As Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) driver Tommy Shea puts it, ‘racing is a sport that extracts every human emotion’. From triumphant to sad, from ecstatic to mad and everything in between, racing has it. Sometimes the swing from one extreme to another happens within seconds, but what makes each driver return race after race is the sought after moment of glory.
Shea has yet to visit victory lane at TSMP and this year he will present a new car for competition during Icebreaker weekend on April 11th and 12th. He is one of many in a fiercely competitive Limited Sportsman field trying to topple the success of Corey Hutchings. Hutchings is no stranger to success and returns to the division after winning 5 of the last 6 events in 2014. Only one other driver went to victory lane last season and that was Shawn Monahan who earned three wins, but will be stepping away from driving as the newly named General Manager of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Multiple win seasons are nothing new for Hutchings who once tallied 17 wins across two tracks in one year. After much success in late model competition over the years owner-driver says, “I’m doing my own thing and I’m really enjoying what I have going on right now.”
Larry Barnett ran only 4 races last season, but is a perennial favorite and will return to compete for the championship. If you ask his peers, you’ll find that Barnett’s return is on the minds of many due to his past success. Past success doesn’t always equal continued success and it will be a tall order with the tough competition that awaits.
“I know Corey (Hutchings) and Scott (Sundeen) are always the guys that are running the same,” said Barnett. “If you’re really good, you’ll beat him and if you’re off a little you won’t. (Corey Hutchings) raised the bar last year so to beat him you need to be on top of your game.”
A year ago, Scott Sundeen came away with his third championship, but felt as though he left a lot on the table throughout the season with a car that was underpowered. “I almost parked the car last season,” he said. “It was a huge struggle.”
In the off-season, Sundeen went to work including multiple trips to the chassis dyno to diagnose the issue. It ended up being an electrical switch that was robbing power from the engine that equaled 30 horsepower on the dyno. With his car back to what it should be, he is optimistic about his title defense.
Last year’s championship runner-up Steve Kenneway will not return in 2015, handing the keys over to Diego Monahan, bringing even more talent to a stacked division.
Then there is Ryan Waterman who finished with a top-5 points effort in 2014. At 21 years old, Waterman is about to embark on his 3rd season and will bring the car he raced with last October at the World Series. That car had to be rebuilt after crashing during the event, but it gives him a boost on confidence in how well the car performed.
“I feel like I’m in a position to break though,” said Waterman. “I just need more luck at Thompson.”
The Limited Sportsman division has several teams gunning for the top spot this season leaving little margin for error, making it one of the most entertaining divisions of the race weekend.
The Icebreaker is scheduled the weekend of April 10-12 and will include a 20-lap feature for the Limited Sportsman division, beginning with rotating practice session on Friday, April 10. For more information, including an event schedule, visit www.thompsonspeedway.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube for the most up to date news and updates about Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
– Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Release & Photo