Winchester’s Monadnock Speedway is pictured last year.

MONADNOCK SPEEDWAY began its 49th season Saturday after weeks of battling the weather while trying to complete upgrades to the facility. It was an excellent opening night for prior Granite State Pro Stock Series champion Mike O’ Sullivan.

O’Sullivan set a Pro Stock track record in qualifying and went on to win the Spring Dash 100 main event, helped out by DJ Shaw‘s misfortune.

Shaw was sailing along at the front of the field when he had a tire go down, spun out on lap 72, and wound up at the rear of the field after going to the pits. He stormed back up through the field to finish second after overtaking third-place Joey Doiron. Jimmy Renfrew Jr. and Devin O’Connell completed the top five.

“It was bad timing,” Shaw said. “We really wanted to come here and win this race and I think we had the fastest car. The tire had a hole in it from running over something small, a rivet maybe.”

Brian Robie of Sunapee won the Sportsman Modified feature, besting Todd Patnode and Matt Kimball. Pole sitter Solomon Brow of Vernon, Vt., was a dominant winner in the Late Model Sportsman 25. It was Brow’s fourth consecutive Monadnock win dating to the end of the 2018 season. Defending champion Tyler Leary finished second.

Robie and Patnode were part of the 33-car field that turned out for Sunday’s Tri-Track Open Modified Series at Claremont Motorsports Park before a sizeable crowd. Contrast that with the 12-team turnout for the Pro All Star Series 150 at Thunder Road — more about that later.

The Tri-Track Open Modified race, sponsored by Ron Bouchard‘s Auto Stores, Red Roof Inn, Propane Plus of Rehoboth, Mass., Sunoco and Hoosier Tire East, paid $1,000 for making the starting lineup and $7,000 to win.

The winner’s loot went to Matt Hirschman — as it often does — but this was no runaway. Hirschman drew the 12th starting position and there were plenty of capable cars ahead of him.

During the fourth caution — on lap 56 — most of the field, including race leader Ron Silk, Todd Patnode and Hirschman, pitted for a tire change. Mike Willis Jr., last year’s winner, elected to stay out and assume the lead.

Hirschman popped back out of the pits quickly and sat fourth on the restart ahead of Silk and Patnode.

A pivotal moment came four laps later when Sammy Rameau got into Silk exiting the fourth turn and triggered a frontstretch pileup that knocked Silk out of the race and sent Patnode in for repairs. When Willis Jr. decided to pit, Hirschman moved up into the front row alongside Anthony Sesely and quickly snatched the lead.

Les Hinckley, driving Art Barry‘s Spafco Racing No. 21, soon moved into second place, but he couldn’t close on Hirschman. Ronnie Williams, in the Casella No. 25, passed Andy Jankowiak for third place on lap 95. Russ Hersey recovered from an earlier spin to finish fifth. Positions 6-10 went to Matt Swanson, Sesely, Tommy Barrett, Calvin Carroll and Brian Robie.

“I’ve always run well here,” Hirschman said in victory lane. “I even beat Dwight Jarvis here once. We brought a different car here this year. We had a great pit stop and that really helped.”

At Star Speedway’s Salute to Service/Bob Webber Sr. Memorial Night, Brad Babb of Windham, Maine, took the top spot in the 350 Supers main event. Ryan Gath of Chelmsford, Mass., finished second ahead of Jim Storace, Bobby Timmons III and Mike Collins.

Alby Ovitt of Somersworth passed Dylan Bilodeau for the win in the Woody’s Auto Street Stock feature. The next night at Claremont, Ovitt stalked Jimmy Renfrew Jr. for 20 laps before working underneath him for another victory.

Derek Griffith of Hudson, driving the LCM Racing/Magnus Transmission No. 12, led DJ Shaw and Joey Polewarczyk Jr. to the line to win the PASS Super Late Model 150 at Thunder Road.

“I started eighth and fell back to last and then started back up to the front around lap 50,” Griffith said.

Both Griffith and Shaw acknowledged that the small, although competitive, field was disappointing.

“Some teams might have wanted to see how the new wall affected the racing,” Griffith said. “This is not an easy track to get around on if you’re not set up right. The wall (along turns one and two and down the back chute) didn’t affect me. It actually helped me judge where I was on the track better.”

“It seems to be hard to get teams to travel out of Maine,” Shaw said. “It’s not a good look for PASS, but all the cars that did make it were top quality. Some people may be focusing on the upcoming race at Loudon (New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s New England Short Track Showdown June 22-23).”

Hometown hotshot Jason Corliss continued his recent Late Model dominance at Thunder Road in the 57th Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic. Corliss drove to his fourth straight win dating to 2018 and raised his career win total to 14. Matt White became the runner-up after Brooks Clark failed tech inspection.

Bear Ridge and White Mountain were rained out. Bear Ridge got some racing in, but will run a makeup feature for the DIRT Sportsman Modifieds and pick up the Sportsman Coupe feature that was halted mid-race in addition to its regular weekly card this Saturday. The BRS WYKR Sprint Cars of New England will run their makeup race Mekkelsen RV Night June 8 before running their regular scheduled event.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is at Seekonk Speedway Saturday.

On Track This Weekend

Claremont: Friday, 7 p.m.

Rumtown: Saturday, 4 p.m.

Monadnock: Saturday 5 p.m.

Star Speedway: Saturday, 5 p.m.

Bear Ridge (Vt.): Saturday, 6 p.m.

Seekonk (Mass.): Saturday 6 p.m.

Speedway 51: Saturday, 6 p.m.

White Mountain: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

Hudson: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Tom Herzig’s column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at tomherzig@hotmail.com.