For the 39th annual Racing Against Leukemia weekend, the entire New England Region came together across all specialties to make our fundraising efforts in support of the UMass Memorial Medical Center a huge success. While the final numbers are still being tallied as we reconcile the donations and costs for running all the events, we already know we are going to significantly exceed last year’s $9000 total.  The board expects to have the final total by October 1, but as soon as we have a number, we will be sure to publicize it, because it will definitely be one to celebrate.

RAL Takes Over NHMS

Over the weekend of August 3-4, all NER specialties converged on New Hampshire Motor Speedway to bring everyone in our region together for two days enjoying all the racing fun and motorsports action we have to offer.

On the NHMS road course, the road racing teams were competing in the fifth NERRC event of the year. Outside the tunnel entrance to the track, the Autocross teams set up and ran an additional event outside of the 2019 points series, and the rally team organized a special Game-Tour-Adventure rally throughout the Lakes Region of New Hampshire that kicked off and ended at the NHMS gates.

Overall, we had hundreds of NER members, crew, family and friends throughout the NHMS grounds participating in RAL events over the weekend.

RAL Autocross

The RAL Autocross took place on Saturday, August 3.  This was a special solo event, outside of the regular 2019 points series, organized and designed specifically to support the RAL fundraising efforts. Approximately 50 drivers attended and raced the course designed by Brian Levesque. Both the solo and road racing schedules were faced with a delayed start Saturday morning, as lightning storms required the tracks to be shut down until the weather had cleared. But once the rain and lightning passed through, the remainder of the day was beautiful blue skies and sunny warmth.

Given that we had all specialties represented at NHMS, the opportunity for a little cross-competition arose. Known for their free-wheeling and carefree attitudes, always being down for a good time, a number of the road racing IT7 drivers decided to exist the tunnel and bring their cars over to the autocross course and see if they could maneuver around orange cones.

The IT7 guys left many of the solo drivers laughing and scratching their heads. Overheard were quite a few “have they ever driven a solo course before?” comments. All in the name of good fun, these road racers had a blast attempting to figure out how to follow a course of cones. The solo organizers were even faced with their own challenge of determining how exactly to class these IT7 cars??

At the end of the day, all of the solo drivers that attended were able to rack up plenty of experience, with each driver getting at least 7 runs on the course. The final results from the autocross can be found here.

RAL Road Race

Just like the autocrossers faced a delayed start due to weather, the road racing teams also spent the first two hours of Saturday morning waiting out the rain and lightning before on track competition could begin. This delay forced the stewards to re-work the day’s schedule as well, leaving all the groups with a much shortened morning qualifying session.

Unfortunately, the weather delay was almost a harbinger of the racing frustrations for the rest of the weekend. There were way too many on course incidents and track carnage for anyone’s liking. Racers always prefer when everyone takes the checker after a hard and clean race. The emergency and track crews worked all weekend pulling vehicles stuck on track and cleaning up after incidents.

Despite all that, there was still plenty of competitive racing. Three drivers set new track records. Congratulations to:

FS – #45 Kjell Tollefsen – 1:09.742

T1 – #00 Miguel Aponte-Rios – 1:09.093

T3 – #38 Darius Trinka  – 1:13.399

Lastly, how often can you see 34 Formula Vee’s on track together at NHMS!?! Not often, but we did this weekend as part of the FV tribute to Paul Faford. It was a heartfelt showing by the FV drivers to honor one of their own, including a Missing Man formation on the pace lap for the Sunday afternoon race.

NHMS Club Racing Experience

We had another great Club Racing Experience (CRE) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend. A great group of drivers, one a licensed competitor (David Gott) running with his sister Becky Mallory, and others (Lincoln YoungMike RuggieroTim Ginalski, and Thomas Rohifs) having varying W2W racing experience from some to none! All did well driving on track with others, said they had lots of fun, gained valuable in-class education and on-track experience!

Big thanks go out to all our licensed drivers who volunteered their time plus fuel, tires and brakes driving on track with the CRE participants; we really appreciate Miguel Aponte Rios, Bob DemersSerge Lentz, Michael Saia, and JB Swan stepping up to help, apologies if we have overlooked anyone. James Ray was Chief Instructor for the weekend with support from Peter Morrison on day two. 

Paul Faford Vee Fest

As a region, we want to call out John Petillo, the man, the friend, the setter-of-good-examples, the bad-ass Vee driver for his amazing dedication to putting this iconic car back together for a sweep of Sunday’s races honoring NEFV’s mentor supreme Paul Faford — one of 34 Vees that competed on the weekend. We were even more thrilled that Elaine Faford got to share this celebration — the first of many that will only get better!

2019-Open Wheel Driving Experience

The NEFV and NER is honored to introduce and congratulate our Open Wheel Driving Experience 2019 (OWDE-2019) drivers/graduates. In alphabetical order, Rehman Bashir, Austin Canova, Angela Carruthers, Jay Condrick, Ashley Erickson, Justin Luongo, and Paul Marseglia came to NHMS on August 4th and had two excellent incident-free sessions. Also pictured is their on-track instructor, Kevin O’Day. Although the car owners temporarily took up nail biting, they had nothing to fear as this group was absolutely top notch. They laid down some pretty solid times as well!

