Two Drivers Handed Major Penalties At Thompson Speedway For Tire Issues In Recent Event

Editor’s Note: Thompson Speedway management announced Tuesday that Todd Owen and Bryan Narducci have appealed their penalties. Their appeals will not be heard before the next event at the track on Wednesday. Both are expected to compete in their respective divisions Wednesday while their suspension are being appealed.

Thompson Speedway management has penalized two drivers over tire issues found following features at the track on Aug. 4. 

SK Modified division driver Todd Owen was disqualified from a third place finish in the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature on Aug. 4. 

Track officials allege that a tire sample taken from Owen that day showed evidence of tire treatment being utilized on a tire taken from his car following the event. In addition to the disqualification Owen was suspended for the next two events at Thompson and fined $500.

Before the penalty Owen was second in the SK Modified standings at Thompson, 38 points behind division leader Keith Rocco. 

SK Light Modified division points leader Bryan Narducci was disqualified from his Aug. 4 victory in that division’s 20-lap feature. 

Track officials allege that a tire sample taken from Narducci that day showed evidence of tire treatment having been used on the sample. 

Narducci was also suspended for the next two events at the track and fined $500.

Narducci had won five of the six SK Light Modified events at the track this season. Before the penalty Narducci held a 70-point lead in the standings over second place Albert Ouellette. 

Owen is Narducci’s car owner and Narducci’s car is worked on by Owen out of his shop. Owen spoke to RaceDayCT Monday concerning both his penalty and Narducci’s. 

“I feel I’ve been unjustly accused,” Owen said. “I can’t get any results from what they found in the tire and I’ve never soaked a tire in my life.” 

Owen said Thompson Speedway chief technical inspector Mark St. Hilaire will not provide the results of testing done on the samples or tell him where the testing was done. 

“You have every right in this world to see those results before they throw you underneath the bus,” Owen said. “There’s no way someone can incriminate you without showing you why. … All I know is we bought tires from Hoosier tire and we put them on now they’re telling me they’re not legal. 

“They took my tire. I can’t even get my tire back. I can’t even have my own test done because Mark St. Hilaire has my tire at his garage in the back of his van. He took the tires with him that night. I can’t even get a sample out of the tire to have it tested myself from my own lab to see what they were testing it for. If you get caught with a motor part that’s illegal they can show you what’s wrong. I can’t even be told what’s wrong. Was it something that was on the ground from the stupid Drifting they have going on that day? I don’t know and they won’t tell me.

“It’s unfairly done. The methods that it was done by are wrong. If they wanted to talk to me and give me a chance to have my own tire tested I should be able to do that. But I don’t have any rights. Right now I’ve been given zero rights.” 

Thompson Speedway general manager Terry Eames said the track is following standard protocol in not providing the lab results to Owen. Eames said the testing was done by an independent lab in cooperation with Hoosier, the company that manufactured the tires. 

“We followed a procedure that is recommended by both the tire manufacturer and the testing laboratory,” Eames said. 

Owen asserts that Thompson Speedway was specifically going after he and Narducci. 

“I feel more for Bryan than I do myself,” Owen said. “They were just looking for something to get him with.”

The top-three finishers in the SK Modified feature on Aug. 4 had their tires tested. The race was won by Rocco. Woody Pitkat was second and Owen third.

Owen said it doesn’t make sense that only one car was sampled from the SK Light Modified field and that it was decided that the top-three cars would be tested in the SK Modified division even though five cars went through post-race tech inspection. 

“They take zero tires except Bryan’s in the [SK Light Modified division]?” Owen said. “Then they stop at the top-three even though they have the top-five [SK Modifieds] in tech? So what does that tell you? They were out to get me and out to get Bryan. If that’s not clearly singling somebody out I don’t know what is.”

Said Eames: “I’m not going to grace those accusation with a comment.” 

Owen said he will appeal the penalties. It’s unclear if he or Narducci will compete in Wednesday’s event at Thompson while the penalties are under appeal. 

