Local roundup: Races return to Upper Valley tracks

  • Jeremy Hodge catches an infield tire exiting the fourth turn in the Sportsman Coupe race at Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vt., on Saturday, June 20, 2020., Hodge finished 10th in the 15-car main. Alan Ward photograph—

  • Jason Gray (00) works his way around Mike Dunn (9) en route to winning the Sportsman Modified feature at Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vt., on Saturday, June 20, 2020. Gray is also the head boys basketball coach at Thetford Academy. Alan Ward photograph—

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/23/2020 9:40:29 PM
Modified: 6/23/2020 9:40:27 PM

BRADFORD, Vt. — Jason Gray wins on the basketball court, and he wins on the race track, too.

The East Thetford driver and Thetford Academy boys basketball coach picked off the victory in the Sportsman Modified main Saturday night to highlight Bear Ridge Speedway’s first action of the season. The drivers competed in front of empty stands, with fans yet to be allowed in light of Vermont’s coronavirus crowd-size prohibitions.

Bear Ridge had several weeks of closed practices, but Saturday marked the chance to finally race. The dirt oval missed its first seven dates of the season because of the pandemic.

Feature fields were determined by inverting the results from heat races, so Gray had to start from the middle of the 26-car pack (15th) to get his victory. Todd Buckwold and Jordan Fornwalt finished out the top three positions.

Gray coached Thetford to its second straight VPA Division III state boys basketball championship in March shortly before the pandemic shut down all high school athletics.

Elsewhere, Josh Harrington moved from fourth in the starting grid to win the 19-car Sportsman Coupe feature; Tyler Tremblay took the Limited Late Models; and Buddy Welch again claimed the Four Cylinders main event.

Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m., with the Midgets making their first appearance of the season. Attendance will be limited to race teams, with no general admission attendance permitted.

Fellows wins before CMS fans

CLAREMONT — With spectators on hand for the first time this summer, Claremont Motorsports Park saw veteran Aaron Fellows ring up his 18th straight feature victory on Friday night.

Claremont’s all-time winningest driver, Fellows picked up where he left off after going 17-0 last year to claim the asphalt track’s Late Model Sportsman championship. Fellows dominated both his heat race and the feature, leading Hayden Scott and Ben Poland to the podium.

Dave Greenslit also had an easy time — for the most part — in his Street Stocks feature. Greenslit had all but checked out on the competition when a competitor’s spinout with two laps left brought the pack back together for a final dash. Greenslit outlasted defending Modified division champ Brian Robie for the victory, with Randy Town third.

Friday’s other winners were Kodi Sabins (Pure Stocks), Randy Burr (Pro Truck Series), Desmond Skillings (Mini Stocks) and Jeremy Blood (Six Shooters).

The Modifieds make their first visit of the season to highlight Friday’s 7 p.m. show.

GOLF Everett wins Montcalm qualifier

ENFIELD — Laconia Country Club’s Bill Everett shot a 5-under-par 67 to lead 19 golfers out of a Montcalm Golf Club qualifier and into the main draw for the New Hampshire Golf Association amateur championship on Monday.

Everett sank his first birdie putt two holes into his round, adding four more to win by two strokes over Windham’s Alex Gambordella. Upper Valley competitors advancing to the state am from Montcalm included Carter Country Club’s Andy Hunnewell (74), the recent senior-division champion at the N.H. Players Championship, as well as Montcalm’s Ben Peters (76) and Claremont’s Zach Melcher (76).

The Golf Club of New England’s William Huang matched the Rochester (N.H.) Country Club course record of 9-under 63 to win Monday’s state am qualifier there. Four more qualifying tournaments are set to eventually complete the field for the N.H. Amateur, which will take place at Nashua Country Club on July 6-11.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.

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