Tom Herzig's Trackside: Twinbill set at White MountainBy TOM HERZIG
September 12. 2018 11:01PM
On Track This WeekendLegion Speedway: Friday, 7 p.m.
Claremont: Friday, 7 p.m.
Devil's Bowl (Vt.): Saturday, 4 p.m.
Bear Ridge (Vt.): Saturday, 6 p.m.
Monadnock: Saturday, 6 p.m.
White Mountain: Saturday, 6 p.m.
White Mountain: Sunday, Noon
Devil's Bowl (Vt.): Sunday, 2 p.m.
WHITE MOUNTAIN MOTORSPORTS in North Woodstock has a big racing doubleheader — the NAPA Auto Parts Blue and Gold 25th Anniversary Celebration — planned this Saturday and Sunday to commemorate a quarter century of stock car racing.
Saturday’s schedule is headlined by the Pro All Star Series (PASS) Super Late Model 150 and includes the first 75-lap segment of the Wells River Chevrolet Tiger/Strictlys $1,000-to-win event plus Dwarf cars and Kids’ Trucks.
On Sunday, Late Models from near and far will tangle in a $10,000-to-win 250 all-green-flag-laps contest with some added Monster Truck mayhem and the Tiger/Strictlys finale.
“It’s hard to believe we’ve been at it 25 years,” said track manager David Avery, son of owners Donnie and Teri Avery. “It’s been a long, tough season, but a very good one, and very satisfying. With Mom’s surgery, our family business and the racetrack, it has made for some tough days. We’ve had some great support members helping with all the work and Mandi (Avery) has stepped up and carried a big part of the load. Everything’s looking perfect for this weekend.”
“That first year, I was too young for the pits and my folks put me in the concession stand,” Avery recalled. “I didn’t get to see much racing.”
Billy Duggan of Belmont was the track’s first Late Model champion in 1993. In 1994, Glenn Martel, another Belmont racer who plans to compete Saturday in the Powered by Autosaver Group PASS race, was track champion.
“There were fewer rules back then,” Duggan said. “The cars were more like today’s Pro Stocks than today’s Late Models. I won five races that year and it helped that Joey Laquerre and Billy Holbrook didn’t pass a late season motor teardown.”
Star’s Classic weekend a success
Star Speedway had a big crowd and plenty of high quality racing at the Bob Webber Sr. Memorial Classic.
Jon McKennedy of East Chelmsford, Mass., who turned many a lap at Star during his formative years, was the class of the field in the ISMA Supermodified main event.
The 2017 ISMA champion was considered part of Star’s racing family by Bob Sr. to be sure.
“This was awesome,” McKennedy said in victory lane. “Everyone on the crew worked hard. And a big thanks to Pam and Lee Vinal, the car owners. They gave me a great car. It’s a big win. Anytime you can win a Star Classic, it’s great. Big Bob was definitely riding with us tonight. He let me race here at a young age. He took me under his wing and was always awesome to me.”
Ben Seitz of Bourne, Mass., had his best run of the year as the runner-up. Jeff Abold of Baldwinsville, N.Y., was third.
Dan Bowes of Epping finished seventh, one spot ahead of his closest rival for the 2018 ISMA title, Kyle Edwards. Bowes has a 16-point-lead heading into the season finale at the Thompson World Series.
A full field of 350 Supers took the green in the Randy Witkum Memorial 50-lap prelim to the Star Classic and it turned out to be a Classic in its own right with a “Hollywood” ending in more ways than one.
Randy Witkum fatally crashed in a Supermodified race at Jennerstown (Pa.) in 1999. His father, Ed Witkum Sr., a pillar of Supermodified racing for decades, is the car owner/builder of 2018 Lee USA and Star Small Block Supermodified champion Dave “Hollywood” Helliwell of Salem.
Helliwell earned a wad of lap leader money and was leading with a few laps to go despite pressure from Nashoba Valley Technical high schooler Jeffrey Battle when his left front wing support broke. The wing flopped down, limiting Helliwell’s vision as well as his speed, and he was forced to pit.
Battle, 17, is Ed Witkum’s grandson. He was driving a car built with his help by his uncle Richard, Randy Witkum’s twin brother. This was his first full season in a Supermodified and he’s proven to be a natural. He drove off to the emotional win as the Star crowd rose to its feet.
“He’s a good driver and an even better kid,” Ed Witkum said. “He’s been around racing for a while now and you only have to tell him something once. He just picks it up. Last month he won a 350 Supermodified race at Wiscasset in the new SMAC 350 series. He loves racing and he’s respectful of the other racers and the fans.”
“I know Dave wanted to win that race,” Witkum said. “He’s as tough as they come, but he felt good for Jeffrey.”
“I didn’t know if I could beat Dave,” Battle said. “We were trying to take each other’s line away. I told him that if we ever ended up battling for a win, I wanted him to go all out. If I won, I wanted to know he didn’t let up. I was too tight, but on a long run, the car would loosen up and I could drive it in harder. We bumped wheels a couple of times. Uncle Randy was watching down on me. It’s a complete dream to have won.”
Veteran Tommy Tombarello of Haverhill, Mass., was the runner-up.
Two other teenagers were big winners over the weekend. Sammy Rameau of Westminster, Mass., won the Valenti Modified Series race at Beech Ridge. Jimmy Renfrew Jr. of Candia survived an off-track excursion into the trees at one point to post his first-ever Pro Stock win in the Granite State Pro Stock Series 100 at Star.
Devil’s Bowl Speedway, the half-mile dirt track in West Haven, Vt., holds a $10,000-to-win 200 lapper for crate motor Sportsman Modifieds Sunday.
Claremont has the Northeast Mini Stock Tour in Friday for the 2nd Annual Four-Cylinder Nationals. The $1,500-to-win race will likely to draw a sizeable field.
Tom Herzig’s column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.