Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – ACCORD, NY – It was the Accord Speedway’s Sportsman division night to shine on Saturday. The featured race on the card was the Joe G Great Crate Race which was paying $5,000 to the winner. The race is run in memory of Joe Giachinta, a racer and friend to many in the Accord Speedway racing family.
Joe was lost tragically lost in a work related accident in 2015. His business, Mid Hudson Concrete Products, honors his memory with this yearly race which has a lucrative winner’s purse.
And after a series of early race cautions, the Sportsman ran 41 non-stop laps which saw close racing and great battles for position. And in the end, it was Steve Davis making a late race pass of Kyle Rohner to take his 2nd straight Joe G Great Crate Race win.
After the 5 Sportsman heat races, the top 2 from each heat drew for their spots. It was invading drivers Joey Scarborough and Grant Hilfiger who led the racers to the green flag. Hilfiger got the early jump to take the lead as the early cautions began after one lap was complete. Hilfiger continued to hold the lead over a series of restarts that continued until lap 23.
Behind Hilfiger, positions were constantly being swapped between Scarborough, Davis, Rohner, Tyler Johnston and Darryl Ford. Lap 17 saw Rohner move into 2nd and he started applying the biggest challenge to Hilfiger’s lead that he had seen in the early stages. After a few laps of trying to make a move on the inside, Rohner began taking looks on the outside of Hilfiger, but Grant held his ground and kept the slight lead.
After a lap 23 caution, it was Hilfiger still leading over Rohner. By lap 29, Rohner was again testing the outside, but Hilfiger maintained the lead. Lap 32 saw caution out again as Jared LaBagh slowed and stopped on the track. After quick repairs, LaBagh returned to action. After starting 4th, Davis at this point had dropped back to 6th and his chances of repeating his 2019 win looked like they were fading.
At halfway, Hilfiger held the lead over Rohner and Davis, who was fighting his way to the front. By lap 41, Rohner was on the outside of Hilfiger and after 2 side by side laps, Kyle was able to clear Grant with 43 complete. Lap 47 saw Davis get past Hilfiger and start his pursuit of Rohner.
Davis was able to move in quickly on Rohner in lapped traffic, but Kyle was maneuvering through it to keep the lead over Steve. Lap after lap, they had a great give and take. Davis would give a little cushion to Rohner and then take it back. The farther they moved into the lapped cars, the harder the passes became.
With 7 go go, it appeared that Rohner was safely in front. Davis had lost ground and it wasn’t looking like he was going to be able to make it up. But Davis did what you often hear in racing. He got up on the wheel and closed in on lap 70 and got inside of Rohner for the lead on lap 71. After 41 consecutive green flag laps that featured excellent racing, caution flew with 2 to go for Travis Green. With a left rear that was completely shot, it was Davis leading on the final restart and holding onto for the win over Rohner. Hilfiger was 3rd with Ford 4th and Johnston 5th. Spots 6 thru 10 went to Scarborough 6th, Ryan Stortini 7th, Chris Shultz 8th, Dominic Roselli Jr 9th and Jamie Yanonne 10th.
“It was tough getting all those restarts on the bottom early in the race,” Davis said in a very happy Victory Lane. “It shifted us back some. But once I was able to get a restart on the top, I was able to carry some momentum. I think some of them went with a softer tire and it they starting hanging a little bit. That’s when I got Grant. Kyle was out front, but he was in traffic. By lap 65, I saw that I was losing ground and I got high in turn one and I knew I couldn’t make that mistake again. Thank you to all my sponsors and car owner Jeff Masker and his wife Kristen.”
Walt Henry jumped out to the lead from his pole position, led on all of the restarts and held off a late challenge from Jayden Sleight to take Saturday’s win in the Pure Stocks. With 2 laps to go, Sleight closed in on Henry and took a look inside, but Walt was able to prevail over the last laps to secure the win over Jayden. Jay Smalley was 3rd with Chris Kanuk 4th, Ray Tarantino 5th, Jared Palmer 6th, Anthony Tarantino 7th and Malcolm McPhee 8th.
In the Fireball 4 Cylinder Division, Jeff DeGroat drove to a dominating win over Robert Phillips in 2nd and Jesse Norman in 3rd. George Barringer was 4th, Tom Cavignino 5th, Isaac Eisner 6th, Nerdan Smerth 7th and Frank Twing Sr 8th.
Rookie Sportsman action saw John Doty taking the win with Mark Connoly 2nd, Dan Specht 3rd and Frank Twing 4th.
Alex McCann was the Slingshot winner over Kristin Bishop, Sophia Spear and Calleigh Stritmater.
Racing action returns to Accord on Saturday, October 16th with the Halloween Havoc event.