Return Of Historic Thompson 300 Drawing Top Names To Sunoco World Series


(Press Release from American-Canadian Tour)


The debut season for the Outlaw Open Modified Series will end in style next weekend at the 59th annual Sunoco World Series at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park from October 8-10. The historic Thompson 300 returns with a minimum $20,000 on the line for the winner and a total posted purse booming over $100,000.

The Modifieds will act as the headliner of a full 17-division card of racing. Even though teams can practice on Friday and Saturday, drivers will have just Sunday for qualifying and feature racing, making it an intense one-day show with everything on the line.

In the return of the historic race for the first time since 2005, many of the top Modified names from across New England are heading to Thompson looking for glory. They include a mix of drivers from the Tour-Type Modified ranks in New England, including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Tri Track Open Modified Series, Modified Racing Series and additional competitors who focus on Thompson’s Outlaw Open Modified events.

Names like Mike Stefanik, Ted Christopher, Jerry Marquis and Tony Hirschman have all won the prestigious race — showing that this event brings the top talent to the front of the field. Officials from the American-Canadian Tour and Pro All Star Series have leased Thompson’s oval track this year and will continue to do so next year. One of their top goals at the beginning of the season was to bring back the 300-lap race, giving fans and competitors the chance to be a part of this spectacular event.

Names like six-time NASCAR champion Doug Coby, three-time and current NASCAR champion Justin Bonsignore, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale, Jon McKennedy, Dave Sapienza, Chris Pasteryak and others are intending on competing for the big prize. Coby, who hasn’t been to Thompson yet this year, knows this is going to be a challenge for his Doug Coby Racing team. He has competed in the Thompson 300 multiple times before and was in contention to win the 2005 edition until a late wreck took him out.

“It’s going to be interesting because we’re not using the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour rules and when we ran it back in the day, we had other races to look back on and see how it had unfolded in those years prior,” Coby said. “We had a gauge on when the best time to take tires was, fuel, etc…and it’s changed a lot. There are a lot of different motor packages and a lot of different fueling needs for everyone.”

Like many of the others in the field, the biggest thing for Coby is going to be making it to the end of the race in one piece and putting himself in contention in the late laps. The six-time Whelen Modified Tour champion and multi-time winner on Thompson’s high banks is no stranger to longer races that include a strategy element.

“It’s one of those races where you have to settle in for the first 150 or 200 laps and put yourself in the best position to make the best pit call towards the end,” Coby said. “With the different packages, it’s going to depend on where the cautions fall. If the last 120 laps go green, it would favor someone that can keep their tires on the car longer. If someone has fresh tires at the end, it’s definitely going to make it interesting. I almost won it one year when we pitted late and Ted Christopher pitted before us. I was charging right through the field and probably would have got him at the end, but I got put in the wall. You definitely want to try and be the car going forward in the last 30 laps.”

The first four Outlaw Open Modified Series races of the season have been hotly contested, and the three drivers that have been to Victory Lane are all planning to attend the 300. During the Icebreaker 125, Ron Silk scored a $10,000 prize in April, his only start of the season to date. Silk will be returning to Thompson for the 300 driving the No. 16 for Haydt-Yannone Racing with hopes of taking down the big prize. In June, at the Nutmeg State 75, Keith Rocco stormed to the front to take the impressive victory, holding off Ronnie Williams and NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece in the late laps.

Since then, Williams has been the star of the show. He drove the Gary Casella prepared No. 25 to the front in the last two races, winning the Sam Adams Wicked Hazy IPA Spirit of 76 in August and the Twisted Tea Tripoint Showdown 75 in September. Williams will be one of the top contenders in the Thompson 300, driving the same familiar red and yellow entry.

Additional entries include Goodale, McKennedy, Sapienza, Pasteryak and Matt Swanson, who have all been supporters of the Outlaw Open Modified Series from the start. Other names like Patrick Emerling, Tommy Barrett, Anthony Bello, Noah Korner, Max Zachem and others are also expected to attend.

