THOMPSON, Conn. – After three long years, Tom Carey III finally found himself in Victory Lane on Sunday in the Late Model division at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
Carey, who drives the No. 5 Brookside Equipment Sales Late Model, was able to make a pass and lead the final half of the race en route to his victory. Even though he did hold a checkered flag prior to Sunday in a Sunoco World Series feature event, Carey didn’t pass technical inspection that day.
“It’s huge, it’s a big relief,” Carey said. “We’ve been coming (to Thompson) three years and I always feel like we have the car that can definitely win the race, and probably should win, but I just can’t get all of the pieces to fit together. I’m over the top right now. I’m at a loss for words.”
In the six feature events this season, Carey has four finishes inside the top-five, including his win. After a strong second-place effort in the Bud “King of Beers” night in August, Carey didn’t make many adjustments – if any – before he returned for Sunday’s For the Fans Night.
That decision seems to have been the right one.
“Last time we had a really good car and I got shuffled to the back, but I said we would basically leave it alone,” Carey said. “With us racing in the daylight, I was just trying to have patience. Everyone was really wild out there. It was just a matter of biting my time; I knew I had the car to win. It’s about keeping your head in the game, plugging away and not going for it all in one corner.”
Now, with the victory finally in the rear-view mirror, Carey is turning his head to the 56th Annual Sunoco World Series October 12-14. In the 25-lap feature as part of the Friday night program, Carey will have the opportunity to compete for the championship in the Late Models. He will enter that finale just four points back of Nick Johnson in the battle for the crown.
Will he race any differently knowing he is running for the title?
“It doesn’t change it at all,” Carey said of his mindset going into the next race. “I’m going to go out there and do what I know how to do. It seems to me that when people start points racing, they make simple mistakes. As a race car driver, the mentality needs to be to go out there and every car in front of you, you need to pass.”
All in all, Carey is just happy to finally hold that checkered flag.
“I just can’t thank my guys enough,” Carey said. “All of the crew, they always work their tails off. And I have to thank Brookside Equipment sales for always believing in me.”
Carey and the rest of the Late Model division drivers have one race left on the schedule – the 56th annual World Series weekend. Entering the event, Nick Johnson leads Carey by just four points, with William Wall third, 15 points out. Mark Jenison, who picked up a win earlier this season, is 19 markers back.
The Limited Sportsman, Sunoco Modifieds and Mini Stocks will also decide their NASCAR Whelen All-American Series titles as part of the season-finale. The weekend includes a total of 19 different divisions, including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Valenti Modfied Racing Series and American Canadian Tour.
For more information, including the event schedule and parking map for the weekend, fans are encouraged to visit www.thompsonspeedway.com. As always, following the track on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will give fans the latest updates