NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour News & Notes: Thompson

Zachem Heads Home Looking for First Tour Win

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 28, 2017) — Last year, Timmy Solomito used his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park to launch a breakout season.

To find this year’s candidate to follow in Solomito’s tracks, you don’t have to look far.

Max Zachem made his debut on the tour at Thompson in 2013, and the now 24-year-old Preston, Connecticut, driver cut his teeth racing at his home state’s short tracks. And he heads back to New England for the 43rd annual Icebreaker weekend after a fifth-place run in the newly unified tour’s season opener at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway last week.

Zachem led a race-high 43 laps at Thompson last June before a last-lap pass by Bobby Santos bumped him to a runner-up finish. Zachem also has a pair of sixth-place finishes at the .625-mile oval. It’s worth noting that Solomito had just one top-five run at Thompson in nine previous starts before his 2016 Icebreaker victory.

Solomito’s win marked the first time since 1995 when Tommy Cravenho Jr. scored the first of his three career tour wins that a driver made his first trip to Victory Lane at the Icebreaker. 

Solomito led the final 34 laps in route to his first triumph on the tour last year and rounded out last year with a fifth at the Connecticut oval. He led the final eight laps at Myrtle Beach in picking up the victory there.  

Four-time series champion Doug Coby will return to Thompson looking to rebound after a struggle at the half-mile Myrtle Beach. In his career, Coby has visited Victory Lane five times at Thompson — including sweeping all four races at the historic oval back in 2015.

RACE: Icebreaker 150
PLACE: Thompson (Conn.) Speedway
DATE: Sunday, April 2
TIME: 3:45 p.m. (approx.)
TRACK: .625-mile banked asphalt oval
2016 POLESITTER: Doug Coby
2016 RACE WINNER: Timmy Solomito
EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday April 1: Garage Opens 12:30 p.m., Practice 3-3:45 p.m. & 4:10-4:55 p.m., Sunday April 2: Qualifying 2:45 p.m. (appox.), Icebreaker 150 3:45 p.m. (approx.)
TRACK CONTACT: Taylor Therrien, (860) 923-2280,
TRACK TWITTER: @ThompsonSpdwy
EVENT HASHTAG: #Icebreaker2017
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: Jason Christley, (386)-547-2469,


The Race: The second race of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season will be contested on the high-banks of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. The Icebreaker 150 will be the first of four appearances at Thompson this season.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field per the entry blank is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 30 positions in the field will be determined by the qualifying process, while there will also be six provisional spots available. The race is scheduled for 150 laps.

The Track: The 0.625-mile banked asphalt oval opened back in 1940 as the only asphalt track in the country. The track has held 134 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races in its history – the most of any facility on the schedule.
Race Winners: There have been 35 different tour drivers that have rolled into Thompson’s victory lane. Mike Stefanik leads all drivers with 15 career wins, while Doug Coby, Justin Bonsignore and Bobby Santos III lead all active drivers with five wins each.

Pole Winners: There are 45 drivers who have a Coors Light Pole Award at Thompson. Doug Coby leads all active drivers with seven career poles on the high-banks.

Icebreaker 150 Notes:
Bonsignore Riding Thompson Momentum: 
The Holtsville, N.Y. driver has captured the last two Whelen Modified Tour wins at the historic oval behind the wheel of his Phoenix Communications No. 51. Last August, Bonsignore held off Doug Coby to take down the victory and he also finished last season with a victory in the World Series. Coming off a
sixth place finish at the season-opening race at Myrtle Beach, Bonsignore will feel confident heading to a track he has won five times at in his career. He will also unload a brand new car this weekend.  

Coby Looking To Rebound: Thompson arguably is Coby’s best track on the tour. In 2015, he swept all four races there and he has also finished inside the top-10 in 15 of his last 18 starts at the track. Last year, Coby finished a worst of 11th in the four events and captured three of the four pole awards. He has also clinched all four of his championships at Thompson. 

Tough Thompson Luck For Seuss: Andy Seuss will be returning to Thompson for the first time since October of 2015. The Hampstead, N.H. driver has struggled on the high-banks in his career, only finishing a best of ninth in his first ever start back in 2007. He has failed to finish in five of his nine starts and finished 13th in his last event back in 2015. Coming off a third in the Myrtle Beach opener, can Seuss finally find some Thompson luck?

Summers Building Off Myrtle: Much like Seuss, the track record at Thompson for Rob Summers is one that he would certainly like to forget. The Manchester, Conn. driver has 31 starts at Thompson, but only two top-10 finishes – the last of them coming in 2002. He has failed to finish in more than half of his career starts at the track. However, Summers has momentum on his side following a Coors Light Pole Award and second place finish at Myrtle Beach. 

New England Opener: The Icebreaker will serve as the unofficial opener for NASCAR racing in New England. With the unification of the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tour, the race will be the second on the schedule for just the first time since 2001. That year, Jerry Marquis won on March 11 at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway, and Rick Fuller took home the Icebreaker 11 days later.

Starting Fresh: Ten drivers will be making their 2017 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut, including a veteran drivers making his first career starts on the tour. Brad Vanhoute of Riverhead, New York, has competed in the modified division of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Riverhead Raceway. The 39-year-old also made a Sunoco Modified division start at Thompson in 2015.

Home Tracks: NWAAS Divisions Kick-Off Season

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be part of a weekend that will see 11 different feature events, including the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Coming into the 2017 season, Keith Rocco is the defending champion of the Sunoco Modified division and will return to defend his track title with car owners Mike and Mark Pane — also beginning another run at a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship.

