Story By: THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK – THOMPSON, CT – Miller Place, NY’s Craig Lutz ended the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season on the highest of highs with his second win of the year at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Sunday, October 11.
Lutz swiped the lead from Jon McKennedy with seven laps remaining and hung on to win the 150-lap event at the 58th Annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing as Holtsville, NY’s Justin Bonsignore secured his second series championship.
The 26-year-old Lutz earned his fourth career Whelen Modified Tour win and first at the historic Thompson Speedway. For the 32-year-old Bonsignore, the title was the capstone on a 2020 season where he finished no worse than fifth at any event.
Six-time champion Doug Coby, who was the only driver who could catch Bonsignore entering the Sunoco World Series, started on the pole and led the first 30 laps. Chelmsford, MA’s McKennedy then surged ahead of him entering turn three and paced the field unto the fourth caution flag at lap 73 for Dave Sapienza’s spin.
Nearly all the lead lap cars chose to pit for right side tires at that point with Andover, NJ’s Calvin Carroll assuming the lead by staying out. Following another yellow on the restart for a Ronnie Wiliams spin, Norwalk, CT’s Ron Silk sliced to the lead for a circuit before Bonsignore then blasted to the lead on lap 88.
The championship was then decided on a lap-97 restart. Silk eagerly leapt to the lead while Lutz tried to move around Bonsignore for second entering turn three. The duo wiggled, Kyle Bonsignore checked up, and the accordion effect ended with Coby in the turn-four wall, which put an end to his day. Since the lap wasn’t completed, Bonsignore went back to the lead by rule, and Silk was assessed a pass-through penalty for jumping the start.
Lutz successfully overtook Bonsignore on the next green flag and paced the field until caution number nine. It was McKennedy who got the jump on the lap-138 restart for his second stint at the front. Sapienza pounded the turn-one wall a lap later for the 10th and final yellow. Lutz took advantage of his second chance, putting a crossover move on McKennedy out of turn two and wrestling the lead back with six laps to go.
McKennedy had time to take another shot, and with three laps to go, he backed off entering turn three to set up a potential slingshot off turn four. But Silk, who had steadily driven back to third after serving his penalty, got into the back of McKennedy. The contact threw McKennedy off just enough for Lutz to get away for the victory.
Justin Bonsignore finished fourth to officially clinch his second Whelen Modified Tour title in the last three years. His cousin Kyle was right behind him in fifth. Sam Remeau took sixth while Woody Pitkat came back from a mid-race flat tire to finish seventh. Carroll, Patrick Emerling, and Tyler Rypkema completed the top-10.
McKennedy did start the afternoon with a winning by getting the best of Rowley, MA’s Chris Perley in the closing laps of the ISMA Supermodified event. McKennedy started third in the 50-lap feature and got to the rear bumper of polesitter Perley following the race’s only yellow at lap 4.
Perley, McKennedy, and Ronnie Williams then ran away from the field. McKennedy got alongside Perly Multiple times on the frontstretch, and the duo even banged wheels entering turn one just past halfway with both hanging on for dear life.
With the 10-to-go signal in sight, McKennedy got his opportunity. The leaders came up on a pair of lapped cars, and as Perley struggled to find a way around them, McKennedy dove to the bottom off turn four. The multi-time Modified champion finally completed the pass entering turn one and pulled away over the final 10 circuits to win on Sunoco World Series Weekend for the second straight year.
Perley took second with Williams third in his first-ever ISMA Supermodified start. Mike Ordway Jr., Anthony Nocella, Otto Sitterly, Ryan Locke, Daniel Connors, Kyle Edwards, and Dave Danzer completed the top-10.
Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model point leader D.J. Shaw of Center Conway, NH strengthened his bid for a fourth championship by winning the World Series 75. Shaw, who had finished second five times this year without a victory, started outside pole and got the jump when Brandon Barker had trouble at the initial green flag.
Rowley, MA’s Eddie MacDonald was right behind and looked below Shaw several times before getting around the outside in lapped traffic on lap 29. Shaw kept MacDonald in his sights, and after a pair of yellows at lap-42, he roared back around him on the outside. MacDonald then fell into a three-way battle for second with Derek Ramstrom and Ray Christian III. By the time MacDonald escaped their clutches, Shaw was long gone on his way to the victory.
