By Lou Modestino

Due to a dismal forecast on Saturday, Canaan Fairgrounds decided that it was in the best interest of fans and competitors to postpone the Subway Fresh Fit 150 Presented by Bond Auto Parts, Jaycox Property Maintenance and Lavalley Building Supply scheduled for Saturday, May 11. The rescheduled the event after determining a date later in the week.

We had to cancel early due to the fact that there were race teams coming from throughout New England and Canada,” said Dick Therrien the GM of the Canaan Fairgrounds Speedways.

Northeastern Modified stock car racing teams will be hitting the road in 2013. Management at Vermont’s Devil’s Bowl Speedway has announced the creation of the all-new Northern Modified Challenge Series for center-seat Modified cars. The five-race schedule will be the ultimate test for drivers and race teams, as events will be staged on both asphalt and dirt surfaces.

The Northern Modified Challenge Series will follow Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s 2013 Bond Auto Parts Modified division rulebook, allowing a wide variety of racecars from tracks across the Northeast to compete. While the sealed General Motors “602” crate engine will be the primary power plant that most teams use to compete, the events are also open to cars using 358 cubic-inch engines with a carburetor restrictor plate issued by series officials at each race.

The inaugural Northern Modified Challenge Series features a five championship events staged on four vastly different race tracks. The Challenge begins on Sunday, May 26 at 1:30 p.m at the high-banked quarter-mile at Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, VT. The track’s 51st annual Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic will raise the curtain on the Challenge schedule with a 50-lap event, run as a companion race to the Vermont State Late Model Championship Series.

Featuring 18-degree banked corners and the infamous “Widowmaker” wall, Thunder Road is sure to take even the best race teams to task in its first-ever event for dirt-style Modifieds.

Several teams have already turned laps in test sessions at Thunder Road in preparation of the May 26 event. Todd Stone of Middlebury, VT, who won the opening event at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on May 5, was one of the drivers who tested in April, turning fast laps of 12.6 seconds – nearly a half-second faster than the Late Model cars that compete there regularly.

Not only will the Thunder Road event award championship points toward the Northern Modified Challenge Series, it will also give each competitor 50 bonus points toward the Devil’s Bowl Speedway track championship.

The Northern Modified Challenge Series will have an exciting two-track weekend doubleheader on August 2-3. The Challenge runs on its home track at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, VT for the second annual C.J. Richards Memorial 67 presented by Carrara Masonry & Concrete on Friday, August 2 at 7 p.m.

The Modified division has produced exciting side-by-side action and straightaway speeds topping 125 miles per hour at the Devil’s Bowl half-mile in its four seasons as an asphalt track.

The second half of the doubleheader brings the Northern Modified Challenge Series to Canaan Fair Speedway in Canaan, NH for a 50-lap showdown presented by S.K. Bean’s Enfield Garage on Saturday, August 3 at 6 p.m.

Dirt-style Modified racing is not unprecedented on the fast, smooth 1/3-mile asphalt track at Canaan, although the most recent event for the cars there was staged nearly a decade ago.

Devil’s Bowl Speedway will host the Northern Modified Challenge Series again during its annual Vermont 200 Weekend on September 14-15. The event’s format, which will be designed to create exciting competition, will be announced at a later date.

The Northern Modified Challenge Series will crown its inaugural champion on Saturday, October 12 on the tough, racy 1/4-mile clay oval at Canaan Dirt Speedway in Canaan, NH at the second annual Jaycox Property Maintenance-sponsored “OctoberFAST” event. The Charlie Elliott Memorial Canaan Cup 100-lap main event will pay a cool $2,500 to the winner.

“We are so proud and excited to have created the Northern Modified Challenge Series for 2013,” NMCS Director Mike Bruno said. “I have to thank Tom Curley at Thunder Road and Dick Therrien at Canaan for their great support. Our tracks will showcase the talent level of the Modified drivers and teams in this region, and we are all really looking forward to these races.”

The Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic on Sunday, May 26 at Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl in Barre, VT is the opening event for both the Northern Modified Challenge Series and the Vermont State Late Model Championship Series, with racing scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.


2013 Schedule of Events (as of Friday, May 10, 2013)

No.: 1
Day/Date: Sun, May 26
Event: Mekkelsen RV Memorial Day Classic
Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl – Barre, VT – high-banked 1/4-mile asphalt oval
Distance: 50 Laps
Start Time: 1:30pm

No.: 2
Day/Date: Fri, Aug 2
Event: Carrara Masonry & Concrete C.J. Richards Memorial
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, VT – progressively-banked 1/2-mile asphalt oval
Distance: 67 Laps
Start Time: 7:00pm

No.: 3
Day/Date: Sat, Aug 3
Event: S.K. Bean’s Enfield Garage Night
Canaan Fair Speedway – Canaan, NH – semi-banked 1/3-mile asphalt oval
Distance: 50 Laps
Start Time: 6:00pm

No.: 4
Day/Date: Sat, Sept 14
Event: Vermont 200 Weekend – Qualifying & Shootout Day
Distance: TBA
Start Time: 1:30pm

Day/Date: Sun, Sept 15
Event: Vermont 200 Weekend – Main Event
Devil’s Bowl Speedway – West Haven, VT – progressively-banked 1/2-mile asphalt oval
Distance: TBA
Start Time: 1:30pm

No.: 5
Day/Date: Sat, Oct 12
Event: Jaycox Property Maintenance “OctoberFAST”
Charlie Elliott Memorial Canaan Cup
Canaan Dirt Speedway – Canaan, NH – semi-banked 1/3-mile clay oval
Distance: 100 Laps
Start Time: 2:00pm

Lee USA Speedway hosted the second race of the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season on Friday night, with veteran driver “Super Dave” Sanborn taking down his first win of the season in the Benson Lumber and Hardware-sponsored 30-lap feature event for the Small Block Supermodifieds.

