Thompson Speedway Welcomes Lite Modifieds As Points Division For 2019

(Press Release from Thompson Speedway)

Bryan Narducci celebrates an SK Light Modified victory last July at Thompson Speedway

One of many substantial changes at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in 2019 is the addition of the Lite Modified division to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series schedule.

A division Thompson has welcomed to the facility on select occasions in the past, including on the Icebreaker and Sunoco World Series weekends, the Lite Modifieds now have become the Division III class at the Connecticut oval. This means the Limited Sportsman will drop to Division IV and the Mini Stock drivers will have a chance to chase the Division V title.

With a minimum weight of nearly 2,700 pounds, the Lite Modifieds nearly mirror the appearance of the Sunoco Modifieds, but have a few technical differences.

With a newly revamped 10-race NASCAR Whelen All-American Series schedule also added to the equation this season, Lite Modified drivers will have to find Victory Lane, but also put together some consistency if they want to go down as Thompson’s first-ever Lite Modified champion. Drivers will compete in 20-lap events throughout the duration of the season.

“I think it’s great,” Bryan Narducci, who has four wins in four Lite Modified starts at Thompson previously, said. “Last year it didn’t count towards the national points, but with the Lite Modifieds being Division III, I know there are a lot of guys that are going to go back to Thompson, with the purse raised as well. There are going to be a lot more cars this year.”

As Narducci mentions, a jump in the Lite Modified purse will see the driver that visits Victory Lane collect $500. Thompson becomes the third Connecticut oval to bring Lite Modifieds into the equation, meaning drivers from across the state will be able to take their cars to the high-banks in search of the checkered flag.

Narducci, who also won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division III national championship last year, is hoping to run the full schedule behind the wheel of the No. 01. Narducci runs a car out of the same stable at Sunoco Modified winner Todd Owen, and with the support of his sponsors, Narducci has been able to dominate in the previous Lite Modified events held at Thompson.

His knack for the high-speed racing doesn’t hurt.

Narducci’s first victory came in his first start on the .625-mile high-banks in 2017 as part of the Sunoco World Series weekend. Last year, the Colchester, Connecticut, driver won all three races contested during the season, including the Icebreaker and World Series events.

“I have been going there as long as I can remember, going on Thursday night to watch Ted Christopher race,” Narducci explained. “I had experience watching and I was able to learn how passing works. It’s a lot more difficult to complete a pass at Thompson without knocking into the other cars door. The first time I ever ran there, I started on the pole and won the race. There was definitely some stiff competition there that night and last year. The track definitely fits my driving style.”

Early on, entries are already rolling in with the season still a month from taking the green flag. Upcoming modified competitor Anthony Marvin, the son of Sunoco Modified contender Burt Marvin, has entered behind the wheel of the No. 07. With Marvin’s Midway Auto and Thirty Two Signs supporting the Connecticut driver, Anthony is hoping to find his way to the top of the class before long.

Additional entries for the division include John O’Sullivan and Eric Bourgeois. O’Sullivan has been a standout in Connecticut at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl competing in their Legends Cars division, and has also been successful in his Legend Car at Seekonk Speedway, over in Massachusetts. Last year, O’Sullivan tested the waters of the Lite Modified division at Thompson, finishing inside the top-10 in all three of his starts. That experience could put him ahead of some of the competitors for the upcoming campaign.

Bourgeois is truly a name that should be familiar to those in the Thompson Speedway landscape. Eric Bourgeois recently celebrated another Mini Stock title in 2018 after a consistent season put him at the top of the division. Now, with his focus in the Mini Stocks turned to his son Evan, Eric has registered behind the wheel of the No. 78 Lite Modified for at least a partial schedule.

Alexander Pearl, a regular in Stafford Motor Speedway’s SK Light Modified division, is also among the earliest registrations.

“By making the Lite Modifieds our Division III class, we wanted to send a signal that the division is very valuable to Thompson Speedway,” Terry Eames, Thompson’s General Manager, said in a release during the winter.

Thompson is looking forward to having the youth talent of the Lite Modified division combine with some racing veterans to create thrilling racing in the 20-lap events throughout the 10-race schedule.

Lite Modified drivers will find themselves on the same stage as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on four occasions this year, where they will compete in their events just before the Tour takes the green flag. Fans will want to keep an eye out for some of the youth talent as they look to make a name for themselves before making the step into the Sunoco Modified division.

With just about one month remaining before the 45th annual Icebreaker, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park officials are hard at work as the season begins to close in. Before April, teams will have an opportunity to take to the track on Saturday, March 23 as part of a test and tune session. The Icebreaker, a prestigious weekend in New England, will take place April 5-7 this year. The weekend will include the opening event for all five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions and the third race of the season for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, along with additional divisions that will be announced in the very near future.

