Trackside Now: The Icebreaker at Thompson Int'l Speedway - Saturday, April 5, 2008
Technical Difficulties Kept Us From Being Online Today, But We'll Catch You Up
NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour
April 5th-6th, 2008
Thompson Int'l Speedway
Thompson, CT
Things didn’t work out quite as planned for Speed51.com’s Trackside Now Saturday coverage of the Icebreaker.  We were here and it didn’t rain (much), but the wireless technology that we use to get online while on the road was anything but sunny on Saturday. Finally, in the wee hours of the night and with the help of numerous tech support calls, we appear to have the problem located…and hopefully fixed.

No wireless signal meant there was no way to update the website and no Trackside Now as a result.  We’re hoping that the new and improved software works, so keep your fingers crossed and we hope to be up live from the Icebreaker Sunday morning.

We were paying attention on Saturday though and here are a few news and notes items from practice and qualifying day at the Icebreaker.

Weather did jumble up the day.  It rained all day Friday and into Saturday morning.  Track drying efforts caused a minor delay with the schedule as a result.  Instead of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour practice starting at 10:45am, it did not begin until 3:00pm.  Qualifying was moved back to a twilight event as well.

But you’ve got to love the Modified fans.  They were sitting out in the stands all day long despite the cold and schedule delays.  Instead of staying home, they just bundled up and enjoyed the chance to see their favorite racecars practice for the first time of the season.

When Tour practice did begin, it didn’t take long for bad luck to find a few drivers.  Bobby Grigas, III had a very smoky mechanical failure in his #09 Modified minutes after practice started.  Grigas was back on track soon after.  We checked in with the team and found the problem to be a loose oil line.  Grigas was in the top five in the final rundown of the session and plenty quick later on in time trials (we’ll have more on that later).

About 15 minutes later, Jimmy Blewett half-spun his #19 ride coming out of turn two.  He didn’t hit anything and practice continued after a short caution period.

15 minutes after that, James Civali half-spun his #28 car in turn two.  Ronnie Silk made slight contact with the car after it stopped on the track.  Damage to both machines looked minimal.

Later on in practice, Charlie Pasteryak half-spun exiting turn four.  Wade Cole narrowly missed hitting the stopped car and there was no damage to either machine.

A few Sunoco Modified teams also had problems in practice.

Jimmy Blewett also spun his Sunoco Modified during an earlier NASCAR Whelen All-American Series practice session.  He was coming out of turn two, when the car got upset and went for a long slide halfway down the backstretch before taking a light hit tail-first into the inside retaining wall.  The damage was minor though – only the rear bumper and nerf bar were bent.  After needing a wrecker to two the car out of the muddy infield, Blewett drove back to the pits and continued to practice after his crew gave their car a quick once over.

Not so lucky was the #19 team of Stafford Motor Speedway regular Kenny Horton.  During one of the Sunoco Modified practice sessions, Horton slid down the frontstretch and came to a rest nose-first against the inside retaining wall.  The front of his Modified was damaged.  After a few hours of hard work, the Horton team got their car back on track to take a few hot laps after Tour practice was over.

There were 39 cars that took part in Tour Modified qualifying, but nobody could outpace defending Icebreaker winner James Civali, who went out late in the session and was the quickest of everyone.  It is Civali’s first career pole position, who has four Tour victories to his credit.

Sophomore driver Bobby Grigas, III got his season off to a great start by posting the second quickest time in qualifying.  He did even better when the top six qualifiers redrew for their starting positions.  Grigas drew a number one and will start on the pole position of the Icebreaker as a result.

Ronnie Silk, Jimmy Blewett, Todd Szegedy, James Civali and Tony Ferrante will round out the next five starters.

There were a few drivers who had exciting moments in time trials.
Bobby Grigas, III will start the Icebreaker on the pole.  His team had a little scare when practice first began.  (51 Photo)
Kenny Horton gets towed in on the hook in practice, but was back for the Sunoco Mod feature thanks to some hard work by his crew.  (51 Photo)
The skies were gray for most of the day, but the rain went away in the morning.  (51 Photo)
James Civali won the Coors Light Pole Award, but will start fifth after the redraw.  (51 Photo)


Former Icebreaker winner from 1994, Charlie Pasteryak, spun on the first of his two qualifying laps.  He recovered on the second lap to time trial in the 19th position.

Ken Heagy, who lists Eddie Partridge as his owner, spun coming out of turn four on his warm-up lap.  A few cars later, Tony Ferrante did as well.  Shortly after that, Eric Berndt did the same thing.   None of those three drivers hit anything and all of them still pulled off respectable qualifying laps.  Ferrante’s lap put him in the top 10, Berndt’s put him in the top 20 and Heagy was 23rd.

All 39 entrants will start Sunday’s race.  There are no non-qualifiers for this event.

There was some Modified racing action on Saturday night…between caution periods that was.  The Sunoco Modifieds ran their first of two 25-lap features of the weekend with a double digit count of cautions.

Bert Marvin won after leading 21 of the laps.  He inherited the lead when early leader Keith Ruocco and Woody Pitkat tangled while battling for the top spot on lap four and hit the outside retaining wall hard.

Pitkat complained of a possible shoulder injury after the hard wreck and was transported to a local hospital.

Jimmy Blewett edged Doug Coby for second place in the Sunoco Modified feature.

Sunday will bring the second Sunoco Modified feature, a 25-lap NEMA Midget feature, races for the other Thompson divisions and the 150-lap season opener for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

If our equipment cooperates, we will be back at Thompson in the morning to bring you live Trackside Now updates throughout raceday of Icebreaker 2008.

Qualifying Results
The Icebreaker
Thompson International Speedway

1.James Civali – 18.585 seconds
2.Bobby Grigas, III – 18.613
3.Todd Szegedy – 18.759
4.Ronnie Silk – 18.792
5.Jimmy Blewett – 18.798
6.Tony Ferrante – 18.801
7.Bobby Santos, III – 18.827
8.Eddie Flemke – 18.864
9.Kevin Goodale – 18.881
10.Chuck Hossfeld – 18.882
11.Reggie Ruggiero – 18.886
12.Ryan Preece – 18.893
13.Danny Sammons – 18.894
14.Ryan Preece – 18.904
15.Ted Christopher – 18.872
16.Eric Berndt – 19.008
17.Matt Hirschman – 19.014
18.Rowan Pennick – 19.028
19.Charlie Pasteryak – 19.046
20.Mike Stefanik – 19.057
21.Billy Pauch, Jr. – 19.073
22.Glenn Tyler – 19.107
23.Ken Heagy, Jr. – 19.134
24.J.R. Burtuccio – 19.147
25.Erick Rudolph – 19.181
26.Carl Pasteryak – 19.213
27.Jim Storace – 19.214
28.Richard Savary – 19.253
29.Anthony Sesely – 19.273
30.Renee Dupuis – 19.297
31.Jamie Tomaino – 19.350
32.Rick Fuller – 19.419
33.Glenn Reen – 19.430
34.Joe Hartmann – 19.626
35.Jake Marosz – 19.787
36.Tom Abele, Jr. – 19.801
37.Wade Cole – 19.844
38.Gary McDonald – 19.859
39.Sean Patterson – 19.973