Nick Johnson, who has finished inside the top-five in all five races so far this season, holds a 15-point lead in the Late Model standings over Tom Carey III. That gap may seem like a sizeable one – but with drivers earning two points per position on the track – it would only take one slip from Johnson for him to lose his advantage.
Behind Carey, there are four drivers ready to pounce. Woody Pitkat, a regular on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour who has roots in the Late Model ranks, is third, 19 points back. As of right now, the top three contenders in the standings have yet to visit Victory Lane, but their consistency has them at the front of the field.
William Wall, who is the 2016 champion of the Late Model division and a Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, native, is fourth. Wall was able to visit Victory Lane as part of the 2018 Icebreaker weekend, getting his season off on the right track. Since then, the only falter for Wall was a finish outside the top-10 during the second race, where he only completed three laps.
In fifth, it’s been feast or famine for Pawcatuck, Connecticut, driver Ryan Morgan. Even though Morgan has three checkered flags to his credit this season, including the last time on the track as part of the Bud “King of Beers” 150, he is looking up towards the top from fifth spot. He is tied with Mark Jenison, 24 points back, with two races remaining. Jenison also has been victorious in 2018.
ROCCO RUNNING AWAY
Even though Ryan Preece was able to score a victory as part of the K&N East Throwback night, no one else has been able to defeat Keith Rocco so far this season in the Sunoco Modifieds.
On the heels of his four victories, the defending champion is up by 40 points in the standings, and will just look for two solid races to clinch the crown. He is looking for his seventh overall championship in the SK Modifieds at Thompson – one that would be his 16th as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Currently, he is tied for second in the most Whelen All-American Series track titles all-time – only trailing Joe Kosiski (17) and Jeff Strunk (15).
Behind him, Troy Talman could be the one surprise of the season so far. With five finishes inside the top five in five races, Talman has been consistent, but hasn’t quite had the speed he needed to score a checkered flag. Over the final two races, he looks to be the closest challenger Rocco will face in the championship battle – and if Rocco stumbles – Talman’s consistency could put him right where he needs to be. Todd Owen, who ended last season in Victory Lane, has yet to find the black and white this year, and hasn’t put together the season he was looking for. However, his four top-10 finishes have him third, 56 points back. Woody Pitkat is fourth and Preece rounds out the top five.
BOURGEOIS IN PRIME POSITION IN MINI STOCKS
With two wins to his credit, Eric Burgeois is in prime position to score another Mini Stock title this season. The East Haddam, Connecticut, native has been a master of consistency, running inside the top five in all of the events. He may be in good shape by the looks of things, but the stretch run isn’t going to be easy.
Jared Roy is second, and even though he has yet to win, he is looking to close the 26-point gap with more consistency. Much like Burgeois, the story for Roy includes top five finishes in all races, and the Sterling, Connecticut, driver is ready to make a run.
Dave Trudeau, a veteran of Mini Stock racing and 2015 Mini Stock champion at the 0.625-mile oval, is third, 31 points back. Wayne Burroughs, who is the defending champion of the division, is trying everything to close the gap in fourth. Even though he does have three victories this season, he sits 42 points back with only two races left on the schedule.
MONAHAN ON REPEAT PATH IN LIMITED SPORTSMAN
Repeating a championship in any division in any form of racing is not an easy task. But for Waterford, Connecticut, driver Shawn Monahan, the path to a second straight Limited Sportsman title at Thompson seems to be paving itself.
In five races, Monahan has three wins, including last time on the track as part of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Bud 150. He leads the championship standings by 36 points, and has been one of the fastest cars on the track each week. If someone is going to defeat him, they will need to make a move fast.
Chris Meyer is second, while Lawrence Barnett is third. Over their tenure at Thompson, the Limited Sportsman division has been well-known for finishes that keep fans on the edge of their seats.