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Michaud, Mayberry Renew Thompson Deal For 2024

The promotional duo will oversee another season of oval racing at Thompson, keeping the discipline alive on the Connecticut oval’s high banks.

Oval racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park has been given the green flag for 2024, with current co-promoters Cris Michaud and Tom Mayberry extending their lease for another season. (STS/Jeff Brown)

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will host oval-track racing for at least another year.

Sunday’s final day of the legendary Connecticut oval’s Sunoco World Series opened with news that Vermont’s American-Canadian Tour and the Maine-based Pro All Stars Series have renewed their lease of the speedway through the end of 2024.

ACT managing partner Cris Michaud delivered the update at a morning driver’s meeting, to a chorus of applause from the attendees.

Cris Michaud, who purchased the American-Canadian Tour after founder Tom Curley’s passing, will promote oval racing at Thompson Speedway once again in cooperation with PASS founder Tom Mayberry. (STS/Jeff Brown)

The motorsports complex in Connecticut’s northeastern “Quiet Corner” is best known for its ⅝-mile high-banked oval, but the track’s ownership has focused in recent years on operations at the road course that shares some turns with the oval layout.

Michaud and PASS president Tom Mayberry joined forces in 2020 to co-promote two events at Thompson, including the season-ending World Series, when the track’s own efforts were hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Encouraged by racers’ response, Michaud and Mayberry secured a multi-year deal with the track, including a return of Thompson’s season-opening Icebreaker weekend, October’s World Series, and multiple events throughout the season.

Michaud and Mayberry added another year in 2023, making 2024 their fourth full season promoting the track’s oval racing program.

What that season will look like has yet to be confirmed, but a couple anchor points are already clear.

Thompson’s 50th Icebreaker will kick off the schedule, and one sanctioning partner has already been announced. The Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series will make its Thompson debut on Saturday, April 6, likely the feature event of the day.

The Outlaw Open Modified Series, Thompson’s all-star headline class for the year’s biggest features, will again serve as an anchor for the 2024 schedule. (STS/Jeff Brown)

The World Series, typically anchored by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, will return as well. The 61st running of the World Series featured sixteen divisions, from pavement midgets and Supermodifieds to Late Models and the NASCAR Tour.

Sunday’s announcement brought cheers from the crowd assembled before a pre-race driver’s meeting. (STS/Jeff Brown)

What fits between the two dates remains to be announced. Recent seasons at Thompson, even predating the promotion of Michaud and Mayberry, have hovered around six to seven events, many held mid-week to avoid conflicts with local tracks and touring series.

In an interview with Shawn Courchesne of RaceDayCT, Michaud said he felt a more expansive schedule might give local racers a stronger sense of buy-in than an abbreviated itinerary.

Thompson’s regular divisions are the flagship Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models under the ACT rulebook, Limited Sportsmen and Mini Stocks. With the absence of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2021, Thompson introduced its own Outlaw Open Modified Series to proctor major events like the Icebreaker and the return of the Thompson 300.

While all four primary divisions are echoed at other tracks in the region, Thompson still holds an appeal and an allure all its own. A key to this may be that Thompson is the last of Connecticut’s three oval tracks to still welcome the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, a series whose teams and drivers overwhelmingly hail from the Nutmeg State.

Despite that allure, from year to year, the future of oval-track racing at Thompson has hovered in the balance.

For another season, Michaud and Mayberry will maintain that balance.

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Jeff Brown is a contributor to Short Track Scene. A native of New Hampshire and a long-time fan of New England racing, Brown provides a fan's perspective as he follows New England's regional Late Model touring series.

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