Tom Herzig's Trackside: Short track season winds to end
This weekend offers the curtain closers for regional 2012 short track racing, Riverside Speedway's Frostbite Enduro on Nov. 3 notwithstanding.
Thunder Road's 50th People's United Bank Milk Bowl for ACT Late Models is slated for Sunday. Newly crowned ACT champion Wayne Helliwell and multi-time champion Brian Hoar have both commented that their children see the prospect of Dad kissing the Milk Bowl queen - Miss Daisy Dalton, an 1,100-pound Ayrshire beauty - as the potential highlight of the racing season.
The 30-car Milk Bowl field has already been set. The three segment event (50, 75, 75 laps) pays the winner $10,050 and the runner-up $5,050. Thunder Road champion Dave Pembroke and Hoar are on the front row. Nick Sweet and Austin Theriault make up row two. New Hampshire drivers Travis Fadden of North Haverhill and Joey Polewarczyk Jr. of Hudson will start seventh and eighth. Helliwell gets the 22nd spot.
Remember that, however unlikely, should anyone sweep all three Milk Bowl segments, he will earn $50,000.
Saturday afternoon Monadnock's final event - the Monster Dash - gets under way at 2 p.m. By nightfall, things will get 'frightfully ghoulish' - an Adult Halloween contest for competitors and fans? Yikes! That could go get downright scary. The schedule includes the aptly named Granite State Pro Stock Series Vampire 100. It's race that will not die - this is attempt number four. Hurricane Sandy, don't even think about it.
Also on Monadnock's card - a spine-tingling Sportsman Modified 40-lapper including 2012 champion Russ Hersey of Swanzey in the Twin State Truck Service No. 88 and a hair-raising Super Stock 35-lap feature with champion John Lavoie of Hancock in the Edmunds Ace Hardware No. 33.
One of the favorites to win the Vampire 100 is Hudson's Derek Griffith, who won one of two Super Late Model/Pro Stock events at Lee's Oktoberfest over the weekend.
Jon McKennedy captured his third Valenti Modified Series championship at Lee with a fourth-place finish, giving Hall of Fame car-owner Art Barry of Preston, Conn., his first VMRS title. McKennedy ties all-time race winner Kirk Alexander for series championships. Tommy Barrett, Les Hinckley and Rowan Pennink finished 1-2-3 Sunday.
All the best to Modified veteran Jim Boniface of Winchester who, after missing several races while undergoing cancer treatment, returned to Lee USA and qualified for the feature.
Other Oktoberfest winners: Ryan Gath of Chelmsford, Mass., Small Block Supers;Helliwell/Late Models; Alby Ovitt of Lee, Super Streets; Jim Piaseczny of Merrimack, Hobby Stocks; Charlie Colby of Newcastle, Maine, Super Late Models; and Randy Cabral of Plymouth, Mass., NEMA Midgets.
Cabral won the NEMA Midget championship for the second straight year for car owner Tim Bertrand. Cabral won for the fourth time this season. For many others, Sunday's race - in the words of Jeff Horn - 'did not go well'. Horn got collected in a turn one wreck at the start of the race that took out half the field. Jeff's son Mike got the worst of it, suffering a broken collarbone while totaling the car. The replay posted on Youtube is a reminder how quickly the start of a race can unravel.
'Mike got a good run at the start on the outside, but a car went up the track,' Horn said. 'In any race, there is always the potential for driver error. I headed down to clear and got lifted up. You see a hole, you commit, and it closes. Mike's an automotive technician. He'll be out work for six weeks. You can't do a lot about a broken collarbone.'
Derrick O'Donnell of North Haverhill, a former Thunder Road Tiger Sportsman champion who started racing in a Street Stock at Riverside Speedway, won the Fall Brawl 200 (and $5,000) at the Groveton quarter-mile last Saturday. O'Donnell drove the Dale Shaw chassis No. 68 sponsored by Gary Clay Builders underneath Ben Ashline and Helliwell as they scrubbed together on lap 198.
'That was my most exciting win ever,' O'Donnell was quoted on Riverside's new web site. 'When I saw the 15 and 27 banging off each other, I got on their back bumper and stuffed it in, and there was no way I was lifting!'
Eddie MacDonald, who returned to Lee USA for the Oktoberfest Late Model event and finished second to Helliwell just ahead of Pembroke's Tyler Fiscus, is headed to Greenville Pickens Speedway this weekend for an attempted make up of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event that was washed out on Labor Day weekend.
Trackside appears Thursdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
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On Track This Week
Monadnock Speedway: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Thunder Road (Vt.): Sunday, 1 p.m..