Story By: KYLE SOUZA / THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK – THOMPSON, CT – More than 125 cars visited the grounds of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Friday for a practice session ahead of the season-opening Icebreaker on Saturday, April 10.
A mix of drivers from 10 different divisions turned out to tune their rides in for what will be a busy Saturday to open the season at Thompson.
Due to weather, the original Sunday program will be run on Saturday night, following a full day of planned Saturday action. Tickets will be available for purchase at the track.
As the Outlaw Open Modified Series began final preparation for the Icebreaker 125 — which is worth $10,000 to the winner — a handful of cars were at Thompson on Friday for practice. Posting the fastest timed lap of the day, and leading most of the practice rounds was Tolland, Connecticut, native Ronnie Williams. Driving for Gary Casella, Williams posted a fast time of 18.428 seconds around the .625-mile oval. The two-time Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified champion will be a threat on Saturday evening. Names like Anthony Nocella, Bobby Santos III and multiple-time track champion and winner Keith Rocco also found their way near the top of the speed charts on Friday.
Set to open the Challenge Cup on Saturday evening, the Late Model field, which approached 20 for a practice day, included a fast lap by Derek Gluchacki, driving the No. 03 All Phases Renovations machine. Gluchacki, the 2020 American-Canadian Tour Rookie of the Year, has one previous Thompson win, at the Sunoco World Series in 2019. He was joined near the top by Tom Carey III, Woody Pitkat, who swept both races at Thompson last year, and longtime competitors Mark Jension and Rick Gentes.
The stars of the Pro All Star Series, with a field over 20 expected, practiced with Derek Griffith posting the fastest lap of the day. Griffith is coming off an impressive performance in Hickory, North Carolina, where he swept a weekend of PASS competition at Hickory Motor Speedway last weekend. Rising star Jake Johnson and former PASS champions Johnny Clark and Ben Rowe also showed speed under the hood.
Ryan Waterman, who won both Limited Sportsman events at Thompson last year, comfortably posted the fastest lap of the day for the division. He will be joined by a stout list of competitors, many of which will double-dip and compete in the $1,000 to win, 8-Cylinder Open Street Stock feature. Names to watch in the Open race include Christopher Buffone, who won the event at the World Series in 2020.
Thompson’s own Sunoco Modifieds roared back to life with names like Danny Cates, Keith Rocco, Todd Owen and Troy Talman showing the way inside the top-five. In the SK Light Modifieds, Nathan Pytko, Steven Chapman, John O’Sullivan and Wayne Burroughs Jr were among some of the fastest in the field.
The EXIT Realty Pro Truck Series and Mini Stock drivers also ran practice laps on Friday. The stars of the NEMA Lites will be heading to Thompson for the race day on Saturday to wrap the 10 division card.
Thompson Speedway opens its 82nd season with the annual Icebreaker on Saturday, April 10.
Two separate cards of thrilling action are planned. The Saturday afternoon card begins at 12:00pm with the PASS Super Late Models, Sunoco Modifieds, NEMA LITES Midgets, EXIT Realty Pro Truck Challenge, Mini Stocks, and an 8-Cylinder Street Stock Open.
At 5:30pm on Saturday night, the $10,000-to-win Icebreaker 125 for the Outlaw Open Modified Series takes center stage. There’s also a 40-lap Late Model shootout plus the Limited Sportsman and SK Light Modifieds. An optional Test N’ Tune practice day is slated for Friday, April 9.
Adult general admission is $30 for Saturday afternoon and $35 for Saturday night. Kids ages 12 and under are $10 for each program. 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 after, $34.99 for Saturday night, and $54.99 for the full program.