Hinckley Wins Lee Oktoberfest – Pitkat Takes Point Lead

172936_10150398948535360_6414793_oLee, NH. — Windsor Lock, Connecticut, veteran Les Hinckley III, raced to victory Sunday afternoon at Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH, in that tracks annual presentation of the ‘Oktoberfest 100. The win was Hinckley’s second this season.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series event was contested in two 50-lap races. Hinckley was credited with the overall win by virtue of his third place finish in the first segment, and his first place finish in the second 50-lap sprint.

In the opening race, Woody Pitkat, of Stafford Springs, Connecticut, grabbed the lead from pole-sitter Jon McKennedy and went on to victory. McKennedy settled for second followed by Hinckley, Mike Willis Jr, and Todd Patnode. Sixth through tenth were Dennis Perry, Donnie Lashua, David Schneider, Kevin Ianarelli, and Dylan Kopec.

In the second 50-lap race, Kirk Alexander, of W. Swanzey, NH, took the early lead but when the checkered flag fell, it was Hinckley rolling to victory lane from his 19th starting position, winning his 19th VMRS career race and his fourth at Lee.

Mike Willis Jr. made a great late race charge to finish runner-up with Norm Wrenn, Pitkat’ and McKennedy, rounding out the top five.
Keith Rocco, Alexander, Schneider, Todd Szegedy, and Donnie Lashua, completed the top ten.

Hinckley was declared the overall winner while Pitkat regained the lead
in the point standings. Pitkat is now 7-points (450-443) ahead of Chris Pasteryak, who led by 21-points going into the weekend.

The final race of the year is at this weekend’s annual World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, Thompson, CT. Qualifying takes place on Friday, October 16, with 50-lap season ending feature on Saturday, October 17.
Race Summary:
Race #1
Margin of Victory: 1.027
Average Speed: 41.923
Best Speed: 89.038 Rowan Pennink (# 25)
Best Lap Time: 15.162

Race Summary:
Race # 2
Margin of Victory: 0.339
Average Speed: 48.183
Best Speed: 88.752 Les Hinckley III (06)
Best Lap Time: 15.211
Unofficial Order Of Finish: (1) Hinckley, (2) Pitkat (3) Willis Jr, (4) McKennedy, (5) Wrenn, (6) Schneider, (7) Lashua, (8) Kopec (9) K. Rocco, (10) Seuss, (11) Ianarelli, (12) Alexander, (13) Szegedy (14) Patnode, (15) Perry, (16) Pasteryak, (17) Pennink, (18 Doucette, (19) Swanson, (20) Holdridge, (21) Storace, (93) Sherman, (23) Mead, (24) Medeiros.

Four Track Champions Will be Crowned at Sunoco World Series

75 Logo FINALThe Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing presented by Xtramart at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park is the biggest short track event in the northeast. As a result, winning the event is prestigious to say the least. In each of the 4 weekly divisions it is likely a win this weekend will equate to a track championship.

Xtramart Limited Sportsman

The closest battle is in the Xtramart Limited Sportsman division where two of the best in speedway history are separated by only 2 points or 1 position on the race track. Scott Sundeen is a 3-time track champion and he holds the upper hand over 57-time feature event winner Larry Barnett. If Sundeen wins the title, the two will be tied for the most championships in the division with 4 apiece.

The championship chase could come down to what happens during qualifying on Saturday with such a slim margin between the two. Points are awarded to the top-5 finishers of the heat races. 5 points go to the winner, 4 points to second, and so on through the top-5 meaning the point lead could change hands on Saturday before the green flies for the feature on Sunday afternoon.

Barnett has been absent from victory lane all season, which is a rarity in his career. Sundeen won the 2nd of 2 features on Icebreaker weekend and tallied a win in the most recent event contested. In that race, he was involved in an early incident on track that forced him to come from the back before driving to victory lane.

“I’m sure it will be fun,” said Sundeen. “It’s always a rough race and if it’s anything like last year it is going to be a war out there. I’m not worried about Larry; Whatever happens, happens.”

For Barnett it hasn’t been an easy season mechanically. For one reason or another, mostly voluntary, the engine has been out of his car 6 times and there have been 7 events to date. His season started with a borrowed engine, before he could put his power plant under the hood. Then it was problems with the valves and the camshaft that resulted in starting the process all over again. This weekend Barnett comes in with an entirely new drivetrain that has been untested.

