(THOMPSON, CT) - Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park gave local kids a little pre back-to-school action on
Wednesday, August 24th with the venue’s Pepsi Back To School Night featuring twin 25-lap features for the Sunoco
Modified division as well as Thompson's three other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions as the
championship season begins to draw to a close.
With this being the third to last race of the season at Thompson, drivers came ready to fight for every inch of real
estate on the track over the course of the evening with the highlight events being the twin 25-lap features of the
Sunoco Modified Series that opened and closed the night in epic fashion.
With Keith Rocco in complete control of the series points lead at Thompson and having a dominant year, series
regulars were looking to take away some of Rocco’s thunder and stake their claim on a bit of real estate with two
opportunities for a win on the night. Rocco ran well in both events and maintained his points lead, but the one
driver he needed to beat the most was the one who would claim victory not once, but twice, as Ryan Preece,
second in points, swept the duel races and took a small chunk out of Rocco’s sizable lead with two events
remaining on the schedule at the Big T.
Preece worked his way to the front methodically in the first race, taking the lead ten laps in and never looking
back, but took a much more aggressive approach in the second race of the night battling Rocco for the lead in the
late stages and eventually using a crossover move to take the top spot with only five laps to go, completing an
impressive sweep over his rival, Rocco, who finished runner-up in both events.
The wins were the third and fourth on the season for Preece, second to Keith Rocco’s six victories to date in 2016,
and gave Preece a boost of excitement and confidence as the season approaches its conclusion.
“I could really move the car around (in the second race),” said Preece who didn’t change tires between the events,
running all fifty laps on the same set. “It was a little free, but the amount of forward drive the car had was
phenomenal. It really handled. That’s what you want in a racecar.”
Preece added that the battles between himself and Rocco were entertaining to say the least and that he had to be
patient, especially in the second feature, to make the right moves at the right time.
“I was kind of sitting there. You could tell I was watching where (Rocco was making moves) and how he was doing
it,” said Preece. “Once the opportunity arose and I followed Keith through it was pretty much a cat and mouse
game down the straightaways, making those inside and outside moves, and when the time came I got a run off of
two and we made it happen.”
Following the first Sunoco Modified feature of the night, Wayne Burroughs continued his potential championship
drive in 2016 with a strong run once again in the night’s 15-lap Mini Stock feature. Burroughs started the day by
extending his championship lead to sixteen-points after finding success in the heat races while his closest
competition, reigning champion Dave Trudeau, had issues and retired early from the pre-race qualifying feature.
Trudeau would face more issues in the main feature for the Mini Stocks, retiring early once again due to
mechanical issues, while Burroughs would win the race in dramatic fashion in a last turn pass on veteran Brad
Caddick. Burroughs bumped Caddick coming out of turn four coming to the checkered flag and further solidified his
position at the top of the standings, and clinched him the championship in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Triple Crown.
“The car was definitely handling better than Brad (Caddick’s) I think,” said Burroughs. “We’ve got the same motor
so being on the bottom he had a little more down the shoot than I did running off the outside. I knew where I could
beat him and knew where I couldn’t and we finally got it down.” Burroughs said that he was unaware of the issues
Trudeau was having during the event, learning the full extent of his excellent points day after he drove into victory
SUNOCO MODIFIEDS FEATURE #1 FINISH: 1. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 2. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 3. Ronnie
Williams (Tolland, CT); 4. Woody Pitkat (Stafford, CT); 5. Steven Kopcik (Newtown, CT); 6. Rowan Pennink (New
Egypt, New Jersey); 7. Jason Sundeen (Douglas, MA); 8. Adam Norton (Palmer, MA); 9. Jeff Gallup (Agawam, MA);
10. Matt Gallo (Berlin, CT); 11. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 12. Kyle Trainor (Marlboro, MA); 13. Eddie LeClerc
(Taunton, MA); 14. Joey Parker (Weymouth, MA); 15. Kyle Cafro (North Windham, CT); 16. John Catania (Agawam,
SUNOCO MODIFIEDS FEATURE #2 FINISH: 1. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 2. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 3. Rowan
Pennink (New Egypt, New Jersey); 4. Woody Pitkat (Stafford, CT); 5. Ronnie Williams (Tolland, CT); 6. Matt Gallo
(Berlin, CT); 7. Jason Sundeen (Douglas, MA); 8. Jeff Gallup (Agawam, MA); 9. Adam Norton (Palmer, MA); 10.
