WINCHESTER — After a three-week delay due to wet grounds, rain and construction delays, Monadnock Speedway dropped the green flag on its 49th racing season Saturday night. This year’s season-opening event was the O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Dash 100 featuring, for the first time, The Granite State Pro Stock Series supported by Monadnock’s six NASCAR Whelen All American Racing Series divisions.
As race fans settled into the newly constructed grandstands, they were treated to record-setting round of time trials for the Granite Stock Pro Stocks. Mike O’Sullivan of Springfield, Mass., broke the qualifying record originally set in 1994 and tied last season by two-tenths of a second at 13.019 seconds. O’Sullivan went to win the Spring Dash 100, but not before fans witnessed a dominating performance by Center Conway driver DJ Shaw, who led the race from lap 17 to lap 66 when O’Sullivan took command. Shaw spun out on 72 while in second and had to make a quick pit stop for adjustments. Shaw’s charge to the front after pitting put him back in second place behind race winner O’Sullivan. Joey Doiron of East Walpole, Mass., maintained a quiet top five presence over the second half of the race to capture third.
Monadnock’s premier division, the Sportsman Modifieds, kicked off their first 50 lap main event of the season with a dominating performance by Sunapee's Brian Robie. Robie started second, snagged the lead from pole-sitting Joel Monahan of Whately, Mass., survived five restarts and rolled into victory lane for the win. Todd Patnode of Swanzey overcame a rare spin-out and pit stop, coming back through the field to take second place away from Matt Kimball of Bennington. Kimball finished third. The race was red-flagged on lap 16 when Brian Chapin of Three Rivers, Mass., got caught up in a multiple car incident that sent his racer crashing hard into the retaining wall at the entrance to pit road. The car left on a roll-back. Chapin walked away.
The newly named Late Model Sportsman division, formerly Super Stocks, took the green for 25 laps. Vernon, Vt.’s Solomon Brow jumped off the pole and was never seriously challenged on his way to the win. It was Brow’s fourth consecutive win at Monadnock dating back to the end of the 2018 season. Defending champion Tyler Leary of Hatfield, Mass., rolled into second in defense of his title. Veteran Athol, Mass., driver Dennis Stange took down third place.
The pole was the place to be for Mini Stocker Louie Maher, of Baldwinville, Mass., as he showed the way from green to checkers in the Mini Stock 25-lap feature. Kevin McKnight of Orange, Mass., and Patrick Houle of Vernon, Vt., provided the late-race excitement with a tight battle for second. Houle took the two spot with McKnight third.
David Greenslit of Claremont returned to Monadnock after a five-year absence, to inaugurate the newly named Street Stock division with a win from the pole in that 25-lap event over newcomer Billy Clement of Manchester, N.H. Division regular, Ed LoFland of Belchertown, Mass., took down the third position at the finish.
Rookies dominated the former Lightning stock division, renamed Pure Stocks. Three of the top five finishers were rookies, recently graduated from the Young Guns. Showing the way from the pole in this 25-lap race was rookie driver Matt Lambert of Ashuelot. Following him were veterans Chris Davis of Swanzey and Erin Aiken of Claremont. In a post-race inspection, Matt Lambert was disqualified, giving the win to Davis.
With several top runners moving up to Pure Stocks, the Young Guns (12- to 15-year-olds) had a slim field for their 15-lap feature. Coming out on top was 13-year-old veteran Chris Phelps of Salem, Mass. Behind him was second-year driver Jake Puchalski of Whatley, Mass. Newcomer JD Stockwell of Turners Falls, Mass., took third place on the podium in his first race on the high-banks.
Monadnock Speedway will return to competition Saturday, June 1, with the 5 Weekly Racing Divisions along with Start Antique Racers. Qualifying begins at 6 p.m.
Sportsman Modifieds: Brian Robie, Todd Patnode, Matt Kimball, Ben Byrne, Joel Monahan, JT Cloutier, Keith Carzello, Scott MacMichael, Kevin Pittsinger, Alyssa Rivera, Kim Rivet, Brian Chapin, Mark Hayward, Tylet Jarvenpaa, Andy Major, Kenny Thompson
Late Model Sportsman: Solomon Brow, Tyler Leary, Dennis Stange, Justin Littlewood, Cole Littlewood, Scott Beck, Keith Carzello, Bill Johnston, Eric Pomasko, Bill Lambert, Will Kuhn, Nancy Muni Ruot
Street Stocks: Dave Greenslit, Bill Clement, Ed Lofland, Jimmy Renfrew, Greg Williams, Chris Buffone, Hillary Renaud, Michelle Leh, Nathan Nunez, Ben Williams, Craig Chaffee, Josh Carey
Mini Stocks: Louie Mahar, Pat Houle, Cory Plummer, Kevin McKnight, Tim Wenzel, Kevin Cormier, Mark Panaroni, Shelby Avery, Hayden Grenier, Nathan Wenzel, Jonathan Alden, Peter Koch Jr., Ethan Marsh, Kevein Clayton, Andrew Krzeminski
Pure Stocks: Chris Davis, Erin Aiken, Sammy Silva, Taylor Striebel, Rich Hammann, Jarod Crosby, Bruce Cantara, Mike Douglas, Carter Chamberlain
Young Guns: Chris Phelps, Jake Puchalski, JD Stockwell, Brandon Lavoie