When asked about racing Sundeen for the title, Barnett said “He’s rougher than what some people think and way cleaner than what other people think. He’s not going to give you an inch. We can race pretty cleanly near each other and not give up any extra space.”

Sunoco Modifieds

Woody Pitkat, Keith Rocco, and Ryan Preece are household names not only in modified country, but nationwide for their success at the Connecticut short tracks. It’s no surprise that the Sunoco Modified championship comes down to three of them.

Pitkat has a 14-point advantage over Rocco and 18 tallies over defending champ Preece. Preece has a division high 4 wins this season yet Rocco has momentum on his side coming off two straight victories in the previous two events. Pitkat is still winless so far.

At the end of the 2014 season, Pitkat was left without a ride when his car owner decided not to field an entry at the track. In January, Stan Mertz announced he would turn the reigns of his fledgling Sunoco Modified team over to Pitkat. The move marked a significant step for the racing operation after spending several years in the Pro-4 Modified ranks before dabbling in the more powerful Sunoco Modifieds with Mertz and Max Zachem behind the wheel.  Although the two have yet to visit victory lane at the Big T, the pair have collected 4 runner-up finishes and have had luck on their side.

Mertz’s team is a small team that doesn’t garner the attention as other teams do. They don’t use the same engine builder as most teams, instead they really on power from Norm Perry. Perry works tirelessly on the cars and is a key component to the team’s success.

As for Mertz, he’s been a fan of Pitkat for years. “When I brought Woody on board I knew we would be right in the hunt,” said Mertz. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined my team would be in position to win the championship heading into the World Series.”

Moving up to the Sunoco Modified division has been an eye opener for Mertz, but the little team that could might just be the Cinderella story of 2015.

Pitkat will be chasing 3 modified titles this weekend all in prestigious divisions. Headlined by his quest to become a first time Whelen Modified Tour Champion, he also holds the point lead in the Valenti Modified Racing Series standings.

Each of the title contenders is in the midst of more than one title bout this weekend. Preece is tied for the lead in the Whelen Modified title chase as Rocco is in the running to capture the Late Model title.

Late Model

Rocco trails Brian Tagg by only 7 points with one race remaining. Tagg is no stranger to Thompson after running five seasons in the Thompson Modified division, but this is his rookie season in a late model. Although Rocco has 4 Sunoco Modified crowns at Thompson, this will be his first Late Model championship should he come out on top.

“Rocco has the advantage for being there before, but circumstances dictate everything,” said Tagg. “My attitude is the same. Just get out there and keep going. Keep your head down and focus on us.”

Tagg’s first and only Late Model win came in the second segment of the Dunkin’ Donuts Late Model 20/20 Sprint. Rocco has not gone to victory lane in 2015, but his twin brother Jeff has won 4 of the last 5 events.

“I’ve been there before and I know where I need to be,” said Rocco. “I don’t have to worry about cracking under pressure. In both divisions we are in the same position so I need to go out win the heat race and win the feature and hope the other guys have trouble.”

With full late model fields each week, Jeff Rocco and Rick Gentes both still have an outside chance at the title sitting 29 markers out of the lead. William Wall is 5th trailing by 36 points.

Mini Stock

The mini stock title hunt has come down to a two horse race with Dave Trudeau up 30 points over Scott Michalski. Trudeau is peaking at the right time by capturing victories in the last two events. Michalski on the other hand won 3 of the first 4 races this season including a sweep of two feature events on Icebreaker weekend.

Trudeau brought a brand new car to the track at the start last season, but he elected to park it this year to run “old faithful,” his older but more trusted ride in 2015. That decision along with a move to put Engines by Andy motors under the hood has created the perfect combination.

“I’m trying not to think about it,” said Trudeau. “Everyone has been telling me to keep focused and concentrate. I’m not very patient; I’m aggressive, but if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.”

Should Trudeau win the championship, it will be the first of his career.

Three days of racing action begins for the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing presented by Xtramart on Friday, Oct. 16th and concludes on Sunday, Oct 18th. For more information including the event schedule visitwww.thompsonspeedway.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@thompsonspdwy) and Youtube for the latest news and updates.

