was in it. But the car came home in one piece and it ran well, so that’s what really matters. It’s only our second race with these guys, so to come from the back was nice.”
HINCKLEY DOMINATES, BUT POWER STEERING LETS HIM DOWN
Les Hinckley led the first 93 laps of the Lee race, but finished fifth. His #06 car’s last minute slide back through the top five was because of a problem with his power steering system.
“I saw the starter signal 10 to go and going down the backstretch, I turned the wheel and got a power blast of fluid,” said Hinckley. “I didn’t know what it was initially, but when the power steering went out, I had a pretty good idea what it was.
TRUE VALUE MODS LEFTOVERS: LEE USA SPEEDWAY by Mike Twist
Kuhn, Hinckley, Grigas, Savary, Seuss and More
SECOND RACE, SECOND PLACE
Richard Savary was only making his second-ever True Value Modified Racing Series start at Lee, but that didn’t stop him from notching a solid runner-up finish in the 100-lap feature.
Keeping a cool head and stayed out of trouble was the key to Savary’s good finish.
“I just tried to stay out of trouble and tried to pace myself,” said Savary. “I tried t wait until the race unfolded t do anything. I thought that we had a really good towards the end and they put me to the back for some reason, I don’t even know why, and that made our plan harder.
“I think that if our plan went through, we would have had a shot at the win. With 25 to go, I went to the back for a wreck that wasn’t my fault just because they said that I
Hinckley's #06 Modified (51 Photo)
“I was just trying to hold on. When a steering rack loses fluid like that, they start doing crazy things like jerking and turning back and forth on you. I was just trying to hold my position and obviously, I was slowing down. When they got up besides me, I knew that there are more important things than wrecking racecars doing stupid shit. I did the best that I could with what I had.”
It’s hard to play the game of “What If”, but Hinckley thinks that he would have probably had his second victory of the season if his power steering had lasted until the finish.
“With 10 to go, I didn’t know who it was behind me,” said Hinckley. “I thought that it was Jimmy Kuhn, but it ended
Richard Savary's #21 (51 Photo)
up being Tony Ricci. I knew that he was better than me, but I didn’t think that he could get around me before the end. I just rode around for most of the race and only went as hard as I needed to. I think that we had them covered for the last 10 after leading the rest of the way, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
MCKENNEDY NABS A TOP FIVE CLOSE TO HOME
Another face in the top five was Jon McKennedy.
“We got a fourth,” said McKennedy. “It was just way too loose at the beginning. We tried riding around, but had nothing left at the end. But we’ll take it.”
McKennedy had the opportunity to race close to home at Lee. He grew up just south of the New Hampshire border in Chelmsford, Massachusetts and raced at the track regularly just a few seasons ago.
“Two years ago, I ran a Supermodified here weekly,” said McKennedy. “That helped a little. But I said before this race started that whoever had the most bite tonight would win. This track is tricky. When you get
Jimmy Kuhn's #72. (Jamie Williams Photo)
loose, you get loose down the whole straightaway. You’ve got to be hooked up for a good run.
“We’ve got a lot of fans up here, so that’s cool. Fourth is cool. I would have liked to have won, but you can’t win them all.”
KUHN USES PODIUM TO MAKE UP POINTS
A second-place finish for Jimmy Kuhn moved him into a tie with two-time defending TVMRS champion for second in the current standings.
Jon McKennedy's #40. (Jamie Williams Photo)
“We’ll take that,” said Kuhn. “It was a good points night for us. It loosened up a little bit too much at the end for us. We should have made a couple of adjustments, but it was a good learning experience for the next time that we come back here. We’ll be back next Tuesday and are starting fifth in that race, so hopefully we’ll have a good run there.’
In his career, Kuhn has logged many laps at Lee in cars ranging from a Modified to a Pro Stock.
“We’ve run here for years and it’s been a good night for us,” said Kuhn. “It was a good race. It was probably a faster pace than I wanted it to run. If I had gone easier
for another 30 laps or so, maybe I would have had something more at the end. But that’s just the way it works.”
EVONSION BOUNCES BACK FROM MONADNOCK SETBACK
Dale Evonsion had a mechanical problem in his heat race last week at Monadnock, which resulted in the Connecticut driver not making the race. This week, he came back strong and finished fourth at Lee.
“I’m just happy to finish after the way the car has gone,” said Evonsion. “We were a little bit off on the set-up and free off the corner. I felt bad that I held Jimmy [Dolan] up there a little bit at the end, but it gets to the point where you have to do what you have to do.”
The strong finish at Lee moved Evonsion into the top 10 of the standings.
“Last week definitely hurt in the points, but it was one of those deals where a part failed and you can’t do anything about that.”
GRIGAS SURVIVES TO FINISH 11th
With six caution periods and one red flag slowing the pace of the Lee race, finishing well was all about survival.
Series rookie Bobby Grigas, III figured this out quickly in the event. The 24-year-old Massachusetts driver dodged bullets from left and right through the night and brought home an 12th-place finish with the #09 Triple G Scaffold Modified.
Dale Evonsion's #35 takes the low lane. (Jamie Williams Photo)
Actually, it wasn’t much of a debate. Seuss and his team are racers and they will fight for every position that they can earn on the racetrack. Pitting gave Seuss a better car to compete with, but he did not get to show it because of being involved in two multiple-car wrecks in the second half of the race. Seuss ended up finishing 17th.
“The team gets an A for effort tonight,” said Seuss after the race. “They did a great job. The car was good early, but we thought that we could make it better and contend for the win. We pitted and when you restart back in the pack, you run the risk of getting caught in the wrecks. That’s a chance we took and it bit us this time. The car was really good at the end, but the damage was done.”
Seuss was one of a half-dozen cars involved in the first major wreck. He was almost back to the top 10 when several cars jammed up in front of him. Seuss slowed down to avoid the blocked track, but got hit from behind and pushed into it. This wreck caused some front end damage and the team had to pit again to repair it.
The second wreck came while working through the field again, and caused more damage to the #70 Modified.
“On that first wreck, I started to check up and just got pushed into it. On the second one, I was clear and someone shot up the track to try and avoid it. I hate it for the team, but we salvaged what we could out of tonight.”
Seuss won’t get down about his night at Lee though. His team is much too busy preparing for their NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut this Saturday at New Hampshire International Speedway to worry about feeling sorry for themselves.
“We’ll get the car straightened out and go to New Hampshire after this to see what we can do there.”
Grigas avoids trouble with his #09. (Williams Photo)
“The finish isn’t what I wanted, but it’s a live and learn process,” said Grigas. “This is my first time racing here in a Modified and only my sixth start ever, so I’m not going to set the world on fire.”
The wrecks did not discriminate throughout the event. Champions, winners and guys with a whole lot more experience than Grigas piled into, and even on top of, each other. Expecting a rookie to stay cool would be a tall order, but Grigas isn’t just any rookie either. He won at Waterford in only his third TVMRS start last month. How did he avoid getting caught in trouble though?
“I just closed my eyes and turned the wheel to miss
things,” joked Grigas. “I wish that I did better, but the car came home in one piece.”
SEUSS HAS ROUGH NIGHT AT LEE
Andy Seuss and his Manchester Urology Associates/Rockingham Boat team had a choice in Friday night’s race at Lee.
As the race got to its halfway point, Seuss was sitting in the 10th position. The dilemma was whether to settle for a top 10 finish or to pit and make adjustments that would allow the 19-year-old to be able to come back through the pack and battle for something much better.