By Gary Dutton
CLAREMONT, N.H. – He’s often referred to as Big Money Matt, and Friday at Claremont Motorsports Park Keystone State super star Matt Hirschman showed why.
Fighting through all kinds of early-event adversity, Hirschman passed rising star Matt Kimball on lap 70 of the Maurice Enterprises 100 main event to earn the $10,000 winner’s purse.
He’d been ricocheted into the turn two wall in his heat race, looked mediocre at best for half his consi, but then found his stride when the big bucks were on the line.
Promoter Mike Parks, with major support from hometown businessman Maurice Hurd, put a dandy together. With the Thrasher Road speedplant’s largest crowd in decades on hand for the big show, Hirschman and the other 25 Open Modified starters – 33 teams attempted to qualify – staged a classic battle.
Big Gun Ronnie Silk started up front and led the first 66 laps, until pitting quickly under caution for fresh rubber, something Hirschman, Les Hinkley and others had done way back on lap 16.
Back under green, Bennington, N.H. second-genner Matt Kimball took control, battling Hinckley for the lead until Hirschman stormed to the front on lap 70 and drove away.
Kimball, certainly out-financed by most of the field and, in most cases, far shy on major league lap time, was impressive in second, just ahead of Hinckley. Silk, on fresher tires, came home fifth, just behind western New Yorker Andy Jankowiak. Monadnock regular Trevor Bleau won the non-qualifiers Dash for Cash.
A late-race caution flag played a major role in keeping Aaron Fellows perfect on the season in the Late Model Sportsmen. Polesitter Ryan Bell had opened up an enormous lead when an Eric Martell looper on lap 26, brought Ben Poland and Fellows to his bumper.
A subsequent routine caution two laps later put Fellows at Bell’s side and, with a furious low dive into turn three five laps later, Fellows was off to his ninth win of the summer and 26th consecutive victory at the third-mile speedplant.
Dynamite Dave Greenslit took full control when Chris Emerson and Kyle Buck jingled on lap five, then holding off Cody Schoolcraft and eventual runner-up Chris Riendeau to earn his seventh 2020 Street Stock victory lap.
Kodi Sabins led all but the first go-round of the caution-free Pure Stock 30-lapper to run away and hide for his seventh victory lap this season. With the final finish still unofficial at press time, Joey Jarvis was second, and Robert Shaw third.
Points leader Dylan Adams came from 15th on the starting grid to finish sixth, just ahead of lap-one leader Amy Jaycox.
Desmond Skillings took the lead from brother Nick on lap five of the Mini Stock feature and then never looked back en route to his third win of the season. Desmond’s son, Cale, finished second, with brother Nick third to complete the family photo shoot in victory lane.
Top Six Shooter points man Dustin Thibodeau took the lead from Todd Smith on lap 14 and then held off the all-out assault of Paul Colburn to score his third win of the summer. Smith, strong all night, earned his first trophy with a third-place finish, while Jeremy Blood was sixth, ending his three-race winning streak.
Claremont Motorsports Park will be silent next Friday, September 4, but returns to action on Sunday, September 6, when the Granite State Pro Stock Series comes to town, with a $10,000-to-win 100-lapper taking center stage atop a full card of racing.
For more information, please visit www.claremontmotorsportspark.com.
CMP AUGUST 28 TOP TENS:
MAURICE ENT OPEN MODIFIED 100: Matt Hirschman, Matt Kimball, Les Hinckley, Andy Jankowiak, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale, Craig Lutz, Austin Kochenash, Calvin Carroll, Matt Swanson.
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN: Aaron Fellows, Ryan Bell, Ben Poland, Robert Hagar, Dallas Trombley, Allen Fellows, Tyler Lescord, Camdyn Curtis, Bucky Demers, Joe Bates.
STREET STOCK: Dave Greenslit, Chris Riendeau, Cody Schoolcraft, Kyle Buck, Joe Tetreault, Jimmy Zullo, Briana Akusis, Robbie Streeter, Chris Emerson, Chris Lindquist.
