HLLR tests a very different pair of 17s for showdown
By Mike Twist
The basic idea behind the creation of the New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was for grassroots racing teams in the Northeast to be able to perform on a large stage and have fun.
When teams planning to enter the June 30t-July 1 race got to test in preparation for the event on Monday, one team from way up in the North Country might have monopolized the fun — for one day at least. The Herriott Lord LeBlanc Racing (HLLR) brought two very different race cars to the test and both of their drivers spent time learning how to lap a car very different from what they were used to.
Just getting to the track from Gorham started the fun for the team. Despite it being May, the team encountered snow showers on its way after leaving tits home base in the wee hours of the morning. Their two trailers were among the first in line though when the pits opened for the test session at 7:30 a.m.
Next, the team settled into the garage area in the same stalls used by NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series teams when they are in town. They focused their attention on a pair of No. 17 cars. There was an all-white No. 17 Pro Stock driven by 2016 North East Mini Stock Tour champion Haywood Herriott along with the car that Herriott drove to the championship — a blue Acura Intergra. Behind the wheel of the Integra was NEMST regular Cody LeBlanc, who will drive the car after parking his own No. 7NH Acura RSX. A third member of the HLLR team, Kodi Sabins, was at the test to help out but not to drive.
Herriott provided one of the more exciting moments of the team when the first test session for the Granite State Pro Stock Series began. On his first lap, a problem with the valve cover gasket led to oil being sprayed all over the engine compartment and down onto the front tires. Herriott found this out as he accelerated up to speed for the first time in his new car. He half spun exiting turn four, but did not hit anything.
"I looked like a fool doing that on the first lap," joked Herriott.
Once the problem was solved and the rest of the day was uneventful for Herriott.
"The more that I drove, the more that I got used to it," said Herriott. "We were on pace with many of the cars that were here. The front end was bouncing quite a bit, so we need to figure that out and also boost the driver's confidence and we will be good."
LeBlanc didn't waste much time getting used to his new quarters. He found out that the Acura Integra handled much better than his familiar RSX, but it lacked power. As for his first laps at NHMS, LeBlanc adapted fine.
"I actually find it harder to get around at Thompson," said LeBlanc. "You have a lot more space here."
Being down on power did not worry him much either.
"We will work on it," LeBlanc said. "We'll be good when we come back here to race."
The New England Short Track Shootout will feature races for the four cornerstone types of race cars in New England asphalt oval track racing with the Valenti Modified Series, Granite State Pro Stock Series, North East Mini Stock Tour and Street Stock Showdown Series all competing. For more information on the event, visit NorthEastMiniStockTour.com.
By Dick Therrien
By Jean LeBlanc
BERLIN — The Berlin softball team has gotten off to a rocky 1-5 start this spring, however, the varsity inexperience may have been overcome after six games, as Berlin over powered Gilford 11-0 and Belmont 7-2, to improve to 3-5 on the spring.
At Gilford, the Mounties pounded out 15 hits and four home runs, riding the one-hit pitching of sophomore fire-baller Sam McCann to win 11-0.
"Gilford (4-4) took us lightly and paid for it," said Coach Rollie Poirier. "They did not start their ace Lachapelle and Sam had her best outing of the spring. Their coach came over after the game and praised the girls for being a lot better than what he had been told."
The Berlin blasts came from McCann in the third inning on a three-run shot; in the fourth, Jessica Vien hit a three-run clout; Shaeleigh Valliere (three hits) added a solo homer; and Vien went deep again in the seventh inning with a two-run shot.
Butterfield and Jillian Lachapelle saw time on the mound for Gilford.
On the hill, Berlin's McCann allowed only a Beaudette hit in the fifth inning, walked three and struck out nine Eagles in getting the win. Defensively, Kaylee Peare had eight assists at second base.
Berlin got a little revenge on Belmont (5-2). The Raiders had handed Berlin a 3-2 loss earlier in the year. This time the Mounties broke open a close game with a four-run sixth inning to win 7-2.
McCann was again solid on the mound, allowing just four hits and two runs. The hard throwing righty, walked one and struck out four. Defensively, Peare was again busy at second base with seven assists. Mountie right fielder Hailey Knapp had a nice diving catch in when the contest was close at 3-2. Belmont's runs came on a passed ball and an RBI ground out.
For the second straight game, Valliere went three-for-three. Vien, McCann and Jillian Lefebvre all had two hits. In the sixth inning, Vien and McCann had two-run homers to put the game out of reach.
The Berlin girls will travel to Laconia and then host a much improved Newfound team in their next two contests.
Berlin 0 0 3 4 1 0 3 11-15-1
Gilford 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-1-3
Pitching: BHS — McCann and Theriault, GHS — Butterfield, Lachapelle (4), and Orton, WP — McCann, LP — Butterfield. Home runs: BHS — inning, McCann (third two on), Vien (fourth inning two on and seventh inning, one on) and Valliere (fourth inning, none on).
Berlin 1 2 0 0 0 4 0 7-10-0
Belmont 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2-4-0
Pitching: Berlin — McCann and Theriault, Belmont — Flemming and LaVallee, WP — McCann, LP — Flemming. Home runs — McCann (seventh inning, one on), Vien (seventh inning, one on).