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Kulwicki Semi-Finalist Derek Gluchacki Wins Race of the Night on Icebreaker Friday

Thompson, CT — Five divisions started off the New England racing season in style on Friday night at Thompson Speedway but one race stood out among them all. In the opening act for the weekly Late Models at the 5/8-mile highbanked speedway in eastern Connecticut, Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) semi-finalist Derek Gluchacki walked away triumphant in the race of the night that saw unmatched competition and thrilling moves throughout the field.

After battling first-time starter Devin Deshaies in his respective heat race, Gluchacki would start fourth on the grid in one of the most competitive Late Model fields seen at Thompson Speedway in some time. After a clogged start, Gluchacki would find himself back to sixth alongside former track champion Nick Johnson. Plugged up on the outside behind Deshaies’ and Matt Lowinski-Loh’s side-by-side battle for third, Gluchacki watched and waited out the increasingly physical battle ahead.

As he began to take on Lowinski-Loh, a sideways Brian Tagg sliding back from second-place would split Gluchacki’s battle and find them three-wide going into turn three. The ballet for third would see the 03MA and the 17MA tiptoe around one another before Gluchacki began to comfortably hunt down second-place runner Deshaies. A hard wreck for longtime Late Model competitor Mike Benevides in turn one slowed the field and bunched Gluchacki back into the hornet’s nest.

Coming up loose on the restart, youngster Devin Deshaies flew around sideways coming off turn two to bring out the second caution and bundled the field together once more. For the first time, Gluchacki would line-up beside fellow young-gun Jake Johnson on the front row after Johnson had dominated the race from the onset. Jake ‘The Jet’ took off and left Gluchacki and Lowinski-Loh to duke it out once again with Jake’s cousin Nick Johnson. In a ferocious battle for second, Gluchacki and Lowinski-Loh would trade racing grooves, inches and paint before Derek finally dispatched the competitor to chase down the leader.

A five lap nose-to-tail run for Jake Johnson, Gluchacki and Nick Johnson came to an end under the white flag as Gluchacki stepped out for a run at the inside groove. In an incredible side-by-side, last lap, last turn effort, Gluchacki powered up inside The Jet and took the win by just 0.062-seconds. Jake Johnson would come home second followed by Nick Johnson for third.

Since it was announced that Derek Gluchacki was made a semi-finalist in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program on March 16th, the North Dartmouth, Massachusetts driver has taken wins on both race weekends he has participated in. Along with Friday’s last-lap win at Thompson Speedway, Gluchacki secured his fifth career American-Canadian Tour victory in the non-point St. Patrick’s Day 125 at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina just three weeks ago. With the Hickory win, the rising star has secured his right to qualify for the Late Model All-Star Race at Thunder Road alongside the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) on Thursday, July 20th and is an early favorite for the $3,000 first-place prize.

Next up for the young hot-shoe is the 3rd annual Northeast Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 15th. Derek Gluchacki is the defending Northeast Classic champion for the American-Canadian Tour and looks to defend his victory at the Magic Mile against the likes of former Tour champions and NHMS winners. The Northeast Classic will also feature the PASS Super Late Models, a $7,000-to-win Tour-type Modified Open Competition 50-lap main event, the R&R Race Parts Street Stock Series and the Mighty Mini Stocks.

For more information, contact the ACT offices at (802) 244-6963,, or visit You can also get updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ACTTour.

(Photos:  Tom Morris Racing Photography)

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