Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

Last updated
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park
ThompsonInternationalSpeedwayMap.svg
Location205 East Thompson Road
Thompson, Connecticut 06277
Time zone UTC -5 (UTC-4 DST)
OwnerDonald and D.R. Hoenig
OperatorDonald and D.R. Hoenig
Broke groundSeptember 21, 1938
OpenedMay 26, 1940
Former namesThompson Speedway (19401970)
Thompson International Speedway (19711977)
Major events NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
International Supermodified Association
Northeastern Midget Association
Oval
Surface Asphalt
Length5/8 mi (1 km)
Turns4
Road Course
SurfaceAsphalt
Length1.7 mi (2.7 km)
Turns11

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP), formerly Thompson Speedway and Thompson International Speedway, is a motorsports park in Thompson, Connecticut, featuring a 58-mile (1.0 km) asphalt oval racetrack and a 1.7-mile (2.7 km) road racing course. Once known as the "Indianapolis of the East", it was the first asphalt-paved racing oval track in the United States and is now under the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series banner. Each year Thompson hosts one of the great fall variety events "The World Series of Auto Racing" highlighted by the International Supermodified Association and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. This event frequently draws over 350 race cars in 16 separate divisions over three days.

Thompson, Connecticut Town in Connecticut, United States

Thompson is a rural town in Windham County, Connecticut, United States. The town was named after Sir Robert Thompson, an English landholder. The population was 9,458 at the 2010 census. Thompson is located in the northeastern corner of the state and is bordered on the north by Webster, Massachusetts and Dudley, Massachusetts, on the east by Douglas, Massachusetts and Burrillville, Rhode Island, on the west by Woodstock, Connecticut, and on the south by Putnam, Connecticut.

Road racing Form of motorsport racing on tracks that contain both right and left turns

Road racing is a form of motorsport racing held on a paved road surfaces. The races can be held either on a closed circuit or on a street circuit utilizing temporarily closed public roads. Originally, road races were held almost entirely on public roads however, public safety concerns eventually led to most races being held on purpose built racing circuits.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Motorsport track in the Indianapolis, IN, USA

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an automobile racing circuit located in Speedway, Indiana, in the United States. It is the home of the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400, and formerly the home of the United States Grand Prix. It is located on the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road, approximately six miles (10 km) west of Downtown Indianapolis.

Contents

History

An East Series car at Thompson in 2009 Corey LaJoie 07 Ford Thompson 2009.jpg
An East Series car at Thompson in 2009

Following cleanup from the hurricane of 1938, John Hoenig built a combined 58-mile (1.0 km) paved oval and 1.7-mile (2.7 km) road racing course on his farmland in the northeast corner of Connecticut.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Thompson's Sunday night program was a who's who of modified greats such as Carl "Bugs" Stevens, Fred DeSarro, Fred Schulz, Ron Bouchard, Ed Flemke, Leo Cleary, Smoky Boutwell, and Geoff Bodine. During this period the track hosted memorable special events which drew legendary Southern drivers like Ray Hendrick in the famous "Fireball" #11 to battle the locals. Other surprise stars included Long Island's Fred Harbach and Rene Charland from Massachusetts.

Frederick John DeSarro was an American racecar driver. He was the 1970 NASCAR National Modified Champion. In NASCAR's Modified All-Time Top 10 drivers, he was ranked eighth.

Ron Bouchard racecar driver

Ronald R. Bouchard was an American NASCAR driver who was the 1981 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. His brother Ken Bouchard was the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. His father-in-law Ed Flemke, Sr, and brother-in-law Ed Flemke, Jr were also NASCAR Modified racers.

Geoff Bodine American auto racing driver

Geoffrey Edmond Bodine is a retired American motorsport driver and bobsled builder. He is the oldest of the three Bodine brothers. Bodine currently lives in West Melbourne, Florida.

In the late 1970s, the track drew 55 winged Super Modifieds to their World Series race. By owner's choice, all 55 started. During the energy crisis during the 1970s Thompson hosted a unique division called the "Open Competitive" division which merged the Super Modifieds with the Modifieds. Later, Thompson tried a lower cost stock-cylinder-head modified division which chased away some of the tracks regulars. Until the 1980s the track had a unique barrier outside turns 1-2 and 3-4 made of dirt fill.

Today

Hoenig's grandson D.R. and great grandson Jonathan continue to operate the family-owned facility. As of June 1, 2013 the Hoenig family began work to reconstruct the 1.7 mile road course with and accompanying paddock and staging areas, and the website reflected the renaming of the facility to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. The newly-rebuilt road course celebrated its "soft opening" with the New England Region of SCCA on the weekend of June 6–8, 2014. [1] Thompson created a private club for individual use of the road course, the website (http://www.thompsonspeedway.com/index.php) notes that "The Club" will be limited to 200 members.

Sports Car Club of America American automobile club

The Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) is an American automobile club and sanctioning body supporting road racing, rallying, and autocross in the United States. Formed in 1944, it runs many programs for both amateur and professional racers.

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park continues to run NASCAR-sanctioned races on the oval track, with 10 oval events scheduled for 2019. The two largest events, The Icebreaker and The Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing are traditionally New England’s season opener and season finale. Both multi-day events draw several hundred race cars from up to 18 divisions. The Road course hosts many more events such as SCCA major and regional races, vintage race festivals, high performance driving events (HPDEs) and drifting.

The park has hosted four events for the 24 Hours of LeMons series. The first was in August 2015 [2] , and the most recent was in August 2018. [3]

24 Hours of LeMons

The 24 Hours of LeMons is a series of endurance races held on paved road race courses across the United States and, since 2016, Australia and New Zealand. The series holds the Guinness World Record for the "Most participants in one race".

In June 2017, the park hosted two rounds of the 2017 Global RallyCross Championship using a combination of the road course and a dirt track. [4]

The 2017 Red Bull Global RallyCross Championship was the seventh and final season of the Global RallyCross Championship. Scott Speed was the reigning Supercars champion for a second season and Cabot Bigham was the reigning GRC Lites champion. The schedule consisted of twelve rounds at eight different venues.

Use in simulations / games

The current layout appears in the online racing simulation iRacing where it is laser scanned for millimeter accuracy.

iRacing, previously iRacing.com, is a subscription-based racing simulation online video game developed and published by iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations in 2008. All races and practice sessions are hosted on the service's servers. The game simulates real world cars, tracks, and racing events, and enforcing rules of conduct modeled on real auto racing events.

A recreation of the track as it appeared in 1970 is included in the retro-themed game NASCAR Legends.

Notable race results

Atlantic Championship Series

YearRace winnerTeamCarEngine
2014 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Daniel Burkett K-Hill Motorsports Swift 016.a Mazda-Cosworth MZR
Flag of the United States.svg Ethan Ringel One Formula Racing Swift 016.a Mazda-Cosworth MZR

Deaths

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park has also endured some tragic moments which have claimed the lives of the following competitors: David Peterson (1977), Tony Willman, Fred DeSarro, Harry Kourafus Jr., Dick Dixon, Corky Cookman, Tom Baldwin, Sr., John Blewett III, and most recently Shane Hammond (April 6, 2008). DeSarro's death prompted a memorial fund-raiser which drew the largest crowd to date and the Northeast's best drivers in an open competition Modified race with no purse. Both Evans and Bodine mounted their cars with wings. Baldwin and Blewett died while competing in the same race on the tour, three years apart.

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References

Coordinates: 41°58′54″N71°49′30″W / 41.9817°N 71.8250°W / 41.9817; -71.8250