Survivor Series: Craig Lutz Wins Wreck-Marred Phoenix Communications 150 At Thompson 

Craig Lutz celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Phoenix Communications 150 Thursday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – The last time the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competed at Thompson Speedway before Thursday it was Craig Lutz celebrating victory in the Sunoco World Series 150 on October 11, 2020. 

On that day Lutz celebrated his third career series victory. 

Thursday the Whelen Modified Tour returned to the track for the first time since that event and the scene remained the same in victory lane. 

Lutz celebrated his fourth career Whelen Modified Tour win in dominating style scoring victory in the Phoenix Communications 150 Thursday at Thompson. 

Lutz, of Miller Place, N.Y., proved dominator and survivor in a wreck marred event the left few cars unscathed. 

“It obviously takes a really good car and luck and things to go your way,” Lutz said. “We got to the lead early and the car felt really good so I wanted to control the pace. And then at like lap 60 the caution came out and I stayed out and everyone else took tires and we were a little scared because we knew we were the lone wolf out there. You’ve made your bed and now you’re going to lie in it. Luckily the caution fell where we were and we were able to come and get tires and pick our way through. I knew we had a really really good car. I knew if I could just get to the lead and set my pace I didn’t think anyone was going to have anything for me. I was able to do that.” 

Eric Goodale of Riverhead, N.Y. was second and Doug Coby of Milford third. 

“We unloaded, I wasn’t at the top of the speed charts in practice and I didn’t have any complaints about the car,” Goodale said. “I was like ‘I don’t know what to tell you, don’t touch it. We’re two-tenths off but I like the way it’s driving.’ Obviously leaving it along was a good decision because we were fast right at the drop of the green. We got up to the top-three and just rode there all race. A good night. Best finish at Thompson. Gives us some momentum. We beat some people that we were in front of us in points. That’s what we need to do from here on out and the points will take care of themselves. And we’re going to try to get a couple checkered flags before the year ends.”

Lutz became the ninth different winner in 11 Whelen Modified tour events in 2022. He joins Coby (two wins), Justin Bonsignore (two wins), Jon McKennedy, Matt Hirschman, Mike Christopher Jr., Jimmy Blewett, Anthony Nocella and Kyle Soper.

Ronnie Williams went to the lead past Blewett, and he pole-winner, on lap four. Three laps later it was Lutz who got by Williams to take over the top spot.

The first caution of the race flew on lap 59 when then second place running Goodale made contact with the lapped car of Gary McDonald, sending McDonald into the grass just before turn one. 

Race leader Lutz and seventh place running McKennedy opted to stay out under caution while the rest of the lead lap cars headed to pit road.

Lutz held the top spot on the lap 67 restart, but the green flag run was brief. A Walt Sutcliffe spin on the backstretch brought the yellow out again on lap 69, 

The race restarted on lap 74 with McKennedy grabbing the top spot from Lutz and Blewett moving to second. 

Caution flew once again on lap 76 for a multi-car wreck in turn four that involved Coby, Williams, Andrew Krause, Dave Sapienza, Ken Heagy, Patrick Emerling and Tyler Rypkema.

Lutz went to pit road under caution along with Ryan Preece and Timmy Solomito. The race restart on lap 81 with McKennedy staying out front, but the caution spree continued with the yellow flying again on lap 82. 

On the lap 90 restart it was Blewett using the low lane to get by McKennedy for the lead off of turn four. In turn one on lap 91 Ron Silk and McKennedy made contact with McKennedy losing the back end. McKennedy started sliding and then came down the track in front of third place Silk. McKennedy’s car blocked the track, with Silk going over the top of McKennedy and multiple other cars piling in, including Bonsignore and Donny Lia.

Blewett went to the pits under caution handing the lead to Tommy Catalano with Austin Beers in second and Lutz in third. 

Blewett restarted in 10th but his night came to an end not long after the next restart. Contact between Coby and Blewett battling for position in a three-wide situation coming off turn four on lap 99 put Blewett hard into the frontstretch wall. The right front tire on Blewett’s car came off and was hit by Rypkema and sent over the wall in turn one, landing on a section of the Thompson road course.

