Christopher Jr., Pitkat Book Big Paydays on Sunoco World Series Saturday
Thompson, CT — Wolcott, CT’s Mike Christopher Jr. and Stafford, CT’s Woody Pitkat took it to the bank with a pair of big victories at the 58th Annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing on Saturday, October 10. Christopher passed Chase Dowling with 10 laps remaining to win the $5,000 top prize in the Budweiser Modified Open 75 while Pitkat copped a $4,800 total winner’s purse for dominating the ACT-type Late Model Open at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
It was the first career victory in a Tour-type Modified for Christopher, whose late uncle Ted is the all-time winningest driver at Thompson Speedway. Christopher and his Tommy Baldwin Jr.–owned team combined a fast car with a well-played midrace strategy to come on strong and top the 31-car field on a busy Saturday at the Sunoco World Series.
Bethlehem, NH’s Dowling earned the pole under the American-Canadian Tour “plus-minus” system by passing five cars in his heat race. The young lion set the early pace, easily driving away after a pair of early cautions. But Christopher was coming on strong behind him, moving under Joey Cipriano for the second spot on lap 23 and catching Dowling a few circuits later.
The duo remained nose-to-tail until the third yellow at lap 35 for Glen Steger’s turn-four spin. Most of the lead lap cars elected to pit during the caution to pit for fresh right-side tires. Christopher’s team went one step further, switching the left-side tires and giving up track position in exchange for a better-handling race car.
Dowling restarted fourth behind the three cars that did not pit and tore past all of them within a lap of going back to green. Two more cautions shortly thereafter — one when Todd Owen’s engine expired on lap 42, and another when Josh Zentek spun out on lap 51 — helped Christopher’s charge back through the field.
When the sixth and final yellow came out on lap 53 for a multi-car tangle in turn four, Christopher was up to third. He disposed of Keith Rocco on the restart when Rocco had trouble getting back to speed, then set his sights on Dowling. With the pair approaching slower traffic and lap 65 going on the scoreboard, Christopher made his move, diving inside Dowling for the lead entering turn one. The earlier strategy then truly paid dividends as Christopher pulled away from an increasingly loose Dowling to pocket the $5,000 payday.
Dowling settled for second with Rocco completing the podium. Cipriano ran strong all night to take fourth. Matt Swanson inherited the fifth spot after Andy Shaw was disqualified for an illegal carburetor. Dave Ethridge, Trevor Bleau, Eric Goodale, Brett Meservey, and Max Zachem rounded out the top-10.
In the 50-lap Late Model Open feature, Pitkat started on the pole after posting a “+4” in qualifying. The many-time Thompson Speedway winner darted away early as Ryan Lineham, Nicholas Johnson, Jake Johnson, Derek Gluchacki, and others duked it out behind him.
Salem, MA’s Tom Carey III soon cut through the pack from his eighth starting position and was closing on Pitkat when the only caution flew on lap 19 for Jimmy Renfrew Jr.’s stalled machine. Carey glued himself to Pitkat’s bumper following the restart and seemed poised to make a run. As the laps wound down, though, Carey started to fade a bit. Pitkat, meanwhile, remained strong and crept away in the Jeff Hartwell–owned Ford. Pitkat’s wire-to-wire win netted him the $2,000 base purse plus another $2,800 in lap leader money.
Carey ended up second with Jake Johnson third. Gluchacki fended off Matthew Lowinsk-Loh at the finish line for fourth. Ryan Morgan, Mark Jenison, Lineham, Michael Mitchell, and Travis Jurcik also earned top-10 finishes.
Windham, ME’s Bobby Timmons III also earned a four-figure payday in the 350 Small Block Supermodified Open. Timmons first grabbed the lead from Rich Eaton on lap two of the 30-lap feature. Auburn, NH’s Mike Netishen then entered the picture, and after dueling side-by-side with Simmons for several circuits, Netishen secured the point on lap seven.
