Thompson, Conn. – Shawn Monahan is just one race from clinching his second straight championship in the Limited Sportsman division at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Monahan, who didn’t pick up a victory in his title effort his last season, was still able to celebrate when the final checkered flag went up in the air. This year, it’s been a different story out on the track.
In the first six NASCAR Whelen All American Series races of the 2018 season, Monahan has been to Victory Lane four times, and finished inside the top five in all events. The Waterford, Connecticut, driver is the only one in the field to finish in the top five in every race and holds a 43 point advantage in the standings heading to the finale.
What’s the difference this season? It could be the new car he is driving.
“Last year, I really tried to battle hard for the open motor and when the track introduced the crate motor, I really tried to rally for the open motors,” Monahan said. “I didn’t have the crate last year, but ultimately, the car that I am driving now is superior to the car I drove last year. I was looking to buy a crate motor and I ended up buying a complete car. I let my brother drive it at the World Series and I felt like that car was going better than my car.”
The Limited Sportsman division is one of few divisions at Thompson where drivers can lean on each other and likely leave the situation without wrecked cars. Earlier this season, Monahan used a last-lap and last-corner pass of two drivers to win the feature as part of the Bud “King of Beers” 150. That one race alone showed why the Limited Sportsman is one of, if not the best division at Thompson.
“If you had asked me at the beginning of the season, I would’ve said that it’s impossible because of the talent this division has,” Monahan said of winning four races to this point. “The difference between myself and the rest of the competitors is simply that I have been in the right place at the right time. I definitely have a lot of fun wheeling these types of cars.”
While winning four races certainly has its perks, once you win, Thompson’s handicap system puts the most recent winner towards the back for the next feature event.
“Before we take the green, I look at the cars in front of me, and I say wow, this guy isn’t going to let me by easily,” Monahan said with a laugh. “You play it out in your mind and you think there is no way you can get all the way up there. Sometimes, two of the fastest guys tangle and open the door, and you have to be ready at that moment because if you hesitate, you will be stuck behind them.”
With the 56th Annual Sunoco World Series looming in the near future, Monahan is hoping to clinch another championship on the biggest stage.
“The World Series is the highest car count of the season, a lot of guys come out for the final show, and if you have a bad night, there is a possibility that you come out with just two points. I can’t feel comfortable,” Monahan said of his thoughts going into it.
“I think I need to attack it as though it’s a regular race. When you change your strategy up, and you take the extra time off the throttle letting someone figure something out, that’s when someone gets a hold of your quarter-panel. The only time you can slow down and set the pace is when you get out to that number one spot.”
Much like the rest of Thompson’s Whelen All American Series drivers, Monahan is geared up and ready for the three-day weekend.
“It’s the most prestigious event of the season,” Monahan said. “For all of us short-track racers, everyone wants to be part of the World Series.”
Over the course of three days of racing from October 12-14, a total of 17 different divisions will take the green flag on the 0.625-mile as part of the 56thannual Sunoco World Series. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will crown their champion as part of the festivities, while all four of Thompson’s Whelen All American Series champions will also be crowned.
As always, both the breakfast buffet ($11.95 plus tax) and the prime rib dinner buffet ($22.50 plus tax) will be available for fans in the clubhouse.
A paddock pass for the weekend is $75, and is good for all three days. Fans can enter the grandstands with a general admission ticket for the entire weekend at $55, while seniors (65+), veterans and active duty military members can enter at $50. Kids 12 years of age and under are free.
Fans can visit www.thompsonspeedway.com for the full event schedule, parking map and camping options for the weekend. As always, follow the track on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.
-Thompson Speedway Press Release & Photo