Lee, NH – With threatening weather quickly moving into the area on Friday night, Lee USA Speedway track officials were in hurry-up mode from the drop of the first green flag, and entire program of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing presented by Mobil 1 went into the record books well before the rains came.
2010 champion and current points leader Tommy Tombarello, Jr. lined up eighth for the 30-lap Benson Lumber and Hardware Small Block Supermodified feature event, but he quickly worked his way through the field and took the lead from polesitter Tony Carroll, who had set the early pace while Tombarello worked traffic.
Once out front, Tombarello was on a mission, and that mission was to get to the checkered flag first. Never seriously challenged over the second half of the race, Tombarello went on to take the win and become the first two-time winner in the Small Block Supers for the 2012 campaign.
2011 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series New Hampshire state champ Wayne Helliwell, Jr. was next across the stripe, with Mike Ordway, Jr., P.J. Stergios, Rookie of the Year contender Ryan Gath, Joey Scanlon, Sparky MacIver, Mike Netishen, Carroll, and Leslie Keyser rounding out the top ten finishers.
The 30-lap Prime Warehouse Late Model Sportsman feature was another action-packed main event, with eventual winner Tony Kawejsza surviving a series of incidents that nearly knocked him out of action but still soldiering on to collect his first feature event victory of the 2012 season.
Just a lap after taking the green, more than half the field was involved in a turn two incident that sent several cars to the pits for repairs. Keith Larmie came out on the short end of it, ending his night on the back of a wrecker. Larmie’s ride suffered heavy damage after climbing over the right side of Kawejsza‘s machine, among other contact, during the scramble.
Points leader J.R. Baril got caught up in the wreck and was forced to the pits, but he managed to make repairs and stay on the lead lap, eventually salvaging a top five finish for the night. Rookie Kyle Roy picked up the lead when the action resumed, but caution was back quickly on the field when Kawejsza went around in turn one.
Shortly after the next restart, Kawejsza had another near-miss when he got squeezed high and made contact with the frontstretch wall, but he continued on and started to march to the front. By halfway, he was past Roy into the lead and pulling away from the field.
Kawejsza was in control the rest of the way, picking up his first checker of the year at the finish. Jason Welch survived a couple of incidents on the way to a runner-up tally, with Baril, heat winner Patrick Stewart, and Roy closing out the top five.
Points leader Jim Shorey showed the way in the David’s Race Cars and Components Hobby Stock main, collecting his second feature win of the 2012 season to maintain his position atop the standings, with Mike Williams taking down second place honors in the Mike White entry.
After a couple of post-race penalties shook up the finishing order, third spot went to Ron Washburn, followed by Niko Maniatis, rookie Brandon Bourne, Brian Thompson, Chris Jacobson, David MacDonald, Kenny Scott, Jr., and Kyle Sawyer.
Jake Rheaume’s season-long stranglehold on American Used Auto Parts Ironman competition came to an end Friday night, with rookie driver Wayne Parrington becoming a happy first-time winner by holding off the four-time winner at the line to pick up the victory.
Rheaume remained on top of the point standings with a runner-up effort, with Danielle Simoneau filling out the podium in the third spot. Second place points man Evan Horvath collected a fourth place finish in the Red Cup Racing entry and Chris Murray rounded out the top five.
Mark Parenteau and his flashy red pickup scored a crowd-pleasing win in the spectator drags portion of the program, and several nostalgic “cruisers” took a couple of laps around New Hampshire’s Center of Speed in addition to another exciting night of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action.
Next up at Lee USA on Friday night, June 8th is another full card of WAAS racing featuring the Benson Lumber and Hardware Small Block Supers, Prime Warehouse late Model Sportsmen, David’s Race cars and Components Hobby Stocks, and American Used Auto Parts Ironmen, plus NEMA Lites racing and El Camino night.