WINCHESTER — Time was the prevailing theme for Matco Tools Night at Monadnock Speedway Saturday. Pick your “time” — first time, multiple or family time. They all were in play.
The Modified Racing Series was the featured division with a 100-lap main event with Ronnie Williams coming on strong late in the race to take the checkered flag.
After a lap-two caution at the start, the field settled in for some hotly contested racing. By lap 25, Ben Byrne of Greenfield, Mass., making his first series start, had moved into first place. On lap 68 he gave way to Troy driver TJ Bleau. Six laps later, Williams, of Ellington, Conn., moved to the top of the field with Byrne and Swanzey’s Kirk Alexander in second and third.
The final 21 laps were slowed by six cautions, the final one coming on lap 100 because of a multiple car wreck entering turn one. On the green-white-checker restart, Williams prevailed for his first win at Monadnock. Alexander held on for second with Cameron Sontag of Sterling, Mass., collecting third.
Byrne tuned up for his strong run by getting his first win of the season in the Sportsman Modified 50-lap main. Byrne grabbed the lead on lap six from Tyler Jarvenpaa of Whately, Mass. From there it was a matter of surviving challenges on four restarts. Second finisher was last week’s winner, Joel Monahan of Whately, Mass. Opening-night winner Brian Robie of Sunapee came home third.
The 25-lap Late Model Sportsman main was a battle of the unbeatens. The spotlight was on two-time Monadnock winner Solomon Brow and five-time Claremont Motorsport Park winner Aaron Fellows. Since it takes three weeks before the handicapping system can determine feature starting positions, Brow was the pole-sitter by virtue of winning his heat race. Fellows started fourth.
Brow took the lead at the drop of the green. Fellows broke out of the pack and quickly moved to second. That was far as he got. The race went green to checkers. Brow took his third win in a row this year. Fellows was second and said he’d be back to try again. Coming out semi-retirement for third place was former champion Shawn Stone of Montague, Mass.
Three of the night’s other four features fell into the family-time category. The 25-lap Street Stock event also crossed over into the first-time category. David Greenslit of Claremont took the lead on the green flag and looked to be settling in for his second win in two Street Stock races with a strong challenge from Ed LoFland of Belchertown, Mass.
A lap 19 caution put the two side by side for the restart, and barely a lap later the two cars tangled in turn four. The resulting crash took out three of the top five cars. When the restart field was set, brothers Jaret and Chase Curtis of Rutland, Mass., started side by side with their father, Chris, third. With a lap to go Chase squeezed by his brother and rolled into victory lane with Jaret and Chris rounding out the top three. It marks the first time in Monadnock Speedway history that three members of the same family shared the podium.
Setting the stage for the Chase family trifecta was the Mini Stock 25-lap finale. Opening-day winner Louie Maher of Baldwinville, Mass., held the lead for the first 21 circuits. On lap 22, mini stock rookie Nate Wenzel of Granby, Mass., slipped by for first and before Maher could recover, first-time visitor Andrew Harmon of Farmington and Nate’s older brother, Tim, from Agawam, Mass., moved by and ran the final three laps to the end.
Chris Davis of Swanzey won the Pure Stock feature, but not before a strong challenge over the first 22 laps from Erin Aikens of Claremont. Aikens car developed handling issues, allowing rookie Cooper Roberge of Milford to move into second behind Davis. Davis won for the second time. Roberge was second in his first running in Pure Stocks; Aikens held on for third.
The Young Guns event saw Jake Puchalski win for the second time. Puchalski credited his father and grandfather for keeping his car competitive.
The Street Stock division is one of two divisions among the five New Hampshire Short Track Racing Association speedways that is involved with the “Battle of the Belts.” It’s six races across five tracks with the overall winner taking home a WWE-style championship belt. The Mini Stock division is the other class to participate.
The Street Stocks 50-lap Battle of the Belts challenge headlines Saturday’s program at Monadnock, along with the NASCAR Whelen All-American racing divisions and the New England Truck Series. Start time for qualifying is 6 p.m.