Dave Sapienza Revels In Fifth Place Finish In Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125

Dave Sapienza climbs from his car following practice at Thompson Speedway Thursday

By Polly Reid & Shawn Courchesne

THOMPSON – Well before the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour cars hit the track for the running of the Thompson 125 Thursday at Thompson Speedway, Dave Sapienza was already brimming with optimism for the night.

When Sapienza’s team rolled his car into the garage at Thompson he was placed in garage stall No. 13. Sapienza was close friend of the late Ted Christopher, who made the No. 13 so famous in Northeast short track racing and especially with the Whelen Modified Tour.

“I knew when I came here tonight and I was in garage stall number 13, I took a picture and sent it to all my friends, I said ‘Tonight’s going to be a good night.’” Sapienza said. “I get goose bumps, somebody’s looking out for me.”

Crossing his fingers Sapienza said: “Me and him were like this. We were real close.”

And then a stranger offered Sapienza a pep-talk of sorts during the Whelen Modified Tour autograph session.

“Somebody said at the autograph session tonight, they said ‘Dave, I’ve got a good feeling about tonight.’” Sapienza said. “I said ‘You know what? There are a lot of good drivers here and you have to have a good car and you need luck.’ A lot of times you have a good car and you get caught up in a lot of carnage out there.”

The positive mojo of the afternoon and early evening remained on Sapienza’s side after the sun went down and as he rolled to a fifth place finish in the Thompson 125.

“Tonight feels like a win for us, we’re real happy,” said Sapienza, who started ninth in the 29-car field.

It was the best finish of the season for Sapienza, of Riverhead, N.Y., and his third top-10 in five events this season. He opened the season with a sixth place at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway on March 17 and he was ninth at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway on June 2.

It was the first career top-five at Thompson for Sapienza, who has made 15 career starts at the .625-mile oval.

“We have always struggled here a little bit,” Sapienza said. “This is one of our newer cars with the Z-Link suspension in it. We’ve been trying to get a handle on it since last year. When it works, it works good, when it doesn’t you go from hero to zero. The car was pretty consistent. After the pit stop I just hung with the best of them. This is a finicky, temperamental car to set up. But [crew chief Tommy Grasso] was determined to get this car to work and tonight he did. This is our baby and this is the one we will continue to run.”

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Comments

  1. Congrats to sap he’s showing us he can run with them boys always a gentleman

  2. Reference to the Watts link. Wondering if that is the most prevalent rear link set up in these cars and if it is in the VMRS and Sk’s as well.

  3. Lightsout says:

    Doug, I believe the reference was to the TA2 type suspension. To my knowledge, only CD cars run a “WATTS” link and have for years. Two different systems. The TA2 suspension is more like a 4 link, only mounted to the car differently.

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