AUDIO/RECAP: Champions Crowned On Championship Night At Yates County Speedway

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DUNDEE, NY — Story, Audio and Photos By Race Chaser Online New York Correspondent Steven Ovens — Championship night.  One last round in the season-long title fight.  That is what was on tap Friday night at the Yates County Speedway and the championships that were yet to be settled didn’t disappoint.

The championship that provided the most in-race drama throughout the night was the Greg’s Auto Body Street Stocks.  Coming into the night, Jeremy Potrzebowski took an 18 point lead to the heat races.  18 points would seem comfortable to most but with a special championship points format that saw a 5 point gap between 1st and 4th place in the feature, no lead would provide a lot of comfort.

In the heat races, Chuck Winslow did exactly what he needed to do by winning and gaining max points.  Potrzebowski was also in the same heat and would drop out of the race on lap 6 of 8 with an unknown mechanical problem.  This cut the lead to 11 points heading into the Feature event.

Winslow would start 4th and Potrzebowski would start deep in the field based on not qualifying through the heat race giving Winslow the points lead as they took the green flag.  Bob Buono and Kreg Crooker would battle early for the lead, but as they clicked off Lap 1 a huge wreck in Turn 2 would collect half the field.  Gene Balmer would spin in the middle of the pack and collect at least 8 other cars in the skirmish.

Top competitors like Jared Hill, Jake Karlnoski, Rich Sharpsteen, Balmer and James Kreidler would all get a piece of the accident.  One car that somehow squeaked through the mess was Potrzebowski, who gained at least a handful of positions in the altercation.  That would cut the deficit at that point to 10 points but the driver of the T1 would need to get up on the wheel if he was going to successfully defend his 2013 Street Stock championship.

The lead wasn’t the place to be though, as both Kreg Crooker and Bob Buono would both fall from the lead before the halfway point in the event.  Crooker would see his 32 car come around all on his own in Turn 4 on Lap 6.  Buono and Dave Matwiejow would battle from laps 7 though 10 for the lead.  But on Lap 10 coming out of turn 4, Buono’s car would take a hard right turn head-on into the Turn 4 wall in a crash that silenced the Yates County Speedway crowd.  Buono would thankfully be ok, his 64 machine was not however and they will have a lot of work to do before the Empire 100 weekend in October.

At this point, Potrzebowski would move into the 7th position and found himself only 1 point out of the lead while Winslow was running 2nd.  The Buono accident turned the lead over to Matwiejow who has been running better and better as the season at YCS has wore on into the summer.

Matwiejow told us about their recent success in an interview before the races began.

 

Matwiejow would lead the race the rest of the way to take his first $500 win of the season.  Winslow would come home 2nd and Potrzebowski would put on a masterful drive to 3rd and settled into that spot knowing he would become the 2014 track champion.  Nate Daggett had to settle for 4th while Josh Parker would round out the Top 5.

Matwiejow told us about his drive to the front and how much it meant to get a win

Dave Matwiejow Street Stock Winner Aug 29

 

Jeremy Potrzebowski explained how he got through the lap 1 crash and celebrated the 2014 track championship

Jeremy Potrzebowski Street Stock Champ Aug 29

 

The closest championship battle coming into championship night was that of the GM Crate Sportsman division.  Casey Pavlick led Brady Fultz by only 4 points at the start of the night, and after a 2nd for Pavlick and 3rd for Fultz- the lead would increase to 6 points before the Feature event.

Pavlick and Fultz told us their gameplan for the night before the heat races

 

The feature event would find Pavlick starting one row directly ahead of Fultz for the feature.  Pavlick would make quick work of moving himself up through the field while Fultz seemed to struggle throughout the event for several reasons.  Hard racing and being in the wrong place at the wrong time held Fultz back in the 6th to 8th positions for most of the race.  Fultz even had to narrowly avoid the spinning car of Loren Lincoln on Lap 8 and only Fultz will be able to speak to how he missed that wreck as it appeared he was surely going to make contact.

A great battle ensued between Eric Bell and Josh Keesey just before a lap 10 yellow flag.  Keesey overtook the lead just prior to the yellow coming out and Bell would then free fall through the field.  However this was one of Bell’s best performances of the year and should make him a strong contender for most improved driver as his 6 car has made steady gains all season.

Once the green came back out, Keesey took off and hid from the rest of the field.  Pavlick would move himself up to the 2nd position but the man on the move was Ross Vleck.  Vleck made quick work of Pavlick on the high side and set his sights on the Keesey 4 car.  The Rochester, NY native Vleck in his 83 car was using the high line to perfection- riding the cushion like fans used to see Steve Paine do back in the early 2000’s.