MINI STOCK: Desmond Skillings, Cale Skillings, Nick Skillings, Hayden Grenier, Ray King, Richard Stockwell, Rye Greineder, Aaron Thompson, David Pratt III.
SIX SHOOTER: Dustin Thibodeau, Paul Colburn, Todd Smith, Todd Maguira, Ray Luce, Jeremy Blood, Ryan Carman, Scott Wade, Chooch Snide, Dakota Lanou.
PURE STOCK: Kodi Sabins, Robert Shaw, Zach Richardson, Sean Lantas, Dylan Adams, Amy Jaycox, Bruce Adams, Doug Nelson, Josh Rondeau, Doug Nelson.
Claremont, NH (August 26, 2020): There is a lot of buzz about this weekend’s open Modified race at Claremont Speedway, rightfully so, for the robust and talent-laden roster. But, for the locals of the Speedway and grassroots fans, those that are being honored and the sentiment behind the race is equally as exciting.
When the likes of Matt Hirschman, Ron Silk, Jon McKennedy, Mike Willis and the 31 other drivers take to the speedway for qualifying on Friday night, they will be doing so in honor of great drivers, who, not only built their legacy but that of Claremont Motorsports Park as well.
“I guess I never really thought about it until last week when we I attended the luncheon,” said current Claremont Motorsports Park Promoter and racer himself, Mike Parks. The luncheon, coordinated by Maurice Hurd of title sponsor Maurice Enterprise, was a celebration of the legends.
“I looked around at all the guys that, as a kid, I watched battle week-in and week-out during the glory days of Modified racing at Claremont,” added Parks.
Honored will be Rusty Ball, Bruce Batchelder, Jack Bateman, Jerry Bly, Ronnie Bodge, Ernie Boudreau, Punky Caron, Peter Daniels, Danny Ferland, Goodwin Hannaford, Dwight Jarvis, Donnie Miller, Bobby Turner and Alan Whipple.
Pits open at 1pm for Modifieds and 3pm for all other divisions. Practice will get underway with heat races starting at 7:15pm. Features will roll off at approximately 8:30pm.
Qualifying for the 100-lap main event will include heat and consolation races. Late Model Sportsmen, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, Pure Stocks and Six Shooters will complete the night’s racing card. General admission is $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12 will be available at the track on race day.
In addition to the lucrative $10,000 to win for the Modifieds, the race will pay $1,100 to take the green. Specialty awards including the $200 Lu-Mac’s Package Store Hard Luck Award will also be on the line. Lap sponsorships have been secured to ensure that a purse is in place for the B-Main. Non-qualifiers will also receive a portion of the purse which exceeds $50,000.
For drivers, teams and fans, this ‘one-off’ event is likely even more poignant in what has become knowns as the COVID -era. With facilities everywhere shuttered because of state guidelines, the racetracks of New Hampshire have become somewhat of a haven for competitors and fans alike.
A race of this caliber is a much-needed boost to grassroots racing in New England.
“Watching the quality of the field that will be assembled at our little racetrack in New Hampshire, that’s what I am looking forward to the most,” said Parks. “I really think we will have one of the most talented group of drivers that you can assemble - from the Modified Tour, Race of Champions (RoC), Tri-Track and Modified Racing Series’ teams and local track champions. We’ve got the best of the best!”
The Racers Honoring Racers 100 presented by Maurice Enterprises, will have the best of the best, honoring out best of the best!
Parks recalls a particularly memorable night with Donnie Miller. “I was working with his son [the late Ricky Miller] on the Modified. At this point Donnie was pretty well out of the seat. We raced at Monadnock on Friday night with Ricky, with no plans to race the rest of the weekend”.
After some good-natured ribbing about his age and waning ability from Parks at the race shop the next day, Donnie challenged his ‘agitator’ to get the car ready, they were going racing.
