Thompson International Speedway in Thompson, Connecticut, USA, is a 5/8th mile paved oval racetrack that was once known as the Indianapolis of the East. It was the first paved race track in the United States and is now under the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series banner. Each year Thompson hosts one of the great fall variety events "The World Series of Auto Racing" highlighted by the ISMA Super Modifieds and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. This event frequently draws over 600 race cars in 15 separate divisions over three days.
In the 60's and 70's, 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 driver Ray Hendrick in the famous "fire" #1 to battle the locals. Other surprise stars included Long Island's Fred Harbach and the Rene Charland.
Thompson has had some of the Northeast's most spectacular races. In the late 70's, the track drew 55 winged Super Modifieds to their World Series race. By owner's choice, all 55 started in spectacular fashion.
During another World Series weekend, after a tragedy earlier in the day during a heat race which killed a crew member, Modified legend Richie Evans strapped into a super modified owned by legendary driver Nolan Swift and lapped the entire field of cars. Evans was even more brilliant in the modified division capturing the prestigious Thompson 300 and a host of other tour races. Evans once charged from back in the pack late, was fourth with one lap to go and pulled out a stunning victory on the final turn.
During the energy crisis during the 1970s Thomspson hosted a unique division called the "Open Competitive" division which merged the Super Modifieds with the Modifieds. Later, Thompson tried a stock-head modified division which chased away some of the tracks regulars.
Until the 1980s the track had a unique wall in turns 1-2 and 3-4 comprised of dirt fill.
The track has endured some tragic moments which have claimed the lives of DeSarro, Harry Kourafus Jr., 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 Northeast's best drivers in an open competition Modified race with no purse. Both Evans and Bodine mounted their cars with wings.
Both Tommy Baldwin and John Blewett were killed at the same race on the tour, three years apart.
The track is now operating a very successful Thursday night NASCAR weekly racing series along with many special events.