A last-lap bump-and-run move at Monadnock Speedway on Sunday night led to heated words in Victory Lane, as New York native Craig Lutz bumped fan-favorite Les Hinckley out of the way to win the Tri-Track Open Modified Series season opener.
Hinckley lead the race until turn three on the final lap and appeared to be on the way to his first Tri-Track victory. Lutz, who worked his way up from a 22nd starting position, made a last-ditch effort in the final turn, making hard contact with the rear of Hinckley No. 06. Both cars got loose, but Lutz got back to the gas first and beat Hinckley to the line by 0.085 seconds. It was Lutz’s first career Tri-Track Modified win.
“It is what it is,” Lutz said in Victory Lane. “I come here to win races. I came through the consi, started 22nd. It’s not the right way to win, but I’m still standing here in Victory Lane. We’re here to win races, not make friends, so that’s what we did today.”
When asked if he would do the same thing again if given the chance, Lutz’s answer was simple.
“Yeah. I mean I’m still sitting in Victory Lane, that’s all that matters to me.”
But while Lutz was calm and collected in Victory Lane, Hinckley was furious.
“[Lutz] just drove through me on the last lap,” Hinckley said. “Had no other choice, just flat out drove through me. What can you do? He can have the second-place trophy too.”
Hinckley admitted that he knew a bump might have been coming, but he was not prepared for what he ended up receiving.
“[I wasn’t expecting] to get driven through like that. I would have thought maybe he would have taken a shot on the outside. I don’t know what to say. That’s their type of racing. That’s what’s commonplace now. When I grew up, you didn’t do stuff like that, and when you did do it, it came back to you. It won’t happen again to me.”
Hinckley, with support from the fans, threw a few words at Lutz after the race. During his Victory Lane interview, Hinckley overheard Lutz telling the raucous fans, “It is what it is” and responded with, “It ain’t what it ain’t, pal, you’re gonna pay.”
Lutz, unfazed by the jeers from the fans, smiled and simply said, “This is awesome.”
Monadnock weekly racer Ben Byrne, who almost won this race last year, brought his bright green No. 6 home to a third-place finish after leading 31 of the 100 laps. Ron Silk, driving the Bob Horn Racing No. 50S, gained four spots in the last 10 laps to finish fourth. Chase Dowling, after fighting with Hinckley for the lead for more than 20 laps, completed the top five.
A full replay of Sunday’s broadcast on Speed51 can now be viewed by clicking here.
The Tri-Track Open Modifieds will hit the track again later this month, taking on the annual SBM 125 at Star Speedway (NH) on Saturday, July 25.
-Story by: Ian Pettigrew, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51 / Duane Canfield
Tri-Track Open Modified Series Unofficial Results
Monadnock Speedway (NH) – July 5, 2020
Pos. Car No. Driver
1 46 Craig Lutz
2 06 Les Hinckley
3 6x Ben Byrne
4 50 Ron Silk
5 00 Chase Dowling
6 50K Matt Kimball
7 60 Matt Hirschman
8 6 Woody Pitkat
9 25 Ronnie Williams
10 3 Matt Swanson
11 36 Dave Sapienza
12 25NH Brian Robie
13 55 Ryan Doucette
14 4 Jeff Gallup
15 66 Austin Kochenash
16 7 Kurt Vigeant
17 47 Jacob Perry
18 14 Blake Barney
19 12x Andy Jankowiak
20 27 Derek Robbie
21 76 Kirk Alexander
22 1 Joey Cipriano
23 5 Tommy Barrett
24 13x Cameron Sontag
25 92 Anthony Nocella
26 44 Anthony Sesely
27 06MA Sam Rameau
28 15 TJ Bleau