“So, I did,” said Parks. “Donnie was in his best form that night. We just showed up and won!”
Of the 35 drivers entered, any one of them could show up and win on Friday night for the 100-lap open Modified event.
“Between the Speedway officials, Maurice Enterprises, Dick [Williams] along with all his team and The Racing Guys, we have an $50,000.00 event, “added Parks “It’s kind of mind blowing from my perspective. I really believe that this could be one of the best events in all of New England for 2020.”
Maurice Enterprises 100 Entry List (as of August 26, 2020): 06 Les Hinckley; 06 - Sam Rameau; 07 - Patrick Emerling; 1H - Chuck Hossfeld; 1J - Bobby Jones; 3 - Jeff Murray; 3 - Matthew Swanson; 5 - Tommy Barrett; 6 - Woody Pitkat; 7 - Kurt Vigeant; 7 - Jon McKennedy; 12 - Andy Jankowiak; 14 - Scott Wylie; 15 - TJ Bleau; 16 - DJ Shaw; 17 - Danny Knoll Jr; 23 - Mike Douglas Jr.; 25 - Brian Robie; 25 - Calvin Carroll; 26 - Bucky Demers; 27 - Derek Robbie; 44 - Anthony Sesely; 46 - Craig Lutz; 50 - Ron Silk; 50K - Matthew Kimball; 50 - Carl Medeiros Jr.; 55 - Ryan Doucette; 58 - Eric Goodale; 60 - Matt Hirschman; 66 - Austin Kochenash: 71 - Brad Babb; 76 - Kirk Alexander; 78 - Diego Monahan; 82 - Anthony Nocella; 83 - Mike Willis.
By Gary Dutton
CLAREMONT, N.H. – It rained cats and dogs, just like Hurricane Katrina; it rained Friday at Claremont Motorsports Park. Later, the lights went out, and still later, the fog rolled in.
But when all was said and done, Aaron Fellows had won his 25th consecutive feature race at Claremont Motorsports Park. Not to be outdone, Dave Greenslit earned his sixth victory lap of the summer, both Zach Richardson and Jeremy Blood stayed red hot, and Matt Sonnhalter topped the Mini Stock 50-lapper, all Friday after the rain had stopped.
For thousands of years, Claremont motorheads have known that as long as Mt. Ascutney can still be seen rising beyond turn two, racing high on Thrasher Road will go on. Friday, with the pits nearly full, the mountain suddenly disappeared but, after a half-hour-plus super soaking, there it was again.
With fish now jumping in the infield, promoter Mike Parks and the stars and cars of the venerable speedplant rolled up their collective sleeves and, with a slight delay, were off to the races.
Qualifying races were quickly run, including a Pure Stocker won by Green Mountain Boy Doug Nelson aboard his Shaggin’ Wagon entry, a Saturn station wagon of all things, and then it was feature time.
Reigning Six Shooter king Jeremy Blood took the lead from Todd Maguira on lap seven of their 20-lapper and then sped off to his third victory in a row. Charlestown’s Paul Colburn finished in Blood’s shadow, and points leader Dustin Thibodeau was third.
The Pure Stock feature was, again, a dandy! Zach Richardson low-lined past Bruce Adams on lap ten and never looked back en route to his second victory in a row and third of the season.
With the white flag in sight, Joey Jarvis moved up to second, just ahead of Bruce Adams, with son Dylan Adams coming home fourth to stay atop the points parade. Robert Shaw was strong in fifth.
Briana Akusis set fast time the first five go-rounds of the Street Stock main event, then giving way to Cody Schoolcraft. Brian Robie and Dave Greenslit were sailing through the pack and, on lap nine, the battle was on.
After some great back-and-forth racing, Greenslit held the point the last five laps to add another victory lap to his impressive list. Robie finished at his back bumper, with Chris Riendeau just behind in third.
It could be said that Aaron Fellows toyed with the pack in his earlier heat race win. In the feature, though, the Croydon super star wasn’t fooling around. Coming from row three, he took the lead from Ryan Bell on lap five and then drove away, staying perfect on the year at Claremont Motorsports Park.
