The Pro All Star Series Super Late Model division and the Valenti Modified Racing Series rolled into New Hampshire Motor Speedway this past weekend for the New England Short Track Showdown. The car counts were phenomenal for all 4 divisions on Sunday, with the two divisions bringing together over 50 different drivers/teams for the two 50-lap feature events.
The Pro All Star Series qualifying was split into 3 different heats and all drivers competing would advance into the main feature. Ray Christian III pulled away with the early lead in the first heat with young gun, Austin MacDonald, in tow. Mike Hopkins was also on the move early, advancing into third place in the early laps of the heat. Mike Rowe made his way to Mike Hopkins inside on lap 5, challenging him for the spot. He cleared Hopkins that lap, selling into third. Christian took home the heat victory, followed by Austin MacDonald and Mike Rowe.
Nick Lascuola took off with the early lead in the second heat. Garrett Hall was on the move early, clearing Johnny Clark for third on lap 2. Mike Johnson and Ben Rowe made contact while battling for position on lap 3, causing Rowe to take a spin in turn 2 and resulting in the first caution of the heat.
Ryan Kuhn took off with the lead on the restart as Garrett Hall powered back into third place. Hall pulled to the side of Lascuola on the final lap, challenging him for the runner-up spot and eventually clearing him coming into the final turn. Ryan Kuhn captured the heat victory, followed by Garrett Hall and Nick Lascuola.
Eddie MacDonald powered into the early lead in the third and final Pro All Star Series heat. Reid Lanpher was on the move early, climbing into the runner-up spot on lap 2. Derek Ramstrom took it 3-wide for third on lap 4, nearly tangling with his competitors as Derek Griffith pulled away with the spot. Eddie MacDonald took home the heat victory, followed by Reid Lanpher and Derek Griffith.
After the Pro All Star Series field was set, it was time for the Valenti Modified Racing Series to take to the track for their 3 qualifying heats. Ronnie Williams took off with the early lead in the first heat. Kevin Iannarelli went around on the backstretch on lap 2, leading to an early caution. This incident was followed by Derek Robie going around on the backstretch on lap 6, resulting in another caution.
Ronnie Williams pulled away again on the restart as Dave Etheridge powered into the runner-up spot. Williams held Etheridge off for the heat victory. Donnie Lashua rounded out the top 3.
Dave Schneider was quick to the lead in the second qualifying heat, but Andrew Molleur was right there to steal it away from him. After losing the lead to Molleur, Schneider quickly slipped back to fourth place. Jeff Gallup and Chase Dowling joined the battle for the lead on lap 4. Dowling powered into the lead coming into the final lap, holding off Jeff Gallup and Andrew Molleur for the heat victory.
Anthony Nocella and Todd Owen battled it out for the early lead in the third (and final) Modified heat. Todd Owen briefly took control of the lead on lap 2, but Nocella was quick to steal it away. Mike Willis was also on the move late into the heat, advancing into the runner-up spot on lap 5. Anthony Nocella captured the heat victory, followed by Mike Willis and Todd Owen.
Once the fields were set, it was time for the Pro All Star Series 50. Reid Lanpher powered into the early lead, but trouble was brewing behind the leaders. Derek Ramstrom went up in smoke on lap 2, bringing his #35 machine down to the pits.
Derek Griffith broke the top 5 on lap 4 and quickly continued his pursuit to the front, powering around Austin MacDonald and Garrett Hall for third on lap 5. Eddie MacDonald made his way to Reid Lanpher’s inside on lap 8, challenging him for the top spot. Derek Griffith was able to catch up to the two leaders as they battled it out, waiting in the wings for his opportunity to strike. He made his way around Reid Lanpher for the runner-up spot on lap 9 and cleared MacDonald for the lead the following lap. Nick Lascuola went up in flames on lap 13, making contact with the turn 3 wall and bringing out the first caution of the feature.
