(Epping, NH)- Former Modified Racing Series Champion Anthony Nocella, unsure if his car would be ready to compete, surprisingly rolled into Star Speedway on Sunday morning and ended up winning the 100-lap MRS race at the Epping, NH, race track.
The win was the 15th MRS victory for the 28-year old driver from Woburn, Mass.
Nocella started the race 13th in a 23-car field. He took the lead on a lap-71 restart from pole-sitter Kevin Iannarelli who was the car to beat until Nocella made his presence known.
Ayer, Mass, hot-shoe Matt Swanson, started 18th and after making his way to the front finished runner-up.
Ronnie Williams of Ellington, CT, involved in a 5-car skirmish on lap-71, worked his way back through the field to finish third, Matt Kimball, making his first MRS start was fourth, and Iannarelli fifth.
Donnie Lashua, Ryan Doucette, Jacob Perry, Max Zachem, and Kurt Vigeant rounded out the top-10.
New England Race Fuel heat winners were Iannarelli, Lashua, and CJ Bolton.
Race Summary: Star Speedway Epping, NH.
Race# 3 September 20, 2020 Entrants: 23 Distance: 100-laps Lap Leaders: Iannarelli, Nocella
Cautions: (3) Laps 15, 70, 71 Race Time 37:59:106
Unofficial Order of Finish: (1) Nocella, (2)Swanson, (3)Williams, (4) Kimball, (5) Iannarelli, (6) Lashua, (7) Doucette, (8) Perry, 9 (Zachem,(10)Vigeant
N. Woodstock, NH — Ellington, CT’s Ronnie Williams and Graniteville, VT’s Stephen Donahue were both standing tall after 100 laps of action at N. Woodstock, NH’s White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday, September 5. Williams won the Honor to Essential Workers 100 for the Modified Racing Series (MRS) while Donahue captured the Leaf Peepers 100 for the Foley Oil & Propane Late Models on Caron Fabrication Night.
Williams earned his first career MRS victory in the first series visit to White Mountain since 2005. Despite a lower car count than what series officials were expecting, the action was hot and heavy for the ground-pounders. West Swanzey, NH’s Kirk Alexander, the winner of the last MRS event at the track, grabbed the early lead off the outside pole. Alexander easily paced the field for the first half of the event while Williams and Bellingham, MA’s Woody Pitkat worked their way through the field.
It was two-time MRS champion Pitkat who turned up the wick first, making a three-wide move around a lapped car entering turn three to snatch the runner-up spot on lap 49. Four circuits later, the event’s first caution flag flew for Brett Meservey’s turn-four spin. Alexander chose the outside lane for the restart, but it was Pitkat making the inside work as he motored to the lead.
The second and final caution came out on lap 60 when Bill Dixon and Josh Zentek tangled in the third turn. Pitkat decided to stay with the low groove and fended off a charge by Alexander on the restart with Williams moving into the second spot in the Gary Casella–owned machine.
Williams made his first bid for the lead on lap 63, looking underneath Pitkat on the back chute. Pitkat swatted away that attempt, but Williams gave it another try three laps later and this time made it stick. The two were almost dead even coming across the line to complete the 67th lap with Williams taking control one go-around later. Pitkat made a late try to get him back in lapped traffic, but the Stafford Motor Speedway regular put the hammer down and motored to a breakthrough win.
Alexander, the winningest driver in MRS history, ended up third. Kevin Iannarelli, Meservey, Donnie Lashua, Jeff Gallup, Carl Medeiros Jr., Andy Shaw, and Colby Fournier completed the top-10.
Prior to the Modified shootout, Stephen Donahue also carried the checkered flag after 100 laps in the Foley Oil & Propane Late Model main event. Donahue started 11th, and after going up and down like a yo-yo early, the youngster found some room to work, inheriting the third position on lap 55 when Matthew Morrill spun out of that spot with a flat tire to draw the fourth caution.
The incident erased a big lead for Monroe, NH’s Oren Remick, and after another yellow on lap 58, Donahue snagged the second position from Jeff Marshall. Donahue got two cracks at Remick following cautions on lap 67 and 76, respectively, but couldn’t complete the pass either time. The third time was the charm, though, as Donahue made the inside groove work on a lap-83 restart and parried both Remick and Marshall over the final laps for the victory.
