Thompson International Speedway
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Rocco Goes from Last to First in Exciting Sunoco Modified Feature
by Russ Dowd
THOMPSON, Conn. -- Keith Rocco couldn’t practice or qualify for the Sunoco Modified feature at Thompson International Speedway due to commitments to practice for the Whelen Modified Tour. But starting from the rear didn’t stop Rocco at all. The Meriden, CT-native went from last to first in an exciting 30-lap feature during Thursday night Thunder that also saw Scott Sundeen win an extended race distance for the Limited Sportsman division. Other winners included Cam McDermott in the Lite Modifieds, Trevor Michalski in the Mini Stocks, John Lowinski-Loh in the Thompson Modifieds, and Mike Scorzelli in the Late Models.
John Catania took the early lead in the Sunoco Modified division, but it was all Todd Ceravolo at the completion of the first lap after Catania went high in turn two allowing Ceravolo to power right by for the lead. The top-four – Ceravolo, Ryan Preece, Ted Christopher, and Kerry Malone – were bumper-to-bumper as they pulled away from the rest of the field. Keith Rocco, who had to start at the tail end of the field, was fast approaching and sitting seventh when the caution flew at lap six. Ceravolo beat Preece to the front on the restart with Malone powering to second on the inside. Malone spun to the infield grass coming out of turn two and brought out the caution with Ceravolo, Preece, and Christopher making up the top-three.
Ceravolo, Preece, Christopher, and Rocco settled in single file when racing resumed, but Ceravolo put some breathing room between himself and Preece by lap 10. On lap 11, Christopher dove low and got around Preece for second with Rocco in tow. A caution on lap 12 put Ceravolo side-by-side with Christopher for the restart with a determined Rocco and Preece right behind them. When the green dropped, Christopher beat Ceravolo into turn one with Rocco looking high and low for a way around both of them. As the trio entered turn one, troubled brewed when Ceravolo took Christopher low. Christopher retaliated and Ceravolo’s night ended in the outside retaining wall in turn two. Christopher was penalized and sent to the rear of the field while Rocco inherited the lead. Rocco had to earn his position up front as Preece filled his rear view mirror. A caution at lap 20 slowed the pace with Rocco powering out to the front followed by Malone and Christopher. Preece was relegated to fourth and remained there until the caution came out at lap 22. On the restart, Rocco went back out front with a challenge by Malone in turn three, but Rocco shut the door. The top four fell into single file, but running bumper to bumper until Rocco took the checkered flag.
Scott Sundeen survived a multi-car crash and several restarts to take the lead and eventual victory in the Limited Sportsman 30-lap feature event. Lloyd Anderson powered to the front of the 27-car field at the drop of the green. The first caution of the night flew at lap six with Anderson returning to the front when the green dropped, however, a tangle on the backstretch brought caution back out before the lap was complete. When racing resumed, Anderson had his hands full with Steve Kenneway, who took the lead at the line at lap seven while a pile-up developed right behind them in turn four that involved Sundeen. Kenneway powered right back out front after the clean up with Anderson getting held up briefly by a challenge from Mike Caprio. Anderson shut the door and set his sights on Kenneway, and at lap 13, made his first attempt to get by for the lead. At lap 14, Anderson looked high, but caution slowed his progress and Kenneway remained out front. Anderson was late getting into the throttle on the restart allowing Kenneway to pull away with Barnett taking over second. Barnett closed in on Kenneway quickly with Sundeen getting into the mix with a bottom-groove challenge on Barnett. At the line, Kenneway led Sundeen and Barnett. Coming out of turn four of lap 19, Sundeen went low again and charged Kenneway in a bid for the lead, but before he could get it done, caution was out and Kenneway remained the leader. Sundeen drove right to the front heading into turn one when the action returned with Kenneway close behind. Sundeen pulled away by a comfortable margin. Kenneway attempted to close the distance lap after lap, but it wasn’t enough, and Sundeen was able to claim the victory in the longest distance race of the season.
Mike Scorzelli won a caution-free 25-lap Late Model division feature race in commanding style to take his second consecutive victory in as many weeks. John Falconi grabbed the top spot at the drop of the green flag as Marc Palmisano ducked low and challenged Mike Scorzelli for second. The two dueled side-by-side for three circuits before Scorzelli used a daring move on the bottom to get by Falconi and take the lead. The Malta, NY-native settled in comfortably out front and immediately pulled ahead of Palmisano by half-a-straightaway as the race went single file. Palmisano, on the other hand, worked on closing the gap. By the white flag, Palmisano had closed in on Scorzelli within five car lengths but fell short at the checkered flag.
