Craig Lutz was victorious the last time the Tri-Track Open Modified Series took the track at Monadnock Speedway (NH), but it was not without controversy. Lutz will be gunning for another Tri-Track triumph on Saturday, July 25 at Star Speedway.
Before the series’ next event, Lutz joined Speed51’s “The Bullring” to discuss the upcoming race at Star as well as the Monadnock victory.
Lutz passed Les Hinckley on the final lap of the series’ season-opening event at Monadnock Speedway after the two drivers made contact in turns three and four. There has been plenty of debate and discussion since that moment, but one thing is not up for debate – Lutz took the checkered flag and started the Tri-Track season in victory lane.
“A hundred people will give you a hundred opinions about what happened,” Lutz said. “At the end of the day, we were in victory lane. That’s what we go there to race for. I thought we were racing door-to-door to the finish. If that was my perspective, I don’t know how much better it gets than that.”
Regardless of how the last lap played out, Lutz put in a hard night of work just to have a shot at the win. Lutz started 22nd in the feature race and fought his way through the field, capitalizing on several late cautions to put himself in position.
“At the end of the race, everyone is doing what they can to try to move forward. There were two or three restarts at the end, and I moved from seventh to fifth to third. I thought, ‘We have a shot at this.’
“We were able to get a good restart, stay with Les coming off turn two. I thought he had won the race, but then you enter the corner and I don’t know if he thought he had won the race or didn’t know I was that close, but I got under him. I don’t know if I surprised him, but it was a racing deal.”
The event was Lutz’s first with the Tri-Track Modifieds since 2016, when he failed to qualify for a race at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Typically found on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Lutz and his team went to Monadnock just eager for track time during a sporadic racing season created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now with one win under his belt in as many feature appearances with the series, Lutz is eager to compete more with the Tri-Track Modifieds.
“We started the whole deal, obviously the NASCAR Tour is our main focus, but I have an awesome car owner and he wants to race every race possible. We started with the Tri-Track and won a race there, so we just keep going. I’ve never been to Star, so I’m looking forward to going there.”
Saturday’s race will be Lutz’s first at Star Speedway, giving him his first exposure to the New Hampshire quarter-mile. Lutz is confident that he and his team will adapt quickly to the venue.
“Luckily, I have an awesome group of guys behind me and they prepare awesome race cars. Being able to work with Robbie Fuller with LFR and get all of his support. You just go to each track. After 20 or 30 laps of practice, as a driver, if you don’t figure it out, I don’t know if you will until during the race.
“That’s the kind of racing I’ve always done. I’ve been with my dad, traveling like Justin Bonsignore and the guys who run up front, we ran go-karts all across the country. It’s just another race track.”
Of course, winning at another New Hampshire quarter-mile to start the month also gives Lutz confidence.
“It seems like all the tracks Tri-Track goes to is the quarter-mile bullring racing. It’s going to be tight racing, and you have to be on your game.”
Fans who missed Lutz’s interview on The Bullring can click hereto listen to the show in its entirety.
Fans can also watch Lutz and the Tri-Track Open Modified Series in action live on Speed51 Saturday as part of Summer Thunder TV. Click here to become a Speed51 premium subscriber and watch Saturday’s race.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo