Picking the winners of big short track races throughout the country is a tradition that our staff at Speed51.com has enjoyed for many years. With a big Modified race taking place this weekend in Connecticut, our staff has been challenged once again.


This week we asked members of our Speed51.com team, “Who are you picking to win the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Icebreaker at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park?”


The answers we received varied, but when all the votes were tallied it was Ryan Preece who was named the favorite to win the second race of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.  Overall, eight different drivers received votes from our panel of 20 experts.


Check out our full list of staff picks for the Icebreaker below.


Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Regional Editor (Central NY & PA)

Pick: Justin Bonsignore

I’ll go with Justin Bonsignore to break his winless streak and take his second career Icebreaker victory. After seeing the speed he showed at Myrtle Beach with the switch to LFR and new crew chief, he will certainly be a contender to seal the deal at Thompson.


Adam Mackey, Speed51.com Announcer

Pick: Ryan Preece

I’ll go with Ryan Preece. Mainly because Ryan Preece goes fast.


Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Patrick Emerling

My Modified experience is limited to the World Series at New Smyrna Speedway, where Emerling felt to be a contender even on an off day. My money is on Emerling to top the field in the Icebreaker.


Bob Dillner, Speed51.com Executive Editor

Pick: Timmy Solomito

I have to go with a member of the Long Island Gang with this pick. Solomito is a former Icebreaker winner and I believe he’ll park the No. 16 back in Thompson victory lane on Sunday.


Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor

Pick: Doug Coby

He’s a five-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion and he’s a five-time race winner at Thompson. Coby is just two years removed from sweeping all four NWMT events at Thompson in 2015, and I believe this is the weekend he gets back to victory lane.


Caleb Slouha, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent

Pick: Ryan Preece

While I don’t have a ton of Modified experience being from the Midwest, I do know that Ryan Preece is always in the discussion. I believe he can grab a win at Thompson this weekend.


Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor

Pick: Chase Dowling

I believe this is the weekend that Dowling breaks through. He has had plenty of development time with LFR, he is in a rac ecar he knows inside and out to start the year, he has momentum coming in from Myrtle Beach and he now knows nearly all of the do’s and don’ts of how to race on the NWMT now, especially at Thompson.


Dakota Geyer, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent

Pick: Doug Coby

The five-time NWMT Champion is a favorite anywhere he races at. He is a former Icebreaker 150 winner and had a top-five finish in the NASCAR K&N East race at Thompson one year ago, so look for him to return to Thompson victory lane.


Daryl Canfield, Speed51.com / MoJo Photos

Pick: Justin Bonsignore

Bonsignore stayed active throughout the winter months competing in the TQ Midget Indoor Auto Racing Championships. Bonsignore went on to claim that series title and with five Whelen Modified Tour wins at Thompson, he will certainly be a contender.


Duane Canfield, Speed51.com / MoJo Photos

Pick: Doug Coby

Five-time champion Doug Coby will rebound after a sub-par performance at Myrtle Beach and an early exit from last year’s Icebreaker. Coby will prove that he is the man to beat as he races towards a sixth title.


Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Justin Bonsignore

He’s overdue for a win and he knows it. The new LFR mount will pilot him to victory this weekend.


Evan Canfield, Speed51.com Photographer

Pick: Timmy Solomito

After a 2017 season that saw Solomito win on numerous occasions and nearly win the series title, “The Natural” should be a contender at the Icebreaker, as he set fast time at last year’s event.


Ian Pettigrew, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent

Pick: Bobby Santos

After picking up the USAC Silver Crown win at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, I’m picking Santos to take the red-eye flight and win the Icebreaker on Sunday.


Jeremy Anders, Speed51.com West Coast Correspondent

Pick: Ryan Preece

The last few years Preece has had “ice” in his veins during Modified races at Thompson. The success will continue this weekend and nobody will break up the ice in Preece.


Kevin Peters, Speed51.com West Coast Correspondent 

Pick: Ryan Preece

Preece was either a hero or a zero last year at Thompson, winning two and finishing outside the top 25 in the other two NWMT events. I look for Preece to climb back to the top of the heap in this year’s edition of the Icebreaker and bring home his first victory in one of the series’ most prestigious events.


Patrick Hahe, Speed51.com Regional Editor (IN, MI & OH)

Pick: Ryan Preece

Preece showed to be a dominant force during the World Series at New Smyrna, at least when little bugs didn’t derail the day. By the end of the week they were firing on all cylinders and I think he will be able to bring that to Thompson.


Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor

Pick: Timmy Solomito

Some of Solomito’s best runs that haven’t resulted in wins have come at Thompson Speedway. He’s always been good here, ever since he was racing for Wayne Anderson in the 75. He’ll be strong on Sunday.


Ryan McCollough, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Doug Coby

It wasn’t long ago that Thompson was Doug Coby’s personal playground. Coby swept all four races at Thompson in 2015, and has been in the mix in nearly every event ran at the track in the last five years. Look for Coby to rebound from his 14th-place run at Myrtle Beach and park it in victory lane in his home state on Sunday.


Tom Ryan, Speed51.com Digital Manager

Pick: Jon McKennedy

McKennedy and Tommy Baldwin Racing have proven to be a dynamic duo early on in 2018. I think they’ll continue building on their stellar season this weekend.


Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

Pick: Jon McKennedy

The Jon McKennedy-Tommy Baldwin partnership is off to a hot start in 2018, with a win at the World Series in New Smyrna, the Whelen Modified Tour opener at Myrtle Beach, and a Southern Modified Racing Series event at Caraway. McKennedy also notched a pair of top 10s at Thompson last season driving for Brian Brady, so there should be plenty of good vibes for that team.


-Text by Speed51.com Staff

-Photo credit: Speed51.com

Speed51.com Staff Picks for Icebreaker at Thompson