Bell, strong all night, scored his second deuce finish of the summer, with fellow Charlestown hot shoe Ben Poland coming home third.
Gordon Farnum, king of the Monadnock Mini Stockers this year, led the first 32 laps of the Battle of The Belt main event, then giving way to Vermont star Matt Sonnhalter as his tires began to fade.
Desmond Skillings, Cody Leblanc, and Skillings’ younger brother Nick then went to war for the runner-up spot, with the elder Skillings – like his brother, already a two-time Claremont winner this summer – prevailing. Leblanc was rock solid in third, while Farnum finished the night fifth in the 15-car field.
Jerry Humiston topped the New England Antique Racers Sportsman 12-lapper. John Adams was second, and Jeremy Huntoon third. Ken Brown won the NEAR Modified feature, taking the checkers ahead of Gomer Taylor and Scott Decota.
Next Friday, August 28, Maurice Enterprises will present the biggest event of the summer at Claremont Motorsports Park, an Open Modified 100-lapper paying a whopping $10,000 to win. A virtual all-star list of 32 teams has already signed on for this huge event.
For more information, please log in at www.claremontmotorsportspark.com or visit the speedway’s Facebook page.
AUGUST 21 CMP TOP TENS:
MINI STOCK (50-lap Battle For The Belt Event): Matt Sonnhalter, Desmond Skillings, Cody Leblanc, Nick Skillings, Gordon Farnum, Ray King, Pat Houle, Louis Maher, Daniel Sweeney, Bill Chaffee.
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN: Aaron Fellows, Ryan Bell, Ben Poland, Joe Brown, Dallas Trombley, Camdyn Curtis, Matt Winter, Eric Martell, Mark Blair, Chris Jackman.
STREET STOCK: Dave Greenslit, Brian Robie, Chris Riendeau, Cody Schoolcraft, Randy Town, Kyle Buck, Robbie Streeter, Briana Akusis, Raven Streeter, Trevor Rocke.
PURE STOCK: Zach Richardson, Joey Jarvis, Bruce Adams, Dylan Adams, Robert Shaw, Kodi Sabins, Doug Nelson, Jim Rhodes, J.D. Stockwell, Andrew Brousseau.
SIX SHOOTERS: Jeremy Blood, Paul Colburn, Dustin Thibodeau, Todd Maguira, John Vorhees, Zach Washburn, Todd Smith, Keith Martin, Scott Wade.
By Gary Dutton
CLAREMONT, N.H. – Modified star Mike Willis won his first open-wheel feature of the summer Friday, August 14, at Claremont Motorsports Park.
Aaron Fellows stayed perfect on the year, scoring his track-high seventh 2020 victory, while Jeremy Blood won his fourth, and both Desmond Skillings and Zach Richardson took his second victory lap this season on Friday. It was Fellows’ 24th consecutive CMP win over the past two years.
Sunapee speedster Mike Smith led the first four rapid-fire trips around the speedplant in the Maurice Trailer Country Modified main event, then giving way to Grantham’s Willis, who rocketed low around the west end of the third-mile to take the lead.
With no cautions, Willis was untested the rest of the way. Smith, though, had a good one of his own going, keeping two-time winner and defending track king Brian Robie in his shadow to come home strong in second. Robie’s bronze medal finish kept him atop the points parade.
Low into turn one and gone? Yup, it happened on lap nine this week. Aaron Fellows rocketed under early race leader Ben Poland on the west end of the oval and took off to stay unbeaten this summer in Late Model Sportsman racing.
Poland was strong in second, with Joe Brown, second a week earlier, solid in third.
The Lavalley Building Supply Pure Stocks have been putting on some great shows of late, and Friday’s 25-lapper fit right in. Jim Carley, from outside of row one, set the fast pace the first two go-rounds, with Zach Richardson then taking over at the point. Carley, though, wasn’t through.
