With the first two of the four race Speed51 Elite SK Modified® Series rounds being taken by sim racers, one of the Northeast's real world up-and-comers showed his stuff this past Tuesday night. Massachusetts second generation Modified driver Ryan Doucette dominated the 75-lap race at the sim Thompson Speedway flag-to-flag keeping the field at bay on a long green flag run then multiple restarts.
After controlling every aspect of the race, Doucette dedicated the win to NASCAR Cup Series driver and occasional Modified pilot Ryan Newman, who is recovering after a devastating accident on the last lap of the Daytona 500 on Monday night. Doucette was even carrying one of Newman's past Modified liveries on Tuesday.
"I don’t know, maybe it was the Newman scheme, that one was for him. I’ve always admired how he came down to run the Modifieds every now and then growing up, he was always one of my favorite drivers, and this one means a lot," Doucette said after the race.
The opportunity to keep control on a night where passing turned out to be difficult, was almost non-existent at the outset, as Devon Morgan gave up on what was most likely a pole winning lap in qualifying. But, a misinterpretation of the rules saw Morgan backing out, thinking the polesitter did not have lane choice on the initial start, which was not the case, with Doucette instead taking pole with his fast lap.
"It’s a product of Thompson, there wasn’t much passing or anything. I was just trying to maintain fourth so that I could drive back up to second on restarts. I had a fast enough lap for the pole, but I backed out of it because I didn’t know if the leader got lane choice on the initial start, and I think that really put me behind," Morgan explained.
Doucette shared the same mentality, that the oversight by Morgan played a part in his eventual victory.
"I got lucky that Devon didn’t use that lap because having that lane choice all night was key, having that lane choice at this racetrack is everything. If you’re not on the outside you’re falling back two or three spots, if not more."
With one race to go in the SK® Series next week at the virtual Stafford Motor Speedway on Tuesday, February 25, Doucette is racing all out, like he has all along, feeling that's the best way to attack the title race.
"I’ve done my plan the other two weeks and just unfortunate situations there, luckily it paid off tonight."
Behind Ryan Doucette and Devon Morgan, Matthew Kimball, Collin Bowden, and Tony Quadros filled the top five, while Kyle Willis, Travis Streetman, Edward McCarthy, Cory Plummer, and Bryce Bailey rounded the top ten.
See the full replay of the Thompson round by clicking here.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor - Twitter: @Connor51CT