Vleck talked to us pre-race about his hopes for a great run on championship night

However, Vleck would fall short of catching Keesey as Josh Keesey scored yet another victory in 2014 on Championship Night.  Vleck would settle for 2nd, Dale Welty snuck by Pavlick for 3rd, Pavlick came home 4th and Brady Fultz would round out the Top 5.

Josh Keesey Victory Lane interview:

Josh Keesey Sportsman Winner Aug 29

 

Pavlick would be crowned the 2014 GM Crate Sportsman Track Champion on the front stretch and talked to us about how he ran his own race while worrying about the championship.

Casey Pavlick Sportsman Track Champion Aug 29

 

The IMCA Modified feature was pretty well decided before the feature ever rolled onto the speedway.  Rich Karlnoski came in with a 14-point advantage, and with only 12 cars making the call for the feature there was no way for Jared Spalding to catch him.  The IMCA’s run off of an entirely different point structure with the point spread being 1 point between each position all the way through the field.  They also do not receive heat race points.

As the race wore on, Brad Smith dominated in his black and orange #76.  He would show the way for nearly the entire race and would go on to claim another victory.  Karlnoski and Spalding would get caught up in other driver’s messes and not factor into the win, but Karlnoski would be crowned champion on the front stretch.

Brad Smith talks about his IMCA win on championship night

Brad Smith IMCA Mod Winner Aug 29

 

 

Rich Karlnoski was jubilant in victory lane after being crowned Track Champion

Rich Karlnoski IMCA Mod Champ Aug 29

 

 

Scott Bradley had virtually locked up the points championship and only needed to start the feature event to claim his first career track championship.  He would do so but the battle for the feature win was a good one that required a photo finish.

Jayson Smart and Chad Ayers, who have both had their fair share of bad luck the last few weeks started toward the front and capitalized on their great starting positions to maintain the lead for most of the race.  Both drivers had fallen to 3rd and 4th in points the week before as Chris Mashewske claimed another dominant win and surpassed both Smart and Ayers to move into 2nd in points.

In the closing laps of the feature, Ayers began to reel in the Smart red #8.  Coming off Turn 4, Ayers went to the top shelf around Smart and made a move to try and win the race while fans, officials and photographers alike braced for a photo finish.  At the line it was Smart by about a foot over Ayers, the 2014 Track Champion Bradley 3rd, Mashewske 4th and Phil Burnes rounded out the Top 5.

Jayson Smart talked about a win on championship night and speculated about coming September 19th

Jayson Smart 4 Cyl Winner Aug 29

 

 

Scott Bradley, surrounded by family and crew on the track, spoke about his first Yates County Speedway Championship

 

Brian Knowles capped off what was a dominant season in the Late Model division for his Doug Gross Construction #7 Crate Late Model.  Knowles and father Larry made a commitment to running the full season at Yates County and stuck to that plan all throughout 2014.

Their 7 ride was flawless compared to their competition that at times was only a handful of cars or less.  The Late Model division certainly struggled with car count all season and it will be interesting to see what changes are made for 2015.

Brian Knowles talked about his win, championship and upcoming race schedule

 

Darryl Ruggles claimed his first Yates County Speedway track championship on Friday night, but unfortunately he blew a motor in the process.  Ruggles had stormed out in front of the entire field but lost an engine in Turn 1 just past the halfway point of the race.  This would hand the lead over to Jonathan Preston who dominated the remaining laps in the event, Dan Naegele was 2nd, Dan Bennett, Ed Kelly and Tom Fletcher rounded out the Top 5.

Jonathan Preston 305 winner Aug 29

We attempted to speak with Jonathan Preston who declined comment.  Meanwhile in victory lane, a driver was being attended to in Turn 3 who had suffered a mechanical problem on the last lap of the race.  The driver suffered minor injuries, was treated by Yates County Speedway EMT’s and then transported to a local hospital by Dundee Ambulance.

Allison Teed capped off her perfect season in the 4-Cylinder Bandits as she took her 10th win of 2014 on Championship Night.  She won her feature convincingly but had a bit of a rough go of it to get there.  A restart that bunched the field up saw the Teed and Desi Force cars make contact in Turn 1- both cars would resume racing without incident.  Teed went on to win, Force came home second while Brandon Kinner, Chris Davis and Pixie Kinner rounded out the field.

Allison Teed Winner Bandits Aug 29 and Track Champ

Allison Teed in Victory Lane celebrated her championship and looked ahead to competing in the adult division later on in the night

 

Other interviews recorded on Championship Night:

Craig Mahrt

 

Bubba Burnell

 

Dylan Cecce

 

Rich Karlnoski

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