Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – MIDDLETOWN, NY – Orange County Fair Speedway held five features Saturday night that produced four different winners, with two winning their first race in their respective divisions.
In the United Rentals DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds, it was Dillon Steuer racing to the win in a non-stop feature over Alex Yankowski and Danny Creeden.
Steuer and Tommy Meier were on the front row for the start with Dillon grabbing the early lead. Anthony Perrego was looking fast as by lap 5, he had moved up to 2nd and set sail for Steuer. Perrego got around Steuer on lap 8. But on the 10th lap. Perrego slowed and ducked into the pits.
This gave the lead back to Steuer with Yankowski now 2nd and Creeden 3rd. Most of the field settled into positions, with the exception being Max McLaughlin. Max got going in the high groove and made it up to 5th from 11th. McLaughlin made a pass of Mike Gular for 4th on lap 12 and for quite a few laps, put some pressure on Creeden for 3rd.
But Danny held firm, and with 5 laps to go, Max moved back low.
As the leaders worked their way into lapped traffic, Yankowski did keep it close, but Steuer never wavered. At the finish, it was Steuer taking the win by a little over half a second over Yankowski. Creeden was 3rd, Mclaughlin 4th and Gular 5th.
Rounding out the top 10 running order were Tyler Boniface 6th, Meier 7th, Tanner VanDoren 8th, Billy VanInwegen 9th and Matt Janiak 10th.
Corey Cormier patiently chased down early leader Alex Tonkin, made a mid race pass for the lead and drove to his first ever OCFS H.O. Penn 358 Small Block Modified win over VanInwegen and Tonkin.
Tonkin took the lead at the drop of the green with Cormier 2nd and Jerry Higbie 3rd. The top 3 running order remained unchanged the first dozen laps until Steuer passed Higbie on lap 13.
Steuer closed in on the front running duo as Cornier took the lead from Tonkin on lap 14. Steuer was threatening to capture the $1,000 bonus from Wicked Truck Worx for a Modified/Small Block sweep. But Steuer’s great run ended in a very hard crash in the 1st turn after 16 laps were done.
Despite the severity of the hit, Steuer emerged from the wrecked #17 Zubi’s racing machine uninjured.
With the race back to green, Cormier retained the lead over Tonkin. VanInwegen had steadily moved up from 10th spot to take 3rd on lap 20. On the final lap, Billy V got past Tonkin into 2nd, but it was too late to challenge Cormier.
At the finish, it was Cormier with a 7/10ths of a margin over VanInwegen with Tonkin taking 3rd. Bobby Flood finished 4th with Perrego 5th.
The balance of the top 10 were Creeden 6th, Gular 7th, Joe Bonetti 8th, Jimmy Horton 9th and Boniface 10th.
In another non-stop race on this Saturday night, Rafaele Carson raced his way to his first ever win in the Arkel Motors Sportsman division with a wire-to-wire win, holding off a fast charging Brian Krummel.
Bobby Waters and Carson were the front row starters for this race with Carson taking control. Seventh starting Krummel moved into 3rd on lap 7, but Carson and Waters were well out front. Little by little, Krummel started to move in on the lead duo and by lap 16, the top 3 were nose-to-tail.
Krummel got past Waters with 2 to go, but at the end, it was Carson, 4/10th of a second ahead of Krummel to take the win. Waters was 3rd with Kasey Hufcut finishing 4th and Jake Bedell 5th. Drew Boniface was 6th, Brett Weslowski 7th, John Bockhorn 8th, Greg Sleight 9th and John Farissier 10th.
Two time OCFS Street Stock Champion, Bob Sleight wasn’t sure until a few days ago whether he was going to be able to race Saturday. After undergoing rotator cuff surgery during the off season, Sleight didn’t get clearance to race until a few days ago.
He made the most of it on Saturday as he swept both ends of the NAPA North East Parts Group Street Stock features.
The first race was definitely the easier of the two for Sleight. Starting on the pole, he survived a number of restarts to take a wire-to-wire win.
Walt Henry moved into 2nd position early, but he was not able to wrestle the lead from Bob. At the finish, it was Sleight by a second and three quarters over Henry with Wayne Taylor 3rd, Ryan Modiano 4th and Billy Deak Jr. 5th. Jack Beaumont was 6th with Danny Hedges 7th, Ron Constable 8th, Jim Hajkowski 9th and Mike Vigiletti 10th.
The second win was much tougher as it took a last lap pass of multi time OCFS Street Stock Champion, Mike Vigiletti, for Sleight to grab his 2nd win of the evening.
Vigiletti took off from his pole position and like Sleight in race #1, he held onto the lead throughout the restarts. Hajkowski held 2nd until Sleight took over the spot on lap 5. Vigiletti held firm for many laps, but coming to the white flag, Sleight got a run on him and nudged into the lead, taking the win by a 1/2 second margin at the finish.
Hajkowski finished 3rd with Hedges 4th and Wayne Taylor 5th. Rounding out the top 10 were Dillon Gannon in 6th, Beaumont 7th, Modiano 8th, Tyler Romer 9th and Constable 10th.
Racing resumes at OCFS on May 7th as it’s a night to remember Joey Falanga as his Memorial Race will be held. Big Blocks, Small Blocks, Sportsman and Rookies will all be part of the action.