Rocco will be joined by challengers Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat and Ted Christopher – who will drive for Rocco – as championship favorites going into the season for the SK Modified class. William Wall (Late Models), Ryan Waterman (Limited Sportsman) and Wayne Burroughs Jr. (Mini Stock) will also defending NASCAR champions at Thompson. 

Sources: Kyle Souza/NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications

NWMT Thompson 4/2/17 Schedule
Whelen Modified Tour
Saturday, April 1 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Registration open.
11:30 a.m. Haulers enter.
12:15 p.m. Crew Chief Meeting. (Garage Classroom)
To follow Random draw. (Garage Classroom)
12:30 p.m. Garage opens.
12:45 p.m. Inspection begins. Tire Impound opens.
1:30 p.m. Rookie Driver/Spotter Meeting. (Garage Classroom)
2:30 p.m. Deadline to Designate Tires.
2:50 p.m. Release Change Tires from Impound.
3-3:45 p.m. Practice.
3:45 p.m. Qualifying order determined from practice speeds.
4:10 to 4:55 p.m. Final Practice.
5:05 p.m. Deadline to Return Change Tires to Impound.
6 p.m. Garage closes.
Sunday, April 2 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Registration open.
8:30 a.m. Garage opens.
9:00 a.m. Tire Impound opens.
10:15 a.m. Push cars to track for autograph session.
11:00 to 11:50 a.m. Driver Autograph Session.
12:00 p.m. Drive cars back to garage area.
12:30 p.m. Release Qualifying Tires from Impound.
1:15 p.m. Driver/Crew Chief Meeting. (Garage Classroom)
1:45 p.m. Qualifying Inspection begins. (Grouped by qualifying order.)
2:45 p.m. Qualifying. (2 Laps.) (Fastest 30 cars earn starting positions 1st through 30th.) ‘Impound’
3:45 p.m. approx. ICEBREAKER 150

NWMT Thompson 4/2/17 Entry List
Whelen Modified Tour
Whelen Modified Tour

1 Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H. Eastern Propane & Oil Chevrolet Kenneth Fifield Glen Billings
2 Doug Coby, Milford, Conn. Mayhew Tools Chevrolet Mike Smeriglio III Phil Moran
3 Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. Cape Cod Copper Chevrolet Jan Boehler Greg Fournier
6 Ryan Preece, Berlin, Conn. TS Hauler Chevrolet Ed Partridge Jeff Preece
7 Patrick Emerling, Orchard Park, N.Y. Buffalo Auto Auction/Emerling Ford Chevrolet Jennifer Emerling Jan Leaty
9 Brad Vanhouten, Riverhead, N.Y.* Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet Jeff Goodale William Renton Jr.
11 Andy Seuss, Hampstead, N.H. LFR Chassis Chevrolet Eddie Harvey Justin Link
15 Chase Dowling, Roxbury, Conn. 15-40 Connection Chevrolet Rob Fuller Steve Garrepy
16 Timmy Solomito, Islip, N.Y. Starret Racing Ford Eric Sanderson Stanley Szaban
17 Kyle Ellwood, Riverhead, N.Y. Chevrolet John Ellwood Jarod Zeltmann
20 Max Zachem, Preston, Conn. MPZ Motorsports/Lu-Macs Chevrolet Ken Zachem Steve Lemay
23 Troy Talman, Oxford, Mass. Vets On Track Foundation Chevrolet Jason Sechrist Jason Sechrist
24 Andrew Krause, Holmdel, N.J. Supreme MFG Co. Chevrolet Clifford Krause John Cooke
26 Gary McDonald, Ronkonkoma, N.Y. TBD Chevrolet Sean McDonald Chad McDonald
29 Brendon Bock, Franklin Square, N.Y. Meadow Brock-Collision Chevrolet George Bock Glenn Dixon
33 Wade Cole, Hartland, Conn. Performance Engines/Kendal Oil Ford Wade Cole Jake Marosz
36 Dave Sapienza, Riverhead, N.Y. Sapienza Enterprise Chevrolet Judy Thilberg Tommy Grasso
38 Gary Byington, Unionville, Conn.* Performance Engines/Kendall Oil Chevrolet Linda Rodenbaugh Robert Bourne
39 Calvin Carroll, Newton, N.J.* Power With Prestige/Cruising With Betty Chevrolet Joe Carroll Joe Carroll
44 Bobby Santos, Franklin, Mass. Tinio Cor/Worldband Chevrolet Sully Tinio Bob Santos
46 Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn. Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet Russell Goodale Doug Ogiejko
51 Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, N.Y. Phoenix Communications Chevrolet Kenneth Massa Danny Laferriere
56 Craig Lutz, Miller Place, N.Y. TBD Toyota Renee Lutz Eric Lutz
58 Eric Goodale, Riverhead, N.Y. GAF Chevrolet Edgar Goodale Jason Shephard
64 Rob Summers, Manchester, Conn. Hoosier Tire East/Fastrock Electric/Hughes Motors Chevrolet Mike Murphy Ron Yuhas Jr.
75 Shawn Solomito, Islip, N.Y. Eastport Feeds Chevrolet Wayne Anderson Jerry Solomito
76 Jimmy Blewett, Howell, N.J. John Blewett Inc./TS Haulers/Starrett Tools Chevrolet Jimmy Blewett Robert Ormsbee
78 Walter Sutcliffe Jr., East Haven, Conn.* Last Minute Racing Chevrolet Steven Sutclitte Kevin Anderson
82 Ron Silk, Norwalk, Conn. Horton Ave. Materials Chevrolet Danny Watts Jr TBA
85 Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, Conn. Montanari Fuel/Stuarts Automotive/J&R Pre-Cast Chevrolet Robert Katon Don Barker
89 Matt Swanson, Acton, Mass. Starrett Tools Ford John Swanson Ken Barry
* Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate