DEREK GLUCHACKI LOOKING TO BREAK INTO VICTORY LANE AT THOMPSON
By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
THOMPSON, Conn. – Derek Gluchacki hasn’t been racing Late Models for long, but he’s proving to be a threat.
The North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, driver has two top-five finishes in the first three races of the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park season, including a strong fourth-place effort last time on the track in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action.
This past Saturday, Gluchacki competed with some of the best Late Model drivers in the Northeast, finishing a strong eighth in the ACT 75. He was the second highest finishing Thompson regular in the event.
“The first few races there were definitely a learning curve, it’s really hard to pass,” he said of Thompson’s high-banks. “You can be way faster than the guy in front of you, but if you can’t hook the bottom, you aren’t going to go anywhere.”
Gluchacki’s background in racing started just across the property from the .625-mile oval track, at Little T Speedway, where he competed in quarter-midgets. From there, he moved to the Legends Cars, competing and winning multiple races at Seekonk Speedway, in Massachusetts, before returning to Thompson for Late Model action.
He also has been running the same car at Seekonk on Saturday for their NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program when Thompson isn’t competing.
“Thompson is a lot different than Seekonk, that’s the only other place I’ve really raced a full size race car. I’ve been just trying to get used to the closing rates and the speed, and how to get the drive up off the corner the rest of the drivers have at Thompson,” Gluchacki said. “It’s been pretty difficult to do. But I think we are going in the right direction. We’ve been fastest in practice a few times, so what we are trying appears to be working.”
At the track, Gluchacki has the support of his family in the pit area to help prepare the car for battle. But one of the major supporters is his crew chief, Reagan Parent. Reagan is the son of Thompson’s 2017 division champion Ray Parent, and has been helping to setup the car and make the necessary adjustments.
“There are really only two people that touch the car, myself and Reagan,” Gluchacki said. “At the track, we know what we have to do to the car to get it where we want it. We’ve been fighting tight all year. But even in the garage, I work on the car. We bounce ideas off each other at the track. Having him with me, the tires are really the biggest part where he comes in the most. He knows how to pick the right tires, and the stagger is really important.”
For now, Gluchacki is going to look to keep his momentum rolling and capture more top five finishes for the rest of the season. With six races remaining, he sits third in the Whelen All-American Series Late Model standings, just 26 points from leader William Wall. Mark Jension is in between them both, 19 from the top.
“We’ve been really close everywhere we have gone, led a ton of laps at Seekonk and cautions didn’t fall our way,” Gluchacki said. “But top 10 in the ACT Tour was pretty good for what we had. We are just knocking on the door.”
Thompson now turns attention to getting ready to close a busy month of June, when the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions return to the track on Sunday, June 30. Lock City Drift also returns to Thompson for their second round of the Street Series on the same day. The schedule of events for the action-packed afternoon will be released in the near future.
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