“They can’t give me results, they won’t tell me who tested it or where it got tested, they just say it got tested and it’s wrong,” Owen said. “It’s kind of illegal in a way. But do I go spend $10,000 to fight it? I don’t know. They have me up against the wall. And they penalize you exactly the amount of races that Bryan can’t win the championship. It’s not even about me. It’s all about them getting Bryan.” 

Thompson Speedway officials also announced a number of other penalties Monday. 

SK Light Modified driver Keith Caruso was fined $500 for failing to relinquish illegal parts founds on his car following a win on July 28. Caruso cannot compete at the track until he pays the fine. 

Limited Sportsman division driver Ryan Waterman was suspended for the next event for making contact with another driver under yellow during the Aug. 4 feature for his division. 

Limited Sportsman driver Randy Waterman was suspended for two events for making contact with another driver under yellow during the Aug. 4 feature for his division and also for off-track behavior. 

Limited Sportsman division driver Scott Sousa was placed on probation for the remainder of the season for an off-track incident on Aug. 4. 

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  1. wmass01013 says


  2. Not sure why this wasn’t done so much earlier.

  3. You are right to see results, etc. !
    Lawyer up !

  4. Seems like a bit more reporting is in order…

    Claims he bought them directly from Hoosier??

    That wouldnt be good!!! Does Hoosier play favorites??

    All the Mods in tech had there tires checked thoroughly with a Dorometer… Only ones that failed where the two that got caught…

    What is it Shawn? Are we all getting scammed at the tire trailer or did they just get caught treating them?

    I love this site, your reporting and the sport but seems like getting to the bottom of this would be a good thing!!

  5. Richard James says

    No wonder he’s running sk lap times at stafford

  6. How many new tires were used that day by these two drivers?

  7. Fast Eddie says

    I would think in order for the racetrack to “prove” them guilty of a rules violation, they would have to release their testing results and allow the teams an opportunity to defend themselves. It’s like, “We in charge of the track say you’re guilty, so you are.” REALLY?!?

  8. I texted and called a few people and fellow drivers and crew members. They all said that they figured those two were cheating at Thompson or Stafford. What comes around goes around.

  9. Bubba Gump says

    Steve, tire rules at Thompson allow a certain number of tires a race. I think that race for the lights was one tire. Not sure about the sunoco mods.

  10. Mark A Stanton says

    Lightsout: Testing such as this, is very complicated, and time consuming to set up, a lab had to be sourced and secured. Special sealed serial numbered bags with detachable matching receipt had to be used, an overnight shipping service was on call to transport the samples all of which were done I’m sure in the case of a court challenge.

  11. Not sure i agree with the disqualifications? These guys all put fans in the seats and pit area too. Fine them if their guilty and start them in the back, but let them race……… Sk lites willl now have 9 or 10 cars at best, reallly…………………..

  12. Crazy…But the reality is….”there is cheating going on” I’m sure….

  13. Viva race fan says

    Giddy up. Pony up the results and how it was determined . It’s only fair .

  14. When you’re blaming drifting, you know you’re a cheat! Lmao

  15. As Thompson fan that only shows up for WMT events, it is too bad to see these actions taken against some of the best drivers to watch at this track. Also, the lack of transparency on tire sampling is troubling. The policy should be reviewed and changed if they are not going to give a reasonable explanation.

    Everyone buys the same tires. If you want to control it more you should move to WMT rules with a tire impound process. Owen is super talented. Leading points at Stafford, and is one of just 10 teams to make every start at Thompson. I would hang up the season at Thompson if this were me. Focus on Stafford as Eames has just dictated the Sunoco mod outcome.

    The Waterman Bros are some of the most fun to watch year in and year out. Always in the mix with fast cars and aggressive driving styles. While I did not witness the contact under caution it seems taking these guys out dilutes the undercard for Wednesday night. A black flag or “cooling off period” would likely have been enough.