Timmons wasn’t done, though, and stayed in lockstep with Netishen. Just after getting the halfway signal, Timmons dove below Netishen entering turn three to take the lead back. The veteran Maine racer than motored off into the night for the win and a $2,000 cash prize. Netishen finished second followed by Stephen Duphily, Michael Bruce, and Eaton.
Mendon, MA’s John Zych Jr. was the fastest NEMA Midget of them all as he took the 25-lap Sunoco World Series feature. Zych started fifth and grabbed the lead from Mike Horn just before a lap-eight caution for fluid on the race track.
Kingston, MA’s Randy Cabral moved into second on the restart and started to put the pressure on. However, during the second caution on lap 11 for Andy Lunt’s spin, Cabral suddenly shut down and went pit-side.
Roxbury, CT’s Chase Dowling then passed Todd Bertrand for second after the green lights came back on. Dowling tried to catch Zych as the duo pulled away from the pack, but could never mount a serious charge as Zych earned the win.
Bertrand held off Avery Stohr for third. Ben Seitz, Horn, Jake Trainor, Doug Cleveland, Richie Coy, and Paul Scally completed the top-10 finishers.
Antrim, NH’s Desmond Skillings took home all the marbles in the North East Mini Stock Tour main event. Skillings, one of several drivers in championship contention entering the 20-lap NEMST season finale, started on the front row and went back-and-forth early with multit-tim Emerson Cayer.
Three cautions in the first two laps slowed the early going — the third of which eliminated title contender Cody Leblanc when he spun in turn three and got nailed head-on. Skillings finally took control from Cayer on the third restart and then held off a last-lap bid from Oxford, MA’s Nick Anderson for the victory. Matt Sonnhalter, Cayer, Mike Viens, Jake Rheaume, Roger Ducharme, Kevin Cormier, Dave Trudeau Sr., and Gordon Farnhum finished third through 10th.
By winning the race, Skillings also came from behind to win the championship. Erin Aiken, who entered the night as the point leader, could do no better than 11th in the rundown. The bonus point Skillings received for the win gave him the title by that margin.
Harwich, MA’s Doug Meservey Jr. and Brewster, MA’s Brett Meservey made it a family affair in a Pro 4 Modified barnburner. Doug Meservey Jr. blasted beneath Cody Rose entering turn three to grab the lead on lap 3 of the 22-lap Harry Kourafas Jr. Memorial. Easton, MA’s Rob Richardi was right behind him with Doug’s cousin Brett joining the fray a few circuits later.
The trio went neck-and-neck the rest of the way with both Richardi and Brett Meservey making multiple attempts inside Doug. Neither could make it stick and Meservey Jr. survived the battle to take the victory. Richardi was third with Randy Cabral and Doug Meservey St. completing the top-five.
Warwick, RI’s Ryan Vanasse picked up his second win of the year in the 35-lap Exit Realty Pro Truck Challenge feature. Vanasse was running third behind Randy Burr and “Dangerous” Dave Koenig with laps winding down when Koenig’s engine went up in flames on the backstretch.
The resulting yellow set up a five-lap dash to the checkered flag. Vanasse got the jump outside Burr on the restart, and although Burr hung tough, Vanasse eventually cleared him and beat the multi-time winner to the finish by a few car lengths.
Point leader and defending champion Gerard Giordano Jr. finished third after a last-lap scramble. Connor Souza, Emma Monahan, Brandon Plemons, Lucas Leone, Jim Boyle, Jason Ferreira, and Rick Ashlaw completed the top-10.
Seven other divisions held qualifying as part of Saturday’s program, including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Six-time champion Doug Coby of Milford, CT earned the pole for Sunday’s Sunoco World Series 150, putting down a fast time of 19.233 seconds as the last car out in time trials. Orchard Park, NY’s Patrick Emerling will line up second on Sunday with current point leader Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, NY slated to start third.
