Story By: KYLE SOUZA / THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK – THOMPSON, CT – Norwalk, CT’s Ron Silk took advantage of a late caution flag to snag the $10,000 top prize in the Icebreaker 125 at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Saturday, April 10.
Silk took the lead from Berlin, CT’s Keith Rocco with 12 laps remaining and was the inaugural winner of the new Outlaw Open Modified Series at the Icebreaker nightcap.
It was the first-ever Tour-type Modified victory for Haydt Yannone Racing and came at the end of a night where Silk went up and down the running order like a yo-yo. The former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion kept fighting, though, and triumphed at the Icebreaker for the first time since 2012.
Rocco started on the pole and lead the first seven laps before Enfield, CT’s Ronnie Williams took over. Williams paced the field until a mandatory fuel stop at lap 30. During that stop, Silk’s team was penalized for unauthorized use of equipment. Silk was sent to rear and pitted again for adjustments before the field went back to green.
“My car really wasn’t too good at that point,” Silk said of the penalty. “I was too free anyway, so it might have been a little bit of a blessing. I was kind of hanging onto third at that point, so it was good to come in and get a little bit of an adjustment and figure out that we still needed to go for more when we put (the new) tires on at the end.”
At the front, Williams surrendered the lead back to Rocco on lap 42 before Chelmsford, MA’s Jon McKennedy took the point 10 circuits later. When the sixth yellow flew at lap 55 for Artie Pedersen’s spin, many of the leaders pitted for fresh tires and/or adjustments, leaving McKennedy and Rocco as the only drivers who hadn’t made at least one non-fuel stop.
Riverhead, NY’s Eric Goodale, the recent Martinsville Speedway winner, snatched the lead from McKennedy on lap 58 with Silk not far behind. Williams was flying through the field, though, and went to the front again with 67 laps in the books.
The next trio of cautions greatly changed the event’s cousin. A debris caution on lap 73 led to McKennedy, Rocco, Goodale, and others heading to the pits. But one lap after the restart, the filed got stacked up entering turn one. McKennedy, Goodale, and Chris Pasteryak ended up piling into the wall to bring out the red flag.
Williams and Sam Rameau then pulled away before the ninth yellow on lap 89 when Anthony Sesely and Andrew Krause tangled in turn two. Another en masse visit to the pits followed, with Rocco leading the herd onto the track in fourth. Meanwhile, Williams and Silk took the green in 10th and 11th, respectively.
Rocco made short work on the restart to take the lead from J.B. Fortin on lap 91. Craig Lutz and Williams navigated their way through the field, and with laps winding down, it looked like a three-car shootout for the win. Lutz had gotten up to fourth well back of the lead trio.
But on the 113th circuit, Bobby Santos III spun to bring out the 10th and final caution. Silk saw his opportunity and went for it, jumping from fourth to second on the restart and then diving beneath Rocco in turn three one lap later, with Rocco making an unsuccessful crossover attempt. Silk kept the field at bay from there, leading the final 12 laps for the Icebreaker win.
“It’s cool to say you won the first Open race in this new structure here, and 10 Grand is always great,” Silk said. “(This team has) put a lot of effort and money into this, so it’s good to get them some results.”
Rocco finished second after winning the Sunoco Modified feature earlier in the day. Santos put on fresh tires after his spin and tore through the field to take third. Lutz, Williams, Rameau, Matt Swanson, Sesely, Mike Christopher Jr., and Patrick Emerling completed the top-10.
Warwick, MA’s Tom Carey III pulled away late to win the 40-lap Late Model feature. Carey started sixth and was challenging N. Dartmouth, MA’s Derek Gluchacki when the third caution flew on lap eight for Paul Heard’s front stretch spin. It was part of a calamitous start that also Jason Larivee Jr. and Donald Macrino scale the turn-three wall in an earlier incident.
Carey put the nose out front on the third restart just before another yellow for Kevin Bowe. This time, when the green flew, Carey and Gluchacki spent multiple laps swapping paint before Carey finally gained the upper hand. Once the field finally got a long green-flag run, Carey’s Chevrolet truly came to life as he steadily extended the margin.
The fifth and final yellow for a turn-two spin by Charles H. Bailey IV set up a seven-lap dash for cash. On the restart, North Franklin, CT’s Ryan Morgan wound it up on the outside and went from fourth to second. Gluchacki then tried to get back at Morgan, which gave Carey the cushion he needed to take the victory and a $1,200 payday. It was Carey’s second straight Late Model Icebreaker win.
“I’m lucky enough to have two of these (Icebreaker wins) now,” Carey said after the event. “It’s huge, man. This event has always been a stable to kick off the season in New England. I’m just honored, really, to win at a historic track like Thompson — a track that I really love and always have since I was a little kid.”
Morgan held on for the runner-up spot. Gluchacki completed the podium followed by Woody Pitkat and Rick Gentes. Matthew Lowinski-Loh, Corey Fanning, Charles H. Bailey III, Nicolas Johnson, and Mark Jenison rounded out the top-10.
