Setting The Scene: Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco World Series 150 At Thompson Speedway

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Doug Coby is being chased by Justin Bonsignore, Timmy Solomito, Ryan Preece, Eric Goodale and Rowan Pennink in his quest to win a fourth consecutive Whelen Modified Tour title and fifth championship in the last six years (Photo: NASCAR)

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour enters Sunday’s Sunoco World Series 150 with six drivers in mathematical contention to capture the 2017 driver’s championship. Entering as the points leader, four-time champion Doug Coby has the chance to add to his already impressive resume by capturing a fifth career title.

worldseries-2017-logoCoby has five career Thompson wins, including the 2015 Sunoco World Series, where he celebrated the victory and the championship all in one. A fourth straight title and fifth overall would make Coby the only driver in the modern era to capture four straight titles. Only Jerry Cook (4, 1974-77) and Richie Evans (8, 1978-85) have accomplished that feat in NASCAR Modified history.

Behind Coby, Justin Bonsignore’s impressive summer stretch places him just 10 points back heading for the finale. Although Bonsignore has never won the title before, Thompson has been of his best tracks. He has five career wins on the high-banks and is the defending winner of the Sunoco World Series 150.

Timmy Solomito enters the finale 12 points back, with four wins on the season. Ryan Preece is 19 points behind, even though he missed two races. Eric Goodale is 25 points back and Rowan Pennink is 33 off the lead. Although Pennink and Goodale still have a mathematical shot at the title, they are going to need some luck to leapfrog to the front.

Below is a statistical look at the six drivers still in contention for the title, including their 2017 overall and Thompson statistics and their career on the 0.625-mile Conneticut oval.

Although the driver’s championship is still plenty up for grabs, the owner’s championship chase is nearly all but wrapped up. Car owner Ed Partirdge has put three different drivers behind the wheel this season: George Brunnhoelzl III, Jon McKennedy and Preece. Even though Preece missed two races, the car still has received points and sits 40 points ahead going for the finale. Nearly all Preece needs to do is start the race on Sunday and the No. 6 and Partridge will win the owner’s title.

Race: Sunoco World Series 150
Place: Thompson (Conn.) Speedway Motorsports Park
When: Sunday, October 15
2016 Winner: Justin Bonsignore
2016 Polesitter: Timmy Solomito
Event Schedule: Saturday Oct. 14: Practice: 11:15-12 p.m., 12:30-1:15 p.m., Qualifying: 3:15 p.m. Sunday Oct. 15: Sunoco World Series 150: 3:30 p.m.
Track Twitter: @ThompsonSpdwy
Event Hashtag: #SunocoWorldSeries


The Race: Sunday’s season-finale is the 16th and final points championship race of the 2017 season for the unified NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. This will be the fourth and final appearance of the season on the high-banks of Thompson.

The Procedure: The starting field is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 30 cars will qualify through the group qualifying process with the remaining six spots being awarded through the provisional process. The race is schedule for 150 laps covering 93.75 miles.

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 137 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races in its history – the most of any facility on the current 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 on the high-banks. Doug Coby, Justin Bonsignore and Bobby Santos III each have five wins and lead all active drivers.

Pole Winners: There are 47 drivers who have a Coors Light Pole Award at Thompson. Doug Coby leads all active drivers with five poles at Thompson.

Sunoco World Series 150 Notes

Carroll Chasing Sunoco Rookie Honors: Entering the last race of the 2017 season, the battles for the driver’s and owner’s championship is not the only points title that will be locked up on Sunday. Andover, New Jersey, native Calvin Carroll has competed in all 15 races so far this season and has a best finish of 13th at Langley in the points events. Carroll finished on the podium in the non-points special at Charlotte last Friday night. The 17-year-old driver is hoping to lock up the Sunoco Rookie of the Year chase. Walter Sutcliffe Jr. enters the race trailing him, in second.

Blewett Back; Cugini Debuts: Sunday’s Sunoco World Series 150 will bring Jimmy Blewett back to NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competition for just the second time this season. The Howell, New Jersey, driver finished 24th after crashing out of the Icebreaker in April, but has six wins in his 122 career Whelen Modified Tour starts. The last of those came at Stafford in August of 2016. On the other end of the spectrum, Dan Cugini will make his debut on Sunday driving the No. 20 in place of Max Zachem, who continues to recover from an injury. Cugini has competed on the NEMA Midgets in New England and been successful for many years.

Myers & Harvey Return: Two former NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champions return to competition on the same team at Thompson. Former championship driver Burt Myers has teamed with owner Eddie Harvey to make a run at the victory in the Sunoco World Series 150. Myers has just two career Thompson starts and he finished 14th in both of those races. However, the Walnet Cove, North Carolina, driver has 19 career Whelen Southern Mod Tour wins to his credit as well as two championships. In April, Harvey put Andy Seuss behind the wheel at the Icebreaker, but Seuss finished 17th after being involved in a wreck.

Goodale Brings Momentum: Eric Goodale is rolling into the season-finale with some momentum off his victory in the NAPA Fall Final at Stafford two weeks ago. Even though Goodale has never won a race at Thompson, the Riverhead, New York, driver has inside the top eight in all three races at the 0.625-mile oval so far this year. Goodale has shown speed all season and finished inside the top 10 in the last four series events.