Gilman, VT’s Marshall also got around Remick with three laps remaining to take second. Quinny Welch finished fourth while point leader Stacy Cahoon took fifth. Remick and Welch made big gains on Cahoon by qualifying for the semi-feature earlier in the night, tightening up the championship battle considerable with two events to go. Joel Hodgdon, Andy Hill, Michael Bailey, Jimmy Renfrew, and Jerry Lesage completed the top-10.
Hardwick, VT’s Jaden Perry sped to his second win of the season in the Wells River Chevrolet Flying Tigers. The number-two point driver started fifth for the 34-lap feature and didn’t need long to find the front. Perry grabbed two spots right away when front-row starters Jody Sicard and Michael Potter got together as they completed the first lap.
The contact sent Sicard spinning into turn one and sent both drivers to the rear. Third-place starter Amanda Wheeler then went to the pits under the caution flag, moving Perry into the second spot behind Laci Potter. Potter chose the high side for the restart, but Perry easily drove away on the bottom and sped off for the win.
Point leader Shane Sicard of Barton, VT sliced his way through the field from the ninth starting spot to take second from Ryan Ware with 10 laps to go. However, he could not gain on his championship rival and settled for second. Ware took third with Matthew Potter fourth and Jody Sicard recovering for fifth. Michael Clark, Kasey Beattie, Laci Potter, Wheeler, and Michael Potter rounded out the top-10.
Littleton, NH’s Todd Derrington followed up a second-place finish last time out with his first-ever win in the Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank Strictly Stock Mini’s. Derrington started outside pole for the 25-lap feature and had already flew past Jillian Baumgardner before the field even reached the second turn. He then roared away as the field duked it out behind him, enjoying the best view to every battle as he earned the center spot on the podium in a caution-free race.
Waterford, VT’s Joe Giddings held off charges from Passumpsic, VT’s Jamie Ball and St. Johnsbury, VT’s Gavin McGinnis to post his best result of the year with a second-place finish. Jack Hayes, point leader Brett Jackson, Les Washburn, Dustin Jackson, Adam Sicard, and Tyler Thompson also came home in the top-10.
St. Johnsbury, VT’s Colby Bourgeois already had the fastest vehicle in the 7-Eleven Dwarf Car division — and on Saturday night, he got some good fortune as well to capture his fourth straight win. Bourgeois had quickly charged from deep in the field to the runner-up spot, but was unable to get around leader Tommy Smithers. As the laps wound down in the 25-lap feature, veterans “Downtown” Bobby Brown and Jason Wyman joined the fray to make it a four-car fight.
Coming down the backstretch with five circuits to go, Brown and Bourgeois split Smithers, with Brown diving low and Bourgeois going high. Brown’s stay on the point lasted less than half a lap though as his #27 broke loose off turn four and spun down the front chute. The lap was ruled to be completed before the caution flag flew, giving Bourgeois the lead. After a dust-up back in the pack on the restart, Bourgeois easily pulled away over the final circuits for yet another win.
Gilmanton, NH’s Smithers took second with Campton, NH’s Dave Gyger sneaking into the third spot. Wyman ended up fourth while Brown flew from last to fifth in the closing sprint. Jeff Ainsworth, Chad Dufour, Howie Switser, Derrick Marsan, and Jeremy LeBrecque finished sixth through 10th.
White Mountain Motorsports Park is back in action Saturday, September 12 at 6:00pm with a full card of action. The Wells River Chevrolet Flying Tigers go 75 laps in the finale of the Jon Parks Tractor Triple Crown Series. Saturday is also the annual 50-lap special for the Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank Strictly Stock Mini’s. The Foley Oil & Propane Late Models, Dads 4 By Tool & Supply Kids Trucks, and New England Antique Racers round out the program. Admission is just $12 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6-12, and $25 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids).
N. Woodstock, NH — For the first time in 15 years, the thunder of the Modified Racing Series (MRS) is coming to White Mountain Motorsports Park. The long-running New England–based Modified tour arrives in N. Woodstock, NH this Saturday, September 5 at 6:00pm for the Honor to Essential Workers 100 as part of a holiday extravaganza presented by Caron Fabrication.
