John O’Sullivan Gaining Momentum in SK Light Modifieds®
Finding Success in Transition From Legends Cars To Modifieds
By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
THOMPSON, Conn. – A transition from the Legends Cars to the SK Light Modifieds® wasn’t something John O’Sullivan expected to be easy.
But, after the first few years behind the wheel of an open-wheel modified, O’Sullivan is pleased with his early success he’s found at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
“The learning curve was really about learning the space you have on the track where you have to be a lot more cautious with such a bigger car,” O’Sullivan said. “It was easier to drive by itself but tougher to race. I love the Modifieds and I love the Legends Cars. Both are great divisions and both have great people.”
Even before that, there was a much larger learning curve for O’Sullivan when he started in the Legends Cars with absolutely no experience behind the wheel. His team didn’t even have a reliable set of tools to carry to the track when they decided to begin the effort.
“It was definitely tough in the beginning, we had to buy the car, the trailer, everything,” O’Sullivan said. “Then, we had to actually go out there and figure out what we were doing… even driving the car. It was a huge learning curve the first couple of years. We had help with the Churchill family, and they are still a big help today. We found some success, and last year, we had a huge amount of success.”
Years later, O’Sullivan found himself having winning success in the Legends Cars, including last year, when he was victorious down at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. In the midst of his busy Legends schedule, O’Sullivan was able to get behind the wheel of the SK Light Modified® at Thompson, scoring top 10 finishes in his three starts.
This year, he has plans of running the entire 10-race NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship schedule driving a car for his girlfriend, Shelby Donovan, and her family. The historic Connecticut oval added the SK Light Modifieds® to the weekly schedule this year.
“It was huge, I love at Thompson. I had never raced there before last year but I absolutely love it. Knowing that we weren’t going to be running weekly anymore at the end of last year, having Thompson move to 10 races was awesome for us,” O’Sullivan said.
Through the first race of the season, it seems as though the Salem, Connecticut, driver is having the success he was looking for. At the 45thannual Icebreaker, O’Sullivan finished second in his heat race and fourth in the opening race of the season for the Division III class.
Bryan Narducci won his fifth straight SK Light Modified® race at the Icebreaker, dating back to last year, where the division ran a few events.
“Obviously Bryan is really fast, but there are other drivers getting really close to him. Knowing that we could go out there and finish fourth at the Icebreaker was awesome,” O’Sullivan said. “I would love to snag a win soon, but Bryan is in a league of his own right now. Until we can find a couple of more tenths, we are trying to catch up to him, but we feel like we have one of the top cars up there. The practice speeds might not show it, but practice speeds don’t mean anything. You have to be up there during the race.”
For the rest of the year, O’Sullivan is planning to hit the track at Thompson in his Modified, and also tour New England back behind the wheel of his Legend Car. He’s living the racing dream he had envisioned when the road started.
“I’ve only got four races under my belt at Thompson, so I hope to keep learning the track and be a top five car every week, grab some finishes inside the top three and hopefully grab a win before the year is over,” O’Sullivan said. “Thompson is my primary focus this year.”
Thompson’s next event is on Sunday, May 19, a day that race fans from across New England will not want to miss. The five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will be in competition for their second effort of the year, headlined by the fourth annual Limited Sportsman extra distance event slated for 30 laps. The Late Models will also compete with extra laps, as the division goes 40 laps. The Sunoco Modifieds, Mini Stocks and SK Light Modifieds® will also be in competition.
On the same day, Lock City Drift begins their competitive drifting partnership with Thompson as part of their Street Series.
For more information on Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, fans are encouraged to visit www.thompsonspeedway.com. Fans can follow the track on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news.