Lee, NH – The first Friday night program of the summer took the green flag at Lee USA Speedway last Friday night, and the action on the track was as hot as the weather. After four years of trying, Charlie Rousseau finally captured his first feature win in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Pro Stocks, while Scott Bonney topped the Late Models, Mike Marshall came out on top of the Street Stocks, Paul Daskoski ran away with the Hobby Stock win, and points leader Matt Middaugh grabbed his third checker of the year in the NGK Spark Plugs Roadrunners.
After a round of two qualifying heats for all five divisions, the Late Models were first on the speedway for their feature, and they started things off with a bang. Dean Scarito got tangled up with Sean Nolan heading for the start, and he clipped the frontstretch wall. As the pair sat helplessly at the start/finish line, rookie Gary Grubisa drilled Scarito in the rear, absolutely destroying the back half of Scarito’s mount. Dean walked away from the incredible wreck unhurt, but his car was a write-off.
On the second attempt, things went much better, with Joey Porciello leading Ron Harkins and Steve Borges in the early laps, with three-time champion Bonney on the move and heading to the front. By lap five, Bonney was up from his ninth place start to run third, and a lap later, he took over the second spot, with Clyde Janvrin following him through to grab third. From there, the race was on, as Bonney moved to the outside of leader Porciello, with Janvrin gluing himself to Porciello’s rear bumper.
The trio battled it out of the lead for the next several laps, with halfway coming and going quickly as the race ran clean and green. At the crossed flags, it was Porciello, Bonney, Janvrin, A.J. Begin and Tom Fuller leading the way, but Bonney eventually completed the pass and took over the top spot. With two to go, a minor spin set up a two-lap shootout, with Fuller completing the comeback from a pit stop after the first lap wreck to challenge for the lead. Fuller pulled up alongside Bonney, but came up just short at the checkers, as Scott hung on to post his second feature win of the season. Fuller, Grant Aither, Begin and Porciello rounded out the top five.
The Street Stocks were up next, with Bill Ahern and C. J. Chase leading them around to the green flag. Ahern stayed out front for the first three circuits, but Chase got a great jump on an early race restart and moved out to the lead. From there, Chase looked unbeatable, as he held off the challenge of freshman “Lightning” Lew Fortin for the next dozen laps. At the halfway mark, the heavy hitters were moving in, with Chase and Fortin leading Mike Marshall, Jimmy Renfrew and Ron Bolduc as they crossed the stripe.
Chase continued to hang on, as first Renfrew and then Marshall joined the battle for the lead. Fortin fell victim to a cut tire in the closing laps, with Marshall moving up to challenge Chase for the lead. Coming to the white flag, Marshall made his move to the inside to grab the lead, as Chase found trouble and spun trying to hold off the rest of the field. At the checkers, it was Marshall in for his second win of the year, followed by Bolduc, Billy Fiske, Jason Marr and Wayne Whitten.
Rousseau started the 40-lap Pro Stock main sitting on the pole, and he immediately jumped out to the lead when starter Bryon Callen displayed the green flag. Wayne Helliwell, Jr. moved past outside pole starter Ernie Holland quickly to run second, but Holland returned the favor a few laps later to re-take the second spot. Rousseau meanwhile, was off and running, clicking off some impressive laps as the rest of the field sorted out behind.
By the halfway mark, Rousseau was comfortably leading, with a several car length advantage over Holland. Helliwell, Jr., Wayne Helliwell, Sr., and Ricky Wolf filled the remainder of the top five spots at the crossed flags, and there was no stopping Rousseau from that point. Charlie led flag to flag to pick up his first career Pro Stock victory, with Holland, Wolf, Boe Green and J.R. Baril closing out the top five.
Doug Tisdell led the Hobby Stock field around to the green, but it was Paul Daskoski who got a great run in the outside groove to take his turn out front. Daskoski has found all sorts of trouble in the past few races, but this time out, he was on the mark. He immediately began to pull away from the rest of the field, though a lap six caution brought him back to the pack.
On the restart, Daskoski took right off again, and with no other caution periods to slow his charge, he pulled away to a half straightaway lead over his nearest competition. While the rest of the pack mixed it up behind, Daskoski had an easy time of it, leading every lap on the way to his second feature win of the 2002 season. Tisdell hung tough through the entire event, posting his best finish of the year in the runner-up slot, with Neil Kelly, Tom Duda and Brian Thompson finishing up the top five.
The NGK Roadrunners had a tough time getting through the first three laps of their feature event, with a series of caution flags slowing the action. After restarting at the rear on lap three, Middaugh made an incredible charge through the field, passing every single car in just five laps to take command of the event.
Once he got to the front, Middaugh was literally gone, as he pulled away to nearly a half lap lead before the checkers waved to end his domination. Middaugh became the first three-time winner at Lee USA this season, with Dan Eaton, Melanie Vencis, Paul Brown and Lloyd Chapin second through fifth.
Next Friday, June 28th, Lee USA Speedway will feature a giant fireworks display along with racing in all five weekly divisions, the NASCAR Weekly racing Series Pro Stocks, Late Models, Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks and NGK Spark Plugs Roadrunners. For information on this or any other upcoming event, call the race hotline at (978)462-4252, or log on to www.leeusaspeedway.com