photo by Rich Hayes

photo by Rich Hayes

Lee, NH – Lee USA Speedway celebrated “Kid’s Back to School Night” on Friday, and it was a homecoming party for former multi-time champ Tommy Tombarello, Jr., who made his 2016 debut with a sweep, winning both his heat and the feature event to once again stake his claim to the king’s throne in the EKeys4cars Supermodifieds.

Haverhill, MA’s Tombarello has been on the sidelines since a season-ending crash finished his 2015 championship campaign with a hard trip into the unforgiving Lee USA concrete, but his return to action reminded everybody in the house that he’s the man to beat.

Journeyman chauffer Mike Netishen of Auburn set the pace for the first several laps of the main, coming off a tough run a week earlier that saw engine issues cut his night short early in the feature event. This week, Netishen led the way until lap 17, when Tombarello made has way past, looking to regain his winning form.

Kyle Sawyer of Kingston had been giving chase to early leader Netishen, and he followed Tombarello past Netishen to the front, taking over second on lap 19, in a race that everybody thought was a done deal once Tombarello got to the front. Tommy “The Terror” continued to lead the way over the second half of the race, with Sawyer nipping at his heels all the way.

With the white flag in the air, Sawyer looked to the low side and pulled alongside the leader at the stripe but he couldn’t make it stick, with Tombarello moving back ahead as the checkers waved. Two-time 2016 winner Sawyer took a hard-earned runner-up finish, with Netishen rounding out the podium in third followed by 2015 Rookie of the Year Mike Keddy of Raymond and Moe Lattime of Kingston.

Newmarket’s Bryan Kruczek topped the R&R Public Wholesale “The Tool Store and More” Late Model Sportsman feature event, running off to yet another feature win aboard the Brian House-owned, A Family Cab-sponsored ride. Second-generation racer George Helliwell came home second, with veteran Bobby Melvin filling out the podium in third.

Fourth went to 2015 champ Jay Sands of Hampton, followed by Exeter’s Jimmy Russell, Nate Leavitt of Buxton, ME, Geoff Rollins of Groton, MA, Kris Miller of Bedford, Grant Aither of Exeter, and Ray Dinsmore of Waterboro, ME.
The David’s Race Cars and Components Hobby Stocks saw Jim Piaseczny of Epsom, take down his second win of the season in dominating fashion, running off to win by a straightaway over the father/son duo of Ryan and Boe Green.

The Greens, both former champions at Lee USA, took down the remainder of the podium positions, followed by second-generation racer Zac Fraser of Nottingham, Patrick Tanguay of Lebanon, ME, Dylan Bilodeau of Fremont, Jake Michaud of Lebanon, ME, Pelham’s Paul Palen, Brian DeStefano of Tewksbury, MA, and Eric Hoffman of Newmarket.

2014 champ Travis Hollins of Milford finally shook the monkey off his back and found his way to victory lane in the Tri-City Line-X Ironman feature event, outrunning points leader Ryan Pitkin of Lee, Jamie Holland, Adam Knowles of Seabrook, Chris Howard of Lee, James Witkum of Methuen, MA, Zach Washburn, Ryan Washburn, Jesse Tellier of Derry, and Kaycie Kustra of Lee.

Points leader Tyler Mailhot of Epping scored yet another Pure Stock win, with 2015 Rookie of the year Rob Carleton second and two-time 2016 winner Danielle Evans of Berwick, ME rounding out the podium in third. Rick Eastman and Dewight Pickard took the Senior Tour Auto Racers (STAR) checkers.

Next up at Lee USA it’s 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship Night on Friday, September 9, featuring the final feature events for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series EKeys4cars Supermodifieds, R & R Public Wholesale Late Model Sportsmen, David’s Race Cars and Components Hobby Stocks, Tri-City Line-X Ironman, and MLM Diagnostics Pure Stocks.