Story By: KYLE SOUZA / THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK – THOMPSON, CT – Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park is just over three weeks away from opening the 2021 Northeast Auto Racing season with the annual Icebreaker. The headlining $10,000-to-win Icebreaker 125 on Sunday, April 11 continues to draw buzz and big names as the entry list grows leading up to the event.
Nearly 30 Tour-type Modified teams have registered for the debut of the Outlaw Open Modified Series. Even more are expected by the time the first green flag falls for qualifying. The list includes former track and series champions, many multi-time winners, and rising stars looking to start the season with a bang.
To no one’s surprise, a huge contingent of racers from the “Modified Country” of Southern New England have entered. Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champions Doug Coby of Milford, CT; Bobby Santos III of Franklin, MA; and Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, CT are among the biggest names preparing for the season-opener.
Other touring series champions on the entry list are Chelmsford, MA’s Jon McKennedy; Moosup, CT’s Chris Pasteryak; and Woborn, MA’s Anthony Nocella. Although NASCAR Cup Series regular Ryan Preece has not officially entered the Icebreaker, he has publicly expressed his interest in competing.
Plenty of weekly Modified warriors are also ready for the long-distance challenge. They include Berlin, CT’s Keith Rocco, a seven-time Thompson Speedway champion, and Tolland, CT’s Ronnie Williams, a two-time SK Modified champion at Stafford Motor Speedway. With 125 green-flag laps on the card, many factors will play into who ultimately takes home the big check.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of different strategies in this type of race,” Williams said. “I think a lot of guys will be pushing hard in the early laps of the race. It’s the start of a new season, and a lot of guys haven’t raced yet. I’m expecting a strong run out there. The No. 25 with Gary Casella always runs well at Thompson.”
“You just have to play your cards right with all of the pit strategy and 125 laps that are all green flag laps,” Rocco added. “Fuel is probably going to play a role in it for this one, too. There are a lot of aspects that are going to be part of trying to win the race. We always do really well in the open shows, from the SK Modifieds to the Tour Modifieds. Hopefully, we’ll come out of the box strong to start the season.”
However, the hunger for victory isn’t just limited to Connecticut and Massachusetts. Racers from six different Northeast states already entered the Icebreaker 125, giving the event a regional flavor that speaks to its appeal among the Modified ranks.
New Hampshire racers Andy Shaw (Center Conway) and Trevor Bleau (Troy) live in an area typically dominated by Late Model-type cars. However, they’re ready to make Modifieds the Granite State headliner for at least one day. Riverhead, NY’s Eric Goodale is one of several drivers who are expected to do double-duty with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway. Goodale’s fellow Long Islander Artie Peterson III is also representing the Empire State.
Anthony Sesely is making the trip to Thompson from Port Monmouth, NJ. Earl Paules has an even long drive from Palmerton, PA. Patrick Emerling has the current “long haul” award, though, with a 432-mile journey each way from Orchard Park, NY to drive Ted Anderson’s #1CT.
The Icebreaker 125 is the first event in the new Outlaw Open Modified Series. A quartet of $5,000-to-win Wednesday events are scheduled for June 16, July 7, August 11, and September 15. The season concludes with the return of the Thompson 300, a $20,000-to-win event on October 9 and 10 as part of the annual World Series of Speedway Racing.
Drivers can still register for the Icebreaker 125. Outlaw Open Modified Series entry forms and rules are available at www.acttour.com/outlaw-open-modifieds. General event Information can be found at www.acttour.com/thompson-speedway.
Thompson Speedway opens its 82nd season with the annual Icebreaker on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11. A total of 10 divisions will compete across two days of racing. 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.
Saturday’s six-division card is highlighted by the season-opening Thompson 75 for the PASS North Super Late Models. 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 with all Icebreaker divisions welcome.
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.
OUTLAW OPEN MODIFIED SERIES ICEBREAKER 125
ENTRY LIST (as of March 18, 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
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
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