Moosup, CT’s Larry Barnett found his way to Thompson’s Victory Lane for the first time since 2017 in the 25-lap Limited Sportsmen feature. Barnett was running fourth on lap seven when Kyle Gero and Ryan Waterman tangled in turn two racing for lead. Troy Waterman had nowhere to go and piled into Gero, severely damaging both cars.
Corey Fanning and Barnett inherited the front row for the restart, with Barnett getting the jump on the restart. Barnett, Fanning, and Brent Gleason then broke away from the pack before Gleason went to work on Fanning for second, allowing Barnett to stretch his lead out.
One more caution on lap 20 for Jeffrey VanPelt’s spin re-racked the field for a sprint to the finish. Barnett took charge again and rolled to another victory on the Thompson high banks.
Fanning held off Gleason by a few feet to finish second. Ryan Waterman recovered from the lap-7 incident to finish fourth. Scott Sundeen, Douglas Curry, Nicholas Hovey, Michael Malbaurn, Tommy Shea, and Aaron Plemons completed the top-10.
Newtown, CT’s Anthony Bello saved his best for last to capture the SK Light Modified feature by a whisker. Bello spent most of the 25-lap event stalking Danbury, CT’s George Bessette Jr., who had led from the outside pole. As many as six cars raced under a blanket with a minor spin on lap three being the only thing to slow them down.
Bello looked to Bessette’s inside midway through the race, but nothing was doing. Coming into turn three for the final time, though, Bello swept by Bessette on the inside. Bessette pulled the crossover move off turn four and the two drag-raced to the finish line. At the checkered flag, Bello was ahead by just 0.023 seconds to claim victory.
Bessette settled for a heartbreaking second followed by Albert Ouellette in third. Wayne Burroughs Jr., Steven Chapman, Shawn Thibeault, Nathan Pytho, Josh Carey, Paul Charette, and John O’Sullivan III came home fourth through 10th.
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park resumes its 2021 oval track season on Wednesday, June 16. The Outlaw Open Modified Series races for $5,000 to win in the Nutmeg State 75. The Sunoco Modifieds, Thompson Late Models, Limited Sportsmen, SK Light Modifieds, and Mini Stocks join them on the card. Post time, pricing, and other information will be announced in the coming weeks.
THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK
THOMPSON ICEBREAKER — NIGHT SESSION
SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 2021
OUTLAW OPEN MODIFIED SERIES ICEBREAKER 125
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 3 ) Ron Silk ( 16CT ) Norwalk, CT , 125 Laps
2. ( 1 ) Keith Rocco ( 57CT ) Berlin, CT , 125 Laps
3. ( 11 ) Bobby Santos III ( 44MA ) Franklin, MA , 125 Laps
4. ( 2 ) Craig Lutz ( 46NY ) Middle Island, NY , 125 Laps
5. ( 5 ) Ronnie Williams ( 25CT ) Tolland, CT , 125 Laps
6. ( 12 ) Sam Rameau ( 06MA ) Westminster, MA , 125 Laps
7. ( 6 ) Matt Swanson ( 3MA ) Harvard, MA , 125 Laps
8. ( 20 ) Anthony Sesely ( 16NJ ) Port Monmouth, NJ , 125 Laps
9. ( 17 ) Mike Christopher Jr. ( 7NY ) Wolcott, CT , 125 Laps
10. ( 10 ) Patrick Emerling ( 1CT ) Orchard Park, NY , 125 Laps
11. ( 22 ) J.B. Fortin ( 84NY ) Holtsville, NY , 125 Laps
12. ( 15 ) Anthony Nocella ( 92MA ) Woburn, MA , 125 Laps
13. ( 21 ) Jeffrey Gallup ( 4MA ) Agawam, MA , 125 Laps
14. ( 18 ) Todd Owen ( 81MA ) Somers, CT , 116 Laps
15. ( 7 ) Andrew Krause ( 24NJ ) Holmdel, NJ , 92 Laps
16. ( 19 ) Richard Savary ( 99MA ) Holbrook, MA , 91 Laps
17. ( 4 ) Chris Pasteryak ( 75CT ) Moosup, CT , 74 Laps
18. ( 8 ) Eric Goodale ( 58NY ) Riverhead, NY , 74 Laps
19. ( 9 ) Jonathan McKennedy ( 79MA ) Chelmsford, MA , 74 Laps
