GROVETON — The best weather of the season greeted a full field of enduro warriors, and hearty race fans looking to enjoy the final racing event of 2017 — the Octoberfast 150 at Speedway 51 powered by the Autosaver Groupon Saturday. Groveton's own Jason Kenison powered his way to the lead and scored and impressive victory.
Thirty-nine cars and mini-vans lined up to take the green flag for the 150-lap grind. Drivers from Maine, N.H., Vt., Mass., N.Y. and the Province of Quebec started three-wide on the backstretch and went hammer down when the green flag waved. Several drivers took their turn at the point, but mechanical woes and on track problems changed the top five on a regular basis.
Kenison grabbed the lead on lap 29 and never looked back. Charlie Rockwell of Lyndonville, Vt., James Shufelt III of Lyndonville, Vt., Paul Hodge of Orleans, Vt. and Nick Gilcris of Grroveton all battled hard for top five finishes. Late in the race Shufelt cut a right front tire and headed to the pits. Rockwell and Hodge made contact sending them spinning in turn one. Kenison survived one last three-wide scare with two laps to go, but fought his way up the middle to the checkered flag. Kenison was followed by Hodge, Rockwell, Shufelt and Gilcris. Jeff Keaten of Skowhegan, Maine, Andy Hill of Waterford, Vt., Mike Giroux of North Hatley, Quebec, Mark Lundblad of Albany and Ken Hepburn of Northfield, Vt., completed the top 10.
Due to a scorer mistake, Gilcris lost four laps and fell from second to fifth in the final standings.
Second place finisher, Hodge, who has been battling cancer this past year, was ecstatic about his finish. Paul and Charlie Rockwell are good friends and they battled hard to the end. Paul was a little tired but was all smiles in victory lane.
Third place finisher, Rockwell donated a portion of his winnings to St. Paul’s School of Barton’s eighth grade class. Rockwell’s daughter, Marina, is an eighth grader at St. Paul’s and ironically, she was his only pit crew member.
Derby Line’s Dylan Tester, aka DJ Loud, a WMOO DJ in Derby, had an awesome top 10 finish until scoring was rechecked. A score sheet was found left on a clipboard and that moved Giroux up into the top 10, dropping Tester to 11th. Since it was a track mistake, he will still get a $50 for his finish.
The next event on the calendar will be the annual Banquet of Champions which will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Town and Country Inn and Resort in Gorham. Tickets are now on sale and forms can be found on the Speedway 51 website at speedway51int.com. All forms must be filled out and returned with payment no later than Tuesday, Nov. 14. The Town & Country Inn & Resort is offering a special room rate of $72 plus tax for banquet attendees. To reserve a room, please call (603) 466-3315.
If you have any questions, please contact Pam at (802) 279-1590, or Min (for go-karts) at (603) 631-1333 or (603) 636-2124. Cocktail or business attire is expected. Absolutely no T-shirts, sweatshirts, blue jeans, sweatpants or hats allowed.