    Eames nonsense is beginning to creep into the culture at Thompson. These are the kind of incidents that ruined Waterford making competition less fun to watch, and ultimately reduces car counts. Auto racing at this level is something drivers and thier teams spend time, engery and money on for fun.

  16. getserious says

    A lot of chin-flap about how unfair it is, and questions about the procedure and seeing the results, etc etc. Not much about professing innocence at all. Hmmmm I’d kinda miss Owen, but Narducci? I think he drives like he feels he doesn’t need to follow the rules for behavior that the rest of the competitors follow.

  17. Something's Fishy says

    Are the Clintons running Thompson now??? There is some blatantly shady things going on by track management, and tech staff… WOW!! Shameful

  18. Sk lites are the most cheated out cars there is, so last 2 winners at Thompson have been DQ’d for cheating. If you dont think its happening at Stafford or was at Waterford you are crazy. Time to drop the hammer on that division, just because its sealed doesnt mean its legal!

  19. I understand Todd being mad but if they took all 3 Pitkat Rocco and Todd’s and his came back positive how do you say it’s from the drift cars that were in track cause then ALL cars tires would have been positive correct?? They probably checked Brian’s because cars are owned worked on out of Todd’s shop maybe if Keith’s checked positive they would check all his cars but anyway everyone has been talking about Brian’s car all year. This happened to Posocco years ago at Stafford but what can you do I believe his car owners protested even went to NASCAR in Florida and still lost. Wonder if Stafford will check tires Friday??

  20. If my memery is correct is’t Mark St.Hilaire the same guy that got thrown out of Stafford for Cheating,I smell somthing fishy.Why is he a nascar tech.

  21. Tire Soaking has been an issue for years . The process that Thompson used to check the tires without releasing the Lab Name or actual results is the same as other NASCAR tracks have used in the past. The only notification is that foreign substances that are not part of the manufacturing process were found on the confiscated tires. Nothing Fishy in the way Thompson is handling this

  22. Well that was a quick 20 comments. Lightning bolts don’t get much bigger then this. Blaming Eames, really. Some think rules aren’t enforced enough and some want it glossed over with a hand slap and promise to be good in the future. Can’t win in the racing game.
    The season has turned into a nightmare for Narducci. Owen is the big loser but didn’t Ted Christopher get nailed for fuel in a VMRS race at Waterford and it didn’t hurt him one bit in the long run. Christopher had all the excuses and Owen does as well.
    What a mess.

  23. Hillary 2020 says

    I’ll agree with the stupid drifting comment. Good to see the Waterman clowns getting kicked out. Pretty blatant what they did to Monahan. Plus it was a failed attempt to take him out of the race. It was only a matter of time before Bryan was caught. Isn’t his mom an official at Thompson. What’s her position? Might as well cancel the rest of the Sunoco mod season though and hand Rocco the champions check. Wonder what they’re cheating with at Stafford? Tires also maybe.

  24. 🍿This should get good.

  25. Scott Cook says

    Nice job Thompson tech inspectors. Now let’s see what Stafford does, with Owen and Narducci. They both been on rails, with more grip than anyone else.

  26. I have to ask, how much is it to test a tire?? May be the issue why they only test a few?? Nascar needs a travelling tech group, that hits the expensive testing at random tracks, with results posted for all.

    Lites need to go away.they are not the cheap crate division that they started as. Stuff the mini stock carb on it and go back to open motors with a claim.

  27. NotTheBones,Bones says

    I wonder if the car count will go up in the Lites with Narducci nocked down a couple pegs?

  28. Didn’t Kno Thompson was in Russia. Todd should have the right to not only see the results, but the method used to obtain them. He should also have the right to independent testing. Politics at play again.

  29. I don’t know why Owen is complaining that they only checked Narducci in the Lights? He decimates the field and wins 6 or 7 races in a row the car should be inspected with a fine toothed comb. He does the same at Stafford also and and now I guess we all know why.

