PHOTO: Chris Riendeau (#37) and Guy Caron (#12x) race at Twin State Speedway on Saturday before their crash. (Photo by Tom Baldwin, T&B Fast Sports Photo)

Ascutney native penalized for incident, may face criminal charges

–by T.J. Ingerson and Justin St. Louis

CLAREMONT, N.H. — Ascutney native Chris Reindeau has been banned indefinitely from competition at Twin State Speedway following an incident at the Claremont, N.H., track on Saturday.

Riendeau, 18, was involved in a crash with defending track champion Guy Caron during the Late Model feature which led to a display of burnouts and a brief shoving match.

Twin State Speedway promoter Dennis Fleury told Vermont Motorsports Magazine on Thursday that Riendeau would be banned from the facility “indefinitely” effective immediately, and, following a conference with American-Canadian Tour president Tom Curley, that the ban extends to all affiliated tracks and events under the ACT umbrella.

Fleury also said that as a result of Riendeau’s burnouts and “donuts” in the infield at the time of the incident, criminal mischief charges would be filed against Riendeau for intentional destruction of Twin State Speedway property.

On Saturday, May 28, Riendeau and Caron, of Lempster, N.H., made contact as the pair headed into turn three, with Caron spinning off the front bumper of Riendeau’s car. Caron’s car slammed the outside wall, sustaining heavy damage to both the front and rear of the car.

Riendeau, visiting from his Morresville, N.C., home for an opportunity to race against his father, sat idle on the backstretch as the field was red flagged for cleanup on the Caron car. Unhappy with Riendeau, Caron ran from his wrecked race car and tossed his helmet at Riendeau’s car, causing Riendeau to drive away.

Riendeau drove through the wreckage scene but was stopped on the frontstretch and informed by Twin State officials that he was being parked for the remainder of the race. Upon receiving the news, Riendeau proceeded to do burnouts in turn one and revving the motor down the backstretch as he pulled into the pit area. Riendeau and his crew were met by Guy Caron and his crew, resulting in a slight scuffle, before police and security stepped in and separated the two parties.

Caron had heard that Riendeau may have been coming after him.

“There were some predictions that Riendeau was going to take me out, but I took that with a grain of salt,” Caron said after the incident on Saturday. “I got a good door plant [from Riendeau] at the start of the race, so I saw how it was going to go. I got underneath him coming down the frontstretch and I guess he didn’t like the fact I was going to pass him.”

“We’ve had a fast car,” Caron continued. “We’ve been winning races here, and he hasn’t. I think there’s a little bit of jealously going on. It destroyed our car front and rear.”

When asked on Saturday if he would be able to return to race at Twin State Speedway this week, Caron was unsure.

“I don’t know if we’re going to make it back,” said Caron. ‘We have another car, but it’s kind of discouraging when this stuff goes on. I guess we’re going to have to wait and see what kind of actions are going to take against him and see what actions are taken we decide what we’re going to do.”

Somewhat reluctantly, Riendeau offered his version of what transpired on Saturday.

“I’m under another guy and he decides to drive through the grass,” Riendeau said. “The last time I knew you can’t drive through the grass. It is what it is. I don’t think that’s very appreciated. I’ve raced him clean.”

“I understand he’s [racing] for points, but if you think you’re so big in points then I guess that’s your problem. I’m here to win. I’m not here to wreck everybody, but if you want to race me dirty, I’ll race you dirty. I didn’t mean to take him out that way. I meant to spin him out in the grass, but he ended up in the wall. I don’t really appreciate him throwing his helmet like a little temper tantrum.”

“He’s always had a high opinion of himself,” said Caron of Riendeau. “He’s a decent little driver but he’s not as good as he thinks he is and there [are] a lot of guys that can drive. I guess his youth is showing through.”

Fleury offered little comment about the incident Saturday night, describing it as “sad” and possibly caused by Riendeau being “jealous” of Caron.

Chris Curtis of Rutland, Mass., won the race with Bryan Town of Charlestown, N.H., second. Larry Riendeau finished third.

Thursday, Fleury discussed the penalties and pending legal charges.

