Lee, NH – The early-season battle for the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship continued last Friday night at Lee USA Speedway, with Mike Netishen making it three winners in three races when he easily outran the field to score his first win of the season in the Benson Lumber and Hardware-sponsored 30-lap feature event for the Small Block Supermodifieds.
Leslie Keyser broke out to the early lead when the green waved, but the field was quickly brought under caution when “Super Dave” Sanborn, fresh off a win the week before, lost power and came to a stop in turn one with just two laps in the record books.
Keyser picked up the lead once again on the restart, but he was the cause of the next stoppage, spinning on the backstretch to bring yellow on the field once again on lap three. Netishen picked up the point when action resumed, with defending champ Tommy Tombarello picking up the chase.
As the laps wore on, Netishen gradually moved out to a comfortable lead, and he held it for the remainder of the event, checkering his first win of the 2013 campaign with a three-second margin of victory in the Arma Coatings of New Hampshire-sponsored machine.
Tombarello was the best of the rest to collect runner-up honors in the Witkum Brothers Racing entry, followed by Sparky MacIver, opening night winner Ryan Gath, Tony Carroll, Ricky Wolf, Moe Lattime, Mike Spurling, rookie Jake Stergios, and Keyser.
Ricky Porter jumped out to the early lead in the Prime Storage and Warehouse Late Model Sportsman feature event, clicking off some quick laps as he set a torrid pace over the first half of the 30-lap main event. 2011 champ Ryan Green gave chase in the early going, but he was unable to mount a serious challenge to Porter’s lead.
Business picked up in a hurry at the ten to go mark, with defending champion J.R. Baril making his move past Green into the second spot, then spinning on the backstretch after contact from Green to bring the field under caution a lap later, with both drivers restarting at the rear of the field.
Porter’s dominance ended shortly after the restart, with Geoff Rollins slipping past on lap 24 to take over the top spot, and Porter quickly losing a couple more positions as Grant Aither and Alby Ovitt moved by to take up the pursuit of leader Rollins.
With flagman Steve Grant showing the field two to go, Aither moved to the outside of Rollins, and two battled furiously for the lead with the laps winding down. It was a virtual dead heat as the pair headed off turn four for the final time and headed for the checkers, and they crossed the stripe the same way.
Aither’s car bounced off the wall and suffered some significant right-side damage just as they crossed the finish line, and according to the results issued by Chief of Timing and Scoring Bill Callen, his last lap charge came up .03 seconds short as Rollins held on to pick up his second straight win.
Aither had to settle for a second place trophy and a ride on the back of a wrecker to end his night, with Ovitt collecting yet another podium finish in the third spot. Fourth went to Porter, with Boe Green, Niko Maniatis, Ryan Green, Baril, Ray Dinsmore, and Michele Fushpanski closing out the top ten.
The David’s Race Cars and Components Hobby Stocks put on another impressive show in their 25-lap feature event, with “Rocket Ronnie” Washburn bouncing back from a blown engine the previous week to grab his first win of the year in the Pleasant Valley Motorsports machine in another close finish.
Wade Worster was following in Washburn’s tire tracks most of the way in the Jeff and Nancy Trask entry, and he came up about a car length short at the checkers to wind up second. Patrick Tanguay took third, followed by Jim Piaseczny, Billy Clement, Jr., Brian Thompson, Paul Palen, Torrey Kovalesky, Troy Washburn, and Chris Jacobson.
Travis Hollins became the first two-time winner of the season in the American Used Auto Parts Ironman main, knocking Shane Horvath off the point in the late going to take the lead, and holding it to the finish to post the win.
On a night that featured some of the tightest finishes of the year, Horvath checkered second just a car length behind the winner, with Tyler Mitchell taking third over Wayne Osborne, Evan Horvath, Zach Washburn, Hannah Shaw, and Danielle Simoneau.
The EKeys 4Cars Northeast Classic Lites turned out in full force for the opener of their four race DJB Truck Repair Series, with fan favorite Billy Osborne dominating the action to score the win over Jimmy Wentworth and Duane Skofield.
Next up at Lee USA on Friday, May 24, it’s the annual Memorial Day weekend salute to veterans, with racing action that includes the Senior Tour Auto Racers along with the weekly Small Block Supermodified, Late Model Sportsman, Hobby Stock, and Ironman action.