WINCHESTER, N.H. – What a night Saturday at Monadnock Speedway; perfect weather, more-than-healthy car counts, and – on the sixth completed night of racing this season – no fewer than five new winners.
By Gary Dutton
Great stuff? Ask Ben Byrne. Or Chris Lindquist, or Chris Sontag. Maybe JD Stockwell or Owen Zilinski. Each will tell you how good it felt to win for the first time Saturday.
Only Cole Littlewood scored a repeat win on the storied quarter-mile Saturday. The Orange, Mass. hot shoe ran his Late Model Sportsman winning streak to three in a row, and three out of five on the young season.
NHSTRA Modified ace Tyler Leary entered Saturday’s 40-lap main event perfect on the year, having led all 90 laps en route to three straight victories. When the Hatfield, Mass. pilot set fast time by blistering a lap at 12.953 seconds, it didn’t bode well for the rest of the field.
Byrne, though, was not intimidated. Starting up front, he led all the way, holding Leary in his shadow for 27 laps, and then Brian Chapin the rest of the way, to score his first win of the summer. Chapin, who appeared to have the fastest car in the field Saturday, took second on a lap-29 restart and then had to content himself riding glued to Byrne the rest of the way. Trevor Bleau, charging from way back in row seven, got up for third on lap 37.
Leary’s fifth-place finish, coupled with Byrne’s win, kept Leary atop the points chase, 192-190, ahead of Byrne.
Like Byrne, Littlewood led all the way in his night’s feature race, holding first his brother Justin, then week-one winner Ryan Currier, at bay to score win number three. Claremont star Ricky Bly got up for third on lap eight but could advance no further.
Kenny Thompson, victorious the last time out in the Street Stocks, led the first nine laps Saturday, before suddenly dropping off pace as Hillary Renaud charged into the lead. Renaud, gunning for her first win of the season, held Tim Wenzel and then Chris Lindquist in her shadow until the white flag was in the air, with this one up for grabs all the way.
Lindquist, Renaud, and two-time 2022 winner Keith Johnson raced out of turn four three-across as the checkers waved, with Lindquist getting the win as he spun out of control at the stripe. Renaud, inches behind, rocked the track in second, with Johnson half a foot back in third.
Only one thing stood between Cameron Sontag and the checkered flag in Saturday’s Mini Stock feature. That obstacle was his younger and far less experienced brother, Chris.
The Sterling, Mass. siblings ran one-two in the caution-free 25-lapper, with Chris holding strong all the way to score his first career victory. Gordon Farnum, mired in rush hour traffic the first ten go-rounds, came home third.
JD Stockwell had won twice already at Claremont this season and had flirted with victory here on the high banks, finishing second the last time out. Saturday, the super-talented Turners Falls 14-year-old earned his first Pure Stock victory at Monadnock.
Taking the lead from recent Young Guns grad Dominick Stafford on lap two, Stockwell – himself a product of the Young Guns program – then outran three-time winner Kyle Robinson Newell to take the checkers atop Saturday’s 20-car field.
Claremont speedster Kyle Templeton made a last-lap pass to snatch third from Bruce Jaycox, with defending champ Chris Davis – thumped around by a backmarker in his heat race – coming from deep in the field for fifth.
Eleven-year-old Owen Zilinski followed his four-year-older brother Zach’s footsteps in the Young Guns feature by scoring his first-ever feature win. Aaliyah Tacy was strong in second, with Traver Michaud taking the third-place trophy all the way home to Lebanon, Maine.
Monadnock Speedway will be back in action next Saturday, June 11, with a NHSTRA Mini Stock Battle for The Belt series race atop a full card of NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series events and the second race of the season by the Exit Realty Pro Truck Series.
MONADNOCK SPEEDWAY JUNE 4 TOP TENS:
NHSTRA MODIFIEDS: Ben Byrne, Brian Chapin, Trevor Bleau, Cameron Houle, Tyler Leary, Aaron Fellows, Nate Wenzel, Brad Zahensky, JT Cloutier, Kimmy Rivet.
LATE MODEL SPORTSMEN: Cole Littlewood, Ryan Currier, Ricky Bly, Ryan Bell, Justin Littlewood, Cody Schoolcraft, Leo Martin, Dan Comeau, Nancy Muni Ruot, Rocky Smith.
STREET STOCKS: Chris Lindquist, Hillary Renaud, Keith Johnson, TimWenzel, Matt Sonnhalter, Brandon Gray, Nate Nunez, Chris Castor, Dan Robinson, Isabella Michella.
MINI STOCKS: Chris Sontag, Cameron Sontag, Gordon Farnum, Jeff Asselin, Louie Maher, Nick Houle, Kevin Clayton, Jeff Heath, Dana Shepard, Eric Pomasko.
PURE STOCKS: JD. Stockwell, Kyle Robinson Newell, Kyle Templeton, Bruce Jaycox, Chris Davis, Zach Zilinski, Billy Graham, Amy Jaycox, Colton Martin, Dominick Stafford.
YOUNG GUNS: Owen Zilinski, Aaliyah Tacy, Traver Michaud, Addison Brooks, Jamielynn Flannery, CJ McNall.
Photo Credit: Emily Miller
Street Stock Winner – #35 Chris Lindquist
NHSTRA Modified Winner – #6 Ben Byrne