“[Riendeau] is banned indefinitely from Twin State Speedway and all ACT-affiliated tracks, and that’s backed up by Tom Curley,” Fleury said. “Because of the further damages to the facility, criminal mischief charges will be filed by Twin State Speedway.

“I don’t mind a guy winning a race and spinning his car out to celebrate, or if a car crashes and digs up the infield, but when your purpose is to hurt me and to hurt Twin State Speedway, I don’t take that lightly,” Fleury said. “I take a lot of pride in that place and a lot of people work too hard there for [Riendeau] do that. It’s the same as if I was to drive over to your house and start tearing up your lawn. That’s against the law. He did me wrong.”

Fleury said that any possible penalties to Caron for approaching Riendeau after the crash have been “nothing beyond the discussion stage.”

Chris Riendeau reacted to the penalties on Thursday, saying he felt it was just a matter of time before something happened between he and Fleury.

“Twin State Speedway has never liked me, and Dennis Fleury doesn’t like the Riendeaus, or anybody apparently,” Riendeau said. “They’ve been trying to find a way to kick me out for years. We went to the ACT Tour [last year] and didn’t support Twin State, so he’s mad at us, and he doesn’t like young kids coming to his race track and racing and winning.”

Riendeau said there was no premeditated intent to wreck Caron, and that the incident happened as a reaction to Caron’s driving tactics.

“Gary Caron door-checked me on his way by me, and that’s fine if that’s how it’s going to be,” Riendeau said, “but he kept doing it. He did it four times, and I’ve got photos of marks on my doors from it. The last time he shoved me up the track three-wide and into Dennis Stange’s car to get by, so I got behind him. I meant to spin him out through the grass, and I never intended for him to hit the wall, but he held [the throttle] to the floor and spun himself into the wall. It’s not necessary to put a guy in the wall, because I know what it takes to rebuild one of these cars and put a front clip on it, I just wanted to spin him out.”

Riendeau said that he feels unfairly targeted by Twin State Speedway, and that Caron is getting a break because he supports Twin State.

“Did I ever do anything like this with ACT? No,” Riendeau said. “I got into a couple of guys, but I didn’t mean to. That stuff happens. I think the track looks bad if they don’t penalize Guy Caron for throwing his helmet at me. Yeah, it was wrong to do donuts in the infield, but I knew that if I went into the pits right then I would have been very angry, so I got it all out right there. My crew stayed in our pit, the Caron crew came over to me and started shoving. That’s not right, either. If you want to talk, come to me when I get out of my car and talk.

“People were saying I was out to wreck Guy Caron. Why would I fly up from North Carolina just to wreck him? We race against five other cars, who cares? My dream has always been to race against my father, and he hasn’t raced in eight years, so I came home to race him and have some fun. No one wants to hear my side of the story because I’m 18, because they think I’m some young punk. It’s the Guy Caron show at Twin State Speedway, and I’ve never had a fair call go my way at Twin State, it’s always against me.”

Fleury said he remains impartial at all times, and that Riendeau racing with ACT had nothing to do his decision on the penalties.

“I’ve never heard of that,” Fleury said. “As long you’re racing, I’m happy for you. We’ve had other racers go to other tracks and come back. God bless ‘em for it. This is a completely different situation. I’m not a Guy Caron fan, I’m not a Chris Riendeau fan. We treat our guys like they’re sub-contractors doing a job for us and we work with them. I don’t go to victory lane to congratulate one racer or another. We took our time with Tom Curley to make this decision and do it right.

“I don’t know [Riendeau’s] story and I don’t care,” Fleury said. “No one can race that way here. Guy Caron could have been hurt really bad the way he hit that wall. And then to drive through a red flag and disrespect me and tear up the grass, that’s wrong. There were two full-time Claremont police officers that saw it all happen and will back me up on it. In the state of New Hampshire, that’s a Class-B felony.”

Fleury reiterated that he had no reason to penalize Riendeau other than as a reaction to Saturday’s events.

“I like Chris, I still do, he’s a good young kid,” Fleury said. “But he’s going to have to switch his [driving] style. He’s not going to get away with that here, in ACT, in NASCAR, or anywhere else. This is all based on the facts.”