Track executive arrested, charged with lewdness with 19-year-old

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Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, was arrested last week and charged with lewdness after being caught by Manchester, N.H., police with a 19-year-old woman in his car.

Manchester Police state that detectives observed the female enter Gappens’ SUV and then followed the vehicle into a parking lot where they “allegedly observed an act of lewdness take place in the vehicle.’’

Gappens, 53, is scheduled to appear in 9th Circuit Court on Feb. 25. Kendra Johnson, 19, is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 26.

Gappens has been at the track since 2008. A Speedway Motorsports Inc. spokesman had no comment for MotorsportsTalk.

Gappens’ attorney, Tom Reid, issued a statement: “Mr. Gappens acknowledges using poor judgment that has resulted in a misdemeanor charge that is both embarrassing and devastating to him and his family, and for that, he sincerely apologizes.

“He regrets his actions. While he made a bad decision, he did not, in my opinion, engage in conduct that violates the referenced statute or any other criminal law. Mr. Gappens cooperated fully with the police, and we hope to have this difficult situation resolved soon.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.