Story By: NEW EGYPT SPEEDWAY – NEW EGYPT, NJ – Coming off an impressive 2021 sportsman championship behind the wheel of the Marty Resnick owned #13R, Justin Grosso entered the modified ranks looking to finish his rookie season with at least one feature win.
Saturday night, the young Belle Mead resident did just that as he wheeled the Grosso Homes #J24 to an impressive win in the thirty lap Vahlco Wheels modified main event.
Before one lap could be recorded, the yellow flag was flying for an eight car mishap in turn four. Out of the eight involved only two were eliminated from further competition, current point leader Brandon Grosso and Bryan Kuhl, who was coming off two consecutive second place finishes.
On the complete restart rookie Paul Mancini shot into the field followed by D J Hunt and Anthony Tramontana. Working his way into third on lap three was former track champion Frank Cozze as the top three remained steadfast up until lap eleven when Wade Hendrickson came to a stop in turn four with mechanical problems on the Michael Brothers #51M.
Mancini was poised and prepared for the restart as was Cozze who darted into second, as Grosso shot into third. It was now a battle between the young hard chargers and the polished veteran as Cozze wasted no time moving the #401 into the lead on lap fourteen. The trio ran nose to tail over the next three laps and on lap seventeen Grosso used the low groove to become the third different leader of the event.
Beginning to separate himself from the field, it appeared as though he was going to join his brother as a 2022 feature winner, but on lap twenty four, the caution lights flashed on as leader Grosso made slight contact with the soon to be lapped car of John Pakenham as he appeared to slow going into turn three.
Fortunately, Grosso’s machine did not receive any substantial damage as he held off Cozze on the restart to take the memorable win. Danny Bouc had another stout run taking third with Lauden Reimert coming back from the early race incident for fourth. Early leader Mancini crossed the line in fifth with Mike Butler, Hunt, Jack Butler, Tramontana, and John McClelland rounding out the top ten.
Round five of the High Gear Towing Crate Select Series was just as exciting as the first four, and taking the win was second generation driver Ryan Simmons. Entering the event, Simmons was a mere forty two points behind leader Joe Toth as the Series heads down the homestretch with several drivers looking for the $2,000 posted first place prize money.
No doubt, it was one of the wildest events run to date with action throughout the twenty lap main event. By the luck of the draw, Nick Van Wickle lead the twenty four car field with Simmons and Matt Miller second and third. Knowing how valuable every spot is and looking for the extra money up for grabs with a win, Simmons was scored the leader on lap nine, and with the lap recorded, the red lights were needed for a backstretch accident which saw Dan Fleming flip his #17. Fortunately, neither he nor Mike Toth, who was also involved, were injured.
Simmons was more than ready for the restart as the race for second was now becoming a heated one. Van Wickle was having his hands full holding off both Toth and Steve Davis, finally giving way to Toth on lap thirteen. Running strong as he usually does, Davis passed Toth on lap sixteen and was tracking down Simmons when back to back caution flags on lap seventeen and eighteen benefitted his cause.
Realizing perfection would need to reign supreme if he were to notch the win, Simmons was spot on taking the well deserved win. Toth took home third place money with Johnny Bangs fourth and David Burns fifth. Unfortunately, Davis failed the post race inspection, which moved Van Wickle up into the top five.
Overcoming several unavoidable issues this season, Shea Wills turned his year around in a big way winning the twenty lap Larry’s Hot Rods and Harleys NEWS feature. Blasting past both leader Mick D’Agostino and second place runner Rich Mellor on lap six, Shea accomplished his mission taking the big win. Following D’Agostino and Mellor across the line were Larry Drake and Al Cheney.
In the fifteen lap Freedom Firearms feature it was Gary Klimeczak taking the win. It was his first victory since May 2015. Brian Ludwig was second, Spider Ensinger third, Joe Wolfe fourth, and Whitey Miller fifth.