Seasoned Contender: Ryan Waterman Leads In Limited Sportsman Division At Thompson

(Press Release from Thompson Speedway)

Ryan Waterman in action at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Thompson Speedway/Clarus Studios)

Ryan Waterman in action at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Thompson Speedway/Clarus Studios)

At the start of the 2016 Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman Season at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, several names rose to the top of the class as championship contenders. Ironically enough, one name that was missing is the driver who currently leads the point standings. Since the 5th race of the season Ryan Waterman’s consistent finishes have him poised to add his name to the record books.

Waterman will tell you that he doesn’t blame anyone for counting him out of the title chase before the season opening Icebreaker. After all, he was only entering his second full season, had just one win to his credit, and was more known for his how do we say it; less-than cool headed approached to racing. Simply put he is aggressive. Maybe a little too aggressive at times. So aggressive that his one win could have been two. He crossed the line first during Icebreaker 2015, but the win was taken away for over-aggression on the track.

You would think that an experience like that would send a message, but not much changed. Waterman continued his hardnosed approach. That was until the same thing happened in qualifying earlier in the 2016 season.

“During the Icebreaker last year it wasn’t intentional, but in a heat race two or three races into this year I was too aggressive with (Phil Jacques),” said Waterman. “The talk I had with (Race Director) Scott Tapley after that changed my approach.”

Since that conversation Waterman’s driving style changed with the flip of a switch. The once hot-headed driver had learned to temper his on-track approach and soon at the midpoint of the season he was leading the standings.

In fact, all season Waterman has been on a roll with his worst finish coming at the Icebreaker placing 7th. The remaining races are all top-5 results and four of them runner-up finishes.

“I can give you an example,” Waterman pondered. “Last race when (Scott) Sundeen ran me up, I usually would not take any crap and would try to get him back. This time I just shrugged it off and let it go. Finishing was more important that getting (Sundeen) back. I think about finishing the race first now.”

Waterman says now that the championship is up for grabs he makes different decisions. What is remarkable though it his ability to change so quickly. The change has not been on the race track alone, but also in the shop.

In 2014, he was in the midst of winning the title at the Waterford Speedbowl when mechanical issues took him out of contention. This year, he has spent every waking moment in the garage and believes he has put both of his flaws behind him.

With two races left and a comfortable advantage over third place it has come down to a two car fight making the strategy simple.

“Finish in front of the red 36 (Sundeen),” said Waterman. “I just want to stay in front of him. I’d like to get better with the heat races, but I do the best I can with the handicap. I’m trying to run against 20 years of experience.”

The story will unfold on Wednesday, Sept. 7 during the final Wednesday night event of the 2016 season. Billed as #WaybackWednesday, the race card includes the 4 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events along with the Vintage Outlaws, NEAR, and STAR divisions. For more information, visit


  1. Good luck !

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