Derek Griffith powered away with the lead on the restart, pulling away from his competitors. Garrett Hall and Ryan Kuhn lost momentum on the outside line on the restart, with both drivers losing a handful of spots. Alan Tardiff was flying under the radar before breaking the top 5 quietly on the restart. Mike Hopkins was on the move, advancing to third over Reid Lanpher on lap 18. He was all over Eddie MacDonald for the runner-up spot on lap 29 before the competition caution came out on lap 30, which was a timed caution allowing all competitors to come down to the garage area to make adjustments.
Eddie MacDonald pulled away with the lead on the restart. Ray Christian III was also black flagged for a body panel coming off of his car, forcing Christian to make a trip down to the pits and forfeit his spot on the track. Derek Griffith made his way back to Eddie MacDonald’s inside on lap 34, challenging him for the top spot once again.
After having a solid run throughout the course of the day, Garrett Hall had a tire go down on lap 37, forcing the #94 to the pits. Ben Rowe was on the move late-race, advancing to fifth over Alan Tardiff on lap 44. Mike Hopkins was all over Eddie MacDonald with 4 laps to go. He made his way to MacDonald’s inside on lap 47 and the two drivers battled it out head-to-head until the very end, with MacDonald beating out Hopkins by just .102 seconds. Derek Griffith, Austin MacDonald and Ben Rowe rounded out the top five.
After the conclusion of the Street Stock race, the Valenti Modified drivers took to the track for the final feature of the race weekend. Dave Etheridge pulled into the early lead, but Todd Owen was right there to steal it away on lap 3 as Max Zachem advanced into the runner-up spot. Zachem powered into the lead on lap 4, but his competitors were still on his heels.
Dave Etheridge briefly stole the lead back on lap 5, but Zachem quickly took it back. Etheridge was back on top by lap 12, but Chase Dowling was on his heels, powering into the lead the following lap. Roy Seidell, Jr. took a spin on lap 20 in turn 2. Seidell was a sitting duck as the leaders barreled into the turn. Some of the leaders were successfully able to avoid Seidell but Dave Etheridge slammed into Seidell at full speed, resulting in an immediate red flag. Etheridge was able to walk away unscathed, but Seidell was tended to by track emergency crews and transported to a local hospital following the incident. Thankfully, Seidell is alive and alert, but he has a long road of recovery ahead of him. Our best wishes go to Roy Seidell, his family and his crew.
After the extended caution and cleanup, Ronnie Williams powered into the lead on the restart. There was another spin on lap 23 in turn 2, leading to a mid-race caution.
Williams took off with the lead again on the restart, but Chase Dowling was quick to steal it away on lap 27. Max Zachem fell off-pace on lap 31, heading down to the garage area. A caution on lap 40 for another wreck in turn 2 was followed by another caution on lap 42 for a spin in turn 2.
Once the field got rolling again, Anthony Nocella pulled into the lead, but Chase Dowling was back to the top spot by lap 45. This sparked a close battle for the lead between Nocella, Dowling and Ronnie Williams. Nocella was back to the lead by lap 47, but Ronnie Williams wasn’t giving up, spearheading a 2-way battle for the lead until the last second. Nocella and Williams were nose-to-nose coming into the finish, with Williams beating him out by just .029 seconds. Anthony Nocella, Jeff Gallup, Chase Dowling and Mike Willis rounded out the top five.
Over the course of 100 laps for the Pro All Star Series and the Valenti Modified Racing Series, fans were able to see a handful of head-to-head battles on the track and two insanely close finishes. Fans that stayed until the very end sure got to see one Heck of a show and definitely got the bang for their buck!
I’m excited for more racing action that awaits us when the New England Short Track Showdown returns in 2020!
You can catch the Pro All Star Series again this coming Sunday, June 30th at Oxford Plains Speedway for the PASS Modified division and the PASS Open 100. Racing action begins at 6:00 pm.
You can also catch the Valenti Modified Racing Series next at Monadnock Speedway on Saturday, July 6th.
We hope to see you there!