Thompson finale

THOMPSON, CT. The championship for the 2000 NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series has once again come down to the wire and will be determined next weekend at the Thompson International Speedway. For more years than most people can remember, the...

THOMPSON, CT. The championship for the 2000 NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series has once again come down to the wire and will be determined next weekend at the Thompson International Speedway. For more years than most people can remember, the Featherlite Modified Series championship has been decided at the XTRA MART World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson. Gerry Marquis of Broad Brook, CT leads the points chase going into the October 15th Thompson event. He is dogged by Reggie Ruggiero of Rocky Hill, CT. Only eight Points separate these two drivers as they vie for the Series crown. Rick Fuller of Auburn, MA is also in the hunt as he sits in the third position only eighty-eight points out of the lead. The final standings won't be known until after the completion of the grueling 125-lap feature event scheduled for mid-afternoon on Sunday, October 15th.

Following the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series event in Martinsville, VA, Reggie Ruggiero claimed the win and reduced his points deficit to a mere eight points over Marquis. In victory lane, Ruggiero said of the final race at Thompson, "It's all going to boil down to the last race at Thompson. It will be a heck of a race, 125 laps. We both run god there, it should be a heck of a race."

Marquis showed his determination following the Martinsville event. He said "We started this year one race at a time and now we are down to one race for the championship. If I've got something to say about it next week, we're going to get it. I'm really geared up for it, I want this, I want it bad." Fuller, meanwhile, is within striking distance and could be the spoiler before the showdown between Marquis and Ruggiero is over. As Reggie said, it should be a heck of a race when the cars roll out onto the 5/8ths mile Thompson International Speedway.

Joe Gosek of Oswego, NY simply has to take the green flag with his ISMA Super Modified to claim his second championship in that division. Gosek won his last ISMA title in 1987 and finished in the runner-up spot to Pat Abold in both 1992 and 1993. Gosek has been a five-time winner in 2000 and is all but guaranteed to pick up the title at Thompson. Randy Ritskes, who is second in the points standings going into the Thompson race, will be challenged to the finish line for that spot by Dave McKnight. It will all come down to a fifty-lap dash at the ultra fast Thompson Speedway. Jamie Timmons and Nick Fornoro are in a heated 2-point battle for the Rookie of the Year and it all comes down to Thompson.

The division with the most storied history at the Thompson Speedway is the NEMA midget division. Their racing at the Connecticut oval dates back to the 1940s. NEMA returns to the XTRA MART World Series with 1997 event winner, Russ Stoehr of N.Carver, MA as the points leader. The "Mighty Midgets", which reach speeds of some 140 miles per hour at Thompson, will be one of the most exciting divisions participating in the 15-division weekend.

Stoehr loves competing at Thompson. He said, " I think you can safely say that a win a Thompson is a coveted accomplishment among the midget fraternity...Thompson is second to none in midget history going back to the great post-World War II days when the legends like Bill Schindler, Mike Nazarek and Joe Sostillio raced there. It is sheer speed and it separates the men from the boys."

Twelve other divisions of racing will occur on World Series Weekend at Thompson. NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Pro Stocks, Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, Strictly Stocks, Pro Four Modifieds and Mini Stocks will all be part of the line up. Joining these divisions will be many 'outlaw' divisions along with Formula Pro racing and Racing Again Cancer Trucks.

The 27th annual XTRA MART World Series of Speedway Racing will be a three-day affair. Practice and qualifying for 7 divisions will take place on Friday, October 13th. The grandstands will be closed on that day but the pit area will be buzzing with activity. Saturday, October 14th will be a practice and qualification day for the remaining divisions. Grandstand will open at 9 AM. Upon completion of all Saturday qualifying, those divisions that qualified on Friday will be rolled out for Saturday night feature events. Noon on Sunday is when the final eight events will begin. All of them will be feature events. The first event slated for Sunday will be the non-qualifiers race for the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series. That 25 lap race will be followed by the Formula Pro main event, Strictly Stocks, Midgets, Pro Stock, Super Modifieds, the XTRA MART NASCAR Featherlite Modified 125, Sunoco Modifieds and the Late Models.

The event is a race fans dream come true with wheel-to-wheel competition virtually non-stop for two big days. Complete schedules of the XTRA MART World Series of Speedway racing are available from the track office or are posted on the track's web site at

Those wishing to purchase tickets in advance may do so by calling the track office. Even though all seating is “general admission”, the early purchase of tickets will help you to avoid long lines at the ticket booth on race day. A grandstand ticket is good for both Saturday and Sunday of the event. All major credit cards are accepted. (860)-923-2280.

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