An Open Letter to Thompson Speedway Oval Teams, Staff, Fans, & Sponsors
We hope this letter finds all of you well. With the Sunoco World Series now more than two weeks in the rearview mirror, we wanted to reach out to those who were involved with the Thompson Speedway oval events this year. The Thompson 150 and World Series were a whirlwind, and without the support of a lot of people, they wouldn’t have been possible.
We knew coming into these events that there would be challenges associated with them. With most tracks and series in the region long since up and running for the year in some form, we realized many teams and fans had made their decision about where to race this year. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic also presented some unique challenges, as it did for every track and series in the Northeast. The weather also threw a wrench into our first event, though Mother Nature definitely repaid us with the great weather at the World Series.
Above all, we knew that success isn’t a guarantee for any race track or event. Even in good times, there are countless other entertainment options beyond racing. Still, keeping Thompson Speedway oval track racing alive was important to us, just as we know it was for many people in southern New England. We’ve seen a lot of race tracks shut down over the last 20 years, and those tracks very rarely re-open. As the oldest paved track in the country and one rich with history, we didn’t want Thompson to meet the same fate, and we knew we had to at least try. It took a lot of people doing their part to make these events what they were, and we need to say a lot of thank-you’s to those people.
To start, we want to thank all the drivers and crews that supported the events. The World Series in particular was everything we could have asked for and then some. A total of 332 cars competed throughout the weekend from throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Car counts were up noticeably in all the local divisions from the Thompson 150, and the touring series brought great support as well. The Budweiser Modified Open, Street Stock Open, and Late Model Open in particular were far bigger than even we expected. We also loved seeing things like the Late Model teams putting together their own lap sponsorships and awards to make an already-big event even bigger. That passion and dedication is one of the things short track racing needs to succeed. Your support is much appreciated and will be remembered.
Next, we need to give a HUGE thank you to the Thompson Speedway staff and officials. When we reached the agreement to promote the two events, we decided early on to keep nearly all the Thompson race day staff as-is. We reasoned that they’ve been doing this for a long time, and things would go a lot smoother with them running the show than trying to train a bunch of new people. Suffice to say the track officials lived up to their billing. Thanks to them, each event ran smoothly without as much as a hint of trouble. They are true professionals who deserve serious accolades.
We would also like to thank the fans who came out to each event. We knew coming into this that we didn’t just have to gain the trust of the teams — we had to gain the trust of the fans, too. We also had to balance the economic hardships that some fans were facing with the own guidelines we had to operate under. It was great to see so many people at the World Series enjoying the program. (We’re very thankful the state attendance limits increased just prior to the event, allowing moreThank you also for your efforts to follow the state and local health/safety requirements in effect, creating a safer environment for all. And thank you to those who ordered the pay-per-view on World Series weekend to support the track even if they couldn’t be there in person.
A big thank-you also goes out to the sponsors who supported our events. Sunoco, Anheuser-Busch, and Boston Beer Company took a chance on us knowing there was no guarantee of any return. Their financial support of short track racing is a big deal, and we certainly hope our teams, fans, and staff will repay that support in kind. We hope to build long relationships with all of these companies in some form.
So what’s next? As soon as the deal for the 2020 events were announced, we had people asking whether it was a one-off deal (or two-off, as it were) or if it was the start of a long-term relationship. We can’t say too much at this point other than that discussions are ongoing regarding the 2021 racing season. We hope to make an announcement one way or the other within the next few days.
Please keep an eye on the ACT/PASS websites and social media pages for further updates. Until then, thank you once again to everyone who made the 2020 events possible under some unique circumstances, and please stay healthy and safe over the coming months. We hope to see everyone again soon.
Cris Michaud, American-Canadian Tour managing partner
Tom Mayberry, Pro All Stars Series owner