Tom Herzig's Trackside: Patnode poised to win NH Weekly Series crown
Todd Patnode, the racing oilman (Swanzey Oil) from Cheshire County (Richmond) is poised to unseat his Monadnock Speedway Sportsman Modified competitor Bill Kimball as New Hampshire’s NASCAR All-American Weekly Series Champion in addition to becoming the 2014 divisional track champion.
Saturday night Scott MacMichael of Newbury beat Patnode to the finish line to record his first 2014 victory and deny Patnode’s bid for win number eight. Rookie Kim Rivet, Kimball and Brian Chapin completed the top five. By finishing ahead of his closest rival Kimball, Patnode padded his substantial point lead statewide and locally. In the 15 starts that count toward the New Hampshire standings, Patnode has driven car owner Dan Stebbins’ No. 5 to seven wins and 14 top-fives.
Dwight Jarvis beat the fog and Rowan Pennink to win the Valenti Modified Series’ Victor Johnson Memorial 100. Jarvis, who has won what seems like a ton of races at Monadnock, put the tortoise and the hare thing on the field. He started 22nd on a 25-car grid and used a lapped car as a pick to grab the lead from Pennink on lap 93. Actually, it was Jarvis’ sixth VMS win at the “Mad Dog” and eighth overall in the Series.
Unofficially, Pennink’s second-place effort puts him atop the point standings. The VMS Modifieds are at Stafford Motor Speedway tomorrow night.
American Canadian Tour point leader Joey Polewarczyk Jr. did his title bid a world of good by winning the Canadian Serie/ACT combination event at Riverside in Quebec. Polewarczyk Jr. became the eighth different winner in eight point-counting races. He ran in the top five much of the way and then benefited big time when leader Wayne Helliwell Jr.’s steering column broke with 25 laps to go. Canadian Alex Labbe finished second, Jean-François Déry was third.
Next up for the ACT Late Models is the Bond Auto Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday, September 20. The final point race is Saturday, Sept. 20 at Airborne Park Speedway (200 laps), a track where Polewarczyk Jr. has enjoyed a good deal of success.
Two point races remain at Lee USA Speedway where the return of Bryan Kruczek has stirred the pot. Kruczek swept past point leader Geoff Rollins near the halfway mark and won the Prime Storage and Warehouse Late Model Sportsman 50-lap Lance Davis Memorial. Ricky Porter kept pace with a third-place finish to stay within a point of Rollins.
Tommy Tombarello of North Haverhill, Mass., ended a dry spell by winning the Supermodified feature to close within 11 points of Jake Stergois of Candia.
The wings are coming off the Sprint Cars of New England (SCONE) this weekend at Bear Ridge Saturday night and Legion Speedway Sunday. Point leader Chris Donnelly of Piermont wound up off the track and upside down during SCONE’s last race at Bear Ridge, but he still leads Dan Douville of Bridgewater by 45 points. Clay Dow of Barnstead and Luke Greenwood of Hudson are 3-4 in the standings. The Sportsman Modifieds will go along with the wingless weekend theme and race topless — without roofs.
Thunder Road and Hudson have two events this week. Thunder Road’s weekly Thursday night event is followed Sunday by the 36th Annual Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic 200 which is the next-to-last race in the Vermont Late Model championship series.
Hudson goes back-to-back Sunday and Monday at 1 p.m. Last Sunday, Beech Ridge regular Bradley Babb drove to his first Granite State Pro Stock Series win. GSPSS Series point leader Matt Frahm made Babb earn it by challenging him through the final laps. Barry Gray finished third.
Condolences to long-time Modified competitor Rusty Ball and family on the passing of Ball’s father, Herbert, 94. Rusty’s dad accompanied him to nearly every race he ever ran, often serving as his only crew member. Ball Sr. had a heart attack at Star Speedway Saturday night as the Modified feature was about to start. The field eventually took a symbolic parade lap and went back to the pits.
The race has been rescheduled for this Saturday. Star’s Facebook page lists the following address for family contact: 27 Newman St., Keene, NH 03431.
Tom Herzig’s column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.