Setting The Scene: Whelen Modified Tour Icebreaker 150 At Thompson Speedway

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Last year, Timmy Solomito used his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park to launch a breakout season.

To find this year’s candidate to follow in Solomito’s tracks, you don’t have to look far.

Max Zachem made his debut on the tour at Thompson in 2013, and the now 24-year-old Preston, Connecticut, driver cut his teeth racing at his home state’s short tracks. And he heads back to New England for the 43rd annual Icebreaker weekend after a fifth-place run in the newly unified tour’s season opener at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway last week.

Zachem led a race-high 43 laps at Thompson last June before a last-lap pass by Bobby Santos bumped him to a runner-up finish. Zachem also has a pair of sixth-place finishes at the .625-mile oval. It’s worth noting that Solomito had just one top-five run at Thompson in nine previous starts before his 2016 Icebreaker victory.

Solomito’s win marked the first time since 1995 when Tommy Cravenho Jr. scored the first of his three career tour wins that a driver made his first trip to Victory Lane at the Icebreaker.

Solomito led the final 34 laps in route to his first triumph on the tour last year and rounded out last year with a fifth at the Connecticut oval. He led the final eight laps at Myrtle Beach in picking up the victory there.

And four-time series champion Doug Coby will return to Thompson looking to rebound after a struggle at the half-mile Myrtle Beach. In his career, Coby has visited victory lane five times at Thompson — including sweeping all four races at the historic oval back in 2015.

RACE: Icebreaker 150
PLACE: Thompson (Conn.) Speedway
DATE: Sunday, April 2
TIME: 3:45 p.m. (approx.)
TRACK: .625-mile banked asphalt oval
2016 POLESITTER: Doug Coby
2016 RACE WINNER: Timmy Solomito
EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday April 1: Garage Opens 12:30 p.m., Practice 3-3:45 p.m. & 4:10-4:55 p.m., Sunday April 2: Qualifying 2:45 p.m. (appox.), Icebreaker 150 3:45 p.m. (approx.)
TRACK TWITTER: @ThompsonSpdwy
EVENT HASHTAG: #Icebreaker2017

The Race: The second race of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season will be contested on the high-banks of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. The Icebreaker 150 will be the first of four appearances at Thompson this season.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field per the entry blank is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 30 positions in the field will be determined by the qualifying process, while there will also be six provisional spots available. The race is scheduled for 150 laps.

The Track: The 0.625-mile banked asphalt oval opened back in 1940 as the only asphalt track in the country. The track has held 134 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races in its history – the most of any facility on the schedule.

Race Winners: There have been 35 different tour drivers that have rolled into Thompson’s victory lane. Mike Stefanik leads all drivers with 15 career wins, while Doug Coby, Justin Bonsignore and Bobby Santos III lead all active drivers with five wins each.

Pole Winners: There are 45 drivers who have a Coors Light Pole Award at Thompson. Doug Coby leads all active drivers with seven career poles on the high-banks.

Icebreaker 150 Notes
Bonsignore Riding Thompson Momentum: The Holtsville, N.Y. driver has captured the last two Whelen Modified Tour wins at the historic oval behind the wheel of his Phoenix Communications No. 51. Last August, Bonsignore held off Doug Coby to take down the victory and he also finished last season with a victory in the World Series. Coming off a sixth place finish at the season-opening race at Myrtle Beach, Bonsignore will feel confident heading to a track he has won five times at in his career. He will also unload a brand new car this weekend.

Coby Looking To Rebound: Thompson arguably is Coby’s best track on the tour. In 2015, he swept all four races therel and he has also finished inside the top-10 in 15 of his last 18 starts at the track. Last year, Coby finished a worst of 11th in the four events and captured three of the four pole awards. He has also clinched all four of his championships at Thompson.

Tough Thompson Luck For Seuss: Andy Seuss will be returning to Thompson for the first time since October of 2015. The Hampstead, N.H. driver has struggled on the high-banks in his career, only finishing a best of ninth in his first ever start back in 2007. He has failed to finish in five of his nine starts and finished 13th in his last event back in 2015. Coming off a third in the Myrtle Beach opener, can Seuss finally find some Thompson luck?

Summers Building Off Myrtle: Much like Seuss, the track record at Thompson for Rob Summers is one that he would certainly like to forget. The Manchester, Conn. driver has 31 starts at Thompson, but only two top-10 finishes – the last of them coming in 2002. He has failed to finish in more than half of his career starts at the track. However, Summers has momentum on his side following a Coors Light Pole Award and second place finish at Myrtle Beach.

New England Opener: The Icebreaker will serve as the unofficial opener for NASCAR racing in New England. With the unification of the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tour, the race will be the second on the schedule for just the first time since 2001. That year, Jerry Marquis won on March 11 at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway, and Rick Fuller took home the Icebreaker 11 days later.

Starting Fresh: Ten drivers will be making their 2017 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut, including a veteran drivers making his first career starts on the tour. Brad Vanhoute of Riverhead, New York, has competed in the modified division of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at Riverhead Raceway. The 39-year-old also made a Sunoco Modified division start at Thompson in 2015.

Home Tracks: NWAAS Divisions Kick-Off Season
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be part of a weekend that will see 11 different feature events, including the NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Coming into the 2017 season, Keith Rocco is the defending champion of the Sunoco Modified division and will return to defend his track title with car owners Mike and Mark Pane — also beginning another run at a NASCAR Whelen All American Series national championship.

Rocco will be joined by challengers Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat and Ted Christopher – who will drive for Rocco – as championship favorites going into the season for the SK Modified class. William Wall (Late Models), Ryan Waterman (Limited Sportsman) and Wayne Burroughs Jr. (Mini Stock) will also begin their quest at back-to-back championships at the historic oval.


  1. Bobbi Seuss says

    We have won twice at Thompson.
    Once with the Southern Tour
    Once with the True Vaule Tour

  2. Bobbi,
    This release is put together by NASCAR. I think in the their stats they are referring only to Northern Tour stats. I’m not sure why they didn’t mention the Southern Tour win. They likely wouldn’t mention a victory with another series in their release.

  3. Cathy Moniz says

    Nice to see Tommy Cravenho Jr.’s name mentioned. He was our first driver in 2005, Sunoco modified SK #31. I believe he still holds the Tour qualifying record at Seekonk Speedway.

  4. darealgoodfella says

    Where’s the 7NY, not on the entry list.

  5. The 7ny was in one of the restart crashes and got beat up pretty bad. Pictures where on . Good looking car and hope they can make it. Also noticed only one car from the southern tour side on the entry list. Disappointing. 30 cars not bad though with about 12 that could possibly win.

  6. The icebreaker is not on the 7ny limited schedule. Next race is stafford for them.

  7. I see all the southern guys are making the trip up north

  8. Knew the streak was going to end, but sad not to see the 99 on the entry list

  9. 7NY announced their schedule back in Jan, Icebreaker not included:

  10. dareal,The 7ny is not scheduled until the sizzler

  11. Where’s the 4 ??

  12. Where are the southern modified cars

  13. darealgoodfella says

    Everybody seems to have forgotten Preece is back in the 6, and he’ll be competitive.

  14. Fast Eddie says

    LM – ditto. I would have thought the NY/NJ/PA teams that ran the WSMT might have come up this way. Maybe there waiting for better weather.
    Dareal, I agree. I’m sure Ryan Preece will be also be competitive. Is Mike Preece his Dad? Did he crewchief for him when he was full time before? For some reason I thought he previously had a different crewchief on #6.

  15. darealgoodfella says

    LM, it has been said that the southern cars won’t travel across the street to race.

    No truer words have been spoken.

  16. I wonder if it becomes a one day show if the will lower the ticket prices at all.

  17. Everyone has got to get a grip here. If all the races were in the south, how many north drivers would make regular trips. Money wise, it just doesn’t make sense.

  18. Hello out there
    I believe the race will be one by Steve park
    in the 7 car
    He was fast all week at pocono

  19. I just bought a whole row of tickets
    Money is no issue for me
    After this race at louden I am going to thompson for the ice breaker on July 25th
    2nd race of tour is at manadnokkk

  20. Ken L,I agree with your statement, but I still think that the southern teams can’t compete on the WMT.There is a reason that teams haul from L.I.,Jersey,and upstate NY,and it’s not because it’s to far to come to N.E.Anyway disappointed that the icebreaker was postponed.We have to sit home jonesing for another week.Btw on the Bemer arrest, how would one know they were dealing with a trafficked person?Why a half million dollar bail?Maybe the government should change the sex trade laws and publicize it.Seems to me it’s a bum deal for Bemer.What goes around comes around.

  21. darealgoodfella says

    art, the southern teams were done once the combined Tour was finalized. They won’t travel. Maybe they’ll have their own little club racing down there. Why travel up here to get beat up all the time?

    Glad it was postponed, trying to do too much in one day, some series getting cancelled, and all the wrecking on opening day would make for a very long day, in the cold.

    As far as the Bemer thing goes, read other news reports… The Hartford Courant has one of the more informative and detailed reports. The FBI had been investigating this trafficking of disabled young men to wealthy clientele for some time. The FBI knows what they got, and the $500K bond reflects that.

  22. dareal,Thanks for the info.Seems like a really ugly story.If he’s convicted his life is pretty much over as it should be.Got my initial info from The Day and it seems they don’t do the job the Courant does.

  23. darealgoodfella says

    Let’s hope it warms up by next weekend!!! I need to smell racing fuel!!!!

  24. darealgoodfella says

    I can’t believe the 7ny is going to pass up the IceBreaker. Hope they show up next weekend.

    What’s with the 99? Part timing this season? Very unnerving without the 99.

  25. darealgoodfella says

    Let’s keep this thread about the Icebreaker, and other topics in the appropriate threads.

  26. Jamie is definitelyrunning part time this season.Hopefully we will see him this summer.I guess all things sooner or later come to an end.I remember his orange chevy from back in the day at Wall.The guy is an awesome racer and great guy!

  27. darealgoodfella says

    Fast Eddie, I don’t know anything about Preece’s team, crew chief, etc. All I know is he’s back on the Tour in the 6, and that should be a potent team.

  28. Hey I’m here

  29. His father is crew chief,Grasso left last year , here it’s hard to deal with either one ,so they have each other , good luck

  30. Frankie tree must be reading alternate news , he admitted to the crime,nobody should support him for what he’s been doing for 25 years

  31. Fast Eddie says

    Thanks Elect, I couldn’t remember Tommy Grasso’s name. He too knows the value of the flux capacitor.

  32. Ill be there

  33. Crazy in NY says

    Dareal says> “art, the southern teams were done once the combined Tour was finalized. They won’t travel. Maybe they’ll have their own little club racing down there. Why travel up here to get beat up all the time?…………”
    Yup..underline little. The finish from Southern National last night.
    Pos # Driver
    1 19 Brandon Ward
    2 1 Burt Myers
    3 15 Jeremy Gerstner
    4 14 Bobby Measmer Jr.
    5 40 Danny Bohn
    6 83 Tim Brown
    7 4 Jason Myers
    8 2 JR Bertuccio
    9 5 Tom Buzze
    10 79 James Civali
    11 12 Mike Norman


  34. Only 2 southern teams traveled to Thompson. And one of them came all the way from Louisiana and ran around the back all day. Good for him at giving it a try I guess….

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