Lee, NH – The David’s Race Cars and Components NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Hobby Stocks took center stage once again at Lee USA Speedway on Friday night, running a special 47-lap main event honoring the career of longtime competitor Johnny Durant, who raced to the championship in the Hobbies 25 years ago in the 1992 season.
The now-retired champ shared the flagstand with starter Steve Gran to drop the green flag on the extra-distance run, with Lebanon, ME driver Jake Michaud breaking out to the early lead. Michaud set the pace through a couple of early-race caution periods, and he stayed out front through lap 14.
Another Lebanon-based racer, former two-time champ Patrick Tanguay took over the lead at that point, and he was the man to beat the rest of the way. Paul Palen of Pelham gave chase for the next several laps, but he was unable to get past the tough Tanguay.
With the laps winding down, yet another Lebanon driver entered the battle up front, as 2009 champion Jim Shorey knocked Palen back a spot and put in his bid for the $1,000+ winner’s share of the purse. Tanguay held off everything Shorey threw at him, and when the checkers waved, he rolled to victory lane for the third time this season.
Shorey’s late-season debut netted him a solid runner-up finish, with Palen rounding out the podium in third. Points leader Boe Green of Berwick, ME checkered fourth, followed by Brian DeStefano of Tewksbury, MA, Ryan Green of Berwick, ME, Adam Lovejoy of Alfred, ME, Michaud, Torrey Kovalesky of Atkinson, and Jay Avery of Barrington.
The R & R “The Tool Store and More” Late Model Sportsman feature went green with 2003 Street Stock champ Mike Marshall of Hudson taking the early lead, and he held the point for some ten laps before giving up the top spot to 2016’s top rookie in the LMS, Kris Miller of Bedford.
A multi-car incident on lap 13 regrouped the field for a restart, and when racing resumed, points leader Frankie Eldredge of Exeter wasted little time making his way past Miller to claim the top spot. Eldredge was in control from there, rolling on to post his third win of the 2017 campaign.
Miller held on to collect the second place trophy, with defending LMS champion Jimmy Russell of Exeter rebounding from some early-race trouble to finish third. Jay Sands of Hampton checkered fourth, with Bill Helliwell of Salem, Bryan Kruczek of Newmarket, Nate Leavitt of Buxton, ME, Bobby Melvin of Groton, MA, and Steve Paquette of North Hampton rounding out the top ten.
2013 champ Travis Hollins of Milford ran out to the early lead in the “Harvest 200” Tri City Line-X Ironman main, but Seabrook’s Adam Knowles quickly moved in to challenge, and just as quickly moved past to take over to point. Despite leading the division in top five finishes this season, Knowles had yet to visit victory lane and was still looking for win number one on the season.
A lap 12 caution for an incident that saw David “Rowdy” Smart of Exeter lose a bout with the turn four wall reset the field for a restart, with three-time winner James Witkum of Methuen and his teammate, Jeff Battle of Westford, MA lining up to challenge Knowles at the head of the field for the restart.
The pair pressured the leader for the next few laps, but subsequent contact between the teammates saw Battle bounce off the frontstretch wall, and Witkum slide through the wet infield grass, losing several positions in the process.
Meanwhile, Knowles was hitting his marks every lap, and he pulled away from the pack in the late going to finally break the ice and post his first feature win of the 2017 campaign. Hollins rebounded to finish second, with Shane Horvath of Northwood coming home with a solid third place run.
After a win in his heat race, Hollins’ runner-up finish in the feature cut into Christin DeStefano’s point lead with just one race left in the 2017 championship chase. Three-time winner DeStefano of Tewksbury, MA scored a fourth place finish on the night, with Somersworth’s Jamie Holland, Randy Washburn of Farmington, Austin Elliott of Rochester, Shawn Baker of Rochester, Gary Grenier of Lebanon, ME, and Witkum finishing up the top ten.
The MLM Diagnostics Pure Stocks moved one step closer to deciding their 2017 championship, with 2015 champ Jesse Tellier of Dracut putting in another impressive run aboard the Rob Carleton entry to collect his second feature win of the 2017 season.
Epping’s Anthony Nadeau posted a runner-up finish, with point leader Tyler Mailhot of Epping third across the stripe. Rookie contender Jaden Curtis of Buxton, ME ended up fourth, with Jessica Michaud of Lebanon, ME rounding out the top five.
Next up at Lee USA is the final Friday night event of the season on September 15, featuring the final points races for the weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Sportsman, Hobby Stocks, Ironman and Pure Stock divisions with the 2017 championships on the line.