RPW Column: The Champ Trail; Changes Ahead At Thompson, Rocco Gets ARCA West Start & More…

RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – It appears that NASCAR is out and ACT and PASS are in at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in 2021.

“We were very satisfied with how the Thompson 150 and World Series went in 2020, and those events showed the appetite is still there for racing in eastern Connecticut,” PASS owner Tom Mayberry said. “With those events to build on, we think the excitement for Thompson Speedway is going to be even bigger in 2021.”

The American-Canadian Tour (ACT) and the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) have announced a six-event schedule for the coming season that features the new Thompson Outlaw Open Modified Series. The Outlaw Open Series consists of half a dozen high-paying events for Tour-type Modifieds that are expected to attract the top teams in the region. The series begins at the 46th annual Thompson Icebreaker from Friday, April 9 to Sunday, April 11. A 150-lap, $10,000-to-win Outlaw Open Series event will highlight the weekend card. The stakes get even higher at the season-ending 59th annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing from Friday, October 8 to Sunday, October 10. ACT and PASS have organized the return of the historic Thompson 300, which was last contested in 2005. A $20,000 minimum prize has been posted for the winner of the 300-lap showdown. In addition, ACT and PASS are selling $50 lap sponsorships for the Thompson 300. All laps that are sold will award the full $50 to the leader of that lap. This means a driver could earn up to $35,000 that weekend.

Four other events are scheduled in-between the Icebreaker and World Series. The additional race dates are Wednesday, June 16; Wednesday, July 7; Wednesday, August 11; and Wednesday, September 8. These dates were chosen to minimize conflict with other tracks and series in the region, allowing teams and fans to attend as many events as they wish. The Outlaw Open Series features at the Wednesday events will pay at least $5,000-to-win and potentially more. Furthermore, drivers and teams that attempt to qualify for all six events will be eligible for potential provisional starting spots at the Thompson 300. Evidently the reincarnated Thompson 300 will be run as part of the World Series. It is the opinion of many that the Thompson 300 should be a stand alone event as it takes most of one day to qualify and run the event and if run in conjunction with the World Series the length of the overall program will take away the quality of the event..

Thompson Speedway’s local divisions will also be part of all six events, including the Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, Limited Sportsmen/Street Stocks, SK Light Modifieds, and Mini Stocks. Although details are still being finalized, ACT and PASS officials hope to organize special events for the local divisions throughout the summer, giving each class a chance in the spotlight.

American-Canadian Tour (ACT) and Pro All Stars Series (PASS) officials have also confirmed the dates for the inaugural Northeast Classic at Loudon’s New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The long-awaited event will be held on the weekend of April 16-18, 2021.

The event schedule for 2021 is expected to be much the same as what was planned for 2020. A five-division card includes the PASS North Super Late Models, ACT Late Model Tour, a Tour-Type Modified Open, an 8-Cylinder Street Stock Open, and the North East Mini Stock Tour.

Multiple New England tracks where the Whelen Modified Tour visited in 2020 will not be on the schedule for 2021, Thompson included. NASCAR is currently negotiating with other tracks and

It’s expected the schedule picture will become clearer in the next two weeks.

On the list of some potential new tracks: NASCAR has been in discussion with Lancaster Speedway about a potential 2021 date. NASCAR has also talked to Monadnock & White Mountain, two tracks that held dates in 2020, but nothing has been confirmed.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour announced two major dates for the 2021 schedule Sunday afternoon: Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway. The tour will return to Martinsville at night on Thursday, April 8 And it will return to Richmond under the lights on Friday, Sept. 10.

Tracks expected back on the schedule in 2021 include Jennerstown Speedway, South Boston Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Oswego Speedway and Riverhead Raceway.

All things considered; the Stafford Motor Speedway just completed a very successful season. Nothing as yet from them. Hopefully a second annual Tri Track event will be on the schedule (non NASCAR)as well as their traditional bill of fare including the Spring Sizzler and Fall Final.

Keith Rocco will make his ARCA Menards West Series debut in the Arizona Lottery 100 this coming Saturday, on November 7 at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Az. This event will be shown live on NBC TrackPass at 2:00pm est.

The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island closed out the regular season on Saturday night. Chris Young was the NASCAR Modified winner. Kyle Soper finished second with Dylan Soper, third. Kyle Elwood and Tom Rogers rounded out the top five. Rogers was declared the NASCAR Modified Track Champion.

Coming up next week will be the Islip 300 by East West Marine at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Being part of the 300 is indeed sentimental for car owner Baldwin whose late father “Tiger” Tom Baldwin was in the field for the inaugural All Star 300 @ Islip Speedway. New Englander Jim Landry of Epping, NH won an All Star 300.

Starting out as a dirt fairground track for horses, the Stafford Motor Speedway rose to become one of the most prominent forces in New England Stock Car Racing. Cars began racing at Stafford in 1940 and NASCAR has sanctioned the facility since 1959. Clarence Benton sold the speedway to Malcom Barlow who paved the track in early 1967. Barlow went broke in mid 1970 and leased the track to Jack Arute who, along with his brother Chuck, bought the speedway in 1971.

The all new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it in the all new book. Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal181(877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now.

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