By Gary Dutton Photos by Miss Em's Photography Adventures
CLAREMONT, N.H. – Aaron Fellows topped the 52-lap Dean Smith Memorial Late Model Sportsman main event Friday, May 17, at Claremont Motorsport Park, winning for the second time in as many 2019 events at the third-mile speedplant.
The Croydon Comet was one of four hot shoes staying perfect on the young season, as Todd Patnode made it two straight in the Sportsman Modifieds, Jimmy Renfrew Jr. ran away and hid to earn his second victory lap in the Street Stocks, and hometown pilot Jeremy Blood stayed undefeated in Six Shooter action.
Newport’s Jim Carley was a first time winner in the Pure Stocks, while Justin Harris won the 50-lap Red Neck Enduro nightcap event.
Ben Poland led the R.E. Hinkley Late Model Sportsman field to the green, holding the point for the first 15 go-rounds, with two-time defending track champ Ricky Bly running in his shadow. Fellows, charging from row four, reeled the lead pair in quickly, dropping Bly to third on lap 14 and then blasting low out of turn two to take command a lap later.
Bly grabbed the deuce on lap 18, running a distance second to Fellows until coasting to a stop atop turn four on lap 35. Not done yet, the Sunapee speedster put together some fast pit work and a fortuitous caution flag on lap 33 to knife back through the field and earn the runner-up hardware behind Fellows. Bob Hagar’s solid outing netted him the three-spot, Solomon Brow came home fourth, and Poland was fifth under the checkers.
Joel Monahan and Dana Smith race glued together for the first 17 circuits of the Pepsi Sportsman Modified main, with Smith – a two-time speedway champ – beginning to find some breathing room until the caution waved for a routine looper on lap 23. The ensuing restart brought Monahan back to his door, and Patnode into the mix.
Patnode would claim the deuce two laps later, keeping Smith in his sights until a lap-34 caution gave him one last chance at the point, with the Swanzey hot shoe jumping all over his newfound fortune to speed off to his second victory of the summer. Unity’s Mark Hayward, strong all night, charged ahead for second, Scott MacMichael came home third, with Smith and Matt Kimball rounding out the top five.
Casella Street Stock strongman Dave Greenslit led the first nine circuits of his 30-lapper, with Jimmy Renfrew Jr. draped all over him but, once Renfrew had rocketed low through turn three to take command, he simply drove away to earn the Friday night victory by a country mile. Chris Riendeau – he of the 11 feature wins a summer ago – got up for second, with Greenslit, Max Doliver, and Joe Tetreault completing the top five.
Seth Melcher won the first of two Pure Stock features, a 20-lap completion of an event halted by rain two weeks earlier. Erin Aiken was second, Chris Conroy third, with Tim St. John and Jim Carley completing the top five.
In the nightcap, when the tech line shuffle had been danced, Carley won his first of the year. Unity’s Bruce Adams was second, followed by Kyle Templeton, Chris Carver, and Sammy Silver.
Jeremy Blood topped the Six Shooters, with Paul Colburn the runner-up and Eric Lanou third, a duplication of their heat race finish.
In the Red Neck Enduro 50-lapper, Justin Harris – firing from row two, led all the way to score a dominating victory. Leon Keniston was the deuce man, with Tyson Hayes coming home third in the green-only event.
Next Sunday, May 26, Claremont Motorsport Park will host one of northern New England’s biggest racing events of the season, as the storied Tri-Track Modified Series invades the Thrasher Road speedplant for 100 ground-pounding laps of excitement. More than 30 of the region’s top open-wheel teams will be on hand to vie for the $7,000 winner’s purse.
Because of the preparation necessary to host this spectacular Memorial Day weekend event, there will be no racing Friday, May 24 at the CMP oval. The Mod Squad will be supported by a full card of Motorsport Park weekly racing series events. Post time Sunday is 5 p.m.