Leone Wins YouTube Guy 55

 The Exit Realty ProTrucks visited Monadnock speedway for another great racing card on June 12th. The YouTube Guy 55 is an event dedicated to Robert Bagot.  Robert filmed and promoted the series and was close to many of the teams.  Robert was lost last year.  We all miss his presence at events.

Weathermen predicted a cool race day.  It was not.  It was apparent early that the strong June sun made for a slick track surface.  

      ProTruck qualifying is based on group time trials .  The 17 trucks were incredibly evenly matched in practice. When time trials were over the 10 of Andrew Morin was fastest.  The top 4 qualifiers were separated by only 9 hundredths of a second.  The difference in Morin's time and second place qualifier G-Rods time was 8 thousandths.  Starting positions are gridded by a combination of points and times.  Although he was a tick off those front four, Lucas Leone was awarded the pole position.

    The first casualty of the event was the 10 of Morin.  Monadnock may be his strongest track.  Suspension failure eliminated the 10 team on lap 14.  

    The race had an uncharacteristic number of incidents.   The first of two major ones occurred on lap 19.  The 78 of Emma Monahan, the 97 of Dave Koenig and the 02 of Jim Boyle all headed out of  turn four 3 wide.   Koenig was the first to lift.  The 78 made contact with the 97 turning it nose first into the side of the 02.  Both Boyle's Silverado and Monahan's Silverado suffered damage from  hard impact into the wall.  Koenig was able to avoid serious damage and continue.

     The second major incident was the result of a stuck throttle. Brad Caddick had qualified in the top 10 and was simply looking for a good finish when his throttle stuck.  He slammed into  the  28 and 55.  The contact most likely saved serious injury by  cushioning his impact. He still suffered an  injured wrist.  The 55 of Nathan Smith was not able to continue.  Rick Ashlaw kept his Pro Truck moving.  He would continue on to a fine 5th place finish.

The most controversial  portion of the event was during the final restart. Connor Souza in is 38 Silverado had run a flawless race, and needed to survive a 2 lap dash to the checkers to secure the win. As the pace truck pulled off Connor had the 1ne of Lucas Leone to his outside.  G-Rod had the 15jr directly behind. Outside of G-Rod was Duane Noll.   The restart line is in turn four.  Connor took off in his 38 entering turn three.   Connor attempted to correct the error by slowing and allowing the 1ne to get to his outside, but the damage had been done.  The field crossed under the checkers.  The win was awarded to Lucas Leone in the 1ne.   The flagman, race director and competition director all agreed that Souza had jumped the start.

    Competition director Marshall Hurley summed up the call.   "The drivers are warned in the drivers meeting at every race.  The leader is required to bring the field at pace-truck speed to the yellow line in turn 4 at Monadnock.  When the leaders nose hits the line in turn 4, he is to go.   The field cannot leave ahead of his nose hitting that line. If the second  place car jumps, he must give the position back by the start finish line. We do not do multiple tries.  Connor deserves to win except he didn't execute the final restart.  It was the earliest jump by the leader in our series that I  have seen.  Unfortunately it is a call we have to make. We understand he is off to race a midget car and will be back at Seekonk. He is a great young talent.  We all wish  him the best."  Despite the error Connor leaves while first in overall points and third in Chase standings.

     Lucas Leone had a great night.  This was his 3rd win at Monadnock.  His season started with a rebuild of his brand new car after a needless wreck at Thompson not of his doing.  Times and his fortunes have changed.  The 1ne team now has a hold on the 1st Chase spot. He has two more events to look forward to at Monadnock where he has to be considered the favorite.   Can he go three for three? We will see in a few weeks.

   G-Rod Giordano was another top performer and challenged for the lead all night.  It was a particularly difficult race to prepare for.  His crew chief, Gerard Giordano Sr. is recovering from surgery so it was up to the young guns to prepare for this one. The effort was worth it for G-Rod ended up in the  runner up position.

     Randy Burr grabbed the third spot.  His fund raising efforts collected over $1400 for Bill Dill, a life long friend and neighbor who is fighting Brain Cancer. 

     The Champion, Duane Noll, quietly grabbed fourth with his new truck and Rick Ashlaw, in his battered and bruised F-150, rounded out the top 5.  

    One driver that deserves a shout out for his performance was Clark Brooks.  Clark raced in his first EXiT Realty Pro Truck event. He drove like a seasoned veteran.  His car is based on a chassis that was purchased for $500.  This effort exemplifies what the series is about.  It does not take gobs of money to race the trucks.  Clark finished 7th without a scratch on his F-150.

