Story By: KYLE SOUZA / THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK – THOMPSON, CT – Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park is just over a week away from the annual Icebreaker. The 82nd season opener on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11 is headlined by the Icebreaker 125 for the new Outlaw Open Modified Series, pitting the region’s Tour-type Modified stars in a $10,000-to-win showdown.
Noted open-wheel racers such as Doug Coby, Craig Lutz, Bobby Santos III, Jon McKennedy, and Matt Swanson are officially committed to the Icebreaker 125. The Sunday shootout is just the beginning, though. Six Outlaw Open Series events are planned for the 2021 season with big purses and even bigger action.
It culminates with the return of the Thompson 300. The $20,000-to-win event is part of the World Series of Speedway Racing on October 8-10. It’s been 16 years since the late Ted Christopher won the last Thomson 300 in 2005. Not only is the Icebreaker 125 important in its own right, but it also starts preparations for an event that is hallowed in Modified lore.
“The Icebreaker is always the big opener in New England to get back going and get started racing again, so I’m definitely looking forward to that,” two-time Modified Racing Series champion Chris Pasteryak said. “As for the season in general, the way I look at it is that the Thompson 300 is the biggest Modified race of the year. So the more laps we get at Thompson over the course of the year leading up to the 300, hopefully the better we can run in it.”
In-between the Icebreaker 125 and the Thompson 300 are four $5,000-to-win Wednesday night shows on June 16, July 7, August 11, and September 15. The Wednesday dates make it easy for teams to tackle the Thompson high banks without weekly or touring series conflicts.
In the meantime, all eyes are on the Icebreaker showdown. The event is 125 green-flag laps with teams allowed to use eight tires. Racers have to be fast and use the right strategy to stand in Victory Lane.
“I love it,” Oakdale, CT’s Zachem said of the 125-lap distance. “It’s a pit-stop race, so more or less, you are racing to halfway to figure out your pit stop situation. I’m looking forward to it. We’ve always run well over at Thompson.”
It’s definitely going to make a difference,” Moosup, CT’s Pasteryak added. “When you’re counting caution laps and you get to 50 or 60 laps to go, you normally only count on getting about 35 of them under green. Whereas now when you get to 50 or 60 to go, there’s still potentially a pretty long race left. And then you know that, if you have some tires left in the pit stall, or you want to try a strategy where you hold off and pit a little bit later, you know you’re going to have that many laps to actually try and race your way back to the front and not just ride around behind the pace car to finish the day.”
A total of 29 drivers have pre-entered the event, including Keith Rocco, Mike Christopher Jr., Eric Goodale, Andrew Krause, Patrick Emerling, and Jeff Gallup. The current entry list alone accounts for dozens of championships and hundreds of race wins. Several other teams have indicated they’ll be there, setting up a stacked field with many potential winners.
The Outlaw Open Modified Series is the brainchild of PASS’s Tom Mayberry and ACT’s Cris Michaud, who are co-promoting the Thompson Speedway oval track events this season. The duo put on two events at Thompson in 2020 and have banded together to carry on the track’s storied tradition.
Thompson Speedway opened in 1940 and was long known as the “Indianapolis of the East”, attracting every notable name in motorsports. Even today, the track is revered among the racing community. Drivers such as Ryan Preece, Harrison Burton, Bobby Santos III, and Derek Griffith have used Thompson victories as a springboard to national opportunities.
“What Cris Michaud and Tom Mayberry have done for Thompson is huge,” Zachem said. “Taking the chance last year to run the track, with everything going on with COVID…I started at the Little T Speedway in 2000 and everyone’s dream is to run the big track one day and I made it there. It’s really cool to see the track still going.”
Thompson Speedway opens its 82nd season with the annual Icebreaker on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11. Ten local and regional series go green at the two-day racing festival. Sunday’s card features the $10,000-to-win Icebreaker 125 for the Outlaw Open Modified Series. There’s also a 40-lap ACT-type Late Model shootout plus the Limited Sportsman and SK Light Modifieds. Post time is 1:15pm.
