A First Timer, A Racer Remembered, Racing the Truck and More
A CHAMPION FINALLY WINS
Tony Ricci’s victory in the Modified race was his first in that type of car. Surprisingly, it was also the first feature win in anything for the young driver despite earning a Bomber championship at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME).
In his title winning season, Ricci finished second five times, but never won a race.
“This is the first win,” said Ricci. “It’s awesome – especially coming in a Modified. My passion is racing Modifieds. These guys were nice enough to give me a chance to drive the car this weekend.”
Speed 51 asked Ricci, who works during the week as a crew member for Scott Mulkern PASS team, if winning was everything that he expected it to be.
“It’s better,” said the very happy driver.
BOLDUC SCORES A WIN FOR HIS FALLEN TEAMMATE
The 50-lap Street Stock portion of Oktoberfest was named as the Lance Davis Memorial to honor the former driver in the division who passed way last year at the age a 42. The East Lebanon, Maine driver was a teammate to veteran Ron Bolduc and his memory was honored by a special number plate on the right side of Bolduc’s car.
Tony Ricci talks to John Spence in victory lane for the first time. (51 Photos)
“Today we are running the Lance Davis Memorial race,” said Bolduc. “So those are the three numbers the he won with. He had the #27 Streeter, then he had the #10 Late Model that he drove for Dennis Ciotti and then he drove this car here, which was the #96. I put the numbers in the colors of what they were when he ran them.”
“He ran this car in 2002 and it has the actual feature win sticker from the last race that he won on it,” said Bolduc. “He was a good friend and we wanted to do something. We want to win the race too.”
Bolduc made good on that goal by taking the checkered flag in the feature and dedicating the win to his friend.
MacDonald finished second in his Late Model.
BUSCH NORTH DRIVER PLAYS WITH HIS LATE MODEL
After two of the final four NASCAR Busch North Series races were rained out and canceled, the drivers of that division must have been itching to go racing again. One, Eddie MacDonald, showed up at Lee with his own Late Model to have fun and eventually record a second-place finish.
“I like having something in the shop to play with and go out and have fun,” said MacDonald. “I bought this car just for the engine and tranny to run in my other Late Model. I ran the other car last time and today I wanted to see how this car would go. It was the first time running both cars this year.”
MacDonald had a for sale sign on his #17 entry, but as long as he still has a Late Model to race, he is not concerned about which one he sells or keeps.
“I’ll sell whichever car anyone wants, I don’t care,” said MacDonald.
FROM FIFTH TO (EVENTUAL) WIN IN THREE LAPS
One of the wildest feature races this year occurred in the Hobby Stock/Strictly Stock feature at Oktoberfest. With just three laps to go, the top runners came upon a lapped car and tried to make it into turn one three-wide. It didn’t work and the top three cars all bounced hard off the outside wall. Rick Washburn got through without as much damage as the others and led the final three laps with a hood that was folded up almost to his windshield.
“That was fun,” Washburn said after the race. “I don’t know what happened down there, but I’m probably going to get blamed for it.”
As it turns out, Washburn did get blamed for something, but it wasn’t the wreck. Monday morning, the track’s official results showed that he was disqualified for a technical violation and the win was instead given to Paul Ranberg.
RACE THE TRUCK, PEOPLE LOVE THE TRUCK
There were a few hundred cars entered into the various classes at Lee’s Oktoberfest.
And one truck.
Bolduc had a few extra numbers with a lot of meaning on the side of his car.
But it wasn’t Dale Jarrett who finally raced the truck, it was David Koenig from Riverhead Raceway (NY). Koenig attracted plenty of attention since his vehicle stood out from the crowd field of Street Stock Monte Carlos and Camaros.
“They always refer to this as the Street Stock division with the truck,” said Koenig.
Towing from Long Island to New Hampshire is an annual occurrence for Koenig’s team.
Wayne Helliwell, Jr. has climbed into many racecars at Lee, but usually they had fenders.
“We have a blast running here, that’s why we come up,” said Koenig. “This is our fourth year coming here. These guys race clean and race good, so I enjoy it.”
Koenig won the consi race, but got wrecked out of the feature.
NASCAR MOD DRIVERS SHOW UP FOR LEE
The Modified Feature was mostly made up of competitors with the True Value Modified Racing Series, but it also had a little bit of a NASCAR Modified Series flavor to it. The NASCAR Modifieds entered their season last week at Thompson Speedway (CT), so Wade Cole and Jim Storace both entered the Lee race.
HELLIWELL TRIES SOMETHING DIFFERENT
This season was hardly the first time that Wayne Helliwell, Jr. was at Oktoberfest. Normally, he can be fine in any type of fendered racecar – be it a Pro Stock, Late Model, 350 Supermodified (he has won at Lee in all three classes) or just about anything else. This year though, he had a different ride.
Helliwell entered the Modified race behind the wheel of the orange #62 car owned by Leon Holmes.
“We got an offer to drive this car here,” said Helliwell. “It’s a blast. They are a lot easier to drive than a Pro Stock, a Late Model or even a 350 Supermodified. They are a blast. They have a lot bigger tire and more horsepower.”
Helliwell had problems in the middle of the race and did not finish among the leaders.
Connecticut driver Les Hinkley’s quarter panels did not have a high buck sponsor on them, but his paint scheme drew plenty of cheers from the New England crowd. Hinkley’s #06 car had the logo of the World Series bound Boston Red Sox on it.
This move might have been a good luck charm for the team that has gone since 1918 without winning the biggest prize in baseball.
Between qualifying on Saturday at Lee and Sunday’s feature, the Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the first game of the World Series and backed that up by continuing to win throughout the week.
Hinckley meanwhile, had a flat tire in the feature but came back to finish 10th.
Red Sox fever has been everywhere this week in New England - even at the track.
CAR RETURNS HOME AND WINS
Vinnie Annarummo races in southern Massachusetts at Seekonk Speedway, but his car was from the area around Lee USA Speedway. It was born in the Seabrook, New Hampshire shops of Watts Racing – about 20 minutes from Lee.
The car must have liked returning home because Annarummo had a dominant win with it in the Pro Stock feature and was very quick to credit the chassis while he stood in victory lane.
“I bought a Watts car and it just flies at this racetrack,” said Annarummo. “Robert Watts builds one hell of a racecar. I bought this car three years ago and I haven’t changed a thing. It’s still the same old car.”