The incident left Blewett incensed at Coby. Blewett was driving the Tommy Baldwin Racing entry. He has shared the seat in the ride on the Whelen Modified Tour this year with Coby and Mike Christopher Jr. Coby, who has made six series starts this year for team owner Tommy Baldwin Jr., was driving for his personally owned team at Thompson Thursday.

“My teammate [Coby] put me three-wide basically,” Blewett said. “Put me right in the fence. I really don’t understand why he was racing like that with me of all people. We’ve got the rest of the season to race together. It’s just unfortunate for these guys, they gave me such a great car. I was trying to get out of the three-wide situation. I was trying to back out of it and he just cleared himself out [turn] four and destroyed not only my car but his car. … He knows. He knows he fucked up. Excuse my language. But what comes around goes around and I’ll definitely repay the favor.” 

Coby blamed Blewett for the wreck. 

“When you’re in the outside lane coming off turn two and you end up in the middle going into turn three, that’s not my fault,” Coby said. “I was on the bottom at the [restart], through [turns] one and two, down the backstretch and into [turn] three and off of [turn] four, I was on the bottom following Eric Goodale on tires coming up through. I think it was [Spencer Davis] ahead of [Blewett] who was on older tires. He’s going to have no patience with him and he put himself three-wide in the middle. … I was put three-wide middle by [Goodale] twice and I lifted. I think it’s the middle car’s job to lift. And I thought I came off really low on the bottom. I know there was contact with me, but at some point … If you want to say I made it three wide that means there was cars two-wide in front of me and there were not cars two-wide in front of me. … Jimmy came down the backstretch and really wanted to get by that guy. At that point I have to protect my equipment and my car. … I feel bad. I’m not looking to wreck [Baldwin’s] car that I’m supposed to be driving next week, but at the same point. I didn’t make it three-wide and the video will show that. … [Blewett] chose to go in the middle and hoped that I would lift and I don’t have to lift to protect my spot and my car. That’s how it rolls.”

The race restarted with Lutz leading, Catalano in second, Beers in third and Preece in fourth. On the lap 107 restart Lutz held the top spot with Preece rocketing to second. 

Preece was able to challenge Lutz in the laps just after the restart but but Lutz was checking out from Preece by lap 115. 

By lap 133 Silk and McKennedy had rallied back to fifth and sixth place respectively. Coming off of turn four McKennedy and Silk were side-by-side, heading that way down the frontstretch. Silk was in the outside lane going into turn one with the lapped car of McDonald down low. Into the corner McKennedy tried to squeeze between Silk and McDonald, sending Silk hard into the turn one wall. 

On the lap 139 restart Coby went from fourth to second behind Lutz, but the move was negated when Donny Lia and Beers wrecked in turn two. 

The race restarted on lap 144 with Goodale getting by Coby for second place. 

Silk came into the event four points ahead of McKennedy at the top of the standings. McKennedy ended up fourth and Silk was 12th, meaning McKennedy left the track with the points lead. Official points were not available from NASCAR Thursday night.


  1. Jimmy King says

    Almost went tonight; glad I didn’t. That was a Gong Show. Hoping for better tomorrow night.

  2. Phoenix Communications 150 Pick 6 Results says

    Phoenix Communications 150 Pick 6

    Eddy….79, (7ny), 44, 16, 10, 51***4+6+12+3+5=30
    Earl…..51, 79, 16, 10, (7ny), 22****5+4+12+3+7=31
    wmass… 07 51 58 16 82 (24)******9+5+2+12+1=29
    AlJ… 07 16 22 51 (54) 79********9+12+7+5+4=37
    Ken L…16-79-44-51-10-(7ny)*****12+4+6+5+3=30
    Rich….44, 51, 50, 10, (7NY), 3****6+5+20+3+19=53
    Getser…51, (7NY), 79, 16, 50, 3***5+4+12+20+19=60
    Bobf….51,07,16,44,(7),22 ********5+9+12+6+7=39
    MikeH….51,16,79,22,07, (50)*****5+12+4+7+9=37
    Csg….. 51 16 79 (7) 44 10*******5+12+4+6+3=30
    Phil A…(7NY) -29-79-16-44-07**10+4+12+6+9=41
    Just Me..51-16-10-79-(50)-58****5+12+3+4+2=26 WINNER!!
    Wanna..51, 44, (24), 16,7NY, 66**5+6+12+21+8=52
    Liz C…51, 44, (15), 07, 3, 79*****5+6+9+19+4=43
    Lap Traf… 79, (7ny),16, 51,44, 07**4+12+5+4+9=34
    Big City…51, 44, 3, 16, 10, (7ny)***5+6+19+12+3=45


