Tom Herzig's Trackside: Classic weekend at StarBy TOM HERZIG
September 05. 2018 11:34PM
On Track This WeekendLegion Speedway: Friday, 7 p.m.
Lee USA Speedway: Friday, 7 p.m.
Star Speedway: Saturday, 4 p.m.
Bear Ridge (Vt.): Saturday, 6 p.m.
Claremont: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Monadnock: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Speedway 51: Saturday, 6 p.m.
White Mountain: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Beech Ridge (Maine): Saturday, 7 p.m.
STAR SPEEDWAY in Epping continues the tradition of New England’s most contiguous short track special event with Saturday’s running of the 53rd annual ISMA Supermodified Classic, now officially named the Bob Webber Sr. Memorial 150.
The last three Star Classics have been won by Ohio drivers Dave Shullick Jr. (’17, ’15) and Moe Lilje (2016) and last weekend at Oswego Speedway, another Ohio ace, Timmy Jedrzejek, drove Howie Lane’s No. 97 to victory in the ISMA Super Nationals.
But some talented locals have their eyes on the $5,000 top prize, including 2017 ISMA champion Jon McKennedy, Chris Perley, Dan Bowes, Mike Ordway Jr. and seven-time Classic winner and New England Auto Racing Hall of Famer Russ Wood.
Ordway Jr., a Fremont native now residing in Windham, Maine, and soon to be married, pilots Clyde Booth’s No. 61. He has two wins this season: at Lee USA and Delaware Speedway. He’s made two prior Star Classic starts with one fifth-place finish. His father, Mike Sr., won the event in 1998.
“I was sitting in the fourth turn watching him win it in a Paul Dunigan car 20 years ago,” Ordway Jr. remembered. “Save your tires as best you can for later in the race, but don’t go a lap down. That’s the plan.”
Saturday’s lineup includes the Randy Witkum Memorial for 350 Supermodifieds, Strictly Stocks, Late Models and a 100-lapper for the Granite State Pro Stock Series, which is coming off a barn burner at Claremont won by DJ Shaw of Center Conway.
At Claremont, Shaw and Jeremy Davis of Tamworth turned in the kind of duel promoters and fans dream about. About halfway through, the Rocky Ridge 150 became a two-car dogfight. Shaw finally managed to get underneath Davis and lead a couple of laps, but Davis clawed back with great runs into and off the fourth turn (not easy at Claremont). In one five-lap sequence, the leader at the line was different each time by a wheel or less. And … the racing was as clean as it was hard.
By lap 135, Shaw emerged as the survivor. A dozen car-lengths back, Luke Hinkley of Claremont was a strong and steady third well ahead of Ray Christian III and Shaw’s stablemate, Gabe Brown.
“That was maybe the best race for a win I’ve ever been in,” Shaw marveled. “He raced me clean and we made each other earn it.”
“I got to the lead and did my best to hold him off, but I think this was one of the best races here at Claremont Speedway in a long time” Davis said.
Earlier in the night, Jimmy Renfrew of Candia and Emerson Cayer of Contoocook won Northeast Street Stock and Mini Stock Tour events respectively.
Claremont races Saturday this week instead of Friday with a $3,000-to-win 75-lap Open Modified race as the headliner.
Valenti Modified Series veteran Richard Savary took the lead for keeps on lap 26 and won the Lincoln Tech 80 at Stafford, besting Jeff Gallup for his first ever Modified win there and his first VMS win since 2015. The Valenti Modified Series races at Beech Ridge Saturday.
Lee USA’s Championship Night Friday finds defending Late Model Sportsman champion Frankie Eldredge on top after a pair of wins last Friday. Alby Ovitt of Somersworth has the Street Stock title sewn up. Brian Distefano and his wife, Christin Distefano, are first and second, 20 points apart, in the Ironman division. Robert Carleton of Newbury, Mass., leads the Pure Stocks.
White Mountain will decide its track champions Saturday. The North Woodstock facility celebrates its 25th anniversary with a big NAPA Auto Parts doubleheader next weekend, Sept. 15 and 16. The Pro All Star Series Super Late Model NAPA 150 Powered by Autosaver Group is Saturday. Sunday it’s the $10,000-to-win Late Model 250.
Jason Corliss handily won the American Canadian Tour Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic 200 at Thunder Road (worth five grand). Newly crowned 2018 King of the Road Scott Dragon was the runner-up. Cody Blake and Stephen Donahue, both T-Road regulars like Corliss and Dragon, were third and fourth.
Defending ACT champion Scott Payea came on strong late and reeled in Eddie MacDonald, his closest competitor for the 2018 title, to complete the top five.
Wayland Childs of Chelsea, Vt., drove to his first Sportsman Modified feature win Friday at Legion Speedway.
Joel Monahan of Whately, Mass., got by Tyler Jarvenpaa with seven laps remaining and won the Sportsman Modified main at Monadnock. Point leader Keith Carzello of Somers, Conn., finished third.
Bear Ridge Speedway winners Saturday were Steven Flint of Orange, Vt. (Sportsman Modifieds), Earl Maxham of Enfield (Sportsman Coupes), Lacey Hanson of Orwell, Vt. (SCoNE Sprints).
Bill Fiske of Chester won Star’s Big John Diburro Memorial 59 for Woody’s Auto Strictly Stocks. Steve Douphinette of Strafford was second followed by John Cashman of Danvers, Mass.
Information about Full Throttle Weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21 and 22, is available on the Magic Mile’s website, nhms.com. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Musket 250 — the headline event — is being billed as the longest race with biggest purse in tour history. In addition, the lineup includes the K&N Pro Series and the Canadian Pinty’s Series.
The Pinty’s Series is at Autodrome St-Eustache for the Lucas Oil 250 this Saturday.
Alex Tagliani of Montreal, who started on the pole of the 2011 Indy 500, drove to his eighth NASCAR Pinty’s career win recently on the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Tagliani trails Pinty’s Series leader Louis-Phillipe Dumoulin of Trois Rivieres, Quebec, by 14 points.
Tom Herzig’s column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.