Steven Kopcik (Newtown, CT); 11. Kyle Trainor (Marlboro, MA); 12. Eddie LeClerc (Taunton, MA); 13. John Studley
(Framingham, MA); 14. Kyle Cafro (North Windham, CT); 15. Joey Parker (Weymouth, MA);
Coming into Wednesday June 29, Coby had scored the victory at the annual Open Wheel Wednesday modified event
in 2011 and 2013.
Coby grabbed his third trophy from Seekonk Speedway by winning round one of 2016 for the NorthEast Race Cars
and Parts Tri Track Open Modified Series Wednesday evening, behind the wheel of his No. 2 Dunleavy Truck and
Trailer Repair, LFR Chassis mount.
“I wasn’t even planning on getting out front, I was going to just ride fifth for a lot of the race then those guys gave
me the room,” Coby said following his victory.
“Whether I’m going to win or not in the end, I wanted to be in the lead and be in control, I’ve always said that
about these open shows. It’s easy for guys to roll up to your bumper here at Seekonk but when they go to pass you
they just slide the rear end.”
Coby was slated to go off seventh based on where he finished in his qualifying heat race, but during the redraw on
the track prior to the green, he drew a fourth behind the wheel of his No. 2.
He worked inside the top-five for much of the early portion of the race, riding fifth while drivers in front of him
tangled for the lead. He started making his move on lap 30 when he slid by Jon McKennedy to fourth. Then, Coby
made a move to the bottom, three-wide and quickly jumped to second.
He wheeled his No. 2 to the advantage over the rest of the field on a lap 40 restart and never looked back for the
remaining of the event. He held off challenges from McKennedy, Justin Bonsignore and Ron Silk in the final stages
and captured his first career win on the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
“This is huge LFR Chassis and all of my team,” Coby said. “It was up in the air what car I was going to come with.
This is a great series, Dick Williams, James Schaefer and these guys put a lot of time and money into these shows.”
Silk, who started outside the top-10 behind the wheel of his No. 50, quickly worked this way through the field and
was inside the top-five by the time the field hit the halfway point. He was all over the back bumper of Coby in the
final laps, but couldn’t find the way around to the big payday.
“Doug did a good job of protecting the bottom like you have to do to win the race,” Silk said. “I could roll the top
and get to his right rear, but I was just that much tight that I couldn’t hold him down and get by. It was good hard
racing in the front all night and really clean.”
Rowan Pennink drove the Gary Casella owned No. 25 to a third place run and he was followed across the line by
Les Hinckley, who piloted a Wayne Darling No. 52. Rounding out the top-five was Matt “Money” Hirschman.
The NorthEast Race Cars and Parts Tri Track Open Modified Series gets back on track at Star Speedway for the
SBM coming up on July 30.
EPPING, NH- Matt Hirschman took a liking to NH's Star Speedway the first time he raced there, and on Saturday
night he won his third major event SBM 125 Modified Open in five races, this time worth $10,400 plus
contingencies as the Northeast Race Cars & Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series visited the quarter-mile oval in
southern New Hampshire.
Hirschman, who hauled in from Northampton, PA., to race, pitted on lap 54 for a new right rear tire and worked his
way to the front of the 27-car field, passing Jon McKennedy (Chelmsford, MA.) on lap 100 for the lead. He then held
off a late charge from Les Hinckley (Windson Locks, CT.), including a restart with two laps remaining to claim the
top prize in front of an enthusiastic and near capacity crowd.
"This was an example of what kind of show that the Modifieds can put on when you have drivers that race that way
and show each other respect," Hirschman stated. "It comes at a time where I really needed a win. A BIG win.
