Story By: DAWN MAYNARD / AFTON MOTORSPORTS PARK – AFTON, NY – With clouds and sun in the sky it looked like a great night to crown the 2023 track champions. The pits were full of cars in all divisions. Victory lane found a couple of new faces gracing it, as well as drivers who have won feature during the season
The first division up for their feature was the Pit Stop Auto Crate Sportsman. Bill Davey Jr., and Darell Quackenbush brought the field to the green flag. Bill and Darrell raced hard for the first position. Bill took the advantage over Darell for the lead. Coming from the third starting spot was Gary Smith. He was working the outside and took second away from Quackenbush. Also battling behind the top three were Jared Green and Todd Titus. Both Smith and Titus are in the race for the championship. First caution came out on lap six as Joe Buchanan and Kyle Smith tangled. On the restart Bill Davey Jr., and Gary Smith were now in the front row. The green flag dropped, but was called back as someone jumped the start. The next time by the start was much better as Bill Davey Jr., regained the lead. Gary Smith was once again working the outside, but Dave Rosa who was now in third was looking for the second spot. Gary got a little too high giving Rosa the chance to steal second. Coming from the tenth position was Dale Welty, on the outside taking positions. Welty found the fast way around the track making his way to third. Coming from the sixth starting position was Todd Titus, now in fifth working to the front. Bill was keeping control of the top position at halfway point of the feature. As he knew there were many guys behind him wanting it. Dale Welty and Dave Rosa were swapping back and forth for second and third. As the laps clicked off Davey’s was getting into lap traffic. This could play a very important part in the race. He worked his way through the traffic like a pro. Newcomer Tyler Peet who started in thirteenth was moving through the pack. With five laps left in the event Dale Welty was now in third with Dave Rose in second. Blaine Klinger was another driver who started just outside the top ten now looking into the top five. When the checkered flag dropped Bill Davey Jr., would record his first feature win. Coming in second would be Dave Rosa, third was Dale Welty, fourth went to Tyler Peet and in the fifth spot was Blaine Klinger. The 2023 track champion was Todd Titus. It was an emotional victory lane as Todd could not thank everyone enough for their help to get him the championship.
Right after the sportsman race ended, mother nature decided to throw a monkey wrench into the evening’s program. A short rain shower came and the event was put on hold. It only lasted a little while and when it stopped they worked the track back in quickly. They moved up the Modified feature event and we continued racing. The front row consisted of rookie Tyler Yeagle alongside Brian Puckett. The green fell and Tyler grabbed the lead. Coming into the fourth turn they were three wide. Someone slipped up sending five cars spinning. One of them was Brandon Loucks who going into tonight’s feature was the points leader. It appeared that his night was over as he had some serious damage. He went off the hook. but returned to the rear of the field all fixed. One the restart Darwin Greene and Tyler Yeagle took the green. Greene took the lead, but coming right on his bumper was Seth Zacharias. Seth was hooked up taking control of the feature. Right behind him was Danny Creeden, looking to steal the lead. Alan Barker made his second appearance at the track and was on the move from sixteenth. The outside of the track was his friend, making his move into sixth. Right behind him was another driver in the points battle, Brett Tonkin. Once again lap traffic played a huge part in the race. Seth Zacharias has control of the feature and it appeared he would come home the winner. On lap twenty-one of the thirty lap race Seth hit the yuke tire in turn four. That got him out of shape allowing Danny Creeden to get by. Seth tried to regain that top spot, but was not able to do so. Meanwhile, Alan Barker was making moves to the front. He was looking to overtake Danny Creeden. He and Danny were racing side by side giving the fans some great excitement. With four laps to go Barker was now ready to take the top spot. He worked the sixteen of Creeden until coming into the final lap. As they crossed the checkered flag Alan Barker would grab the feature win. Danny Creeden, Seth Zacharias, Cody Higbie and Jerry Higbie would round out the top five. It was a tough night for Shaun Walker who was also in the points battle. He lost a motor in the hot lap session. Loaded the car and went home to grab another one. He made it back just in time to start scratch in the fourth heat. Unfortunately he touched the front stretch wall during the heat and had to use a provisional starting spot. Coming from twenty-eighth spot he would finish just outside the top ten. The night also ended badly for Brandon Loucks who was disqualified for entering another driver’s pits. The 2023 track champion was Brett Tonkin, as he won it by only one point. Brett thanked his car owners, sponsors, crew and family for getting him this victory.
