Thompson International Speedway
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Preece Streaks in Sunoco Modifieds at Thompson Speedway
by Russ Dowd
THOMPSON, Conn. -- Repeat winners were once again the storyline at Thompson International Speedway on Thursday night. Ryan Preece of Berlin, CT, took down his fourth straight Sunoco Modified victory on Thursday night. It was much of the same in the Modified support divisions with Cam McDermott of Scituate, RI, in the Lite Modified division and John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. of Milford, MA, in the TIS Modifieds continuing the domination of their respective divisions.
Tommy O’Sullivan of Wilbraham, MA, posted his ninth Late Model victory of the season. Bill McNeil of Putnam, CT, rebounded in the Limited Sportsman division with a victory. Chad Baxter of Pascoag, RI, posted his second win of the season in the Mini Stocks.
“It has definitely been a dream season,” said Ryan Preece from Sunoco Modified victory lane. The talented young driver took the lead early and never looked back as he posted his ninth feature event victory of the season at the Thompson, CT oval.
Kerry Malone made quick work of pole sitter Wayne Arute to rocket into the lead of the Sunoco Modified 30-lapper. Near mid-pack Ryan Preece, Ted Christopher and Richie Gallup came out of turn four three-wide. Despite contact between Christopher and Gallup, the duo continued without missing a beat.
Malone enjoyed a sizeable lead when Preece had worked his way into the second position. The first caution flew on lap five for a stalled car on the backstretch. The restart pitted Malone against Preece. The new leader under green was Preece. Christopher had worked his way into the third position. Woody Pitkat began to apply pressure on Christopher. Todd Ceravolo started deep in the pack due to mechanical problems in the heat race. The veteran was all over Dennis Perry in the hunt for the top-five.
The caution flew on lap 10 for a spin by George Wilkinson. It was all Preece on the ensuing restart. Christopher dove to the bottom groove looking for running room. The move cost T.C. two positions. Pitkat, now in third, began working over Malone. Pitkat settled back in line; opening the door for Ceravolo. In a single lap, Ceravolo drove by Pitkat and then Malone to motor into the second position. Up front Preece had stretched his advantage over second-running Ceravolo. Pitkat ran alone in third.
Malone, Christopher, and Perry were locked in a battle for the fourth spot. Christopher threw every move on Malone before executing a pass on lap 25. Malone was left to fend off strong advances from Perry. Preece was smooth through lapped traffic not allowing Ceravolo to cut into his lead. Ceravolo posted a strong runner-up finish. Pitkat quietly came home third ahead of Christopher and Malone inside the top-five.
Cam McDermott of Scituate, RI, made it four victories in a row in the Lite Modified division; bringing his win total to double-digits. The opening lap featured a side-by-side battle for the top spot between Corey Barry and Troy Talman. By lap two, from deep in the pack Cam McDermott had moved into third. Talman took sole position of the lead on lap three. McDermott got by Barry to take chase of Talman.
It took only two circuits for McDermott to catch Talman. The lead duo swapped the lead back-and-forth as the event approached halfway. As the laps began to wind down McDermott continued to dog Talman, who continued to hold the top spot. Barry ran all alone in third while Eric LeClair and Joe Boivin had a battle of their own for fourth. With five laps to go, McDermott was finally able to get clear of Talman to take over the top spot. Once out front, McDermott set sail for his tenth victory of the season. Talman came home second followed by Barry, LeClair, and Boivin.
Tommy O’Sullivan of Wilbraham, MA, made it nine wins on the season in the Late Models on Thursday night. It took the current point leader and reigning champ only two laps to move into the lead. Early race leader Damon Tinio fell back to third after losing a position to a hard-charging John Falconi. Once free of Tinio, Falconi was chipping away at the lead that O’Sullivan had built up. Tinio continued to run in third ahead of a Mike Scorzelli, and Wayne Coury.
Falconi lurked behind O’Sullivan until five to go. He caught the back bumper of O’Sullivan. While Falconi took chase of the lead, Tinio and Scorzelli went door-to-door for third. O’Sullivan fought back to edge ahead of Falconi. The divisional point leader went on to win his ninth win of the season. Falconi settled for second followed by Tinio, Scorzelli, and Coury.
Bill McNeil of Putnam, CT, took a hard-fought win to score his first Limited Sportsman feature victory of the season. McNeil capitalized on his pole starting position to take the lead in the Limited Sportsman division. McNeil drove out to a sizeable advantage. He had a half-straightway lead by the time Steve Kenneway had worked his way into the second position. The best battle on the speedway was for the fifth position between Jesse Gleason, point leader Scott Sundeen, and returning competitor, former divisional champion, Larry Barnett.
