Thompson International Speedway
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Donny Lia Ends Three-Year Winless Drought with Thompson Bud 150 Win
by Russ Dowd
THOMPSON, Conn. -- Donny Lia earned his 16th career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race and his third at Thompson International Speedway when he won the Bud 150 in convincing fashion and ended a winless drought that dates back to 2009. Danny Gamache, Jr. visited Thompson International Speedway victory lane for the first time in his career when he checkered the Thompson Modified division in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action. Other winners included Ryan Preece in the Sunoco Modified division, Tommy O’Sullivan in the Late Models, Jesse Gleason in the Limited Sportsman division, Eric Bourgeois in the Monster Mini Stocks, and Cam McDermott in the Lite Modifieds.
In the Bud 150, pole sitter Mike Stefanik battled Ron Silk to lead all but one circuit in the first 75 laps before losing the point to Todd Szegedy coming out of turn four. A red flag stopped the action at lap 87 when Woody Pitkat’s No. 11 machine landed on top of Ed Flemke’s No. 28 machine and remained there halfway down the backstretch. On the restart, Silk drove underneath Szegedy heading into turn one and after a side-by-side battle drove to the front coming out of turn three. The race remained green until a caution tightened the field up for a restart at lap 123. Silk held the lead at the green, but Donny Lia took it away at lap 129 in turn two. Lia pulled away from Silk as the laps ticked off and drove to the checkered flag for the first time since 2009.
Danny Gamache, Jr. earned his first Thompson Modified victory after taking the lead from Brian Tagg on lap four. Tagg drove out to the early lead with Gamache close behind. Coming up quick was John Lowinski-Loh, who spun on lap two on the backstretch and brought out the first caution. On the restart, Gamache gave Tagg a run in turns one and two, but Tagg held him off through turns three and four. The side-by-side battle continued on lap three with Gamache getting the advantage out of turn four. Chad LaBastie settled in third with Lowinski-Loh back in fourth. The top four ran single file until lap 13 when Lowinski-Loh started putting the pressure on LaBastie for third. Lowinski-Loh got underneath him and took over the spot on lap 14 as he set his sights on Tagg in second. Gamache pulled ahead by five car lengths and drove to his first career win over Tagg and Lowinski-Loh.
Ryan Preece took the lead in the Sunoco Modified feature event at lap two and never looked back en route to his third consecutive win and eighth victory of the season. Kerry Malone drove right out front at the drop of the green flag with Dennis Perry and Todd Ceravolo rounding out the top three. On lap two, Ryan Preece shot to the outside groove and drove by Ceravolo before taking over the second spot from Perry on the inside groove. Caution flew at lap six for a spun car in turn two putting Preece side-by-side with Malone. Malone drove to the front, but Preece was persistent in his challenges. On lap eight, Preece dropped to the bottom and drove by Malone for the lead. Ceravolo and Ted Christopher rounded out the top-four. On lap 13, Ceravolo went underneath Malone in a battle for second. Christopher got into the mix and used the same line to try and take over third, but Malone fought back and shut the door on his challenges. On lap 19, Christopher was able to get the momentum to drive by Malone and take over third. Meanwhile, Preece had pulled away to a half-a-straightaway lead over the rest of the field.
Tommy O’Sullivan commanded the Late Model feature after taking the lead from Mike Scorzelli at lap three. It was O’Sullivan’s eighth victory this season. Damon Tinio raced pole sitter Randy Tucker into turn one, but it was Tucker who came out on top coming out of turn two. Scorzelli followed and used the bottom groove to get by for the lead on lap two. O’Sullivan and John Falconi took over second and third. Scorzelli spun out of the lead and into the wall in turn three to bring out the first caution. O’Sullivan inherited the lead for the restart with Falconi right beside him on the outside. O’Sullivan didn’t waste any time driving to the front as Tucker waged a side-by-side battle with Falconi for the second place. Falconi held off Tucker and set his sights on O’Sullivan, who had pulled out to a ten-car length advantage. On lap six, Tinio made a charge on Tucker for the third position using the bottom lane. The two went door-to-door in an exciting battle that saw Tinio take over the third spot at lap eight. Tucker didn’t want to give up the position, however, and continued to fight back until Tinio comfortably moved ahead on lap nine coming out of turn two. O’Sullivan commanded the race as he kept his distance between himself and Falconi. Falconi fought it and began to slowly reel in O’Sullivan by the 20th circuit, but O’Sullivan was too strong and too far ahead to be stopped.
Cam McDermott celebrated his fourth straight victory and his ninth this year after an exciting last lap battle with Troy Talman. McDermott took the lead from Talman on lap 15 as the two battled it out for the win over the remainder of the race. Eric LeClair took the lead from Nikki Ouellette with a determined Talman on his tail. On lap two, Talman went to the outside to make a challenge, but LeClair shut the door. On the following circuit, Talman got enough momentum to get by for the lead with McDermott following his line to take over second. Once out front, Talman and McDermott pulled away from the rest of the field. On lap eight, the caution flew for Joe Boivin, who had slowed on the backstretch, and tightened the field back up for a double-file restart. Talman took the bottom groove and shot out to the lead with a brief challenge by LeClair. McDermott drove back into the second position and shadowed Talman until lap 11 when he dropped to the bottom in a bid for the lead. McDermott and Talman went side-by-side through turns three and four and then again through one and two with Talman never relinquishing the lead. McDermott challenged again on lap 14 coming out of turn three, but this time was successful in his efforts and took over the top spot. McDermott seemed unstoppable once out front, but contact on the last lap in the last turn got McDermott sideways allowing Talman to drive by for the checkers. Talman was penalized and McDermott was awarded his ninth season victory.
