By Gary Dutton
Photos By Miss Em's Photography Adventures
CLAREMONT, N.H.- Matt Sonnhalter won the 50-lap main event Friday at Claremont Motorsports Park, while both Ben Poland and rookie Dylan Zullo moved closer to clinching their first career championships at the storied asphalt oval.
Sonnhalter topped the 50-lap NHSTRA Mini Stock Battle For The Belt feature Friday. Former track champ Kyle Templeton earned his first victory lap of the summer, becoming the eighth different Pure Stock winner of the 2021 campaign, and Robert Hagar powered to his second victory of the season in the highly competitive Streets Stocks.
Poland’s eighth Late Model Sportsman feature win helped the Charlestown charger close in on his first track title, while 2020 Six Shooter champ Dustin Thibodeau blasted off to another time zone Friday, winning for the 15th time in 17 completed events.
Mini Stock Belt series kingpin Emerson Cayer looked unstoppable in the night’s main event, taking the lead from Brayden Morrie on lap four and then quickly checking out on the field. But an oil leak would sideline the Contoocook ace on lap 24, moving Morrie back to the point, with Sonnhalter nipping at his heels.
Hometrack strongman Haydon Grenier was a quick DNF in this one, falling to mechanical failure on lap two, and with Cayer and Berlin’s Cody Leblanc behind the pit wall and Monadnock blaster Gordon Farnum at the back after pitting for fresh rubber, a 26-lap shootout between Sonnhalter and Morrie was on.
The Green Mountain powerhouse held strong to notch his first CMP victory lap of the year, with Morrie – victorious here two weeks earlier – strong in second. Outside invader Jonathan Fultz quietly stayed in the hunt all night to claim third, and Farnum came back through the field for fourth
Back at mid-season, Robert Hagar and Jack McClay traded both cars and divisions, with Hagar moving from the LMS class to Street Stocks. There’s little doubt as to who got the best of that deal.
Friday, Hagar set a new track R.E. Hinkley Oil Company Street Stock record in time trials, and then wired the 25-lap feature for his second win in a row.
The best battle in this one was between Kenny Thompson and Dave Greenslit for second, with Thompson earning runner-up honors just inches ahead of the division points leader. Cody Schoolcraft was a close fourth, with Bryan Town wheeling the Greenslit back-up ride to fifth.
Nolan McClay and Kyle Templeton were both dominant in winning their Pure Stock heat races Friday, and both carried that edge into the feature race. Templeton took the lead from McClay on lap seven of the 25-lap main event and never looked back en route to his first win of the summer.
Rookie sensation Dylan Zullo, firing from row six, got up for second on lap 22 and took the runner-up checkers just ahead of McClay to hike his divisional points lead to 106 markers ahead of Nick Zullo, fifth Friday behind last week’s winner JD Stockwell.
Run caution-free, the Route 103 Auto LMS feature went quickly into the books, with no one quicker than Ben Poland, who wired the event for his eighth victory of the summer. Ryan Bell was strong all the way for second, with former track champ Ricky Bly third on the night.
A few weeks back, CMP promoter Mike Parks put a bounty up for grabs to anyone who could derail Six Shooter Dustin Thibodeau’s fantastic winning streak. You’d think Thibodeau was protecting his own money!
Friday, he took the lead from his father, John, on lap ten and drove away. The elder Thibodeau held strong in second, with Robert Shaw powering to third, just ahead of the winner’s brother, Bucky, in a reversal of last week’s three-four finish.
After completing its busy two-race Labor Day weekend schedule, CMP returns to action next Friday, September 10, with an NHSTRA Late Model Sportsman Race For The Ring event atop a five-division weekly racing series card of competition plus a Red Neck Enduro 50-lapper.
CLAREMONT MOTORSPORTS PARK SEPTEMBER 3 TOP TENS
MINI STOCK, 50-lap Battle For The Belt Race: Matt Sonnhalter, Brayden Morrie, Jonathan Fultz, Gordon Farnum, Ricky Fisette, Ray King, Joe Olmstead, Ryan Carman, Pat Houle, David Pratt III.
STREET STOCK: Robert Hagar, Kenny Thompson, Dave Greenslit, Cody Schoolcraft, Bryan Town, Joe Tetreault, Briana Akusis, Jeremy Zullo, Robbie Streeter, Trevor Rocke.
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN: Ben Poland, Ryan Bell, Ricky Bly, Hayden Scott, Jack McClay, Matt Winter, Steve Bly, Zach Jewett, Tyler Lescord.
PURE STOCK: Kyle Templeton, Dylan Zullo, Nolan McClay, JD Stockwell, Nick Houle, Travis Sykes, Zach Richardson, Drake Nelson, Doug Nelson, Amy Jaycox.
SIX SHOOTER: Dustin Thibodeau, John Thibodeau, Robert Shaw, Bucky Thibodeau, Marc Laroche, Lucas Bernatchy, Chooch Snide, Xander Stillwell.