    
The series returns to "Mad Dog" on July 3rd.  Full results can be found by following the buttons to the left and proceding to the standings page.  

*All photos credit of MLB Racing Photography*
      

                                                                                                                           

 

     The Exit Realty ProTrucks kicked off the 2021 short track season with a visit to Monadnock speedway. three pro trucks were noticeably absent. Andrew Morin runs well at Monadnock but the 10 did not make the trip. The number 31 Silverado of Ryan Vanasse  did not race. Ryan had finished second in both the opener and last week at New Hampshire international. The 15 of Gerard Giordano Jr. had a conflict in schedule and could not race. The field was missing three trucks viewed as favorites to win.

      The field is lined up by a combination of points and time trials. When it was all over the number one of Lucas Leone was on the pole. Lucas had one from this position in the past. He was going to be tough to beat tonight. Sharing the front row with Lucas was the number 97 of Dave Koenig. Row two had the 32 of Randy Burr and 38 of Connor Souza. rounding out the top five was Northeast Classic winner Jim Boyle.

    When the green flag flew Leone skipped out to a comfortable lead. Koenig’s 97 was noticeably loose. He was struggling to hold off the 32 of Burr. Connor Souza and Devin Jencik were tight to Burr’s tailgate. They were looking to improve their position. The battle for second gave Leone plenty of breathing room  in the early stages of the race.

     The first caution occurred on lab 17 when Brad Caddick and his number 48 Silverado slowed coming out of turn two.  Caddick was unable to continue but still left Monadnock with the Rookie of the Year points lead.

      On the restart the ill handling 97 with shuffled back easily. Randy Burr and Connor Souza set chase on the 1ne.  They reeled him in setting up a 25 lap battle between Leone and Burr. Burr simply couldn’t find away by. Leone wasn’t making any mistakes. The battle was interrupted by caution for Dave Koenig who had spun into the infield exiting turn four.


     The last five laps of  Exit Realty Challenge events must be run under green flag conditions. The lap 50 restart had the same three trucks that had dominated the race upfront. Joining Leone, Burr and Souza in the top five was Jason Ferreira and Jim Boyle. This time Burr was able to hang on the outside of  Leone for lap 51 however the pace was slowed again for caution when the 78 of Emma Monahan spun in turn three . Ari Jencik was collected in the incident. 

      The lap 52 restart again featured Leone Burr and Souza. Joining the leaders now was Dylan "Dozer" Cabral. Lined up in the third row was Ferreira and Boyle.  The leaders were able to execute another textbook restart however behind them the same could not be said. Jason Ferreira’s number 24 simply headed straight up the track out of turn four and smash the 02 Silverado. Boyle careened off of the wall and ended up on the front straight facing backwards.  The caution was out.   The 23 of Devon Jencik was also collected in the incident.  Both Boyle and Jencik continued despite have heavy damage.

     The final restart of the night was with two laps to go. The  green flew and the leaders charged into turn one side-by-side. On the backstretch Burr had his number 32 F- 150 ahead by a nose .   Leone was not rattled. He carved the bottom of turns three and four and went under the white flag with sole possession of first place. He still had to  survive for one more circuit. Heading into turn three on the final lap it was still the 1ne out front but the 38 of Souza had established himself side-by-side with Burr. Souza drove hard into the corner past Burr and tagged Leone in between turns three and four causing Leone to be sideways.  All three leaders were out of shape heading for the checkers.

Burr fought back on the outside. Leone overcorrected and hit the outside wall with his right front directly under
the flag stand. Burr was still pushing him down the straight while Souza did his best to pass both low.
when the dust cleared it was a battered Leone first. Randy Burr was second. Connor
Souza had to settle for third.  

    Two notable finishes were Jim Thompson and Dylan Cabral.  Both started in the back. Jim's 87  did not have a mark  on it as he quietly took the forth spot.  Cabral's 19 also was undamaged. He rounded out the top five.

     The race was certainly a crowd pleaser. The fans could be heard cheering over the sound of the race trucks.  This is the type of action race fans follow the Exit Realty ProTruck challenge for .   It’s door-to-door action. It’s old-school racing. The ProTrucks will be back at Monadnock to continue this battle June 12.  Round one of four here at Monadnock goes to Lucas Leone. Congratulations on a great run!  Get complete  results and standings y following the link in the left column.
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Photos all courtesy of MLB Racing Photography
      

 
 

     The EXiT Realty Challenge ProTruck Series  headed to New Hampshire International Speedway for the first time in it's history.   The "Magic Mile" was the amazing creation of Bob Bahre.  The connection to Disney is true. Bob Bahre would send his employees to the Magic Kingdom to go through the Disney training to make sure his guest had a Disney like experience.  The fact is, as a racer, if you are driving through the tunnel and going to have the privilege of driving there, you know first hand dreams do come true.  

