Story By: MIKE FELTENBERGER / SHELLHAMMER DIRT TRACK – LEESPORT, PA – When the guys and gals stay focused, alert, and show their true talents behind the wheel the racing is in one word….fantastic, but what happened in the qualifiers, was basically forgotten through some parts of the A-Mains.
First up were the 600 micros and they did put on quite a show as the racing was fan inspiring with an early race 3-car battle between Matt Warner, BJ Antonio, and Jacob Severn setting the tone for the rest of the race, not just up front but throughout the pack. James Roselli had his 98r out front as the previously mentioned 3 now tracked James down making it a 4-car battle royale. As these drivers were setting the pace last week winner Adam Buchel was starting to click off some fast laps and was in a challenging spot to overtake new race leader Matt Warner. It was the Warner, Buchel, Antonio show with 1 second separating 4th through 8th. Mixing it up were the likes of Richie Hartman, Trevor Kobylarz advancing from his 13th starting spot, Trent Warner, and Danny Buccafusca who fell back to 12th, only to regroup and become an Elite 8 challenger. Warner took the win over Buchel, Antonio claimed 3rd, Roselli getting a strong 4th as Hartman, Kobylarz, Trent Warner, and Buccafusca rounded out the top 8.
Yellow fever struck the Stage 1 Modified main as some of the back starters tried to work their way through the field causing a few unneeded slow downs. It was Lawson Szerencits showing the way until coming to a stop in turn 2 on lap 2, becoming a DNF for the night. A family battle shaped up between Riley Wanamaker and Bryce Dodig, with Bryce claiming the top spot on lap 14, never to be headed from there. Narrowly avoiding a turn 2 skirmish was Matt Mertz who rallied back to pass 2 cars in the late stages of the event to get 2nd.”Smooth” Mike Glass was one of the early race victims of the back of the field runners and soldiered on to pass both A J Gerhart and Wanamaker for a 3rd place run. Getting dialed in with 5 to go was Chad Riddle to finish 6th with Stephen Smith III having another steady outing to get 7th. Mike Faust Jr. rallied past some of the incidents, getting 8th from his 17th starting spot. Wanamaker finished the event with some major front-end damage.
The 270s came down to which teammate wanted the win the most and it was Louden Reimert in the 88e, finding a good bite in the middle groove to ward off all advances from Richie Hartman who was locked to the bottom and having to deal with returning veteran “Sleeveless” Mike Kalman, who was warding off the advances of Adam Buchel, who was clicking off some of the race’s fastest laps in his red #10. Matt McAnally continues to gain new fans with another strong showing in the 36r for a 5th place payout. Dan Lane Jr. recouped quite a few spots after falling back early in the race to garner a 6th place showing. The final lap run for 7th went to Ben Layser in the 4L just getting to the checkered ahead of the 4b of Brandon Confer.
It didn’t take long for the front row starters Chase Schott and Dylan Hahn to make their way through the field, but as these 2 got into lapped traffic, they locked up coming out of turn 2 bringing out a yellow and restarting at the back. Taking full advantage was last week’s Junior Slingshot winner Ryan Rochelle who was running a close 3rd at the time inheriting the lead and taking the $500 win. It was Girls Night Out as the next 4 finishers drew the packed house’s attention with some wheeling and dealing of their own. Holly Delong had her 74 up to the rear bumper of Rochelle but could not make the pass with Jocelyn Darinsig and Hailey Eroh racing side by side for 5 laps.It was family pride for the Hendricks racers as Abi kept brother Parker behind her at the halfway sign. Literally storming through the field was the 911C of Colton Williams who was at one stage of the 25-lap main, passing a car a lap. Rochelle took the win over Delong with Darinsig getting the final podium spot at 3rd.Eroh stayed clean and green for 4th just nosing out a determined Abi Hendricks.Williams strong run netted him a fine 6th just besting Parker Hendricks with a steady Daniel Betz getting 8th in his # 77 hot rod.
The action on the speedway held firm for the 125 micros as it was a show of the 7’s setting the pace. The 7d of Chris Dolan jumped out to an early lead over Sam Borger, but now the 7L of Chase Layser was quickly on the scene to challenge for the top spot at lap 6.There was no denying these 2 their finishing spots but point leader A J Gerhart tried everything to wrestle 2nd from Layser.Some highly entertaining dicing for positions 4th through 10th had the fans yelling for their favorites. Jesse Smith came to race and what a show he put on with another driver to watch in this class, Chase Wehr in the 22cw. The 4th spot wasn’t going to be settled until the 2 lap sign was displayed with Wehr getting into turn 3 a little higher and faster to get past Smith. On lap 14 Shane Davis was in 9th and on lap 19 he worked his way up to 7th only to be denied 6th by .1 seconds by Corey Harting who was settled in on the low side in his 3h. Easton Miller rallied for an 8th place payout.15 of the 16 125’s completed the full 20 laps.
The All-Star Slingshots had quite a few twists and turn in their 20-lap main as Alex Lagun and Brett Bieber charged to the early race lead.It was Bieber in command with a slew of position swappings behind him.Johnny Kahn III filling in for previous winner Lindsey Garl,made Bieber work for the win as the 17L was quick at both ends of the speedway and got aside of the 32 heading into turn 1 but Bieber had the bite exiting turn 2 and keeping the lead.Getting into the mix was point leader Jax Yohn and he was not going to challenge Kahn III for 2nd but had to keep a fast closing Tyler Hoch behind him.With the top 4 all locked into their spots the next 4 car battle was shaping up for a run to the finish and it was Tucker Cole getting the 5th place pay envelope over early season race winner Ryan Raidline.It was good to see George Manion shake off some recent hard luck and claim the 7th place prize money over fast improving Luke McCloskey who was shaking down a new ride on the evening in his sharp looking 22m.
All in all,the green flag racing produced some incredible 3 wide runs with even a 4 wide in the Junior Slingshots that stayed green with no incident.
A solid field of 116 cars and the grandstands pretty well packed with every seat a good seat at the Race Track by the River taking in this evening of racing