Winchester, New Hampshire — Saturday night thunder on the mountain returned to the high banks of Monadnock Speedway again this week with five Whelen All-American Series events plus the weekly Young Guns division and a visit from the Mr. Rooter New England Race Truck Series.
The night was declared Military Appreciation night following the cancellation of the night originally scheduled to honor our veterans due to weather a few weeks back.
The evening kicked off with the heats, each division setting their pace for the features that were soon to follow. Before long, the heats concluded and it was time for the features to roll out. They began with a 15 lap Young Guns Division feature.
Family is a huge enterprise at Monadnock Speedway and many of the teams that compete are family owned and operated. For many of the Young Guns, they grew up in the shadow of the mountain on the high banked ¼ mile oval watching a brother or sister learn the ropes of racing.
That’s why it’s not a surprise when the name Littlewood is mentioned as a race winner week in and week out.
The youngsters played it clean and ran a quick race with Justin Littlewood bringing home the victory once again this week.
This is the third consecutive win for the younger brother of Super Stock driver Cole Littlewood. Justin’s third win gave him another chance to interview in victory lane where he said, “It’s a pretty fast car, it’s been fast every week.”
As Justin’s brother had success in this division, having a good run means a lot to him as he said, “[Cole] was pretty good in this division and I want to get more than him.”
Daniel Starkweather finished 2nd this week for the second straight week. Starkweather pushed his car but didn’t have enough to challenge Littlewood.
Chris Sontag, another Young Guns driver with a family that has experience going around this track, raced in just his third competition on Saturday, but was able to swing it around for a third place finish.
“It felt really awesome to be up on the podium for only my third race,” the impressive young man said in his first podium interview. He went on to thank his family and sponsors for their help and support.
Lightning Stocks came out onto the raceway next and their feature represented the first points’ race of the night.
Heavy rain in the area during the week may have washed some of the grip off the racing surface, but that didn’t slow down any of the excitement. The Lightning Stocks ran a quick feature that saw Tim Leblanc capture his second victory of 2015.
“I’ll tell you one thing,” Leblanc said during his victory lane interview, “that Volkswagen ain’t easy to pass,” referring to the #95 of CJ Johnson who came in 2nd.
“I gave it all I had on the outside and held onto it as much as I could after the caution,” Leblanc recounted, “I came out on top that’s all we could wish for.”
Johnson’s car blew up after the race, but the engine held on just long enough to come home in 2nd.
““It probably got too hot last week, it’s like 350 degrees right now,” Johnson said after the race.
“We’ll get it fixed, be back in two weeks,” Johnson said, in reference to the week off the Lightning Stocks will enjoy next week.
Pat Houle in the 57X car came in third place.
Mini Stocks were on the track next and put on a quick feature with Mike Stebbins coming home in first place after taking the week off last weekend for a Memorial Day Weekend camping trip.
“We had a good time tonight, what a race!” Stebbins said in victory lane.
“It feels good.”
Kevin McKnight and Julia Raymond came in 2nd and 3rd to round out the podium.
Next on the track came the Thunder Stocks where a rookie driver figured out his car and the track and brought home his first career win.
Richard Vincent is running his first season in the #4 Thunderstock, and Saturday the black and purple machine made its way to the front and came home in P1.
“Hey you know it’s a lot of work,” Vincent said after he got out as he thanked everyone who helped work on his car. “This car knows where to go,” he said, “I just drive.”
Paul Barnard in the #24 came across the line 2nd and was pleased with how his car performed in tight racing conditions, “He was there, we were racing side by side it, was a great race.
“I don’t know how many laps it was, it seemed like forever, but I finally lost him,” Barnard said as he recounted Vincent pulling away. “Then I came back,” he said, “We were side by side again, I was there the whole race and overall I’m pretty happy with our effort tonight.”
Defending series champion Marshall Usher finished in third place and after the race he said, “It was a pretty good race with it side by side like that for so many laps.”
The Mr. Rooter New England Race Truck Series visited Monadnock for the first time in 2015 this week and ran a 25 lap feature event. So far in the NE Race Truck Series 2015 has belong to the #88 and driver Robert Turbush. Saturday night at Monadnock was no exception. Turbush’s machine was the strongest on the racetrack all night and even defending series champion Andy Lindeman couldn’t catch him. The win makes the trip from Long Island worthwhile for the #88 car, as Turbush recounted the event’s details after the race.
“We did a lot of work on it,” he said, “My brother worked hard, even after the heat races we were still doing set up changes.”
“This is a tricky track,” said Turbush after the win “It’s not the easiest of tracks.”
