Thompson Speedway Cancels Remainder Of SK Light Modified Division Events In 2014

Thompson Speedway Long Narrow LogoWith a car count hovering in the single digits in the division, Thompson Speedway management made the decision to cancel the final two SK Light Modified features scheduled for the 2014 season at the facility.

“No one ever wants to cancel races, but unfortunately that is the decision we had to make,” Thompson Speedway general manager Josh Vanada said. “We had a meeting with our [SK Light] Modified teams this winter and had a discussion about where we needed to be from a car count perspective in order to make the division feasible for us, and entertaining for our fans. Unfortunately, those numbers were not achieved, and we are cancelling the remaining two races for the Lite Modified division.”

Seven cars ran the season opening event for the division on April 5, as part of the track’s Icebreaker weekend.

John Studley of Framingham, Mass. won that event.

Seven cars started last Thursday’s feature for the division, which was won by Robert Palmer of Lisbon.

Three cars remained in competition on track when the race was red-checkered because of rain after 12 laps.

The division has been scheduled to be part of the July 30 event at the track and part of the season ending World Series Weekend Oct 17-19.


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  1. concerned racer says

    Thompson’s problem is not lack of cars in a particular division, if that was the case then why are there 18-20 cars in the light class at various other tracks in State (Stafford, Waterford, etc…)..The problem stems from the lack of respect that the tracks 3rd generation owners have for the racers and fans….It wasn’t the lack of light mod’s in the field that only put less then a thousand people in the stands last Thursday evening for a double feature late model race that had plenty of cars…Thompson is putting all their eggs into the road course, but I believe that they are in for a rude awakening….Thompson will never be a Lime Rock or Watkins Glen, they don’t and will never have the political support from the tea toddling SCCA fraternity……My prediction will be that Thompson will go bust in the next 3 years, and with all due respects….. deservedly so .

  2. I’m gonna have to disagree. There’ll be someone who buys the track. With all its history, golf course, and a new road course its much more enticing than any other race track in the northeast (IMO). It has a strong fan base, good car counts, and 3 WMT dates and 2 VMRS races.

    As for SK lite car counts I’m not going to comment since I rarely go to the track, but I think the biggest surprise this year (for all of CT) is that the number of Legends competing at Waterford is a 1/3 of last year’s counts. On the other hand Stafford’s car counts are holding steady if not growing each week in every division.

  3. Cheryl Perry says

    Sorry to say– gotta agree with Concerned racer on this one. Was afraid this would happen as far as disrespect goes. Sad to see it happening.

  4. The problem here is the nights of week that races are on, and also not many shows! Go Sunday racing! Start at 10 be done by 5-6!

  5. crazy larry says

    Race on sundays not thursday!!!!!!! and camping over nite $50.00 has chased fans away

  6. crew member says

    I was on one of the lite pit crews at thompson (no, not one of the teams that was fighting). First time i’ve helped out a team in 13 years of going to Thompson and it was a blast. Unfortunately the car counts were low this season but what about the teams that have shown up every week? What happens to them? Does thompson realize that there are some teams who prepared their cars for those 4 races and those races only? This is just a sign of the times at the track. Thompson will no longer be an oval track. I could go on a series of tangents of what exactly is going on (all theories no facts) but it’s not worth it. My prediction? Icebreaker and World series will be the only Nascar sanctioned events at the track. Maybe one event during the summer and that will be it for Nascar racing. Those running the track no longer care about stock car racing or modified racing. The number one priority is not fans nor competitors, it’s making $$$$$. A private road course with absurd club membersip fees satifies their number one priority.

  7. Michelle says

    I find this completely unfair to the SK light car drivers that have worked hard to prepare their cars to race at Thompson. This past Thursday’s chain of events could have happened in any of the race classes. They race hard and accidents happen. That’s not to say that the next race would have the same result. I think this decision could be detrimental to Thompson Speedway as a whole, in the same way that limiting the amount of oval track racing has impacted it. What an absolute shame!!!!!