  30. keep it real says

    I say make it legal and call it a day .all would have the same options ,and the teams would spend a lot less on tires . O thats right the tracks would not make as much on their tire cut ,

  31. Guilty or not ,I don’t understand the reason for not telling them what was found , seems like your adding more questions rather than eliminating them, I do know the speed shop in Enfield used to have it on the shelf and it went out the door in a brown paper bag , don’t think you keep something in stock if it doesn’t sell. Just saying I knew somebody who knew somebody who might have purchased some or not many many years ago

  32. The culture of cheating & penalties that play favorites is what I was talking about in bringing Eames into it. These were decisions made by management and they set a tone. TC and the VP fuel issue in 2016 was similar in nature, but they did not have a 9 race season.

    Message in the penalties is not “quit cheating”, rather “we dont want you here, season over”. With Narducci, I get it. That kind of advantage in the Lites is unrealistic.

    Owen is in the national Div. 1 title hunt and deserves to know what was found. Might as well hand the check and CT championship to Rocco now.

  33. NotTheBones, Bones says

    To Keep it Real…Allowing tire prep is a very slippery slope, and they would sell just as many tires. Not allowing prep does help the racers. I am not sure many people realize the endless possibilites available for prepping and the effort involved to do a top notch tire prep program. The reason it is fairly easy as a cheat is because the racer prepping is going against the others who do not. If every one prepped the fine tuning would be daunting and you would probably have guys hiring on to teams to just handle the prep programs.

  34. Todd Carey says

    Actually Nascar doesn’t have to give him any info as they have never in the past. Momma bear is an official and works for Hoosier. HMMMMMMMM. Pretty amazing how Good Todd has gotten this year from years past. You never want to point fingers without proof but to me a failed tire test is proof enough. Blaming Eames or a track official for an independent test where 2 cars passed and 2 failed is pretty crazy. By making that accusation you are saying Terry and the officials tampered with the tires before sending them in for testing. You see how that now sounds? Tin foil hat time. BUSTED!!!!

  35. When are they going to start looking at the swaggin wagon. He was given the black flag a few weeks back for four laps and never pulled in and was never penalized. I guess he is not held accountable to penalties or anything.

  36. Ted didn’t run full time in VMRS and that is a touring series, not a Waterford specific series. He also got caught a few times. I believed he was using a different fuel manufacturer than the approved fuel manufacturer by VMRS. That’s why it didn’t hurt him.

  37. Viva race fan says

    A little brake fluid and some pvc primer make a heck of a soft tire. We used that for years. Had a special set up for soaking way back in a old field no 1 could see . It makes a big difference. Took a 400 compound tire down to a 60/90 . I’m sure there is more improved way to soak nowadays . You could have smaller it if you knew what to look or smell .Lol

    Good stuff and lots of reaction from all. Ty Shawn.

  38. I think everyone has the right to defend themselves but… accusations such as listed above on officials and the track itself is just idiotic. If Todd is going to defend his “program” so be it but, at the end of the day, he, Narducci and everyone involved in prepping those cars made their own beds. You know why tire prep isn’t legal? It’s a health hazard to those who use it and to everyone at the track and it’s also expensive. I commend the decision made by the Thompson officials. I certainly hope Stafford does the same thing Friday night so let the teams who soak scramble to figure out their tire inventory and yes, you can get treatment to pass a sniffer. Now we can see that all those wins posted by the 01 team are as hollow as the program the cars come out of.



  40. Thompson’s rules state that the chemicals used for soaking are loaded with carcinogens and the EPA has rules against their use.
    While you can buy tires right from Hoosier Tire East for Thompson Stafford clearly states that after the first race all tires must be purchased at the track. Furthermore it would appear from the inspection notices they are very active scanning and inventorying tires.
    Suggestions that soaking was used at Stafford on the surface would appear unfounded. At least it would be extremely risky to try to get away with unless you’re doing it on older tires or buying them ahead and treating them. So I guess it wouldn’t be that hard would it?
    CONSPIRACY ALERT….read at your own risk!!!!!! Narducci’s lap times don’t seem fall off at all at Stafford no matter how old the tires are do they? He’s ALWAYS among the fastest lap times. And his motor is illegal. Oh wait they tested it and it wasn’t. And it wasn’t the real Paul on the Sgt. Pepper Album.
    Soaking……sheesh……..when has this come up before? 2013 at a VMRS at Seekonk?