Carley stayed strong in second, as Joey Jarvis, Dylan Adams, and company battled fast and furious behind him. When the race’s first caution waved on lap 19, it was Adams taking full advantage of the restart.
With a first and a second to his credit the last two times out, the sophomore speedster rocketed under Richardson to take control, but things weren’t over yet. Richardson, making full use of the low groove himself, led by a wheel with two to go, then holding Adams in his shadow to win his second feature of the season.
Robert Shaw stayed strong on the summer, nudging Kodi Sabins uptrack on the final corner to steal third. Carley, who along with Jarvis were the big losers in the late-race restart, completed the top five.
Desmond Skillings led all the way in the In City Sugar Shack Mini Stock main, holding brother Nick at bay to earn his second victory lap of the summer. Hometown hot shoe Hayden Grenier was strong in third, edging Green Mountain State powerhouse Matt Sonnhalter for the third-place hardware.
Starting Jeremy Blood on the front row usually spells trouble for the rest of the Six Shooter field, and Friday’s feature was no exception. With the handicap system putting Blood up front for the second week in a row, the defending track champ took full advantage of his good fortune, leading all the way for his fourth 2020 victory.
With no cautions, this one went quickly. Top points man Dustin Thibodeau was second on the night, and three-time winner Paul Colburn came home third.
Richie Johnson, of Middleboro, MA., swept both the Spectator one-on-one drag competition and the 15-lap Spectator race. Speedway Street Stock regular Kyle Buck, while no match for Johnson’s potent Camaro, stung the rest of the field for second, aboard a Honda Fit, no less.
Next Friday, August 21, it’s Fan Appreciation Night II at Claremont Motorsports Park where, for the second time this season, just a five-dollar bill will get you in for a full night of exciting oval track racing. For more information, please visit www.claremontmotorsportspark.com.
CLAREMONT MOTORSPORTS PARK AUGUST 14 TOP FIVES:
MODIFIED: Mike Willis, Mike Smith, Brian Robie, Stu McCormack, Walt Hammond.
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN: Aaron Fellows, Ben Poland, Joe Brown, Ben Menard, Matt Winter.
MINI STOCK: Desmond Skillings, Nick Skillings, Hayden Grenier, Matt Sonnhalter, Matt Boucher.
PURE STOCK: Zach Richardson, Dylan Adams, Robert Shaw, Kodi Sabins, Jim Carley.
SIX SHOOTER: Jeremy Blood, Dustin Thibodeau, Paul Colburn, Todd Maguira, Ray Luce.
August 2, 2020
By Gary Dutton
CLAREMONT, N.H.- Brian Robie rocketed to victory twice in Modified action Friday at Claremont Motorsports Park, winning both Maurice Trailer Country Modified 35-lap features at the Thrasher Road speedplant.
Aaron Fellows stayed undefeated in two seasons, topping Friday’s Late Model Sportsman feature for his fifth CMP victory of the summer, while Street Stock ace Dave Greenslit also earned his fifth 2020 victory lap, and Pure Stock super soph Dylan Adams was dominant in scoring his first win.
Charlestown’s Paul Colburn won his third Six Shooter victory of the season, duplicating his victory of a week earlier Friday, and Jimmy Zullo drove away from a huge field to top the 75-lap Enduro.
With Mike Willis and Robie – by virtue of having set fast times – leading the Mod Squad to the green in the first 35-lapper, Willis grabbed the opening lead, with Robie glued to his bumper. They’d ride that way until Robie found his way to the front on lap 21, then survived two late-race restarts to lead Willis and early-season winner Kyle Welch under the checkers.
Alyssa Rivera led the first six go-rounds in the second 35-lapper but, with a Rivera looper then bringing out the first caution of the race, it was Welch blasting into the lead. Firing low down the backchute on lap 16, Robie – the reigning track Modified champion - again took control, with Willis following him up a lap later and then settling for his second runner-up finish of the night.
