Tour-type Modified racing at this year’s Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park kicked off in a big way Friday night, as the Modified Racing Series’ 50-lap feature saw a dramatic finish and a championship battle that went down to the wire.
The battle for the win went to Ronnie Williams, who took the lead on lap 32 after contact with Jake Johnson and held off Teddy Hodgdon in a late-race shootout for the victory.
Williams took blame for the incident with Johnson in victory lane while some fans in attendance shared their displeasure, but added the win was a big one to start the weekend with two more Tour Modified races on the docket.
“I love the noise. It’s great. The only people I really care about is my son back home and my wife,” said Williams. “100 percent my fault on Jake Johnson, I know they’re going to have some words for me, but 100 percent my fault. No excuse for it, just made a mistake. It happens.”
“I have to thank all these [team] 50 guys for what they do, week in and week out. It’s always fun coming out, and hopefully we can get two more wins this weekend.”
Hodgdon felt his car improved as the 50-lap race went on, but ultimately didn’t have enough to get around Williams in the closing laps.
“I knew every restart we had, the car would get better,” said Hodgdon. “Ronnie just seemed a little too tight at the end there, especially in the center. I gave it all I had. He’s got a lot more experience than I do here. He took me to school today. We learned a lot. Whenever we get to the Open Outlaw race, it will be a little different, I know it.”
Hodgdon tried one more last-gasp effort on the final lap, driving hard into turn three, but could not get close enough to challenge Williams for the win.
“I just tried to sail it in there and see if I could make anything happen. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in victory circle. I just keep getting podiums. It’s great and all, but you know, the checkered flag is what we want.”
While that battle raged on, Kirk Alexander’s last-lap pass of Anthony Bello for the 11th position was enough to edge out Matt Swanson in the fight for the Modified Racing Series title
Both drivers were searching for speed during Friday’s race, but Alexander’s finish allowed him to gain enough points on Swanson (who finished 16th) to claim the championship.
“We struggled in practice,” said Alexander. “This always hasn’t been our greatest track. I’ve won here in the past, but last year we struggled really bad and lost the championship on this race. I knew Matt Swanson would have a rocket tonight, and he did. I don’t know if they suffered some problems with engines or something.”
“I drove my butt off tonight to get every spot I could. I almost got wrecked here on the frontstretch. We came close, but we managed to gather it back up and drive hard, do the best I can, and wherever the chips fall, they do. As it turned out, that last pass on Bello was the bonus, and we showed up the champion.”
The Thompson Open Outlaw Modifieds will take the track Saturday for a 100-lap feature, along with plenty more exciting racing to continue the 61st World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson. Click here to watch all weekend long on Racing America.
-Photo credit: Connor Sullivan
MODIFIED RACING SERIES AT THOMPSON UNOFFICIAL RESULTS
|15||50||Carl Medeiros, Jr.||50||6.259|
|21||9||Tommy Barrett, Jr.||50||10.634|
|23||06||Samuel Rameau||39||11 Laps|
|24||VT04||Joey Jarvis||26||24 Laps|
|25||18||Andrew Martell||22||28 Laps|
|26||47||Jacob Perry||20||30 Laps|
|27||Z76||Derek Robie||9||41 Laps|