  41. tires bought at the track dont have to be used that week, so theres plenty of time to screw with them.we should be happy tech is doing what they were hired to do

  42. Have soaked have passed says

    soaking is Rampant at Stafford. That is fact. Their eagle sniffer has been a waste since they bought it. Stafford will never sample tires though. it will be a huge embarrassment for them.

  43. Tire compound is a best selling item at the speed shops. This should not be a surprise.

  44. The boys are appealing and apparently racing tomorrow pending the appeal. Narducci and Owen suddenly lose a significant amount of speed you’ve got your answer.
    In fact if there is a whole lot of difference in the customary pecking order that could really get interesting.

  45. You would be naïve to think everyone is following the rules and no one is bending or even breaking the rules. I never like to hear a competitor is caught cheating but I do like the fact that the tech shack is doing their job and catching people. What I don’t understand is what is the benefit or reason for not passing the results onto the accused driver though. Not many local tracks will punish drivers by suspending them for rules infractions because they would be losing money and car count. I believe Stafford lost Adam Gray for 2 years due to a disagreement on a rules infraction at a time when they really couldn’t afford to lose a late model driver. I think you have to applaud Thompson and Stafford for their tech. I don’t hear of any other tracks enforcing rules to the extent of Thompson or Stafford but then again I don’t know of a media outlet or forum which covers other area tracks like raceday CT covers our area tracks.

  46. why would they run different tires on wed night – Do you really think Thompson would spend the money to have tires checked again…?

  47. Are these fines that are being imposed Thompson or NASCAR fines?

  48. LM,
    Thompson is imposing the penalties, not NASCAR.

  49. Shawn, is Thompson a NASCAR sanctioned track? If they are, can Owen appeal to NASCAR if he does not like Thompson’s decision?

  50. Earl,
    Thompson is NASCAR sanctioned, but this is not a NASCAR imposed penalty.

  51. So he has no other recourse if Thompson upholds the penalty?

  52. Actually a “soaked” tire wears quicker. Usually soakintires makes them better, for ten laps. Narducci may have been soaking, but I find it real hard to believe Owen was doing it. His speed comes because he works non- stop on these care, and RAD gives him good horsepower Todd’s no cheater for

  53. Fastfastturnleft says

    Takes a cheater to catch a cheater.

  54. Obviously Rob P knows nothing about soaking tires. The whole point of Problend is to put petroleum back into the tire to make it last longer. They sell tons of the product to CT racers. Even more to dirt guys btw….

  55. For some reason Thompson Management had a bone to pick with Owen /Narducci camp. I agree with Todd that they were singled out. Someone snitched on them and Thompson went after them. My guess is that they were cheating with the tires and they were asked to stop and they didn’t or they really pissed off someone. Why would Thompson want to suspend their two most popular Drivers? Owen and Narducci are like family to Thompson and Stafford and Hoosier Tire.

  56. Really clueless? Soaking makes a tire softer. Softer tires wear faster. You might get 30 laps out of a tire but that’s about it. Performance wise soaked tires are good for about 20 fast laps, then they fall off quick. You can usually tell a soaked tire after a race because they’re purplish or greenish while still hot.

  57. I’d say 50% of the field uses problend to “soak” the tires in CT. It does not soften anything. If you soften tires you are an idiot. The sniffer would catch you and you could tell immediately with a simple durometer. If you are in a division like the sks or lights and you have to run old tires. The problend will make the tires last longer. If you don’t know that, you are living in the 80s. Call problend and see for yourself.

  58. Todd Carey says

    Rob P what in the world are you talking about? Your explanation of tire soaking would put them at a disadvantage. Clueless is spot on.

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