The 58th Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park concludes on Sunday, October 11. The ISMA Supermodifieds start the action at 12:15pm while the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour crowns its 2020 champion in the Sunoco World Series 150 beginning at approximately 4:00pm. In between are feature events for the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models, Sunoco Modifieds, Samuel Adams Limited Sportsmen, Truly Hard Seltzer NEMA Lites, and Twisted Tea SK Light Modifieds.
General admission tickets and pit passes will be available at the gate. For those who can’t make it to the track, Speed51.TV is offering a live pay-per-view broadcast of all divisions except the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
For more information about the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing schedule, contact the ACT offices at (802) 244-6963, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.acttour.com/thompson-speedway. You can also get updates on Facebook and Twitter at @ACTTour.
For camping information and general Thompson Speedway inquires, call (860) 923-2280, email email@example.com, or visit www.thompsonspeedway.com. You can follow Thompson Speedway on Facebook and Instagram at @ThompsonSpeedway or on Twitter at @ThompsonSpdwy.
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THOMPSON SPEEDWAY MOTORSPORTS PARK — Thompson, CT
SUNOCO WORLD SERIES OF SPEEDWAY RACING — DAY 2
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2020
BUDWEISER MODIFIED OPEN
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 4 ) Mike Christopher Jr. ( 7NY ) Wolcott, CT , 75 Laps
2. ( 1 ) Chase Dowling ( 00 ) Bethlehem, NH , 75 Laps
3. ( 9 ) Keith Rocco ( 57 ) Berlin, CT , 75 Laps
4. ( 6 ) Joey Cipriano ( 1 ) Plymouth, CT , 75 Laps
5. ( 12 ) Matt Swanson ( 3 ) Harvard, MA , 75 Laps
6. ( 16 ) Dave Ethridge ( 34 ) Portland, CT , 75 Laps
7. ( 29 ) Trevor Bleau ( 44NH ) Troy, NH , 75 Laps
8. ( 15 ) Eric Goodale ( 58 ) Riverhead, NY , 75 Laps
9. ( 11 ) Brett Meservey ( 79 ) Brewster, MA , 75 Laps
10. ( 7 ) Max Zachem ( 23CT ) Oakdale, CT , 75 Laps
11. ( 5 ) Troy Talman ( 44 ) Oxford, MA , 75 Laps
12. ( 23 ) Craig Lutz ( 46 ) Miller Place, NY , 75 Laps
13. ( 2 ) Brett Gonyaw ( 87 ) Vernon, CT , 75 Laps
14. ( 10 ) Dan Meservey ( 45 ) Brewster, MA , 74 Laps
15. ( 3 ) Tommy Barrett ( 9 ) Millis, MA , 74 Laps
16. ( 30 ) Joe Doucette ( 93 ) Framingham, MA , 74 Laps
17. ( 21 ) Carl Medieros Jr. ( 50 ) Westport, MA , 74 Laps
18. ( 19 ) Glen Steger ( 48 ) Copiague, NY , 74 Laps
19. ( 18 ) Jim Gavek ( 21 ) Effort, PA , 74 Laps
