Story By: KYLE SOUZA / THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK – THOMPSON, CT – Some of the top Modified stars from across New England are set to return to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park next Wednesday, August 11 for another round of the Outlaw Open Modified Series.
The Truly Hard Lemonade Midsummer 75 lap race, worth $5,000 to win, will be the third race of the season for the popular division.
At the last event, which was slated for July 7, Mother Nature stole the show by bringing heavy rain into the Thompson area just as qualifying racing was starting. All of the pit passes, general admission tickets, and pay-per-view passes that were purchased for July 7 will be honored for the August 11 show. Additional tickets and pit passes are also available for the event.
In the first two Outlaw Open Modified Series races of the year, Ron Silk won the $10,000 prize at the Icebreaker in April and Keith Rocco scored a $5,000 prize in the Nutmeg State 75 in June.
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour hot-shoe Eric Goodale is planning to make his second start of the series next week. In the Icebreaker 125, Goodale was challenging for the lead late in the $10,000-to-win race before Jon McKennedy’s motor expired and Goodale was one of several collected in the accident.
Goodale, who has also been competing regularly in Stafford’s Open Modified events, is excited to return to the high-banks and run what is considered a sprint race for most Modified teams.
“I like it,” Goodale said of the short distance. “If it’s 75 laps, you have to keep yourself in contention the whole time, and you can wheel the car pretty heavily in the beginning to put yourself in a good position with the tire change. You treat this for us like a Tour race — you put yourself in the best spot and not completely use up your car until it matters. Hopefully you make the right adjustment on the pit stop and go to town.”
Goodale is also still somewhat living the high of winning the Whelen Modified Tour opener at Martinsville Speedway in April, which was easily the biggest win of his career. He’d love to add another $5,000 check to his season’s ledger.
“I definitely am riding that high, but realistically, we’ve had some disastrous races lately,” Goodale said. “We’ve had a few where we couldn’t even get out of our own way. When you have races like that, it takes the wind out of your sails. We came home fifth in the last NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Lancaster… going into that race, I figured we would be racing for 10th at best. Races where you don’t win but still run well, they help you get your focus back.”
Goodale is also looking for his first career Thompson win, something he has been chasing for many years.
“I finally won at Stafford, I have a few there now, but I’ve been racing at Thompson for so long and I’ve never been to Victory Lane there in any type of race,” Goodale said. “It would be awesome to win there. I raced there back in my SK days, came close to winning a few races, but could never put it all together. Hopefully we can next week.”
Additional entries expected include Keith Rocco, a multiple-time track champion and well-known Modified standout across the region; Ronnie Williams, a two-time SK Modified champion at Stafford Motor Speedway; and Boehler Racing driver Matt Swanson. The driver of the famed ‘Ole Blue’ No. 3, Swanson is looking for his first Tour-Type Modified win with the team and has come close at Thompson’s high banks before.
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Dave Sapienza and two-time Modified Racing Series Champion Chris Pasteryak are confirmed entries for the event. Both had top-10 finishes in the Nutmeg State 75 on June 16.
Drivers who were at the previous event before the rains came include Mike Christopher Jr., Jon McKennedy, Craig Lutz, and Patrick Emerling. Their entry fees and pit passes will be honored at the Truly Hard Lemonade Midsummer 75, increasing the chances of a return visit. You may see a few surprise entrants on the day of the race as well —one you will not want to miss.
On the local support division slate, the ACT-type Late Models are back on the track for their own 25-lap feature worth $1,200 to win. American-Canadian Tour standout Tom Carey won at the Icebreaker in April while former track champion Brian Tagg was back in Victory Lane for the first time in a few years in June. The division includes names like Woody Pitkat, Ryan Morgan, Nick Johnson, Derek Gluchacki and more who have had success around the region.
The Open Street Stocks will return to Thompson with their own Truly Midsummer 25-lap race, worth $1,000 to win. Most of the drivers in the Vandi Auto Supply Limited Sportsmen, who will have their own race on Wednesday, are expected to run double-duty with the same car and chase the lucrative purse. In the Icebreaker feature, Paul Newcomb, a regular at multiple tracks across the region in Legends Cars and Late Models, stole the victory.
The SK Light Modifieds and Mini Stocks will also be back in action. The Mini Stocks, originally eliminated from the card for the June event, banded together as a group to increase turnout. A large number of them were on the property for the July 7 race day before Mother Nature struck. Most, if not all, are expected back for their 15-lap feature.
Thompson Speedway action returns with the Truly Hard Lemonade Midsummer 75 on Wednesday, August 11 at 6:00pm. The Outlaw Open Modified Series will go 75 laps for a $5,000 top prize. The card also includes the Late Models, Vandi Auto Supply Limited Sportsmen, SK Light Modifieds, Mini Stocks, and a $1,000-to-win Street Stock Open. Admission is $30 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6-12, and free for ages 5 and under.