(Editor’s Note: ‘The Rapsheet’ is a new feature on Speed51.com, telling the background of certain personalities within the sport of short track racing. This will be a recurring feature on Speed51.com, giving fans the dirt on the new, the old, and even the forgotten personalities of short track racing.)
On a night that featured the top Super Late Model touring stars in the Northeast, it was a local boy visiting victory lane at Lee USA Speedway (NH) last Friday night. Derry, New Hampshire’s Joe Squegila – who had only recorded one previous top-five finish in 18 Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North starts – shocked the touring series stars by winning the 150-lap race.
For Squeglia, the journey to winning his first Super Late Model touring series event wasn’t an easy one. The 46-year-old racer began racing Super Late Models at the turn of the century in 1999. He competed at local tracks such as Lee, as well as nearby Star Speedway (NH) and Hudson International Speedway (NH).
While he experienced success at the local ranks, he could never hit the nail on the head when the touring series was in town. That was until Friday night when he led over 75-percent of the race at the 3/8-mile New Hampshire oval.
“It has (been a bumpy road); it has,” Squeglia told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We’ve always seemed to practice well but just couldn’t put it all together. Just to learn how to race the car for 150 laps is a lot different. You’re saving stuff and saving your tires, but we’re starting to figure it out.”
In recent years, Squeglia’s name has been seen near the top of the speed chart at Super Late Model races throughout the state of New Hampshire. He even led laps in a pair of Granite State Pro Stock Series races at Epping, New Hampshire’s Star Speedway. But the No. 03 team consistently found themselves struggling to be around at the end of the long-distance races.
With the help of a fellow New Hampshire native, Squeglia found the long-run speed he had been looking for on Friday night.
“This is huge for us. We’ve had a tough go of it with this car, and we brought in Jamie Rouleau and Rouleau Racing Product in to help us with the car and crew chief,” he explained. “They built us the shocks and this is all his suspension package, so he’s a big part of our success tonight.”
With the monkey now off of his back, Squeglia will be searching for more Super Late Model success during the summer months. While he doesn’t have the full-time crew that would allow him to race more frequently, he has a dedicated group of local guys that will be traveling with him to events throughout the Granite State.
“We’re going to run the PASS race here again (at Lee) and the other PASS race they have at Star. We’re going to go to White Mountain for the PASS race,” Squeglia. “We’re just picking and choosing different races to run kind of close to home. A lot of the guys have businesses, families and kids, so it’s tough to race every week for us. So we’re just picking the tracks we want to run at.”
Wearing a smile that stretched ear-to-ear on Friday night in Victory Lane, Squeglia hoped that his first win was just a sign of things to come.
“Hopefully we got the monkey off our back and we can continue doing what we’re doing.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com