Long Shot For Pennink: Even though Rowan Pennink enters Sunday’s race with a mathematical shot at the championship, it’s a long shot that he will end up the champion. However, that doesn’t mean the 2017 season wasn’t a success. Pennink returned Boehler Racing to Victory Lane in the Icebreaker at Thompson as they celebrate their 60th season of competition. Pennink has 11 top 10s in 15 races with an average finish of 9.2. He captured his first career pole in August on the high-banks of Thompson.

HOME TRACKS: Rocco Leads SK Modified Field

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will also include their NASCAR Whelen All American Series championship battles on Sunday afternoon. In the Division I SK Modifieds, Keith Rocco enters with a 12 point lead over Todd Owen. Ryan Preece enters third, 20 points back. In the Division II Late Models, Ray Parent enters the Sunoco World Series up by 29 points over William Wall.


  1. darealgoodfella says

    Bonus points. Bonus points. Bonus points.

  2. When a driver with zero wins and 3 laps led all year is a strong contender to win the title, the points system is clearly screwed up.
    “Showing up is 80 percent of life,” indeed.

  3. darealgoodfella says

    The 16 and 51 are going to be racing. Either one has to get the bonus points to have a chance.

  4. So what?This year the 51 is consistent instead of dominant.Team changes and tough luck have been overcome by determination to win.Justin and Billy have a great team with a serious chance of taking the title.

  5. Fast Eddie says

    I’d like to see Santos win the battle, and Solomito win the war. Go get ’em #44 & #16!!

  6. darealgoodfella says

    It is the 2’s championship to lose. If the 2 has trouble, the 16 will take it. It would be really breathtaking if the 2, 51, and 16 have trouble and Preece gets it. Stranger things have happened. Remember the slugfest between Silk and Szegedy many years ago?

    Will the 16 & 51 have anything left at the end? Strategery ( strə-TEE-jər-ee)!

    Statistically, the 16 has been better than the 51 at Thompson all year.

    What is the 6 going to do?

    So far, 33 cars entered.

    Does this event have the built-in competition interruptus?

  7. The more important question is on what lap does Preece drop kick Coby to cost him the championship. #payback

  8. dareal,Are you somehow reading my dreams?Do dreams really come true?

  9. darealgoodfella says

    LM, I was thinking the same. That’s what I meant when I asked above “What is the 6 going to do?”. I hope Preece gets on Colby’s bumper and just sits there, lap after lap after lap after lap. Maybe taps hime once in a while.

  10. darealgoodfella says

    art, anybody that has been around modifieds should have the ability to think of these things. It’s just statistics and facts. 😉 There is potential for quite a bit of drama, or the 2 can totally consume the flux capacitor and drive away with it.

    The 18 and 26 are good for about 6 cautions, so that adds restart risks. Restarts are going to be crucial, many positions to be gained or lost on restarts. Some of these restarts will probably end up causing subsequent yellows and damaged cars. There are a lot of part-time and non-regular drivers adding to the chaos. Amidst all that, there are 6 cars competing for season ending positions.

    If the 2 has bad luck, the 51 & 16 are in a tight battle where bonus points will be a huge or deciding factor. BTW, the 2 is due for some pretty significant bad luck. And more cars on the track increases the odds of bad luck.

    If the 2 has bad luck and the 51 & 16 race themselves out of the race… it is possible. The large number of cars can play into this too. Cars that fall out will lose points bigly.

    Many years ago, at one of the mid-season Thompson races, one of Art Barry’s cars started towards the back of the field. On the very start of the race, all the cars starting in the front and leading in points wrecked… every one of them. The front stretch was a junkyard. That’s when Art’s car took the lead and went on to win a championship.

    I guess it’s not too hard to imagine the 2 taking himself and the 51 & 16 out. There are some things the flux capacitor cannot overcome.

  11. Old man racer says

    I’m wishing lots of luck to Dan Cugini. Jumping right in with both feet. I understand he is a good nema light driver, but I don’t know if he’s ever been in any kind of modified. Nema races are usually 40 laps or less, and last about 10-15 mins. I bet his tongue will be hangin’ out after 150 laps!

  12. 450mike wrote: “So what?This year the 51 is consistent instead of dominant.Team changes and tough luck have been overcome by determination to win.”

    …a determination so strong that it failed in every single race! Good finishes are fine, but if you can’t contend at the very front of the field, you shouldn’t be the second-most-likely person to win a season championship.
    Would you want a team in the Super Bowl that had been decisively beaten in every game it played during the season?
    Wins should matter more. “Just showing up” is good for participation trophies; not titles.

  13. darealgoodfella says

    Andrew B., your argument is very flawed. Racing has 30-ish cars at once. Football has two teams on the field. If a football team lost all games, it would never get near the playoffs. However, racing is different. The 2nd place car is ahead of the cars that finished behind it, and so on. First place is not everything in racing. But first place does get extra bonus points. And being in second place at this point in the season with never receiving bonus points for winning, or many for leading a lap, is actually quite remarkable.

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