Jesse Gleason earned his second Limited Sportsman win this season after holding off Scott Sundeen in the 20-lap feature. Kevin Bowe took the early lead with Tom Shea in second and Jason Chicolas in third. Chicolas and Gleason battled for the third spot, but it was Gleason with the advantage at lap three. Meanwhile, Steve Kenneway was coming up quick and used the bottom groove to take away fourth from Chicolas. Up front, Shea took the lead away from Bowe with Gleason, Kenneway, and Scott Sundeen rounding out the top-four. On lap eight, Gleason shot to the outside groove heading into turn one and took over the lead coming out of turn two. Shea fought him, but was unable to hold off Gleason’s momentum. Sundeen took over third on lap nine and went after Shea’s second place position. Sundeen and Shea rubbed doors in an exciting battle before caution came out at lap 11 for Jason Dean, who hit the wall in turn two. The race went under red flag conditions so that Dean could be transported to the hospital for evaluation. Gleason drove to the lead on the restart with pressure from Sundeen. Gleason pulled ahead to a comfortable lead as Sundeen shifted his focus to Kenneway’s challenges. Sundeen closed the door on Kenneway and reeled in Gleason by lap 14. Sundeen looked low coming out of turn four, but Gleason shut the door. On lap 16, Sundeen tried again on the bottom, but Gleason wasn’t giving in. With a rear view mirror full of Sundeen, Gleason drove to the victory.
Eric Bourgeois led flag-to-flag in the Monster Mini Stock 15-lap feature event. Bourgeois drove to the lead at the drop of the green with Chad Baxter battling Joe Baxter for the second spot. Dave Trudeau moved into the third spot with Travis Jurcik in fourth. On lap six, Trudeau dropped to the bottom groove and commenced a side-by-side battle with Chad Baxter for the second spot. After a lap long dual, Trudeau took over the position coming out of turn one on lap seven. Out front, Bourgeois extended his lead out front lap-after-lap. Driving a back-up car, Bourgeois dominated the race before taking the checkers unchallenged.
NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR RESULTS: 1. Donny Lia, Jericho, NY; 2. Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT; 3. Doug Coby, Milford, CT; 4. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT; 5. Mike Stefanik, Coventry, RI; 6. Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, PA; 7. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ; 8. Bobby Santos, Franklin, MA; 9. Ron Yuhas, Jr., Groton, CT; 10. Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, CT.
SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE RESULTS: 1. Ryan Preece, Berlin, CT; 2. Todd Ceravolo, Gales Ferry, CT; 3. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT; 4. Kerry Malone, Needham, MA; 5. Dennis Perry, Pawcatuck, CT; 6. Ken Barry, Griswold, CT; 7. Moose Douton, Waterford, CT; 8. Jeffrey Gallup, Feeding Hills, MA; 9. Rick Shawn, Bradford, RI; 10. George Wilkinson, Pawcatuck, CT.
LATE MODEL FEATURE RESULTS: 1. Tommy O’Sullivan, Wilbraham, MA; 2. John Falconi, Oakham, MA; 3. Damon Tinio, Mendon, MA; 4. Randy Tucker, Millis, MA; 5. Jared Materas, Palmer, MA; 6. Robert O’Connell, Jr., Wrentham, MA; 7. Mike Scorzelli, Malta, NY.
THOMPSON MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH: 1. Danny Gamache, Jr., 2. Brian Tagg, Oxford, MA; 3. John Lowinski-Loh, Jr., Milford, MA; 4. Chad LaBastie, Uxbridge, MA; 5. Ryan Morgan, Mystic, CT; 6. Jay Sundeen, Douglas, MA.
LITE MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH: 1. Cam McDermott, Scituate, RI; 2. Troy Talman, Oxford, MA; 3. Eric LeClair, Easthampton, MA; 4. Nikki Ouellette, East Granby, CT; 5. Joe Boivin, Belchertown, MA
LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH: 1. Jesse Gleason, Lisbon, CT; 2. Scott Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 3. Steve Kenneway, Lowell, MA; 4. Tom Shea, New London, CT; 5. Kevin Bowe, Pawtucket, RI; 6. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, MA; 7. Corey Fanning, Mapleville, RI; 8. Mark Jenison, Warwick, RI; 9. Mike Palin, Dudley, MA; 10. Michael Malbaurn, Sterling, CT.
MINI STOCK FEATURE FINISH: 1. Eric Bourgeois, East Haddam, CT; 2. Dave Trudeau, Mansfield, CT; 3. Chad Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 4. Travis Jurcik, Chaplin, CT; 5. Joe Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 6. Steve Violette, Canterbury, CT; 7. Mike Viens, Seekonk, MA; 8. Steve Michalski, Brooklyn, CT; 9. Nick Anderson, Oxford, MA; 10. Nick Matera, Warwick, RI.