The action was halted by a red flag shortly after flagman Steve Grant had unfurled the green to let them loose, as a multi-car tangle collected nearly half the field in turn two. Most drivers were able to push off and rejoin the lineup, with a couple of drivers heading to the infield pit area for a quick once-over by their crews before re-entering the race.

Sanborn immediately moved out to the lead when racing action resumed, with Mike Netishen and former Lee USA Speedway Late Model champion Ricky Wolf quickly getting past second place runner Tony Carroll in the Full Throttle Racing #2 to challenge Sanborn for the top spot.

Both drivers gave it all they had, but Sanborn had the Howdy Clapp machine consistently clicking off laps in the 14.2 second range, and he led impressively from flag to flag to score his first win of the year. Netishen was next across the stripe in the runner-up slot, with Wolf making his first trip to the Small Block Super podium after finishing third.

Fourth place went to veteran Sparky MacIver in the Bob Chabot entry, followed by opening night winner Ryan Gath, Leslie Keyser, Tommy Tombarello, Tony Carroll, Jake Stergios, and former multi-time champion Eddie Witkum, Jr., who was making his season debut in the second Witkum Brothers Racing machine.

Prime Warehouse and Storage Late Model Sportsman action saw another exciting 30-lap feature event, with Geoff Rollins motoring past Ray Dinsmore to grab the lead early on, with early pressure coming from defending champ J.R. Baril in the Brian House entry.

Alby Ovitt was next in the running order at the halfway point, but when Baril found trouble and spun from contention with just six laps remaining in the race, Ovitt moved up to challenge Rollins for the top spot. The laps ran out before Ovitt could get to the leader, and Rollins led them under the checkers to post his first win of the 2013 campaign.

Ovitt grabbed his best finish of the early season with a strong second place run, and Grant Aither came from deep in the field to grab third. Jimmy Russell put a solid effort to finish fourth, with Michele Fushpanski, Patrick Stewart, Baril, David Piper, Ryan Green and Raymond Dinsmore closing out the top ten.

David MacDonald became a first-time winner in the David’s Race Cars and Components Hobby Stock main event, outrunning all the division’s top runners to post the win. MacDonald moved out to the lead as soon as the race went green, with 2012 feature winners Chris Jacobson and Patrick Tanguay giving chase for the first several laps.

The race was red-flagged on lap eight for cleanup efforts after Ron Washburn lost an engine and dropped fluid on the track, but the delay didn’t do anything to slow MacDonald’s early-race momentum. He picked up the lead once again on the restart, and held it the rest of the way to score the big win.

Jacobson was fast all night, but had to settle for second, with last year’s championship runner-up, Tanguay, taking home the third place trophy. Fourth spot went to Kyle Sawyer after his best run of the year, followed by opening night winner Jim Piaseczny, Billy Clement, Jr., Wade Worster, Paul Palen, Torrey Kovalesky and Troy Washburn.

Hannah Shaw was on a mission in the American Used Auto Parts Ironman feature event, jumping out to the early lead with Danielle Simoneau right on her back bumper in the second spot. Shaw held on to the lead well past the halfway mark, but she eventually lost the lead to Wayne Purington with the laps winding down.

Purington was in front of a last-lap scramble that cost a few drivers better finishing positions, and he easily led them across the finish line to pick up his first win of the year. Shaw earned her best career result in the runner-up spot, taking the second position by mere inches at the line.

Travis Hollins joined the top two in the victory lane ceremony after a solid third place run, and he was followed to the checkers by opening night winner Zach Washburn, Evan Horvath, Simoneau, and Chris Murray.

This past weekend, Monadnock Speedway was a victim of rain postponing the highly anticipated event of the Town Fair Tire Whitcomb 175 featuring the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The decision was made by NASCAR officials and Monadnock Speedway management on Friday to postpone the Saturday show to July 27th due to the inclement weather forecasted.

This weekend coming up will feature a double event weekend. On Saturday, Monadnock Speedway will be back in action with a full venue of racing on tap for Military Night featuring Sportsman Modifieds, Pro 4 Modifieds, Super Stocks, Mini Stocks, Thunder Stocks, Lightning Stocks, NE Antique Racers and Young Guns. All past and present Military (with proof) will receive free general admission. Race Time is at 6pm. On Sunday, the speedway will host their first of the season MudBog Mudslinger event featuring 5 classes; Opens, Pros, Modifieds, 8 cylinder and 4/6 cylinders. Mud starts flying at Noon.

Here’s what else is happening in northern New England. New England Dragway offers Street Nights on Wednesday and Friday at 5 p.m. and comes back with ET action all day Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. There’s a New England hillclimb event at Mt. Ascutney Friday through Sunday at 9 a.m.

Friday night oval track racing goes at the Canaan Fairgrounds dirt track, Lee USA in NH and Oxford Plains in western Maine all at 6 p.m. NHMS in Loudon, NH will host Legends and Bandelero racing on the oval and motorcycle action on the roadcourse.

Star Speedway in Epping, NH and Wiscasset Speedway both have stockcar action at 6 p.m.