Tom Herzig's Trackside: Hudson keeps the racing fires lit
By TOM HERZIG
Sprint car driver Troy Comeau of Warren goes for a wild ride at Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vt., on July 3. Comeau went end over end five times between turns one and two, but he escaped serious injury. (DEVILS BOWL SPEEDWAY/DYLAN FRIEBEL)
On Track This Weekend
Thunder Road (Vt.): Thursday, 7 p.m.
Legion Speedway: Friday, 7 p.m.
Lee USA Speedway: Friday, 7 p.m.
Claremont: Friday 7, p.m.
Monadnock: Saturday, 5:45 p.m.
Bear Ridge (Vt.): Saturday, 6 p.m.
Speedway 51: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Star Speedway: Saturday, 6 p.m.
White Mountain: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Hudson Speedway: Sunday, 5 p.m.
On of the biggest events of the season for Hudson Speedway and new promoter Ben Bosowski, the Granite State Pro Stock Series $2,000-to-win Gateway Classic 100, takes place this Sunday. Qualifying events are expected to get under way at 5:30 p.m.
Hudson opened in the late 1940s as a dirt track. It’s a no-frills throwback to the days when quarter-mile ovals were abundant throughout the Northeast and beyond. Although shopworn, Hudson is still ticking and it serves as a low-buck race place that’s provided many folks a viable way to go racing and gain firsthand experience.
“So far it’s been going very well,” says Bosowski. “I’m having fun. We could have done without some of the really hot weather, but this Sunday will be big. I’ve stockpiled some extra supplies. We don’t have a lot of parking, but we have passionate fans.” Adult admission for the Gateway Classic is $15.
Hudson held its “Mighty Mike” Lewis Memorial race for Rookie Stocks on Sunday and Max Dolliver of Londonderry was the winner. Dolliver was closely stalked by runner-up Charlie Baldwin. Jimmy Renfrew Jr. was third.
Last Friday, the GSSPS Pro Stocks were at Lee USA Speedway. Joe Squeglia of Derry continued a string of recent successes at Lee with the win. Jeremy Harclerode of Newmarket was the runner-up, followed by up-and-comer Devin O’Connell of Madison, Conn.
Squeglia has his sights set on the $10,000 Seekonk Pro Stock Nationals next Wednesday, and isn’t planning to be at Hudson, but the car count shouldn’t be an issue.
Joey Doiron of Berwick, Maine, the Series points leader at the time, was leading the pack at Lee until he wrecked when Jimmy Renfrew Jr.’s car came undone and leaked fluid everywhere. Doiron has vowed to complete repairs in time for Sunday’s event. Star Speedway owner Bobby Webber Jr. has an entry race-ready, which will be driven by Bobby Cabral of Kingston. Derek Griffith of Hudson, who’s been having success all around New England, plans to be at both Hudson and Seekonk.
The Valenti Modified Series raced on Fireworks Night at Monadnock. The checkers were carried by Todd Patnode. He started 21st in a 25-car field. It was the third Valenti Series career win for the Swanzey veteran. His last came in August 2016.
Pole sitter Russ Hersey and Woody Pitkat battled at the front until Patnode got by them both on lap 64. Anthony Nocella of Woburn, Mass., protected his points lead by rallying to finish second, one spot ahead of Hersey.
The Valenti Mods are at Lee USA Friday along with all the NASCAR Whelen Weekly Series divisions except the Supermodifieds.
Will Hull of East Montpelier, Vt., who had outdueled Seth Carlson of Brimfield, Mass., in a USAC Midget thriller at Bear Ridge the week prior (that fans are still talking about), was a winner Saturday in the Sprint Cars of New England (SCoNE) feature. Points leader Matt Hoyt of Campton finished second. This Saturday the Midgets return along with all weekly divisions and the Granite State Mini-Sprints.
SCoNE regular Troy Comeau of Warren didn’t make the Bear Ridge race. Tuesday, July 3, at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vt., Comeau went end over end five times between turns one and two, but he escaped serious injury.
“It seemed like it went on for a while,” Comeau said. “It was on the first lap of the heat race. I was a little sore and the car (Maxim Chassis) is done for. I hope to be back racing August 10 at Legion Speedway.”
The American Canadian Tour (ACT) returns to Speedway 51 Saturday for the J.P. Sicard Specialty Construction Inc./Kingdom Gravel 151-lap event.
It’s “Throwback Night” Saturday at Star Speedway, so-called because the 1993 admission price of $9 is in effect. ISMA Supermodified veteran Justin Belfiore is expected to strap in for some Austism Awareness Supermodified action.
Claremont has the Mike Richardson Memorial Super Street event Friday. The 75-lap event consists of a 35-lap segment and a 40-lap finale. After segment one, the top 10 cars will be inverted. The first segment will be determined by time-trialing. Last week Aaron Fellows drove to his fifth R.E. Hinkley Super Street win ahead of Ricky Bly and Dylan Bodreau.
Claremont has scheduled an Open Modified $4,000-to-win race on Aug. 18. Mike Willis Jr. of Grantham will likely be ramped for that one in an attempt to repeat his heroics in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series 100 in June.
Thunder Road has been packing them in at the “Nation’s Site of Excitement” this season and one of the draws has been the resurgence of its mid-level Flying Tiger division. Fields of 30 cars and up have been turning out, something many New England tracks can only dream about. This Thursday the “Tigers” will turn 75 laps on the high banks in the second event of the three-race Triple Crown Series on Consolidated Communications Night.
Dwayne Lanphear, once the track’s favorite bad boy villain before age mellowed him slightly (Tom Curley threw him out for life twice) is the Flying Tiger points leader, eight points ahead of Joel Hodgdon. The first race of the triple crown series was won by Lanphear’s son Brandon. Flying Tiger races produce close-quarters double-wide conga lines and getting out of the slower lane into the faster one (but it changes) is the key to success and good entertainment.
Tom Herzig’s column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at email@example.com.