Analysis: Local Racing Veterans Break Down SK Light Modified Issues From Thompson Sunday

Bryan Narducci (01) and Steven Chapman (14) drive off turn two following a lap 12 restart during the SK Light Modified feature Sunday at Thompson Speedway (Photo:

On Sunday at Thompson Speedway – on a scorching July afternoon – the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature melted down into a big hot mess at the facility. 

Bryan Narducci was looking for his ninth victory in nine SK Light Modified starts at Thompson since October 2017. Steven Chapman was looking to end Narducci’s perfect record. 

Chapman was second to Narducci on a lap 12 restart when he got into the outside wall off of turn two. 

When a yellow flag came out for another incident on the track not long after it was Chapman who pulled up to Narducci under caution. 

On the final lap Chapman went under Narducci into turn three. Narducci drove up the track through turn three, but Chapman followed him up the banking and in turn four Chapman hooked Narducci’s left rear, turning him sideways and toward the infield. Chapman drove to the checkered flag as the apparent race winner while Narducci wrangled in his sliding car and crossed the finish line fifth. 

After the race the two made contact on pit road and track officials disqualified Chapman from the race for that post-race contact. 

In the pits after the event Chapman said he intentionally turned Narducci on the final lap as a payback for the lap 12 restart. 

In Chapman’s words: “He put me in the wall so I turned him, that’s what he deserves.”

Monday social media was abuzz with chatter concerning the event. As can be the case with social media, exaggeration ran rampant. In multiple postings Narducci was accused of recklessly slamming Chapman into the wall in turn two on the decisive restart. 

Sunday’s race was broadcast by, meaning a replay of the event is easily accessible. And it’s easy to see from that replay that the lap 12 restart in question looked much like hundreds of other restarts in the history of Thompson Speedway. 

We decided at RaceDayCT to have some well known local racing personalities take a look at the restart and the final lap skirmish and give their opinions of it. 

Did Chapman get wronged by Narducci in the corner? Was Chapman correct in his declaration that Narducci put him in the wall? What happened in the final corner? Here’s what we heard.

Bryan Narducci (01) and Steven Chapman (14) drive through turn two following a lap 12 restart during the SK Light Modified feature Sunday at Thompson Speedway (Photo:

Thompson Speedway veteran Modified driver Keith Rocco

“It looked like Bryan never really touched him. He did what you would normally do on a restart when you’re leading there. It’s so hard to maintain the lead. [Chapman] tried to take his groove and normally at that point, from what I’ve learned is you’re either going to take the chance and stay out there and get run up in the marbles or you’re going to back out and try to cross the guy. [Chapman] tried to stay out there. It looked to me like there was no contact. It looked like once [Chapman] hit the marbles he was on his own from there. He put himself in the wall.”

Thompson Speedway veteran Modified driver Woody Pitkat 

“Chapman just got too high. Did Bryan move up the track a little bit? Yeah, but it looks like [Chapman] drove it in the marbles. It looks like [Chapman] was like too high, but it looks like he got into … you can see dust and stuff. I don’t know if there was a wreck there before that. I’d be more mad at the track. To me it looks like there’s a bunch of [oil dry]. To me it looks like he got too high and got into the [crap] and that sucked him into the wall. I don’t think that’s anything that Bryan did to him at all.” 

Thompson Speedway all-time winningest Limited Sportsman driver Larry Barnett 

“[Narducci] didn’t put him in the wall, he just forced his way by and [Chapman] fought a little too hard and he lost control and he bumped the wall. … [Chapman] moved up versus backing off, got into the marbles, lost control and hit the wall. … [SK Modified] guys do worse to each other five times per race, and keep racing because they have talent to do so.” 

A Veteran Modified Driver Who Asked To Remain Anonymous 

“When I look at the restart it looks like Bryan went in a little bit lower than what he probably should have. I think in the middle of the turn, around the middle of the turn, he realized that. It kind of looks to me like he kind of maneuvered up in the middle of the turn just slightly. … By the middle of the turn he realized ‘Oh [crap], he’s going to get a run on me going down the backstretch’ and I think he did a little bit of a correct to the right to crowd [Chapman] a little bit. I think with [Chapman] that probably startled him a little bit and he got up a little too high.” 

A Veteran Whelen Modifed Tour And SK Modified Spotter Who Asked To Remain Anonymous

“If someone was out there I’d say “Someone’s out there, give him room.’ You’re only as good as the information you’re fed. … You move up a little bit and you get in the [crap] up there it doesn’t take much to get sucked in. … It looks like Bryan comes up a little bit, but it wasn’t like he darted out there to get him. …  It looks to me like Chapman definitely had already come in too high though.” 

Bryan Narducci’s car sideways in turn four at Thompson Speedway after getting turned out of the lead by Steven Chapman on the final lap of the SK Light Modified feature Sunday (Photo:

Rocco on the last lap skirmish …

“Obviously Bryan tried to block the pass and [Chapman] had the run. At that point if you’re going to try to block somebody like that you’ve got to be prepared for the consequences. [Chapman] was committed, he went for the pass and drove down on the apron. It looked like he got to the point where you had two young kids racing for the win. It looked like he got back in the gas and cleaned him out. I don’t see nothing that was intentional. … I tried to put it slow motion and look at Chapman’s wheels and it looked like he never turned right. It looked like he got back in the gas and maybe tried to get back in to door him a little bit maybe. … Sometimes you get to the point where you’re just aggravated and say [you wrecked someone intentionally] more to aggravate the person. If somebody told me they cleaned me out on purpose that would piss me off more than if they said it was an accident.”

