Tom Herzig's Trackside: Plenty of choices on holiday weekend
By TOM HERZIG
A BUSY WEEKEND lies ahead for short track fans with many special events and pivotal divisional championship action. Most tracks will race on their customary weekly night while Claremont and Thunder Road offer extra-distance touring events Sunday.
In the words of one grizzled diehard I know, “It’s a three-day weekend. No need to limit yourself to just one track. Get it while you still can. Summer’s slipping away.”
Friday’s schedule includes Lee USA’s Championship Night, dirt track action at Legion Speedway and the Ninth Annual Valenti Modified Series Lincoln Tech 80 at Stafford Motor Speedway.
The Modified Series field is always deep at Stafford and 16-year-old Sammy Rameau of Westminster, Mass., has closed to within 18 points of Anthony Nocella, the reigning champion and current points leader.
On Saturday, Monadnock, White Mountain, Bear Ridge, Speedway 51 and Star Speedway will be in full swing. Farther west at Oswego Speedway on the shoreline of Lake Ontario, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the ISMA Supermodifieds get after it prior to the 62nd Budweiser International Classic 200 Sunday.
Hudson Speedway will keep to its Labor Day weekend tradition of racing both Sunday and Monday with a 1 p.m. start both days. Monday’s headliner is the Fifth Annual $1,000-to-win John Swain Memorial for 375 Pro Sportsman/Rookie Stocks.
Thunder Road’s 40th Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic 200 is the next-to-last race on the American Canadian Tour (ACT) schedule. It will attract many T-Road Late Model regulars and thousands of fans. The ACT champion will be determined at the Thompson World Series in October.
Last Saturday at Oxford Plains, Eddie MacDonald drove to his second win of the season. That puts him within 21 points of tour leader Scott Payea.
Jimmy Hebert is also still in the ACT title hunt. He’s four points behind MacDonald after a second-place finish at Oxford.
The Granite State Pro Stock Series Rocky Ridge 150 at Claremont Sunday pays $3,500 to win. The race card includes a 50-lap feature for the North East Mini Stock Tour and a 40-lap $1,000-to-win feature for the R.E. Hinkley Super Streets.
One Lee USA championship was decided last week when Dave Helliwell of Salem three-peated as the Rodfather Supermodified champion after he finished second to his closest rival, Mike Spurling of Rochester, in one of two Twin 33’s and then won the other one with Spurling the runner-up.
Frankie Eldredge of Stratham is poised to successfully defend his Late Model Sportsman title unless he runs into the kind of trouble Bryan Kruzcek did last week. Kruczek is still mathematically in it if he’s able to return after his car wrecked and caught on fire last week.
Big events coming up at Star and White Mountain
Star Speedway gets underway at 5:30 p.m. Saturday to accommodate make-up features for the N.E. Classic Lites and the R&R Late Models. The NEMA Midget Lites are also on the card, which is being headlined by the Big John Diburro Memorial 59 for the Woody’s Auto Strictly Stocks.
Star’s 53rd Annual ISMA Supermodified Classic is set for Saturday, Sept. 8. The event includes a 100-lap Granite State Pro Stock race and the Randy Witkum Memorial for the Autism Awareness 350 Supers.
White Mountain Motorsports Park has added a $1,000-to-win 4-Cylinder Enduro sponsored by Rusty’s Towing of Tilton and Gilford Auto Sales to this Saturday’s schedule. Next weekend, the final point races for all divisions will be held. Then, (drumroll) Saturday, Sunday Sept. 15 and 16 comes the North Woodstock oval’s 25th Anniversary NAPA Weekend extravaganza.
The PASS Super Late Model 150 goes Saturday with a $10,000-to-win Late Model 250 Sunday.
Close, but no cigar for Joey Pole at Oxford 250
Hudson’s Joey Polewarczyk Jr. ran out of laps while chasing down Oxford 250 winner Bubba Pollard of Senoia, Ga., Sunday at Oxford Plains. “You want to win for sure, but second place is a big deal in that race,” Joey Pole said. “We drew poorly (10th) in the first heat, but qualified by getting up to fifth and we started 21st in the 250.”
Polewarczyk was driving the Pole’s Auto No. 97 with sponsorship support from Hedman Headers, Conres IT Solutions, Rivet Eyelet Technologies, Cigar Perforator and Rocco’s Pizza.
“We took four tires on lap 130 after getting into the top 10 and led for 30 laps. With 50 to go, we took two right-sides, but on the restart our lane didn’t go and Pollard’s did. We lost some spots, but I was catching him with two to go. I think I would have needed about five or six more laps.”
It was Pollard’s first trip north for the 250 and he arrived with an impressive list Late Model wins throughout the Deep South and Midwest.
He started last in his heat and had to qualify through one of the consolation races. He started 29th on the 42-car 250 grid. The crowd gave him a resounding response in victory lane in recognition of what he’d accomplished.
“He was in the spotlight and he pulled it off,” Joey Pole said. “I was flying under the radar. Nobody even mentioned me as a contender, which was OK. When you’re picked as a favorite, that’s when things go wrong. Curtis Gerry (last year’s 250 winner and a three-time winner at Oxford this season) had a panhard bracket break in his heat. He won his consi and he was very fast in the 250, but he got caught up in a wreck.”
Next up for the Pole’s Automotive team — White Mountain’s 25th Anniversary Weekend Sept. 15-16 and the $10,000-to-win Late Model Open.
Tom Herzig’s column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.