Thompson International Speedway
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Christopher Wins 2nd Annual UNOH Showdown; Preece and Tinio Winners in All American Series Action
by Russ Dowd
THOMPSON, Conn. -- Ted Christopher earned a hefty payday for the “Ole Blue” with a victory in the UNOH Showdown 50-lap shootout between the Whelen Modified Tour and the Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Christopher took the lead on lap six and held off Jimmy Blewett for the victory.
Christopher, of Plainville, CT, finished fifth in the Town Fair Tire Northern 75 and advanced to the Showdown field by virtue of his finish.
“We had a pretty good run in the first race,” said Christopher. Scott (Richards, crew chief) said he’d make some adjustments and make the car better and he really did.”
Justin Bonsignore led the 32-car field into turn one, but it was Bobby Santos out front by the completion of the second lap. Ryan Preece followed his line into second before caution flew at lap four for Richie Pallai, Jr., who wrecked in turn two. Santos wasted no time getting in front of Preece on the restart, but had to contend with Ted Christopher who muscled his way into the second position. Christopher was all over Santos, and on lap six, dove underneath Santos to take over the lead coming out of turn two. Preece, Santos, Bonsignore, and Stefanik rounded out the top-five at lap seven. Donny Lia joined the front-runners in sixth and all of the top cars pulled away from the rest of the field.
The race went under a red flag on lap 24 when Stefanik lost his power steering and dropped some oil on the track. Christopher drove to the front on the restart with Preece attached to his rear bumper. Preece tried to get by on the high line, but Christopher shut the door. Preece continued to pressure Christopher while Jimmy Blewett became a part of the mix in third. Blewett got by Preece for second on lap 37 while Christopher put a car length of breathing room over Blewett.
The top-five cars fanned out over the next several laps with Christopher keeping his distance from Blewett through lapped traffic. Christopher cruised to the checkers to score his first victory of the day and score a $15,000 paycheck.
Andy Seuss and Justin Bonsignore earned victories in their respective Whelen Modified Tour divisions while Ryan Preece checkered the NASCAR All American Series Sunoco Modified division. Damon Tinio celebrated his first career win in the Late Model division while Scott Sundeen won in Limited Sportsman action, and Eric Bourgeois in the Mini Stocks.
Andy Seuss earned his 12th career NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour victory after taking the lead on lap 24 of the 75-lap Green Pointe Energy Southern 75 portion of the UNOH Showdown weekend schedule. Seuss used the high groove to hold off a hard-charging Matt Hirschman through lapped traffic to take the checkered flag.
The race was only slowed by one caution period. Seuss, who started from the third position, took the lead from Burt Myers coming out of turn four on lap 24. Hirschman took over the second position on lap 43 and pressured Seuss until the end.
Justin Bonsignore won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Town Fair Tire Northern 75 under a yellow checkered after Ron Silk crashed in the turn two wall on the white flag lap. Bonsignore took the lead away from Ryan Preece at lap 68 and survived a late-race restart after caution set up a green-white-checkered finish at lap 81.
Preece took the early lead and dominated most of the race before Bonsignore used the outside groove to take the lead in turn three seven laps before the scheduled conclusion of the race. A caution flew at lap 72 for a wreck in turn three that involved Rowan Pennink and Patrick Emerling and set the stage for Bonsignore to take the win. It was the Holtsville, NY-native’s second career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory and his first at Thompson Speedway.