The story is familiar. Someone else leads late into the Late Model Sportsman feature, Aaron Fellows reels them in and takes the lead, often from the low groove, and then speeds away to stay undefeated.
Ryan Bell was that leader Friday. Bell enjoyed a big lead at the halfway mark of the LMS 25-lapper, felt Fellows knocking on lap 17, and then watched him sail low into turn one of the 20th lap and speed away. With Bell strong in second, Ben Poland came home third on the night. It was the undefeated Fellows’, fifth win of the year and 22nd consecutive overall victory at Claremont.
Friday’s R.E. Hinkley Oil Street Stock feature was one of four caution-free events and, as such, gained positions were hard earned. It took Dave Greenslit four laps to claim second, almost another four to take the lead from Kenny Thompson, and then the final 17 to score his fifth win of the summer by a large margin.
Thompson held strong to earn the runner-up hardware, with Joe Tetreault holding off Cody Schoolcraft for third. Chris Riendeau, victorious a week earlier, was noticeably absent.
Second-generation, second season hot shoe Dylan Adams entered Friday’s 25-lap Pure Stock feature second in points. On this night, he was far from second, dominating both his heat and feature races to score his first win.
Steady Robert Shaw was second in the Pures, with Dave Aiken third and early-race leader Joey Jarvis fourth. Six-time winner Kodi Sabins, on a rare quiet night, still pitched a top five to stay atop the points parade.
Three Six Shooter drivers entered Friday’s racing with two feature wins already under their belts this summer. Paul Colburn made easy work of breaking that tie.
Colburn used the high lane to take the lead from Keith Martin on lap five and then sped away, leaving the field far behind him as he sailed to his third win this season, then taking a Polish victory lap before joining runner-up Todd Maguira and three-man Dustin Thibodeau for trophy time.
In the nightcap Battle of The Junkyard Dog Enduro 75-lapper, hometown blaster Jimmy Zullo romped to victory, duplicating his numerous successes of a year ago. Mr. Enduro Leon Keniston was second, and Drake Nelson came home third in the swarming 55-car field.
COMING EVENTS: CMP Promoter Mike Parks has rolled out an enticing list of big events set for August at the Thrasher Road speedplant.
On August 21, it’s the second Fan Appreciation Night of the summer, with adult admission again set at only $5. Then, on August 28, Maurice Enterprises will present a 100-lap, $10,000-to-win Open Modified show, with a who’s who of open-wheel royalty expected in to battle for the huge purse.
JULY 31 TOP FINISHERS:
MODIFIED 1: Brian Robie, Mike Willis, Kyle Welch, Matt Kimball, Ben Byrne, Cory Plummer, Walt Hammond, Stu McCormick, Kimmy Rivet, Alyssa Rivera.
MODIFIED 2: Brian Robie, Mike Willis, Kyle Welch, Matt Kimball, Walt Hammond, Stu McCormick, Alyssa Rivera, Cory Plummer, Kimmy Rivet, Ben Byrne.
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN: Aaron Fellows, Ryan Bell, Ben Poland, Joe Brown, Cam Curtis, Bucky Demers, Tyler Lescord, Ben Menard, Kenny Fowler.
STREET STOCK: Dave Greenslit, Kenny Thompson, Joe Tetreault, Cody Schoolcraft, Kyle Buck, Trevor Rocke, Raven Streeter, Chris Emerson, Briana Akusis.
PURE STOCK: Dylan Adams, Robert Shaw, Dave Aiken, Joey Jarvis, Kodi Sabins, Nolan McClay, Bruce Adams, Sean Lantas, Doug Nelson, Jim Carley.
SIX SHOOTER: Paul Colburn, Todd Maguira, Dustin Thibodeau, Keith Martin, Dakota Lanou, Jeremy Blood, Chooch Snide, Stephanie Welcome.
ENDURO 75: Jimmy Zullo, Leon Keniston, Drake Nelson, Dylan Cabral, David Flanders.