Lee, NH – The vintage racers of the Senior Tour Auto Racers joined the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly regulars at Lee USA Speedway on Friday night, with Skip Stearns of Londonderry (Sportsman) and Maine legend Bobby Turner (Modified) taking down the wins in the first of two 2015 visits by STAR to “New Hampshire‘s Center of Speed“.
The Northeast Classic Lites also joined the action, with C.J. McLaughlin scoring his first career win in their main event. Jim Ayotte grabbed a career-best runner-up finish behind McLaughlin, with Dave Helliwell, Jon Fultz, Kevin Merryfield, Ed Gilman, Duane Skofield, Eric Skofield, Joe Janeiro, and Dan Poliquin rounding out the top ten.
The EKeys4cars Supermodifieds saw another new face roll into victory lane, as second-generation racer Mike Ordway, Jr. of Fremont grabbed his first checkered flag of the 2015 campaign. It was just the second feature event since the 2005 Super champ took over the driving duties in the Witkum Brothers Racing entry.
Moe Lattime of Kingston had grabbed the early lead when flagman Bryon Callen let them loose, but he got tangled up with Lance Barthelemy on lap four and took a hard trip into the concrete retaining wall to end his night on the business end of a wrecker. Barthelemy was also sidelined as a result of the crash.
Northfield’s Leslie Keyser picked up the lead when racing resumed, and he remained out front as the field reached the halfway mark of the 40-lap run. Ordway was up from sixth on the grid to run second at the crossed flags, with Tommy Tombarello, Jr. of Haverhill, MA advancing from eighth at the initial green to hold down the third spot.
Four laps later, Ordway saw an opening on the low side coming off turn four, and he ducked to the inside of Keyser and came away with the lead. He was on cruise control from there, opening up a 2.5 second cushion as the checkers waved over his first win of the season.
Keyser closed the night with runner-up honors, with Tombarello, Kyle Sawyer of Kingston, Rochester’s Mike Spurling, Mike Murphy of Groveland, MA, Dave Sanborn of Tilton, Artie Rousseau of Ipswich, MA, Jim Barker, and Mike Keddy rounding out the top ten.
Side-by-side racing for the lead was the order of business from start to finish in the R&R “The Tool Store and More” Late Model Sportsman main event, with Mark Parenteau of Groveland, MA and Ray Dinsmore of Alfred, ME battling door to door for the first several laps.
Dinsmore eventually prevailed in that battle, but he was soon under attack from Nate Leavitt, a relative newcomer to Lee who was looking for his first-ever Lee win. Leavitt won the battle with Dinsmore, but the war was far from over, as 2014 points runner-up Geoff Rollins of Groton, MA was quickly up to challenge.
Rollins put his ride to the low side with Leavitt up in the high groove, and the pair ran side by side for the balance of the event. Rollins came close, but with the checkers in the air, Leavitt edged ahead to pick up his first Lee USA win by less than a car length. Rollins settled for second place honors, with Jay Sands of Hampton, Dinsmore, Brentwood’s Jimmy Russell, Frankie Eldridge, George Helliwell, Epping’s Ricky Porter, Parenteau, and Steve Paquette the remainder of the top ten.
David’s Race Cars and Components Hobby Stock action saw 2014 Rookie of the Year Zac Fraser of Nottingham out to the early lead, and the sophomore driver held the point for the first half of the race before losing out to the hard-charging Dennis Dumas of Nashua.
Dumas, the winningest driver in the Hobbies in 2014, eventually pulled away and rolled into victory lane with his first win of the 2014 season. Pelham’s Paul Palen checkered second, with Fraser, Berwick, ME’s Chris Harding, and Jay Avery of Barrington closing out the top five.
Adam Knowles of Seabrook was first out of the gate to lead the Tri-City Line-X Ironman main event, with Tewksbury, MA driver Christin DeStefano right on his back bumper for the first several laps. On lap 13, DeStefano made her move to the front, and she set her sights on victory lane.
Unfortunately, 2013 champion Travis Hollins had other ideas, and he picked his way through the pack to challenge for the lead with the laps winding down. Hollins made the final lead pass of the race, and went on the post his first win of the year.
Opening night winner Troy Washburn, DeStefano, Pure Stock winner Jesse Tellier, 2014 champ Wayne Osborne, Tyler Mitchell, Luke Grammont, Zach Washburn, Greg Brannan, and Ryan Pitkin closed out the top ten.