Lee, NH – Lee USA Speedway opened up the 2012 season on Friday night, with second-generation racer Mike Ordway, Jr. of Fremont taking down the checkered flag in the Benson Lumber and Hardware-sponsored Small Block Supermodified feature event.
Defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Wayne Helliwell, Jr. and Mike Netishen took down the checkers with strong runs in the two Small Block Super qualifying heats, but at feature time, it was Ordway in control from start to finish.
After polesitter Tony Carroll had to pit during hot laps, Ordway picked up the point and never looked back, leading flag to flag to score the opening night win. “Super Dave” Sanborn held off a determined Helliwell to score runner-up honors, with P.J. Stergios right behind in fourth.
Fifth spot went to heat winner Netishen, followed by 2010 champion Tommy Tombarello, Jr., Rookie of the Year contender Ryan Gath, Sparky MacIver, Mike Spurling, and Jason Phillips.
J.R. Baril got a jump on the 2012 campaign with a win in the season-opening PASS Sportsman race, and that momentum carried on to the regular Friday night season opener, where he steered the Brian House machine to victory lane once again.
Patrick Stewart grabbed the point when the main event went green, but Baril quickly made his way to the front, and it was all over from there. Michele Fushpanski moved into second by the halfway mark, but she couldn’t mount a serious challenge to leader Baril.
J. R. went on to continue his hot streak in Late Model Sportsmen competition with win number one of the 2012 campaign, with Fushpanski, Timmy “Rockstar” Johnson, Stewart, Ray Dinsmore, Chris Titcomb, Kyle Roy, David Piper, and Jason Welch following.
Berwick, ME’s Patrick Tanguay rebounded from a tough outing in the David’s Race Cars and Components Hobby Stock season opener back in April to take down win in the regular-season lidlifter, slipping past early leader Niko Maniatis to take command of the event on lap four.
Tanguay was challenged hard late in the race by Mike Williams and Jim Shorey, but when Shorey headed to the pits in the waning laps, it was a two-car race to the finish. Williams gave it everything he had in the high line looking for the lead, but he couldn’t get past Tanguay and had to settle for second.
Tanguay got the spotlight in the post-race victory ceremonies, with Williams, Ron Washburn, Paul Palen, Jim Piaseczny, opening day winner Chris Jacobson, Eric Hoffman, Brian Thompson, Kenny Scott, Jr., and Brandon Bourne rounding out the top ten.
Jake Rheaume made it two-for-two in American Auto Parts Ironman feature event, outrunning a tough Evan Horvath to score the win. Horvath collected his career-best finish in the runner-up slot, with Tom Johnson rounding out the podium in third.