BYRNE, KIMBALL, ROBBIE AMONG LOCALS WHO LOOK TO EARN TRI TRACK CHECKERED FLAG
By Kyle Souza
SEEKONK, Mass. — When the Tri Track Open Modified Series rolls into Monadnock Speedway this Saturday, August 15, the race will be a battle between some of the Tri Track stars and Monadnock regulars. Monadnock runs a weekly Modified division as part of their NASCAR program, and multiple of the competitors will be jumping up to the Tri Track Series looking to defend their home-turf in the 100-lap feature.
Ben Byrne, who is a three-time winner in the NHSTRA Modified weekly division this year, has shown his strength multiple times in the past with Tri Track. Byrne was a frontrunner in the race last year, and on July 5, he charged to the front of the field, taking the lead on lap 33, and holding the top spot through a caution period on lap 64. Byrne would lose the lead but settle for a third-place finish after Les Hinckley and Craig Lutz got together racing for the lead in the final corner, with Lutz pushing to the win.
Byrne feels like he needs some redemption after showcasing the speed under the hood in the last few Tri Track races at Monadnock and not coming away with the checkered flag.
“We started running just for giggles to see how we would shape up against them,” Byrne, the driver of the No. 6, said. “We led a whole bunch of lap the first time but got tied up in a wreck, in the second one we led a bunch of it and we messed up the pit stop, and this last time we came back to finish third. We usually run the short races weekly… playing with the big boys is good experience for us.”
Brian Robie and Matt Kimball are also two Monadnock regulars who are no stranger to running with the Tri Track Open Modified Series. In July, Matt Kimball was fastest in the only practice session of the day, but struggled in his heat, and didn’t qualify through it. He would finish second in the consi race, advancing to the feature, and would eventually finish sixth.
It was a long day for Kimball, but well worth the sixth-place result driving the No. 50. Robie would lead all 15 laps in his heat race, start the feature up towards the front, and finish 12th in one of the most competitive fields Tri Track has ever assembled. Robie also currently leads the track point standings by a large margin over Byrne.
For Byrne, winning with the Tri Track Series would be the top moment in his career.
“We put a lot of homework into the new car we built this year,” Byrne said. “It’s really been paying off. To be running toe to toe with the Tri Track guys with a crate motor and 200 horsepower down, it means a lot to us… I think we will probably have to burn the tires off it for a minute or two (if we win). It would be pretty close to a dream come true.”
Along with the Monadnock regulars, a stout field of Modified competitors is expected Saturday at Monadnock. Lutz and Hinckley could renew their battle for the win, while names like Chase Dowling, Ron Silk, Matt Swanson, Ronnie Williams, Woody Pitkat, Dave Sapienza and more are expected.
Teams will compete in heat racing, consi rounds, and the 100-lap feature as race three of the season takes the green flag.
Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets ahead of race day on the Monadnock website, with New Hampshire limiting grandstand capacity to just 50% because of COVID-19. Masks are recommended and social distancing will be enforced.
For more information on Monadnock Speedway, visit them at monadnockspeedway.com. For more information on the Tri Track Open Modified Series, visit tritrackmodifieds.com and follow the series on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.