The OWDE, started by the late Paul Faford along with John Petillo and Nick Galuardi and joined by OWDE graduate Jeff Adams, and the NER’s Dick Patullo and JB Swan, is sponsored by the New England Region (NER) and run by the North East Formula Vee Group (NEFV). It is the only SCCA sanctioned event in the country that allows non-licensed drivers to get into open wheel cars and take it to the track. The car owners donate the use of their cars – and they deserve a lot of credit, as each and every car was also run in a Qualifier and Race by their owners that same day. This event also gives the OWDE drivers the experience of being at the track for the full days of car prep and maintenance, and see what a real race weekend experience is all about.

It is our most anticipated and fun event all year long. We all had a blast, there were a lot of smiles, and we hope to see all our graduates come back for more.

RAL Rally

Jon Lamkins organized the GTA Road Rally event that was part of the RAL festivities over the weekend. 12 teams met at the gates to NHMS on Saturday morning and started off on their 142 mile tour throughout the lakes region of New Hampshire. Along the way, they were tasked with finding the answers to questions like “Which President was Daniel Webster the Secretary of State under?” or “What is the elevation of Mt. Kearsarge?”

The GTA rally sent drivers and their navigators on a scavenger-hunt-like quest to find the answers to 10 questions based on landmarks in the area, all while doing so in the shortest mileage possible. Penalty points for wrong answers and late arrivals could also be accrued.

At the end of the day, these 12 teams were able to visit a multitude of New Hampshire’s famous sites and learn a little more about the state’s history.

Please congratulate Nina Piccola and Michael Beliveau on their day’s win. The final scores for all participants are below.

For those interested in joining the next GTA Rally, Jon and Kelli will be organizing the 2019 Hurdle GTA Rally kicking off from Southington’s Drive-In in Southington, CT on Saturday, September 7. These rallies are a fun way to spend the day exploring new terrain throughout New England and learning a little more about some off-the-beaten path locations. Perfect activity for couples, friends and families!

RAL Auction

Due to the hard work of Bryan Rogers, this year’s RAL raffle and auction on Saturday night was a huge success. With almost 40 items up for bid, there was plenty for everyone to choose from. A few of the highlights from this year’s auction included:

  • Bruins and Celtics tickets
  • Set of Z06 wheels
  • Season Photos from Aaron Andino Photography
  • SnapOn Toaster
  • Wine & Chocolate baskets
  • Aluminium Jacks
  • Nomex Balacalava
  • Racing Gear
  • Framed racing posters
  • Scratch-Off Basket
  • BMW Kids Race Car
  • … and much more!

One of the showcase items was an open face Gulf helmet. A classic piece of iconic race history that would be perfect for any fan’s collection. This helmet ended up going for $200!

Honoring Rich Currey: RE

The RAL weekend is designated to raising funds to support those families faced with the difficult battle of fighting cancer. Many of whom are children. However, it’s not just kids that need to be recognized for their resilient spirits and tough characters that help them get through each day fighting this horrible disease. Our own Regional Executive, Rich Currey, has been fighting a cancer battle for a while now. He’s been an inspiration to many as he’s managed the ups and downs of this nasty disease.

To let him know that we as a region are here for him, the kids at UMass Medical Center decorated a helmet as a gift to Rich. This special helmet was presented the night of the RAL raffle, and needless to say, it caught Rich off guard as he was not expecting the sentimental gift. We hope Rich knows the region is behind him and we’re cheering him!

For the latest from Rich himself, be sure to read his August RE report, which is available here.

Serge Gives Up His Locks

One of the highlights of the weekend was the push to strip Serge Lentz of his beautiful gray locks as a part of our fundraising efforts. On Saturday morning, Serge’s friends and family decided to offer up his luxurious mane of hair if the region members could come together and raise just $5000! Through the dedicated efforts of those friends and family, spearheaded by our own JB Swan, as the auction came to an end, the $5000 marker was reached and Serge knew his flowing strands were not long for this world.

When the time came, Serge’s granddaughter Deven did the honors of shaving her grandfather’s head. A bald Serge Lentz is not what many of expected to see before the weekend commenced, but there were plenty of laughs and a lot of joy that all it took was $5000 to make it happen! Thank you to everyone that pitched in and contributed towards Serge’s shaving. We couldn’t have done it without you.

What’s Next?

With the largest coordinated event of the season under our belts, it’s time now to focus on finishing up the 2019 season just as strong as the first half as been.

All three specialties have additional events on the schedule and coming soon, so be sure and mark you calendars.

September 7: Hurdle GTA Rally, Southington, CT — REGISTER HERE

September 7-8: Road Racing NERRC #6, Pig Roast @ Palmer Motorsports Park — REGISTER HERE

September 22: Solo Points Event #9, Devens Airfield — REGISTER HERE

Event Photos

As always, James Ray was at the event all weekend taking plenty of photos of drivers and workers. Be sure to check out all of his album’s here.