Story By: DALE WOLBRINK / WINCHESTER, NH – Chase Dowling of Roxbury, CT, who started deep in the field of the Monadnock 100, capitalized on patience and some late race drama to score the Tri-Track Open Modified Series (TTOMS) victory at Monadnock Speedway on Sunday afternoon. The race was held a day later due to inclement weather but still delivered all the excitement as expected.
“Today I was more patient in a race car than I have ever been,” said a smiling Dowling from victory lane. “I did not let the race get to me and I knew that we were going to be good at the end.”
Richard Savary of Canton, MA, who qualified through the consi, turned his luck around in 2019 with a solid runner-up finish. Jacob Perry of Pawcatuck, CT, brought out a mid-race caution but recovered to score a podium finish. Matt Galko of Meriden, CT, had a season-high finish of fourth. Hometown favorite Alexander of W. Swanzey, NH, completed the top five.
Tommy Barrett of Millis, MA, Anthony Sesely of Matawan, NJ, Austin Kochenash of Danielsville, PA, Woody Pitkat of Bellingham, MA, and Dylan Izzo of Munroe, CT, completed the top ten.
After the redraw, Ben Byrne from Greenfield, MA, a regular in Monadnock’s Sportsman Modified division, started on the pole of the 26-car field; sharing the front row with Les Hinckley of Windsor Locks, CT. Byrne jumped to the early lead with Hinckley in tow. On lap 13, Hinckley drifted high allowing Ron Silk of Norwalk, CT, and Ronnie Williams of Ellington, CT, to take over second and third, respectively. With 20 laps down, driver settled into a single file run with Byrne still at the point and enjoying a comfortable margin over Silk.
The first caution of the event flew on lap 30 when one of the favorites to win, Todd Patnode of W. Swanzey, NH, stalled on the front stretch. Another local favorite and contender, Russ Hersey of Swanzey, pitted during the caution.
Once back to green, Williams used the bottom groove to pass Silk for second. Pitkat got up alongside Silk to challenge for position as well. He took the spot on lap 36. Dowling was beginning to make his charge to the front. At the head of the field, Byrne and Williams had extended their lead in a two-car break away.
The bid for the win ended for Williams ended on lap 46 when his car slowed to bring out the second yellow. Under the caution, Cam McDermott of Canterbury, CT, hobbled down pit road with mechanical woes. Several other cars pitted while the leaders elected to stay out.
On the ensuing restart, Pitkat made a bid at the lead but Byrne was able to retain the top spot. At halfway, Byrne was pulling away from the field. The third caution waved on lap 61 for debris on the speedway. During the caution, Williams rejoined the field several laps down while several other drivers took the opportunity to pit. The lead duo of Byrne and Pitkat remained on track as did Joe Kendall from Winchendon, MA.
When racing went back green, Kendall was able to take second away from Pitkat. Deeper in the pack, contact between Matt Swanson of Acton, MA, and Perry saw both cars spinning and the fourth caution flag of the event flying on lap 64.
After only three laps of green flag racing, the fifth caution was displayed when Pitkat spun as a result of a flat tire. At the time of the caution, Byrne was still the leader followed by Kendall, Savary, Galko, Alexander and Silk. Up for the challenge on the restart, Byrne maintained his lead. Savary was able to get by Kendall for second. Having trouble getting going, the sixth caution flew on lap 68 for a spin by Barrett.
The complexion of the race changed on lap 70 when the leader Byrne slowed coming out of turn three to send cars scattering and the caution flying. Under caution, Byrne and Kendall both pitted.
Savary was the new leader when the race went back to green. Alexander took chase in second. Other drivers began making their move toward the front as the laps began to wind down. With 20 laps to go, Hinckley passed for position four; making it Savary, Alexander, Silk, Hinckley and Galko inside the top five.
The eighth caution of the event waved on lap 88 for a spin by Joey Jarvis of Ascutney, VT. On the ensuing restart, Silk and Hinckley made contact. Silk spun in front of the field in turn one to bring out the caution. No other cars were collected. Hinckley pitted with a left front flat as Silk went to the rear of the field. The restart pitted leader Savary against Dowling, who had inherited second as a result of the incident. Dowling wasted no time getting by Savary and into the lead.
With 8 laps left to go, the tenth and final caution occurred on lap 92 when Brian Robie of Sunapee, NH, went around in turn three. On the final restart of the event, Dowling was able to maintain his lead. Savary would have to settle for second ahead of Perry, Galko and Alexander.
Dowling crossed the start/finish line taking the checkers and capturing the “Monadnock 100” for car owner Jimmy Paige.
“I came in for a pit stop about halfway through and put on a rear tire and made a few adjustments,” stated Dowling. “I knew that we were good.”
“It was an aggressive race at the end with guys giving it their all. That is why these Tri-Track races put on a good show. It is a lot of hard races with a lot of money on the line. And, we all do what we have to do to win.”
Thanks to generous support from Ron Bouchard’s Auto Stores and the Bouchard Family, the family of the late Ricky Miller and Kathy Maffei-Thompson, each competitor who took the green for the Monadnock 100 received $1,100.
Heat race victories went to Patnode, Pitkat and Hinckley. Savary won the consolation race.
Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA, a two-time TTOMS winner in 2019, was not present for Sunday’s Monadnock 100. Hirschman made the difficult decision to go to Lancaster, NY, for a Race of Champions event. He is in the hunt for the series’ championship as the points’ leader.
The next race for the Tri-Track Open Modified Series will be the Haunted Hundred at Seekonk Speedway on Saturday, October 26, 2019.
Tri-Track Open Modified -Monadnock 100 Official Finish – September 15, 2019 – Monadnock Speedway – Winchester, NH: 1. Chase Dowling, Roxbury, CT; 2. Richard Savary, Canton, MA; 3. Jacob Perry, Pawcatuck, CT; 4. Matt Galko, Meriden, CT; 5. Kirk Alexander, West Swanzey, NH; 6. Tommy Barrett, Millis, MA; 7. Anthony Sesely, Matawan, NJ; 8. Austin Kochenash, Danielsville, PA; 9. Woody Pitkat, Bellingham, MA; 10. Dylan Izzo, Monroe, CT; 11. Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, CT; 12. Dana Dimatteo, Farmington, CT; 13. Matt Swanson, Acton MA; 14. Ron Silk, Norwalk, CT; 15. Joey Jarvis, Ascutney, VT; 16. Andrew Molleur, Shelton, CT; 17. Calvin Carroll, Andover, NJ; 18. Brian Robie, Sunapee, NH; 19. Ronnie Williams, Ellington, CT; 20. Ben Byrne, Greenfield, MA; 21. Joe Kendall, Winchendon, MA; 22. Cameron Sontag, Sterling, MA; 23. Cam McDermott, Canterbury, CT; 24. Mike Holdridge, Madison, CT; 25. Russ Hersey, Swanzey, NH; 26. Todd Patnode, Swanzey, NH. DNQ: Andrew Charron, East Greenwich, RI; TJ Bleau, Troy, NH; Rob Janovic, Jr., Waterford, CT; Geoff Rollins, Groton, MA; George Sherman, Framingham, MA.