THOMPSON, Conn. — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Thompson Speedway photo —
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will celebrate the conclusion of their 75th season of racing action this weekend, Oct. 15-17, with the annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing.
There are 15 different divisions of racing on tap and 14 different champions that will be crowned, including the NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions that have run and supported the famous five-eighths-mile oval all season long.
In the track’s Division I SK Modified field, Woody Pitkat — driver of the Just Get Dirty Racing No. 6 for owner Stan Mertz — comes into the finale with a 14 point advantage over Keith Rocco. Pitkat has been extremely consistent so far in 2015 in the SK class, finishing inside the top three in all of the events but one, which was the most recent one on Aug. 26. He finished seventh that night in the second of two feature races that were held and that stands as his worse finish going into the finale.
For Rocco, he has scored two victories this year, both coming at the last event which helped him close the gap in the championship chase. Rocco put on a show, leading mostly all the laps in both and holding off Pitkat in the first one and Ryan Preece in the second one. He has finished inside the top three in all races except two and one of which he wrecked out, injuring his wrist. He will come into the weekend needing to everything he can to close the gap by winning the event and hoping Pitkat stumbles.
Preece comes into the 30 lap feature event 18 points back of Pitkat, hoping both in front of him have trouble. Preece is a four-time winner in 2015 as part of the SK Modified division, with a worst finish of ninth coming on July 8. All three drivers come into the weekend hoping they will be the top dog and represent the track as a NASCAR champion at the end of the season.
Rookie contender Brian Tagg, former Thompson Modified runner, comes into the finale weekend leading the Division II Late Model standings by a mere seven points over Keith Rocco. Tagg has been extremely consistent in 2015, coming up with an average finish of just below four in the first six races of the season. He has not visited victory lane in his rookie campaign, but continues to knock on the door each race.
Rocco, who has an average finish just over four this year, has a worst finish of seventh and has also not captured the checkered flag yet this season, something which has surprised many. Rocco will come into the weekend only a few spots on the track from the championship and searching to win two titles in one weekend.
Rick Gentes and Jeff Rocco come into the weekend tied for third, 29 points behind the top two hoping for a true miracle. Gentes scored a victory in early June but has struggled since with an ill-handling Late Model. However, on the other side, Jeff has been on a tear up through the point standings after starting well outside the top ten. He has scored the last four overall feature wins, including winning two of three segments in the three segment event in early July.
Even though he has won four of the six events — his two finishes of 14th and 16th will be what could end up costing him a shot at the championship in 2015. The Late Models will be the first championship battle to be decided, with their feature event coming on Friday evening, the first one of the World Series weekend.
The closest championship battle at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will be decided during the Limited Sportsman feature event, which will kick-off the Sunday portion of the schedule. Scott Sundeen comes into the weekend just a mere two points up on Larry Barnett, with Corey Hutchings thirty points back in the third spot.
Dave Trudeau comes into Saturday afternoon’s finale with a thirty point lead in the track’s Mini Stock division, all but locking up his title crown by taking the green flag.
Appearances by the American Canadian Tour, Valenti Modified Racing Series, Northeast Street Stock Tour, NEMA Midgets, Northeast Mini Stock Tour and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will also be held during the course of the weekend. Each of those classes will be crowning their 2015 champions at the event.
To view the weekend’s jam-packed schedule of events, fans can click here to access the full schedule.
For more information on the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, visit www.thompsonspeedway.com.
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer and press writer, and is also the Media Director for the Tri Track Open Modified Series, managed by Dick Williams and the ‘Long Island Mod Maniac,’ James Schaefer.
Email Kyle at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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