    26 Just Me-The Original
    29 wmass01013
    30 Fast Eddie, Ken L, Csg (Tie breaker did not resolve)


    Too many to list. Please see score card to see where you ranked


    2-Fast Eddie
    2-Suitcase Jake
    2-Get serious
    1-Viva race fan
    1-Rafter fan
    1-Big city
    1-I wanna play
    1-Lapped Traffic
    1-Just Me- The Original


    8-Suitcase Jake
    6-Fast Eddie
    3-Ken L
    2-Lapped traffic
    2-Rafter fan
    2-Liz Cherokee
    1-Viva race fan
    1-Get serious
    1-Mike H
    1-I wanna play

  3. JJ, must have been the ice cream!

  4. Was it a full moon last night? Think the top 2 were the only drivers that didn’t run over anyone. Excited to watch the 79 & 16 battle shake out.

  5. What a show!!!!!

    Up until the Lazy Susan flying cars started, it was a rather decent event with all sorts of action going on around the track.

    Well, this one will be talked about for a while. Maybe laughed at for a while too. 🤣🤣🤣😝😝😝😝😆😛 🤦

    McKennedy gets loose, takes out Silk. McKennedy gave Silk a hip check. 🏒 🥅

    Dug Koby does what Dug Koby does and took out the 7NY. What a laugher!!!! I told you Dug Koby can’t drive in traffic. I don’t have to make 💩 up, just talk about it. Watching that idiocy was hilarious. Like the first time he hit didn’t work, HIT HIM AGAIN!!!!! Dug Koby was down low and kept trying to move up, and he forced the issue, pushed the 7NY to the outside. What sheer idiocy. If Blewett is ever in the same race against the 10 again, the 10 is going to look like it just came out of a junkyard compactor – CUBED! If Dug Koby wants to protect his precious 10 car, he better not ever run against Blewett.

    Crazy race, just crazy.

  6. Congratulations to the 01, only 7 laps down!!!!!

    👏 👏 👏 👏 👏 👏 👏

    What happened to the 3? Last I saw it was up rather high in a turn, perhaps too high in the marbles. Dang!!!!

    Oh yeah, Silk driving over the 79 and getting partially airborne was priceless.

    What a krazy event, too phunny.

    Just after I was thinking about the opening long run being rather awesome, all kraziness broke loose!!!! 🤣😝🤣😆🤦😛

  7. interesting race. Thompson seldom disappoints when they have a full field modified race. Coby and Blewitt getting together and both pointing to the other for being the one more at fault has to be discussed. At first look I would say Coby was the primary cause of the accident but after his interview I don’t know who initiated the 3 wide racing. Watching it on Flo I really don’t know who is to blame they didn’t go back far enough in the replay to see who initially went 3 wide. I would suspect Coby based on the extremely low line he took off of 4 which caused Coby to come up from the bottom causing the contact. The one thing you could clearly see was the disappointment of Tom Baldwin on pit road. That is going to be interesting dynamic should they all continue to race and work together on the same team.

    Then you have the point leading drivers Silk and McKennedy getting together a few times over the course of the race. Those incidents seemed to be clearer with Mckennedy being at fault.

    Nice run for the 82 and 58. The points have Mckennedy up by 5 over Silk. Goodale only 16 back and JBon 25 back of the leader. 8th place Craig Lutz is only 61 points behind. We have a good point battle here.

    Overall interesting race. It was a little too messy to be considered a great one, in my opinioin. The crowd looked good on tv. I hope ACT and PASS made a few bucks on that show. They deserve a win.

