Trackside Now: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour - The Icebreaker
Icebreaker Sunday Activities Postponed Until April 22nd
Saturday, 11:15am ET - It's a sunny Saturday at Thompson International Speedway as preparations for The Icebreaker are underway.  Today there will be practice and qualifying for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season opener. 

Right now, we are mid-way through practice for the Tour Mods.  There haven't been any incidents in this session.  There were a few incidents in practice for the weekly divisions.  In the Pro Stocks, Matt Davenport and Rick Gentes spun without hitting anything.  In the Sunoco Modifieds, Rick D'Abate spun by himself coming out of turn four.  The #33 car of Brian Tagg clipped him in the left rear, causing heavy damage.

Unoffically, we have counted, with all of our fingers and toes, 48 Modifieds in the pit area.  We'll have some more details on a few of the cars later, so for right now here is the full list -

There's a full pit area for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson.  (51 Photo)
00 – Jerry Marquis
0 – Danny Sammons
1 – Rob Summers
2 - Todd Szegedy
3 – Bobby Santos, III
4 – Donny Lia
05 – Joe Hartmann
5 – Chris Pasteryak
06 – Billy Pauch, Jr.
6 – Ron Yuhas
8 - Glenn Tyler
09 – Bobby Grigas, III
9 - Jake Marosz
10 – Eddie Flemke
11 – Anthony Sesley
12 – Jimmy Blewett
13 – Rick Fuller
14 – Reggie Ruggiero
16 – Mike Stefanik
17 - Jeff Malave
19 – Ronnie Silk
20 – Ken Barry
21 – Richard Savary
26 – Gary MacDonald

27 – Roy Sedell, Jr.
28 – James Civali
31 – Tony Ferrante
33 – Wade Cole
36 – Ted Christopher
38 – Ken Heagy
40 – Ryan Preece
46 – Dick Houlihan
47 - Jim Storace
48 – Tony Hirschman
55 – Ken Bouchard
58 – Kevin Goodale
59 – Matt Hirschman
63 – Nevin George
64 – Eric Berndt
66 – John Blewett, III
73 – Jon McKennedy
75 – Carl Pasteryak
77 – Zack Sylvester
79 – Chuck Hossfeld
90 – Renee Dupuis
93 – Rowan Pennick
94 – Eric Beers
99 – Jamie Tomaino








Saturday, 6:45pm ET – NASCAR and Thompson International Speedway have officially pulled the plug on Sunday's Icebreaker activities.  The projected path of a strong Nor'easter storm would have wreaked havoc on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour opener plus weekly actvities on Sunday, so the event has been postponed until next Sunday, April 22nd. 

Saturday, 4:25pm ET – Speed51.com's Trackside Now is all finished for today.  While we wait to see what the weather will bring for tomorrow (stay tuned for updates), there's still plenty of racing action to watch.  After taking in the Sunoco Modified and Late Model features at Thompson this evening, it is off to Waterford Speedbowl (CT) for some NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action.

Saturday, 4:20pm ET – Reggie Ruggiero's team was eligible for a provisional for the Icebreaker after wrecking in practice and not being able to take a qualifying lap.  The team does not have a back-up car, but they do have another racecar at their New Jersey shops.  In the event of rain, they plan to be back with that for next weekend's make-up date.  Ruggiero will have to start 33rd.

Saturday, 4:15pm ET – Todd Szegedy was the Bud Pole Award winner for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season opening Icebreaker at Thompson International Speedway.  Here are the qualifying results:
The first incident was a multi-car tangle in turn one.  Ken Heagy, Mike Stefanik and Dick Houlihan got together in turn one.  There did not appear to be any major damage to any of the three cars.  After a brief delay in practice, the cars went back on track and that is when the big incident of the morning occured.

Reggie Ruggiero's newly-renumbered #14 and the #21 Art Barry-owned car driven by Richard Savary got together.  The #21 actually ended up on top of The Reg's ride when the whole mess came to a stop against the outside retaining wall in between turns one and two.  Both drivers walked away and appeared to be fine.

Savary has a back-up car.  Ruggiero does not.  It remains to be seen if his Dick Barney team can repair their damage to attempt and qualify today.  Time trials will begin at 2:45pm ET.  Ruggiero won a NASCAR Whelen Tour race at Thompson last season.

