brewing for Joe Kendall and Mike Viens for the sixth position. A bobble by Moffat on lap seven opened the door for Dorr to take over the top spot.

Sc. Michalski gave up some distance to the lead pack but no spots after getting sideways and brushing the wall on the backstretch. The caution flew on lap 10 to check the track condition. Dorr struggled on the ensuing restart allowing McKinstry to steal the lead away. Moffat, Dorr and Michalski were three-wide for second. The contenders made it through turn one. The cars got out of shape in turn two with both Moffat and Sc. Michalski making hard contact with the inside wall on the backstretch. Without completing a lap, Dorr was reinstated as the leader.

Dorr could not hold on to the top spot on the second attempt at the restart. McKinstry slid into the lead and immediately stretched his lead over Dorr. Anderson, in third, began to chase down Dorr. The task was made easier for Anderson as Dorr lost the handle on his mount spinning from the second spot exiting turn two. The race stayed green as Anderson avoided Dorr, who kept his car moving. The incident extended McKinstry’s lead over Anderson. Over the closing laps, Viens had chased down Anderson.

McKinstry cruised to the victory to take down the victory for the Tour. Anderson held back Viens to post the runner-up finish. Randy Churchill rebounded from a disastrous start to the day with a solid fourth place finish in the combo event. Joe Kendell completed the top five.

R.J. Marcotte of Millville, MA, made it two straight in TIS Modified action. The opening laps featured a heated battle for the lead between Brian Tagg and R.J. Marcotte. The two were locked in a side-by side battle for the opening three laps before Marcotte stole the lead away. Keith McDermott trailed the lead duo in third.

Shane Michalski, Ryan Morgan, Jay Sundeen, and John Studley waged a four-car battle for the fourth spot. Michalski came out of the battle with the position. He immediately began to hunt down the top-three. Marcotte, Tagg, and McDermott ran nose to tail while

Michalski cut down the margin. Marcotte was able to extend his lead as McDermott had caught Tagg.

Michalski joined the battle for second. McDermott tried to make a move on Tagg. He slipped up while trying the low groove. This opened the door for Michalski, who grabbed third from McDermott. Michalski was not done yet. A lap later, he had move passed Tagg. Marcotte had checked out to take this second straight victory. Michalski had an outstanding run to finish second. McDermott was able to edge out Tagg over the final laps to finish on the podium. John Studley rounded out the top five.

Sunoco Modifieds (Top-Ten) Finish: 1. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT; 2. Woody Pitkat, Stafford Springs, CT; 3. Ryan Preece, Berlin, CT; 4. Danny Cates, Chaplin, CT; 5. Ronnie Silk, Norwalk, CT; 6. Dave Salzarulo, Monson, MA; 7. Tim Sullivan, S. Windsor, CT; 8. Andy Gaspar, Andover, CT; 9. Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, PA; 10. Henry Stampfl, Norwood, MA.

Super Late Model Feature (Top Ten) Feature Finish: 1. Derek Ramstrom, Worcester, MA; 2. Larry Gelinas, Buxton, ME; 3. Mike Stefanik, Coventry, RI; 4. Mike O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 5. Rick Fuller, Auburn, MA; 6. Jim Banfield, S. Glastonbury, CT; 7. Mike Rivard, N. Scituate, RI; 8. Ron LaPerche, Pascoag, RI; 9. Daryl Stampfl, Norwood, MA; 10. George Bessette, Danbury, CT.

Late Model Feature (Top Ten) Feature Finish: 1. Tommy O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 2. John Materas, Voluntown, CT; 3. Rick Gentes, Woonsocket, RI; 4. Mark Jenison, Warwick, RI; 5. Wayne Coury, Sr., Milford, CT; 6. Mark Oliveira, Blackstone, MA; 7. Jeff Harwell, Putnam, CT; 8. John Falconi, N. Grafton, MA; 9. Jeremy Sadowski, Voluntown, CT; 10. Ryan Posocco, Stafford Springs, CT.

TIS Modified Feature Finish: 1. R.J. Marcotte, Millville, MA; 2. Shane Michalski, Woodstock, CT; 3. Keith McDermott, Scituate, RI; 4. Brian Tagg, Oxford, MA; 5. John Studley, Framingham, MA; 6. Ryan Morgan, Mystic, CT; 7. Denis Legere, N. Reading, MA; 8. Jay Sundeen, Douglas, MA.

Limited Sportsman Feature (Top Ten) Finish: 1. Shawn Monahan, Waterford, CT; 2. Scott Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 3. Joe Coates, Eastford, CT; 4. Larry Barnett, Moosup, CT; 5. Paul Coutu, Jr., Thompson, CT; 6. Scott Fanning, Mapleville, RI; 7. Art Moran III, Preston, CT; 8. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, MA; 9. Jay Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 10. Chris Bisson, Putnam, CT.

Thompson Mini Stock Feature (Top-Ten) Finish: 1. Jeff Moffat, Warwick, RI; 2. Dwayne Dorr, Ledyard, CT; 3. Scott Michalski, S. Killingly, CT; 4. Mike Viens, Seekonk, MA; 5. Lloyd Anderson, Wauregan, CT; 6. Fred Michalski, Dayville, CT; 7. Eric Bourgeois, E. Haddam, CT; 8. Trevor Michalski, S. Killingly, CT; 9. Chuck Rogers, Quaker Hill, CT; 10. Roger Ducharme, Foster, RI.

Mini Stock Northern Challenge Feature (Top-Ten) Finish: 1. Chris McKinstry, E. Thetford, VT; 2. Tim Boyle, Barrington, NH; 3. Emerson Cayer, Contoocook, NH; 4. Scott Michalski, S. Killingly, CT; 5. Joe Kendall, Winchendon, MA; 6. Ian Brew, Woodriver Junction, RI; 7. Roger Ducharme, Foster, RI; 8. Bill Leonard, Woodriver Junction, RI; 9. Tim Collins, Farmingdale, ME; 10. Bruce Knowles, Dover, NH.

Combination Mini Stock Feature (Top-Ten) Finish: 1. Chris McKinstry, E. Thetford, VT; 2. Lloyd Anderson, Wauregan, CT; 3. Mike Viens, Seekonk, MA; 4. Randy Churchill, Jr., Oakdale, CT; 5. Joe Kendall, Winchedon, MA; 6. Fred Michalski, Dayville, CT; 7. Roger Ducharme, Foster, RI; 8. Chad Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 9. John Kelly, Waterford, CT; 10. Steve Michalski, Brooklyn, CT.

Sources: Dale Wolbrink/Thompson International Speedway PR