By Gary Dutton
Photos by Miss Em's Photography Adventures
CLAREMONT, N.H. – North Conway teen Gabe Brown dominated Saturday’s Key Chevrolet, Buick, GMC of Newport 150-lap GSPSS main event at Claremont Motorsports Park, topping his first career series event and, with it, earning the $10,000 winner’s purse.
But while Brown scored the day’s biggest payday, it was Modsman Todd Patnode who had the large crowd on its feet. The Swanzey star, who’s been winning races for twice as long as Brown has been alive, swept Saturday’s Modified twinbill, topping the nightcap in thrilling fashion.
Earning the pole in time trials, Patnode wired the first NHSTRA Modified 35-lapper, leading the Bennington, N.H. son and father pair, Matt and Bill Kimball, under the checkers to score his second CMP victory of the summer.
Mired in heavy traffic for much of the second go-round, Patnode used a three-to-go restart to finally reach the top three behind Walt Hammond and Cory Plummer. Two laps later, he blistered the backchute to take the lead and, with it, his second win of the day.
Joe Tetreault led the first 13 laps of the Street Stock feature, then giving way to division kingpin Dave Greenslit who, as he often does, got to the front and quickly drove away. With Greenslit earning his fifth 2021 victory lap, Tetreault was rock-solid in second, and Green Mountain star Chris Riendeau came home third.
In the Granite State Pro Stock Series main event, Brown took the lead from Joey Polewarczyk on lap 26 and held him at bay the rest of the way. Hometrack hot shoe Luke Hinkley was strong in third, with Eddie MacDonald holding last year’s race winner Derek Griffith off to come home fourth.
Nick Houle made it two wins in two days, topping Saturday’s Pure Stock main in a thriller. Splitting a sea of lappers with Carlos Grenier lap after lap, Houle finally used the low groove to take charge on lap 21 and then dash off to his third win of the season.
Rookie Nolan McClay, third the night before, earned the runner-up hardware Saturday, and Grenier finished his impressive day’s work in third, just ahead of Kyle Templeton and Dylan Zullo.
Six Shooter rocketman Dustin Thibodeau took the lead from his father, John, on a lap-14 restart and sailed off to his tenth win of the summer and, with it, passed Robert Shaw in the points chase. Shaw, third on the day, is now two markers behind Thibodeau after a dozen 2021 events.
Red Neck Enduro whirling dervish Drake Nelson attributed part of his high success rate to an ability to find the right holes in traffic and quickly fill them. Nelson stayed perfect on the season Saturday, running his winning streak to four-for-four by filling all the right holes in the day’s nightcap 50-lapper en route to victory lane.
Veteran Enduro master Leon Keniston was second Saturday, and Chris Colburn came home third.
Richie Coy topped the NEMA Lites 25-lap main, his second series win of the summer. P.J. Sturgess was second, and 16-year-old Midget phenom Jake Trainor, the Lites points leader, came home third.
In the Pro-4 Modified 25-lapper, veteran open-wheelsman Rob Richardi prevailed. Rising Pro-4 star Cody Rose took the checkers in second, and Ryan McPartland was Saturday’s bronze medallist.
Fresh off its huge two-day weekend, Claremont Motorsports Park will roar back into action Friday, August 6, with a five-division card of racing plus the STAR antiquers on the 13th event of its 2021 racing season.
CLAREMONT MOTORSPORTS PARK JULY 31 TOP TENS:
NHSTRA MODIFIED (First 35-lapper): Todd Patnode, Matt Kimball, Bill Kimball, Cory Plummer, George Helliwell, Geoff Rollins, Walt Hammond, Mike Smith, Nate Wenzel, Andrew Martell.
NHSTRA MODIFIED (Second 35-lapper): Todd Patnode, Walt Hammond, Cory Plummer, Geoff Rollins, Matt Kimball, George Helliwell, Brad Zahensky, Kimmy Rivet, Nate Wenzel, Tyler Leary.
STREET STOCK: Dave Greenslit, Joe Tetreault, Chris Riendeau, Cody Schoolcraft, Robert Hagar, Robbie Streeter, Trevor Rocke, Jason Kozacka, Briana Akusis, Jeremy Zullo.
PURE STOCK: Nick Houle, Nolan McClay, Carlos Grenier, Kyle Templeton, Dylan Zullo, Andrea St. Amour, Doug Nelson, Zach Richardson, JD Stockwell, Brandon Picknell.
SIX SHOOTER: Dustin Thibodeau, John Thibodeau, Robert Shaw, Paul Colburn, Chris Colburn, Jordan Keefe, Lucas Bernatchy, Bucky Thibodeau.
RED NECK ENDURO: Drake Nelson, Leon Keniston, Chris Colburn, Dennis Brenn, Doug Cameron, Robert Shaw, Chad Ricketts, Cory Downs, DJ Girard, Nadine Coates.