History was made multiple times in central New Hampshire Sunday for the Texas Roadhouse North East Mini Stock Tour presented by Twisted Tea. The largest starting field ever for the young series assembled in the infield of New Hampshire Motor Speedway over the course of the weekend. As cars arrived they went through a vigorous safety inspection to make sure the cars were prepared for the up to 130 MPH speeds they were going to run.
Sunday morning the cars rolled from pit road and began to pace around the one mile NASCAR oval housed within the NHMS facility. After 3-4 pace laps the cars were allowed to turn up the speed and start laying down fast laps. During the 30 minute practice session multiple cars pit to make adjustments and go back out to try again. The cars were running an average speed of 110 MPH around the 12-degree banked track.
As noon rolled around so did the 45 European Style Qualifying Session which would have a live pit road and a maximum of 20 cars on the track at one time. Cars made longer runs early on to check and see if fuel would be an issue during the 25 lap scheduled feature later on. Justin Larsen set a fast time early of 36.238 seconds which held on until about 3 minutes remaining in the session. Multiple cars including Toby Wells came in the pits and bolted on fresh tires as well as taping up the nose of the cars for maximum downforce. Wells was able to snipe Larsen’s time with a 36.177.
The field was set and rolled onto the track at 5:15 PM for a 36 car 25 lap Main Event of the day. Justin Larsen and Nick Maniatis would lead the field down to the green flag starting the legendary event. Maniatis would break to the early lead but Larsen was able to fight back with 2 laps and take back over the top spot. A caution on lap 3 for the stalled car of Jake Rheaume of the backstretch reset the field for another attempt at a two by two start.
On the restart Maniatis and Larsen once again raced side by side for 2 laps until Larsen got the jump and tried to run away. Over the next 10 laps Wells would be on a mission picking off cars one by one on his way towards the front. Larsen would build a 20 car length lead over Maniatis. Wells took over the number 2 spot with 11 circuits remaining and began to chase down Larsen. It was noticeable Wells was lacking horsepower on the straights and had to keep his momentum through the corners approaching lapped traffic.
With 4 laps remaining Wells caught Larsen and they both began negotiating traffic. Larsen slid his line slightly in front of Wells to hold off the 4-time 2014 winner and point leader. Larsen used a lapped car for a pick once and fought off a charge from Wells once high and once low. Coming out of turn 4 on the final lap Larsen edged Wells by .307 seconds to take down his first NEMST victory. Nick Maniatis, Justin King, and Emerson Cayer rounded out the top 5 for the Inaugural Magic Mile event.
A very emotional victory lane showed Larsen joined with family, friends, and fellow competitors to celebrate his victory on the largest oval racing facility in New England. Please join the NEMST for their next event at Wiscasset Speedway on August 23rd. The Wiscasset event is the NEMST Homecoming and the only stop in the Pine Tree State for the 2014 series. A $750 to win and $3500 overall payout will be sure to attract cars from all over New England to Maine’s Fastest Oval!
Check out www.northeastministocktour.com for additional information or Like the Facebook page for the most up to the minute updates!
NHMS Bonus Awards:
Thirty Racewear Fastest Qualifier: Toby Wells (36.177s)
RH2Way Longest Traveler: Gene Purvis (353mi)
ARBodies Best Appearing Car: 2ME Rob Greenleaf
Speedway Motors Worst Appearing Car: 10CT Mitch Bombard
Mike Harnish Most Positions Gained: 2X Butch Keene
Stan Mertz Highest Non-tour Car: 9 George Fortin
Stan Mertz Dedication Awards: Erica Page, Beth Adams, Bruce Knowles, Jake Rheaume
Sunoco Race Fuels Winners Circle: Justin Larsen
Twisted Tea Brew of the Race: Desmond Skillings
-Northeast Mini Stock Tour Press Release. Photo Credit: NEMST