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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.