Christian got around Ramstrom late in the going to take the third spot. Johnny Clark, Ben Rowe, Corey Casagrande, Gabe Brown, Barker, and Kate Re finished fifth through 10th.
Berlin, CT’s Keith Rocco triumphed for the 288th time in his storied career by capturing the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature. Rocco started third and secured the lead on lap four after trading crossover moves with Troy Talman. He then put a bit of a gap on the field as Todd Owen, Ronnie Williams, and Brian Narducci tussled for the second spot behind him.
Williams and Owen were slowly gaining on Rocco when Joe Allegro Jr. spun to bring the caution out with three laps to go. On the restart, Owen and Narducci got together coming down the backstretch. Owen hit the wall hard with Tyler Leary and Paul LaPlante piling in, bring out a red flag for clean-up. Rocco then held off Williams on the final sprint to sweep the season series at Thompson.
Narducci chased the front two across the finish line. Talman, Eric Berndt, Max Zachem, Jeff Malave, Andrew Molleur, Woody Pitkat, and Allegro completed the top-10.
Kingston, MA’s Randy Cabral ended his busy Sunoco World Series weekend by topping an intense three-way duel for the victory in the 25-lap Shane Hammond Memorial for the Truly Hard Seltzer NEMA Lites. Jim Santa Maria ran away in the first half of the caution-free event before Cabral and Avery Stoehr reeled him in. Cabral ducked inside Santa Maria in turn three to take the top spot on lap 16.
P.J. Stergios and Richie Coy followed Cabral around Santa Maria as Stoehr stalled out. The front three then went wing-to-wing over the final five laps for the coveted World Series victory. Stergios made one last bid on the final lap, but Cabral had just enough to hang on. Coy came in third followed by Santa Maria and Stoehr.
Danielson, CT’s Ryan Waterman ran off and hid from a hard-charging Samuel Adams Limited Sportsmen pack to win their 20-lap season finale. Waterman started on the outside pole and took the lead from Lawrence Barnett on the second circuit.
Four cautions slowed the event, including one for a five-car pile-up with six laps to go. The field got its shots at Waterman, but the veteran had the upper hand each time, riding the outside line to the victory.
Uncasville, CT’s Brandon Plemons fended off a last-lap challenge from Zachary Robinson for second. Troy Waterman, Barnett, Al Stone III, Nikolas Hovey, Charles “Hank” Stott, Kevin Mason, and Walter Hovey followed them to the finish line.
Norwich, CT’s John O’Sullivan spoiled an upset bid by Paul “Buddy” Charette to win the 20-lap feature for the Twisted Tea SK Light Modifieds. O’Sullivan was running second to Charette as part of a four-car lead pack when Tyler Chapman and Derek Debbis, the third- and fourth-place runners, made contact entering turn one with two laps to go. Chapman ended up head-on in the turn-two wall to bring out the red flag.
On the restart, O’Sullivan got the break off the inside line and sped away to a World Series victory. Charette clung to second despite a hard charge from Shawn Thibeault. Nathan Pytko and Ethan Derocher rounded out the top-five.
The Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park oval track racing season is now complete. The annual Don Hoenig Flea Market is scheduled for Friday, November 6 through Friday, November 8. More information is expected to be announced over the coming weeks regarding the 2021 racing seasons.
THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK — Thompson, CT
SUNOCO WORLD SERIES OF SPEEDWAY RACING — DAY 3
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2020
NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR
1 Craig Lutz 150 running
2 Jon McKennedy 150 running
3 Ron Silk 150 running
4 Justin Bonsignore 150 running
5 Kyle Bonsignore 150 running
6 Sam Rameau 150 running
7 Woody Pitkat 150 running
8 Calvin Carroll 150 running
9 Patrick Emerling 150 running
10 Tyler Rypkema * 150 running
11 Matt Swanson 150 running
12 Anthony Nocella 150 running
13 Chris Pasteryak 150 running
14 Rob Summers 150 running
15 Walter Sutcliffe, Jr. 150 running
16 Ken Heagy 150 running
17 Ronnie Williams 150 running
18 Gary Byington * 150 running
19 Dave Sapienza 139 crash
20 Melissa Fifield 117 handling
21 Cory Osland * 114 crash
22 Doug Coby 97 crash
23 Tommy Catalano 93 suspension
24 Andy Jankowiak 75 handling
25 Chuck Hossfeld 42 crash
26 Timmy Solomito 42 crash
27 Eric Goodale 22 crash
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. Jon McKennedy ( 79 ) Chelmsford, MA , 50 Laps
2. Chris Perley ( 11 ) Rowley, MA , 50 Laps
3. Ronnie Williams ( 97 ) Ellington, CT , 50 Laps
4. Mike Ordway Jr. ( 61 ) Windham, ME , 50 Laps
5. Anthony Nocella ( 9 ) Woburn, MA , 50 Laps
6. Otto Sitterly ( 7 ) Oswego, NY , 50 Laps
7. Ryan Locke ( 37 ) Chester, NH , 50 Laps
8. Daniel Connors ( 01 ) Oswego, NY , 50 Laps
9. Kyle Edwards ( 1E ) Bartlett, TN , 49 Laps
10. David Danzer ( 52 ) Oswego, NY , 49 Laps
11. Dan Bowes ( 25 ) Byfield, MA , 49 Laps
12. Joey Payne ( 14 ) Fairlawn, NJ , 48 Laps
13. Bobby Timmons ( 13 ) Windham, ME , 27 Laps
14. Dave Duggan ( 51 ) Milford, NH , 26 Laps
15. Ben Seitz ( 32 ) Bourne, MA , 4 Laps
16. A.J. Lesiecki ( 88 ) Perrysburg, OH , 4 Laps
Lap Leaders: Chris Perley, 1-40; Jon McKennedy, 41-50. (1 lead change among 2 drivers)
Time of Race: 19 minutes, 3 seconds Margin of Victory: 2.065 seconds
Cautions: 1 (lap 4)
Heat Winners: Kyle Edwards, Chris Perley
PASS SUPER LATE MODELS
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 2 ) D.J. Shaw ( 60 ) Center Conway, NH , 75 Laps
2. ( 4 ) Eddie MacDonald ( 17MA ) Rowley, MA , 75 Laps
3. ( 17 ) Ray Christian III ( 93CT ) Uncasville, CT , 75 Laps
4. ( 3 ) Derek Ramstrom ( 35 ) Worcester, MA , 75 Laps
5. ( 12 ) Johnny Clark ( 54 ) Hallowell, ME , 75 Laps
6. ( 11 ) Ben Rowe ( 4 ) Turner, ME , 75 Laps
7. ( 19 ) Corey Casagrande ( 7CT ) Stafford Springs, CT , 75 Laps
8. ( 10 ) Gabe Brown ( 47B ) Center Conway, NH , 75 Laps
9. ( 1 ) Brandon Barker ( 88 ) Windham, ME , 75 Laps
10. ( 5 ) Kate Re ( 10 ) Lovell, ME , 75 Laps
11. ( 9 ) Kelly Moore ( 47 ) Scarborough, ME , 75 Laps
12. ( 14 ) Travis Benjamin ( 7 ) Belfast, ME , 75 Laps
13. ( 13 ) John Lowinski-Loh ( 18L ) Thompson, CT , 75 Laps
14. ( 7 ) Nick Lascuola ( 39 ) Abington, MA , 75 Laps
15. ( 8 ) Ben Ashline ( 99 ) Pittson, ME , 75 Laps
16. ( 6 ) Mike Scorzelli ( 18 ) Feura Bush, NY , 74 Laps
17. ( 18 ) Daryl Stampfl ( 1 ) Norwood, MA , 72 Laps
18. ( 16 ) Mike Mitchell ( 40RI ) Cumberland, RI , 65 Laps
19. ( 15 ) Anthony Consantino ( 14C ) Auburn, ME , 33 Laps
20. ( 20 ) Mark Jenison ( 22RI ) Warwick, RI , 20 Laps
21. ( 21 ) Scott McDaniel ( 14 ) Livermore, ME , 5 Laps
DNS Brandon Terbush ( 21NY ) Manorville, NY
