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Monadnock Speedway gears for new ownership

  • David Hollstein is the fabricator of the “99” car that raced in Saturday’s Firecracker 100 at Monadnock Speedway. An accident or a poor finish, he said, is usually caused by human error, “Sometimes the driver’s, sometimes the pit crew’s.” FOR THE RECORDER/CHIP AINSWORTH

  • Former rookie of the year Roy Seidell Jr. is ready to call it a career. “I’ve got a boat, a Harley and eight grandchildren,” said the 64-year-old Easthampton resident. FOR THE RECORDER/CHIP AINSWORTH

  • Larry Cirillo has owned Monadnock Speedway since 1984, but folks in the pits say a plan’s in the works to sell the ¼-mile track to Nashua, New Hampshire, businessman Fred Wrenn Jr. when racing season ends. FOR THE RECORDER/CHIP AINSWORTH



For the Gazette
Friday, July 13, 2018

WINCHESTER, N.H. — At Monadnock Speedway this summer, the buzz in the pits has been louder than the blare on the track. Everyone’s talking about the speedway’s pending sale to Norman Wrenn Jr., a 58-year-old retired Pro Stock driver and New Hampshire businessman who owns two propane gas companies in Greater Nashua.

Wrenn bought Lee USA Speedway in February, and Star Speedway in Epping is on his radar after longtime owner Bob Webber Sr. passed away in January. Both are near the New Hampshire seacoast, about 75 miles from Winchester.

Wrenn’s intention is to establish a tri-track series with motor racing at Lee on Friday nights, Monadnock on Saturday nights and Star on Sunday afternoons.

The Monadnock sale won’t be finalized until November to avoid disrupting current licensing agreements.

“You don’t want people not being able to buy hot dogs and beer,” joked a racing official.

“It’ll be a big change,” she added. “There’s going to be a lot of (capital) improvements.”

After Lee USA Speedway was sold, The Lowell Sun reported that the day-to-day operations would stay the same. “No changes,” said Norman Wrenn III. “No staff changes, no race division changes.”

In 1971, Monadnock was carved out of a gravel pit by Bill Brown, whose brother Ted raced on the local circuit. Brown sold the track to Bill Davis, and in 1984 Davis sold it to Larry Cirillo and Fred Pafume of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Monadnock’s staff works diligently, but its infrastructure is crumbling. The old grandstand is rickety, and a few of the aluminum fold-out chairs that Cirillo purchased from Riverside Park after it closed are still used. The children’s play area on the south side of the bleachers is a patch of sand shaded by a makeshift tent, the yellow caution light on Turn 2 is taped together, and the gravel parking lot is peppered with potholes and moguls.

There was barely enough space to fit the vehicles that arrived for last week’s Firecracker 100 and fireworks show.

SEIDELL TO RETIRE — Veteran driver Roy Seidell Jr. sat near the driver’s compartment of his aqua-colored No. 22 car and said it was time to retire.

“This is my last season,” said the 64-year-old Easthampton native. “I got my boat, my Harley, a real sweet girlfriend and eight grandkids.”

Asked to recount his most vivid racing memory, he said, “The night I started on the pole, stood on the gas, spun myself around and was missed by 18 cars.”

“Anyone give you any grief?” asked a visitor.

“Oh yeah, they all did,” he laughed.

Seidell Jr. said he didn’t know how much prize money was up for grabs prior to Saturday’s Valenti Modified Racing Series Firecracker 100.

“I learned a long time ago to never look at the purse, you’re gonna be sick,” he said.

Seidell finished last in the 25-car field.

RUNNER-UP AGAIN — After Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen All-American series Super Stock event, Tyler Leary was asked how it felt to be runner-up for a second straight weekend: “You don’t come here to finish second,” said the Hatfield resident who has won five times this season.

Chip Ainsworth can be reached at sports@recorder.com.