20. ( 27 ) Christopher Jensen ( 179 ) Wolcott, CT , 73 Laps
21. ( 14 ) Anthony Flannery ( 25CT ) East Hampton, CT , 55 Laps
22. ( 17 ) Ryan Doucette ( 55 ) Framingham, MA , 53 Laps
23. ( 24 ) Josh Zentek ( 81X ) East Haven, CT , 51 Laps
24. ( 31 ) Todd Owen ( 81 ) Somers, CT , 42 Laps
25. ( 26 ) Andrew Molluer ( 35 ) Shelton, CT , 35 Laps
26. ( 22 ) Chase Cook ( 27 ) Norwich, CT , 8 Laps
27. ( 25 ) Rob Richardi Jr. ( 12MA ) Taunton, MA , 4 Laps
28. ( 13 ) Richard Savary ( 99 ) Holbrook, MA , 3 Laps
29. ( 8 ) Ronnie Williams ( 25 ) Tolland, CT , 2 Laps
DSQ ( 20 ) Andy Shaw ( 66 ) Center Conway, NH , 0 Laps
DNS ( 28 ) Dylan Izzo ( 04CT ) Monroe, CT , 0 Laps
Lap Leaders: Chase Dowling, 1-65; Mike Christopher Jr., 66-75. (1 lead changes among 2 drivers)
Time of Race: 54 minutes, 20 seconds Margin of Victory: 1.903 seconds
Cautions: 6 (laps 3, 15, 35, 42, 51, 53)
Heat Winners: Tommy Barrett, Ronnie Williams, Keith Rocco
ACT-TYPE LATE MODEL OPEN
Pos., Start Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown, Laps
1. ( 1 ) Woody Pitkat ( 91CT ) Bellingham , MA , 50 Laps
2. ( 8 ) Tom Carey III ( 5 ) Salem , MA , 50 Laps
3. ( 6 ) Jake Johnson ( 15MA ) Rehoboth , MA , 50 Laps
4. ( 3 ) Derek Gluchacki ( 03 ) No. Dartmouth , MA , 50 Laps
5. ( 7 ) Matthew Lowinski-Loh ( 17 ) Milford , MA , 50 Laps
6. ( 11 ) Ryan Morgan ( 31CT ) North Franklin , CT , 50 Laps
7. ( 5 ) Mark D. Jenison ( 22RI ) Warwick , RI , 50 Laps
8. ( 2 ) Ryan Lineham ( 10 ) Hope Valley , RI , 50 Laps
9. ( 12 ) Michael Mitchell ( 40 ) Cumberland , RI , 50 Laps
10. ( 15 ) Travis Jurcik ( 33 ) Moosup , CT , 50 Laps
11. ( 19 ) Rick Gentes ( 70 ) Harrisville , RI , 50 Laps
12. ( 14 ) Michael Linddquist ( 71 ) Sandy Hook , CT , 50 Laps
13. ( 4 ) Nicholas Johnson ( 6 ) Rehoboth , MA , 50 Laps
14. ( 21 ) Michael Benevides ( 50RI ) Westerly , RI , 50 Laps
15. ( 20 ) Paul Lallier ( 70X ) Warwick , RI , 49 Laps
16. ( 18 ) Dennis Dumas ( 15 ) Raymond , NH , 49 Laps
17. ( 16 ) Jason Larivee Jr. ( 70RI ) West Greenwich , RI , 48 Laps
18. ( 10 ) Alby Ovitt ( 35NH ) Somersworth , NH , 29 Laps
19. ( 13 ) Kevin Bowe ( 28 ) Smithfield , RI , 22 Laps
20. ( 9 ) Jimmy Renfrew Jr. ( 00NH ) Candia , NH , 17 Laps
DNS Brian Tagg ( 9MA ) Oxford , MA
350 SUPERMODIFIED OPEN
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Bobby Timmons III ( 13 ) Windham, ME
2. Mike Netishen ( 47 ) Auburn, NH
3. Stephen Duphily ( 11 ) Plainstow, NH
4. Michael Bruce ( 22 ) Oswego, NY
5. Rich Eaton ( 4 ) Seabrook, NH
6. Brad Babb ( 41 ) Windham, ME
7. Cameron Rowe ( 77 ) Sterling, NY
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. John Zych Jr. ( 9 ) Mendon, MA
