action:article | category:SPORTS1102 | adString:SPORTS1102 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Motor Sports » Tom Herzig's Trackside

August 28. 2013 9:30PM

Tom Herzig's Trackside: Memorable wins are posted by drivers Patnode, Aither

WINNING RACES is pretty special no matter what the circumstances, but three local racers had especially satisfying wins last weekend. In chronological order, Grant Aither of Kingston drove the Seacoast Wholesale/James R. St. Jean No. 7oz. to victory in the Lance Davis Memorial 50-lap Late Model Sportsman feature Friday at Lee USA.

Aither took the lead from Nick Maniatis with 15 laps remaining. Maniatis picked up the bonus money from David's Race Cars and Components for his strong run to the runner-up slot, with Jimmy Russell home in third. Fourth went to first-time LMS competitor Joey Doiron, followed by veteran Boe Green, Bobby Melvin, Ryan Green, Patrick Stewart, Geoff Rollins and Ray Dinsmore. The top 10 finishers received commemorative trophies from the Davis family.

In Benson Lumber and Hardware Small Block Supermodified action, Mike Spurling of Rochester became the division's eighth different winner this season.

Saturday at Monadnock, Todd Patnode won his first-ever Valenti Modified Series race after coming on late in the Victor Johnson Memorial 100. Johnson was a friend and fellow competitor of Patnode. Johnson died in a house fire two years ago. “He was a great guy and a great competitor,” Patnode said. “None of us will ever forget Victor.”

Patnode, who hails from Swanzey, has turned many a lap at Monadnock. His company, Swanzey Oil, sponsored the race.

“I rode around in 10th or 11th for the first half of the race — that was the plan,” he said. “I only went out once in practice and the car wasn't going that well, but the track was a little slimy from somebody's leak and I wasn't too concerned. We have a baseline set-up for Monadnock that usually works pretty well.”

Patnode got under Dwight Jarvis for the lead on lap 74, only to have the yellow fly, which put him on the outside of the front row. He took the lead on lap 84 and held off Jon McKennedy (second), Jarvis, Max Zachem and point leader Rowan Pennink.

Two nights earlier, Richard Savary of Canton, Mass., drove to his first Valenti Modified Series win at Thompson. Savary overtook Pennink for the lead. McKennedy closed late to finish third.

“I have to thank all my guys for the work they did to get this car done, my sponsors, Bob Bruneau's motor, the fans of Thompson Speedway, my home track for awhile,” Savary said. “I always wanted to win a race here in a Modified. We did that tonight and I'm happy for that.”

On its web site, the Valenti Modified Series expressed its thanks to the 14 teams that raced twice in three nights. “It's that dedication that makes our series a blessing to be a part of,” management posted. Next up for the Valenti Mods — Stafford this Friday.

There was a large crowd at Hudson Sunday for the Granite State Pro Stock Series Hudson Hugger 100. Bobby Baillargeon of Kingston landed on the front row in the redraw and led all but one lap to record his second "Hugger" win in a row. Things went pretty smoothly for Baillargeon until it took three tries to complete lap 79. At that point, Baillargeon was under attack from Matt Frahm and Hudson's Derek Griffith — the eventual runner-up. "I know Matt wasn't thrilled with me, but I had the lead and did what I needed to do to protect it. Starting up front helps out a lot."

Baillargeon is a part-time racer, who works at a Chevrolet dealership and runs a parts shop (Performance Unlimited) on the side. He's helped by crew chief Nick Janvrin.

"This is good series and it's a good fit for Hudson," Baillargeon said. "We blew a motor here earlier this year. It's about a $600-700 deal to get to a race, but tires, gas etc. That puts it within reach for low-budget teams. We're thinking seriously about getting to the Riverside race (Saturday, Sept. 7).

"I think everybody came away from Hudson pleased," GSPSS founder Mike Parks said. "Bob (Webber) did a good job. The place was packed. There's not a lot of racing room there, but there's two lanes and it's a good show."

Parks placed fourth, followed by Jay Sands, Mike O'Sullivan, Tom O'Sullivan, Keith Caruso, Larry Gelinas and Barry Gray.

It's Triple Crown weekend for the Sprint Cars of New England (SCoNE) — Canaan/Friday, Bear Ridge/Saturday, Legion Speedway/Sunday.Will Avery of Campton was a triple crown Late Model winner at White Mountain Motorsports Park. It was Avery's first-career win.
Nick Sweet, the defending Thunder Road Late Model champion, broke into the 2013 win column with a decisive win from deep in the pack in the Aubuchon 100. Sweet will contest the ACT Labor Day 200 at the "Nation's Site of Excitement" Sunday.

Tom Herzig's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at

 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

NHMS, Miller Lite extend deal for another 3 years

NASCAR: Who the Vegas wise guys like heading into Loudon

Goalie Danny Tirone to enroll at UNH for second semester after star's suspension for domestic violence

'Smoke' blows into New Hampshire with the law in his rear-view mirror

Man found unconscious at Winchester Speedpark Saturday

Too young to drive, but old enough for NHMS

Police examine speed, possible horseplay in golf cart fatality

Mass. man, 27, dies in golf cart accident at The Links at Outlook

Hanover's Sarah Groff competes in the women's triathlon final during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Hanover Olympian in spotlight at Las Vegas Super Sprint

FHL makes it official, team planned for Berlin will play in North Adams, Mass. instead

Can NH soccer star Charlie Davies make a comeback?

Inside NIKEs secret sports lab; born in Exeter, now located in Oregon.

Concord Monitor decries gender pay gap in professional tennis

FHL franchise slated for Berlin may go to North Adams, Mass. instead

Eagles' Kelly says he learned his offense by studying defense while at UNH

Former Concord area youth baseball coach sentenced to 30 more years in prison

Maine boxer Brandon Berry making Fight to Educate history

Hudson family, classmates working to keep Alvirne soccer standout Raul Stedile in U.S.

Israel unrest moves meet for NH swim star

Race date for Oxford 250 moved from July to Aug. 30 next year

NH's Groff a highlight for U.S. at ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final

Maine fighters Lamour, Berry on New Hampshire boxing card

Q&A with Matt Bonner as he weighs free agency


 New Hampshire Events Calendar


Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory