Tom Herzig's Trackside: Racing wives show who's bossBy TOM HERZIG
June 14. 2018 12:34AM
On Track This WeekendThunder Road (Vt.): Thursday, 7 p.m.
Legion Speedway: Friday, 7 p.m.
Lee USA Speedway: Friday, 7 p.m.
Claremont: Friday, 7 p.m.
Monadnock: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Bear Ridge (Vt.): Saturday, 6 p.m.
Speedway 51: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Star Speedway: Saturday, 6 p.m.
White Mountain: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Hudson Speedway: Sunday, 1 p.m.
There were some memorable “until the checkered flag do us part” husband-and-wife results at Lee USA Speedway last week that showcase the commitment needed for racing families to thrive.
Lee’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Ironman six-cylinder division got after it in the Don and Aline Coster Memorial 35-lap feature. Several members of the Coster family circle competed in the event, which was won by defending track champion Christin Destefano of Tewksbury, Mass. The runner-up — three car-lengths back — was her husband, Brian Destefano.
Adam Knowles of Seabrook, who led most of the way until he got crossed up in lapped traffic, finished third. Fourth and fifth place went to the Coster’s grandson, Troy Washburn, and his father, Randy Washburn.
The Destefanos recently celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary. They have two sons, 3-year-old Gage and Wyatt, 2. Friends of the family watch over the boys at the track. Nephew Shawn Hazelton and Jesse Tellier help out in the pits.
Christin works full-time as a warranty adviser at MCI Trucking in Tewksbury. Brian commutes daily to Charlestown, Mass., where he works as a diesel mechanic for the MBTA.
“I left work Friday at 3 p.m.”, Christin said. “We carried the kids back into the house at 1:30 a.m. thinking, please don’t wake up! It was easier when they were babies.”
Destefano was driving the No. 67 (her dad’s old number) sponsored by Air Control Industries (ACI) of Maine, Lowbed Johnson, David’s Race Cars & Components, Shamrock Fence and Snap-On Tools by Billy Tincretti.
She took the lead with a dive down to the apron in the first turn to get under Knowles, managed to navigate Turn 2 cleanly and then sped off while her hubby took over second place.
“I did it all on my own,” Destefano said of her win. “Brian wasn’t blocking or anything. He’s proud. He’d drive by me if he could.”
In her “spare time”, Destefano mentors 11-year-old Jenna Beaulieu, who competes in Star Speedway’s Star Troopers Youth Division.
Lee’s other matrimonial matchup pitted Jacob and Jessica Michaud of Lebanon, Maine, in the MLM Diagnostics four-cylinder Pure Stocks 20-lap feature. Jacob drove to the first win of his 15-year career. He started fifth on the grid. Jessica was on the pole.
“In one of the corners, I saw a flash of silver (Jacob),” Jessica said. “He told me he followed me for seven laps before going by. I was excited for him in victory lane, but he was busy strutting about me finishing third.”
The Michauds get sponsorship help from Jeff Kilpatrick Custom Carpentry and Barrington Family Eye Care. Jessica sports her dad’s No. 23. Jacob uses his father’s former No. 82.
In addition to having three children — son Traver,7, and daughters Taylor, 4, and Tori ,18 months, the Michauds care full-time for a gentleman with a cognitive disability. They echoed the Destefano’s timetable on race nights — at the track by 3, home by 1:30 a.m.
Jessica was nearly born at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway when her mother went into labor watching her father compete in a demolition derby. “Last year was my first full season,” she said. “Until this race, I’ve always finished at least a lap down. This year during test and tune, I was able to shut off my “Mom” mode. I was trusting myself and thinking, I can actually do this.”
In other Lee feature events, Mike Murphy of Groveland, Mass., won the Rodfather Supermodified main by withstanding a late challenge from runner-up Dave Helliwell. Bryan Kruczek comfortably won the R & R Wholesale “The Tool Store and More” Late Model Sportsman feature.
This Friday, the Late Model Sportsman get the spotlight for the $1,000-to-win A Family Cab 88-lap main event.
Sixteen-year-old rookie Jeffrey Battle of Westfordville, Mass., strapped in the Westford Glass No. 14 and won the Austism Awareness Supermodified feature at Star Speedway. Other Star winners included Jim Storace/Strictlys, Aaron Day/Roadrunners and Mike Waterhouse/Six Shooters.
Walt Hammond Sr. of Canaan won a wild and wooly DIRTcar Sportsman Modified feature at Bear Ridge. Will Hull won the Sprint Cars of New England feature.
“Some of the Sportsman Modifieds acted up and got a little foolish,” explained Bear Ridge promoter C.V. Elms. “It’s still early in the season, but some guys are getting frustrated that they can’t get to the front the way they’d like. We’ve had pretty reasonable car counts and decent crowds. The USAC Midgets are back this week and we’re hoping for a little warmer weather.”
Geoff Rollins became a two-time Sportsman Modified winner Saturday at Monadnock. Rollins passed Alyssa Rivera for the lead with six laps remaining. Kevin McKnight of Orange, Mass., won the Mini-Stock feature.
Next weekend, Saturday, June 23 is the make-up date for the rained out ISMA Supermodified Carquest 75 presented by T-Bird Mini Marts.
Last weekend, ISMA got its 2018 schedule underway with a doubleheader at Lancaster (N.Y.) and Delaware Speedway in Ontario. Canadian Mark Sammut bested Dave Schullick at Lancaster. Tennessee racer Kyle Edwards was the Delaware winner with Mike Lichty and Timmy Jedrzejek second and third. In a related note, ISMA stalwart Chris Perley recently drove to the first non-winged Supermodified win of his illustrious career at Oswego Speedway.
The American Canadian Tour (ACT) is at New London/Waterford Speedbowl Saturday for the second leg of the Showdown Series, a three-race package with higher than normal purse money on the line.
Tom Herzig’s column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at email@example.com.