For the second season in a row the North East Mini Stock Tour concluded its season with a Triple Crown event at Thompson’s World Series of Speedway Racing. Texas Roadhouse alongside Twisted Tea offered great giveaways and on track actions for the fans in attendance at the 53rd running of the legendary event.
On Friday night 2 heat races were held with Toby Wells and Haywood Herriott dominating their way to qualifying event wins. Following the heats Herriott drew for a 3 row starting field inversion. The inversion set Brad Caddick and Joe Baxter on the front row. Unfortunately a rough Thompson mini stock race removed many of the Thompson regulars from the feature event field.
With Caddick removed Pistol Pete Zakarite would set on the outside of the front row and lead the field to green in front of a packed but cold group of fans. Zakarite shot to the early lead as the rest of the 20 car field thundered into the high banked turns of Thompson. A lap 5 caution for the stopped car of Nick Anderson bunched the field together and set up another battle with Zakarite still in the lead.
As the green flew Zakarite resumed his lead as he tried to pull away from 2015 Champion Toby Wells. Fellow front runners Nick Maniatis and Haywood Herriott both encountered tire problems halting their great runs to the front. Matt Sonnhalter improved quickly from his 15th place starting spot to chase Wells as he stalked Pistol Pete for the top spot. Wells overtook Zakarite at lap 12 with Sonnhalter shortly behind him.
Wells and Sonnhalter would cross the line 1-2 with Zakarite, Baxter, and Viens rounding out the top 5. After victory lane celebrations concluded NEMST officials required the top 3 cars to remove the transmissions for inspection. Sonnhalter was penalized 1 lap for removing 5th gear from the transmission and Wells was also penalized 1 lap for installing a 4 speed gearset into a 5 speed transmission. Both cars violated section 7 rule A from the 2015 NEMST rule book that states “All production transmission gears need to be intact and in working condition”. This was both teams first technical infraction in NEMST competition.
With the penalties Pete Zakarite was moved to the winner position with Baxter, Viens, Sontag, and Bombard completing the new top 5. The end of year championship was not affected by the rules infractions. This was Zakarites first NEMST victory and he claimed a $100 bonus from Race Director Doug Robbie.
The Thirty Racewear Triple Crown was a tight battle all the way to the end which saw Joe Baxter eventually finish second in the race and secure his Triple Crown Championship with Zakarite, Wells, Viens, and Rheaume completing the Thirty Racewear series.
Please visit the NEMST at the North South Shootout in Concord, NC on November 6th for a 50 lap shootout event featuring a $1000 to win top prize!