DUNDEE, NY — Story & Audio By Race Chaser Online New York Correspondent Steven Ovens — Photo By Curtis Berleue Photos — “Guys are going to be making moves they wouldn’t normally make. There will be a whole lot of take and very little give.”
That was the sentiment of one driver in the pit area at Yates County Speedway Friday night. With only 2 races left in the regular season at the speedway, you could feel the tension in the pit area as several track championships will come down to the last night of racing before they are decided.
Several of the divisions yet to be decided took several twists and turns as the night transpired. One of the divisions where the championship remains in the balance happens to be the closest points battle at the speedway- the GM Crate Sportsman Modified division. Coming into the night, Casey Pavlick held a 1 point lead over Brady Fultz and his Troyer Race Cars #70. The two would battle and trade paint in the closing laps of the 20-lap feature, well-knowing whoever would come out on top would most likely assume the points lead.
Dale Welty took advantage of a great starting spot in the feature to jump out to the early lead on a heavy, tacky and fast track. Rains at 4:30pm on Friday set the track preparations back and delayed the start of the racing activities until almost 8:00pm. But once Welty got out in front in clean air, the pink and black 123 wasn’t going to be denied. Pavlick would make his way to 2nd place and tried to challenge Welty for the lead but the 18p for the point leader was no match for Welty’s strong ride.
Fultz was mired in the back half of the Top-10 for most of the event, only making his way to 6th place by the time the yellow flag fell on Lap 17. But on the restart Fran Hilton’s #3 jumped a turtle in Turn 4 and skated up the 4/10-mile clay oval. Fultz would get by both Hilton and Ross Vleck in the exchange and set his sights on the leaders. Brady would make quick work of the Chris Fisher Bully Hill Vineyards #37 machine, who was running a great line down low, and then charge after Pavlick.
Pavlick and Fultz waged war for the last handful of laps and laid it all out on the track for the fans in Dundee to see and enjoy. Fultz was incredibly strong on the outside of Turns 3 and 4 and was able to get several runs on Pavlick to the outside of 4. Each time though, Pavlick would slide up just enough to kill Fultz’ run. On the last lap, Fultz got a great run to the outside but Pavlick slammed the door shut again coming off Turn 4.
Welty would cruise to his first GM Crate Sportsman victory over Pavlick, Fultz, Fisher and Vleck rounding out the Top 5. After the checkered flag, Fultz laid the chrome horn to Pavlick on the slow down lap to voice his displeasure for the blocking in Turn 4. The drivers had to be spoken to on the One-Way Raceceiver prior to them entering the pit area. Next week is going to be a battle between these two Sportsman gladiators with the victor taking the 2014 track championship.
Welty celebrated with his crew in victory lane with a ‘Checkered Flag Selfie’
Another division that has really had some close battles all season long has been the Greg’s Auto Body Street Stock division. Going into the night, Jeremy Potrzebowski maintained a 9 point advantage over Chuck Winslow who had led the points race for much of the season. These two would battle early in the night in their heat race, with slight contact between the Potrzebowski T1 and the Winslow 61 cars. Winslow would cut a tire and spin out, while Potrzebowski continued on. On the yellow flag lap, Winslow drove up next to the T1 and exchanged pleasantries before returning to the pits.
That set up the 20-lap feature event that saw a lot of beating and banging and folded up sheet metal aplenty! Yellows slowed the field on laps 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9 in an event that just had a hard time getting going. Bad luck caught the Daggett Racing team on this night as both Nate in the 3D and Roger Kerrick in the 3K would find themselves turned into the infield within the first 5 laps. Rich Sharpsteen would also suffer mechanical woes in his ‘Flyin’ X’ car that would end his night.
One car that did not have any kind of woes was the James Kreidler #79k. Kreidler, who earlier in the season told Turn 5 Live he was out here racing for his grandparents who are no longer with us, led the field to the green and would lead wire to wire to win his 2nd $500-to-win feature of the season. It wouldn’t be easy though, as point leader Potrzebowski would throw everything he had at Kreidler to challenge for the lead.
Kreidler and Potrzebowski battled each other hard and battled each other clean. Potrzebowski was lifting the left front tire just as he did 2 weeks ago when he scored the win in the division. In the end, Kreidler would score the victory, Potrzebowski came home 2nd, Gene Balmer came home 3rd, Winslow recovered from a poor starting position for 4th with Kreg Crooker rounding out the Top 5.