There are less than 30 minutes remaining in this practice session.
Ruggiero's #14 doesn't quite look this good now - it was involved in a practice crash.  (51 Photo)
Ruggiero’s wreck was caused when there was a leak where the radiator hose meets the intake manifold.  Coolant was dumped under his tires, causing a spin.  Savery was behind Ruggiero and slide in the coolant, running right into the #14.

Saturday, 12:15pm ET - Now practice is actually over for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Thompson International Speedway (CT).  There will be one scuff session left for teams before Icebreaker qualifying starts at 2:45pm ET.

There were no more incidents in the practice session after Reggie Ruggiero and Richard Savary wrecked early on.

Saturday, 12:05pm ET - Several drivers are doing double duty this weekend between their NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour machine and the Sunoco Modifieds (known as SK Modifieds as some other tracks).  The Sunoco Mods have double features planned, one today and one tomorrow, so there is plenty of seat time to be had.  Among those pulling double duty are Matt Hirschman and the Blewett Brothers - John and Jimmy.

Saturday, 12:02pm ET - Practice over?  Not so quick.  There have been a few minutes added to the session after a red flag set things back slightly.  Tour teams will still have the track for a little bit longer.

Saturday, 12:01pm ET - The red and black flags have just been displayed over Thompson International Speedway (CT) and practice for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams is complete.  After the Savary/Ruggiero wreck, the session went clean and green.  There will be one "scuff" session for teams to get their tires ready for qualifying, before time trials kick off at 2:45pm ET. 
Saturday, 11:50am ET - Weather is on the minds of everyone at Thompson International Speedway as teams prepare for the Icebreaker.  A full lineup of feature races is scheduled for Sunday, but whether those events can actually take place remains to be seen.  A large Nor' Easter is predicted for tomorrow with wind-swept rain and maybe some snow in its path.  Track officials are hoping that the storm stalls on its way to New England and that the races can get underway as planned.  If they cannot, a rain date of next weekend will be set.

It is unlikely that there will be any weather problems today.  It's a little bit chilly currently, but very sunny at the track.  A few areas of the parking lot are a little bit muddy and soft, but that hasn't kept a number of fans from assembling at the track and setting up camp sites.

Saturday, 11:40am ET - There have been two incidents so far in practice for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour - one was realtively minor.  One was pretty major, but thankfully there are no injuries.
Ruggiero's wrecked #14.  (51 Photos)
Saturday, 2:50pm ET - There are several new paint schemes among the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour entrants assembled at Thompson Speedway (CT) for this weekend’s Icebreaker. 

The most notable change might be the fact that Ole’ Blue isn’t really blue to start the season.  The Boehler Racing Enterprises’ #3, which is being driven this weekend by Bobby Santos, III, sports a special paint scheme celebrating 50 years of the team competing.  The colors on the car include blue, but are mostly white.

Jimmy Blewett’s #12 TS Haulers team has gone to a red, white and blue scheme for their machine.  Chris Pasteryak has a deep orange paint scheme on his #5.  Jim Storace has a purple and silver tone-tone combination on his #47.  Renee Dupuis’ #90 is now mostly black.  The #58 of Kevin Goodale is now black as well. 

Saturday, 2:45pm ET – The scuff session for the Modified Tour is now complete.  There have been no more incidents.  Qualifying is up next for the Tour.

Saturday, 2:40pm ET - On Thursday night at Thompson Speedway, NASCAR held a meeting with the teams of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to go over the “flash race” procedures that will be used for events at Wall Township Speedway (NJ), Twins State Speedway (NH) and Riverhead Raceway (NY) this year.

At the Wall race, there will be 31 starters.  Heat races will decide 26 of those, with five provisionals.  A pair of 50-lap heat races, with the top 13 advancing to the feature event, will take place.

The line-ups for the heat races will be decided by a blind draw.  Teams that finished in the top 20 of the 2006 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour point standings will take part in one drawing – with the top 10 heat race starting spots up for grabs.  All other teams will take part n a second draw with nobody in that group being able to start better than 11th.
The feature race will be 50 laps in length.  Caution laps won’t count in either the heat race or the feature.  Teams will be able to make repairs and adjustments between the heat races and the feature, but cannot change tires.  If they do, they will be assessed a two-lap penalty.

Saturday, 2:30pm ET – Because of a few cautions in weekly racing series heat races, the schedule is running slightly behind at Thompson.  Right now, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is holding their scuff session prior to qualifying.

