Lee, NH – Lee USA Speedway closed out the 2016 racing season with the running of 13 feature events which had been postponed at “New Hampshire’s Center of Speed” two weeks earlier, and it was Chelmsford, MA Modified ace Jon McKennedy who was clearly the star of the day.
With twin 50-lap feature events on tap for the Valenti Modified Racing Series, McKennedy was in the proverbial driver’s seat, and he capped off his 2016 championship run with dominating wins in both ends of the twinbill to cement his fourth career series championship title.
McKennedy wasn’t the only driver to double up during Oktoberfest 2016, though it took Hudson, NH Super Late Model standout Derek Griffith a couple of weeks longer to score his two wins. Griffith had won the opening Oktoberfest Super Late Model 50-lapper on Saturday night, October 8, but when rain washed out Sunday action, he had to wait two weeks for the re-schedule to complete his sweep.
But the layoff did nothing to slow Griffith and his Louie Mechalides-led team down, and he picked up right where he left off and once again stormed through the field to collect win number two on Sunday, outrunning Chuck Colby and Eddie “The Outlaw” MacDonald to collect the checkers.
During the virtually non-stop feature event action that saw hundreds of cars make thousands of laps around the fast 3/8th‘s mile oval, veteran Duane Skofield outran Lee’s Justin Harris and Dan Poliquin to score the Northeast Classic Lites win, and Candia racer Dave Morrell picked up the 6-cylinder Ironman checkers over former champ Travis Hollins of Milford and Tewksbury, MA’s Christin DeStefano.
Niko Maniatis of Hooksett, who has championships on his resume from both the weekly Roadrunners and Late Model Sportsmen at Lee USA, ran off to the win in the Oktoberfest Roadrunner main, with former Ironman champ Jack Victoria of Epping and 2016 Star champ Paul Wainwright rounding out the podium.
Tamworth hot shoe Jeremy Davis put in a strong run and claimed top honors in the Late Model Sportsman main, out finishing 2015 champ Jay Sands of Hampton and Davis’ car owner, multi-time champion Grant Aither of Exeter to score the victory.
Mark “Sparky” MacIver was the best of the bunch if the Supermodified main event, taking the win over multi-time champion Tommy Tombarello, Jr. of Haverhill, MA , and Mike Murphy of Groveland, MA. Tombarello’s crew had put in a long day of thrashing to recover from a practice crash, replacing the front axle among other things just to get him on track for the feature and the runner-up result.
Maniatis looked to join McKennedy and Griffith with double Oktoberfest wins when he returned to action for the North East Mini Stock Tour main, but after leading early and often, he eventually lost the top spot in lapped traffic, with longtime Oktoberfest standout Emerson Cayer going on to post the win over Maniatis and Brandon Gray of Thetford, VT.
After dropping out while leading on the last lap of the Late Model Sportsman main, Stratham’s Frankie Eldredge came from deep in the pack to score the Late Model win, topping one of the best races of the day, with Jeremy Davis second in the Grant Aither entry, and local favorite Miles Chipman improving on his Super Late Model finish with a solid third in the Shanna Sullivan machine.
Pelham’s George Helliwell outran his car owner Jim Wentworth to score the 1100cc Dwarf Car open main event, while Justin Harris of Lee scored the 600cc victory over Ed Gilman and A.J. Giacomozzi.
A post-race disqualification sent Burrillville, RI driver Corey Fanning to Hobby/Strictly Stock victory lane, and Epping’s Ricky Porter closed out the 2016 season with a dominating win that saw him just a couple of car lengths short of lapping the field on his way to victory in the Outlaw Mini Stock main event.
The last two events left on the slate for 2016 are the annual “Banquet of Champions” to be held at the Executive Court Inn located in Manchester on November 5, and the traditional Lee USA Flea Market a week later on November 12.
For more information on any upcoming event at Lee USA Speedway, call the race hotline at (978)462-4252, log on towww.leeusaspeedway.com, or follow us on Facebook.
Sources: Lee USA Speedway PR