Thompson’s overall 2019 schedule, set for 10 races, includes the return of the NEMA Midgets, Pro All Star Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and more. Fans can find all of the latest information by visiting www.thompsonspeedway.com and following the track via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Comments

  1. The SKL division used to be where modifieds came to die. Now cars are being paid purpose built for the division. With all 3 Connecticut tracks having an SKL division, competition is going to be fierce this season.

  2. With all 3 Connecticut tracks running an SKL division, hopefully they have similar rules so maybe teams could compete at all 3 tracks with only a gear change

  3. humphry says:

    Unfortunately this will never happen. Thompson and Waterford allow multiple engine builders where Stafford has elected to only allow one. Unless you have a RAD engine that is the only way you can run all three tracks. How fair is that?

  4. Rob, I agree. All three tracks can really make the SKL a great series if they cooperate.

  5. Fast Eddie says:

    Now that they are Division 3 for NASCAR points, anyone chasing the national or state championship just got 10 more races to better their season points total. Hopefully that means a good field and great racing.

  6. I believe Stafford was the first with SK and SKL , now you want them to change their rules to match the tracks that follow them How fair is that?

  7. The SK Light rules are unfair? For Stafford teams maybe. Thompson has four choices for engine builders including RAD. On the other hand Staffords car count for the Fall Final was 27 so fair at least as far as Stafford goes is over rated.
    What’s also unfair is the SK Light purse at Stafford especially since they put on such great shows. The second best reason to go to a race at Stafford and getting Limited Late Model money. A better show and less then Thompson can you believe it. Which proves one thing. In lower divisions and arguably for all weekly points racing in general the purse is a minor factor in individuals decisions to field a car.
    You want fair…….forget racing. Take the money you were going to spend and buy one or two pristine 1957 Chevy Belair convertibles. Or put the money in an IRA.

  8. Danbury RaceArena had a limited division before Stafford. The Waterford crowd can confirm what I think was a straight six division well before as well.

  9. SKmodFan says:

    LOL why would Stafford change their rules. They are the only track getting respectable car counts. Its the nature of CT weekly racing now, if your not racing at Stafford (at least in a mod) youre kind of irrelevant

  10. Maybe the engine builders should approach Stafford to see if they can get in on the action. They are crate engines, and although I may be wrong, I thought it was very limited as to what could be done to them. Having only one builder seems wrong.

  11. humphry says:

    Thank you Rob P, you even get it. Doug does not get it but at least we do. Stafford will never let it happen, used to be T/A and and RAD now only RAD. Violation of the Sherman Anti Trust Act and some day it will be challenged just will take the right individual. Pure BS.

  12. One engine supplier is bad, real bad. The supplier can decide who gets the good engines. Not good at all.

  13. Stuart Fearn says:

    look at the history and you will see how Stafford went from 2 engine builders down to one. I believe a rational person will agree with the logic after reviewing the case history. Everyone loves talking about the ACT tour and how successful they were and grew quickly. That was under the one engine supplier rule. Also, if you won x number of races (3 I believe back in the day) Tom Curley would take your engine on the spot and deliver it to Butler McMaster for dyno testing and it had better be 355 hp or less with the dyno only carb they originally used on every engine and documented power before delivery.
    Ask yourself, why would a racer use one engine supplier over another? cost, convenience, or more power? Reason number one is power and that should not be a factor in this case at all.

  14. Also Thompson allows untouched crate engines

  15. It’s absolutely fair to say I don’t get it.
    Stafford had T/A and RAD as approved builders. T/A pulled out they didn’t get dropped. I assume they pulled out because for some reason it wasn’t worth the effort as far as Stafford goes. On the other hand they do think it’s worth the effort as far as Thompson goes so what’s the deal there? I don’t get it.
    Stafford made a decision to commit to one builder. The competitors don’t seem to have a problem with that. Streets, LLM’s and SK Lights are all funneled through RAD. The LLM’s are dying but the SK Lights and Streets are thriving with the one builder. I don’t get it.
    The whole unfair, Sherman Antitrust Act deal is kind of your thing humphry. You’ve been beating the drum for years now and if you enjoy the beat knock yourself out. I’m neutral on the topic. I admit not getting it and don’t think I need to get it to be a good fan. As long as the car counts are strong at Stafford it strikes me Stafford must being making the right choices. Why can’t that be enough?
    Speaking of choices more tour teams are choosing to register for the Stafford Opens this year. I don’t get that either but I know I like it. March 3rd and there are 28 cars listed already more registrations then last year. Savary is in again so that’s good news as is the addition of Charlie Pasteryak. The second most talented possum Tommy Barrett is in. Even better news is second place ROC finisher Andy Jankowiak may make the long trek from Tonowanda, New York. I love saying Tonawanda. An even bigger story I don’t get and that maybe we can discuss at some point is all the new cars and engines being built in the tour modified class that will be available for more tour dates being offered. Engines not being built exclusively by RAD.
    I may not get a lot but in my defense I know what I’m not getting and think this could be a banner year nonetheless.