20. ( 24 ) Artie Pedersen III ( 01NY ) Center Moriches, NY , 55 Laps
21. ( 14 ) Noah Korner ( 31CT ) Avon, CT , 52 Laps
22. ( 16 ) Dan Meservey ( 45MA ) Brewster, MA , 34 Laps
23. ( 13 ) Max Zachem ( 18CT ) Oakdale, CT , 18 Laps
24. ( 23 ) Andy Shaw ( 60NH ) Center Conway, NH , 4 Laps
25. ( 25 ) Trevor Bleau ( 4NH ) Troy, NH , 4 Laps
DNS Carl Medieros Jr. ( 50MA ) Westport, MA
DNS Derek Robbie ( 27MA ) Bellingham, MA
DNS Josh Zentek ( 81CT ) East Haven, CT
DNS Robert Bloxsom ( 55CT ) Stratford, CT
Lap Leaders: Keith Rocco, 1-7; Ronnie Williams, 8-41; Rocco, 42-51; Jonathan McKennedy, 52-57; Eric Goodale, 58-66; Williams, 67-89; J.B. Fortin, 90; Rocco, 91-113; Ron Silk, 114-125. (8 lead changes among 6 drivers)
Time of Race: 1 hour, 19 minutes, 49 seconds Margin of Victory: 0.772 seconds
Cautions: 10 (laps 4, 18, 18, 30, 33, 55, 73, 74 [red], 89, 112)
Heat Winners: Keith Rocco, Eric Goodale, Jonathan McKennedy
Consi Winner: Anthony Sesely
ACT-TYPE LATE MODELS
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. ( 6 ) Tom Carey III ( 5MA ) Warwick , MA
2. ( 3 ) Ryan Morgan ( 31CT ) North Franklin , CT
3. ( 2 ) Derek Gluchacki ( 03MA ) No. Dartmouth , MA
4. ( 5 ) Woody Pitkat ( 91CT ) Bellingham , MA
5. ( 4 ) Rick Gentes ( 70 ) Harrisville , RI
6. ( 11 ) Matthew Lowinski-Loh ( 17 ) Milford , MA
7. ( 17 ) Corey Fanning ( 11 ) Mapleville , RI
8. ( 13 ) Charles H. Bailey III ( 94CT ) Lisbon , CT
9. ( 15 ) Nicholas Johnson ( 6 ) Rehoboth , MA
10. ( 9 ) Mark Jenison ( 22RI ) Warwick , RI
11. ( 18 ) Paul Heard ( 32 ) Lisbon , CT
12. ( 8 ) Ryan Waterman ( 75 ) Danielson , CT
13. ( 1 ) Shawn Monahan ( 55 ) Waterford , CT
14. ( 7 ) Brian Tagg ( 9MA ) Oxford , MA
15. ( 14 ) Mike Benevides ( 50RI ) Westerly , RI
16. ( 20 ) Charles H. Bailey IV ( 4CT ) Lisbon , CT
17. ( 16 ) Kevin Bowe ( 28RI ) Smithfield , RI
18. ( 10 ) Jason Larivee Jr. ( 70RI ) West Greenwich , RI
19. ( 12 ) Donald A. Macrino ( 13 ) Waterford , CT
20. ( 19 ) Glenn Boss ( 3 ) Danielson , CT
DNS Joseph Parker ( 60MA ) Weymouth , MA
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Lawrence P. Barnett ( 73 ) Moosup , CT
2. Corey Fanning ( 47 ) Mapleville , RI
3. Brent Gleason ( 01 ) Griswold , CT
4. Ryan Waterman ( 24 ) Danielson , CT
5. Scott Sundeen ( 36 ) Sutton , MA
6. Douglas Curry ( 2 ) Bosrah , CT
7. Nicholas Hovey ( 16 ) Chaplin , CT
8. Michael Malbaurn ( 64 ) Moosup , CT
9. Tommy Shea ( 45 ) Somers , CT
10. Aaron Plemons ( 67 ) Uncasville , CT
11. Jeffery VanPelt ( 13 ) Johnston , RI
12. Charles H. Scott III ( 10 ) Medway , MA
13. Doug Benoit ( 2X ) Swansea , MA
14. Kevin Mason ( 37 ) West Warwick , RI
15. Kristopher Kay ( 8 ) Dudley , MA
16. Zachary Mead ( 25X ) Putnam , CT
17. Edward Flanagan, Jr ( 5 ) Warwick , RI
18. Al Stone III ( 52 ) Durham , CT
19. Jon Porter ( 38 ) East Lyme , CT
20. Kyle Gero ( 19CT ) Baltic , CT
21. Troy Waterman ( 75 ) Danielson , CT
22. Brandon Houghton ( 57 ) Thompson , CT
SK LIGHT MODIFIEDS
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Anthony Bello ( 2 ) Newtown , CT
2. George Bessette, Jr ( 39 ) Danbury , CT
3. Albert Ouellette ( 151 ) Ellington , CT
4. Wayne Burroughs, Jr ( 32 ) Colchester , CT
5. Steven Chapman ( 14 ) Ellington , CT
6. Shawn Thibeault ( 56 ) North Windham , CT
7. Nathan G. Pytho ( 24 ) Oxford , MA
8. Josh Carey ( 69 ) Belchertown , MA
9. Paul Charette ( 28 ) Woodstock , CT
10. John O’Sullivan III ( 15 ) Norwich , CT
11. Jason Paquette ( 94 ) Baltic , CT
12. Michael Mitchell ( 40 ) Cumberland , RI
13. Peter Lopuch ( 71 ) Redding , CT
14. Glenn Korner ( 27 ) Bloomfield , CT
15. Steve Kenneway ( 26 ) Lowell , MA
DNS Cameron Houle ( 05 ) Clinton , MA