MANY A short track warrior will take to the Magic Mile at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend for the 3rd Annual New England Short Track Showdown.
The Showdown is the creation of New England Street Stock and Mini Stock Tour promoter Bob Guptil, who rents the track and pulls everything together.
This year’s Showdown, sponsored by Turn Four Automotive and Performance of Gray, Maine, has expanded into a six-division event. In addition to qualifying for all classes, Saturday’s card includes features for weekly Sportsman Modified/SK Modifieds cars and what Guptil terms Super Streets, aka Late Model Sportsmen.
Sunday marks the return of the Pro All-Star Series (PASS) Super Late Models, Tour-type Valenti Modified Series, Mini-Stocks and Street Stocks.
Last year’s Street Stock winner, Alby Ovitt of Somersworth, and Mini-Stock winner Nick Maniatis of Hooksett are returning in hopes of duplicating their 2018 exploits.
Although the Valenti Modified Series has endured lean car counts on occasion this season, Guptil says he has received 23 entries to date. The Series’ most recent race was at Claremont Motorsports Park and Mike Willis Jr. of Grantham came out on top.
The PASS Super Late Models were at Speedway 95 in Maine over the weekend and Derek Griffith of Hudson won for the second time this season. It was his second career win at Speedway 95 and his fourth straight top-3 finish there. Nick Sweet of Barre, Vt., was the runner-up after a lengthy battle with third-place Mike Hopkins.
New England Hall-of-Famer Dave “Dynamite” Dion will attend the Short Track Showdown to serve as the Grand Marshal.
Dion is a three-time winner of the Oxford 250, the 1996 NASCAR Busch North Series Champion and a past winner of Thunder Road’s Milk Bowl. His brother Roger was instrumental in his success and Dion also credits his brothers Paul and Don as well.
As related in the book “Life Wide Open; Dave Dion: No Holds Barred,” written in collaboration with Sirius XM NASCAR radio announcer/commentator Dave Moody, Dion once qualified fourth at Richmond Raceway during a stint on the NASCAR Cup circuit behind Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison and Neil Bonnett and just ahead of Richard Petty.
“This (Short Track Showdown) is blue collar racing,” said Dion. “I love seeing these divisions get the opportunity to race at Loudon. I’m a short track racer and I love this.”
Jeremy Davis of Tamworth won the Granite State Pro Stock Series JP Sicard/Kingdom Gravel & Aggregates 100 at Speedway 51. Joey Doiron and Todd Stone finished second and third.
Davis is a self-admitted setup changer who likes to roll the dice with major modifications, but in victory lane he said, “we went to a setup we used last fall in Claremont and it seemed to work. I just really love this place.”
The next appearance for the Granite State Pro Stocks is at Lee USA on Friday, July 5, as a part of EKeys4Cars Fireworks Night. This Friday at the seacoast oval it’s Double Points Night with the Late Model Sportsman class as the lead division plus Street Stocks, Six-Shooters, Pure Stocks and 50-lap V-8/V-6 and 4-Cylinder Enduros.
The American Canadian Tour Late Models were at Thompson Speedway for the second of three events in the $5,000-to-win Summer Kickoff Series. Event number three is slated for Star Speedway Saturday on June 29.
Twenty-six Late Models took the green at Thompson and after multiple lead changes over the final 20 laps, Jimmy Hebert was first to the finish line. A final restart with 11 laps left bunched the field one more time.
Hebert started on the front row but wasn’t ever able to open up a sizable lead. He spent a lot of time fending off Ryan Kuhn with Woody Pitkat and Bryan Kruczek close behind. Pitkat improved to second on the final lap with Kruczek third, defending champion Scott Payea up for fourth ahead of Kuhn.
PJ Stergois of Candia won the NEMA Lites 50 main event at Star on Pack the Track Night. Stergois came up through the pack to gain fourth on lap 22 and took over second on lap 32 before passing eventual third-place finisher Ben Mikitarian for the lead late in the race. Anthony Marvuglio was the runner-up. Ryan Locke of Chester placed fourth. The NEMA Lites return to action at Seekonk on the night of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series race Wednesday, June 28.
Kevin Chaffee, aka the Fairlee Flyer, won the Sabil & Sons DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Twin State Ford feature Saturday on the dirt at Bear Ridge. Chaffee drives the White River (Vt.) Toyota No. 73. He used the outside lane to come from far back in the field and finally overtake leader Terry Williams in lapped traffic after an entertaining side-by-side battle that went on for many laps. It was the third win of the season for the defending 2018 champion, who is the only repeat winner to date.
Veteran Will Hull of East Montpelier, Vt., won the USAC Dirt Midget feature in Skip Matczak‘s Seals-It No. 3. The USAC Dirt Midgets will race on the new “Flat Track” quarter-mile dirt surface Friday, July 13 on Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 weekend.
On Track This Weekend
Thunder Road (Vt.): Thursday, 7 p.m.
Claremont: Friday, 7 p.m.
Lee USA: Friday, 7 p.m.
NHMS: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Rumtown: Saturday, 4 p.m.
Bear Ridge (Vt.): Saturday, 6 p.m.
Monadnock: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Speedway 51: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Star Speedway: Saturday, 6 p.m.
White Mountain: Saturday, 6 p.m.
NHMS: Sunday, 12:30 p.m.