TWO SHORT track events that promise to be very entertaining this weekend — the "Moneybags Tripleheader" for Small Block Supermodifieds tomorrow night at Lee USA and the American Canadian Tour (ACT) International 500 Saturday/Sunday at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, N.Y. — will use Thunder Road's Milk Bowl format to decide the winner.
Lee owner Red MacDonald and Russ Conway have combined efforts to present the "Moneybags" race, which consists of three 25-lap segments — flat out sprints to be sure — and packs a $15,000 purse. The initial line-up will be set by time trials. The second segment grid is formed by reversing the order of finish of the first segment. The procedure is repeated to create the final segment line-up. The driver with the lowest total of combined finishes wins. Generally, ties are broken by the better finish in the final round, but Lee plans an extra five-lap shootout if a tie-breaker is needed.
ACT is using the same procedure for the $25,000-to-win 300-lap race that's the centerpiece of its "500" weekend. Included in the package are Twin-50's for DIRTcar Modifieds (also cumulatively scored) and a 100-lap non-qualifiers feature paying $3,000-to-win.
The three-segment, reverse-the-field concept put a premium on passing cars all night. Starting up front and holding people off will be a job well done to a point, but it will also earn you a spot at the rear of the field in the next segment. Don't forget while watching the third segment that the jockeying for position a few spots behind the "leader" could be decisive.
Last year's Monebags winner was Wayne Helliwell Jr. in the Scherbon Consolidated No. 21 Witkum Racing entry. This year, Helliwell Jr. will be at Airborne in an ACT Late Model trying to pad his 33-point lead over Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown, Vt. Tommy Tombarello Jr. of Haverhill, Mass., wheels the No. 21 this season. He's the points leader and one of seven different winners in eight races.Mike Netishen of Auburn, driver of the Armor Coatings No. 55, is the only two-time winner in 2013. Netishen is helped out by his father, Mike Sr. "You can buy five new tires," Netishen said. "Last year it was a 100-lap race and we came up a couple of points short of Helliwell. You hope to get a good qualifying run, have a good first segment and take it from there."
Six-time ISMA Supermodified champion Chris Perley has a ride in a new Witkum Racing Small Block car lined up for Friday and he could well become the eighth driver to carry the Small Block Super checkers.
"I've never been in one of these small blocks, but it sounds like I'll be in a good car," the "Rowley Rocket" said. "I'm thankful for the opportunity. I know the team has been having fun out there and I hope to do the same. I may have a chance to test the car at Star this week. I know it's more of a momentum thing than with the ISMA cars. You're on the brake less. One year, we ran a two 50-lap segment race at Lee, but they didn't completely invert the field — you drew for your second position. I won both segments. There won't be any sandbagging out there for this one."Bentley Warren will be the Grand Marshal Friday. He also has posted a $500 "Hard Charger" award to the drivers who pass the most cars in three race segments. A full race card including the Classic Lights, is on the program.
ACT rookie Bobby Therrien of Hinesburg, Vt., and White Mountain regular Brock Davis of Whitefield ran away with the 150 at White Mountain last Saturday. There was only one caution and Therrien made a quick getaway for his first win in the Subway No. 5. Wayne Helliwell, Brent Dragon and Joey Polewarczyk Jr. followed Davis to the finish line.
ACT is counting on a sizeable contingent of cars from north of the border to swell the pits at Airborne. Top-runners Patrick Laperle of St. Denis, Donald Theetge of Boischatel and Patrick ClichÚ from St-Jean, south of Quebec City, are confirmed.
The Valenti Modified Series races Saturday at Oxford Plains as a part of the 40th TD Bank North 250 weekend. The PASS Super Late Models will contest the 250 this year. PASS is looking to boost its turnout with teams from its Southern PASS Tour. Entries include current point leader Joey Doiron of Berwick, Maine, DJ Shaw of Center Conway and two-time 250 winner Ben Rowe of Turner, Maine.Tommy Barrett Jr. of Millis, Mass., leads the Valenti Mods into Maine. Barrett took the lead from Chris Pasteryak with 18 laps left and went on to his second win at Canaan Asphalt. Pasteryak was the runner-up with Anthony Nocella third. Barrett has four top-5's in six starts. He leads Louie Mechalides and Rowan Pennink, who are tied for second, by 18 points.
Tom Herzig's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at email@example.com.