"I hated that this race didn't happen last year. I'm glad that it's back and with a great crowd tonight, and another
solid car count I would think we will be back again."
McKennedy led the first 100 laps after drawing the pole in a top ten redraw, collecting a significant portion of the
bonus money paid out in the process. But he elected to not pit for a tire, and in the end it cost him. Les Hinckley
passed McKennedy on lap 115 for second place, earning the Woody's Auto Hard Charger Award" and his third
consecutive second place finish in the SBM.
Richard Savary, while attempting to pass McKennedy for a podium third place finish on lap 124, made contact and
McKennedy spun, with Savary being sent to the rear. This opened the door for Maine driver Josh Cantara to take
third from Ron Silk on the ensuing restart, where Hirschman outraced Hinckley to the line for the big win.
Silk and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top five finishers of a race run off in rapid fashion, with no major
incidents and few caution periods. The next Northeast Race Cars & Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series event
takes place at Ct's New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Thursday, August 25 for another event paying the winner
$10,000 as part of a purse again expected to exceed $60,000.
Official Tri-Track SBM 125 V Finish: (Final payoff totals including bonuses TBA) 1. MATT HIRSCHMAN, 2. Les
Hinckley, 3. Josh Cantara, 4. Ron Silk, 5. Justin Bonsignore, 6. Andy Jankowiak, 7. Rowan Pennink, 8. Max Zachem,
9. Tommy Barrett, 10. Jon Kievman, 11. Kirk Alexander, 12. Chris Pasteryak, 13. Anthony Nocella, 14. Rob Richardi
Jr., 15. Jon McKennedy, 16. Mike Holdridge, 17. Russ Hersey, 18. Troy Talman, 19. Richard Savary, 20. Joe
Doucette, 21. Andy Seuss, 22. Eric Berndt, 23. Carl Medieros Jr., 24. Jeff Gallup, 25. Mike Douglas Jr., 26. Dwight
Jarvis, 27. Kurt Vigeant.
flag on Thursday at New London-Waterford Speedbowl, rocketing into victory lane behind the wheel of his No. 13
and collecting the big prize of $10,000.
The Bellingham, Massachusetts driver started in fifth position, but was a threat all night long. He pitted early and
took a fresh tire, then drove through the entire field and eventually drove around race leader Richard Savary on a
lap 88 restart in order to take down his first ever series win.
“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen there at the end,” Masse said. “The heat cycles killed (Richard) Savary’s
tires and I was able to get around him. I got a good restart and was able to stay to the outside of him going into
turn one — which is important here at Waterford. It all worked out in my favor.”
Masse had decided he was going to step away from the sport at the start of 2016 and spend time with family and
friends, but things changed quickly when June came around. Masse felt that urge to go back onto the track and he
elected to return to the Speedbowl on Thursday chasing the glory and the big bucks.
“This is only the third race of the year so it feels really good,” Masse said. “Earlier (this year) I just didn’t feel like
racing and I didn’t feel like competing. The fire all of a sudden came back and here I am.”
Richard Savary and Mike Holdridge brought the field of 27 modifieds to the green flag Thursday and Savary took
command early. Behind him, Masse made early ground from his fifth place starting spot to second and the two
drove away from their challengers — brining Rowan Pennink along with them.
The first caution of the event flew on lap 35, when Tommy Barrett spun his No. 44 at the end of the frontstretch
and quickly left the scene without damage. During the yellow, many drivers took advantage of the stoppage and
went down pit road — including Masse and Pennink — who gave up top-three runs to make adjustments.
A second caution on lap 35 also slowed the action when Les Hinckley got into the outside wall in turn four, then
another yellow flew on lap 49 when Andy Jankowiak spun in turn one. Geoff Gernhard spun on the backstretch on
lap 52, drawing a fourth caution of the event while those on the track took advantage and came down pit road.
Among those pitting under the caution included Jeff Rocco and Calvin Carroll.
At the lap 52 green, Savary had a tough challenge from Woody Pitkat, who worked the outside and took over the
advantage at lap 53. Just as Pitkat got the lead, Dylan Kopec and Carl Mederios Jr. got together and crashed,
allowing Pitkat to hold the bottom for the restart on lap 54. Pitkat held the advantage over Savary until lap 60,
when Savary took back command with a bottom line move off turn two.
