Story By Gary Dutton/Monadnock Speedway
Photo Courtesy of Emily Miller/Monadnock Speedway
WINCHESTER, N.H. – Veteran wheelsman Geoff Rollins rocketed to victory Saturday at Monadnock Speedway, gobbling up the competition as he won the first round of the 2023 Teddy Bear Pools NHSTRA Late Model Triple Crown series at the storied high-banked speedplant.
The Bay State hot shoe was one of four drivers scoring his first win of the year Saturday on the high banks. Nate Wenzel, NHSTRA Modifieds, Louie Maher, Mini Stocks, and Michael Yeaton, Six Shooters, each earned his first victory lap of the summer, while Pure Stocker Chris Davis and Young Gun Adrian Smith both won for the second time.
Starting up front in the 50-lap main event after dominating his heat race, Rollins never looked back en route to running away with the $1,000 top prize. Strongman Chris Buffone stayed with him the first ten laps but when Buffone suddenly dropped out on lap 11, it was all Rollins. Behind him, though, the competition was fierce for spots two through five.
With only one caution, on lap 47, slowing the rapid-fire event, gains were hard to come by as the sizzling field blasted through the fog. Kenny Thompson claimed the deuce at Buffone’s demise, but had Tim Wenzel glued to his bumper.
Matt Sonnhalter, charging from row four, took second on lap 35, but Wenzel stayed just inches behind. With three to go, Rollins lost his half-lap lead, while the two top contenders set up for a furious finish. Sonnhalter’s last-lap backchute dive netted him second, with Wenzel, Thompson, and Hillary Renaud rounding out the potent top five.
Sophomore speedster Nate Wenzel led all the way in the NHSTRA Modified 40-lapper, keeping defending track champ Tyler Leary in his shadow to score his first victory of the summer. Brian Chapin edged Aaron Fellows for third, while JT Cloutier, spun on lap five, stormed back through the field to come home fifth.
The crowd held its breath in this one, as the red waved on lap five when Kimmy Rivet’s open-wheeler took a wild ride in turn two, landing on top of the backstretch wall. Something appeared to have broken in Cole Littlewood’s car, sending him into Rivet and then into the wall, but both drivers fortunately walked away from the carnage.
Louie Maher made the move of the night on lap three of the Mini Stock feature to take the lead from Skyler Shippee and then hold strong to score his first win of the season in the caution-free 25-lapper. Shippee finished at his bumper, with Kevin Clayton strong in third.
Chris Davis held second-generation pilot Nolan McClay in his shadow for all 25 laps to win his second Pure Stock feature in a row. Reigning Claremont champ Chris Chambers was third, taking the checkers just ahead of Kodi Sabins and CJ Johnson.
Week one winner Steve Miller and son Steve Jr. brought the Six Shooters to the green but, if this one was supposed to be a Marvelous Millers show, Michael Yeaton hadn’t read the script. Yeaton took over on lap three and never looked back. Miller Jr. was strong in second, with Renegade Robert Shaw coming home third.
Markus O’Neil led the first eight laps of the Young Guns feature before giving way to event winner Adrian Smith. Owen Zilinski got up for second on lap 11 but couldn’t reel in the speedy Smith, while O’Neil stayed strong to earn the third podium spot.
After a weekend off, Monadnock Speedway will return to action on Saturday, June 24, when it hosts the 50-lap Pure Stock Shoot Out. The NHSTRA Modifieds, Pro 4 Modifieds, Mini Stocks, and Young Guns, along with the NELCAR Legends and Bandaleros, will all be in action too.
MONADNOCK SPEEDWAY JUNE 10 UNOFFICIAL TOP TENS
TEDDY BEAR POOLS TRIPLE CROWN LATE MODEL 50: Geoff Rollins, Matt Sonnhalter, Tim Wenzel, Rupert Thompson, Hillary Renaud, JD Stockwell, Erik Smith, Isabella Minchella, Gordon Farnum, Chris Castor.
NHSTRA MODIFIED: Nate Wenzel, Tyler Leary, Brian Chapin, Aaron Fellows, JT Cloutier, Cory Plummer, Joel Belanger, Eric Leclair, Adam LaPoint, Kevin Pittsinger.
MINI STOCK: Louie Maher, Skyler Shippee, Kevin Clayton, Cam Sontag, Erin Aiken, Jon Fultz, Chris Sontag, Robert Williams, Jake Puchalski, Pat Houle.
PURE STOCK: Chris Davis, Nolan McClay, Chris Chambers, Kodi Sabins, CJ Johnson, Colton Martin, Jimmy Zellman, Andrea St. Amour, Colton Hull, Ricky Melcher.
SIX SHOOTER: Mike Yeaton, Steve Miller Jr., Robert Shaw, Steve Miller Sr., Andrew Scott, Ethan Meyette, Mike Comtois, Zach Zilinski, Jacob Scott, Russell Mason.