In the Mini Stock division, Eric Bourgeois has been a master of consistency. The East Haddam, Connecticut, driver has finished inside the top five in all six races and is currently the only driver to have accomplished the feat out of the 18 that have been on the 0.625-mile oval in competition.
Bourgeois, who is a two-time Mini Stock champion (2004 and 2013), is looking to seal his third crown as part of the 56th annual Sunoco World Series. He holds a 37-point advantage over Jared Roy heading for the finale, and based on car counts in the division this season, he will only need to take the green flag to win the big prize.
“There are a lot of good competitors. To be able to win in that division in just 15 laps is pretty impressive,” Bourgeois said. “In the second race of the season, it was kind of a gimme, because Wayne (Burroughs) wasn’t there, and if he had made all of the races, it might be a different scenario. But I’ve just been trying to be consistent all year. That’s the big thing.”
That consistency has built him a large lead in the championship standings headed into the finale, while Burroughs, who missed one event, is fourth and 39 points back. Jared Roy is second, 37 back, while Dave Trudeau is third, 38 out.
For Bourgeois, this season has been more about getting his son up to speed on the track than it has been about his own car. Evan, who has driven race cars since a young age, is contending for Rookie of the Year in the Thompson Mini Stock division.
“I’ve been trying to work with him, so I haven’t done much on my car except go out and race with a little bit of fine tuning,” Bourgeois said. “Everything has just seemed to fall for me. You can have good luck, or bad luck. It’s been a lucky year.”
With Bourgeois getting set to clinch another title, he isn’t exactly sure what next year is going to bring for him behind the wheel. Could this be the end of his career? It’s possible. He won’t know until the winter passes.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said about racing side-by-side with his son Evan on the track. “I know that I only have a few years left of driving myself, but I’m trying to get him set up so he can be the driver and I can be the crew chief. Our goal is to get out there and have fun, hopefully bump and bang fenders for a win -- that would be my dream. He definitely still has some learning to do, but that was the goal for the year.”
And with a 37-point lead heading for the season-finale, Bourgeois isn’t changing his mindset any when the division hits the track for their 15-lap feature on Saturday night, October 13.
“Hopefully we are there at the end,” he said. “I’m going there to win.”
Bourgeois and the rest of the Mini Stock competitors will qualify on Friday night as part an evening that will be headlined by the 50 lap Granite State Pro Stock Series event. Saturday, they will join a full slate of qualifying and feature action to crown the champion.
The 56th annual Sunoco World Series kicks-off on Friday, October 12, as some of the 17 divisions get their racing underway on the high-banks. The total of 17 different divisions will compete in feature racing with action spread across three days.
Sunday, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour crowns their champion as part of the Sunoco World Series 150. All four of Thompson’s Whelen All-American Series divisions will be in action throughout the weekend along with many New England touring series classes.
As always, both the breakfast buffet ($11.95 plus tax) and the prime rib dinner buffet ($22.50 plus tax) will be available for fans in the clubhouse.
A paddock pass for the weekend is $75, and is good for all three days. Fans can enter the grandstands with a general admission ticket for the entire weekend at $55, while seniors (65+), veterans and active duty military members can enter at $50. Kids 12 years of age and under are free.
Fans can visit www.thompsonspeedway.com for the full event schedule, parking map and camping options for the weekend. As always, follow the track on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.