Teams will qualify through heat races after a blind draw, and the American-Canadian Tour plus/minus system will be used to line up the feature race. A B-main will occur if needed. Teams will be allowed to change 12 tires during the race, plus the four they start the race on, meaning it is a 16-tire race.

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park presents the 59th annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing from Friday, October 8 to Sunday, October 10. The weekend is highlighted by the $20,000-to-win Sunoco Thompson 300 for the Outlaw Open Modified Series. The 17-division program also includes the Sunoco Modified Triple Crown Series, ACT Late Model Tour, PASS Super Late Models, NEMA Midgets and Lites, all local divisions, and much more.

Advance ticket sales are now live at www.happsnow.com/event/Thompson-Speedway-Motorsports-Park-YHPQ. Three-day general admission to the Sunoco World Series is $75 for adults, $20 for kids ages 6-12, and free for kids ages 5 and under. Fans can also purchase single-day tickets or a two-day Saturday-Sunday ticket. All three days of racing will be televised live via pay-per-view on Speed51.TV.

Both three-day and single-day pit passes are being offered. These can only be purchased at the track on race days. Camping spots can be reserved by visiting www.thompsonspeedway.com.

For more information about the American-Canadian Tour, contact the ACT offices at (802) 244-6963, [email protected], or visit www.acttour.com. You can also get updates on Facebook and Twitter at @ACTTour.

For technical information concerning all PASS divisions, and for media or marketing questions, please contact [email protected] or visit www.proallstarsseries.com.  Don’t forget to “Like” the Pro All Stars Series on Facebook or follow on Twitter @PASSSLM14 to keep up with breaking news as it happens.

For general Thompson Speedway inquiries, call (860) 923-2280, email [email protected] or visit www.thompsonspeedway.com. You can follow Thompson Speedway on Facebook and Instagram at @ThompsonSpeedway or on Twitter at @ThompsonSpdwy.

Comments

  1. Back in the spring all the chatter was about the 300 and I remember Hirshman talking about it when prompted on The Morning Bullring and he said he was intrigued. Apparently not so much now it would appear. There is more then enough fire power for this event but the big dog in modified racing with the moniker indicating he chases the dollars would have been nice for this big dollars to win race.
    The 300 with all that history and the mystique of an insanely long race on a big, high bank track. Modified nation loves it don’t we. Me maybe not so much but I respect those that do.
    You know there has been a 300 race at Riverhead for a while so it’s not like there’s magic in the number 300. The distance a fraction of this but just as demanding in many respects being so tight and the same number of corners.
    Maybe for those of us not versed in this race with short attention spans we can get some help understanding what to look for in 300 laps to keep us engaged. Seems pretty straight forward to me. Cruise as best you can until there’s 50 or so laps left staying on the lead lap. Hope for the caution then race for the win. After 250 laps there won’t be many cars on the lead lap will there?

  2. You know Doug, I can’t disagree with any of that.
    My worry is, the fans clamored for a long distance event reminiscent of days past.
    The best venue (IMO) for modified stepped up.
    The musket 250. Shortened to the musket 200. Shortened, to well, you know.
    So the 300 to Thompson. While I love it, and plan on being there, I’m not sure I have that warm and fuzzy feeling of the “tour” at Thompson, to be honest. Just saying. Yeah I know, great racing, big names, but for me, not the same. Guess I’m living in the past, no argument.
    My point is, if there is criticism about the demise of short track racing, particularly the mods, then get there and put your butts in the seats. Show the promoters that their leap of faith counts. (As well as what they are putting up).
    Sure, staying at home and watching the stream counts. I don’t discount that. But the reality is, it doesn’t buy the hot dogs, beer, popcorn, the sweatshirt trailer, ect, that the tracks count on to be in the black. Again, jmo, but I don’t think I’m that far off.
    I’m hoping for a warm day, as I know it’s going to be 250 laps (+. -) of staying out of trouble until the last 50.
    Hey, I’m not trying to be a dick here, but get in the stands for this one. It might be our last shot, for Thompson at least. Yes, I got the memo that they are signed for next year. But not my point. Jmo.

