Lee, NH – Lee USA Speedway closed out the regular Friday night season for the weekly competitors in the five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions at “New Hampshire’s Center of Speed”, with all 16 of this year’s scheduled events making it into the record books dating back to opening night on May 27.
The 2016 champions were crowned in all divisions, with second-generation racer Dave “Hollywood” Helliwell of Pelham taking down the title in the Supermodifieds to close out his first year competing in the track’s headlining NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division.
Hollywood’s not the first member of the storied Helliwell clan to accomplish that feat, he follows in the footsteps of older brother Wayne, Jr., who although better known for his exploits aboard full-bodied racecars, culminated his Lee USA career with a title run in the famed Witkum Brothers Racing Super.
Kingston’s Moe Lattime topped the EKeys4cars Supers in the final points race of the season, running the Dick Osborne entry to an impressive win. Mike Netishen of Auburn collected his best finish of the year in the runner-up slot, with 2015 Rookie of the Year Mike Keddy of Raymond, Helliwell, and Rochester’s Mike Spurling rounding out the top five.
The R & R Public Wholesalers Late Model Sportsmen went into the night with the closest championship battle of all, with Exeter’s Jimmy Russell holding a slim three-point lead over Buxton, ME ace Nate Leavitt. Heat race points had Leavitt on top by a single marker come feature time, but his night went sour just seconds after the main event went green.
With a couple of positions in hand over Russell, Leavitt got involved in a tangle that sent him hard into the turn three concrete, ending his night and his season. A disappointed Leavitt saw his championship hopes finish unceremoniously in a slow ride back to the pit area on the business end of a wrecker.
Frankie Eldredge of Stratham went on to collect his second straight championship night feature win in the 30-lap man, but it was all about former Hobby Stock champion Russell, who finished second for the night and tallied his first career LMS title as a result.
It was the seventh time this year Russell had come home in the runner-up slot, but it resulted in him being the big winner for 2016, and he and his crew will be seated at the head table at the annual “Banquet of Champions” to be held in November. Kris Miller of Bedford, Bryan Kruczek of Newmarket, and Bobby Melvin of Groton, MA rounded out the feature event top five.
2013 and 2014 David’s Race Cars and Components Hobby Stock champion Patrick Tanguay of Lebanon, ME was in the driver’s seat heading into championship night, and as the evening unfolded, he looked to be well on his way to championship number three.
All of that changed in post-race tech, when he was stripped of the night’s win and the title as well, moving Fremont racer Dylan Bilodeau to the top spot in the season standings. Bilodeau has had an up and down season, to say the least, dotted by a couple of blown engines and at least that many untimely flat tires, but he survived it all to reign as 2016 champ.
After the post-race activities, Epsom’s Jim Piaseczny was awarded his third feature win of the season, with Paul Palen of Pelham taking runner-up for the night, and the same result in the season-long points battle, coming up just short of what would have been his first career title. Bilodeau, Jake Michaud of Lebanon, ME, and Newmarket’s Eric Hoffman rounded out the top five for the night.
Defending Pure Stock champion Jesse Tellier of Derry grabbed the checkers in the Tri-City Line-X Ironman main event over Seabrook’s Adam Knowles, Milford’s Travis Hollins, Jamie Holland and James Witkum, but nobody was even close to catching hometown racer Ryan Pitkin in the points chase, as he easily collected his first career championship when the final checkers waved.
The MLM Diagnostics Pure Stocks saw a first-time winner when Epping’s Anthony Nadeau took over the driving duties in the John Boomhower #16, running off to easily pick up the feature win over Danielle Evans of Berwick, ME, and Rob Carlton.
Fellow Epping driver Tyler Mailhot cruised to a fourth-place finish in the main, but like Pitkin in the Ironmen, there was no catching him in the Pure Stock championship battle, where he easily came out on top to claim the title.
Things will be quiet at Lee USA Speedway until the weekend of October 7-9th, when the annual Oktoberfest takes to the track, featuring some 15 different divisions of race cars taking part in the traditional Northern New England curtain-closing weekend of racing, camping, and more.
For more information on any upcoming event at Lee USA Speedway, call the race hotline at (978)462-4252, log on to www.leeusaspeedway.com, or follow us on Facebook.
Sources: Judy Macdonald/Lee USA Speedway PR