Lee, NH – Former two-time champion J.R. Baril became the first repeat winner
of the season in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models at Lee
USA Speedway last Friday night, holding off a determined Wayne Helliwell,
Jr. to score his second win of the year.
The cars of Bryan Kruczek and Bobby Baillargeon were both knocked out during
qualifying, when a hard wreck put the pair in the backstretch wall. Neither
driver was injured in the incident, but their cars suffered serious damage.
When the E Keys 4 Cars 40-lapper went green, Katrina Canney and Dean Weber
each took a turn out front before Baril made his way past to take command,
while Helliwell was quickly picking his way through the field on his way to
join the lead battle.
By halfway, Helliwell was up to second and closing, but Baril had already
built a healthy lead, and he was off and running. Helliwell made it to
Baril's back bumper, but at the checkers, it was Baril in to pick up win
number two on the season.
Helliwell was next across he stripe for runner-up honors, with A.J. Begin,
Jeffrey Labrecque, Jr., Jeremy Harclerode, Weber, Geoff Rollins, Tom Fuller,
Joe Amour, and Canney closing out the top ten.
A big wreck brought out the red flag just five laps into the Prime Storage
late Model Sportsman feature event, when Ryan Green, Dan Eaton, Michele
Fushpanski, and Bobby Glass piled up in turn three.
Eaton was transported to a local hospital for a checkup after the incident,
while all the other drivers headed back to the pits with their battered
racecars. When the safety crew finished the cleanup, action resumed with
Bill Ahern leading the way.
Ahern was still out front when they reached the crossed flags, but points
leader Grant Aither was already past Sparky MacIver up for second and
looking for the lead. Ahern gave it a run, but Aither moved past to take
Aither cruised the rest of the way to post his third win of the year, with
MacIver, Jimmy Renfrew, Ahern, Bobby Melvin, Jesse Bousquet, Pete Evans,
Timmy Johnson, Frankie Eldredge, and Brian Grantz the rest of the top ten.
The first race of the Twin State PASS Modified Series hit the track on
Friday night as well, with Andy Shaw making a late-race pass on Jay Fogelman
to take down the victory.
The PASS Mods put on a great show all night, with a couple of mid-race
incidents sending several contenders to the sidelines. Race-long leader
Fogelman gave up the point to Shaw with two to go, and it was over from
Polesitter Chris Kingsley got out of shape when the Planet Aid Hobby Stock
main went green, and A.J. Panessiti quickly moved up from the outside of the
front row to replace him at the head of the field.
Panessiti set the pace for the first three laps, but he headed to the
infield pit road on lap four, with Patrick Tanguay picking up the lead as a
result. Alby Ovitt was quick to challenge Tanguay for the lead, with Jim
Shorey following him to the front.
Ovitt took over the point on lap eight, but Shorey slipped past to lead them
to the crossed flags, and it was his race to lose from there. Car owners
Jeff and Nancy Trask joined their driver in victory lane after the teams
first win of the year.
Ovitt checkered second, with Jimmy Renfrew, Tanguay, defending champion
Jimmy Russell, Brian Thompson, Eric Hoffman, Dennis Dumas, Ron Washburn, and
Jake Michaud the remainder of the top ten.
After ending his night in a ball of flames the week before, Lance Barthelemy
bounced back with an impressive run to score his first win of the year in
the David's Race Cars and Components Roadrunner feature event.
Barthelemy grabbed the lead from Chris Harding early in the race, and he
pulled away to score a convincing win. Jim Piaseczny, Niko Manyati, Shaun
Waites, Jr., Loren Smith, Tim Boyle, Steve Nichols, Cris King, and Aaron Day
finished up the top ten.
Warren Harvey set the pace over the first half of the Ironman feature event,
but he faded in the late laps as Crystal Brown went on to victory. Kale
Billings, Kevin Emery, and Harvey were the rest of the top five.