       Getting there wasn't easy and there are a few people that deserve a tip of the cap. Not to long ago, Bob Guptil, who owns the North East Mini Stock Tour, risked his financial future to bring short track drivers to the Speedway. Bob has a beautiful family that you will find with him at the track.   With sacrifices from his family he accomplished his goal .  Short trackers from everywhere got to turn laps at the Magic Mile.   Unfortunately the ProTrucks were not part of those initial events. Still he opened the door, and without that step, there are hundreds of New England Drivers that still may not have made their way on to the track.  Guptil needed help to continue.  Tom Mayberry , owner of the Pro All Stars Series and Chis Michaud of the American Canadian Tour stepped in  and created The North East Classic.    Chris Michaud included the ProTrucks for the first time.  To Tom Chris and Bob, Thank you.   Each and every one that is part of the  EXiT Realty Challenge truly enjoyed being there.

      If you live in New England,  Mother Nature always tries to be in the story.  This past weekend was no difference and the management team moved race day to Sunday.  Flagman Steve Gran could not make the event Sunday, so again the Guptil family stepped in.  This time it was Ethan Guptil flagging his first ProTruck event.  Ethan is another Star to watch..  It takes a certain amount of bravery to climb on a flag stand.  The one at NHIS is one of the taller ones. For 14 year old Ethan, hanging a couple stories over the race surface just isn't a problem.  Don't be surprised if sometime in the future  Ethan makes his way to the flag stand at Daytona.  He did a masterful job all weekend.

    The ProTrucks use a combination of times and points to set lineups. The fastest truck by far was the 24 of Jason Ferreira. Jason also had a mechanical issue at Thompson.  Combine the two and Jason was lined up on the pole. Jim Boyle also had a rough outing at Thompson.  He was fast here. He lined up on the outside of row one. Crowd favorite Emma Monahan had an issue during the qualifying session that relegated her to the 10th starting slot.

    One the race was underway it was clear the 24 had extra speed and was never challenged. Jim Boyle, Ryan Vanasse and Andy Lindeman all chased but could not muster up help to gain on the 24.  The big mover in the event was Monahan's 78.  The race had no cautions yet Emma was able to challenge and work by one truck at a time. She ended up 5th.  The 24 took the checkers, followed by Jim Boyle, Ryan Vanasse, and Andy Lindeman.

    Unfortunately for the 24 team, a technical infraction resulted in the win being awarded to Jim Boyle.  Jim races anytime anywhere.  He won on the dirt.  He won at Thompson and his newest creation, the 02 Silverado, have now won the inaugural North East Classic. Congratulations to all of the teams that were able to compete. A special Congrats goes to Jim Boyle's entire 02 teeam.

     The teams of the EXiT Realty Challenge now head to another favorite of race fans, Monadnock Speedway.  We'll have more on that later. Click the button labeled "Results and Standings" to the left for complete results for the North East Classic.
 


2021 IceBreaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      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 qualified fifth.

   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 top five.

     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 got together. 

     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 outside. 

      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 control.

     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.

       The top 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.
 

ERC Banquet 2020
 

      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 thanking them.

     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 listed below.

  • Crew Chief of the Year -  Joe Kass #97

     
  • Innovation Award - Jason Ferreira  #24

     
  • 9th points position -  Lucas Leone   #1ne
    • 2020 Hard Charger Award

       
  • 8th Position - Emma Monahan - #78
    • Most Improved  Driver
    • Most Popular Driver
       
  • 7th Position - Connor Souza #38
    • 2020 Rookie of the Year
    • D Chassis Points Champion
       
  • 6th Position - Andrew Morin - #10
    • 2020 Iron Man Award
       
  • 5th Position - Randy Burr - #32
    • NWIII Award
       
  • 4th Position - Ryan Vanasse

     
  • 3rd Position - Gerard Giordano Jr. -15jr
    • Overall Points Champion / Mr. Consistency Award
    • C Chassis points Champion
       
  • 2nd Position - Dave Koenig - #97
    • A/B Chassis Points Champion
    • Social Media MVP
       
  • EXiT Realty Challenge Champion - Duane Noll -#2

    Congratulations to all of the teams for against all odds, making 2020 a success!