The #26 car of Gary MacDonald hit the turn two wall in the session.  There appeared to be moderate damage to his car.  The driver was not injured.

Saturday, 2:10pm ET – Reggie Ruggiero’s car is done for the day after his practice wreck.  The team had to straighten it out just to load it into the trailer.  It looks like Ruggiero’s #14 will need a front and rear clip, as well as some attention on the top of the rollcage after Richard Savary’s #21 was briefly parked there.
Ole' Blue isn't really so blue this weekend (Top), while Jimmy Blewett shows off his pride with a red, white and blue paint scheme.   (51 Photos)
Then again, not everyone is so optimistic.  At least one team from Connecticut and one from outside of New England plan to load up and leave the track tonight after qualifying - betting that the race won't take place as scheduled tomorrow due to stromy weather.

Track announcer Russ Dowd might have the best advice.  He suggests that fans planning to come to the track tomorrow check online before leaving home.  While he suggests visiting the Thompson Speedway website (www.thompsonspeedway.com), we'll also be sure to give you all of the latest news right here at Speed51.com.

Saturday, 3:10pm ET – There have been 14 cars that have qualified so far.  Right now, Mike Stefanik leads the field with a lap of 18.693 seconds.  He is currently followed by Danny Sammons and James Civali.

Among those left to qualify are Tony Hirschman, Todd Szegedy, Ted Christopher and Donny Lia.

Saturday, 3:00pm ET - After saying last year that he might retire from racing, Tony Ferrante is at Thompson entered in this weekend’s Icebreaker.  Ferrante has a wide smile on his face while walking through the pit area and told Speed51.com that he just
couldn’t walk away from racing at Thompson.  He plans on being back at Thompson again for another race or two this season.

Saturday, 2:52pm ET - Mike Stefanik was the first car to go out and take a qualifying lap for the Icebreaker.  With cold tires on his #16, Stefanik half-spun in turn two on his warm-up lap.  He collected the car back up and completed his qualifying attempt without further problems. 
Tony Ferrante at work.  (51 Photo)
Provisionals - Reggie Ruggiero, Billy Pauch, Jr., Eric Beers, Wade Cole and Rick Fuller

Did Not Qualify – Glenn Tyler, Ryan Preece, Jake Marosz, Chris Pasteryak, Ken Bouchard, Gary MacDonald, Roy Sedell, Jr., Joe Hartmann, Jeff Malave and Ken Heagy

Saturday, 3:45pm ET – Qualifying for the 2007 Icebreaker, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season opener at Thompson Speedway (CT) is now complete.

Todd Szegedy is the fastest qualifier.  He was followed on the speed charts by Tony Hirschman and Zach Sylvester, who will make his first start in Curt Chase's #77 car.  There will be a redraw for the top positions before tomorrow's race.  Stay tuned for a full line-up, which will be posted shortly.

Saturday, 3:30pm ET – Todd Szegedy currently leads Icebreaker qualifying over Tony Hirschman and Zach Sylvester.  There are still about a half dozen cars left to take qualifying laps.

Saturday, 3:10pm ET – Weather is still a question mark for tomorrow's Icebreaker.  Some teams have reported seeing one model of the weather forecast that calls for a major storm to hit New England and ride slightly above the Masschusetts/Connecticut border on Sunday.  If that happens, the rain might miss Thompson International Speedway and the races could be held.
17.Chuck Hossfeld
18.Nevin George
19.Tony Ferrante
20.Eddie Flemke, Jr.
21.Carl Pasteryak
22.Jon McKennedy
23.Ron Yuhas
24.Jimmy Blewett
25.Anthony Sesley
26.Bobby Grigas, III
27.Jamie Tomaino
28.Dick Houlihan
29.Rowan Pennick
30.Rob Summers
31.Eric Berndt
32.Kevin Goodale
1.Todd Szegedy
2.Tony Hirschman
3.Zach Sylvester
4.Donny Lia
5.Ted Christopher
6.Richard Savary
7.Matt Hirschman
8.Mike Stefanik
9.Bobby Santos, III
10.Danny Sammons
11.James Civali
12.Ronnie Silk
13.Renee Dupuis
14.John Blewett, III
15.Jim Storace
16.Jerry Marquis
Todd Szegedy shows off his Bud Pole Award. 
(51 Photo)