  16. “Violation of the Sherman Anti Trust Act”

    I think that’s a real stretch when there are plenty of other choices around class, rule packages, and locations, and motorsports isn’t a consumer activity.

    IndyCar uses a single chassis builder, many road racing classes use a single car, like Spec Miata, and there are events like the Lamborgini Trofeo. Even major ball sports use one brand of ball.

  17. A demonstration of the legality of spec parts vs. Anti-Trust law:

    http://traderegulation.blogspot.com/2010/08/racing-bodys-single-tire-rule-exclusive.html

  18. Hillary 2020 says:

    The roster is 10 cars strong. Still early yet.

  19. Al Coholic says:

    Shawn, are the competitors mentioned specifically in this article the only ones registered for the divission? Is there a listing on Thompsons site showing additional competitors? If there is why would you not include that list in your article? Are they not worthy of a few more strokes of a key pad??

  20. Al Coholic,
    It was a press release distributed by Thompson Speedway. Here is a link to their current roster information.

  21. humphry says:

    What exactly does the Stafford open have to do with the SKL engine package and the only certified builder. Nothing.

    Stafford has created a monopoly for RAD so are you telling me that is good for the division State wide? These engines should be very easy to police since there are minimal modifications allowed and the rules clearly state that the tech inspector has to witness assembly and affix the seals to the engine. So why not have multiple builders if the tech inspector needs to be there when the engines are assembled? That’s his job to police the potential for cheating. But I am beginning to even wonder if that is true. One engine builder who will remain nameless charges $100.00 for the tech inspector to come to the shop and seal the engine. Pretty good gig if you ask me.

    Let’s be clear, no two engines and or carbs are the same whether they come from the same builder or not. Dyno carb? How about my carb and what it is that making, that would be all I care about. And please don’t tell me that some engine builders don’t have their favorites either because that is BS as well.

  22. Al Coholic says:

    Thanks Shawn! I find it interesting that the 01 isn’t even listed on that roster yet there is no mention of the other competitors like a simple name and hometown. I guess there are not worthy or “The Anointed one (01)”.

  23. Since the SKL engine is only supplied by one source then all engine dyno sheets should be made public information to the competitors. there should be a maximum HP/Torque limit also. Having one engine builder should eliminate engine tech. Once someone comes up with a protest – engine goes back on the Dyno and should be within the max HP/Torque limit. (protest must come from a competitor that finished behind the protested car that night) Having one engine builder for Stafford but not the other tracks only hurts Stafford a far as car counts.

  24. Fast Eddie says:

    Steve, if you take a look at race results you will see that Stafford gets more SKL’s than the other two tracks combined. I’ve been to Stafford on more then one occasion when they had a consi for the SKL’s.

  25. WrongStafford? says:

    Steve, correct me if I’m wrong but did Stafford have car count issues last year? I sat in the stands every Friday and enjoyed full fields of SK Lights at every show. Maybe I’m at the wrong Stafford?

  26. Fast Eddie- I did not say the other tracks had more cars. All I said is having one engine supplier has to hurt Car counts- how would take it if you bought an engine from a former engine supplier and the next year you were told you can’t use that engine next year…, could happen again- maybe next year you have to get ur engine from a different builder. I really don’t see any harm in letting a car owner to purchase an engine from GM or anyone and have the engine put on RAD dyno to confirm the power numbers are in line with the rules. A lot cheaper for the car owners isn’t that why the division was created?

  27. If it’s broke fix it. Even if it isn’t broke fix it anyway.
    What no talk of those skinny tires to save money?
    Fact is picking up a racing engine long block at RAD is significantly cheaper then it was 30 to 40 years ago at T/A or most other premier builders with inflation factored in. The reason……..crate engines. Not to say racing is cheaper, transmissions, carbs, ignition, rears, fuel, tires, mandated safety equipment, transponders or those nice enclosed trailers everyone seems to have to have. But the long block that can win is way less in the Streets for sure and by extension SK Lights and LLM’s.
    Not only is one engine supplier not bad it’s exactly what you want. One relationship for a track to contend with and to monitor. It’s hard enough getting cars to go around those two different weird ass flatish corners a Stafford. You want to cheat spend a bucket of money on a carb. Equal engines + emphasis on handling = competitive racing = SK Lights.
    Tech is hard enough even if the track provided hermetically sealed, tamper proof engines for free.

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