Alexander Wins...Again....at Monadnock By Denise Dupont
No Surprise Winner in True Value Mods
The lightning stayed out of the sky in southwestern New Hampshire as the thunder of the True Value Modified Racing Series groundpounders returned to Monadnock Speedway for the Firecracker 100 on Saturday night July 6th. This was the series' second Monadnock race this year and as always it was a great show with plenty of good hard racing in front of a sold out crowd.
When Kirk Alexander passed Ted Christopher on the last lap to win their third heat race by .001 of a second you knew that Alexander was back at his home track and on a roll. TC also knew he must have been back in NH to have the same ironic fate hit him twice in one week.
Coming off of a real tough race at Waterford Speedbowl and Wiscasset Raceway rainout, the TVMRS competitors were back racing as they all do best.
“It was a good race,” said Alexander. “I hoped the crowd enjoyed it. There was some good racing going on. There were a few wrecks here but nothing real serious.”
The black #43 car of Alexander dominated the track was rewarded for his efforts as he pulled into victory lane in front of home track fans.
“It felt real good to race back here at Monadnock. I have run here all my life. I have the advantage of that. The car was hooked up tonight and it just needed a long run of twenty laps or so.”
This has been a familiar sight for fans of the TVMRS and this Saturday was no different as Alexander collected his 30th TVMRS win in the series' five years of competition.
Alexander had passed fellow driver Peter Jarvis for the lead on lap twenty-two and maintained his lead the rest of the night. With all the long runs of green lap racing, Alexander's car soon became the one to beat.
“The stagger would close up on me and then she (the car) would go real fast.”
Alexander was challenged for the lead by veteran driver Dwight Jarvis for over seventy laps. But even though Jarvis tried all the grooves that the track had he could not get by the man in black.
“Dwight was real fast tonight,” said Alexander. “He set a pretty fast pace. I really did
not want to run that hard, but I guess we had to. The car held up though. It seemed like
the longer we ran the faster it got.”
From the time the car is unloaded from the trailer and it is driven on the track, Kirk is
always focused and prepared to race.
“I did not worry about any body or anything tonight except for Dwight. Jarvis was the
one that kept me on my toes all night.”
It appeared that Jarvis' tires were going away on him as the race came closer to an
end and Alexander knew the race was his.
“He was trying hard. He wanted to lead too, but not tonight.”
Along with being back at his home track, Alexander was back in his familiar clad A-Team #43 car instead of Marco Turcotte's #40.
“Running in this car is comfortable. I have my seat and it was made for me. I will get another one for the #40 car sometime. We have had two or three races in that one (#40 car) and the last time I was in it as Wiscasset it was fast.”
From lap 30 onward, Dwight Jarvis's car was right there at Alexander's side vying for the top spot.
“I just did not have enough. I think that I burned up the right rear tire when I should have saved it to the end.”
Jarvis tried the outside and tried underneath Alexander for the lead, but in the end he had to settle for second place.
“I tried to hard on the outside and burned the right rear tire off of it,” said Jarvis. “It was a fun night because I love racing with Kirk. I know he is clean and will give you plenty of room. I congratulate him for winning but we gave it all we had.
“If I had to do it over again, I would have saved my best for the last ten laps. Instead of throwing out what I had before then. I put my cards down on the table way ahead of time.”
Dwight Jarvis started his racing career at Monadnock Speedway running a car in the Sportsman Class. In 1976, he transitioned to a ride in a Modified and he went on to win 16 championships (thirteen at Claremont Speedway, two at Monadnock and one with the TVMRS in 2006). So needless to say, Monadnock Speedway is a special place for him.
The action started in the heat races, when Kirk Alexander (Black car) barely beat Ted Christopher's #20 to the finish line. (Jim Dupont Photos)
Dwight Jarvis (#28) and Kirk Alexander (#43) do battle.
“As everybody knows, I love this place. This track is more or less home for me and Kirk. I have run here since 1973 and I always have had good luck here. It seems like every place we go now I like. It is just a fun series to go on.”
As Jarvis gets closer to his fifty-fourth birthday and the economy get tougher he has made the decision not to run for points but for fun in 2008.
“We are not really running for points anyway this year. We are picking and choosing some of the races that we go to. The price of traveling is just way out of sight and I think that is really hurting our field. So we just have to pick and choose and do what we can do this year.”
Jack Bateman was able to hold off hard charging Jon McKennedy to get a podium finish at Monadnock.
Bateman (#17) races with Jon McKennedy ((#73)
“We had a good car today for coming up through and everybody gave us room,” said Bateman. “It was a great race.”
Bateman started the race in fifth. At the start of the race his car fell back in traffic but he recovered fast and came right back to the front. On lap fourteen, Bateman passed Ted Christopher for his top five position and then kept his car up front the rest of the race.
“It was kind of unexpected. We have been battling all through out the year. Tonight we just hit on it pretty good. We learned a few things and hopefully it will pay off in the future.”
Even though Bateman appeared to have the faster car on the track at one time, he only had enough to get up to third place and just shy of a victory.
“I am not sure if we had anything in the end. We kind of got tied up in the traffic. He got through the traffic a little bit better. He was getting the lap flag before we were. I do not think so but we had a good run and the car was good and I am real happy.”
Since first and second place finisher's Kirk Alexander and Dwight Jarvis already were guaranteed starters at Thompson's Mod Mania September, third place Jack Bateman was the lucky recipient of the third guaranteed starting spot in Victory Lane ceremonies.
Jon McKennedy should be recognized as having made the daring move of the night. He made a dive-bomb move in his heat race that was worthy of the seasoned and legendary modified greats. This move not only brought him to the front of the pack during his heat but also allowed him to win the second heat race.
