By Tom Herzig
BIG DOINGS Saturday at White Mountain Motorsports Park, where a sizable field of Late Models will chase each other around the North Woodstock quarter-mile oval for 250 laps in pursuit of a $10,000 winner’s check.
This event, named the Midsummer 250, is an American Canadian Tour race, which means only green-flag laps will count.
Some of the top Thunder Road weekly Late Model teams are likely to show up, including Scott Dragon, Cody Blake and Kyle Pembroke as are the weekly White Mountain runners — Quinny Welch, Stacy Cahoon, Oren Remick etc. along with Quebec invaders such as Patrick Laperle, Jonathan Bouvrette and Mathieu Kingsbury.
Then there are the pick-and-choose independents like Joey Polewarczyk Jr., who recently won an ACT 150 at Star, and Wayne Helliwell Jr., who won the Governor’s Cup 150 at White Mountain last weekend.
As for the ACT regulars, points leader Rich Dubeau, number two point-man Jimmy Hebert, defending champion Scott Payea and top rookie (fourth) Ryan Kuhn from East Bridgewater, Mass., and Seekonk Speedway loom as the top contenders.
Last year, White Mountain held the track’s inaugural 250 as a part of the celebration of its 25th season (and final under the ownership of Don and Teri Avery). The race began in the middle of a sweltering afternoon. This time it’s a night race.
Eddie MacDonald pocketed the 10 grand last year by finishing six car lengths ahead of runner-up Hebert. Payea, Joey Pole and Jason Corliss placed third, fourth and fifth.
Star’s Tri-Track Modified Series 125 was a hit.
The crowd that turned out Saturday at Star Speedway for the Modified SBM 125 was treated to an entertaining race with a hold-your-breath finish.
Ron Silk of Norwalk, Conn., driving Bob Horn‘s No. 50, won the $6,000 top prize –- along with the $200 Hard Charger award and a bunch of lap leader money.
It was the first Tri-Track Modified Series for Silk, who was coming off a win in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Eastern Propane & Oil 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Silk’s gambit to pit for a tire early and then stay out when everybody else pitted under a competition yellow –- with 70 complete and 55 to go –- paid off, but he still had to show what being a top-notch wheel man is all about when Ronnie Williams closed in on him at the end. Williams is having a whale of a season himself in Gary Casella‘s No. 25. He came at Silk from all angles over the final eight laps and went for it in the final turn with a deep dive low, but couldn’t exit smoothly enough to beat him to the line.
“This is the first time I’ve seen this place,” Williams said. “You try to do what you can, but I was a little loose coming off.” Williams races an SK Modified weekly at Stafford Motor Speedway, the site of this week’s Whelen Modified Tour 150 Friday.
“Bob and I talked about an early pit stop before the race,” Silk said. “With (Matt) Hirschman on the pole it was going to be hard to get ahead of him from where we were starting (21st after winning the consolation race). I was out of tires at the end and Ronnie was going good, but it worked out.”
Hirschman has multiple TTMS wins at Star. He led every lap before going in for a tire change and sat third behind Silk and Andy Jankowiak (who, like Silk, pitted earlier) when the race resumed. Williams took up the fifth spot alongside Matt Swanson, who passed Hirschman on the white flag lap to earn third place.
The Woody’s Auto Street Stocks and the Mini Stocks turned in solid performances earlier in the night. Alby Ovitt of Somersworth bested Bret Culleton of Pelham in a green-white-checker finish to win the MLM Diagnostics Fast 40 Series event. John Cashman was third.
Matt Sonnhalter of East Thetford, Vt., won the Mini Stock Battle of the Belt after starting 14th in a full field. Matt Kimball of Bennington was a very competitive second.
Monadnock ran two Late Model Sportsman features and Solomon Brow of Vernon, Vt., won them both breaking a record long held by Pete Fiandaca for consecutive wins. Todd Patnode won his fourth straight Sportsman Modified main. The Sportsman Modifieds are slated for two features this Saturday.
The North East Midget Association (NEMA) Midgets and NEMA Lites were also at Monadnock. Danny Cugini of Marshfield, Mass., was a convincing winner of the Iron Mike Scrivani Memorial in the Bertrand Motorsports Midget No.47.
The NEMA Lites event, which by all reports was pretty racy, was won by Randy Cabral. Granite State drivers PJ Stergois of Candia and Ryan Locke of Chester were second and third.
Dave Shullick Jr. won the ISMA Supermodified Hi-Miler at Sandusky Speedway in Ohio. The Supers will be at Lee USA Friday, Aug. 9 for the Ollie Silva Memorial race.
The Valenti Modified Series returns to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Saturday.
On Track This Weekend
Thunder Road (Vt.): Thursday, 7 p.m.
Claremont: Friday, 7 p.m.
Lee USA: Friday, 7 p.m.
Stafford Speedway (Conn.): Friday, 7 p.m.
Rumtown: Saturday, 4 p.m.
Star Speedway: Saturday, 5 p.m.
White Mountain: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Monadnock: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Speedway 51: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Bear Ridge (Vt.): Saturday, 6 p.m.
Beech Ridge (Maine): Saturday, 7 p.m.
Hudson: Sunday, 5 p.m.