Ryan Preece had built up a large enough lead to hold on for the win after something broke in his power steering with ten laps to go in the Sunoco Modified 30-lap feature event. Dennis Perry and Kerry Malone brought the field to green with Malone driving to the front out of turn two. Preece attached himself to Malone’s bumper and made a bid for the lead on lap two using the bottom groove. Caution slowed his progress and Malone held on to the lead for the restart. Preece took the lead heading into turn two, but a wreck in turn one brought the caution out once again and stopped the race while track officials repaired the turn one wall. Malone paced the field back to green as Preece mounted a door-to-door challenge through the first two turns, but it was Preece out front coming out of turn four. Pitkat began a series of challenges on Malone for the second position on lap four, but Malone shut the door. On lap six, Pitkat got a run on Malone and took the second position by a nose length at the line. Preece pulled out to a one second lead over Pitkat and Malone before caution reeled him back in at lap 11. On the restart, Preece drove straight to the front while Malone maneuvered by Pitkat to reclaim the second spot. On lap 12, Pitkat retaliated and dove underneath to try and get it back. Malone shut the door on his challenge as Keith Rocco followed his line and took over third. On lap 14, Rocco dropped to the bottom groove and drove by Malone for second. Pitkat followed him into third. Up front, Preece pulled away as Rocco and Pitkat continued to jockey for the second position. Rocco blocked all of Pitkat’s challenges until lap 23 when Pitkat drove underneath him on the backstretch to take over the position. Pitkat set his sights on Preece, but ran short of time with Preece taking the checkers for the 10th time this season.
Damon Tinio led every lap en route to his first career victory in Thompson’s Late Model division 20-lap feature. Tinio drove to the front at the drop of the green flag with Randy Tucker and Mike Scorzelli in tow. On lap two, Tucker attempted a bid for the lead in turn four, but Tinio shut the door on his challenge. Tommy O’Sullivan and John Falconi put on a nail-biting show in a side-by-side battle for the fourth position that continued throughout the first six laps. O’Sullivan pulled ahead and put some distance over Falconi as he set his sights on the top-three. On lap 10, Scorzelli dropped to the bottom and challenged Tucker for the second spot coming out of turn four. Tucker held him off and the duo raced side-by-side into turn three, but O’Sullivan tried to get in the mix and make it a three-wide battle. Scorzelli lost some momentum on lap 12 heading into turn two, but recovered and maintained his third position. On lap 14, Scorzelli dropped to the bottom again, but contact was made and resulted in Marc Curtis off the track at the entrance of turn one. On the restart, Tinio drove out front as Scorzelli used the high line to secure the second position. O’Sullivan, who had to endure a four-car battle for the position, took over the third spot. Tinio, meanwhile, pulled ahead to a commanding ten-car advantage over Scorzelli, O’Sullivan and Glenn Boss and drove to the checkers unchallenged.
Eric Bourgeois earned his third win of the season after holding off Chad Baxter in the 15-lap Mini Stock feature. Mike Viens set the pace when the green flag dropped, but coming out of turn four on lap two, Jim Helger went underneath him to challenge for the lead. Viens wasn’t about to give up the position and held him off until caution came out at lap four. An accident on the restart tightened them back up again but with Nick Anderson and Brad Caddick out front. Anderson drove out front, but had trouble on the backstretch allowing Bourgeois to drive to the lead with Joe Baxter and Chad Baxter rounding out the top three. Bourgeois began to pull away from the field while Anderson, who was relegated back to sixth, attempted to make his way back to the front. Caution flew again at lap nine setting up Bourgeois and Chad Baxter side-by-side for the restart. Bourgeois pulled ahead out of turn two with Baxter was all over his bumper. Baxter would have to wait to make his charge, however, as caution flew at lap 11 when Caddick slid to the infield grass out of turn four. Bourgeois didn’t waste any time getting out front once again. Baxter kept the pressure on by riding his rear bumper, but Bourgeois was flawless and held him off until taking the checkered flag.
Scott Sundeen scored his eighth win of the season, and his first since the end of July in the 20-lap Limited Sportsman feature Sunday afternoon. Sundeen, who experienced mechanical issues all through the month of August, took the lead on lap eight and never looked back.
Tom Shea led in the early going of the race with Mike Caprio and Jason Chicolas in tow. On lap two, Chicolas drove underneath Caprio for the second spot. Meanwhile, Sundeen was moving through the field quickly and had secured the fourth position. On lap five, Chicolas used the bottom groove once again in a bid on Shea for the lead. Chicolas and Shea raced door-to-door with Shea holding on to a nose length advantage. Sundeen moved up to third and sat patiently behind the battling duo. Lapped traffic stopped Sundeen’s progress momentarily, but on lap eight, when they had cleared the lapped cars, Sundeen went to the bottom and drove to the front. A caution on lap nine set up a series of restarts in which Sundeen would have to hold off the determined Chicolas for the lead. Behind them, Larry Barnett challenged Corey Fanning in an exciting side-by-side battle for the fourth spot that was won by Barnett on lap 14. Caution flew at lap 16 putting Sundeen and Chicolas together once again. Coming back to the green, Sundeen drove to the front by a half a car length into turn one, but Chicolas was getting some momentum when a two-car accident on the backstretch slowed the pace. Sundeen didn’t waste any time getting out in front of Chicolas and Barnett respectively on the restart. Sundeen began to pull away from the rest of the field and drove to the checkered flag unchallenged.
