Lee, NH – Oktoberfest 2002 brought the racing season to a close at the Lee USA Speedway last weekend, with nine divisions seeing competition over the weekend. Former two-time track champion Larry Gelinas returned to his old stomping grounds and posted the win in the 50-lap Pro Stock main event, making a last lap pass on Vinnie Anarummo to get the job done.
Anarummo had gotten the jump on polesitter Todd Patnode to grab the lead early in the event, with just a pair of caution flags slowing the pace in the first half of the race. At that point Anarummo found himself leading 2002 Seekonk Speedway champ Dick Houlihan, with Gelinas up from his 13th place start to run third. Three circuits later, Gelinas knocked off Houlihan to take over the second spot, and the chase was on.
Anarummo and Gelinas ran nose to tail for the next 20 laps, with Gelinas unable to make his way past. Lapped traffic got heavy as the laps wound down however, and as the leaders ran up on a big pack coming to the checkers, Gelinas somehow found room between Anarummo and the outside wall, and he slipped past to take the win by the narrowest of margins. After the checkers, Anarummo spun to the infield, and Gelinas ended up against the wall in turn one, with the crowd roaring their approval.
In the Modified main, all eyes were on Teddy Christopher, who started the show seventh on the grid. He basically picked off a car per lap to take over the lead on lap seven, and from there it was all but over. During a long green flag stretch in the early going, TC pulled away to a half lap lead over the rest of the field, but a series of late race restarts kept bringing him back to the field.
One of those cautions nearly cost Christopher the race when a pair of slower cars tangled just in front of him, but he somehow avoided the wreck and continued on in the lead. At the checkers, it was Christopher first across the stripe to post the win, with Ed Dachenhausen holding off the team cars of Bruce Batchelder and Wayne Helliwell, Jr. to collect runner-up honors.
In the 350 Supers, longtime ISMA Supermodified veteran bolted out from the outside pole position to grab the lead at the start, with Matt Seavey in pursuit. Kevin Tourigny was next to break out of the pack and join the lead battle, and he soon slipped past Seavey to take over the second spot.
On lap 18, Tourigny looked to the low side coming off turn two, and he got a great run down the backstretch to complete the pass on Ordway and take over the top spot. Once out front, Tourigny opened up a few car length lead over Ordway, and he maintained the advantage to the finish, picking up his first Oktoberfest win. Ordway, Seavey, July winner Joey Scanlon and Louie Mechalides rounded out the top five.
In Late Model action, it was Lee USA rookie Joey Porciello who took advantage of his pole position start to grab the lead at the drop of the green, and when the checkered flag flew 30 laps later, it was still Porciello out front. Porciello held back a tough challenge from former Oktoberfest winner Kenny Spencer for most of the race, but he was up to the task and led wire-to-wire for the win. Spencer, Gerry DeGasparre, Jr., Sean Caisse and Tom Scully, Jr. were next in the finishing order.
When the Pro-4 Modifieds took to the speedway, it was another polesitter who quickly became the man to beat, as John Studley immediately pulled away from the pack. Nationals weekend winner Tim Proctor was second and closing at halfway, but mechanical woes sidelined him before he could mount a serious challenge. Richard Savary was next to take up the chase, but he too came up short, chasing Studley across the stripe when it was over.
Dave Raymond moved up quickly from his fifth place start in the Street Stock main to pick up the lead on lap five, and then had his hands full with three-time track champ and Nationals weekend winner Ron Bolduc as the race wore on. Bolduc gave it all he had, but Raymond was too tough this time out, holding on to post his first-ever Lee win.
Lee regular Paul Brown dominated the Roadrunner feature to grab that win, and then bounced back again later in the night to outrun “Piranha” Pete Evans when the Outlaw Mini Stocks took to the track. Doug Ricker was out front when the Hobby Stock feature took the checkered flag, but a post-race disqualification instead gave the win to Unity regular James McGarey of Albion, ME.
The final events on the calendar for 2002 are the annual Swap Meet on November 2-3, with the “Banquet of Champions” to follow later in the month. For more information, call the speedway office at (978)462-4252, or log on to www.leeusaspeedway.com.