Story By: STEVEN OVENS / CRSA – CENTER LISLE, NY – Call up the Hollywood script writers, Sunday night played out better than any major picture could dream of working out.
Peter Dance hadn’t turned a lap in CRSA Sprints competition all season long. A career change has not made traveling to races easy for the 56D team and their driver located in Warren, Connecticut. Dance has been a staple on the CRSA Sprints tour for several years, dating back to 2016.
July 3, 2022 will be a date that Dance and his family have etched into their memory banks for years to come. On this night way up on the mountain in Center Lisle, NY at Thunder Mountain Speedway- Peter would do something he hadn’t done in six years of previous competition. The Gary’s Golf Carts sponsored Eagle would pull into Victory Lane a CRSA winner.
Dance is a driver who has forged ahead through times of deep loss and used those losses as motivation to continually make improvements- striving for the ultimate prize of winning a race.
“I’ve always jumped into something new and within five or six races I was winning,” said Dance post-race on Sunday night.
“But that didn’t happen with these 305 Sprint Cars, we’ve had to work our guts out to get to this point.”
Hard work on their sprint cars and processing grief at the same time. Roughly five years ago, Dance lost his older sister Michelle. Someone Dance referred to Sunday night in an incredibly emotional moment as his “biggest fan” and “his idol in life.”
With Michelle watching high above, Dance moved up from his fourth starting spot in his qualifying heat race to finish second to Utica-Rome Speedway A-Main winner Darryl Ruggles. That put Dance in the redraw where he would pick position number six for the 25-lap A-Main.
Aaron Shelton and Dana Wagner led the field to Raymond Kennerup’s green flag. It didn’t take long for Wagner to claim the top spot in the race as Wagner has been right on the cusp of winning his first CRSA A-Main since 2019 when he won his first at Glen Ridge.
With Wagner out front and fighting traffic, the battle for the runner up spot was as good as the series has seen all season long. John Cunningham, Trevor Years, Dance and Shelton all traded positions with power moves off the corners, slide jobs being thrown at one another- some while battling traffic a straightaway behind Wagner.
Dance was very clearly the fastest car in the entire field and was able to show that speed after clearing Shelton, Cunningham and Years on Lap 11. For the next five laps Dance would watch the gap to the No. 25W get smaller and smaller as he was closing in quickly. Wagner even went three-wide with traffic at one point, undoubtedly having a recent flashback to struggles with lapped traffic at Outlaw Speedway that allowed point leader Jordan Hutton to get by.
The heroic move to gain space back to second went all for not as a yellow turned red flag would get displayed on Lap 16. James Layton, Thomas Radivoy and Darry Ruggles tangled in Turn 2 with Ruggles calling it a night and Radivoy continuing on after letting Layton know how unhappy he was at what triggered the incident.
On the ensuing restart, Dance wasted no time taking shots at Wagner for the top spot. Dance threw a big move in turns three and four coming to put Lap 17 on the board, with Wagner barely having enough room to get by. But Wagner quickly crossed over and threw a slider of his own in Turn 1.
As Wagner slid up in front of Dance, Wagner’s tail tank bumper and Dance’s front bumper hooked each other in Turn 2. Wagner got out of shape which allowed Dance to blast by and take the race lead for good going into Turn 3. A move that Dance’s longtime friend and racing idol Bubba Broderick would have been proud of.
Broderick left the racing world far too soon in October of 2018, leaving open a large void not only as a mentor but a friend to Dance.
“He was my idol growing up, his dad is a big part of our crew now that got this car here tonight. Bubba was my mentor, he was who I always wanted to be like. He was always winning and with that, gave me a lot of advice on how I could be better. He was a great friend, I miss him a lot.”
Dance led the remaining six circuits to capture his first CRSA A-Main victory and also extended a streak for the CRSA Sprints that has now seen six different drivers go to victory lane in the six races held so far in 2022. Before the team even left Connecticut, Dance had the feeling that often times comes over drivers when they’re about to put in a special performance.
“I don’t know what it was but this morning I woke up and I just felt good. I’ve been wanting to race all year and was really getting the itch pretty bad. We were hooked up all night. I knew in practice the car felt good. I knew we had a good shot.”
For Wagner, it was another runner up finish but there were many positives to take away. The 25W has been fast everywhere he’s gone this year and he’s heading back to Penn Can Speedway on Friday night where he has not finished outside the Top 5 in CRSA’s last four starts at the Susquehanna, PA speed plant.
Billy VanInwegen was trying as best he could to get the top side of the track worked in, and was able to do so. It just took too many laps to do so and “Billy V” would have to settle in for a podium finish- a far cry from not even being able to take the green last weekend at Utica-Rome.
Cunningham and Years were like magnets to one another throughout the 25-lap affair and would complete the Top 5.
The races Powdertech Powdercoating Hard Charger of the race went to Jordan Hutton who passed 7 cars to get to eighth and maintains his point lead headed to Penn Car. Dance took home an extra $25 as he also earned the Maguire Cars “Magnificent Move of the Race.” Darryl Ruggles took home the Midstate Basement Authorities “Out of the Basement” bonus award. Eagle Enterprises $25 Heat Wins went to Cunningham, John Smith and Ruggles.
The CRSA Sprints will now head to Penn Can Speedway on Friday July 8 in a highly anticipated show as part of their First Responder Recognition Night. Discounted tickets of $5 off are being offered for those First Responders showing valid ID.
A-MAIN RESULTS (25 Laps): 1. 56D-Peter Dance; 2. 25W-Dana Wagner; 3. 56V-Billy VanInwegen Jr; 4. J27-John Cunningham; 5. 13T-Trevor Years; 6. 29-Dalton Herrick; 7. 33-Scott Landers; 8. 66-Jordan Hutton; 9. 28-Ron Greek; 10. 23-John Smith; 11. 22M-Aaron Shelton; 12. 1Q-Thomas Radivoy; 13. 25H-Tyler Emmons; 14. 9K-Kyle Pierce; 15. 112-Mike VanPelt; 16. 48A-Alysha Bay; 17. 4T-Ray Preston; 18. 22-Tomy Moreau; 19. 19EM-Emily VanInwegen; 20. 7W-Calvin Wheelock; 21. 4-Cliff Pierce; 22. 14-James Layton; 23. 48JR-Darryl Ruggles
Eagle Enterprises Heat Bonuses $25: J27 Cunningham, 23 Smith, 48JR Ruggles
Powdertech Powdercoating Hard Charger Bonus: 66 Jordan Hutton +7 Spots
Maguire Family of Dealerships “Magnificent Move of the Race”: 56D Peter Dance
Midstate Basement Authorities “Out of the Basement” Bonus: 48JR Darryl Ruggles
Heats (8 laps)
#1: 1. 48JR-Darryl Ruggles; 2. 56D-Peter Dance; 3. 29-Dalton Herrick; 4. 14-James Layton; 5. 25H-Tyler Emmons; 6. 28-Ron Greek; 7. 4-Cliff Pierce; 8. 7W-Calvin Wheelock
#2: 1. J27-John Cunningham; 2. 25W-Dana Wagner; 3. 13T-Trevor Years; 4. 33-Scott Landers; 5. 4T-Ray Preston; 6. 112-Mike VanPelt; 7. 19EM-Emily VanInwegen; 8. 48A-Alysha Bay
#3: 1. 23-John Smith; 2. 56V-Billy VanInwegen Jr; 3. 1Q-Thomas Radivoy; 4. 22M-Aaron Shelton; 5. 66-Jordan Hutton; 6. 9K-Kyle Pierce; 7. 22-Tomy Moreau
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