Story By: KYLE SOUZA / THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK – THOMPSON, CT – Tolland, CT’s Ronnie Williams found some late magic to win the Truly Lemonade Hard Seltzer Midsummer 75 at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday.
Williams took the lead from Chelmsford, MA’s Jon McKennedy with 17 laps remaining and got stronger as the race wound down to grab the $5,000 victor’s paycheck for the Outlaw Open Modified Series.
The multi-time SK Modified champion started on the outside pole after both he and Keith Rocco earned three passing points in their qualifying heat. However, Williams spent the first portion of the event running in the second pack as Rocco, Ryan Preece, and Matt Swanson set a torrid pace. After Rocco led the first 13 laps, Preece was on the good end of a crossover three-pack to nab the point entering turn one.
Preece started to pull away around the halfway mark while McKennedy went on the march. McKennedy started at the back after failing to finish his qualifying heat but was up to the third spot with less than 35 laps to go. Just as McKennedy reached Rocco’s rear bumper with 46 laps complete, Andrew Charron and Brett Meservey got wadded up in turn two to bring out the race’s only caution flag.
All lead-lap cars went to the pits during the yellow for a fresh right rear tire and adjustments. McKennedy’s team was one of those that also switched the left front and left rear tires with each other. This dropped them back to fifth on the restart behind Preece, Rocco, Chris Pasteryak, and Eric Goodale. Williams was alongside McKennedy in sixth place.
When the green flag came back out, both McKennedy and Williams went right to work. McKennedy rumbled to third within a lap and spent several circuits inside Rocco with Williams knocking on the door. After McKennedy finally cleared Rocco, he set his sights on Preece, dipping below him entering turn three on the 55th circuit to take over the lead.
However, McKennedy’s time on top was short-lived. The Gary Casella team had made the right moves for Williams during the pit stop, and he couldn’t be stopped. Williams drove below McKennedy to get the lead on lap 58 with McKennedy unsuccessfully trying to cross him over in turn one.
From there, Williams went into beast mode. As Preece dropped back with an ill-handling car, Williams went into overdrive, running his fastest lap of the race on lap 64. With no spins or other speed bumps to slow him down, Williams marched to the $5,000 payday in front of an impressive crowd.
McKennedy kept Swanson at bay over the final laps to finish second. Rocco ended up fourth followed by Pasteryak, Goodale, Preece, Tyler Barry, Paul LaPlante, and Charron. Swanson and Preece were the heat race winners.
Warwick, RI’s Mark Jenison went pole-to-pole to capture the $1,200 top prize in the 25-lap Thompson Late Model feature. Jenison got an early challenge from former champion Woody Pitkat, who got inside Jenison exiting turn four as the field completed the fifth circuit. The pair ran wheel-to-wheel for a lap and a half before Pitkat got loose exiting turn two, who allowed Jenison to surge back in front.
That scare seemed to energize Jenison, who pulled away down the stretch of the caution-free event. While a four-car battle developed for second, none of them could mobilize a challenge for Jenison, who scored the victory to make a big gain in the point standings.
Bellingham, MA’s Pitkat bested the fight for second followed by Nicholas Johnson, Ryan Morgan, and Dereck Gluchacki. Rick Gentes took sixth after going to a back-up car following qualifying. Brian Tagg, Matthew Lowinski-Loh, Mike Benevides, and Tom Carey III completed the top-10.
Danielson, CT’s Ryan Waterman took a different course than his norm en route to the Vandi Auto Supply Limited Sportsman feature win. The man known for late-race charges instead wen to the front early, diving underneath Johnston, RI’s Jeffrey Van Pelt to take the lead four laps into the 20-lap feature.
As “Leadfoot” Larry Barnett battled Van Pelt for second and Brent Gleason worked on Corey Fanning for fourth, Waterman took advantage to pull off into the sunset. Moosup, CT’s Barnett eventually got the second position with four laps to go but did not have time to close the gap on the eventual winner.
Gleason also slid past Van Pelt in the closing stages for third. Fanning took fifth followed by Scott Sundeen, Troy Waterman, Nicholas Hovey, Charles Stott III, and Aaron Plemons.
Woodstock, CT’s Paul “Buddy” Charette went back-to-back in the SK Light Modifieds. Charette started fourth for the 20-lap feature and spent the early stages watching Anthony Bello work over leader John O’Sullivan III. Bello tried to divebomb O’Sullivan on the third circuit but ended up falling back to fourth as Jonathan Puleo and Charette flew by.