2. Chase Dowling ( 47 ) Roxbury, CT
3. Todd Bertrand ( 48 ) Danielson, CT
4. Avery Stoehr ( 39 ) Lakeville, MA
5. Ben Seitz ( 17 ) Bourne, MA
6. Mike Horn ( A1 ) Ashland, MA
7. Jake Trainor ( 8 ) Medway, MA
8. Doug Cleveland ( 87 ) Sudbury, MA
9. Richie Coy ( 19 ) Ringwood, NJ
10. Paul Scally ( 30 ) Raynham, MA
11. Matthew Merry ( 69 ) Kingston, MA
12. Randy Cabral ( 74 ) Kingston, MA
13. Andy Lunt ( 18 ) Marion, MA
14. Jim Santa Maria ( 97 ) Burlington, CT
15. Lanson Fornoro ( 50 ) Brockton, MA
16. Joey Bailey ( 21 ) Monroe, NJ
17. Anthony Payne ( 35 ) Fair Lawn, NJ
NORTH EAST MINI STOCK TOUR
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Desmond Skillings ( 90 ) Antrim, NH
2. Nick Anderson ( 55 ) Oxford, MA
3. Matt Sonnhalter ( 33VT ) East Thetford, VT
4. Emerson Cayer ( 88 ) Contoocook, NH
5. Mike Viens ( 85 ) Seekonk, MA
6. Jake Rheaume ( 18 ) Rochester, NH
7. Roger Ducharme ( 34 ) Foster, RI
8. Kevin Cormier ( 14Z ) Agawam, MA
9. Dave Trudeau Sr. ( 0 ) Mansfield, CT
10. Gordon Farnum ( 46 )
11. Erin Aiken ( 33NH ) Claremont, NH
12. Dave Trudeau Jr. ( 97 ) Mansfield, CT
13. Justin Faford ( 04 ) Westminster, MA
14. Steve Barrett ( 54 ) Norwich, CT
15. Tim Paquette ( 93 ) Bennington, NH
16. Pat Houle ( 57X ) Vernon, VT
17. Ray Baltic ( 91 )
18. Jared Roy ( 81CT ) Sterling, CT
19. Eric Banks ( 5 )
20. Nadine Coates ( 40 ) Newport, NH
21. Cody Leblanc ( 7NH ) Berlin, NH
22. Louis Maher ( 69 ) Spencer, MA
23. Richard Fournier ( 20 ) Warwick, MA
24. Chris Taylor ( 5X ) East Lyme, CT
25. Dylan DeCoster ( 18X ) Waterford, CT
PRO 4 MODIFIEDS
Pos., Driver, Car #, Hometown
1. Doug Meservey Jr. ( 67 ) Harwich, MA
2. Brett Meservey ( 5 ) Brewster, MA
3. Rob Richardi ( 00 ) Easton, MA
4. Randy Cabral ( 0 ) Kingston, MA
5. Doug Meservey Sr. ( 67A ) Harwich, MA
6. Cody Rose ( 62L ) Worcester, MA
7. Ryan McPartland ( 95L ) Northfield, VT
8. Ben Ashford ( 24 ) Randolph, VT
9. Al Rieser ( 37L ) Brimfield, MA
10. Mark Charette ( 68L ) Wolcott, CT
11. Craig Phillips ( 66L ) Oakham, MA
12. Rick Cail ( 7L )
13. Julian Gorman ( 9VT ) Randolph, VT
14. Douglas Vinor ( 55L ) Harrison, MI
EXIT REALTY PRO TRUCK CHALLENGE
Pos., Driver, Car #
1. Ryan Vanasse ( 31 )
2. Randy Burr ( 32 )
3. Gerard Giordano Jr . ( 15JR )
4. Connor Souza ( 38 )
5. Emma Monahan ( 78 )
6. Brandon Plemons ( 8 )
7. Lucas Leone ( 1NE )
8. Jim Boyle ( 2CT )
9. Jason Ferreira ( 24 )
10. Rick Ashlaw ( 28 )
11. Ronald Langdon ( 81 )
12. Jim Thompson ( 87 )
13. Andrew Morin ( 10 )
14. Ariana Jencik ( 71A )
15. Dave Koenig ( 97 )
16. Nicholas Cashman ( 18X )
17. Devon Jencik ( 71 )