PHOTO: Les Hinckley carries the checkered flag at Canaan Fair Speedway after a dominating performance in the Ricky’s Race for Kids 112. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)

–by T.J. Ingerson

CANAAN, N.H. — Les Hinckley had been playfully badgered for not winning the Valenti Modified Racing Series Ricky Miller Memorial race for the first four years. The connections the No. 06 Chuck Montville-owned team branch out like a matured tree, and that left Hinckley disappointed for not winning for everyone involved.

But Hinckley would not be denied in 2012, and dominated the special event at Canaan Fair Speedway.

“[The car] was awesome,” Hinckley said. “[Crew chief] Butch [Shea] had the chassis spot on. Bob [Bruneau] builds incredible horsepower, and when the two of them are perfect, there isn’t a whole lot that can stop us. It was unbelievable, it really was. I don’t know what more I can say, I just couldn’t ask for anything better at this point. It was just really good.”

Hinckley, of Windsor Locks, Conn., started third and immediately moved to the rear bumper of leader Jon McKennedy, and followed in his shadow for the first 20 laps. Hinckley then began to search for a way around McKennedy, and continued to poke the nose of his car to the inside of McKennedy’s, as he applied constant pressure.

A lap 37 caution flag gave Hinckley the opportunity he needed as he restarted to the outside of McKennedy. Hinckley powered to the lead on the restart and dominated the rest of the way.

“We were definitely better than Jon was there, but it’s such a hard place to pass,” Hinckley explained. “It’s tough to get a wheel on the outside. It’s tough to make a cross-over move. Eventually, I think we would have been able to get it done, but the restart put us side-by-side. That probably put Jon in more of a vulnerable position than he cared to. He had to keep the car down and we were turning so good, I could get back in the throttle. That was our opportunity and I wasn’t looking back from there.”

Defending series champion Chris Pasteryak was able to move into the second position on lap 67 after McKennedy got tied up in lap traffic with Pasteryak on his tail. Pasteryak, of Lisbon, Conn., finished second. The current series point leader Rowan Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., was able to move from his eighth starting position to capture third place when the checkered flag flew. McKennedy, of East Chelmsford, Mass., held on for fourth, while Ascutney, Vt.’s Dwight Jarvis placed fifth after he started in the 14th position.

Mike Holdridge, Geoff Gernhard, Joey Jarvis, Mark Bakaj, and Norm Wrenn completed the top ten.

The race was only slowed by two caution flags for minor, incident-free spins and was completed in just over 35 minutes.

For Hinckley, though, the win may last with him for a long time.

“The biggest thing is the connection to Ricky Miller and the good the Miller family has done for David’s House,” Hinckley said. “It’s an incredible charity. We’ve all known Ricky. He worked for my crew chief Butch. It was basically Butch’s house modified at Riverside Park. I knew Ricky. I know his brother Jet and I know his dad, they’re just great people. They were needling me for five years to win this race, and [former series director] ‘John-Boy’ [Hoyt] was too when he was alive. I’m happy to do it for them. I was tired of the long face for not getting it done for them. With all that goes into it for the Millers, and the connections that go back to him, it’s just a special night.”

The Valenti Modified Racing Series makes their second appearance at Thompson Int’l Speedway on Thursday, July 26.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS — Ricky’s Race for Kids 112
Valenti Modified Racing Series — Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, N.H.
Saturday, July 14, 2012

(# – denotes rookie)

1. (3) Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, Conn.
2. (5) Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, Conn.
3. (8) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
4. (1) Jon McKennedy, East Chelmsford, Mass.
5. (14) Dwight Jarvis, Ascutney, Vt.
6. (17) Mike Holdridge, Madison, Conn.
7. (4) Geoff Gernhard, Salem, Conn.
8. (21) Joey Jarvis, Ascutney, Vt.
9. (18) Mark Bakaj, Lebanon, Conn.
10. (15) Norm Wrenn, Nashua, N.H.
11. (10) Joe Doucette, Framingham, Mass.
12. (19) Max Zachem, Preston, Conn.
13. (16) Jeff Murray, Claremont, N.H.
14. (2) Mark McClay, Charlestown, N.H.
15. (12) Larry Barnett, Moosup, Conn.
16. (20) David Schneider, Northport, N.Y.
17. (9) Eric Dailey, Armstrong, Iowa
18. (11) Melissa Fifield, Wakefield, N.H.
19. (6) Louie Mechalides, Tyngsboro, Mass.
20. (7) Rob Goodenough, Swanzey, N.H.
21. (13) Todd Owen, Somers, Conn.