UNOH NORTH/SOUTH SHOWDOWN FEATURE FINISH (TOP TEN): 1. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT; 2. Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ; 3. Ryan Preece, Berlin, CT; 4. Donny Lia, Jericho, NY; 5. Doug Coby, Milford, CT; 6. Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT; 7. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 8. Bobby Santos, Franklin, MA; 9. Andy Seuss, Hampstead, NH; 10. Burt Myers, Walnut Cove, NC.
NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR (TOP TEN) FEATURE FINISH: 1. Andy Seuss, Hampstead, NH; 2. Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 3. Rob Fuller, Boylston, MA; 4. Burt Myers, Walnut Cove, NC; 5. Tim Brown, Cana, VA; 6. Steve Masse, Bellingham, MA; 7. Danny Bohn, Freehold, NJ; 8. George Brunnhoelzl, III, West Babylon, NY; 9. John Smith, Mount Airy, NC; 10. Cole Powell, Mt. Brydges, Ontario, Canada.
NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR (TOP TEN) FEATURE FINISH: 1. Justin Bonsignore, Holtsville, NY; 2. Bobby Santos, Franklin, MA; 3. Ryan Preece, Berlin, CT; 4. Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, CT; 5. Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT; 6. Mike Stefanik, Coventry, RI; 7. Donny Lia, Jericho, NY; 8. Eric Beers, Northampton, PA; 9. Eric Berndt, Cromwell, CT; 10. Richie Pallai, Jr., Yorktown Heights, NY.
SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH: 1. Ryan Preece, Berlin, CT; 2. Woody Pitkat, Stafford Springs, CT; 3. Keith Rocco, Meriden, CT; 4. Kerry Malone, Needham, MA; 5. Jimmy Zacharies, Candor, NY; 6. Dennis Perry, Pawcatuck, CT; 7. Nick Boivin, Belchertown, MA; 8. Dylan Kopec, Palmer, MA; 9. Wayne Arute, Meriden, CT; 10. Shawn Brule, W. Thompson, CT.
LATE MODEL FEATURE FINISH: 1. Damon Tinio, Mendon, MA; 2. Glenn Boss, Danielson, CT; 3. Tommy O’Sullivan, Wilbraham, MA; 4. Wayne Coury, Milford, CT; 5. Marc Curtis, Worcester, MA; 6. Larry Gelinas, Buxton, ME; 7. John Falconi, Oakham, MA; 8. Randy Tucker, Millis, MA; 9. Jeff Hartwell, Putnam, CT; 10. Ryan Waterman, Danielson, CT.
LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH: 1. Scott Sundeen, Douglas, MA; 2. Jason Chicolas, Sutton, MA; 3. Larry Barnett, Moosup, CT; 4. Corey Fanning, Mapleville, RI; 5. Lloyd Anderson, Jr., Wauregan, CT; 6. Jesse Gleason, Lisbon, CT; 7. Jeff Van Pelt, Pawtucket, RI; 8. Matt Lowinski-Loh, Milford, MA; 9. Phil Evans, Uncasville, CT; 10. Michael Malbaurn, Sterling, CT.
MINI STOCK FEATURE FINISH: 1. Eric Bourgeois, East Haddam, CT; 2. Chad Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 3. Joe Baxter, Pascoag, RI; 4. Mike Gorgievski, Auburn, MA; 5. Steve Violette, Canterbury, CT; 6. Mike Viens, Putnam, CT; 7. Steve Michalski, Brooklyn, CT; 8. Jim Helger, Rutland, MA; 9. Jeff Moffat, Smithfield, RI; 10. Bill Schoeler, Warwick, RI.