Puleo was able to make the turn-three move work on lap seven to take the top spot with Charette following him through. Charette then ducked inside Puleo entering the first turn two laps later only for Puleo to pull the crossover on the back chute. The next time Charette got a chance in the same spot, he took advantage, securing the lead with eight laps to go.
Newtown, CT’s Bello jumped through the open door to take second, setting up a potential duel between the 2021 winners. Once Charette got out front, though, his car was on a rail, and he walked away down the stretch for his second straight victory.
Norwich, CT’s O’Sullivan muscled under Puelo on the final lap to complete the podium. Albert Ouellette also squeaked past Puelo at the checkered flag for fourth, leaving Puelo to settle for fifth.
Plymouth, MA’s Paul Newcomb put on a clinic to win his second 8-Cylinder Street Stock Open event at Thompson Speedway. The veteran let Lee USA Speedway point leader Jimmy Renfrew Jr. set the early pace in the 20-lap feature before closing right back up to him. Coming into turn three on lap six, Newcomb out-braked Renfrew Jr. and swung through on the bottom for the lead.
Renfrew then got into a tug of war with Corey Fanning for the second spot. The duo spent five laps racing side-by-each before Fanning finally cleared Renfrew. That allowed Newcomb to glide away and pick up another $1,000 payday. Fanning took second with Renfrew third. Larry Barnett and Ryan Waterman completed the top-five.
Sterling, CT’s Jared Roy picked up his second win of the year in the Thompson Mini Stocks. Dave Trudeau held the early lead in the 15-lap feature as a four-car battle developed between him, Steven Michalski, Roy, and Eric Bourgeois. As the field entered turn one on the sixth circuit, Trudeau’s right-front tire blew. The leader smacked the wall hard from the outside groove with Mitch Bombard piling in to end both their nights.
That handed Michalski the lead with Roy in second. Michalski chose the high line for the restart, but Roy made the low side work, leading lap six by a hair and clearing Michalski a circuit later after contact at the start-finish line. East Haddam, CT’s Eric Bourgeois snagged the second spot a few laps later only to see Roy getting smaller and smaller in his windshield as the veteran took the victory.
Plainfield, CT’s Russell Barboza ended up third after Michalski’s car shut down with less than three laps remaining. Kevin Moore and Evan Bourgeois rounded out the top-five.
The Wednesday racing series at Thompson Speedway wraps up with the Tripoint Showdown 75 presented by Twisted Tea on Wednesday, September 15 at 6:00pm. The Outlaw Open Modified Series has another $5,000-to-win showdown with some of the biggest names in Tour-type Modifieds expected. They’ll be joined by a slate of Thompson’s local racing divisions. Admission is $30 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6-12, and free for kids ages 5 and under.
THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK — Thompson, CT
TRULY LEMONADE HARD SELTZER MIDSUMMER 75
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2021
OUTLAW OPEN MODIFIED SERIES
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 2 ) Ronnie Williams ( 25 ) Tolland, CT , 75 Laps
2. ( 13 ) Jonathan McKennedy ( 79 ) Chelmsford, MA , 75 Laps
3. ( 3 ) Matt Swanson ( 3MA ) Harvard, MA , 75 Laps
4. ( 1 ) Keith Rocco ( 57 ) Berlin, CT , 75 Laps
5. ( 6 ) Chris Pasteryak ( 75CT ) Moosup, CT , 75 Laps
6. ( 10 ) Eric Goodale ( 58 ) Riverhead, NY , 75 Laps
7. ( 4 ) Ryan Preece ( 6NY ) Berlin, CT , 75 Laps
