The EXiT Realty Challenge
ProTruck Series held it's opener at Thompson Speedway's
IceBreaker Saturday. Twenty five ProTrucks took time trials
to secure their starting spot in the field. Gerard
Giordano Jr. in the K1 Logistics Silverado just edged number
31 Ryan Vanasse by 17 hundredths of a second to secure
the pole. Qualifying third just 39 hundredths of a
second behind the lead duel was last year‘s most popular
driver, Emma Monahan in the 78. Long Island Dave
Koenig slotted in he fourth position and Randy Burr
The IceBreaker had a lot of racing in a very tight time frame. It
was not long until the EXiT Realty pace car lead the field
down the backstretch where Giordano took over and lead the
field to green.
Giordano had a great start charged and cruised in to turn
one. Ryan Vanasse did not have it as easy as he had to
fight off Emma Monahan in the 78. By turn three
the 31 of Vanasse prevailed and settled into second
place. Behind Monahan number 32 RandyBurr and
last year’s Champion, number 2, Duane Noll rounded out the
The first yellow of the event flew when number 91 Joe
Coates and the 84 of Brandon Hunt got together in turn
three. Neither ProTruck was significantly damaged.
Both continued however during the yellow session Dylan
Cabral retired due to mechanical issues.
As the field prepared to go back to green
Giordano chose the inside lane for the restart. Ryan
Vanasse lined outside in the front row. Emma Monahan
and Randy Burr made up row two. Duane Noll and last
year’s rookie of the year Connor Souza lined up in row
three. On this restart Giordano was unable to breakaway
clean. The lead duo battled side by side, door
to door for three laps until the caution flew for an
incident in turn one.
The caution was the result of contact between Jason
Ferrier's 24 and Lucas Leone's 1. Leone’s Silverado
suffered severe damage and was unable to continue.
Ferreira would say after that Lucas was one of his best
racing friends and it was just a bad racing deal that they
The race was again restarted. The trucks had a
short green flag run slowed by a caution on lap 17 for the
23 of Ari Jencik. Jencik's steering failed after
contact with another truck. The next restart looked
the same in the first two rows only this time Vanasse was
the leader. He had lane choice and was happy on the
When the field returned to green flag racing, the 31 of
Vanasse fired off smoothly . The same could not be
said for Giordano. He missed a shift resulting in the
leaders scattering around to miss the 15jr. The
result of Giordano's poor start was Vanasse cruising up
front all alone . Duane Noll now had second to
himself. The 90 of Coates ran outside of G-Rod in
third. Emma Monahan was back to 5th.
G-Rod soon battled back and utilized the low groove to fight
to second. Noll and Monahan followed in third and
fourth. A few laps later the 78 of Monahan fought her way
back to 3rd. The three fastest trucks were back in
The 31 was on cruise control leading easily but the
15jr was flat out and gained slightly with each turn.
G-Rod turned his fastest lap of the day on lap 26 and sliced
the lead to 3 truck lengths. Two laps later G-Rod had caught
Vanasse and was looking for a way by. Before he could
make his move the caution flew again. The field was
gathered and the stage was set for a five lap battle
for the win.
5 were the same as earlier. Vanasse and G-Rod
were up front. Monahan and Noll were in row two.
Souza held down the 5th slot. New to the lead pack was
Joe Arena driving the Leone Financial Services 01. He
was now 6th.
When the green flag was unfurled from starter Steve Gran,
Vanasse executed his usual smooth start and had the lead to
himself by the end of lap one. Noll in third had Emma
Monahan on his inside. By he end of lap 32 Emma moved back
by and had third to herself . She concentrated on
chasing down the leaders.
G-Rod and Vanasse had battled here at Thompson before.
In last fall's World Series the two raced hard with some
slight door to door contact. Vanasse won that round.
Those that remembered had to be thinking there could be some
contact here in round two.
The race was
winding down quickly. As the white flag flew, G-Rod aimed
low. The pair of leaders charged down the front straight. As they entered turn one, for the
final time, the leaders were dead even. The 31 eeked
ahead as the duo headed down the back stretch and entered
turn 3. Both trucks headed to the top of the banking between
turns 3 and 4. The 15 built a head of steam running down the
banking. Both trucks were side by side out of turn
four with Emma Monahan's 78 within striking distance .
Vanasse realized G-Rod had momentum and turned hard left.
He slammed G-Rod in the door in an attempt to hold
the 15jr back but on this day the momentum was too much.
G-Rod's 15jr beat Vanasse to the line.
It was an unbelievable heavy weight battle put on by
two talented drivers and the crowd loved it! They
loved the "rubbing is racing" finish, and they
certainly were star struck with Emma Monahan, who has to be
recognized for her potential to be one of the best female
drivers to come along in ages. The sky is the
limit with her. Post race both drivers clearly enjoyed
being able to race like racers used to race.
The series is off to New Hampshire International Speedway where
they will appear in the NorthEast Classic Sunday. For some
it will be a realization of a dream to finally be racing on
the Magic Mile. For others, the battle is on for the
Chase. Will it be round three for G-rod vs. Vanasse.
Will Emma get her first series win? Could we see Connor
Souza in Victory Lane. Veteran racers Jim Boyle and
Dave Koenig will be tough for sure and let's not forget the
ultimate Champion Andy Lindeman will be back for this one.