Pitkat on the last lap skirmish …

“To me, I’m thinking [Chapman] is just getting frustrated because Bryan always wins. It looks like Bryan kind of put the block on him but he knew he was there so getting into the corner you could see Bryan move up the track for him and if Chapman doesn’t throttle up and run right into his nerf bar they would have dragged to the line, but Bryan would have probably beat him still. … It looks like [Narducci] knew that he was down there so he moved up. You can see [Chapman] come right up the track after him.”

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  1. Yikes, all that driving talent and experience and a mere keyboard cowboy is going to respectfully disagree..
    My only observation or question really to the drivers concerns the original dust up. If you are starting in the low groove do you have a responsibility to give the car on the high side a lane coming out of the turn or not? Keith says no and that surprises me since if someone squeezed him like that I just don’t see him backing out. Correction, he’s Rocco they wouldn’t dare squeeze him were he on the high side. Moreover if you do back out and let the guy on the bottom take your space how do you have the momentum to cross over after you’ve just hit the binders and killed your momentum. Chapman was high, a bit back but no spotter could or should have called clear to Bryan since Chapman was clearly in a proper lane. Coming out Narducci crossed over into the high line and squeezed Chapman into the spent rubber. If touching happened that’s not the issue in my view. It’s the question of long accepted race etiquette. Give the car on the outside space to race you are or put him or her in the position of having to back out or wreck you both.
    And yes I know etiquette sounds dumb but there are certain unwritten rules drivers have to go by to avoid a wreck on every lap.
    Seems clear the rubber marking the high and low lanes. Narducci came out like he thought he was clear and he wasn’t. Furthermore i’ve watched a ton of racing and did a little myself and can’t recall routinely backing out to grant the inside car the favored arc an actual routine practice.
    My chances of winning this one……….minus 10.

  2. Shawn, nice job putting this excellent piece together. I found each and every take on the event interesting.

  3. Andrew B. says

    Any chance you have time codes for the two incidents in question, from within that 5-plus-hour broadcast?
    Thanks in advance.

  4. Andrew B.,
    Go to 2:49, that will get you to right before the caution.

  5. I think the 14 was told to wreck the 01 someone that intentionality wrecks someone AND admits it should be throw out for the rest of the year from any NASCAR event

  6. This is literally child’s play compared to the TC, Bo Gunning, John Anderson, Chris Jones days of Stafford.

  7. The real issue, not addressed here, is the pit road incident that led to the 14 getting dqed

  8. Add to JD’s post, and the TC vs Rick Fuller days, where ever they ran.

  9. Josh paradis says

    Rocco is correct about starting on the bottom because off the turn you cant predict how far the car willdrift on you and where it will land so you have to stand your ground the best you can

  10. Thompson needs to sweep or blow off the high groove between races,or at least before the main events just like they do at Stafford. There were several hard crashes on Sunday that wouldn’t have happened if there was grip closer to the wall.

  11. Very interesting story – thanks to Shawn.

  12. I have to say that was one of the best, most time consuming pieces accumulating so may opinions from experts that resulted in a very disappointing set of responses.
    I just don’t think many people saw the replay.
    Clean the top of the track. Seriously? First the banking is steep so blowing is less effective and it’s not marbles so much up there as liquorice. Spent rubber. And it accumulates every lap especially with modifieds and all that rubber.
    Whenever there is a tough call in racing we all disagree on what we see. You can watch an NFL replay from 6 different angles endlessly for 10 minutes and still disagree and what you saw. The experts here sound more like fans with different views as far as I can see. Complete with fan like nonsense like Pitkat getting into the head of Chapman and projecting frustrations he can’t know anything about.
    Veteran modified driver attributing all these thought processes to Narducci being too low and making decisions in a couple seconds. Very fan like in my view for it’s subjectivity.
    How about this? Keep it simple. Does the guy in the top lane have the right to that lane coming out of the turn or not? Period!
    Here’s a guess. Narducci isn’t too low going in. He just makes the mistake of driving into the top lane and squeezing Chapman coming out of the turn. My view an example of the lack of respect Bryan shows at times in division races that many interpret as exceptional driving. I just am not seeing it.

  13. Does Narducci have more talent than his competitors? I think so. Does he make some bonehead moves? Absolutely. I think his drive to win and get lots of wins so owners will recognize him in the upper Modified divisions sometimes clouds his decision making. That being said, for him to see young guys with unlimited funds going to full blown Modifieds, when they really haven’t done much as far as winning in the lower divisions, probably makes him drive over his head trying to prove his point! That is no excuse though, he has a good enough car where he doesn’t have to drive that way! Hopefully he learns and he can show everyone what a good driver he really is! He’s won in everything he’s sat in so he’s got the talent and now it’s up to him to shut us up and win without controversy!!!!

  14. That was one nicely worded comment there Tire guy. If I knew who you were being a tire guy for I’d root for him or her. Unless it’s Hoosier in which case you generally always have a good night.

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