  8. Fast Eddie says

    The old cliche of “Cautions breed cautions” was very evident last night! Everyone played nice until the first one, and then too many drivers flipped the “kamikazee switch” on! “Survivor Series” is a perfect title for this one Shawn!

  9. I just analyzed the video evidence and the conclusion is pure idiocy. The 10 was the third lane down low, all by himself. He was trying to make a move on the extreme inside, and failed gloriously. You can see the 10 get loose and wiggle, slides up into the 7NY. Watch the front wheels as he’s trying to correct and control the getting loose. Then gets into the 7NY. The 7NY was running his line, the normal inside line, and had no where to go, had cars in front, cars to the right and behind. Looks like the 32 that was in the outside line saw this happening and he backed off for self preservation. The 10 kept coming up, kept hitting the 7NY, pushed the 7NY into the opening from the 32 backing out. On the first hit, the 10 should have pulled down, instead he kept at it, over and over. A perfect demonstration of idiocy. The only car to the inside of the 7NY and the line the 7NY was in was the 10 car. The 10 car was the third line, all by himself. The 10 car. The 10 car does it again.

    I predict a 10 car will be compacted before the end of the season.

  10. Suitcase Jake says

    Silk clearly caused the first wreck with Jon….Washed up into him in turn 1. McKennedy returned the favor when Ronnie tried to use the lap car as a pick in again Turn one .. Jon held his ground and Silk got wrecked in the second round … OK we’re even now .. On to the next one….. Still have McKennedy to Win the Tour Championship… Great job LUTZ … !! Fast ride …. The Long Island Guys have done well at Thompson… !!! Lot’s of Wins 51 & 82 …Thought it was a good race… a little on the rough side but still good… The High Banks really put on the best show for Modifieds…. !!! lot’s of 2 and 3 wide passing all night … Not a single file conga line ….

  11. Rafter fan says

    Ron Silk seems to be making more mistakes the past couple of years. He appeared to be at fault in the first incident with McKennedy. The second incident resulted from McKennedy trying to avoid the squeeze play as they approached a lapped car.

  12. Never have heard such a detailed explanation like Coby’s of why it was Blewett and not he that was in the wrong that was complete hogwash as far as I could see. It made no difference who was where before turn one. Blewett was in the bottom line with Goodale and Lia exactly where he should be. Coby at that point should have known he was the odd man out regardless of how he got there. He tries to make lemonade out of lemons, ends up so far down he’s on the flat, comes up jogs a bit in the transition which usually happens coming off the flat and BOOM! Credit Baldwin for being diplomatic in the Unmuffled interview keeping his eye on the big picture. Coby is supposed to be a quick thinker. He should have calculated that the 7ny was in the championship hunt, he had a role in it, swallowed his pride and backed out.
    Interested in 32 vs 54 at the end having picked 32 in the Pick 6. Could see it coming. Don’t do it I’m screaming at the TV. Nothing to gain only one spot at stake. Catalano especially having a good season could get a good finish. But no, the two young guns just couldn’t resist being boneheads racing for the last wreck of the night.
    Is JJ the new Moran? Makes magic for Nocella and now turns the 82 from rolling frustration, race after race, year after year into dominant.
    Don’t know if Preece is a better driver then Santos but he is definitely a better modified driver at this point in their careers that was a driving clinic he put on in the 44. Got every once that car had to offer and used the entire track constantly testing and experimenting where the car would work best.
    Silk definitely responsible for the first dust up with the 79, pretty much everyone recognizes it including both Silk and McKennedy based on their interview on Unmuffled. The second McKennedy’s tires turned left, the car pushing and went into Silk. I don’t see the lapped car being as big a factor as the push and certainly didn’t see any kind of serious pick effort in the second replay angle but whatever. My score card shows the fault meter tied at one/one for the night. They’re both cool cats, will chat, agree it was just hard racing going south in a race with a lot of bad juju and it’s on to Langley with a clean slate.
    Good race for Fifield as her races go. She gets the majority of the derision but it was McDonald that bumped into Coby while being lapped that could have been a real issue had Coby been less of a wheelman.
    They say familiarity breads contempt. Seems like that was the case with the participants last night.
    Terrific announcing team.
    Entertaining race I’ll grant you. Good racing not so much.

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