CLAREMONT, N.H. – Dave Greenslit blew the field away Sunday at Claremont Motorsports Park, dominating the 75-lap first race of the 2022 NHSTRA Street Stock Battle for The Belt multi-track series.
By Gary Dutton
The two-time defending CMP track champion fired from eighth on the 25-car starting grid, blasted into second on lap 14, and then inched past Bay State hot shoe Scott Zilinski three laps later, never looking back as he scored his fourth victory of the young season on the historic third-mile.
Ben Poland, the speedway’s 2021 Late Model Sportsman champion, won for the second week in a row on Sunday, while Craig Smith – the “other” Craig Smith, rocketed to his second 2022 win in the Pure Stocks, and Steve Miller Jr. scored his first career victory in the Six Shooters.
Haydon Grenier and Zilinski led the swarming Street Stock field to the green, as Sunday’s main event got underway. Zilinski, a veteran of many moons at Monadnock Speedway, wasted no time in taking charge.
With Greenslit blasting to the lead on lap 17, and Beecher up to second four laps later, last summer’s Belt battle was on. A year ago, Beecher edged the Claremont star by two points to earn the series title. Sunday, in a runaway, it was Greenslit going two points up.
Cody Schoolcraft used a last-lap bump-and-run to snatch third from Zilinski, with Geoff Rollins quietly completing his smartly run race in fourth, just ahead of Zilinski.
Poland took the lead from Steve Bly on lap six of the LMS feature and sped off to his second win in a row, taking the checkers a dozen lengths ahead of Ryan Bell, whose best outing of the year brought him home second.
Two-time winner Ricky Bly, who sent himself to the rear after a lap-ten brush-up, recovered for third, with Craig Smith – the original one – completing his strong and steady run in fourth, just ahead of Cam Curtis.
A pair of 20s, Chris Chambers and Andrea St. Amour, set a fast pace over the first 15 go-rounds of Sunday’s Pure Stock feature but Craig Smith, victorious here back on May 6, then took charge and drove away.
Colton Martin’s lap-one looper would prove noteworthy in this one’s finish. Dumped out of fifth place on the opening lap, the 13-year-old charger elected to refire rather than wait for a caution, putting himself almost a full lap down.
The race’s only caution, on lap 20, waved as St. Amour – strong in third at the time – spun off the backstretch. Two-time winner JD Stockwell moved up to second on the restart, bringing Erin Aiken with him. With two to go, Martin completed his march back through the pack, coming home a solid fourth on the day.
Steve Miller Jr. led all the way to score his first career victory in the Six Shooters. Lucas Bernatchy added to his fast-growing collection of second-place trophies, while Andrew Scott was third for the third event in a row.
In the NELCAR Bandalero 15-lapper, 11-year-old Ben Morabito, of Long Island, N.Y., took the checkers ahead of Mike LaFort and Sam Macedo. Trevor Krouse topped a 16-car field in the NELCAR Legends 25-lapper, with Morabito’s older brother Nick, 16, earning the runner-up hardware, and Ty LeClerc coming home third.
TYLER RETURNS – Veteran LMS hot shoe Tyler Lescord, critically injured in a horrific turn-one crash here a month ago, watched Sunday’s races from the pits. Released from the hospital earlier this week, the popular driver joined family members as a pitside spectator Sunday.
NEXT EVENT – CMP will return to action this Friday, June 3, with the running of the previously rained-out Racers Honoring Racers 100, pitting the top Tour-Type Modified teams in the northeast head-to-head in quest of the $15,000 winner’s purse. Post time for this huge event is 7 p.m.
CLAREMONT MOTORSPORTS PARK MAY 29 TOP TENS
75-LAP STREET STOCK BATTLE FOR THE BELT RACE: Dave Greenslit, Justin Beecher, Cody Schoolcraft, Geoff Rollins, Scott Zilinski, Matt Sonnhalter, Brandon Gray, Haydon Grenier, Andrew Brousseau, Robert Hagar.
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN: Ben Poland, Ryan Bell, Ricky Bly, Craig Smith, Cam Curtis, Cole Littlewood, Jack McClay, Dylan Zullo, Steve Bly, Ben Lambert.
PURE STOCK: Craig Smith, JD Stockwell, Erin Aiken, Colton Martin, Zach Richardson, Amy Jaycox, Chris Conroy, Chooch Snide, Mike Douglas, Jonathan Aiden.
SIX SHOOTER: Steve Miller Jr., Lucas Bernatchy, Andrew Scott, Steve Miller Sr., Tyler Scott, Eric Griffin, Luke Greene.