COTE WINS THE BATTLE, DACHENHAUSEN WINS THE WAR IN BETHEL FINALE

Bethel LogoBETHEL, NY – John Cote, the 2013 BMS Modified champion at Bethel Motor Speedway, headed into this past weekend’s finale at the quarter-mile asphalt oval as the only competitor mathematically able to challenge Ed Dachenhausen for this year’s title. It was, however, a long shot. With 75 points separating the two heading into the last night and a total of 80 points up for grabs, all Dachenhausen had to do was take the green in each of the twin 25-lap features.
Dachenhausen did more than take the green, though, and Cote certainly gave him a run for his money.
In the first segment race, Cote took the lead on the initial lap, with Dachenhausen right behind him. The two put on a battle for the lead that kept fans on the edges of their seats over the entire race distance. Dachenhausen remained within striking distance of Cote, but was unable to make a successful bid for the lead as Cote drove on to the win over Dachenhausen and Frank James.
Dachenhausen took the lead at the drop of the green in the second segment race, leaving Cote to give chase. The pair continued to test one another lap after lap, until heartbreak struck for Dachenhausen when he experienced engine problems with just six laps to go and he shut the car down and retired from the race. Cote went on to win the second race, with Chris Chirico in second.
Dachenhausen claimed the 2015 BMS Modified title, with Cote second and Blair Culhane third in the final standings.
Jerry Curry was able to officially claim the championship in the 358/Sportsman class after second place rival Kyle Redner was unable to make it to the finale due to a prior obligation to compete during the final Super Dirt Week at Syracuse (NY). Dan Dulin, who headed into the night third in points, had already been mathematically eliminated from the chase for the title.
Mill put on a dominating performance all night, taking the lead from Dulin just past the halfway point of the first race and powering his way to the win over Dulin and Rich Coons. In the second segment race, Mill grabbed the lead on the initial lap and managed to lap the entire field during the caution-free 25-lap affair. Curry was second in that segment, and Dulin was third.
In the final season standings, Curry led the way with an 88-point advantage over Dan Dulin, who took over second in Redner’s absence. Redner wound out the season third in points.
Kenny Atkins secured his first Pro Stock championship, needing only to take the green in both segment races in order to guarantee the title. Atkins, the 2010 Rookie of the Year in the division, finished second in points in the past two seasons.
Ed Butler picked up his seventh win of the season in the first segment race, leading every lap of the caution-free event with Atkins hot on his heels. Larry O’Donnell, driving a car he had just purchased from Atkins, wound up third in the first segment.
Riverhead (NY) Raceway regular CJ Lehmann made his first-ever trip to Bethel worthwhile, as he picked up the win in the second segment race. Lehmann started on the outside pole and wasted no time getting out front. Jim Helt gave chase over the entire race distance but had to be content with second. Butler was third.
In the final tally, Atkins ended the season 63 points ahead of Helt. Rookie Mac Crawson wound up third in the point standings.
In Street Stock action, Walt Henry picked up his fourth win of the season in the first segment race, while Tweeter Pallom won the second segment race. Vinny Stanton Jr. was the overall winner, as Pallom had gone down several laps during the first segment race.
Stanton Jr. led the first 24 laps of the first 25-lap segment race, but Henry was able to get in front by a nose coming to the checkered flag. Stanton Jr. had to be content with second, while Steve Smalley was third to cross the line. In only his second start of the season, Pallom took the lead with just six laps complete in the second segment, leading Stanton Jr. to the line. Smalley collected another third place finish.
Prior to the final night’s events, Gary VanOrden had already secured the 2015 title over his daughter, defending division champion Amber VanOrden. The pair finished the season in a tie in the standings, with the elder VanOrden claiming the title by virtue of ten feature wins, while his daughter recorded four wins. Smalley, in his first full season of competition at Bethel, was third in the final standings.
