Tom Carey III has plenty of checkered flags and trophies from Thompson Speedway. Saturday night, he picked up one of a different sort.
“TC III” outdueled Derek Gluchacki in the closing laps of the American-Canadian Tour Sunoco World Series 75 to earn his second career ACT Tour win, his first of the year, and a long-awaited Tour victory at the track where he honed his skills.
“It’s nice to get one of these wins at Thompson,” Carey said. “A couple times, I’ve had it taken from me. The car was just dominant today, all day.”
Carey’s win came in one of the headliners of the second day of Thompson’s 60th Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing, the signature year-ending showdown for the historic Connecticut oval. The ACT Tour, the Pro All Stars Series, and Thompson’s Outlaw Open Modified Series anchored an evening program with seven feature races plus qualifying for Sunday’s main event, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s Phoenix Communications 150.
The Orange, Mass. driver rolled off from the pole after finishing second in his heat earlier in the afternoon. Sophomore racer Erick Sands lined up alongside Carey for the initial start, but he soon found himself under attack from speedy Canadian Alexendre Tardif and Ryan Morgan, who clinched Thompson’s Late Model track championship with a Friday-night feature win.
A nudge into the wall for Cody LeBlanc was not enough to draw a caution, but Jacob “Rowdy” Burns’ spin in turn two brought out a lap-18 caution that bunched up the field. On the restart, Sands found the turn-four wall, bringing the caution back out as he limped to the pits with terminal damage. Tardif, Morgan and points leader DJ Shaw lined up behind Carey for the restart.
Two laps later, Joey Parker and Matt Lowinski-Loh made contact off turn two, with Lowinski-Loh coming to rest atop Parker’s hood on the frontstretch. Parker was able to drive off after Lowinski-Loh was towed to the pits, his evening over as well.
Carey brought the field back to the green flag and set sail, leaving Tardif and Morgan to battle as Gluchacki came into the picture. Gluchacki, whose first career Tour win came a year ago in the World Series, carved his way through the top five and into second. But even as he chased Carey down on a long green flag run, Gluchacki struggled to find a way around him.
Slower cars in the closing laps seemed likely to come into play, but Carey was able to clear the traffic, keeping Gluchacki at bay for his first Tour win since last June’s Spring Green at White Mountain Motorsports Park.
Gluchacki, who had been named Thompson’s track champion Friday night after a second-place finish only to find out he had lost via tiebreaker, held on for his third runner-up finish of 2022 and his second of the weekend.
Third went to Tardif, who locked down his fifth top-five run of the year. The young Quebecer continues to inch closer to a first career Tour victory. Shaw, fresh off a third-place finish in the Pro All Stars Series feature earlier in the afternoon, finished fourth to maintain his championship pace.
Jonathan Bouvrette, the 2019 Sunoco World Series 75 winner, finished fifth after a late-race battle with Tanner Woodard. The young Vermonter wound up sixth, his third top-six finish in only his fourth Tour start and his first start at Thompson. Morgan, Jordan Hadley, Shawn Swallow and development driver Isaac Bevin rounded out the top ten.
Claude Leclerc, just a few days shy of his 81st birthday, finished 16th in his first ACT Tour start in the United States since 2019. The “Ironman” from Repentigny, Que. won an ACT Pro Stock Tour feature at Thompson in 1986, three years before Saturday’s winner Carey was born.
Carey was one of a handful of drivers, including Derek Gluchacki, whose attention turned to the Tour in 2020 when Thompson and nearby Seekonk Speedway were unable to open in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. After making nine starts in the prior four years with a single top-ten finish, Carey turned in a respectable rookie season on the Tour, finishing fourth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and second at Oxford Plains Speedway to close out the year.
The 2021 season was even better, with Carey claiming his first career Tour win and another three top-five finishes. A heat race crash kept Carey from starting all twelve races, but he still placed fourth in the year-end standings.
Carey opened the 2022 season by finishing second to Thompson rival Gluchacki at NHMS, but despite solid performances early on, he could not find a path to victory lane. He quite nearly stole a win from Patrick Laperle at White Mountain Motorsports Park in the Fall Foliage 200, but when Laperle regained control of his ride, it came at the expense of Carey, who spun to a fifth-place finish.
At Thompson, there were no last-lap heroics, no final-circuit fireworks. Just victory.
Unofficial Results, ACT Tour Sunoco World Series 75 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park:
1. (5MA) Tom Carey III
2. (03MA) Derek Gluchacki
3. (21QC) Alexendre Tardif
4. (04VT) DJ Shaw
5. (41QC) Jonathan Bouvrette
6. (68VT) Tanner Woodard
7. (31CT) Ryan Morgan
8. (37CT) Jordan Hadley
9. (9ME) Shawn Swallow
10. (27KY) Isaac Bevin
11. (77NH) Bryan Wall, Jr.
12. (38RI) Connor Souza
13. (60MA) Joey Parker
14. (27NH) Cam Huntress
15. (4CT) Reese Bogue
16. (11QC) Claude Leclerc
17. (77MA) Jimmy Linardy
18. (9MA) Brian Tagg
19. (17MA) Matt Lowinski-Loh
20. (36NH) Erick Sands
21. (30RI) Jacob “Rowdy” Burns
22. (7NH) Cody LeBlanc
DNS (2CT) Doug Curry