Story By: KYLE SOUZA / THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK – THOMPSON, CT – The Outlaw Open Modified Series returns at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park this Wednesday, June 16 for the Nutmeg State 75 presented by Twisted Tea.
An all-star line-up is expected to hit the high banks with Berlin, CT’s Ryan Preece one of the biggest names who’s entered the $5,000-to-win main event.
Preece, a multi-time Sunoco Modified champion at Thompson Speedway, is in his third year of full-time NASCAR Cup Series competition. However, he still regularly hops in his Tour-type Modified owned by Ed and Connie Partridge for events all over the country. Earlier this season, he won the SMART Modified Tour event at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway. This coming weekend, he’ll take advantage of some off-time from the Cup car to run Modified events at Stafford Motor Speedway and Oswego Speedway, respectively.
Then, he’ll turn his attention to the Nutmeg State 75 presented by Twisted Tea. Preece has entered both that event and the Sam Adams Wicked Hazy IPA Spirit of 76 on July 7, meaning Thompson Speedway racing fans have two chances to watch their home-grown star in short order.
“I enjoy competing for wins and trying to get trophies,” Preece said. “I just built a shop, and I was hanging some trophies up and everything. The feeling you get of accomplishment for winning, there’s really nothing like it. Being able to come up and do some of those races and have that possibility is a lot of fun. I enjoy it — plus I enjoy racing Modifieds. It’s obviously what I come from doing, and these are all places that I grew up doing that weekly grind. So I’m excited to come to Thompson for these Wednesday shows. They seem like they’re going to turn into a big thing.”
Preece is just one of many big Tour-type Modified names who are planning to be at the June 16 shootout. Entries have been received from multi-time Modified Racing Series (MRS) and Supermodified champion Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, MA; many-time Thompson Speedway champion Keith Rocco of Berlin, CT, Stafford Motor Speedway Champion Ronnie Williams of Tolland, CT; and two-time MRS Champion Chris Pasteryak of Moosup, CT.
Fans can also expect former World Series Modified Open winner Mike Christopher Jr., rising young buck Matt Swanson, New Jersey invader Andrew Krause and Jeff Gallup. Brett Meservey is taking the wheel of the Meservy family Tour-type Modified, while longtime Thompson Limited Sportsman star Shawn Monahan has entered the Outlaw Open Modified show. Even more names will be added to the expected entry list in the days leading up to the event.
They’re all trying to dethrone Ronnie Silk, who won the Icebreaker 125 in the Outlaw Open Modified Series maiden voyage. The Wednesday events are 50 laps shorter, but all the key factors to a successful showing are still there, according to Preece.
“It’s 75 laps, but it’s 75 green-flag laps, and it’s a soft tire,” Preece said. “Track position is definitely going to be a big thing, but at the same time you need to save your tires, because you’re going to need them at the end. I’m looking forward to it. I know we have top-notch (equipment) provided by Eddie and Connie Partridge, so it’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be a great show.”
The Nutmeg State 75 is joined by all five of Thompson Speedway’s local divisions. The Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, Limited Sportsman, SK Light Modifieds, and Mini Stocks all have a full card of high-speed action. Local heroes such as Rocco, Troy Talman, Woody Pitkat, Ryan Morgan, Larry Barnett, and Anthony Bello are ready to do battle after a two-month hiatus.
Wednesday’s show is the first of four mid-week programs throughout the summer. The Thompson Speedway oval will also host six divisions of thrills on July 7, August 11, and September 15. All of Thompson’s Wednesday night races are presented by Boston Beer Company and Hartford Distributing. It’s all building up to the 59th World Series of Speedway Racing on October 8-10, which features the return of the $20,000-to-win Thompson 300 for the Outlaw Open Modified Series. Drivers who attempt to qualify for all six Outlaw Open events in 2021 will be provisional-eligible at the Thompson 300, giving them one more reason to be at the track every month.
Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway roars to life next Wednesday, June 16 at 6:00pm with the Nutmeg State 75 presented by Twisted Tea. The Outlaw Open Modified Series is going for $5,000 to win as part of a card that also includes the Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, Limited Sportsman, SK Light Modifieds, and Mini Stocks.
General admission is $30 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6-12, and free for kids ages 5 and under.