A FEW NIGHTS shy of a full moon, there were more than the usual spills and thrills on the regional short track scene last weekend. Speed, danger and crashes are key elements of the sport's appeal to be sure, but no one wants to see anyone get seriously injured. Thankfully, safety equipment, personnel and procedures were up to the test.
North Eastern Midget Association NEMA Lite driver Scott Bigelow of East Hampton, Conn., got the worst of it at Riverside Speedway.
Bigelow was running third on a restart try in which yellow stayed out and his open-wheel machine was launched 15 feet into the air when he ran over Avery Stoehr's tire.
"He went for a ride," his father, Randy, said. "He cracked two lumbar vertebrae and sprained his thumb, but he's walking and he'll be OK." Stoehr was treated for a wrist injury.
P.J. Stergios of Candia won the race.
The NEMA Midget feature, won by John Zych, was red-flagged to attend to Anthony Marvuglio, who pounded the wall after contact with Todd Bertrand.
In the Late Model main, Luke Shannon of Groveton came from the rear for his third straight win.
There were two Sprint Cars of New England rollover incidents Friday at Bear Ridge Speedway. The first occurred when mechanical failure sent Will Hull over the top of Turn 1 during warmups. The second liftoff involved Tunk Berry of Center Ossipee and Tyler Rich of Lyme, who got airborne in their heat race. Hull was in the mix, too, but he was able collect his car and stay right side up.
Berry and Rich walked away from the wreckage."We had the track pretty wet for warmups, which is necessary, but the clay forms a berm on the outside," owner C.V. Elms said. "There were a few hurt feelings, but no one was seriously injured, which is good and the 40-lap Modified feature (won by Chris Donnelly of Piermont) went green to checkers."
Miraculously, there were no serious injuries sustained at White Mountain during a spectacular Dwarf Car (open-wheeled) accident that was triggered when leaders Jim Wentworth and Paul Marsan touched tires coming out of the fourth turn. Marsan hit the wall and shot back across the track. The carnage sent Andy Hill on a slide for life on the butt end of his race car down the front stretch before it hammered the first turn wall.
"I was looking straight up at the sky thinking I hope this hurries up and ends and not too badly," Hill said. "I went for a good ride. All the bolt-on parts were bent or broken, but the internal structure of the car held up. That and the Hans device, saved me."
"I missed Marsan," Hill said, "but in the chain reaction, I got over Jason's (car owner Jason Wyman, who was driving a Franconia Auto Service team car) right rear and climbed up the wall."
Wyman's wife, Vicki, shot video from the grandstands, which is posted on YouTube illustrating how fortunate Hill was.
At Airborne Saturday, a veteran official made the mistake of trying to cross the track on foot while the Modified field was circling under caution. He was struck by a race car and left the track in an ambulance, luckily without any life-threatening or concussive injuries.
"Drivers, especially at night, have limited vision and aren't expecting personnel on the track," said SCoNE's Mike Kondrat. "Once when I was on the track lining up cars for a restart, in dark clothing admittedly, the flagman threw the green. Even he didn't see me. I learned that having an orange or lime vest or reflective tape is a good idea."
Eddie MacDonald won the ACT event at Beech Ridge Saturday, besting Joey Polewarczyk Jr., of Hudson, and rookie Bobby Therrien. Wayne Helliwell Jr., of Dover, maintained the point lead with a seventh-place run.DJ Shaw, of Center Conway, went to Star Speedway and came away with the win in his first Granite State Pro Stock Series appearance of the season.
Friday night, Lee hosts the Lance Davis Memorial Late Model Sportsman Shoot-Out presented by Prime Storage Warehouse and Storage. JR Baril was last week's LMS winner. Ricky Wolf Jr. and Mike Netishen were 1-2 in the Small Block Supers.
Hometown favorite Todd Annarummo won the Valenti Modified Series event at Seekonk. The Valenti Mods are at Thompson tonight for a make-up race before heading to Monadnock Saturday for the Victor Johnson Memorial 100 presented by Swanzey Oil.
Thompson's future plans are in doubt. The 2014 Icebreaker has been put on hold because of planned road course construction on site and weekly racing may be in jeopardy.
On Track This Week
Thompson (Conn.): Thursday, 5:30 p.m.
Thunder Road (Vt.): Thursday, 6 p.m.
Canaan Dirt: Friday, 7 p.m.
Lee USA: Friday, 6:45 p.m.
Bear Ridge: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Canaan Asphalt: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Monadnock: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Riverside: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Star Speedway: Sat., 6 p.m.