THIS SATURDAY the Tri-Track Open Modified Series — which as many Modified devotees are aware is not confined to three tracks anymore — will roll into Monadnock Speedway for round two of the Ron Bouchard Challenge Cup 100.
Well over 30 entries have been filed for the Challenge Cup 100 and why not? The purse exceeds $41,000, the race pays $6,000 to win, $1,100 to take the green, $20 per lap led and a non-qualifiers race with some extra cash on the line.
The first round of the Challenge Cup took place in May at Monadnock’s sister track — Claremont Motorsports Park — and Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa., took home the winner’s check.
The most recent TTOMS event was at Oxford Plains on Oxford 250 weekend and Hirschman prevailed there as well — ahead of Ronnie Williams of Ellington, Conn., and Andy Jankowiak of Tonawanda, N.Y.
Williams survived some late-race bumper banging from Tommy Barrett for a $10,000 score at Seekonk (Hirschman fourth). Ron Silk used an early pit stop for track position and (barely) held off Williams to win the SBM 125 at Star Speedway.
There will be several other drivers very capable of winning in the pits Saturday — Matt Swanson, Kirk Alexander, Les Hinckley, Russ Hersey and Todd Patnode to name five. Patnode has won more than his share of Sportsman Modified features at Monadnock this season and is the division’s point leader. He won his first TTOMS event last year at Star.
Hirschman recently beat everyone to the finish line except Justin Bonsignore in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Oswego.
And …. remember …. in Tri Track Open Modified Series events — yellows don’t count and time trials don’t set the feature line-up. Just saying.
Memorable night at Star for the Witkum clan
Star Speedway’s two-day event highlighted by the ISMA Supermodified Star Classic Bob Webber Sr. Memorial 125 was well attended by fans and race teams alike.
Jeff Abold of Baldwinsville, N.Y., smoked the winged Supers in the 54th Annual Classic for his first ever ISMA win despite some near-misses.
“He was really hooked up,” said 2018 winner Jon McKennedy, who finished third. “When he went by me, I knew I was racing for second.”
Chris Perley of Rowley, Mass., was the runner-up.
Star’s 350 Supermodified division, which has been a strength for the track all year, turned out in big numbers to contest the Randy Witkum Memorial 60, which fittingly was won by Eddie Witkum Jr., Randy’s brother.
The Witkum family’s connection with open-wheel racing at Hudson, Star, Lee USA and well beyond spans decades and generations — from tribal elders Eddie Sr. and brother Bob all the way to Eddie Sr.‘s grandson, 18-year-old Jeffrey Battle, who was on Eddie Jr.’s tail much of the race and eventually finished second.
It was the first win of 2019 for Eddie Jr., who had been running mid-pack most of the season, chasing after Battle, points leader Dave Helliwell (driving for Ed Witkum Sr.), Mike Collins, Rich Eaton, Bobby Timmons and James Witkum.
“We fought handling issues and what I thought was a ‘lazy’ motor’ all year,” Eddie Jr. said. “We had it up at Redline Performance and they told us the headers were junk and were choking it down. Another car owner, John Rowe of B&B Auto Clinic in Georgetown, Mass., was watching us struggle and he offered to buy a set of Beyea Headers. Once we put them on, the car came alive.”
Asked what he was thinking about as the laps wore down and he held the lead, Wittkum said, “going as fast as I could -– I knew my nephew was back there somewhere.”
“My father and Uncle Bob put a lot of work into the car,” Witkum said. “There were lots of smiles after. I think they were all happy.”
John Zych and Randy Cabral won the NEMA Midget and NEMA Lites features respectively. Cabral’s win came in the 50-lap Jim O’Brien Memorial. Ryan Locke of Chester was the runner-up.
In the Friday night portion of Star’s doubleheader, Ray Christian III of Uncasville, Conn., came out on top after setting fast time in time trials, winning his qualifying heat and drawing the pole. Joey Doiron and Jimmy Renfrew Jr. finished second and third.
Double points are on the line this weekend at Star Speedway and Bear Ridge.
Thunder Road hosts the American Canadian Tour Labor Day Classic Saturday in the make-up of the event that was postponed earlier when a car left the track as the result of a collision during qualifying that injured two track officials.
It’s Championship Night at Claremont Motorsports Park where Aaron Fellows will try to complete an undefeated season in the Late Model Sportsman feature.
It’s Full Throttle Fall weekend Friday/Saturday, Sept. 20, 21 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway including the Canadian Pinty’s Series, K&N Pro Series East Apple Barrel 125 and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Musket 250.
On Track This Weekend
Claremont: Friday, 7 p.m.
Rumtown: Saturday, 4 p.m.
Thunder Road (Vt.): Saturday, 5 p.m.
Monadnock: Saturday, 5 p.m.
Star Speedway: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Bear Ridge (Vt.): Saturday, 6 p.m.
Star Speedway: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Hudson: Sunday, 1 p.m.