A pileup in turn one drew a caution on lap 61, then before long Eric Berndt spun from the top-10 down the
frontstretch on lap 66. Cautions also stopped the race on lap 77 and then on lap 88 twice, but the crucial point of
the race came on the restart on lap 88.
Savary, — who had been leading much of the race — was on the bottom for the restart but didn’t get the start he
needed to hold the advantage. Masse cleared him from the outside and Savary was left chasing him in the final
laps, trying everything he could to get back to the bumper.
“We took the strategy of staying out and not pitting at all because we started on the pole,” Savary said. “It was
good racing. We weren’t going to give up the track position it was going to be too hard to come from the back. It
just came down to a few yellows and Steve having a better tire than us.”
Sitting third at the conclusion of the 100 lap event was Pitkat, who said post-race that he thought he had
something for the top-two if the car didn’t tighten up in the final laps.
Pitkat did lead a few laps in the second half of the race, but ultimately, third was the position of finish for the
Stebbins Racing driver.
“I led for a little while there,” Pitkat said. “We just got a little bit tight there in the center in the last 40 laps and it
just never went away. I tried to do whatever I could to get it to rotate through the center. I’m just happy for my
guys. It’s a good momentum builder for us.”
Matt “Money” Hirschman finished fourth and Ted Christopher came on strong late to round out the top-five. Six
through ten was Justin Bonsignore, Tommy Barrett, Eric Goodale, Dennis Perry and Rowan Pennink.
The NorthEast Race Cars Tri Track Open Modified Series returns to action right back at the Speedbowl on Oct. 23
as part of the Bemer’s Big Show weekend, the final race of the 2016 season. Lap sponsorships are available
immediately and can be purchased by contacting the series on Facebook or by email.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: NorthEast Race Cars Tri Track Open Modified Series; August 25, 2016:
Steve Masse, Richard Savary, Woody Pitkat, Matt Hirschman, Ted Christopher, Justin Bonsignore, Tommy Barrett,
Eric Goodale, Dennis Perry, Rowan Pennink, Ron Silk, Andy Jankowiak, Dwight Jarvis, Shawn Thibeault, Mike
Holdridge, Dylan Kopec, Geoffrey Genhard, Chris Pasteryak, Jeff Rocco, Calvin Carroll, Roger Coss, Jeff Gallup,
Eric Berndt, Todd Annarummo, Troy Talman, Carl Mederios Jr., Les Hinckley
|OLD School Photos
SEEKONK, Massachusetts -- When it was go-time, Timmy Solomito didn't hesitate.
The Islip, New York, driver muscled his way past Doug Coby on Lap 114 and then held off the three-time champion as well as championship contender
Justin Bonsignore to win Saturday night's AnytimeRealty.com 150 at Seekonk Speedway.
It was Solomito's fourth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win of the season.
Solomito started alongside Coby on the Lap 112 restart. After failing to get by on the outside on the first lap, Solomito fell into line behind Coby coming
off Turn 4 and then drove low into Turn 1. Solomito's left side tires kicked up dirt and grass and the two banged side nerf bars as Solomito emerged from
Turn 2 with the lead.
"It was time to go," said Solomito. "There was 30-something laps to go and you're racing on a tight track. Yea, I got down on the grass there, got a little
sideways. But we were able to sneak by him. That's all that mattered. At the end of the day, we were able to do it."
A late caution set up a green-white-checkered finish that pushed the race to 151 laps. Solomito was able to get away on the final restart as Bonsignore
edged Coby for second.
Coby won his eighth Coors Light Pole Award of the season earlier in the day and led a race-high 108 laps. The finish allowed Coby to maintain his 20-point
lead over Bonsignore, while Solomito moved four points closer and sits 36 points out with three races remaining.
Matt Hirschman finished fourth at Seekonk, followed by Bobby Santos.
