WATERBURY Vt. and NAPLES, Maine – The debut season for the Outlaw Open Modified Series will end in style next weekend with the 59th annual Sunoco World Series at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
The historic Thompson 300 returns for the first time since 2005 on Oct. 8-10 with a minimum of $20,000 on the line for the winner and a total purse over $100,000.
Many drivers from the tour modified ranks are looking to add their names to a winner’s list featuring Mike Stefanik, Ted Christopher, Jerry Marquis and Tony Hirschman.
Six-time NASCAR champion Doug Coby, three-time and current NASCAR champion Justin Bonsignore, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale, Jon McKennedy, Dave Sapienza and Chris Pasteryak, among others, plan to compete for the historic prize.
Coby, who has yet to visit Thompson this year, knows this is going to be a challenge for his team. He has competed in the Thompson 300 multiple times before and contended to win the 2005 event until a late wreck took him out.
“It’s going to be interesting because we’re not using the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour rules and when we ran it back in the day, we had other races to look back on and see how it had unfolded in those years prior,” Coby said. “We had a gauge on when the best time to take tires was, fuel, etc…and it’s changed a lot. There are a lot of different motor packages and a lot of different fueling needs for everyone.”
Like many of the others in the field, the biggest thing for Coby is making it to the end of the race in one piece and putting himself in contention when it matters.
“It’s one of those races where you have to settle in for the first 150 or 200 laps and put yourself in the best position to make the best pit call towards the end,” Coby said. “With the different packages, it’s going to depend on where the cautions fall.
“If the last 120 laps go green, it would favor someone that can keep their tires on the car longer,” Coby added. “If someone has fresh tires at the end, it’s definitely going to make it interesting.
“I almost won it one year when we pitted late and Ted Christopher pitted before us,” he continued. “I was charging right through the field and probably would have got him at the end, but I got put in the wall. You definitely want to try and be the car going forward in the last 30 laps.”
All three drivers that have won the first four Outlaw Open Modified Series races of the season are all planning to attend the Thompson 300.
During the Icebreaker 125 in April, Ron Silk scored the $10,000 prize in his only start of the season to date.
In June at the Nutmeg State 75, Keith Rocco stormed to the front to take the impressive victory, holding off Ronnie Williams and NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece in the late laps.
Williams also has wins in the Sam Adams Wicked Hazy IPA Spirit of 76 in August and the Twisted Tea Tripoint Showdown 75 in September.
Additional entries include Goodale, McKennedy, Sapienza, Pasteryak and Matt Swanson.
Other names like Patrick Emerling, Tommy Barrett, Anthony Bello, Noah Korner, Max Zachem and others are also expected to attend.
Teams will qualify through heat races after a blind draw, and the American-Canadian Tour plus-minus system will be used to line up the feature race.
If needed, a B Main will occur. Teams will be allowed to change 12 tires during the race not counting the four tires needed to start the race.