John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. took the lead in the Thompson Modified feature at lap six and never looked back as he soared to the checkered flag unchallenged. Brian Tagg took the early lead with a determined Glenn Boss on his bumper. At lap two, Boss made his move and dove low coming out of turn two and took the lead coming out of turn four. Lowinski-Loh, Jr. got into the mix and moved into second to challenge Boss for the lead. The two came across the line at lap five side-by-side but it was still Boss out front. They continued their side-by-side battle for the next circuit, but this time, it was Lowinski-Loh at the line. Lowinski-Loh was unstoppable and pulled away to a bigger lead lap after lap en route to the victory.
Nikki Ouellette brought the field to green, but it was Troy Talman who shot straight to the front. Cam McDermott followed and planted his front bumper to the rear of Talman. At lap four, McDermott dropped to the bottom groove and the two were side-by-side as they came to the line. McDermott took the lead by mere inches as Talman continued to fight for his position out front. By the back straight, however, McDermott had put some distance between the two as they continued to set an unparalleled pace. McDermott held steady and drove to the win.
Trevor Michalski dominated the Monster Mini Stock division feature event by leading every lap of the caution-free event. Michalski paced the field to green in the Monster Mini Stock division with Jeff Moffat and Steve Violette settling into second and third respectively. Michalski was dominant from the early going as all eyes turned to heat winner Chad Baxter who blasted his way into the top three. At lap four, Baxter moved into third and had his sights set on the front. At lap 9, he challenged Violette for the second position using the bottom groove and took the spot at lap 10. Michalski had the lead, but two car lengths separated his and the fast-approaching Baxter as the white flag flew. Michalski could not be shaken, however, and took the checkers unchallenged.
SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH: 1. Keith Rocco, Meriden, CT; 2. Kerry Malone, Needham, MA; 3. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT; 4. Ryan Preece, Berlin, CT; 5. John Catania, Agawam, MA; 6. Shawn Thibeault, Southington, CT; 7. Rick Shawn, Bradford, RI; 8. Andrew Charron, E. Greenwich, RI; 9. Dennis Perry, Pawcatuck, CT; 10. James Smith, Woodstock, CT.
LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH: 1. Scott Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 2. Steve Kenneway, Lowell, MA; 3. Mike Caprio, New Haven, CT; 4. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, MA; 5. Lloyd Anderson, Jr., Wauregan, CT; 6. Larry Barnett, Moosup, CT; 7. Tom Shea, New London, CT; 8. Bill McNeil, Putnam, CT; 9. Brandon Chamberland, Moosup, CT; 10. Art Moran III, Preston, CT.
LATE MODEL FEATURE FINISH: 1. Mike Scorzelli, Malta, NY; 2. Marc Palmisano, Hadley, MA; 3. Tommy O’Sullivan, Springfield, MA; 4. John Falconi, Oakham, MA; 5. Randy Tucker, Millis, MA; 6. Ryan Waterman, Danielson, CT; 7. Damon Tinio, Mendon, MA.
THOMPSON MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH: 1. JOHN LOWINSKI-LOH, JR., Milford, MA; 2. Glenn Boss, Danielson, CT; 3. Chad LaBastie, Uxbridge, MA; 4. Brian Tagg, Oxford, MA; 5. Danny Gamache, Jr., Woonsocket, RI; 6. Jay Sundeen, Douglas, MA.
LITE MODIFIEDS FEATURE FINISH: 1. CAM MCDERMOTT, Scituate, RI; 2. Troy Talman, Oxford, MA; 3. Shawn Brule, W. Thompson, CT; 4. Nikki Ouellette, East Granby, CT
MINI STOCK FEATURE FINISH: 1. TREVOR MICHALSKI, So. Killingly, CT; 2. Chad Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 3. Mike Viens, Seekonk, MA; 4. Jeff Moffat, Smithfield, RI; 5. Steve Violette, Canterbury, CT; 6. Travis Jurcik, Chaplin, CT; 7. Eric Bourgeois, East Haddam, CT; 8. Joe Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 9. Mike Gorgievski, Auburn, MA; 10. Scott Michalski, So. Killingly, CT.