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Derek Gluchacki (right) celebrates his first career ACT Late Model Tour victory as part of Twisted Tea World Series Saturday. (Daniel Holben photo)

Gluchacki Rules Thompson ACT Run

THOMPSON, Conn. — Derek Gluchacki scored one for the locals by winning the American-Canadian Tour Sunoco World Series 75 presented by Twisted Tea at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Saturday. 

The 19-year-old got the lead early and was never seriously challenged en route to his first career ACT victory as part of Twisted Tea Saturday for the 59th Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing.

It was a fitting place for Gluchacki to break through. The ACT sophomore began his racing career at the Little T Speedway quarter midget track right next to the high-banked oval. 

His dominant victory came as part of an eight-division card.

Alby Ovitt started on the pole and led the first three laps before Gluchacki took over. The new leader took advantage of some serious dicing between Ovitt, Patrick Emerling, Brian Tagg, and others to build up a big lead.

Ben Rowe and D.J. Shaw, the top two drivers in the ACT standings, eventually sliced their way through the pack to third and fourth. Shaw then got the break on a lap-24 restart for Jacob Burns’ turn-four spin, shooting past Ovitt and Rowe on the outside to second as Gluchacki darted away again.

Just when Shaw was starting to close the gap on Gluchacki, Burns looped it again to bring out another yellow on lap 40. Then as the field came to the green flag, Tom Carey III — the winner of the local late model feature the night before — got turned around from the fourth spot. John Donahue, Burns, and Walter Sutcliffe all got caught up in the carnage.

Once the track was cleaned up, it was more of the same for Gluchacki. He again used his short run strength to pull away, and this time, he was good on the long run, too. 

The only potential threat to Gluchacki’s dominance was a pack of five lapped cars that he caught with just over 10 laps to go. But the leader got through clean while Shaw was hung up behind double-wide battling, sealing the deal for Gluchacki to become ACT’s sixth first-time winner of 2021.

Shaw took second with Rowe in third. Rowe had previously won his heat race, which unofficially kept his point lead over Shaw at a single point with only one event left on the calendar. Jimmy Hebert, a former Thompson Speedway winner, was solid all night to take fourth. Woody Pitkat, Ovitt, Ryan Kuhn, Tagg, Mike Benevides, and Emerling rounded out the top 10.

Derek Griffin pulled the season sweep at Thompson Speedway for the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models. Griffin started 12th for the 75-lap feature and steadily worked his way through the pack. He eventually caught Austin MacDonald just past the 20-lap mark and effortlessly swung past him for the lead.

Griffin wasn’t out of the woods yet, though. A series of cautions between laps 64 and 69 allowed MacDonald, Corey Casagrande, Eddie MacDonald, Ben Rowe, and others who had been battling throughout the field to take their shot. The field was shaken up even further on lap 67 when Johnny Clark and Dave Farrington tangled racing for the fourth spot, sending the other contenders scattering.

The closest call for Griffin when he wandered up the track in turn one on the ensuing restart. But he was able to recover and motor to a bookend victory after his Thompson Icebreaker triumph in April.

MacDonald came back to take second late in the race as Casagrande began to fade. Early leader Eddie MacDonald was third with Ben Rowe, Casagrande, Ryan Kuhn, Jake Matheson, Devin O’Connell, Josh King, and Clark completing the top 10.

Todd Owen snapped Keith Rocco’s Sunoco Modified winning streak by just 0.016 seconds in the second round of their Triple Crown Series. Owen started seventh for the 30-lap feature and spent the first half of the race riding in the middle of the top-10 as Rocco and Teddy Hodgdon duked it out at the front.

A lap-17 caution after R.J. Marcotte’s car went up in smoke let the field catch up to the lead duo. Owen had followed Mike Christopher Jr. past Troy Talman for fourth just before the yellow, and he quickly swept around Christopher and Hodgdon on the restart. The new Stafford Motor Speedway champion then dove inside Rocco in the third turn to lead lap 22 only for Rocco to return the favor a lap later.

Owen spent the next six laps plotting and scheming for his final move as Hodgdon, Christopher, and Jonathan Puelo joined the fight. Entering turn three for the last time, Owen went low and put his nose out front. Rocco got a run off the final corner, but Owen beat him to the stripe by the thinnest of margins.

Hodgdon took third hot on their heels pursued by Christopher and Puelo. Ronnie Williams, Talman, Danny Cates, Brett Meservey Jr., and Paul LaPlante completed the top 10. 

Gerard Giordano Jr. beat Todd Owen to the punch with a last-corner pass of his own to win the 35-lap EXIT Realty Pro Truck Challenge feature. 

Larry Barnett completed a comeback season by motoring to the victory and the championship in the Vandi Auto Supply Limited Sportsmen. 

Randy Cabral got closer to the Northeastern Midget Association championship by winning the 25-lap Shane Hammond Memorial. Cabral snagged the lead from Ben Seitz on lap eight and quickly built up a comfortable margin.

Nick Anderson left the North East Mini Stock Tour field behind on the way to a convincing victory. 

Randy Cabral picked up his second win of the night by going flag-to-flag in the Harry Kourafas Memorial for the Pro 4 Modifieds. 

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