WOODY PITKAT EARNS SECOND STRAIGHT LATE MODEL WIN; ROCCO, DOUTON, SILVA & NARDUCCI ALSO WIN SUNDAY AT THOMPSON SPEEDWAY
By Kyle Souza, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
THOMPSON, Conn. -- For the second straight week, Woody Pitkat was celebrating a checkered flag at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Sunday. Pitkat earned his second Late Model victory in a row in the 25-lap feature, but four other drivers also joined him as winners. Keith Rocco scored his second Sunoco Modified victory of the season, while Chris ‘Moose’ Douton (Limited Sportsman), Tommy Silva (Mini Stocks) and Bryan Narducci (SK Light Modifieds®) also were in Victory Lane.
Pitkat, a Stafford, Connecticut, native, who earned his first Late Model victory of the season on July 28, also won the Sunoco Modified feature in the same evening. Sunday, Pitkat finished second in the Sunoco Modified feature, but took the Hartwell Motorsports No. 91 Late Model back to Victory Lane, dominating the second half of the race. He had to start deep in the field, but quickly worked his way to the front, passing for the lead on lap nine, and never looking back. He drove away from Rick Gentes after passing the former champion for the top spot.
“My wife wasn’t here with my kids last weekend, but she said she was going to come this weekend and I knew it was going to be even harder to win today,” Pitkat said. “Both of my cars were awesome. I just can’t thank everyone enough, and I’m just glad my family was here for this.”
Gentes looked to be in control of the race, in what he hoped was going to end with his return to Victory Lane, but after Pitkat was able to slide by, he had to settle for second. William Wall, who leads the Late Model championship standings with three races remaining, finished third, while Nick Johnson and Ryan Morgan were fourth and fifth.
Rocco, who hadn’t been to Victory Lane since the season-opening Icebreaker in April, started sixth and worked his way to the lead by lap 11. Kyle James was able to lead the first four laps, before handing the lead over to Todd Owen. It wasn’t long before Owen, Pitkat, and Rocco were dueling it out for the top spot.
The three Sunoco Modified veterans all had their time at the front of the pack, but when Rocco took the lead, he wasn’t giving it back. He would lead the final 19 laps of the feature, earning his second victory of the season in the first six races. The win also allows the seven-time and defending champion to extend his points lead even more heading down the stretch run.
“I don’t know what it was, we have kind of been on a mission,” Rocco said. “It seemed like we were way off the pace for this time of the season for the amount of wins. The last week my mindset has just been nothing but winning. It’s great to race against veterans against Todd and Woody. It was great, respectful racing. I wish we could do it every week.”
Pitkat would score his second straight podium, with a second-place finish, while Owen would cross the line third. Ronnie Williams and Troy Talman completed the top five.
Chris “Moose” Douton returned to winning form at Thompson for the first time since 2011 in the 20-lap Limited Sportsman feature. Douton started deep in the field, but when the race hit the halfway point, he had already charged inside the top five. He took the lead on lap 15 and held on for the win.
“I wanted to go water rafting this weekend, but my wife, my daughter, they told me we had to go racing,” Douton said. “We changed the springs and the engine and just went racing. We were around 10th or 15th place all year, and I was wondering if I could still win a race. I guess I’m not too old. I have a rocket ship for an older car.”
Al Stone started from the front, and led the first seven laps, before Ryan Morgan was able to slide around and lead the field for his own five circuits. But when two-time and defending division champion Shawn Monahan made his way to the second spot, the race was on between the two frontrunners. Monahan took the lead from Morgan in turn one, but when they entered turn three, contact between the two leaders sent Monahan spinning, and Morgan to the rear for the contact. That handed the lead to Douton, who never relinquished it.
Douton mentioned it was his first win in three years – with his last coming at Dillon Motor Speedway in South Carolina. The car he was competing in was a former machine that raced at Stafford Motor Speedway in the 1980s. Behind him, Kyle Gero, Jason Chicolas, Monahan and Corey Fanning completed the top five.
After 15 laps of Mini Stock racing, Tommy Silva was holding his first checkered flag of the season. Silva, who had competed in three of the first five races driving his own car, made a switch and sat behind the wheel of one Jared Roy’s machines. In the end, the decision worked out well for the Gales Ferry, Connecticut, driver.