Lap Leaders: Brandon Barker, pole; D.J. Shaw, 1-28; Eddie MacDonald, 29-42; Shaw, 43-75. (3 lead changes among 3 drivers)
Time of Race: 33 minutes, 7 seconds Margin of Victory: 2.836 seconds
Cautions: 2 (laps 42, 42)
Heat Winners: Brandon Barker, D.J. Shaw
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Keith Rocco ( 57 ) Berlin , CT
2. Ronnie Williams ( 50 ) Williams , CT
3. Bryan Narducci ( 01 ) Narducci , CT
4. Troy Talman ( 3 ) Talman , MA
5. Eric Berndt ( 14 ) Berndt , CT
6. Max Zachem ( 27 ) Zachem , CT
7. Jeff Malave ( 23 ) Malave , CT
8. Andrew Molleur ( 35 ) Molleur , CT
9. Woody Pitkat ( 10A ) Pitkat , MA
10. Joe Allegro Jr. ( 08 ) Allegro Jr. , CT
11. Rick Williams ( 59 ) Williams , CT
12. Chris Jensen ( 19CT ) Jensen , CT
13. Joshua Zentek ( 81X ) Zentek , CT
14. Todd Owen ( 81 ) Owen , CT
15. Tyler Leary ( 1X ) Leary , MA
16. Paul LaPlante ( 02 ) LaPlante , MA
17. Mike Christopher ( 82 ) Christopher , CT
TRULY NEMA LITES
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Randy Cabral ( 1 ) Kingston, MA
2. P.J. Stergios ( 11 ) Candia, NH
3. Richie Coy ( 19 ) Haskell, NJ
4. Jim Santa Maria ( 97 ) Burlington, CT
5. Avery Stoehr ( 35 ) Assonet, MA
6. Chase Locke ( 88 ) Chester, NH
7. Joe Bailey ( 21 ) Monroe, NH
8. Kyle Valeri ( 17 ) Monument Beach, MA
9. Jake Trainor ( 8 ) Medway, MA
10. Anthony Payne ( 16 ) Fairlawn, NH
11. Tiana Kibbe ( 94 ) Fairfield, CT
12. Drew Eldridge ( 55 ) No. Chelmsford, MA
13. Lanson Fornoro ( 2 ) Reeders, PA
SAMUEL ADAMS LIMITED SPORTSMEN
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Ryan Waterman ( 24 ) Danielson , CT
2. Brandon Plemons ( 39 ) Uncasville , CT
3. Zachary Robinson ( 89 ) Putnam , CT
4. Troy Waterman ( 75 ) Danielson , CT
5. Lawrence Barnett ( 73 ) Moosup , CT
6. Al Stone III ( 52 ) Durham , CT
7. Nikolas Hovey ( 16 ) Chaplin , CT
8. Charles (Hank) Stott ( 10 ) Medway , MA
9. Kevin Mason ( 37 ) West Warwick , RI
10. Walter Hovey ( 16CT ) Chaplin , CT
11. Kristopher Kay ( 8 ) Dudley , MA
12. Doug Benoit ( 2 ) Swansea , MA
13. Dominic Abbatiello ( 20 ) North Branford , CT
14. Jeremy Washburn ( 78 ) Willimantic , CT
15. Tom Shea ( 45 ) Somers , CT
16. Aaron Piemons ( 67 ) Uncasville , CT
17. Mitch Bombard ( 10CT ) Willimantic , CT
18. Jon Porter ( 38 ) East Lyme , CT
19. Jason Finkbein ( 46X ) Columbia , CT
20. Michael Malbaurn ( 64 ) Moosup , CT
21. Corey Fanning ( 47 ) Mapleville , RI
22. Jeff Van Pelt ( 13 ) Johnston , RI
23. John Carpenter ( 46 ) North Grosvenordale , CT
DNS Nicholas Anderson ( 00 ) Oxford , MA
DNS Ryan Bell ( 11X ) Acworth , NH
TWISTED TEA SK LIGHT MODIFIEDS
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. John O’Sullivan ( 15 ) Norwich , CT
2. Paul Charette ( 28 ) Woodstock , CT
3. Shawn Thibeault ( 56 ) Southington , CT
4. Nathan Pytko ( 24 ) Oxford , MA
5. Ethan Durocher ( 6 ) Canterbury , CT
6. Nick Anglace ( 10 ) Naugatuck , CT
7. Michael McCarthy ( 2 ) Oxford , MA
8. Tyler Chapman ( 41 ) Ellington , CT
9. Derek Debbis ( 56X ) Oakdale , CT
10. Glenn Korner ( 27 ) Bloomfield , CT
11. Steven Chapman ( 44 ) Ellington , CT
12. Anthony Forino ( 25 ) Waterbury , CT
13. Brian Sullivan ( 11 ) Tolland , CT (DNS)
14. Paul LaPlante ( 99 ) No. Scituate , RI (DNS)
15. Paul Pytko ( 84 ) Oxford , MA (DNS)