The next feature was the 600cc Modifieds with Darwin R. Greene Jr., and John Hoover in the front row. On the start Darwin grabbed the lead over Hoover. Coming on the outside as he usually does was the points leader Ryan Jordan. He moved into second, setting his sights on the Greene number one. Ryan would take control of the event from Greene only to have a caution come out. On the restart Greene would lead again, but Jordan was right there to steal it away. On lap eight that is just what Ryan did, he took control of the event. Darwin kept control of the second position as Jacob Waibel who started in eighth was on the move. He worked his way through the car into third place. Hoping to grab one more spot and maybe take the lead from Ryan. Unfortunately Ryan has figured out the track pretty well and is a force to reckon with here. When the checkered flag flew Ryan Jordan again grabbed the feature win. He also recorded the 2023 track championship. This victory lane was also special as Ryan thanked his car owners Stan and Ashely Matthews for giving him a rocket ship to drive. Finishing in the top five were Darwin R. Greene Jr., Jacob Waibel, Ryan David-Kadaronak and Matt Cole.
The Limited Sportsman made their way onto the track. Dylan Nichols had the points lead at the start of the feature. Derrick Shaffer and Buck Brown were in the front row. Derrick Shaffer grabbed the lead with Devon Green in a close second. Lap three found last week’s feature winner Jason Shedd spinning off turn two. On the restart Shaffer regained control with Green and Nichols on his bumper. The action for the top five was heating up as Tom Davey and Johnny Williams were battling. Several cautions came out during the event. Derrick Shaffer maintained the lead everytime. As the lap ticked away Devon and Dylan raced each other hard to their positions. On the white flag lap Jason Shedd spun again bringing out the caution. It would be a green-checkered finish. The restart saw Derrick hold on to the lead and capture his first feature win. Coming in second was Devon Green, third was Dylan Nichols, fourth was Johnny William and in fifth was Tom Davey. The 2023 track champion was Dylan Nichols with his family and crew celebrating with him. The group photo had so many excited fans in it you could not see the car.
The popular Factory Stock division was up next. Tommy Groover and Luke Mills took the green. Tommy Groover took the lead with Justin Slezak right behind him. On the next lap Rich Green worked past the Slezak machine into second. Rich was the current point leader. Rich was looking for a way to get around the Groover machine. As Rich was on the outside looking to take it away he had to make a move to the inside. Something happened to the Groover number two sending him high. He brought out the caution and he couldn’t continue. On the restart Rich maintained the lead, but was now being challenged by Rich Sharpsteen. On lap eleven the night would get bad for three teams. Justin Slezak, Cayden McPherson and Logan Eaton spun. All three cars were damaged, but Justin Slezak was able to continue after making a pit stop. The restart would find Rich again in the lead, but the action behind him was heating up. Mike Morse who started fifteenth was now in third looking to overtake second from Rich Sharpsteen. Buck Mills Jr., and Mahlon Shoemaker were battling each other for fourth and fifth. With two laps left in the twenty lap feature Rich was doing everything in his power to catch the Green machine. He would not be able to catch him as he recorded the feature win, Rich was also the 2023 track champion, as he acquired the ride from car owner Stan Matthews. Stan had to have surgery just after he bought the car and asked Rich to drive it. He thanked the Matthew’s family for allowing him to drive the awesome car. He also thanked the sponsors and his family for supporting him during the season.
The final event of the evening was the Front Wheel Drive division. Going into the evening’s fifteen lap feature Collin Mills had control of the points. Randy Lane, who was tied with team member John Maynard for third in points, would start in the pole position. Rich Wagner would start outside of the Lane sixty-six. When the green dropped Rich Wagner would have the lead. Going into turn one Andy Bolles would challenge the Wagner number eight. He would make the pass for the lead. Andy would lead the entire feature event. He was challenged by Collin Mills who was driving his dad number zero eight. As the laps clicked off Andy opened up a lead over the Mills car. When the checkers flew Andy Bolles would capture the win. Collin Mills would finish in second, Rich Wagner was third, Randy Lane was fourth and Robert Burch would be fifth. Making his debut in the class was Nash Ford. He was driving the 69N owned by JAM Motorsports. He did well for his first time out, and will be back behind the wheel next Saturday. The 2023 track champion was Collin Mills. He thanked his dad and all family for their support during this season.
