Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – ACCORD, NY – Going into Friday night’s event at Accord Speedway, Joe Judge was one of the best drivers who had never visited the Modified Victory Lane at the Ulster County bullring.
He had been racing in the Modifieds since 2013 and had a number of close calls that just didn’t go his way. This year alone, he lost 2 excellent chances at victory in one way or another.
However, after the 30 lap feature on Friday, Joe now wears the crown of an Accord Modified feature winner. Judge ran a masterful race to take a close win over Scott Ferrier who hounded Joe all race long.
It was Judge and Ferrier on the front row as the feature got underway. Ferrier actually got the jump on the start, but caution waved before the lap was scored. Restarting in the top lane, Judge got the jump on Ferrier and led the first 3 laps before caution was out. Judge was able to hold off Ferrier on the restart, but caution was quickly out again after a lap.
Judge again took the lead from the high groove on the restart. Ferrier was able to get a good run into turn 1, but Judge had the power off of turn 2 to maintain the advantage.
After a lap 5 caution, Judge maintained a slim lead until a 5 car pileup in turn two after 8 complete involved Craig Mitchell, Richard Smith, Daniel Morgiewicz Jr, Geoff Quackenbush and Randy Green. All involved continued on.
Ferrier made another attempt to grab the lead on the restart, but again Judge was able to power away. It turned out to be the final caution of the race. Judge drove perfectly the final 22 laps, taking the win by 2/10ths of a second over Ferrier with Jimmy Wells not far behind in 3rd. Danny Creeden finished 4th with Jerry Higbie placing 5th. Rounding out the top 10 were Danny Tyler 6th, Mark Pullen 7th, Rich Eurich 8th, Corey Lowitt 9th and Mitchell 10th.
As expected for a fan favorite, it was excitement galore in Victory Lane. And Joe did something that I don’t recall seeing before. He borrowed Ric Ryder’s microphone and interviewed himself. Then, he spoke with Race Pro Weekly.
“The car felt good the whole night. We tried something different that we hadn’t tried before. It went really well. We kept the car exactly the same for the feature as we did for the heat. The car was a rocket ship up top. Every lap was just as good as the previous lap. I went with soft tires and it was perfect. Scott got close on those restarts. I new that if I could beat him into turn one, that I would be golden after that. The way the car was tonight, no one was getting under me this week.”
With his 4th place finish, Danny Creeden clinched the Modified Championship at Accord.
“It cool, it’s my first Modified championship here. I won a Sportsman one here in ’06 or ’07. But it’s cool to win something here,” Danny said. “I went conservative tonight. I knew that I wanted to make the car better, I knew what I wanted to do. But I just kind of left it alone. We had some bad weeks and I thought we were done, but we held on and it’s pretty cool.”
Travis Green captured the 25 lap Sportsman feature, winning a race long duel with Cody Higbie who had a fine race with Tyler Johnston who finished 3rd.
Higbie and Green were on the front row for the start and Green immediately took the lead. The race had it’s share of cautions, but Green was able to lead on every restart. As the race started to get into it’s late stages, Johnston was putting heavy pressure on Higbie. He would get a good run low in turn 2 and got up along side of Higbie a couple of times. But Cody was able to hold him off.
At the finish, it was Green 4/10ths of a second ahead of Higbie with Johnston 3rd, Charles Loiodice 4th and Kevin Stevens 5th. Filling in spots 6 thru 10 were Nick Plumstead, Corey Cormier, Lem Atkins, Pat Mann and Jared Miller.
Kyle Rohner is the 2021 Accord Speedway Sportsman champion.
Jayden Sleight got out to the early lead and went on to win his 2nd Pure Stock race of the season in an efficiently run non-stop race. Bill Deak Jr. kept close to Sleight, but was never able to make a serious bid for the lead and finished 2nd. John Hechinger was 3rd, Walt Henry 4th and Hunter Lee 5th.
Walt Henry is the 2021 Accord Speedway Pure Stock Champion.
In the Slingshots, Madison Lewis capped off a championship season with a win on Friday over Kai DeWitt and Zach Cordova.
In the Fireball 4 Cylinder division, Jeff DeGroat drove a sharp looking #1 to victory over Ed King, Tim DeGrote, Brandon Conklin and Dave Bendell.
Tim DeGrote is the 2021 Accord Speedway Fireball 4 Cylinder champion.
Patrick Dempsey picked up Friday’s win in the Rookie Sportsman division over Brady Cordova, Mark Connoly, Andrew Sabo and Joe Smith.
It was a most excellent 9/11 ceremony by the speedway. Well done to all.
It was also a most excellent fireworks display that the fans were able to enjoy. Thanks go out to Dan’s Towing of Kingston and O’Connor and Partners.