  3. Would love to see an entry list,still on the fence about attending

  4. Really looking forward to this one! I’d be surprised if there were less than 40 cars showing up for this with $20K on the line. I think we’ll see a few teams from ROC, Riverhead, and Wall with decent amount of WMT, TriTrack, and Stafford teams. Can’t wait!

  5. The default for racing like any sport should be to be at the event for some really good reasons. We saw last year what it was like watching the NFL with no fans in the stands and it was good to have it to watch but lacked energy with no humans to scream and yell at critical times. Buying stuff at the event also important as was mentioned. On the Sunday of the 300 the announcer will ask everyone to stand and show the drivers their appreciation and the more fans doing it the better.
    There’s other considerations now however as streaming takes root.
    This will be the second go around for Michaud and Mayberry after streaming the Icebreaker and that’s encouraging. It’s simple fact as much as the people in attendance are important, the number of streaming views is the future for local auto racing simply because it has a far greater reach. People from all over need to be exposed to this local product, how great it is and help it grow by tuning in for all the action. It’s also a fact that when the weather is less then inviting people stay home and their revenue lost. This allows promoters to capture their revenue as they click to watch the race at the last minute from the comfort of their own home.
    Were there no streaming traveling hours and hours over three or at a minimum two days was as non starter for me. No one will admit that but it’s true more times then not for fans. Now with streaming hundreds and hopefully thousands of people eventually with a similar mindset can become a revenue stream for promoters holding races and can participate wherever they are.
    We that are streaming the race will be paying the same amount that it would cost at the track and we can do it literally from anywhere. The default should always be at sporting events when you can but streaming is an important part of racing’s future and needs to be supported as well. In fact I’d say that it is as important or even more for the future of the sport to convince more people from all over to get on board the streaming train and make it just as enticing as being at the actual event.
    We’ve been fighting this mindset since the first NWMT races were streamed free on fanschoice. People streaming the races made to feel inferior somehow to the true racing patriots that are at the races. In my view it’s myopic and counter productive to the future of the sport. A future where streaming encourages promoters to take the risk and hold events knowing that the streaming revenue will be significant after expenses.
    Streaming races should be promoted in my view in a manner that makes it more enticing for viewers from everywhere to make them feel this is a must see event and well worth their money. If you keep saying explicitly or by implication it’s not worth it unless you’re there first you’re just plain wrong. More importantly if enough people keep saying it, it actually has the potential to cost Michaud and Mayberry and other promoters like them money by poo-pooing the excitement of viewing racing in real time that in my experience is terrific no matter how you view it.

  6. Fast Eddie says

    Doug, definitely agree with you. Basically the NASCAR premier divisions have been surviving from TV much more so than attendance in recent years. Streaming is a technological extension of that allowing short track events to be broadcast. I’m one that goes to the track with Thompson being event #25 for me this year. However, I’m sure at some point my aches and pains will cause me to scale back my attendance, and streaming will be the perfect opportunity to still be part of seeing races live. For anyone with travel, medical, or any other logistical issues keeping them away from the track, streaming is a great option to virtually “be there” for the races.

  7. Doug,
    I agree with all the pro points you made on the streaming issue.
    But in order to help grow that streaming audience, to help it gain a bigger national following, would it be better for the stream to show 1/4 full, 1/2 full or place packed in with regards to stands on the stream?
    Coupled with the fact that ownership gave up on the oval, and pass act owners stepped up, are taking a huge risk on the 300 and another World Series, I feel that a good turnout at the facility is very critical for this one. Especially while being live streamed.
    In no way am I slamming streaming. There is no question it is part of the solution to keeping local tracks viable, and to help grow the interest. No question about it.
    My concern is the comments you often hear at the national level when they are televised. Yeah, Did you see the stands? No one there. Or, place was empty. Just not a good look for a big event like this, particularly when televised.
    Jmo, everything helps, all good.