  8. A weekly tnt fan who is totally disgusted. The hell with the road course and the hell with thompson. Ill drive the distance to stafford..,..I believe they have made very bad decisions over the last few years and this will be the end

  9. Kinda dumb to cancel them for the world series. Past years they have gotten a decent amount of cars for that weekend. Oh well, maybe more cars for Waterford and Stafford. Not that Stafford needs any more and Waterford actually had 13 last weekend which is pretty good for that division. I agree with Jason about the legend cars at Waterford. Very small field compared to normal. Stafford’s results page only show 10 cars for their first race too so I’m not sure where they all are. Although there were 16 for the bowls opener and 15 last Wednesday. Still lower than it should be.

  10. I’ve been at both races thus far this season and watched Thursday’s debacle between the two lead cars. I would be afraid to tear up equipment at a higher speed due to other peoples stupidity. Why on earth would anyone root and gauge as hard as they were when they knew over half the race was left to run. It wasn’t even good racing just a slam fest that ended with the state police stepping in the paddock to break things up. This isn’t the first time Griswold has over reacted on the race track damaging his equipment and another racers…

    Not only are the counts lacking because of the limited amount of races and additional prep time for what is supposed to be a budget friendly division but the few clowns that race like roughnecks scare people away. Can’t run for a title at the Bowl or Stafford if some tool at Thompson dumps the leader in front of the field and tears up your only race car for the season….

    I can’t believe how many people are upset about how Thompson’s changed. This isn’t something that happened over night. I’ve been attending races there since 2009 and even then the car counts weren’t spectacular. The crowds minus the WS and Ice Breaker haven’t been great either. They need to make money some how to stay in business right? What they’ve done is rather remarkable and it clearly is generating buzz within the driving enthusiast genre. The buzz there is where the local weekly racing trailed off a few years ago.

    Have there been awful race directors? Yes. Many of the channels I scan question Tapley just as much as previous drivers did others during race night. So the argument can be made forever that the race director is at fault for driving people off. Have there been price increases related to racing? Yes. That isn’t ever going to change no matter what cost reducing rule comes down from upper management. Trying times equal less people racing cars in circles. The have’s and have nots have separated once again further away from one another. Doesn’t seem to drive away the limited sportsman teams as they’re always over 20 cars each week. Have the ticket prices increased? Yes slightly. But what hasn’t increased slightly in the past five years? Eighteen dollars has been the entry fee for spectators at Thompson for as long as I can remember. There could be a litany of reasons why things have changed but Thompson Speedway is a business first and a local race track second and that is why they’ll be open just as long as other local race tracks in the CT and MA area if the fan and participant support is there.

    After seeing the absolutely pitiful crowd on Thursday night I’d be willing to bet next season the track forgoes even what they’re doing now with 7 events and run two WMT races to start and close the season with support divisions racing for a little larger purse. I think everyone instead of sticking their heads in the sand and griping should be supporting the track no matter what they’ve decided (from a fans standpoint) to do before its to late! Support those who support the sport we love!

  11. Judy Amiot says

    Too bad Thompson’s third generation turned their back on the oval track. The boy’s hearts are not in it and thats been obvious the past few years. There are many ways to up car and crowd count! Best of luck but really disappointed.

  12. Gotta agree with “crew member” here. We’ll get the Icebreaker, World Series and my guess is the July weekend that the Speedbowl is off for summer break/Sailfest (that’s assuming that Waterford is still around/open for 2015). That might be a great weekend to bring back the Thompson 300! One can only hope….

    If that happens? Ironically the big winner could actually be Waterford – again, assuming they are open. Street Stock / Sportsman,Ministock and maybe even :ate Model divisions could gain sizable car count increases.

    Now, if Waterford closes? Well, that leaves Stafford holding the Full House hand (some will head to Seekonk I suppose though..)

    Savor what we get this year, racefans….

  13. How did the track expect to get a bunch of lite cars when you tell them they will only have 4 races? No one wants to compete in 4 races. As racers we put in a lot of time money and effort into our cars the same goes for the lite guys. I don’t blame them for wanting to run a track where they can race a full season. These guys had to pay registration fees and such just like every other driver that that track the least the track could do is give them their fees back or something maybe it will buy a tire at another track should they choose to go there. I also age lee with a couple of the other peoples comments the track to really only gives a crap about the road course because that’s where they think the money is at instead of promoting the oval. It’s all a joke.