The IMCA Modified division is a hotly contested class as far as points go as well. Rich Karlnoski led Jared Spalding by a mere 8 points coming into the night but would leave leading by a lot more. Karlnoski and Spalding would start mid-pack of the 18 car field and both make quick work in their attempt to drive to the front. Karlnoski would drive to the front and take the lead in Turn 2 on Lap 8 and look to extend his points lead.
The turning point in the race came with a yellow flag brought out by Keith Lamphere. He spun to a stop in Turn 4, pulled far enough into the infield to not bring out a caution. Lamphere then backed his 98k up closer to the racetrack. Race officials rightfully chose to not throw the caution flag so Lamphere pulled back onto the track and continued on. He then pulled to a stop on the Topside of Turn 4 and forced race officials to throw a yellow flag. Due to the altercation between Lamphere and race officials, Lamphere was black flagged for the remainder of the event.
Under that yellow flag, Karlnoski was sent to the pit area due to a lead weight that had jarred itself loose and was hanging off the rear of his 55x. That gave the lead to Eddie Sites who had won two-in-a-row in the division. But problems for Sites would send him to the pit area before the green flag came out. Sites had a left front tie rod end come apart on his #15 and put him out of the race. This turned out to be a break for Karlnoski who was still in the pits getting the lead weight fastened back to his car. The extra lap for Sites exiting the speedway allowed the 55x crew to finish the repairs and get Karlnoski back out without losing a lap.
All of this looked to be setting up perfectly for Jared Spalding, but on Lap 17 Spalding came to a stop in Turn 2. Spalding would go pit side with what appeared to be a broken piece on the front end of his orange #26. He would virtually see his championship hopes dissipate as he made the hard right hand turn on the backstretch to go in the pits. Karlnoski would rebound to finish 4th and will maintain the points lead going into Championship Night next Friday at YCS.
Through all of the drama, twists and turns- Brad Smith and Brad Sites would battle it out for the win and Sites would get the victory. Brad Smith had to settle for 2nd, Chris Fleming came home 3rd, Karlnoski 4th and Nicole Spalding put in another solid Top 5 performance.
In the 4-Cylinder Stocks, Chris Mashewske in the A+ Superior Services 17M took the entire field to the woodshed. He made a daring pass to take the lead from Craig Mahrt in the opening circuits and would cruise away to score another victory in the division. At this point, it appears that Scott Bradley has the track championship wrapped up but Mashewske with this late season charge has leap-frogged all the way into 2nd in points.
Craig Mahrt, who also took the win in his heat, made it an All-Penn Yan Top 2 as he would come home with a fine 2nd place effort, Bradley came home 3rd, Del Cummings 4th with Erica Bell rounding out the Top 5.
In the 4-Cylinder Bandit division, Allison Teed won her 9th race in a row in the division to remain perfect on the 2014 season. She told us pre-race that her plan is to run the Bandit division next week, wrap up the track championship and on the same night move up to the adult division to compete in the 4-Cylinders. Teed has plans to race a street stock next season in the Greg’s Auto Body Street Stocks.
The 305 Sprint division was exciting to watch Friday night as the heavy, tacky track made for two distinct racing grooves for the sprinters. Darryl Ruggles took the lead on Lap 15 of 20 and never looked back as he extended his points lead in the division. Ruggles was thankful to YCS Promoter Dan Harpell for sticking with the division although there is a fair amount of uncertainty about the division going into 2015. Friday night saw 4 cars in attendance for the 305’s. Jonathan Preston, Alysha Ruggles and Dan Naegele rounded out the field.
The Late Model division, with a mix of 360 Late Models and Crate Late Models, is also another division that has seen it’s sturggles in 2014 as far as attendance goes. It’s a shame too, because Brian Knowles and Doug Gavette put on a great show for the lead with Knowles taking the win. Knowles would win over Gavette and Sparky Hills rounded out the field.
Jared Spalding gave us his mindset heading into the night’s action
Jeremy Potrzebowski told us what to expect in the Street Stocks
Allison Teed told us about her plans for Friday August 29th
Casey Pavlick took a 1 point lead into the night’s activities and told us about what he saw in the track so far