New champions crowned, backpack giveaways, bicycle races for the youngsters and bicycle giveaways were also of the night. A big thank you to everyone who donated the back packs. All the kids enjoyed their evening of racing. Coming up next Saturday, the promotional staff along with the Afton Fair Board has scheduled one more regular race for the season. Modifieds, Sportsman, Factory Stocks and Four Cylinder division will be on the racing card. It will be a draw-redraw race. This means every driver will draw for starting position in their heat Once the heats are complete a certain number of drivers will redraw for the feature starting positions. The rest of the field will line up according to their heat finishes. It will be a great night of racing and we hope that all the fans will be in attendance.
Saturday, September 2nd, 2023 Quick Results – Championship Night / End of Summer Showdown!
ZMK Construction Modified Feature – ALAN BARKER, Danny Creeden, Zeth Zacharias, Cody Higbie, Jerry Higbie, Darwin R. Greene, Corey Cormier, Brett Tonkin, Brian Puckett, Dennis Clapperton, Shaun Walker, Bobby Puckett, Derek Cornish, Justin Holland, JR Hurlburt, Doug Polhaumus, Ken Titus, Alex Tonkin, Nick Mady, Brandon Walters, Geoff Quackenbush, Rusty Smith, Billy Fiske, Tyler Yeagle, Jim Introne Jr, Nick Nye, Brian Mady, Brandon Loucks (DQ – Entering Another Drivers Pit)
DNQ – Tyler Ward, Leonard Miller
Heat Race Winners – Danny Creeden, Seth Zacharias, Brandon Loucks, Brain Puckett
Consolation Winner – JR Hurlburt
2023 Modified Champion – 9BT BRETT TONKIN
Pit Stop Auto Crate Sportsman Feature – BILL DAVEY JR, Dave Rosa, Dale Welty, Tyler Peet, Blaine Klinger(-1 Rough Riding), Gary Smith, Todd Titus, Matt Brewer, Scot Torbitt, Blake Sarpriacone, Aidan Elliott, Jared Green, Steve Anderson, Darell Quackenbush, Craig Pope, Dustin Harris, Eric Winsor, Will Eastman, Trey Palmer, Kamdin Maby, Joe Buchanan, Brad Shaffer, Nate DeGraw, Kyle Smith
Heat Race Winners – Gary Smith, Dave Rosa, Craig Pope
2023 Crate Sportsman Champion – 9T TODD TITUS
Big E’s Shed Sleddin’ & Sales Limited Sportsman Feature – DERRICK SHAFFER, Devon Green, Dylan Nichols, Johnny Williams, Tom Davey, Dave Stanton, Buck Brown, Jerry Roys, Paul Conklin, Derek Roe, Jason Shedd, Dan Eichler, Lenny Helmich, Josh Hurlburt, Stephen Winsor, Ava Coons, Brad Hurlburt (DNS)
Heat Race Winners – Derrick Shaffer, Devon Green
2023 Limited Sportsman Champion – 01 DYLAN NICHOLS
Rinker Insurance Agency 600cc Modified Feature – RYAN JORDAN, Darwin R. Greene Jr, Jake Waibel, Ryan David-Kadaronak, Matt Cole, Aiden Miller, Ali Scutt, Dillon Beadle, Chace Scutt, Gaege Higley, John Hoover, Max Oliver, Sam Usborne, Tracy Oliver, Brenton Payne
Heat Race Winners – Darwin R. Greene Jr, Brenton Payne
2023 600cc Modified Champion – 1 RYAN JORDAN
Carquest of Unadilla FWD 4 Cylinder Feature – ANDY BOLLES, Collin Mills, Rich Wagner, Randy Lane, Kyle Simmons, Kamrin Krause, Kayla Gould, Robert Burch, John Maynard, John Mason, Nash Ford
Heat Race Winners – Collin Mills, Andy Bolles
2023 FWD 4 Cylinder Champion – 23 COLLIN MILLS
Lil’ Dave Excavating & Stanton Cattle Co Factory Stock Feature – RICH GREEN, Rich Sharpsteen, Mike Morse, Buck Mills Jr, Mahlon Shoemaker, Luke Mills, Kyle Spoor, Ralph Cuozzo, Alicia Towner, Justin Slezak, Billy Shoemaker, Max Moshier, Cayden McPherson, Logan Eaton, Tommy Groover, Bud Lobdell, Jerry Fasett (DNS)
Heat Race Winners – Tommy Groover, Rich Green
2023 Factory Stock Champion – 22M RICH GREEN