Claremont, NH. – Who says home field advantage doesn’t apply in short track racing. It did for Mike Willis Jr Friday night, as the Grantham New Hampshire driver, notched his first Valenti Modified Racing Series victory at Claremont Motorsports Park, Claremont, NH.
Willis previously won at Claremont in a Tri-Track Series event. The VMRS win
Willis has been chasing the last four seasons. It finally came together in front of the hometown crowd.
“ It’s always good to win here and I love coming to this track I really want to win at another track to show we can win besides home but I’ll take what I can get.” said a smiling Willis.
Willis added, “the car was great and I was thinking on lap-40 the cautions not coming out thinking we’re not going to have a good car at the end – it was starting to get real good though getting better and better and when it was go time it was there.”
The victory was bittersweet for the family team headed up by Denis Hardy after a rough outing the week before at Monadnock. Willis reasoned, “after last week some things not my fault- something’s definitely my fault.. this week we were pretty distraught and not racing this week at all and Dad said we’re committed and we’re going. We worked hard all week … the crew worked hard.
Willis started on the pole in the Spirit of Alaska/Maurice Enterprise/Legacy Landscaping # 83 thanks to winning his heat race, and led the opening seven laps when Kirk Alexander took the lead briefly. .Claremont’s Jeff Murray, making his first start this season, took command on lap-10 and led for 70-laps when Willis slipped by on the outside and pulled away from the field.
Willis was followed by a persistent Woody Pitkat, of Bellingham, MA, who finished second followed by Matt Swanson, of Acton, MA in the Gary Casella #25 who made a late race charge. Sunapee NH’s Brian Robie checkered fourth, with Kirk Alexander, of W. Swanzey, NH.
Murray, Mike Douglas Jr, CJ Bolton, Donnie Lashua, Dylan Rock, and Cam Sontag
rounded out the field of eleven starters.
Willis joins Chase Dowling, Jeff Gallup, and Ronnie Williams as first time series winners
Only two minor caution flags were displayed on laps 49 & 51. The race was completed in 28 minutes.
The next event for the Valenti Modified Racing Series is Saturday June 22, and Sunday June 23, at the 3rd annual New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.