MRS officials are expecting a field of more than 25 cars for the long-awaited event. With household names such as Anthony Nocella, Woody Pitkat, Todd Owen, Richard Savary, and Ronnie Williams expected in attendance, it will be a big Labor Day Saturday whether fans are watching in the beautiful North Country or from the comfort of home on the Northeast Sports Network.
Saturday’s event is the first MRS visit to White Mountain since the 2005. The Modified Racing Series was founded in 2004 and made four trips to the track in its first two years — including both Labor Day dates. Now the pleas of drivers and fans have been answered with the renewal of that tradition.
Several competitors anticipated this weekend already have experience at White Mountain. Woburn, MA’s Anthony Nocella and Bellingham, MA’s Woody Pitkat, two former MRS champions, started both NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events this year and ran the Bullring Bash event in 2019 with Nocella winning the latter. Pitkat made two starts in an American-Canadian Tour Late Model this year as well.
Still, it is too early to declare either the frontrunner. Six-time MRS winner Richard Savary of Holbrook, MA was a contender in the final laps of the Bullring Bash event. Ellington, CT’s Ronnie Williams won MRS features last year in at three different tracks and will try to put another notch in his belt.
Other former winners expected include Millis, MA’s Tommy Barrett, Feeding Hill, CT’s Jeff Gallup, and Auburn, NH’s Mike Douglas Jr. Series officials also say perennial Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified contender Todd Owen of Somers, CT is making the trip north. A full list of expected drivers can be found at www.themodifiedracingseries.com.
The Honor to Essential Workers 100 is part of “Twin 100s” with the Foley Oil & Propane Late Models. The Leaf Peepers 100 has become another late-summer tradition and arrives as the year-long “King of the Mountain” championship chase enters the stretch drive.
With three point-counting events left, a pair of White Mountain titans are going at it for the title. Five-time champion Stacy Cahoon of St. Johnsbury, VT snapped a two-plus year winless drought last time out. In doing so, he put himself in position to nab a sixth championship. Cahoon is 13 points ahead of eight-time champion Quinny Welch. Groveton, NH’s Welch has yet to win a race this year but leads the division with seven top-5 finishes.
Not far behind are Monroe, NH’s Oren Remick and South Barre, VT’s Mike “Beetle” Bailey. Remick has won countless races at White Mountain over the years but is still searching for his first championship. Bailey, like Cahoon, recently broke a long winless streak and could be a dark horse in the battle. Craftsbury Common, VT’s Joel Hodgdon completes the top-5.
Saturday’s program also includes championship action for the Wells River Chevrolet Flying Tigers, Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank Strictly Stock Mini’s, and 7-Eleven Dwarf Cars. Barton, VT’s Shane Sicard is in the catbird seat for his third straight Flying Tiger championship. The four-time 2020 winner has a 24-point lead over Hardwick, VT’s Jaden Perry. Rookie Kasey Beattie of St. Johnsbury, VT, who is the only driver to finish in the top-10 at every event, sits third.
The experience of Bethlehem, NH’s Brett Jackson continues to lead the youth of Littleton, NH’s Tyler Thompson in the Strictly Stock Mini’s. Jackson has finished in the top-5 at all nine point-counting events, giving him a 13-point edge over Thompson. St. Johnsbury, VT’s Colby Bourgeois has been unstoppable in the Dwarf Cars and leads teammate Jason Wyman after three straight victories.
White Mountain Motorsports Park celebrates Labor Day this Saturday, September 5 at 6:00pm with Twin 100s. Both the Modified Racing Series and the Foley Oil & Propane Late Models have 100-lap main events presented by Caron Fabrication along with a full card for the Wells River Chevrolet Flying Tigers, Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank Strictly Stock Mini’s, and 7-Eleven Dwarf Cars.
The front gates open at 3:30pm. Admission is $20 for adults and $5 for kids ages 12 and under. A $25 live pay-per-view broadcast is also available on the Northeast Sports Network at www.NSNsports.net.