Eric Goodale, Jimmy Blewett, Rowan Pennink, Chase Dowling and Jeff Goodale completed the top 10.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will run in the F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 24.
WATERFORD --Matt Galko had a restart he'll never forget, enabling him to have a night he'll never forget.
"It was the restart of my life," Galko said after he exploded past Joe Gada on a 19th lap restart to win the 35-lap SK Modified feature at the New London
Waterford Speedbowl. It was Galko's first-ever SK Modified win.
"We have been trying for for an SK win for a long time and it finally paid off," Galko said. "I never thought the first win would take place here at the
Speedbowl. To do it with a part-time crew is amazing. I can't thank them enough."
Galko's moment of truth came on the critical restart. Gada was the race leader, but Galko was able to blur by him.
Galko proved himself again on another restart as he was able to pull away from the field over the final 10 laps.
"That was the difference," Gada said. "My car wasn't good on the restarts and Galko's car was."
The night wasn't a total disaster for Gada. His second-place finish enabled him to take a one-point lead over Keith Rocco with two races remaining for the
Another new face dominated the Magnus Racing Products 25-lap SK Light feature. Brett Gonyaw was able to take the lead from Chris Gombos midway
through the race for his first-ever Speedbowl win. Cory Dimateo rallied for second and John O'Sullivan had a season-best third place finish.
Jason Palmer made a stunning outside move on lap 14 against Anthony Flannery to win the 30-lap Sunoco Late Model Feature. Point-leader Keith Rocco
moved into second with 10 laps remaining, but could not narrow the gap that separated him from Palmer.
"I knew it took Keith a long time to get into second, so I was confident I could hold him off," Palmer said. "My car was almost perfect."
Monte Gibbs went from third to first on lap 8 to win the 25-lap Limited Sportsman feature. Gibbs was trailing Josh Galvin and Ryan Waterman when the
two cars got tangled up on the inside and veered toward the grass. That gave Gibbs plenty of room on the outside and he waltzed into the lead. He was in
control the rest of the way.
Twin 20-lap Mini-Stock features were held. Ken Cassidy, the all-time division win leader, overcame a restart with five laps to go to rack up his first win of
the season. It was Cassidy's 65th career win. Wayne Burroughs, the point leader, was second.
In the second race, Ian Brew took the lead from Jordan Hadley on a restart to post his first win in almost three years. Sean Caron was second and Hadley
The Northeast Street Stock Tour made its second and final appearance at the Bowl. Speedbowl regular Chris Meyer led every step of the way to post his
first-ever touring win. Joe Arena, the point leader, finished second.
The final Saturday night event of the season will take place Sept. 17 with six divisions in action.
35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified: 1. Matt Galko, Meriden; 2. Joey Gada, Salem; 3. Paul Kusheba IV, Monroe; 4. Keith Rocco,
Wallingford; 5. Justin Gaydosh, Newtown; 6. Dennis Perry, Pawcatuck; 7. Ted Christopher, Plainville; 8. Tom Abele, Norwich; 9. Diego Monahan, Quaker
Hill; 10. Rob Janovic Jr., Waterford.
30-lap Late Model: 1. Jason Palmer, Berlin; 2. Keith Rocco, Wallingford; 3. Anthony Flannery, East Hampton; 4. Ray Christian III, Uncasville; 5. Jeff Smith,
Old Lyme; 6. Ryan Morgan, Mystic; 7. Mikey Flynn, Hampden, Mass.; 8. Ernie LaRose, Plainfield; 9. Christopher Garside, Waterford; 10. Jim Banfield,
25-lap SK Light Modified: 1. Brett Gonyaw, Vernon; 2. Cory DiMatteo; 3. John O’Sullivan, Salem; 4. Chris Gombos, Naugatuck; 5. Randy Churchill Jr.,
Oakdale 6. Tony Membrino Jr., Berlin; 7. Corey Barry, Plainfield; 8. Larry Goss, Windham; 9. Rick Williams, East Hampton; 10. Frank Hirt III, Danbury.
|Doug Coby Open Wheel Wed
|Matt Hirschman SBM 125
|Steve Masse Tri Track open winner