But the weather held out for the True Value Modified Racing Series event at Canaan Fair Speedway (NH). Although the race was threatened by showers, it ran its entire distance of 100 green flag laps. TVMRS announcer John Spence even dubbed the race the “Ernesto 100”.
Things got started on a sour note in practice on Saturday afternoon. Bobby Grigas, III in the #09 TVMRS car was involved in an incident that ended his night of racing. Bobby was driving under the slower car of Bruce Batchelder on the back stretch. Bruce was driving his car in the outside groove getting ready to go into the pits when his #77 car missed the pit road exit and sharply to
tangled and Dolan hit the front stretch wall hard. His car was towed and it was the end of his racing night.
Eventual runner-up Les Hinckley was directly behind the incident.
“I saw them jumbling around there. When we were all getting checked up and somebody actually got into the back of me real good,” said Hinckley. “Then I saw it happen and rolled out of it. Who ever was behind me did not see things as quickly as I did. I was pretty confident that we were going to get out of it., because I saw it going on. You kind of get stacked up the further back you go. We got out of it all right so it was no real big of a deal.”
The field lined up and restarted for final seventy green laps of wheel to wheel, bumper to bumper racing.
Bateman had the faster car on the track as the night went on. He passed Seuss to take over the lead on lap 68.
BATEMAN BEATS THE FIELD, AND ERNESTO, AT CANAAN by Denise DuPont
True Value Series Founder Gets His First Victory
Hurricane Ernesto and the weather pattern around it made an impact on racing up and down the East Coast this weekend. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour saw numerous delays and a rain-shortened event down at Martinsville, while tracks from Waterford to Wall scrubbed their Modified shows.
The first caution occurred on lap 12 when Russ Hersey spun in turn three as smoke spewed from the top of the car. Wreckers pushed the car to the infield and it was the end of his race night.
The yellow flag was thrown again on lap 21 for a caution. It appeared that something let go on the #77 car for Bruce Batchelder as he exited turn four and his car stopped in the infield close to the start finish line. The #77 car was pushed to the center of the infield and Bruce’s night came to an end.
The green flag flew once again and cars started to race all grouped close together. The action went three-wide going into turn four, with contact ensuing. It appeared that the #69 of Dolan and the #17 car of Jack Bateman
Russ Hersey had a bad ending to his night.
“With only a few laps to go and guys right there on your bumper we were concerned,” said Bateman. “We had a good car though and we just thought about running.”
Bateman came in first to win his first victory in the TVMS three years of racing.
“We were pretty good just cruising along following Andy. Andy gave me a hole and I took it. He drove me really clean. It feels really good. The wait was worth the effort.”
Hinckley passed Seuss on the last lap to finish the race in second spot for a strong finish.
“I saw that Andy was starting to get loose after the caution and tires cooled a little bit. I could then do my cross over moves. I just drove the car down underneath him to pass him. There is plenty of groove in the place.”
Seuss held on to third position as his Rockingham Boat/Manchester Urology sponsored car lost some speed and the competitive edge that it had in the beginning.
“Yes, it is definitely nice to see the luck turn our way,” said Seuss, reflecting on a string of bad luck through the late part of the summer. “The car was definitely hooked up. I used it up a little too early tonight trying to stay in the lead. I should have faded back a little bit. The crew did an awesome job of putting a good car under me for the race because it was not that great when we showed up. I want to thank all my crew and sponsors.”
Seuss had a strong car and had led the race for 68 laps before he was passed by Bateman and then at the end by Hinckley.
“I just want to thank Jack Bateman and Les Hinckley. The two of them were hooked up at the end and I was definitely fading. My crew had told me Jack was coming. I was really pushing to stay in the lead. Once Jack got around me he definitely pulled away. My hat is off to both of them and their crew.”
Bateman was the founder of the TVMRS and has a racing career of thirty-six years to his credit. Canaan was a fun night for him.
“It was a fun race. We had a good time. We had a pretty good car out here tonight.”
The True Value Modified Racing Series will now head to Thompson International Speedway for the first time, as they are part of this weekend’s Modified Mania event.
“We were following Andy and Andy was going pretty decent,” said Bateman. “Our car was getting better and we were able to get the angle on him to pass him.”
Bateman’s #17 car maintained a full straight away ahead of the rest of pack as the 100 lap race continued.
There were only six laps to go and the pending curfew hour of 11:00 PM was ten minutes away. The third and last caution of the night came out. The #01 car of Rob Goodenough spun in turn two and could not restart. Track crew quickly pushed the car to the center of the infield so that the race could finish as planned with 100 laps of green flag racing. The cars were all grouped close together on the restart; the leaders had to be concerned with the finish coming up.
Bateman (#17) sets up Andy Seuss (#70) while battling for the lead.
Les Hinkley took second-place on the final lap.
get back on the track. The abrupt turn sent Batchelder’s car left into the #09 of Grigas. The impact took a chunk out of Grigas’ right front tire and sent his car into the infield. With the fast change in direction, the car’s steering wheel motion injured Bobby’s right hand wrist.
“I do not need any other clothes,” said a determined Grigas as he left to take the mandatory check-out ride to the hospital in his driver suit. “I will be back for the race.”
Grigas was brought to an area hospital where doctors diagnosed he had both a dislocated and broken left wrist. As Bobby was dealing with his injured left wrist, the rest of the TVMRS cars completed the evening’s heat races and the #09 was loaded up. This was the first major injury in 2006 for the TVMRS competitors.
Andy Seuss, Jimmy Dolan and Batchelder all won their heat races, which put Seuss on the pole. The young driver led the pack of cars as the race began and stayed out front for 68 laps. Seuss had one of the fastest cars at the race started but the car got looser as the race went on.
Jack Bateman and his crew sit in victory lane. (Jim DuPont Photos)