THOMPSON – On Aug. 19, 2010, Rick Blanchard’s racing career at Thompson International Speedway essentially came to an end at the hands of a group of competitors and crew members who savagely attacked him following a Mini Stock feature at track.
This weekend two of the individuals who were part of the gang assault on Blanchard that night at Thompson returned to the track as competitors.
Scott Michalski of Killingly and Trevor Michalski of Killingly were back in competition in the Mini Stock division at Thompson Speedway this weekend after having an indefinite suspension against them lifted during the offseason.
Scott Michalski and Trevor Michalski were suspended indefinitely by NASCAR four days after they were part of the group that attacked Blanchard at the track. Also suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after the incident were former Mini Stock division drivers Fred Michalski of Dayville and Scott Jassaume of Danielson.
Ben Dodge, special advisor at Thompson Speedway, confirmed that NASCAR lifted the indefinite suspensions against Scott Michalski and Trevor Michalski.
“I’m shocked,” Blanchard said Sunday by phone. “The race track had told me that they didn’t care what NASCAR did, that those guys would never set foot inside Thompson Speedway much less ever race there again. They were not supposed be allowed there ever again. That’s what I was told and promised by the officials at Thompson after everything happened.”
Said Dodge: “NASCAR reinstated them. Jerry Cook from NASCAR spoke with [track owner Donald Hoenig] and Donald said if NASCAR wants to reinstate them, they’ve been out all this period of time and so forth, they are on permanent probation for wherever they run in NASCAR. The least little thing or anything else they’re going to throw them out.”
Jonathan Hoenig, director of marketing at the track and grandson of track owner Don Hoenig said track officials reviewed the situation and made the decision that they would allow Scott Michalski and Trevor Michalski to return.
“The decision to let them come back, I want to keep it simple,” Jonathan Hoenig said. “A year and a half went by. NASCAR made the decision to lift the ban on them. We reviewed everything and decided to put them on probation. … We did sit down and review it and discuss everything. Really, they’re on probation. If the slightest thing happens they’ll be back to where they started.”
Blanchard, who sold his racing equipment after the 2010 season and hasn’t competed since, said he has been in therapy for medical issues because of the attack since it happened.
“How come Jerry Cook from NASCAR didn’t call me and ask me how I feel about this?” Blanchard said. “So they listened to what the Michalski’s had to say but they didn’t find out what they victim of their actions had to say? NASCAR has never called me, nobody from NASCAR ever contacted me or asked me how I was doing physically or otherwise. To this day, I go every week for therapy for vertigo and for misalignment of my spine because of what happened that night. I have therapy every week to this day because of what Scott and Trevor did to me that night. And those guys are back there racing? They got suspended basically for a year and I’m still suffering from what they did to me?
“I thought the Hoenig family was better than this. I thought they were telling me the truth when they said those guys would never race there again. They just worry about money. The Michalski’s bring a lot of people to the racetrack. Maggots breed maggots. And they bring all these maggots to the racetrack and hand over their money to the Hoenig’s. I am beside myself that they’re letting them come back and race. I am shocked. It’s the Hoenig family’s decision, it doesn’t matter what NASCAR says. If Thompson Speedway wants to decide if they’re going to allow somebody on their property or not, it’s not up to NASCAR.”
Dodge said part of the reason Scott Michalski and Trevor Michalski were reinstated was because Fred Michalski was considered the ringleader of the attack on Blanchard.
Blanchard, of Pascoag, R.I., had issues on the track with Fred Michalski during the running of the Mini Stock feature at Thompson in Aug. 19, 2010. After the race Fred Michalski, Scott Michalski, Trevor Michalski and Scott Jassaume, approached Blanchard while he was alone in his car trailer after the event.
On the night of the attack another competitor in the pits who witnessed the assault confirmed that he saw Blanchard laying on the ground trying to protect himself while Trevor Michalski, 17-years old at the time, kicked Blanchard numerous times in the head. Witnessess said as many as 15 people were involved in the attack on Blanchard.
“Scott and Trevor walked down to my pit with Fred,” Blanchard said. “Fred came after me and I defended myself and then I was jumped by Scott and Trevor. Trevor was kicking me in the head while I was on the ground. They were most certainly a major part of everything that happened.”
Scott Michalski finished second in the 15-lap Mini Stock feature Sunday at Thompson. Trevor Michalski finished 17th of 28 cars in the field.
Asked to respond to Blanchard’s comments Scott Michalski said: “I really have no comment. I’ve been advised not to really talk about the incident. It’s a sore subject with the track. They want to really put it behind them and move forward. I’m back on the scene because I must not have been proved to have maliciously done this act. … God bless him, have a good life.”
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