Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – MIDDLETOWN, NY – During Friday night’s Eastern States Sportsman Championship at the Orange County Fair Speedway, it was like a heavyweight title fight from the heydays of boxing between two young guns, Tanner VanDoren versus Brian Krummel.
Lap after lap, these two drivers swapped the lead back and forth. It was a classic battle and some of the best Sportsman racing one could watch.
In the end, it was neither of those who would apparently be in Victory Lane as LJ Lombardo made an outside pass of TVD on a restart with 3 laps to go and won what seemed to be a $5,000 victory.
But an undisclosed tech issue disqualified Lombardo and it was VanDoren taking his 2nd consecutive Eastern States Sportsman Championship.
Joey Bruning was the early leader over Krummel, and led 6 laps until a restart saw Krummel back out front with VanDoren in 2nd. For many laps, it was those fastest qualifiers from Thursday’s Sportsman time trials dicing it out for the lead as both Krummel and VanDoren kept the pressure on whichever of the two was in the lead.
A few minor cautions continued to slow the action.
When the race got an extended green flag run, that’s when things got real exciting as the leaders would eventually get into lapped traffic. It was the Tanner and Brian show, lap after lap back and forth, neither driver wanting to give an inch.
Lombardo had been running in 3rd after lap 13. And as the lapped traffic became heavy, it was nearly 3 wide between the three drivers.with 7 to go.
Krummel’s great ride came to an end with 3 to go as he rolled to a stop in turn one.
Lombardo got a great jump on TVD and went on to what appeared to be a big victory. But it wasn’t meant to be.
VanDoren was awarded the win with first time OCFS racer Dave Rogers 2nd. Zach Sobtoka from deep in the pack finishing 3rd. Jeff Hulseapple had a good run thru the pack to take 4th with Bruning 5th.
OCFS Sportsman champion from 2021, Joe Bonetti, was 6th with Mike Sabia, John Bockhorn, Chris Johnson and Travis Green completing the top 10.