Tom Herzig's Trackside: Modified biggie set at Star on Saturday
ALL ROADS lead to Star Speedway Saturday for the SBM 125, an open competition Modified showdown with a purse in the neighborhood of $45,000. Star has put up about half the loot, but its noteworthy how much has been shaken out of the trees by event promoter Kevin Rice. You can see from the lap sponsorship monies that this is a happening with grassroots support in addition to co-sponsorship help from Hoosier Tires and Modified racing devotee Jim Schaefer.
Lap sponsorship money has topped six grand and $50 donations “in memory of Star Speedway founder Charlie Elliott”, “in memory of Richie Evans” and “Good Luck from small business fill-in-the-blank” are typical. When you see posted awards for “the longest tow” and “first car to go a lap down” you can feel the vibe.
If there was a tote board at Star, last year’s winner Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa., would likely appear as the pre-race favorite. Hirschman used a well-timed pit stop to help himself land the winner’s check of nearly $10,000 last year. Jon McKennedy of Chelmsford, Mass., winner of the inaugural SBM 125 in 2011, will be back at the wheel of Art Barry’s No. 21. Entrants include Ryan Preece, Ted Christopher, Louie Mechalides (a winner last weekend at Seekonk), Doug Coby, Dwight Jarvis, defending Star champion Jacob Dore and Les Hinckley of Windsor Locks, Conn., who’s returning to action in the No. 06 in honor of late car owner Chuck Montville.
Among the Granite state chauffeurs expected are Mike Douglas of Auburn, Todd Patnode of Swanzey, Jim Boniface of Winchester, Chris Bolton of Weare and Hampstead native Andy Seuss.
Cars will time trial for starting positions in the heats beginning at 4:30 p.m. Qualifying for support divisions begins at 5:15 p.m. Modified heats start at approximately 6 p.m. And ... the weather forecast is golden.Mike Gendron of East Newbury, Vt., who has returned to Bear Ridge Speedway after a four-year absence, won the Bond Auto Sportsman Modified feature. Kevin Chaffee of Fairlee, Vt., got up for second after starting 15th. Melvin Pierson of East Corinth, Vt., won the Wells River Chevrolet Sportsman Coupe event. This Saturday, the Sprint Cars of New England and the USAC Dirt Midgets do their open-cockpit thing at the “Home of the Coupes.” Last time out, Ray Miller of East Granby Conn., — a former pavement Modified ace at Thompson and Stafford — having recently turned 71, won the Midget race. You can read about Miller and the history of it all in Lew Boyd’s “Tearoffs” column on the Coastal 181 web site.
Canaan Asphalt hosts the Subway 150 for ACT Late Models Saturday at 5 p.m. Modifieds, Bandits, Daredevils and the Northeast Classic Lites are also on the card. Chris Curtis of Sharon, Vt., and Corey Robert of Canaan ran 1-2 in weekly Late Model action last weekend.
At Hudson, Max Chaput of Nashua won his first Thunder Light feature. Todd Warren bested Kevin Kephart in the Outlaw Sportsman main for his first 2013 win. Bill Osborne of Plaistow carried the Roadrunner checkers. Roger Tanguay won the Rookie Stock feature.
The Granite State Mini Sprints join the action Sunday at Legion Speedway. The field will include Jake Williams of Center Tuftonboro, who came out on top in the 600cc feature Saturday at Bear Ridge.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series makes its first appearance at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on the New York border in West Haven, Vt., for the Carmody Ford “Slate Valley 100.” Devil’s Bowl is a racy half-mile with escape routes most of the way around. The field will include Monadnock David’s House 106 winner Matt Frahm of Salem, past Thunder Road Late Model champion Dave Pembroke and Series point leaders Mike O’Sullivan of Springfield, Mass., and Jeremy Davis of Tamworth.
The Valenti Modified Series’ next event is at Stafford Speedway, Friday, June 21. The NASCAR Whelen Tour races there tomorrow night, which could affect the turnout at Star for better or worse depending upon how things go.Lou Cicconi picked up his first-ever ISMA Supermodified win at Oswego, besting teammate Chris Peley and Ohioans Moe Lilje and Tim Ice. Canadian Mike Lichty led much of the way while battling a throttle problem and eventually dropped out with a wing issue.
Lee USA is in the midst of a kerfuffle with town officials about documents related to licensing compliance and their ability to open the doors tomorrow night. “We’re addressing the situation and are hopeful of a quick resolution, but at the moment it’s still up in the air,” owner Judy MacDonald said Wednesday.
Tom Herzig’s column appeaers weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.