WATCH LIVE: Tri-Track Modifieds at Star
Despite a mid-race folly after leading early in the season-opener at Monadnock Speedway (NH) on May 1, Hinckley managed to recover for a Top 5 finish. Now, he looks to take a solid baseline setup and dial it in this Saturday at Star Speedway (NH), for the 100-lap Prelude to the SBM.
“Overall, it drove good, just the second half of the race it didn’t drive as well as it had in the first half. Then we had all of those late race restarts. The car drove well, it just didn’t play out for us at the end. It was a decent night, but we can definitely be better. We’ve run well at Star for a while now, so I’d expect to have a good package there, and hopefully have a good night,” Hinckley told Speed51.
Hinckley is still looking for his first ever win at the Epping, NH bullring. Despite being snake bitten on more than one occasion, he still considers Star to be one of his favorite tracks, just like the other two tracks of Monadnock and Seekonk Speedway (MA), which make up the Tri-Track calendar.
“The racetracks we go to: Star, Monadnock, and Seekonk. They’re all really good racetracks for me, I haven’t won at Star, but we’ve finished second a bunch of times, and Monadnock and Seekonk we’ve got the wins. The backbone of the series has always been good tracks for me, even back when we went to Waterford. I always look forward to them.”
Ever the racer, Hinckley wishes he had the opportunity to race more throughout New England. But on the other hand, the six-race schedule of the Tri-Track Series works well for his small race team, a major factor in his ability to keep his No. 06 in mix for the win on most occasions.
I’d like to race more, it helps you as a driver the more you race. But I think the time off also gives us time to prepare everything, the way I prepare a car some things might get overlooked or there’s just not time to handle it if you’re racing every week. Seat time always helps, but I’m at the point in my life where if I’m not in a racecar, I’m doing something else. – Les Hinckley
For 2021, the Tri-Track Open Modified Series is designating a competition yellow flag, which allows teams to come down pit road, perform service, and go out in the same order they entered, minus any drivers that remain on-track of whom will be scored ahead of the cars that pitted.
Despite this, a yellow flag prior to the competition yellow brought the entire field to the pits in the previous round at Monadnock. But, the teams were not locked in order, with order ultimately being determined by who rejoined the track first. Should this happen again on Saturday, Hinckley believes this will play a hand in the outcome of the race once again.
“The way it played out at Monadnock, the way cautions fell before what would’ve been the competition caution, it made sense to come in and get your stuff done. Then, if the guys that chose not to inherited the lead then would’ve come in on the competition caution, they were going to restart behind you anyways. You got to be quick on your feet, that’s for sure. When the caution flies it can change the makeup of a race, and it can certainly provide advantages or disadvantages.”
Though it may be the second race of the Tri-Track schedule, the six-race length keeps the championship talk constant all the way through the season. But not for Hinckley, who’s strictly gunning for race wins.
“There’s so few races, with it only being six, that if you have one bad finish it’s almost impossible to overcome. I’ve been racing so long, I was fortunate to win a championship with the Pro Stock at Monadnock, and finish second a couple of times with the Modified. We just want to go out there and wins some races, then just let the points fall where they may. I don’t get wrapped up in it anymore.”
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51