Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – MIDDLETOWN, NY – Three times in the last four weeks, the Orange County Fair Speedway has had the United Rentals DIRTcar Big Block and the H.O. Penn 358 Small Block Modifieds on the same race day schedule.
And all three of those events have something in common. And it’s that Anthony Perrego has swept all three times.
In Saturday’s feature, it was Perrego taking the win in a non-stop feature over Matt Sheppard and Billy VanInwegen.
Charles Loiodice and VanInwegen led the field to green as Billy V. grabbed the early lead. Fifth starting Perrego was up to 3rd after one lap> He passed Loiodice on lap 7 to take 2nd. Anthony quickly moved in on VanInwegen, taking the lead on lap 10.
Once in front, Perrego proceeded to stretch out his lead. So much of the focus was on the racing further back in the back, Sheppard, who didn’t make the redraw in his heat, was the driver on the move from his 13th starting spot. After moving into the top 10, Sheppard gradually picked up positions, mostly running the high groove. As he got closer to the front, the passes became more difficult as he really had to battle Danny Creeden, Tyler Boniface and Loiodice to gain positions.
Coming to the white flag, Sheppard completed the pass to take 2nd from VanInwegen. It was a great run through the pack by Super Matt. At the finish, Perrego had built up a 9 second lead to take the win. Following Sheppard and VanInwegen was Loiodice in 4th and Max McLaughlin in 5th. Boniface finished 6th with Creeden 7th, Mike Gular 8th, Jimmy Horton 9th and Tommy Meier 10th.
Perrego had a much tougher go of it in the Small Block race as it took a late pass by Anthony of Allison Ricci to secure the sweep.
Ricci jumped out to the lead with Tommy Meier trailing as the feature took the green. Perrego, starting 14th, was gradually picking up positions, moving up to 7th before the only caution of the race happened on lap 12. This restart saw Creeden moving up to 2nd as Perrego was passing cars about every other lap.
After passing Gary Edwards III for 3rd on lap 16 and moving by Creeden on lap 19. Perrego started to slice into Ricci’s lead and with 2 to go, he was right there, in good position. With lapped traffic a factor, Perrego was able to complete the pass just as the white flag waved. At the finish, it was Perrego, just a fraction of a second over Ricci with Creeden 3rd. Horton finished 4th with Edwards III 5th, Bobby Flood finished 6th, Meier 7th, VanInwegen 8th, Gular 9th and Craig Mitchell 10th.
With his sweep, Perrego picked up his 3rd $1,000 sweep bonus from Wicked Truck Worx of Montgomery, NY.
Driving his own #38 Special, Jared LaBagh took the lead on lap 9 and went on to win Saturday’s Arkel Motors Sportsman division feature.
Eddie Owens got the jump on pole sitter Frank Frasco to take the early lead. Jake Bedell moved up to 2nd as Owens was cruising out front for the first 9 laps until caution came out. The restart saw LaBagh vault from 3rd into the lead with Bedell maintaining 2nd over Owens. One more caution slowed the field just past halfway.
It was LaBagh leading on the restart over Bedell with point contender Mike Sabia 3rd. Over the 2nd half of the race, it was Cody Higbie, just as he had the previous week, making a late race charge. He moved from 9th to 3rd on lap 18 and was threatening to take 2nd at the checkers. At the finish, it was LaBagh with a 2 second margin of victory over Bedell with Higbie finishing 3rd. Sabia was 4th and Dylan Smith 5th. Rounding out the top 10 were Owens in 6th, Jeff Higham 7th, Tighe Sherlock 8th, John Farissier 9th and Ryan Neiger 10th.
A late race caution worked in Bob Sleight’s favor as the championship winning driver was able to come away with the win in the NAPA North East Parts Group Street Stock division on Saturday.
A good field of Street Stocks took the green with ray Tarantino taking the early lead. Jack Beaumont, who makes a long trip to race at OCFS, closed in and took the lead on lap 6. Beaumont looked like he was on his way to his first OCFS win, but late in the race, the veteran driver, Sleight, had moved into 2nd and Dillon Gannon 3rd.
With one to go, the caution was out which set the stage for a one lap shootout. And Sleight was up to the task, taking the lead with Gannon following. At the finish, it was Sleight the winner over Gannon with Beaumont 3rd. Defending Street Stock champion. Mike Vigiletti, finished 4th with Tarantino 5th. Charlie Donald was 6th, Jim Hajkowski 7th and Billy Deak Jr 8th.
After seeing his car heavily damaged at Accord Speedway on Friday night, it was surprising to see Walt Henry in competition on Saturday. Then again, it’s not surprising as Henry showed again the dedication that the grass roots type of racers are famous for. He got his car in good enough shape to compete on Saturday and he finished 9th. Well done Walt!! Ryan Modiano finished 10th.
There will be no racing at OCFS next Saturday, July 23rd. The Monster Trucks will be having 3 shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday next weekend. Racing returns to the speedway on July 28th as the Super DIRTcar Series comes to town for The Battle of the Midway.