–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
THOMPSON, Conn. — Matt Lowinski-Loh kicked off Sunoco World Series weekend at Thompson Speedway in victory lane while Ray Parent celebrated as the track’s Late Model champion.
Lowinski-Loh used a fifth place starting spot to his advantage as he moved toward the front of the field and ran second to race leader Walter Sutcliffe Jr. on lap 10.
The Milford, Mass. driver looked twice to the inside of race leader Sutcliffe, but made it stick just after the halfway point in the 25-lap Late Model feature. Lowinski-Loh ran to the race win easily after he took over the top spot.
“It’s World Series weekend,” Lowinski-Loh said. “It’s the biggest race around here. It’s a dream come true. I always wanted to win this race.”
Sutcliffe, of East Haven, Conn., settled for second while championship runner-up William Wall put early pressure on Parent as he ran through the field but finished third. Glenn Boss and Ernie LaRose completed the top-five finishers while sixth through tenth went to Tom Carey III, Woody Pitkat, Buddy Charette, Parent, and Mark Jenison.
For Parent, his ninth place finish secured him the 2017 Thompson Speedway Late Model championship. He entered the race just needing to finish 12th or better.
“From last year, I thought I was done,” Parent said. “I didn’t know if I’d ever get a ride again. Don Parsons put this together and to come here and win a championship is incredible.
“I haven’t had a championship in 15 years. “
The Tiverton, R.I. driver started the Late Model finale in the 12th position and made marginal gains, only doing what he needed to do secure the championship.
“I felt bad racing like that,” Parent said. “That’s unlike me to just ride around in ninth.
“I was watching Wall run up front and I knew I was in ninth. And I knew I had to finish 12th or better. It was unlike me, but I didn’t have to pass anybody. They kept saying (Jenison) was two cars behind and I figured I’d ride right here.
“Hopefully tomorrow, in the American-Canadian Tour race, we can actually have a chance to get up there and go.”
Parent collected two wins along the way and finished inside the top-five in five of the seven races this season. Friday night’s finish was his worst of the season.
“I knew you couldn’t have one bad week in seven races,” Parent said. “It’s challenging.”
For Parent, his championship was his first since a Mini Stock championship at Seekonk Speedway in 1996.
“It’s been a long time,” Parent said. “It’s awesome.
“It’s a first-time NASCAR championship for me. So to say I’m a NASCAR champion, you dream of that stuff. I know it’s Late Models here at tHompson, but it’s still something. At (any level), you have your good guys and it’s a good group of Late Model drivers here.”
Many of the Late Model drivers that competed in Friday night’s division finale are expected to compete in Saturday’s ACT Late Model Tour 75-lap event.
VtMotorMag.com will have more from the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park soon.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Sunoco World Series 25
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, Thompson, Conn.
Friday, October 13, 2017
1. Matt Lowinski-Loh, Milford, Mass.
2. Walter Sutcliffe Jr., East Haven, Conn.
3. William Wall, Shrewsbury, Mass.
4. Glenn Boss, Danielson, Conn.
5. Ernie LaRose, Moosup, Conn.
6. Tom Carey III, New Salem, Mass.
7. Woody Pitkat, Stafford, Conn.
8. Buddy Charette, Woodstock, Conn.
9. Ray Parent, Tiverton, R.I.
10. Mark Jenison, Warwick, R.I.
1 – Matt Lowinski-Loh celebrates his Sunoco World Series Late Model win on Friday night at Thompson Speedway. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)
2 – Ray Parent celebrates his Thompson Speedway Late Model championship on Friday night. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)