Leftovers: True Value Modifieds at Lee by Denise DuPont and Mike Twist
Catching Up With A Friday Night Mod Show
WHO WAS AT THE TRACK, AND AWAY, FOR LEE
At the end of the TVMRS Lee race, Donny Lashua charged forward with the #17 car of Jack Bateman for a nice sixth place finish. Lashua, of Canaan, NH, started the race in 18thposition. He maintained a consistent run during the race and followed the hard chargers to the front.
Donny Lashua was in the #17 Modified at Lee. (51 Photo)
Another new face in the series at Lee was Ken Heagy from Long Island, NY. Ken a runner at Riverhead Speedway and newer face on the Whelen Tour, drove the number 33 car at Lee Speedway. He started twenty-first after a mix up during qualifying heats with Kirk Alexander. He finished the race in 20th.
Whelen Tour, SK Modified and Thompson Sunoco Modified competitor, Tommy Cravenho, Jr. was behind the wheel of the Brian Scofield prepared #07 TVMRS car at Lee. This was the first series race for Cravenho and his car was just out of a qualifying spot for the night.
Newer competitors to the series, Todd Owen (10x) and Woody Pitkat (29) were not present at the show. They were at their home track of Stafford Speedway for weekly competition. Woody drove to victory lane were in the 40-lap SK Modified feature. Woody held off Ted Christopher to take his second SK Stafford win for this year. Todd also had a good run for the night finishing in fifth.
MECHALIDES WINS SPRING FLING
Louie Mechalides had a great run at Lee USA Speedway (NH) at the Rockingham Boat-sponsored Spring Fling race. Mechalides had completed his qualifying heat run and started the race in 11th position. He passed Tony Ricci around lap 35 to take the lead and maintained his dominance to the end to win the 100 lap event.
“The car was good,” said Mechalides. “We have had a couple of good runs with it and tonight it was real good. Joe Pollack from Mid-City Paving came tonight we have not had him for a sponsor for a year or so. He has not been with us for a few years. He bought us some tires. It was a pretty good night. We always try to run good when we come here.”
In his rear view mirror, Mechalides saw the bright yellow and black dynamic duo of Les Hinckley and Kirk Alexander working their way up behind him to the front.
Mechalides crosses the stripe at Lee. (Jim DuPont Photo)
“I raced with Les and Kirk at Canaan and those two guys are always a threat. I tried to ride easy and not wear the car out before they got there. I knew they were coming. I just tried to save the car until the end.”
Mechalides looked like a contender for the win from the beginning of the race.
“We set the car up the same way as we had for the last couple of weeks. It has just been running good every where. We will try it again next week at Seekonk.”
FOR HINCKLEY IT WAS A 24th to 2nd, RED SOX WINNING NIGHT!
Because Les Hinckley won the last race a Canaan he had to follow the TVMRS rules and start the race at the back of the pack of cars in the Lee race. Once again he took on the challenge and made his way up to the lead pack of cars.
Hinckley (#06) and Alexander race side-by-side at Lee. (Jim DuPont Photo)
“24th to second, the Red Sox won, the Yankees lost, all is good,” said Hinckley after the race. “It was a good night. The work that they have done to the race track to the second groove has definitely has helped here. It is a tough race track to come from the back to the front as abrasive as it is. It was a pretty good pace again tonight. The sealed that they put on the top groove definitely does make this a two groove race track, which helps. I do not think that we could have got it done without that up there. Red [MacDonald] and Peter [Watson] have put a lot of effort into that and they deserve to be thanked for it.”
The cars went around the race track at a fast pace and managed to get the race in before curfew time rolled in.
“It was a fast race track tonight. I had to come from the back of the pack. About mid way through, I got a little free so I had to pedal it a little bit and save something for the end. It worked out well for us. Another restart and it may have been interesting, but Louie had a good race car so that probably would have been a tall task.”
“Yes 24th to second makes for a nice race. Everyone is happy.”
ALEXANDER IS A HARD CHARGER AT LEE
Kirk Alexander and Tony Ricci tangled bringing out caution number three on lap 57. Earlier race leader Tony Ricci spun down into the grass, as he came out of turn one going into turn two.
“I knew that he was waving me to the outside and I just got up there and got squirrelly. I could not get my momentum back. I dove to the bottom and then he slowed up quick. It
was not intentional. I feel bad for him. I know that he was struggling a little bit tonight. Things just happen. I talked to him after the race.”
Les Hinckley beat Alexander to the start finish line for the second time in a row this week.
“Les was strong tonight,” said Alexander. “He was trying real hard. I saw him, he had a line on me there and I could not do anything. I was just trying to protect the bottom behind the 01 car. I should have gone to the outside sooner. That is all”
Alexander had to take a provisional to get into the race after a mishap with Ken Heagy during his qualifying heat.
“The last 30 to 40 laps the car was looser and I was trying harder. All and all it was a good night. We got the right front damaged in the heat race. And that was my mistake. I was over anxious. I think that we may have ended up having a bad tire that we kept wrecking. We got another tire and we did not have any more problems. We were chasing a tight condition. Since we put the new tires on it fixed it. I do not know if it was a bad tire or just a coincidence.”
As the sun went down and the sky got darker, the black A-Team car got faster and made the move to the front.