A spin by Chris Bisson, Jr. in turn two brought out the caution on lap 12; erasing McNeil’s lead. McNeil got a great run on the restart to reestablish himself as the leader. Kenneway tucked in behind the leader with Chicolas in third. Barnett and Sundeen locked horns for fourth.
Upfront, Kenneway was on the charge. He took the lead away from McNeil on lap 15. Chicolas immediately went to work on McNeil for second. Barnett had taken over the fourth position from Sundeen. A single lap later, Jesse Gleason headed down pit road with mechanical failure. The caution flew for track clean-up.
After several attempts at a restart, McNeil was once again the leader. Barnett jumped into the third spot. Chicolas came battling back on Barnett. The two went side-by-side over the final lap. McNeil was able to hold back Kenneway to score the victory. After leading for several laps, Kenneway had to settle for second. Barnett made a strong return passing Chicolas on the final lap to score a podium finish. Chicolas and Sundeen completed the top-five.
John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. of Milford, MA, took home his ninth victory of the season in the TIS Modifieds. Tom Tagg led the opening laps of the event. The local driver held the top spot through the first and only caution of the event. Tagg held back the challenges of Lowinski-Loh through halfway. With a handful of laps remaining Tagg, who was looking to end a long drought, relinquished the lead to Lowinski-Loh. Jay Sundeen followed through shuffling Tagg back to third. Lowinski-Loh cruised to the victory. Sundeen followed in second. Tagg had to settle for third. Chad LaBastie and Danny Gamache, Jr. rounded out the top five.
Chad Baxter of Pascoag, RI, extended his point lead with a victory in the Mini Stocks.
With Travis Jurcik holding the point at the start of the Mini Stock Feature event, three-wide action could be found deeper in the pack. Four laps into the feature event the caution flag was waving; pitting Jurcik against point leader Chad Baxter for the restart. Baxter made quick work of Jurcik for the top spot.
Baxter edged just ahead of a brewing battle for the second spot between Steve Violette, Jurcik, Scott Michalski, and Eric Bourgeois. Behind the leader the pack went door-to-door two rows deep. The quartet jockeyed for position over the final laps of the feature event. When the checkers flew, Baxter posted the victory. Violette edged ahead to of early leader Jurcik to finish second. Last week’s winner Bourgeois came home fourth followed closely by Michalski in fifth.
Sunoco Modified (Top Ten) Feature Finish: 1. Ryan Preece, Berlin, CT; 2. Todd Ceravolo, Gales Ferry, CT; 3. Woody Pitkat, Stafford, CT; 4. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT; 5. Kerry Malone, Needham, MA; 6. Dennis Perry, Pawcatuck, RI; 7. Jay Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 8. Nick Boivin, Belchertown, MA; 9. Wayne Arute, Meriden, CT; 10. Richie Gallup, Feeding Hills, MA.
Modified Lites Feature Finish: 1. Cam McDermott, Scituate, RI; 2. Troy Talman, Oxford, MA; 3. Corey Barry, Plainfield, CT; 4. Eric LeClair, Easthampton, MA; 5. Joe Boivin, Belchertown, MA; 6. Nikki Ouellette, E. Granby, CT.
Late Model Feature Finish: 1. Tommy O’Sullivan, Wilbraham, MA; 2. John Falconi, Oakham, MA; 3. Damon Tinio, Mendon, MA; 4. Mike Scorzelli, Malta, NY; 5. Wayne Coury, Milford, CT; 6. Jeff Hartwell, E. Putnam, CT; 7. Robert O’Connell, Jr., Wrentham, MA; 8. Randy Tucker, Millis, MA; 9. Ryan Waterman, Danielson, CT; 10. Jared Materas, Palmer, MA.
Limited Sportsman (Top Ten) Feature Finish: 1. Bill McNeil, Putnam, CT; 2. Steve Kenneway, Lowell, MA; 3. Larry Barnett, Moosup, CT; 4. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, MA; 5. Scott Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 6. Kevin Bowe, Pawtucket, RI; 7. Tom Shea, New London, CT; 8. Corey Fanning, Mapleville, RI; 9. Mark Jenison, Warwick, RI; 10. Lloyd Anderson, Jr., Wauregan, CT.
TIS Modified Feature Finish: 1. John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. Milford, MA; 2. Jay Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 3. Brian Tagg, Oxford, MA; 4. Chad LaBastie, Uxbridge, MA; 5. Danny Gamache, Jr.
Mini Stock Feature Finish: 1. Chad Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 2. Steve Violette, Canterbury, CT; 3. Travis Jurcik, Chaplin, CT; 4. Eric Bourgeois, E. Haddam, MA; 5. Scott Michalski, S. Killingly, CT; 6. Joe Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 7. Louis Bellisle III, Lisbon, CT; 8. Jim Helger, Rutland, MA; 9. Steve Michalski, Brooklyn, CT; 10. Brad Caddick, Wyoming, RI.