One thing is for sure. They all want to be the
winner of the first ever visit of the EXiT Realty
Challenge ProTrucks at New Hampshire International.
The EXiT Realty Challenge held it's 2020
awards banquet on the evening of January 16th at
Supercharged Entertainment in Wrentham Mass. It
has become tradition that the teams do some Kart
racing before settling down to dinner and awards. This
year our friend and former ERC 375 Sportsman Champion Shawn
Monahan was able to take down the win.
Award time followed. Appreciation plaques were delivered to
the staff. Ken Brunell and Michael Blackmar were recognized
for their excellent photography work. The series
enjoys a pleasant tech staff of Harold Churchill, Haley
Knight and Brendon Barry . They drew a nice round of
applause. Terri Churchill and Lorraine Pard organize the
show every week. They were on hand. The series
enjoys four announcers. John Gates, Harold Burdick,
Blaise Brodeur and Tyler Morse bring the action to the fans
throughout New England. Race director Christina Basset
spends her spare nights off as the Challenge Race
Director controlling the on track action. These
are the people that make the series happen. They are mostly
volunteers. The early part of the evening was dedicated to
The host tracks of the EXiT Realty Challenge were next
to be recognized. This season there were times when
most thought we would not race in 2020. Mike Parks was the
first to put the series back to work at Claremont
Motorsports Park. The Challenge teams were never happier to
get to race. Jeff Zuidema and the Monadnock Speedway
provided our next event. Jeff is a huge supporter of the
ProTrucks. Joe Bassett and the Lee USA Speedway are
also a huge part of our tour. More on that later. The Hudson
Speedway was back on the schedule in 2020. Teams all
enjoyed the amazing venue that has become. The track
ventured to Maine and raced at Wiscasset in 2020. It
was a huge struggle to get approval for that event but
somehow the management pulled it off and the Challenge was
included. The series was very thankful for those
efforts. The series appearance at Star Speedway was
cancelled due to COVID restrictions. The teams were
there plenty practicing. 2021 will see a few appearances to
make up for missing in 2020. Bobby Webber and his Star staff
are like family and we cannot wait to get back!
Finally the Challenge Teams want to recognize Thompson
Speedway and the ACT/PASS staff. The World Series of
Asphalt held at Thompson was doubtful to even happen until
Chris and Tom from ACT and Pass respectively stepped in.
We are very proud to be part of their program. Again
Thanks to all of these great people, tracks and series for
making the Challenge happen in 2020.
The EXiT Realty Challenge has awesome sponsors.
Hoosier Tires East paid out over $8000 of Challenge Prize
Money. Derek Beatrice / EXiT Realty were recognized for
making the $1000 to win 1st place money possible.
Tread Connection of Norwood supplied prizes for the fast
time in qualifying and the race. Billy McGinns Tree
Service and Stump Grinding provided individual race
awards in 2020. One big surprise was Critical
Screenprinting. They provided awesome shirts
highlighting the 2021schedule to the teams. Go to
www.mycriticalgear.com for all your custom T-Shirt,
Screen Print and Embroidery needs. It cannot be said enough;
The EXiT Realty Challenge has awesome sponsors.
Team awards were up next. Joe Bassett of
Lee USA Speedway awarded the most prestigious award of
the night.. The NWIII award goes to the driver that did the
most to promote and support ProTruck racing off track.
It is named after Norman Wrenn the III who was lost this
winter. Norman had ties to the trucks. He loved the
competition and teams. He definitely had his eyes on owning
the series in the future. He was interested in
their success. Randy Burr was the NWIII award winner
for the 2020 season.
The EXiT Realty Challenge Champion for 2020 was
Duane Noll. Duane Noll was one of the first
competitors to be recruited when the series changed hands.
He immediately built the first D Chassis. The 2
team was not the favorite to win the Chase Race at
Claremont. Early on it looked like a two team battle
as the 32 of Randy Burr and the 15jr of Gerard Giordano Jr.
were the furthest teams towards the front. The duo
battled a bit two aggressively. G-Rod lost a front tire and
both teams ended up in the turn 4 fence.
The 31 of Ryan Vanasse was the next to appear unbeatable. He
charged up to the top 5, but also suffered a flat after
contact with the 1ne of Lucas Leone. Veterans Koenig,
#97 and Noll, #2 were quietly making their way to the front.
Koenig was the wild card entry. His goal was simple.
He had to win to be champ. Noll on the other hand had
no other contender on the lead lap, and simply had to finish
on that lap to be Champ if Koenig could not pull off the
miracle. Duane kept his #2 Silverado in front of the
97 and motored to a 3rd place finish. Duane Noll
is the 2020 EXiT Realty Champion.
Noll kept his speech short and sweet at the banquet.
He thanked his sister Beth. Beth is crew chief,
spotter and whatever else you need. She stands tall beside
her brother. They have multiple Championships in truck
racing. They are the best brother sister team on our
tour and probably in New England. It is a pressure packed
experience to race in a Chase Race. Duane handled it
with ease. Congratulations to the 2020 EXiT Realty
Challenge Champion Duane Noll.
The positional and specialty awards for 2020 are