By Gary Dutton
Photos By Miss Em's Photography Adventures
CLAREMONT. N.H. – They came from just down the street, they came from as far away as Pennsylvania. They came in swarms Saturday to Claremont Motorsports Park, as more than 180 entrants jammed the pits to compete in the third-mile speedplant’s first annual Turkey Day Classic.
It’s not unusual when top guns like Jimmy Renfrew and Gordon Farnum swoop into Claremont to take away the top prize. And it’s almost commonplace when both Dustin Thibodeau and Drake Nelson hoist the evening’s winner’s trophy.
Each of them knows the victory lap waltz quite well. None, though, had danced it only three days shy of December.
Saturday morning began at the Thrasher Road oval with two inches of fresh show blanketing the asphalt racing surface. And those that may have then questioned CMP promoter Mike Parks’ wisdom in boldly pitching the holiday weekend season finale left more than five hours later with chilly noses and wide smiles on their faces.
Renfrew’s Street Stock victory gave the youthful southern tier rocketman bookend victories on the year. His first 2021 CMP victory was back on opening night, April 25. Saturday, he took the checkers ahead of frequent rival Max Dolliver and Kris Watson.
Farnum, an eleven-time 2021 Mini Stock feature winner at Monadnock Speedway, held off 2021 Monadnock champ Louie Maher for the Turkey Day victory. Ryan Keniston earned his first trophy of the year in third.
Andrew Harmon topped the Pure Stocks but not the tech line giving the checkers to Travis Sykes, with Nick Houle, Kodi Sabins, and JD Stockwell rounding out the top 4.
The Six Shooters? Who else, two-time defending track champ and ultimate dominator Dustin Thibodeau who, like Renfrew, earned his first victory lap of the season way back on April 25. Robert Shaw was second, and Steve Miller third.
Justin Harris was victorious in the Classic Lites, no surprise there, with George Helliwell and Tom Harwood joining him in trophy row.
Drake Nelson entered Saturday’s Enduro fray a perfect six-for-six this year at CMP. He extended that streak to seven by topping the Six Cylinder Enduro but then ran into a buzz saw in the Four Cylinder go-round.
Matt Gauffin, another ace of the Enduro battles, lapped the 67-car field to win Saturday’s four-holer 50-lapper, with Nelson coming home second – not the worst way to end a winning streak – and Kevin Boucher third.
Jim Walsh was strong in powering to the Eight Cylinder win, while Katie Buxton was tops in the Lady’s Enduro event.
And the last checkered flag lap of the year was taken by Robert Shaw, a beast in both the Friday night Six Shooters and Enduros, who won the speedway’s first-ever Flag Pole Race. Justin Faford was second in negotiating the loopty loops, and Drake Nelson added a third to his earlier first and second-place runs.
FIRST ANNUAL TURKEY DAY CLASSIC TOP PERFORMERS:
Complete Enduro results still being tabulated at press time.
STREET STOCK: Jimmy Renfrew, Max Dolliver, Kris Watson, Brandon Gray, Jim Storace, Corey Fanning, Collin Cornell, Matt Sonnhalter, Kyle Buck, Jon Porter.
MINI STOCK: Gordon Farnum, Louie Maher, Ryan Keniston, Roy Hathburn, Tommy Silva, Bob Williams, Pat Houle, Hailey Beal, Jeff Heath, Kevin Vaudrien.
PURE STOCK: Travis Sykes, Nick Houle, Kodi Sabins, JD Stockwell, Chris Sumner, Jamie Heath, Cam Curtis, Zach Zilinsky, Colton Martin.
SIX SHOOTERS: Dustin Thibodeau, Robert Shaw, Steve Miller, Ryan Nelson, Lucas Bernatchy, Ryan Partridge, Steve Miller Jr, Garrett Barry, Chooch Snide.
CLASSIC LITES Justin Harris, George Helliwell, Tom Harwood, Andrew Harman, Dave Helliwell, Jason Hodgdon. T.J. Laroche, Kaycie Kustra.
FOUR-CYLINDER ENDURO: Matt Gauffin, Drake Nelson, Kevin Boucher, Leon Keniston, Corey Downs.
SIX-CYLINDER ENDURO: Drake Nelson, Josh Hodgdon, Jamie Heath.
EIGHT-CYLIDER ENDURO: Jim Walsh, Adam Gray, Billy Davis, Wayne Foster, Buddy Wilkins.
LADIES ENDURO: Katie Buxton, Cathy Hubble, Sarah Hodgdon, Nadine Coates, Chrissy Rizzuto.
FLAG POLE RACE: Robert Shaw, Justin Fafford, Drake Nelson.
*Story was edited to reflect disqualification in Pure Stocks.