Saturday’s six-division card is highlighted by the Thompson 75 for the PASS North Super Late Models beginning at 1:00pm. They’re joined by the Sunoco Modifieds, NEMA LITES Midgets, EXIT Realty Pro Truck Challenge, Mini Stocks, and an 8-Cylinder Street Stock Open. An optional Test N’ Tune practice day is slated for Friday, April 9 for all Icebreaker divisions.
Adult general admission is $30 for Saturday and $35 for Sunday. Kids ages 12 and under are $10 each day. Advance tickets are available at https://happsnow.com/event/Thompson-Speedway-Motorsports-Park-YHPQ. Grandstand attendance is limited to 50% of capacity per Connecticut COVID-19 guidelines. Pit passes will be sold at the track.
Speed51.TV is also offering a live pay-per-view broadcast for both days of the Icebreaker. PPV passes are $29.99 for Saturday-only, $34.99 for Sunday-only, and $54.99 for both days.
OUTLAW OPEN MODIFIED SERIES ICEBREAKER 125
ENTRY LIST (as of April, 2021)
Car # Driver Hometown Team
1CT Patrick Emerling Orchard Park, NY Superior Refinishing/FK Rod Ends Fury M Camaro
3MA Matt Swanson Harvard, MA USNE Inc – Propane Plus
4MA Jeffrey Gallup Agawam, MA Ceravolo’s Auto/C&G Surfacing Specialists Chevy Camaro
4NH Trevor Bleau Troy, NH Xtreme Auto Body & Collision Spafco Modified
7NY Mike Christopher Jr. Wolcott, CT Mohawk Northeast Troyer TA3
8PA Earl Paules Palmerton, PA Adams Glass/BradCo
16CT Ron Silk Norwalk, CT Future Homes/Blue Mountain Machine Inc. Fury
16NJ Anthony Sesely Port Monmouth, NJ Kluth Motorsports Chevy Cavalier
18CT Max Zachem Oakdale, CT All Phases Renovations/Viper Graphics Chevy LFR
20CT Doug Coby Southington, CT Mayhew Tools/Sunset Acres Chevy Cavalier
24NJ Andrew Krause Holmdel, NJ Supreme Manufacturing TFR TA3
25CT Ronnie Williams Tolland, CT Cesella Snowplows/Mully’s Auto Reapir Troyer TA1
27MA Derek Robbie Bellingham, MA NH Oil Undercoating/Competitive Tire Chevy
31CT Noah Korner Avon, CT Midstate Site Development/HO Penn Troyer TA-3
44MA Bobby Santos III Franklin, MA Tino Corporation/Worldband Chevy Corvette
45MA Dan Meservey Brewster, MA PMG Marketing/Shell Chevy Troyer
46NY Craig Lutz Middle Island, NY Riverhead Building Supply/Lolly’s Hut LFR Chevy
50MA Carl Medieros Jr. Westport, MA Nu-Way Auto/R&M Machine Troyer Corvette
55CT Robert Bloxsom Stratford, CT Glastonbury Cleaning Service Ford Mustang
57CT Keith Rocco Berlin, CT M&M Stone Creations Troyer TA-4
58NY Eric Goodale Riverhead, NY GAF Roofing Chevy Camaro
60NH Andy Shaw Center Conway, NH KDW Landscaping Chevy
75CT Chris Pasteryak Moosup, CT Dawley Collison & Custom LFR Gen 1
79MA Jonathan McKennedy Chelmsford, MA Middlesex Interiors
81CT Josh Zentek East Haven, CT BOZ Racing Troyer Camaro
92MA Anthony Nocella Woburn, MA Nocella Paving/Airgas Raceworks
99MA Richard Savary Holbrook, MA Alloy Wheel Repair/Low Rider Depot Troyer
01NY Artie Pedersen III Center Moriches, NY Superior Welding/Meade’s Chassis Meade Corvette
06MA Sam Rameau Westminster, MA Central MASS Tree LFR Gen 2