  8. Apologies in advance for beating this to death but I’d like to put a finer point on a benefit that may go unrecognized.

    “For anyone with travel, medical, or any other logistical issues keeping them away from the track, streaming is a great option to virtually “be there” for the races.”

    That’s all true and we’ve heard drivers in victory lane referring to grand parents and relatives watching on FlloRacing and those represent subscriptions. Are there other benefits in play as well?
    As an example take drivers like Darrell Keane or Anthony Bello that could very well have acquaintances at work or school that know they race but are not exactly sure what it is all about. Going to the races is investment in time and effort that most would not care to invest in merely out of curiosity. Streaming may very well give such people a means to see what their school or work acquaintance is talking about without having to invest a lot of time going to an actual race. It’s not inconceivable that a percentage may find seeing their peer racing and decide to see more and even go to a race.
    Another thing that gets over played here in my view is the visceral deal. The sounds of rumbling engines and exhaust fumes. You know not everybody thinks those things are so great and may even feel they are a good reason to not go to the races. Streaming for those people solves that issue. Control over the noise, no fumes and you can hear every word the announcers are saying.
    Finally there is the total investment in being at a race being made to watch that which you have no interest in sitting on a hard aluminum bench. You want to see the Streets and SK’s but could care less about everything else. Streaming allows you to do whatever else you want to do then tune in for the element of the race program you are primarily interested in. No more captive audience.
    Point being as long as we old timers view this as a club with our own rituals where you have to earn certain rights by exhibiting certain behaviors and loyalties and putting up with inconveniences it will hold the sport back. All racing is, is an entertainment choice The more you can make it convenient to consume for those where convenience is key and expose it to a greater audience the better the chances are the sport will survive.

  9. I apologize too.
    Just thought it would be great to have a good visual turnout at the track, for guys that really put their money on the line. Did not in any way mean to infer, that any of you that stream for whatever reason, you are not being a good race fan. Never my intention. My error. My apologies.
    Guess I am truly old and behind the times.
    However anybody that supports the race, however they choose to do it, terrific.
    It’s all good. That’s what it is about, to keep it from going away. I’m just old school is all.

  10. Whatever way you CAN ENJOY the 300 ENJOY IT !!!!! I will be there all 3 days . See every heat race ,, See every FEATURE….. The Sound… The Fury…. The Smells….. Greasy Food… Cold Beer… The fans … Look Forward to the 300 TOP 5 PICK’EM POOL>>>>>>>>>> Should be the Best One of the Season>>>>
    Hopefully and ENTRY LIST will pop up and WE CAN PICK’EM… SURE hope BIG MONEY does show up for the BIG MONEY $ 20,000.00 Dollars and even better to add your Name to the 300 Trophy & Win LIST
    Dust off the Trophy ,,,, We will have a New Winner in 2021… The History is Epic…. Could be the Biggest Win in your Career….!!! Everyone with a Modified will give it their ALL to get in this Historic Race..!!!! …….
    BE HAPPY = Have FUN,,,, Enjoy it , Savor it… It was Almost LOST …. Support Thompson … !!!

  11. wmass01013 says

    MH willl NOT SHOW, just because 20k 1st place does not mean BIG MONEY willl be there SEE ALL MUSKET NHMS races. again LOVE THOMPSON AND LOVE MODS AT THOMPSON and yes i think will be 40-50 cars but again PURSE is only 85k, STAFFORD WMT purse last sat. was 83k and u can spin all the payout from NASCAR alllll u want but still is 85 vs 83 for a much longer race, i wish great success to the lease duo, hope weather does them good and a great 300 race, i will hopefully be there SUNDAY.

  12. Point of order. This will be 300 laps. It will be held at Thompson Speedway. It it will have a good field. However is it fair to consider it an extension of the original 300?
    The original was sanctioned by NASCAR, Thompson ownership was the promoter of the race, it was a NASCAR points race and the trophy unique to the sanctioning body and track.
    Near as I can figure this is a new product with new promoters, an open format vs points in a non NASCAR sanctioned event at a non NASCAR sanctioned track. It seems only fair to give Michaud and Mayberry the full credit for coming up with an entirely new race event that really only shares the location and the number of laps with the last 300 race in 2005.
    Observations please.