“I got in a rhythm in the end there and I think I picked it up a little bit just being a little smoother.”
“That was crazy it was going back and forth, I didn’t know what these guys were doing they were fighting hard back and forth back there.”
“It was crazy, just covered in a blanket, I kept my eyes open and wait for my opportunity and we ended up getting it.”
Frank Dumicich in the #42 came in second and Duane Noll came in third in the #2 truck after not racing for six months.
Super Stocks came out next for the penultimate race of the night. After 25 laps of racing, the #44 of Dennis Stange took home the checkered flag for the second time this season.
“They were fast enough that I don’t think I could get around them,” Stange said, “Little bit of contact and yeah were here.”
“The guys did all sorts of changes, spring rubbers, Rich, Jimmy, Joey, Mikey, just awesome what they do.”
“How many hours during the week, wives appreciate it, it just doesn’t come here and race its every night in the garage, scales, playing with stuff, trying stuff, awesome job this week.”
Stange edged Tyler Leary and Dave Stribel for the victory.
The night concluded with the Sportsman Modified division and a smooth night that went relatively light on the caution flag, was about to give head starter Mike Griggs’ arm a workout waving the caution.
In under eight laps caution flew six times, prompting the racing directors to call for a single file restart with a low number of laps on the board.
It was a race of attrition as strong cars got into trouble early on with the likes of Denis Charrette, Scott Nordman, and JT Clouthier all involved in early incidents that hampered their chances of a strong finish.
The survivors of the early carnage, Scott MacMichael took advantage and jumped out front, but soon his car began to fade.
Last week’s winner, Brett Gonyaw, had a strong run but just missed a podium finish with the #87 finishing 4th.
The podium was reserved for Tyler Jarvenpaa, Bill Kimball, and Keith Carzello who finished third, second, and first respectively. Carzello was able to hold of Kimball and Jarvenpaa held off Gonyaw’s late push for third.
“We’ve been struggling this year,” Carzello said in victory lane “It’s the fourth race and fourth different set up. It just worked awesome tonight.”
Carzello went on saying,“It’s great to race a guy like Kimball, you know he’s not going to wreck you but you’re both running hard. It’s a great night for our team, everybody works hard I’m just the lucky one who gets to wheel it.”
“I saw his car [Kimball] looked like it was a little tight to me, he didn’t have the grip there along the bottom so I just hung in there hoping for something good. Finally I saw a little bit of daylight, probably not enough, but I haven’t won in a while.”
Carzello remembered to give props to the men and women serving our country, “I’d like to thank our military for all they do for our country. I‘m just so grateful to live in a great country like this and I want to say thank you.”
He then thanked his sponsors and Yurko video saying, “I’m gonna want to watch this, maybe 5 times.”
Racing will be back next Saturday night as another special evening is planned with 30 Lap Sportsman Modified, 25 Lap Super Stock, 25 Lap Mini Stock, 25 Lap Thunder Stock,15 Lap Young Gun, Pro 4 Modifieds And Star Antique Racers!
Young Gun Results: Justin Littlewood, Dan Starkweather, Chris Sontag, Colton Smith, Mariah Stebbins, Bow Smith, Shelby Avery, Hailey Guy
Lightning Stocks Results: Tim Leblanc, CJ Johnson, Tim O’Shea, Pat Houle, Hillary Renaud, Eric Silvernale, Jim Drew, Kris Kristolaitis, Tim Paquette, Steve Fucile, Richard Whipple, Dylan Morse
Mini Stocks: Mike Stebbins, Kevin McKnight, Julia Raymond, Eric Pomasko, Nick Anderson, Cameron Sontag, Solomon Brow, Justin Faford, Ethan Marsh, Mike McGoldrick Jr, Matt Kimball, Louis Maher, Joel Monahan, Matt Gauffin
Thunder Stocks Results: Richard Vincent, Paul Barnard, Marshall Usher, Craig Chaffee, Dave Greenslit, James Nowakowski, Ben Williams, Gus Coelho, Chris Lawrence, Rob Thurston, Michelle Leh, Rodney Davis
Super Stock Results: Dennis Stange, Tyler Leary, Dave Striebel, Nancy Muni, Tyler Lescord, Joel Monahan, Cole Littlewood
Sportsman Modified Feature: Keith Carzello, Bill Kimball, Tyler Jarvenpaa, Brett Gonyaw, Dana Smith, Scott MacMichael, Eric Leclair, Glenn Griswold, Trevor Bleau, Chris Ignazio, Jason Barden, Kim Rivet, Casey Ouellette, JT Cloutier, Scott Nordman, Dennis Charrette
-Monadnock Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Monadnock Speedway