The True Value Modified Racing Series returned to Monadnock Speedway (NH) for their first race of the 2009 season on Saturday, April 25th. This was the series' twenty-fifth time that they have visited Monadnock in their sixth year of competition.
Kirk Alexander started the race on the outside pole and on the first lap jumped to take the lead. Alexander dominated the first 90 laps of the race which was expected of a driver who knows the grooves of the speedway as well as he does. Just when it looked as though Alexander had another win to add to his multiple TVMRS victories, his winning streak came to a halt as his car rested up in the first turn wall. While trying to maneuver around lapped traffic, Alexander was pushed high up in the track groove and then his car came to an abrupt stop.
With the leader ending his night on the back of a tow truck, it was the beginning of the night for the second place contender. Rob Goodenough inherited the lead with ten laps to go. He had started the race in fifth spot and from the beginning his sights were on first place. He found it when it counted most, at the end of the race. This victory gave the veteran racer his first 2009 TVMRS win.
In the end, the #1NH car of Goodenough (sporting a new number this year), crossed the finish line for the win.
”I really did not think that we had anything for Kirk,” said Goodenough. “I know we did not have anything for Kirk. I could get my nose up to him quite a few times and run a few laps with him but just after we got going this thing (Goodenough's car) just got loose on me and I could not stay with him. So I just had to get in a groove and try to hang on to what I could. I was just kind of hoping for a break and we got one. I could not ask for a better break.”
No driver likes to see a fellow competitor end their night with their car on the end of the hook.
“I hate to see it on him but that is what being there in the end counts,” said Goodenough.”It worked out for us today. We did not have the best car, but we were there when it counted and finally got this one for us.”
Second place finisher Dwight Jarvis started mid-pack, pitted and then started his journey from the rear of the pack. His years of driving at Monadnock, enabled him to pass his way to the front fast. At the end though, he did not have enough tires left to pass the most important car, the leader.
“I used a lot of the tires coming up through the pack, said Jarvis from after race inspection. ”She (the #28 car) was loose there. I think in a few more we would have done all right.”
The average 100-lap TVMRS race barely breaks the hour barrier. But whether it was the heat or just the first night of competition the Monadnock modified event lasted for over an hour. The race was marred with several cautions and restarts which is not the normal race pattern for the series.
Jarvis commented on the impact of the cautions on his race.”Sometimes the cautions hurt us and sometimes they help us. But I do love this place (Monadnock Speedway). It is where I started (racing) and it is where I will end up.”
A podium finish was Jon McKennedy's at the end of the night. He drove the #73 car deftly through the pack and made a move on the outside to challenge for the lead spot more than once. The last time he attempted the move he was pushed up into the front stretch wall. Sparks flew from the side of his car as he held on tight saving the car from major destruction.
“The car got a little loose on a restart and they ran up into us up a few times especially down the front stretch. He (Sean Bodreau in car #44) ran up into us on the front stretch and messed the front end a little bit. We hung on to third but the car just was not the same after.”
This year McKennedy has a new car painted with the familiar white, black and yellow design. The car may be new but the driver drives and handles it as good as he did his old car. “
I am overall happy with my new car. It was good tonight.. We started tenth in the new car and finished third so we are happy.”
With the temperatures in the eighties for an April night of racing the cars and drivers were worn at the end of the night and the track became slick.
“At the end we lost it a little bit and it started to get loose,” said McKennedy.. “Racing for the lead on the restart we got banged up a little bit. The front end is out of alignment. I can tell by the steering wheel. But that is racing and we are going to go on to next race.”
The familiar purple and pink #10x TVMRS modified this year is more conservatively dressed in shades of blue and yellow. But the driver is the same competitive Ed Dachenhausen who drives hard on both the top and bottom groove to get him to the front of the pack.
“We are happy with a fourth place finish on opening night. With the circumstances the way they were, we were better. I had a good car and I am happy with the results.”
One car had pushed the 10x car square into the front stretch wall but Dachenhausen bounced right back to regroup and stay in the race.
At the end of the race, series official brought Dachenhausen and Sean Bodreau into the official's trailer to discuss some of the night's encounters. “We are going to have some conversation to get to the bottom of everything,” Dachenhausen said as he headed to the trailer.
Mike Holdridge, last season's series runner-up, also sporting a new car this year finished second in his heat race and when the race started he charged towards the front and lead. But on lap ninety-three his night came to an abrupt end when he stopped in between turn one and two. Running in the top five when the mishap occurred, Holdridge finished a disappointing fifteenth spot. But the car was in one piece thanks to fast reaction of his teammates on the track. “The coil wire had come off as I was driving down the back stretch. The car just stopped like someone had turned it off.”
The True Value Modified Racing Series will be back in competition on May 9th at Waterford Speedbowl.
Notes from Monadnock Speedway:
There have been some improvements made over the winter months at Monadnock Speedway. One of the major changes is that chairbacks that have been added to the front stretch grandstands towards the fourth turn. The chair backs are the old metal chair back seats from the Riverside Park Speedway, Agawam, MA. The plan is to add chair back seating the full length of the front stretch and to make the grandstands higher to accommodate the crowds at bigger shows. So Riverside Park lives on in short track racing in New Hampshire.
Joining the chair backs at Monadnock this year will be the weekly modified division which will include some of the modified competitors from Riverside Park such as Marty Radwick. Radwick will join other drivers that have previously found Monadnock Speedway their home when Riverside Park Speedway closed: Barry Gray, Fran Colson, Jr. and Teddy Hebert to name a few.
What are race winner Rob Goodenough's plans for 2009?
“I am going to run the True Value Series,” said Goodenough. “We have been very grateful for what Jack Bateman has done for us. We have been very happy with the guys we run with. Going to different tracks is kind of like a family floating around and we enjoy it. Yes there is a lot of travel and a whole day or sometimes two away from home. It is fun and I am enjoying it. I am going to try to stick with it this year. We are very lacking in funds this year, so we are counting on good finishes and keeping the car in one piece to pull it off. I've got the crew and the few sponsors that could do it. It just takes a lot of will power and I think that this team could pull it off as we did today.”