THOMPSON, CT – History was made as stock cars took to the road course competitively for the first time at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, as part of the Stock Car Road Race Challenge, presented by SHE Racing.
Roger Turbush set the quickest lap in qualifying in any division, as the Mr. Rooter New England Truck Series driver became the record setter in a stock car on a road course for an Outside the Box Promotions event, posting a lap of 1:23.655. Upon learning of his feat, the Riverhead, NY driver said “It’s unbelievable. It gives you a good feeling that you hold the record right now. I’ve got chills coming to me right now.”
Chris Douton set the fastest time in the North East Street Stock Tour, recording a time of 1:26.119. Nick Maniatis posted a 1:25.098 lap in the North East Mini Stock Tour, besting the rest of the field, while Chris Viens set the pace for the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Mini Stocks, running a lap of 1:29.047.
Feature events began with the Spec Miatas of The Racing School, taking to the 1.7-mile road course. Rick Davis jumped to an early lead, but George Farrar methodically ran Davis down, and completed the pass for the lead on the final lap. Davis would hold on for the second spot, with Mark Gravius finishing in third. Mike Trainor finished in the fourth position, while George Roberts failed to take the green flag in the feature event after an incident in practice.
The North East Mini Stock Tour feature event was full of action, as the drivers jockeyed for position throughout the event. Nick Maniatis fought his way to the lead from his seventh place starting spot early, putting distance between himself and Toby Wells. Wells, the point leader entering the event, would hold the second spot until being sent down pit road by race control for a mechanical issue. The battle for the second spot began to heat up, as Pete Zakarite, Emerson Cayer, and Joe Baxter swapped positions throughout the course. Maniatis continued to pull away, and would go on to take the checkered flag. Cayer would settle for the second spot, with Joe Baxter finishing third. Pete Zakarite and Cris King rounded out the top five.
The co-point leaders, Chris Douton and Geoff Rollins lead the North East Street Stock Tour to the green in the A-1 Auto Center/Stebbins Discount Stump Grinding 15 event. Douton would slide off the pavement in the first turn, giving way to Rollins, with Joe Arena jumping to the second spot. Douton would move past Arena, before suffering clutch issues, and retiring from the event.
It appeared to be a day to capitalize for Rollins, but with five laps remaining, Rollins’ car became engulfed in smoke, as his engine let go past the start/finish line. Jim Boyle inherited the lead, and fended off the rest of the field to pick up his first victory on the tour.
An exhausted Boyle spoke in Victory Lane, saying “That was a definitely a workout. We broke the throttle spring on lap 2, and it’s been one heck of a run.”
Steve Kenneway picked up his first podium finish on the tour, crossing the line in second, with Joe Arena grabbing third. Larry Barnett finished fourth, and Trace Beyer finished fifth, in his debut with the series.
Youngster Chris Viens bested the field in the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Mini Stock division. Viens was nearly unchallenged in the 15 lap event, cruising to the victory. After a hug from his father, Mike, in Victory Lane, Chris said “This feels great. I have never driven a road course in my life, and I’ve only driven on a go-kart track twice. I guess I’m alright at it.”
Steve Michalski, who replaced the motor in his car after practice yesterday, salvaged the weekend by finishing second, with Mike Viens completing the podium. Keith Ballou and Nick Anderson suffered mechanical failures, and did not finish the race.
In the New England Truck Series, Roger Turbush appeared to be the man to beat early in the event, but Frank Dumicich, Jr. kept Turbush within striking distance. When Dumicich, Jr. appeared ready to attack, Turbush’s motor expired, and pulled his machine into the pits. Dumicich, Jr. would take advantage, but would soon be challenged by his father, Frank Dumicich, Sr., who took the lead with two laps remaining. The elder Dumicich would relinquish the lead on the next lap, after running out of gas, giving his son the win. Dumicich, Sr. would coast to the line, and keep the second spot, with Cassy Coates surviving to take the third spot. Pete Cayre took the fourth position, with Turbush still able to record a top five, as many vehicles retired from the event early.
The Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Late Models were invited to a test session on the road course, with Scott Quinn and Chad LaBastie taking advantage. LaBastie posted a quick time of 1:24.646 on the day, with lap times from Gentes unavailable.
For more information on Outside the Box Promotions, visit www.otbpromos.net.
-Outside the Box Promotions Press Release. Photo credit: Clarus Studios