  14. sk lites at thompson – thursday is a tough night to race, but with only 4 shows scheduled it wouldn’t be too tough to do it if you are a competitor or crew member – thompson had the biggest purse of all the tracks – so i say shame on the competitors – again more money less cars I don’t get it??? One thing thompson did not do was open up the rules to let 603 crates run, I asked if I could run my 603 with extra weight and they responded that was not an option – never say no to a competitor that wants to race at your track when you get less then 30 cars. Mad dog has a few 603 running in there mod division so I’m sure they might have been interested in racing thompson

  15. concerned racer says

    Here it is in a nutshell…It’s not the lack of cars in a particular class , but instead it is the way that the current generation of managers look at the NASCAR racers and fans….To them it is a lousy marriage that they are trying to walk away from but not look like bad guys………Now the Late Model class is a popular one, so you put together a couple of 20 lap features on the fastest track in CT., and what do you get….Well let me tell you… maybe about 900 people in the stands…What does that say..?.Even the Icebreaker was way down on attendance…The parking lot only looked full because of the road course construction…Supposedly the track has $8 million invested into the road course including State money…This will fail miserably in less then 3 years, and at that time we will start seeing the construction of condominiums on the parcel to compliment the golf course…
    The jury is out on the road course, personally I think it will be a bust and by then I’ll fathom to guess that all NASCAR racing will cease to exist at Thompson….Then what..????

  16. I think since Legend Cars drivers at Waterford are 75% still in school. That some part timers had to focus on that. It might be that some teams are waiting and saving the equipment. As the season goes on they will be back up in the 15’s and 18’s

    And When the the bowl changed the X-Mods to the SKL. They had up and down numbers. But mostly it was 6 to 8 cars that would show up. But after a few years they are averaging 12 to 15.

    Thompson needed to wait and watch the new division grow. But if they don’t want them. then Stafford of Waterford will welcome them with open arms.

  17. I say Let them run with the sk’s

  18. Unfortunately it is painfully obvious what Thompson has planned for their future. This year is a good bye, thanks for all the years of fan support but sorry, we are done with circle track racing with the exception of maybe a big show (Whelen Tour, VMRS, etc.) here ad there.

    When you only race once a month you can’t really expect to play to an open house. People are loyal to a degree however when they can’t get their fix at the track they have supported for years, they go fish in another pond.

    As the saying goes “don’t hate the player hate the game” or “live by the sword die by the sword” however you wish to look at it.

  19. Weekly racing is like a soap opera. You need drama. You need good guys and bad guys with personality that people come back each week to cheer or jeer. You miss out on all that by running 3 or 4 times a year. Soon it will only be Stafford and Seekonk in southern New England. Only the strong survive baby.

  20. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Thompsons owners say they expect to have even fewer than 7 race dates in the years to come?

  21. Billy Parker says

    To all the Thompson sk lite teams, we have 2 BRAND NEW sk motors, and are willing to trade Each for complete 602 packages (no junk) Very serious inquiries only please, located 10 minutes from Waterford speedbowl. Very good motors. email Billy [email protected] or Jeff [email protected]

  22. I went to Thompson mid last summer as I was in the area camping. I usually go to Stafford. It does not surprise me that management is making changes to the format… they have expenses and need to cover them, and like any person or busienss, they are entitled to profit for their effort. On my visis there last summer (2013) I was bored out of my mind. Low car count in all divisions. No tight racing (cars spread way too far apart). I thought I was at a practice hot lap session some place. I said I will not come back here… way too boring (and this is coming from a race fan… just think if I was just someone with some intertest and came by for the 1st time). Thursday nights is not a night for racing. Heck..people (fans and competitors) got to work the next day. In my opinion.. .it is the night of week that dooms the turn out.

  23. concerned racer says

    JimD……………Too bad you weren’t at Stafford last night….Great car counts, in fact they needed conci races for both the Valenti cars, and the SK class (27)…The SK Lights had 21 cars…………..When are people going to get it’s not the night they race, it’s the way the racers and fans are treated………Just because you dump a bunch of $$$ into a facility doesn’t mean they know what their doing…This 3rd generation lucky semom club will cease to exist in any type of racing within the next 3 years,..Mark my word…

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