  13. wmass01013 says

    i give FULL CREDIT for the concept, now we shall see the results in 2021, motors? teams? pit? will weather affect whole weekend Schedule, the 300 takes time to qualify and run just by itself now add 16 divisions, willl the influx of teams also affect the way race is run, only a few drivers have run this distance!
    i still think payouts NEED to be more for open races def AT THOMPSON but i think the desire of teams for the 300 will at least make this yr a big turnout.

  14. My observation is my post of 9/29/21 on this thread.
    Not a “warm and fuzzy feeling of the tour at Thompson”.
    A knock? No.
    A show that will be less because it is not the tour? No.
    An “observation” that it is a Thompson 300, but somehow not the same?
    Absolutely not.
    Great gamble on bringing a tradition back.
    Glad someone had the moxie to do it. Hope it is profitable for those with everything to lose on the line. However, given the turnout for The Musket’s, it make me apprehensive about this, is all. A turning point for me, for the health of big modified events, if you will. Jmo.

  15. First Thompson 300 was in 1975. I do not recall it being NASCAR sanctioned. I believe it was open competition. Thompson was not NASCAR sanctioned in 1975. It only evolved into a NASCAR race after Thompson became NASCAR sanctioned. Also not bashing this race, but it is not the same as the original 300.Shawn,please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe I read in a press release last week on here that this race will be 300 green flag laps due to the lap money. While I have no problem with this and I understand the promoters not wanting to give away lap leader money under caution, every 300 I went to always counted caution laps. This race could go 350,375,400 laps. And just wondering if you can lose a lap under caution if you stay in the pits. If so, this could turn into a difficult race for the fan to follow. I would also like to see some sort of a projected entry list. Not too many names mentioned in their last press release. I hope they get enough cars to make this an interesting race. A low car count could really make for a tough race. Few cautions for race strategy and not many cars on the lead lap could make this feel like a looonnng race.

  16. Getting cranked up about the 300 with some history and factoids.

    NWMT Winners since the advent of the NWMT as it now exists.
    1985-Evans, 1986-Spencer, 1987-McLaughlin, 1988-Stefanik, 1989-Stefanik, 1990-McLaughlin, 1991-Park, 1992-Fuller, 1993-McLaughlin, 1994-Fuller,1995-Park, 1998-Stefanik(<300), 1999-Hirschman(<300), 2001-Marquis, 2002-Stefanik, 2003-Hirschman, 2004-Flemke Jr, 2005- Christopher.

    They're scheduled to start 36 cars and the purse for that is 84 thousand and change. Plus contingencies including $50 a lap to the leader for laps fans have purchased. Then there is the B Main purse if needed adding a few thousand more. Total potential payout is being posted as $108,325.

    That last number sounds real good but fact is only 54 laps have been purchased so far for the $50 bonus so there's a way to go there. The number of tires needed and associated cost staggering and the purse loses it's ability to cover even that essential around 6th place give or take.
    25 cars for the Icebreaker now tell me why this race warrants predictions in the 40 range when there is absolutely no monetary reason for anyone but the top 6 or so to compete. Is it the pure magic of being in an iconic race that was apparently dumped for being to expensive to run?
    These two guys Michaud and Mayberry are just amazing for the risks they have decided to take. That open race at the NHMS could not have been considered a success as far as modifieds competing or fans in the stands. The Wednesday races a huge risk. The Icebreaker kind of a slam dunk but the World Series that could also have been a slam duck they went on of the limb once again with a 300 lap finale. And they're signed up to do most of it again next year.
    If racing is dying and/or there's no money in doing it why are they doing what they are doing? I'll never find out but it would be interesting to know if streaming their content plays a significant role in their decision making.
    I'm in awe of their basketball size cojones and willingness to put it all on the line putting their bank accounts in harms way and hope the 300 gambit is a success.

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