The points battle in the 4 Cylinder Advanced class literally came down to the final event, as Mike Travis and Dan Curry both entered the night with a mathematical shot to win the title. Curry took down the win in the first segment, gaining 24 points on Travis, who retired from the event early. The tables were reversed in the second segment, as Curry retired early for an overheating issue, while Travis went on to win the race and the division crown. Tim Curry claimed the overall win for the night’s events.
Curry took the lead three laps into the first segment race and drove on to the win over Brian Bauernfeind and Greg Cohen. In the second segment race, Charlie Houghtaling, Ivan Guerra, and T. Curry before Travis grabbed it on the white flag lap to take down the win over T. Curry and Jerry Kingeter.
Travis finished the season 43 markers ahead of D. Curry in the points. Bauernfeind, who was the 2014 4 Cylinder Novice champion, was third in the final standings.
With second-place finishes in each of the two segment races, David Donovan grabbed the title in the 4 Cylinder Novice class. In the first segment, Travis Cogswell took down his first career win. Cogswell took the lead with four laps remaining in the event, and crossed the line ahead of Donovan and Jessey Torrens. James Curry led every lap of the second segment event to claim the victory over Donovan and Cogswell.
Donovan ended the season 79 points ahead of Dan Houghtaling. John Houghtaling was third in the final standings, just six points out of second.
To cap off the night, several members of the track crew took part in a 20-lap officials’ 4 cylinder race. Jonathan McGibbon was scored as the leader for the first 15 laps, although Martin Chevalier was alongside him challenging for the lead for the majority of that time. Over the final laps, McGibbon and Chevalier traded the spot at the line several times, as George Van Arsdall sat in third, waiting for an opportunity to get by. Chevalier took over the top spot for good with two laps remaining and took down the win over McGibbon and Van Arsdall.
Bethel Motor Speedway will close out its 2015 season with the 3rd annual Fall Finale Car Show and Swap Meet this coming Sunday, October 18th. Gates open at 12 noon, with car show judging beginning at 2 pm. Car entry is just $10, with all types of vehicles welcome. There will be a $200 prize for Best in Show. Vendor spots are also available, and vendors are welcome to sell any types of items – from cars and parts to household or even commercial items.
The 2015 awards banquet is slated for Saturday, December 5th. More details on the banquet will be posted in the coming week at www.bethelmotorspeedway.com.
BMS MODIFIED OVERALL FINISH (50 laps): 1. John Cote (New Milford, CT), 2. Chris Chirico, 3. Ed Dachenhausen, 4. Steve Galgano, 5. Frank James. DNS – Robbie Konikowski, Joe DeGracia. SEGMENT WINNERS – John Cote (2).
358/SPORTSMAN OVERALL FINISH (50 laps): 1. Rick Mill (New Windsor, NY), 2. Jerry Curry, 3. Dan Dulin, 4. Rich Coons, 5. Paul Knox. SEGMENT WINNERS – Rick Mill (2).
PRO STOCK OVERALL FINISH (50 laps): 1. CJ Lehmann (Medford, NY), 2. Jim Helt, 3. Ed Butler, 4. Kenny Atkins, 5. Larry O’Donnell, 6. Mac Crawson, 7. Rick Bradley, 8. Glenn Richard, 9. Arthur McArthur. SEGMENT WINNERS – Ed Butler, CJ Lehmann.
STREET STOCK OVERALL FINISH (50 laps): 1. Vinny Stanton Jr. (Jeffersonville, NY), 2. Steve Smalley, 3. Walt Henry, 4. Billy Porter, 5. Tweeter Pallom, 6. Kyle Welsch, 7. Jay Smalley. SEGMENT WINNERS – Walt Henry, Tweeter Pallom.
4 CYLINDER ADVANCED OVERALL FINISH (50 laps): 1. Tim Curry (Liberty, NY), 2. Eddy Lindstadt, 3. Greg Cohen, 4. Walt Henry, 5. Eddy Lindstadt, 6. Brent Shaddock, 7. Charlie Houghtaling, 8. Ivan Guerra, 9. Brian Bauernfeind, 10. Dan Curry, 11. Mike Travis, 12. Charles Hummel Sr., 13. Tasha Curry, 14. Cody Houghtaling, 15. George VanAken. SEGMENT WINNERS – Dan Curry, Mike Travis.
4 CYLINDER NOVICE OVERALL FINISH (50 laps): 1. James Curry (Woodbourne, NY), 2. David Donovan, 3. Travis Cogswell, 4. Jessey Torrens, 5. Lee Cogswell, 6. Austin Zweck, 7. Felicia Reichenbaugh, 8. Johnny Bankich, 9. Charles Hummel Jr., 10. James Sweeney, 11. Dan Houghtaling, 12. James Shields, 13. Keith Unger, 14. John Houghtaling, 15. Dan VanAken.
OFFICIALS’ 4 CYLINDER FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Martin Chevalier (Jeffersonville, NY), 2. Jonathan McGibbon, 3. George Van Arsdall, 4. Ric Ryder, 5. Woody McGibbon, 6. DJ VanWolde, 7. Rob Kachelreiss, 8. Tiffany Cabrera, 9. Brett Hughes, 10. Andrew Van Arsdall.

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