8. ( 11 ) Tyler Barry ( 21 ) Griswold, CT , 74 Laps
9. ( 9 ) Paul LaPlante ( 02 ) Scituate, RI , 71 Laps
10. ( 8 ) Andrew Charron ( 31 ) Southold, CT , 46 Laps
11. ( 14 ) Brett Meservey ( 45 ) Brewster, MA , 46 Laps
12. ( 5 ) David Sapienza ( 36 ) Riverhead, NY , 30 Laps
13. ( 7 ) Josh Zentek ( 81X ) East Haven, CT , 29 Laps
14. ( 12 ) Rob Richardi Jr. ( 12MA ) Taunton, MA , 24 Laps
Lap Leaders: Keith Rocco, 1-13; Ryan Preece, 14-54; Jon McKennedy, 55-57; Ronnie Williams, 58-75. ( lead changes among drivers)
Time of Race: 28 minutes, 54 seconds Margin of Victory: 1.143 seconds
Cautions: 1 (lap 46)
Heat Winners: Matt Swanson, Ryan Preece
THOMPSON LATE MODELS
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Mark Jenison ( 22RI ) Warwick , R
2. Woody Pitkat ( 91CT ) Bellingham , MA
3. Nicholas Johnson ( 6 ) Rehoboth , MA
4. Ryan Morgan ( 31CT ) North Franklin , CT
5. Derek Gluchacki ( 03MA ) No. Dartmouth , MA
6. Rick Gentes ( 70 ) Harrisville , RI
7. Brian Tagg ( 9MA ) Oxford , MA
8. Matthew Lowinski-Loh ( 17 ) Milford , MA
9. Mike Benevides ( 50RI ) Westerly , RI
10. Tom Carey III ( 5MA ) Warwick , MA
11. Chase Curtis ( 88 ) Rutland , MA
12. Charles H. Bailey IV ( 4CT ) Lisbon , CT
13. Jake Johnson ( 9CT ) Rehoboth , MA
DNS Jaret Curtis ( 33 ) Rutland , MA
DNS Charles H. Bailey III ( 94CT ) Lisbon , CT
STREET STOCK OPEN
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Paul Newcomb ( 7 ) Plymouth, MA
2. Corey Fanning ( 47 ) Mapleville, RI
3. Jimmy Renfrew Jr. ( 6 ) Candia, NH
4. Larry Barnett ( 73 ) Moosup, CT
5. Ryan Waterman ( 75 ) Danielson, CT
6. Randall Waterman Jr. ( 7X ) Danielson, CT
7. Nickolas Hovey ( 16 ) Chaplin, CT
8. Aaron Plemons ( 67 ) Uncasville, CT
9. Kristopher Kay ( 8 ) Dudley, MA
DNS Jeff Van Pelt ( 13 ) North Providence CT
DNS Thomas Shea ( 45 ) New London, CT
DNS Andrew Pellegrini ( 6X ) North Grosvenordale, CT
DNS Doug Benoit ( 12 ) Swansea, MA
DNS Ed Flanagan Jr. ( 5RI ) Warwick, RI
VANDI AUTO SUPPLY LIMITED SPORTSMEN
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Ryan Waterman ( 75 ) Danielson , CT
2. Lawrence P. Barnett ( 73 ) Moosup , CT
3. Brent Gleason ( 01 ) Griswold , C
4. Jeffery Van Pelt ( 13 ) Johnston , RI
5. Corey Fanning ( 47 ) Mapleville , RI
6. Scott Sundeen ( 36 ) Sutton , MA
7. Troy Waterman ( 7 ) Danielson , CT
8. Nicholas Hovey ( 16 ) Chaplin , CT
9. Charles H. Stott III ( 10 ) Medway , MA
10. Aaron Plemons ( 67 ) Uncasville , CT
11. Kristopher Kay ( 8 ) Dudley , MA
12. Tommy Shea ( 45 ) Somers , CT
DNS Doug Benoit ( 12 ) Swansea , MA
DNS Andrew Pellegrini ( 6X ) North Grosvenordale , CT
DNS Edward Flanagan, Jr. ( 5 ) Warwick , RI
SK LIGHT MODIFIEDS
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Paul Charette ( 28 ) Woodstock , CT
2. Anthony Bello ( 2 ) Newtown , CT
3. John O’Sullivan III ( 15 ) Norwich , CT
4. Albert Ouellette ( 151 ) Ellington , CT
5. Jonathan Puleo ( 56 ) Branford , CT
6. Daniel Gamache Jr. ( 88 ) North Smithfield , RI
7. Anthony Fornio ( 52 ) Waterbury , CT
8. Michael Mitchell ( 40 ) Cumberland , RI
9. Paul French ( 37 ) Andover , CT
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometow
1. Jared Roy ( 1CT ) Sterling , CT
2. Eric Bourgeois ( 87 ) East Haddam , CT
3. Russell Barboza ( 4 ) Plainfield , CT
4. Kevin Moore ( 04 ) Moosup , CT
5. Evan Bourgeois ( 78 ) East Haddam , CT
6. Kyle Wing ( 97X ) Mansfield , C
7. Rick “The Rocket” Laflesh ( 14 ) Griswold , CT
8. William J. Schoeler ( 84 ) Warwick , RI
9. Steven H. Michalski ( 44 ) Brooklyn , CT
10. Raymond Herman Sr. ( 91 ) Baltic , CT
11. Dave Trudeau ( 97 ) Mansfield , CT
12. Mitch Bombard ( 54 ) Willimantic , CT