“The last time I won a feature was in 2002 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, so it’s been quite some time,” Silva said. “It means so much. Everyone wants to win here. Thompson is special, so it’s a dream come true. Jared called me up on Thursday and asked me if I wanted to drive his car and I said ‘absolutely’... it worked out good . It was the fastest car I’ve ever driven.”
Silva had the luxury of starting from the front, but his route to Victory Lane wasn’t an easy one. Douglas Curry, who was victorious in the recent event for the class, worked to the second spot early, and even took over the lead from Silva on lap eight. But when Curry spun in the lead in turn one, Silva moved by, and had to pace himself in the final laps to hold off Charles Canfield. As the field crossed the checkered flag, Silva was in front of Canfield, Russ Barboza, Ian Brew and Joe Bavolacco.
In the final race of the evening, Bryan Narducci returned to his dominance in the SK Light Modified division, scoring his fifth victory in the first six races of the season. Narducci quickly got to the point on lap two and cruised to another win. In 10 career races at Thompson, Narducci has been to Victory Lane in nine of them. In the most recent event, he saw his eight-race winning streak snapped after contact in turn four on the final lap while leading.
“The best thing to do was to come back and win this week, and we did that,” Narducci said. “I have to thank all of my sponsors.” Behind Narducci, Albert Ouellette and Nathan Pytko completed the podium, while former Mini Stock champion Wayne Burroughs Jr., and recent division winner John O'Sullivan rounded out the top five.
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park returns to racing on Wednesday, August 14, when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour rolls into town for the 30th annual Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150. All five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will also be in competition for the mid-week special.
For more information on Thompson Speedway, visit www.thompsonspeedway.com, and follow the track on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
SUNOCO MODIFIED FEATURE (30 laps): 1. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 2. Woody Ptikat (Stafford, CT); 3. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 4. Ronnie Williams (Tolland, CT); 5. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA); 6. Kyle James (Ashway, RI); 7. Corey Barry (Brooklyn, CT); 8. Angelo Belsito (Auburn, MA); 9. Andrew Molleur (Shelton, CT); 10. Paul Buzel (Trumbull, CT)
LATE MODEL FEATURE (25 laps): 1. Woody Pitkat (Stafford, CT); 2. Rick Gentes (North Smithfield, RI); 3. William Wall (Shrewsbury, MA); 4. Nick Johnson (Rehoboth, MA); 5. Ryan Morgan (North Franklin, CT); 6. Brian Tagg (Oxford, MA); 7. Matt Lowinski-Loh (Milford, MA); 8. Buddy Charette (Woodstock, CT); 9. Derek Gluchacki (North Dartmouth, MA); 10. Mike Benevides (Westerly, RI).
SK LIGHT MODIFIED ® FEATURE (20 laps): 1. Bryan Narducci (Colchester, CT); 2. Albert Ouellette (Ellington, CT); 3. Nathan Pytko; 4. Wayne Burroughs Jr. (Oakdale, CT); 5. John O’Sullivan (Salem, CT); 6. Alexander Pearl (Salem, CT); 7. Mikey Flynn (Hampden, MA); 8. Anthony Marvin (Colchester, CT); 9. Matt Rzewnicki; 10. Brett Gonyaw (Vernon, CT)
LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE (20 Laps): 1. Chris ‘Moose’ Douton; 2. Kyle Gero (Uncasville, CT); 3. Jason Chicolas (Sutton, MA); 4. Shawn Monahan (Waterford, CT); 5. Corey Fanning (Mapleville, RI); 6. Ryan Morgan (North Franklin, CT); 7. Al Stone (Durham, CT); 8. Brent Gleason (Giswold, CT); 9. Nick Anderson (Oxford, MA); 10. Bo Norman (Clinton, CT).
MINI STOCK FEATURE (15 laps): 1. Tommy Silva (Gales Ferry, CT); 2. Charles Canfield (East Haven, CT); 3. Russ Barboza (Willamantic, CT); 4. Ian Brew (Wood River Junction, RI); 5. Joe Bavolacco (Stafford, CT); 6. Steve Michalski (Brooklyn, CT); 7. Jared Roy (Sterling, CT); 8. Evan Bourgeois (East Haddam, CT); 9. Andrew Krzeminski (Haddem, CT); 10. Douglas Curry (Groton, CT).