Thompson, CT — Jim Banfield and Jesse Gleason scored their first season wins and led a roster of exciting finishes in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Thursday Night Thompson Thunder at Thompson International Speedway this week. Ted Christopher and Tommy O’Sullivan earned milestone career finishes for their teams while Cam McDermott and John Lewinski-Loh added to their season totals.
Patience paid off for Jim Banfield in the 50-lap Super Late Model feature Thursday night. The So. Glastonbury, Conn.-native took the lead with two laps to go after then-leader Mike O’Sullivan blew a tire in turn one. Banfield drove to the lead and eventual victory unchallenged. Derek Ramstrom catapulted to the front at the drop of the green, and even an early-race caution couldn’t slow him down. Dick Houlihan and Mike O’Sullivan took over second and third on the restart as the top-five began to string out single file. O’Sullivan maneuvered by Houlihan for second and set his sights on Ramstrom, who was already out to a half-a-straightaway lead. Caution flew on lap seven and tightened the field back up again. O’Sullivan won the drag race into turn one on the drop of the green and took over the lead on lap eight with Ramstrom in his rear view mirror and Larry Gelinas in third. Ramstrom continued to pressure O’Sullivan before reclaiming the top spot at lap 20. Once out front, he was able to pull away by five-car lengths over O’Sullivan and Gelinas. With 14 laps to go, the No. 41 of Scott Rotherforth spun into the infield retaining wall on the front stretch and brought out the caution flag. O’Sullivan beat Ramstrom to the lead, but a caution would force him to try again. Ramstrom appeared to have the lead heading into turn one, but Gelinas went low making it a three-wide battle into turn one. Gelinas took the lead in commanding style, but had a lot of pressure by Ramstrom and O’Sullivan. Ramstrom dove low to challenge, and as he attempted to go by for the lead on lap 40 in turn one, Ramstrom started to go around and collected Gelinas in the mix. O’Sullivan inherited the lead for the restart with Jim Banfield and Rick Gentes rounding out the top-three. With two laps to go, O’Sullivan lost the left front tire on his No. 08 machine and handed the lead and win to Jim Banfield.
Ted Christopher earned his 96th career Thompson International Speedway victory when he powered his way to the win in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Sunoco Modified division. It was his second win of the season. John Catania and Kerry Malone went into turn one double-file with Malone getting the lead coming out of turn two. Ted Christopher and Ryan Preece moved into second and third with Preece all over Christopher’s bumper for the second position. Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco made it a five-car bumper-to-bumper train up front. On lap nine, Christopher shot to the bottom and took over the lead with Preece in tow. Malone squeezed into third, but was quickly passed by Pitkat and Rocco. The frontrunners approached lapped traffic at lap 13, but continued in a tight formation without a hiccup. On lap 22, Pitkat broke free of the trio to make a bid on Preece, but lost momentum and turned his focus to Rocco, who threatened his third place position. Pitkat regained himself as Christopher continued to lead Preece less than a car length in front of him. Christopher never faltered and drove straight to the checkered flag.