June 18, 2018
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‘Wicked Good’ finish highlights Speedway 95 racing

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

HERMON — When Hermon’s Kris Watson and Bradley’s Tim Reynolds drove into the infield at Speedway 95 Saturday night to receive their awards after the Wicked Good Vintage Racing Outlaw class race, they knew they were the top two finishers.

They just didn’t know which one of them had won the race.

The finish was that close.

In fact, both said they can’t remember being in such a close race.

“That’s the closest I can remember. I had no idea who won. That was a good time,” said Reynolds, who is in his 32nd year of racing and was nosed out by just a few inches.

Watson didn’t know, either, but thought Reynolds may have won because, “his car seems longer than mine. Mine always seems shorter.”

Watson said on the final lap, “I got the car straight, I put it (the gas pedal) to the floor and I guess I won.”

Watson was driving a 1934 Chevy and was in the bottom lane while Reynolds was in a 1941 Lincoln Coup and was in the top lane.

Mike Millet wound up third followed by Lyle Tourtillotte and John Rice.

The Late Model feature didn’t have nearly as much drama as Hermon’s Mike Hopkins remained perfect on the season by cruising to a 20 car-length victory over Dale Swoboda, also from Hermon.

Winterport’s Ryan Deane was third, Steuben’s Brenton Parritt was fourth and Liberty’s Dave St. Clair was fifth in the 14-car field.

Hopkins, who started second, took the lead from pole-sitter Swoboda in the opening laps and never looked back.

He has now won both heat races and both features this season.

“We had a lot of mechanical issues last year and it’s finally nice to come back and race the way I used to in the Mini-Stock series: go from back to front in the heat race to get the starting position you want. It’s a lot easier to win when you start up front,” said Hopkins. “You stay out of a lot of trouble that way.”

He credited Anthony Wilcox for his work in building the car.

“Anthony has this car rolling through the center so good that I get back on the gas so much earlier (than the other cars). I’m happy to be the guy driving it,” said Hopkins, who drove a Chevy Monte Carlo.

“Mike’s car was pretty stout,” said Swoboda. “We had a good car, we had a real good car. But it was loose so I didn’t want to push the issue. I knew I had second by a pretty good length.”

He said car owner Scott Modery changed the air pressure in the right front tire to try to improve it but it may have backfired.

In the Sport-4s, Eddington’s Jay Robichaud and Ellsworth’s Bradley Norris dueled for most of the race but Robichaud won the first lap and was able to hold off Norris by two car-lengths.

Robichaud survived three cautions/restarts.

Carmel’s Becky Elston was third with Hermon’s Andrew Crosby and Dedham’s Keith Ogden rounding out the top five in the nine-car field.

Hermon’s Ryan Modery won the new Bomber class feature for front-wheel-drive cars with four, six or eight cylinders.

He was in a battle with Milford’s Garret Hayman but Hayman got loose and slid up the track on lap 16 of the 20-lap race to give Modery some breathing room and enable him to come home six car-lengths ahead of Hayman.

Seal Cove’s Ken Ogden was third, Stockton Springs’ Duane Seekins was fourth and fifth went to Ellsworth’s Gilbert Ogden Jr.

There was a thrilling finish in the 30-lap Maine Modifieds race for youngsters ages 10-14. The mods are seventh-eighths scale of a regular modified car.

Thirteen-year-old Reid Lanpher of Manchester took the lead on lap 11 of the 30-lap race and crossed the finish line just half a car-length in front of Kennebunk’s Tommy Stilphen, who is 12.

Completing the top five were 14-year-old Dan Snow of Pittston, 11-year-old T.J. Bleau from Cheshire, N.H., and 12-year-old Izzac Collins from Pittston.

In the Vintage Late Model Division, Mark Thurlow took the checkered flag followed by Scott Tucker, Keith Smalley, Wally Henderson and Jamie Henderson.

The 35-lap Strictly Street feature, the first in a three-race series, was dominated by Harrington’s Andrew McLaughlin, who won in impressive fashion. He has won both Strictly Street features this season.

“The car went real well tonight. This was as good as I’ve ever had in a race car,” said McLaughlin. “We made an adjustment to the stagger and it helped me get out of the corners a little bit better. I think we hit it right on.

“We finished building the car last summer. That gave us more time to work on the chassis and it’s paying off this year,” said McLaughlin. “I was a rookie last year and I had a lot of learning to do.”

Roger Smith Jr. of Clifton was second followed by Cornville’s Shelby Kimball and Bangor’s Shawn Hamel II and Shawn Hamel. Eight cars started the race.

Smith was making just his second start in this class after moving up from Wacky Wednesday’s  Big Enduro class. He was fifth in his debut two weeks ago.

Cosmetology student Kimball, 19, is making the jump from the Ladies Division to Strictly Streets and has a second and a third in her first two races.

“I’m pretty excited. I didn’t expect to move up and do so well,” she said.

Appleton’s Jeremy Glasier made it 2-for-2 in the Sportsman class as he pulled away from D.J. Moody of Prospect, who was making his return to racing after several years away from it.

Moody said a minor chain-reaction collision on the lap 11 restart damaged his rear spoiler.

“The car was already loose and that made the problem worse,” said Moody.

Mike Overlock of Franklin was third in the five-car field followed by Greenbush’s Gene Wasson and Holden’s Moulton, whose car sustained considerable damage in the lap-11 wreck.

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