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Tom Herzig's Trackside: Oktoberfest this weekend at Lee
There will be several championship trophies and more than a few pilsners hoisted this weekend at Lee USA's Oktoberfest. Is there any truth to the rumor that Red MacDonald, Bob Watson, John Spence and Tech Inspector Buzzie Bezanson are going to don red suspenders and lederhosen for Sunday’s multi-feature finale?
Riverside Speedway also has big plans Saturday with the running of the Fall Brawl 200, a $5,000-to-win Late Model race intended to make a statement about lessee Dan Fournier’s intention to turn things around at the Groveton quarter-mile next year. Second place pays $2,000; third pays $1,500.
Riverside has commitments from the likes of ACT champion Wayne Helliwell Jr., Thunder Road champion Nick Sweet, Joey Polewarczyk Jr., Quinny Welch, 2012 Riverside champion Luke Shannon, Randy Potter and many others. Also scheduled is a 35-lap four-cylinder open competition.
Sunday racing at Lee kicks off at noon. Among the headliners is the Valenti Modified Series, which will crown its 2012 champion. The VMS Modified field will include NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby, Pennsylvanian Rowan Pennink, points leader and likely champion Jon McKennedy, Chris Pasteryak, Nashua’s Norm Wrenn,Louie Mechalides and Les Hinckley of Windsor Locks, Conn., a winner at Lee in June.
Coby will make his New England Midget Association (NEMA) debut at Oktoberfest in the Bertrand No. 39B. That’s a team car of 2012 NEMA champion-to-be Randy Cabral, who’s coming off a win at the Thompson World Series. Cabral outdueled Russ Stoehr and Jeff Horn. Whelen Modified hotshot Ryan Preece will also reportedly wheel a Midget Sunday.
Stoehr’s brother Gregg, also a NEMA regular, has two daughters, Avery and Bethany, racing in the NEMA Lite division.
How old is Jeff Horn, you ask? Let’s put in this way. He’ll be the only driver taking the green Sunday who once raced under the New England Super Modified Racing Association banner. He’ll be the only driver out there who has driven a non-caged midget. He’s so old he was on the pit crew when Dr. Dick Berggren won for the first time on the dirt at Lakeville (Mass.) Speedway in a converted, cutdown small-block. He’s so old he raced at Catamount Stadium. I’d call him 67 years young, but I know comedian George Carlin wouldn’t have approved (you are not “getting older,” you are already old).
Horn was in a vicious wreck at Monadnock in 2010. “It was a racing thing,” he said. “We were coming down the front chute and I climbed a guy’s right rear and went straight in the air into the pit road wall.”
Since his recovery, he’s begun racing midgets on dirt, first at Whip City and then at Bear Ridge. This year he drove the Sprint Cars of New England house car at Legion Speedway. His last NEMA win came at Lee in 2009. Horn cites a win in “The Big One,” a memorable USAC Midgets, Sprints and Silver Crown show at Stafford in 2005, as one of his most unforgettable wins. This weekend, he’ll drive the No. A1 machine. One of his competitors will be his son Mike, driver of the 93x.
The Oktoberfest race card includes Super Late Model/Pro Stock Twin 50s — one Saturday, one Sunday — Small Block Supers, Late Model Sportmen/Super Streets, Hobby Stocks, Four-cylinder/Mini Stocks, Outlaw Mini Stocks, Ironman/6-cylinders and Classic Lite/Dwarf cars.
Hudson Speedway completed its season last weekend. Nick Dombroski of Derry won the Thunder Light main. Andrew Morin of Nashua won the Thunder Light championship. The Roadrunner track champion is Todd Henshaw of Raynham, Mass. Seth Stickney of Stratham took the final feature. Jerry Lepage of Nashua is the 2012 Rookie Stock champion despite Jason Ryan’s feature win. Bruce Harrison carried the V-6 Modified checkers. Allan Reiser of North Brookfield, Mass., is the new V-6 Modified champion.
Thunder Road’s 50th Milk Bowl, was postponed because wet conditions for a second time. It has been rescheduled for Sunday, Oct. 24.
Mike Lichty of Innerkip, Ontario, wrapped up the ISMA title at Thompson Sunday. Trackside’s best to Dave Sanborn of Tilton, who, having already destroyed a Small Block Super at Lee earlier this season, had a throttle stick and demolished a new big block at Thompson.
Tom Herzig writes a weekly column during racing season for the New Hampshire Union Leader.
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On Track This Week
Riverside Speedway: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Lee USA: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Lee USA: Sunday, noon