McKennedy had a strong run in the Firecracker 100 race and maintained a top five position during the entire race. His efforts we rewarded with a fourth place finish.
On lap 59, caution number three occurred as cars spun on the frontstretch. Ken Bouchard driving the #40 Turcotte Motorsports modified car (a team car for the #43 of Kirk Alexander) was a victim of circumstance as he was hit trying to avoid the caution cars.
“Two guys tangled in front of me and I was waiting to get by,” said Bouchard. “The guy behind me pushed me and then hit the left front nerf bar and it broke the rack.”
This mishap did bring to an end Bouchard's TVMRS racing debut.
“So that kind of knocked us out. Other than that it was not bad. I really like racing
here at Monadnock. It almost turned out to be a decent night. I think if we could have
gotten through that one last wreck I probably could have gotten a top five finish.”
Bouchard said about his return to his old stomping ground in a modified car.
On lap 72, pole sitter Peter Jarvis slowed down on the front stretch and it almost a
ppeared as though he was out of gas. But there was no caution for the incident as
Peter waved cars by him and as fast as he slowed down, he was up to speed with
the field of the cars.
So what happened that caused Peter to loose his top five running spot?
“The car was pushing on restarts so what we do it put rear brake in the car so they do
not push up across the track and to keep you off the guy beside you,” said Jarvis. “When
I did that I shut my ignition switch off. Since all it was that the ignition switch was shut off coming down the front stretch, I turned it back on.”
This could have been a costly mistake for the 2007 TVMRS rookie but fast reaction by him and the drivers behind him saved him a ride off the track on the hook. “
“I was interested in getting so that guys did not hit me in the back so I was waving them off. I guess I gave the guys, the competitors, a good heads up so none of them got up into us. That is a terrible thing to happen to a car in front of you. So yes, the competitors did an excellent job of staying away from us.”
Point leader David Pinkham had a belt fall off while competing and leading in his heat race. Pinkham not only may have lost a motor but also his point lead when the official standings are released this week.
Next TVMRS Event: Lee USA Speedway. Lee, New Hampshire, Friday, July 11, 2008
Monadnock Race Notes:
Here is what the Monadnock Race Leaders say about heading next to Lee:
Kirk Alexander - “We are ready.”
Dwight Jarvis - “We will be heading to Lee this Friday. I had to hire a guy to do my tire truck at Claremont. At Twin State Speedway I am doing tires and parts to try to make a little extra money so that we can go racing. I got my brother-in-law to sell my tires for me and he will leave the parts trailer home. It will be a Lee and we will give it a shot. “
Jack Bateman - “We will be heading to Lee. We usually do things for Lee a little different because the place the bite there is a little bit worn out. So we will probably make a few adjustments I do not think that we will do anything too spectacular.”
TVMRS racing at Waterford Speedbowl verus Monadnock Speedway
The race at Monadnock was a good 100 lap of racing for the TVMRS series. This is particularly good after the unusual caution-filled race two weeks ago at Waterford Speedbowl. The race was a much better showing and racing effort for the series. This type of racing shows what the series can really do.
“It seemed rather unusual at Waterford,” said series founder Jack Bateman. “The race track at Waterford has really good bite. It is like the guys get over confident in their cars because there is so much bite there. I think that that contributes to some situations that we do not get at some of the other tracks where there is not as much bite and the guys are not as confident and they are not as willing to make that daring move. But at Waterford you can do that because there is bite there. And then it ends up biting you.”
Some of the drivers in the weekly modified division at Waterford qualified and ran in the TVMRS race on June at Waterford. They joined the field of cars and raced along side of them as though they were a part of the series.
“Those guys did a real clean job and they were not any problem at all. We certainly will welcome them anytime,” said Bateman about the Waterford SK drivers.
So what are the A-team's next plans for their #43 car?
“I will run this car (the black #43 A-Team car) next at Seekonk's Modified Madness race.” said Kirk Alexander as the team rolled their familiar black #43 car into the hauler.
Jack Bateman has been racing for a lot of years but he is not ready to hang up his hat…
“What I have always told everybody is when it is not fun anymore then I am not going to do it anymore. But as long as it is fun and while we are having a good time then I am still going to drive the car. Sometimes we get a little bit behind on the series and I have to help and stuff, but that is OK. I do not mind doing that. But we have had a really good time and hopefully we can continue for some time.”
The A-Team in victory lane.
Kenny Bouchard - a Legendary Modified driver returns to Monadnock
After competing with the TVMRS in his old modified stomping ground what were Kenny Bouchard's reactions?
“All and all it was a pretty good time. It was fun. I would like to thank Alexander's crew for letting me drive the other car. They did a great job as a crew.”
And Bouchard's thoughts on the series?
“The True Value Series are great people. They are nice to you. They treat you like they want you here. We had a lot of fun. Hopefully they will give me another chance to drive a car again. I would be more than happy to come back.”
When he is not running with the TVMRS what is Kenny Bouchard up to?
“We run our Tour car whenever we can. It is just hard to find enough money. You just need to find a good sponsor. So if there is anybody out there that would like to sponsor a nice driver call me up.”
How does Bouchard compare the TVMRS to the NWMT?
“The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has a lot more pressure. Everything has to be done in a hurry. It is always hurry up ands hurry up. This series here is a lot more fun. The series also tries to keep the costs down for the car owner which makes it a lot easier.”
So what will Kenny Bouchard do next?
“We are going to get our Tour car ready and run at the next Thompson show. We also have the “Drive to Racing Victory” at Thompson Speedway coming up the weekend of July20th and hopefully we will make a little money so we can race some more.”