The BIG ONE is finally here. This Friday night, July 19th the Lee USA Speedway will feature the biggest most exciting event of the season for the Benson Lumber and Hardware Small Block Supermodifieds; the 2nd Annual “Moneybags Race.” Over $15,000 in total prize money is on the line, by far the richest payday of the year. ISMA’s all-time winningest driver Chris Perley is entered in one of the Witkum Brothers team cars in an attempt to unload most of the loot from the Lee USA regulars.
The race will be run in three segments, each paying $500 to the winner. The starting lineup for the first segment will be determined by time trials. A separate $500 purse will be awarded to the fastest qualifiers. A fast lap may give a driver a leg up in the first segment, but for the second and third segments the finishing order of the previous segment will be reverted. The overall winner will be determined by a point fund paying $2,000 to the winner. It would be difficult to do, but if one driver could dominate the event winning the pole and all three segments, he could walk away with nearly $4,000.
Perley, winner of numerous ISMA races at Lee USA has to be considered the favorite. However just about anyone could win this race. More than half of the division’s registered drivers have been to victory lane so far this season.
This past Friday night, Ricky Wolf became the seventh different winner in 2013. Wolf, who is a former late model champ, says “I’ve won here in everything else, and now I’ve finally won in one of these,” referring to his small block super. He rebounded from a major wreck a few weeks ago. “Hey, we ripped the right front completely off this thing,” he added. “And we had even more problems tonight” Wolf was elated in victory lane and confident of being a factor in this week’s “Money Bags Race.”
Behind Wolf was Jake Stergious who recovered from a spectacular four car wreck in the 20 lap NEMA Lites feature that sent one car tumbling down the front stretch. It was certainly the scariest moment at Lee USA this season. Stergious won both NEMA Lites and Small Block Supermodified feature events the last time NEMA visited Lee USA and is considered a viable threat to cash in this Friday night. “Keeping the car in one piece,” is going to be the primary objective.
Behind these two was the unlikely Mike Murphy, who up till now hadn’t finished a race all year. In fact Murphy has struggled for the past two seasons in the aged machine overcoming one mechanical problem after another. A week ago it was bursting power steering line that put him out. “This thing has been a handful,” said Murphy. “But we put a new wing on it, and it just took off. He took off through the field to a very solid third, his first career podium finish. “And we’re coming back next week to win it all,” he confidently declared.
Tommy Tombarello and Ryan Gath are first and second respectively on top of the point standings, yet both had lackluster performances last Friday night. Defending Bensons Hardware Small Block Supermodified Champ Tombarello is the only repeat winner so far in 2013. He spun on the first lap and never recovered. Gath started deep in the field and never could quite get to the top three. But Gath is a feature winner as well and both are consistent podium finishers.
Tombarello insists that qualifying is going to be important. “I’m looking to put this thing on the front row” he states. “And I’m excited about being Chris Perley’s teammate.” But asked about the chances of a Perley win, he insists, “I’m not going to let him win.”
Ryan Gath in his green #7 has been a reliable front runner all season and claims, “I’ve got a good shot.” Gath has evaded many of the serious wrecks that have plagued this division recently and agrees with Stergious, “I’ve got to stay out of trouble.
Mike Netishen, “Super Dave” Sanborn ,and Jon Booth are also Benson Hardware Small Block Supermodified feature winners and are clearly among the many viable contenders to take the lion’s share of the” Money Bags” loot. And there’s the popular Sparky Maciver and Leslie Keyser that have been fast, and close to victory on numerous occasions. Either driver could surprise everyone in the 2nd Annual “Money Bags Race” this Friday night.
Patrick Tanguay has been on top of the David’sRace Cars and Components Hobby Stock point standings for most of the season, but that first feature win remained elusive until he outran Kyle Sawyer last Friday night to claim his first victory of the year. Patrick Mitchell was also a first time winner in the American Used Auto Parts Ironman Division. Both divisions will participate in the “Money Bags Race” program.
The Prime Storage Late Model Sportsman were off this past week, but will return this Friday night. Grant Aither, JR Baril, Alby Ovitt, and Geoff Rollins will resume their quest for the late model sportsman championship.
The E-Keys for Cars Classic Lites will also be in action this Friday Night. The 20 lap event is the third of five at Lee USA in 2013 Billy Osborne was the runaway winner of the first go around while Myles Devits won the last round in spectacular fashion on the last lap. The traveling low buck series continues to grow in popularity. Chris Sullivan of nearby Epping joined the ranks and came home third the last time the Classic Lites visited Lee USA.
This week another newcomer, former roadrunner star Sean Waite Jr. will make his Lee USA debut Friday night. A week ago he drove his newly acquired machine to a six place finish in its first start. He’s confident he can do better this week. All of these drivers will be competing for the $1,000 point fund that will be awarded by DJB Trucking Inc, at the final event on Oktoberfest Weekend for the top finishers in the Lee USA five race series.
Racing action at the Lee USA Speedway will begin this Friday night at 7PM with pits opening at 4PM.