“The track was pretty good. It is almost like when the sun went down the track got a little more grip. The grip in this place is just tough. The last 20 laps are always just holding on.”
Some drivers notice a treatment on the top of the track but others did not.
“I did not realize if they did anything to the track. It seemed like the same old Lee Speedway. But honestly, the outside groove seems to have a little more grip there to it, but you have the habit of keeping the car on the white line here. But if you could just get you car up a half a groove it just seems to grip a little more. You have to get yourself in a rhythm and just get yourself up there to keep the momentum going.”
Andy Seuss got to wheel a Modified and a Supermodified at Lee. (Jim DuPont Photos)
SEUSS DOES DOUBLE DUTY AT LEE
Andy Seuss had hoped for a busy, but productive, night close to home on Friday at Lee USA Speedway. The 20-year-old New Hampshire driver raced his #70 Modified in the Rockingham Boat Spring Fling 100 at the track. He also competed in the small-block Supermodified race at the track.
The end results were quite what Seuss had hoped for, but a pair of top 10 finishes were nothing to be ashamed of either. Seuss finished ninth in the True Value Modified Racing Series 100-lap feature that headlined the evening.
“Overall, it was good,” said Seuss. “I can’t say that it was a bad night at all. When you can come from the back and finish in the top 10, that’s good. We came into the pits at lap 30 to make some adjustments and had a 70-lap race from there. So we worked back up there and we’re happy about that.”
Meanwhile, in the Supermodified feature, Seuss started 11th and worked his way up to fourth when he got run over on restart. He eventually ended up seventh, but things could have been much better.
“We had a real shot at second-place,” said Seuss of his Supermodified race. “I was past the #17 car twice when the caution came out and we had to go back to the last completed lap. He ended up finishing second, so I know that we could have been up there. But on a restart, somebody just drove right over the back of me and ripped the tire to shreds. Overall though, it went well. I have to thank [car owner] Dave Bouchard and his whole crew for letting me drive his car another week.”
PASTERYAK CONTINUES LEARNING CURVE
Chris Pasteryak, in the pristinely finished #15 car, had a great run at Lee Speedway. He maintained a top five position until 95 laps into the race when the hard charging cars of Les Hinckley and Kirk Alexander made their way to run for the lead. Chris ended up with an eight place finish, which is was happy about.
“Every week we seem to get better,” said Pasteryak. “I am learning.”
KUHN IS FAST AT THE END OF LEE RACE
Jimmy Kuhn and his team came to Lee Speedway with the old backup car after a terrible crash at Canaan with the new car. On the very first lap, he brought out caution number one for the night as Kuhn’s car spun down on the grass on the infield as he was going into turn two.
“Oh no, I thought a repeat of last week!” Said Kuhn. “The week before somebody died in front of us and everybody checked up and I banged the left front cut the tire down and bent the front end all up. The tow was out a mile.”
Was Jimmy going to throw in the towel or fight back after spinning? The answer to that become clear late in the race.
“So after I spun tonight, I came down pit road and they put a tire on and we went back out. At the next caution we pitted again and I had the guys string the car. The tow was out a mile so they started cranking on it the best that they could but the race was going to start again so we had to fly out. It was still off quite a bit in the left front. More than we wanted it to be. But as we went on the car was not that bad. We started passing cars and then a caution came out. I said, oh no, we are not going to pit now. We are already passing cars and we are going. So we are just going to keep going.”
Kirk Alexander's #43 (Jim DuPont Photo)
After fixing the car, regrouping and starting from the back the 72 team had a good night racing.
“The car was good, real good. I just wish that the front end was where it needed to be. It was dragging the left front a little bit and it was a little bit too tight. Even with that said, we got hung up at the end of the race there but we had a good car. We had a real good car. I am happy with it considering coming from the back of the pack.”
The car may be old and a composite of the team but it does the job.
“We were coming and the car was real good at the end of the race, right when it needed to be. A lot of guys were falling apart right at the end so. We go good here. It is one of our better tracks. For some reason we always run good here. This car seems to go real good. We changed this car all around and run it a couple of times. It seems to run real good so we are gong to run it more often.”
Then again a newer car may not be the best.
“We had the newer car at Canaan and we also ran it at Monadnock. It is just not as good as we want it to be. This car is an old car that has been chopped and hacked on. It is something that we re-designed ourselves. We actually started working on some of the stuff last year. Every time we seem to take it out, it seems to run good every time. I told the guys that we are just going to keep running this car. Every time we take it out it brings good finishes for us and we are just going to keep running it as many times as we can. Unless it is broken and in the garage or non fixable, then we will have to run the other car.
“The track was fast and it felt good. The cool weather always seems to be good. It always helps the track speed. I thought that the track was pretty good. This place does not have a lot of grip any more. The track is kind of worn out. I thought that it was as good as it normally could be.
“I did not even notice the stuff they put on the top groove. Last year one of the times that we came here I did notice it because in practice it was real sticky. But this time, I can see it sprayed there and the darkness, but I did not even notice it. A whole lot of cars were still loose up on top where that stuff was. It did not seem to make a difference for us.”
Jimmy Kuhn tries to three-wheel it at Lee. (Jim DuPont Photo)