Thompson Speedway 2014 Champions Honored Saturday At Annual Banquet

(Press Release from Thompson Speedway)

Thompson Speedway Long Narrow LogoThompson Speedway Motorsports Park celebrated the 2014 oval track season this weekend with a ceremony honoring four division champions in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. All four Champions have won track titles at Thompson in previous years. Ryan Preece of Berlin, Conn. was celebrated as the Sunoco Modified Champion for the second time in his career; Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI was honored for his sixth Late Model track title; Scott Sundeen of Sutton, Mass. was honored for his third time at the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman head table; and Mike Viens of Seekonk, Mass. earned his second Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Monster Mini Stock championship.

Consistency was the hallmark of Preece’s success in the Sunoco Modified division. He won three of eight races – just as his closest competitor Keith Rocco did – but solid, consistent finishes were the key to securing his second track title. In all, Reece earned seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes over the season and never finished lower than sixth place.

The 2014 title marks his second in just three years. He won his first title in 2012 in a record setting season that saw 10 victories. Preece began his career at Thompson in 2011 with four wins and has graced victory lane every year since. He has a career total of 18 wins at the track in the Sunoco Modified division.

Preece has been guided to success by car owners Albert and Cathy Moniz and crew chief Mike Paquette, who accepted Preece’s awards Saturday night. Preece was unable to make the ceremony due to a commitment to race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Tommy Baldwin Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Special awards were presented to Sunoco Modified Most Improved driver, Andrew Charron of E. Greenwich, RI, and Rookie-of-the-Year, Keith “Cam” McDermott of Scituate, RI.

Rick Gentes, affectionately known at the track as the, “Woonsocket Rocket” celebrated his sixth track championship as driver and car owner in the Late Model division. Gentes joins Glenn Boss as the only drivers to have won the track-leading number of six track titles.

Gentes, who is the divisions all-time winningest driver, picked up his 73rd Thompson win on September 4th, but the division title went down to the wire at World Series weekend in October. Gentes finished eighth after an early wreck took him out of contention for the win. The team never gave up that night, and fought hard to stay on the lead lap to secure his place at the head table. Gentes’ season included six top-five and seven top-10 finishes.

Special awards were presented to Late Model driver, Jared Materas of W. Springfield, Mass. and Rookie-of-the-Year, Nick Ladyga of Voluntown, Conn. Ladyga as also presented with the UNOH Youth Achievement Award, an award that is open to NASCAR drivers between the ages of 14-17. Drivers may accumulate points until their 18th birthday – and are based on the best 14 finishes regardless of division.

Scott Sundeen was celebrated as the 2014 Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman Champion – his third track title in the division. His previous championships were in 2008 and 2012. Sundeen showed consistency all season long with seven top-10 and six top-five finishes in eight starts. Sundeen entered World Series weekend with a 42-point lead over Shawn Monahan and had hoped to break his season-long winless streak, but was unable to do so.

Cheryl Sundeen was honored as the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman championship car owner.

The Most Improved Driver awards was presented to Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman driver Hank Stott of Medway, Mass.

The Monster Mini Stock division was a highly contested battle that saw seven different winners in eight events, but Mike Viens proved consistency was the ticket to the track title as his five top-five and eight top-10 finishes catapulted him to the 2014 championship. It is Viens’ second track title in the division.

Viens, who also won the 2003 championship, headed into World Series weekend with a 16-point advantage over Jeff Moffat and secured the title with an eighth place finish in the 20-lap feature event.

Special awards were presented to Monster Mini Stock Most Improved driver, Jeff Moffat of Smithfield, RI, and Rookie-of-the-Year, Christopher Viens of Putnam, Conn.

The John Hoenig Memorial Award, which recognizes one individual for their hard work and dedication to the Speedway, was presented to Barbara Pickett.

Pickett has been with Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for 45 years. She began her tenure as a bookkeeper, but soon was assisting in management of the golf course, restaurant, the Pro Shop, and the trucking company. She has served any role necessary including waitress or bartender if needed, and even served as Donald Hoenig’s personal secretary. The one constant throughout her 45 years of service, however, has been working the ticket booth at the speedway.

“She is the most dedicated employee that i have ever had,” said Donald Hoenig. “She is totally devoted to me, my family and this facility. It’s like she is part of our family.”

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