DIRT MODS: Short Track Super Series prepares for ‘Lightning on the Mountain’

RaceChaser Staff Asphalt Modifieds, Northeast, Sprints & Midgets 0 Comments

CENTER LISLE, NY — official release — Bob Hilbert Sportswear photo — This special event is just that: special.

Fun for fans, lucrative for racers and a quick-hitting two-division show on a work night, the Olum’s ‘Lightning on the Mountain’ presented by Rochinski Contracting Services & Husqvarna is set for Thunder Mountain Speedway on Tuesday, May 20 (rain date: May 21). The unprecedented event, a BD Motorsports Media LLC promotion, is one of the most attractive of the 2014 season for big-block/small-block Modified racers: some $30,813 is on the line for 50 laps of racing – the richest night ever at Thunder Mountain!

The ‘Lightning on the Mountain’ serves as the second leg of the six-race National Dirt Racing League (NDRL) Short Track Super Series Fueled By VP en route to the inaugural $10,014 championship. The 50-lap main event offers $5,100 to win, $1,500 for fifth, $1,000 for 10th and $500 just to take the green flag plus a long list of special awards and bonuses. The cash awards and contingencies will be distributed to a wide cross-section of racers: from the event winner to those unable to qualify for the main.

A complete list of lap sponsors for the ‘Lighting on the Mountain’ event, more than $1,500 has been collected (distributed to the top-seven running order), can be found here: http://bdmotorsportsmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ThunderMountainLapSponsors.pdf.

A breakdown of special awards and bonuses is posted on the web here:http://bdmotorsportsmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/LightningontheMountainSpecialAwardsandBonusesListMay14.pdf.

Open vs. Crate 602 Sportsman, running 25 laps for $1,000 to win and $100 to start, join the Modifieds on the program. Sportsman will compete for incentives including a $55.55 Turn 5 Podcast Hard Charger Award, a pair of Best Appearing Car Awards worth $100, thanks to Trackside Products, and two $50 gift certificates to Shiley Fabrication in Williamstown, Pa.

Gates open at 4 p.m. The drivers’ meeting is set for 6:15 p.m. Hot laps are called at 6:40 p.m. with racing at 7:15 p.m.

Admission is $20 for Adults, $18 for Seniors (ages 65 and over), $15 for Students (10-17) and kids 9 and under are FREE. Pit admission is $35 with no license required.

In the event of rain on Tuesday, the program will be run in its entirety on Wednesday (May 21).

Fan fun is a big part of the ‘Lightning on the Mountain’ special! Little Big Shots Fireworks has been contracted to provide pyrotechnics during the night. 98.1 “The Hawk” will broadcast live from the speedway for two hours prior to the start of racing. A bounce house will be on-site for the youngsters in attendance. Dave’s Racing Collectibles will be on hand with novelties and collectibles on sale (a $50 certificate to Dave’s will be given away during the night, as well).

Giveaway items will be distributed throughout the night thanks to Husqvarna, Olum’s, Bob Hilbert Sportswear and more. Additionally, the first 50 paid fans through the gate will receive a free Thunder Mountain Speedway custom sport water bottle.

There will be live renditions of the Canadian and USA national anthems.

Mike Mahaney of King Ferry, N.Y., will display his Olum’s-sponsored No. 21 Charlie Davis-owned Modified in the midway area leading up to the start of racing. The defending I-88 (N.Y.) Speedway champion will be available to meet fans and sign autographs.

A souvenir program book, 28 pages including eight pages of color, and eye-catching apparel and decals have been produced for this event and will be sold in the grandstand and pit areas.

One of the season’s most diverse Modified fields will climb Thunder Mountain on Tuesday, led by ‘Hard Clay Open’ Orange County (N.Y.) Fair Speedway victor Andy Bachetti of Sheffield, Mass., in his debut at the three-eighths-mile oval. Bachetti is currently the Accord (N.Y.) Speedway point leader.

The top-five finishers from Orange County in April – Bachetti, runner-up and defending OCFS champion Tim Hindley (Fair Oaks, N.Y.), short-track ace Danny Tyler (Cottekill, N.Y.), Danny Johnson (Rochester, N.Y.) and Jeff Heotzler (Wallkill, N.Y.) have all set plans to attend Thunder Mountain.

Six states (NY, NJ, PA, MA, VT and DE) and the Canadian province of Ontario will be represented in the ‘Lightning on the Mountain’ Modified field, from as far south as the First State of Delaware with two-time Delaware International Speedway champion Matt Jester of Milford, Del., to the extreme north of Brockville, Ont., and rising young Modified talent Matt Billings.

The Pennsylvania small-block circuit will be represented by Duane Howard of Oley, Pa., driving the Mike Petruska No. 66 and Doug Manmiller of Shoemakersville, Pa., piloting the Breitenstein Motorsports No. 14 in their Thunder Mountain debuts.

Two PA-based cars will be on hand with New York State drivers in the seat. Tom Umbenhauer of Richland, Pa., will field his No. 19 for Capital District star Bobby Varin of Sharon Springs, N.Y. Norm Hansell’s potent No. 357, meanwhile, will be steered by Waterloo, N.Y., superstar Matt Sheppard.

Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway two-time champion Ryan Watt, a past BD Motorsports Media LLC winner at Penn Can (Pa.) Speedway, is set for his first Thunder appearance in Ron Roberts’ No. 14W.

Dale Planck of nearby Homer, N.Y., and car owner Mike Payne return to Thunder Mountain, a track that has plenty of history for them. Payne grew up at the facility watching his grandfather, Bruce Detro, and Planck raced there early on in his career.

Stewart Friesen of Sprakers, N.Y., who has victories at all the Southern Tier facilities he has visited, will lay eyes on Thunder Mountain for the first time. Friesen is set to strap into Tadd Parks’ No. 1 small-block.

DIRTcar star Alan Johnson of Middlesex, N.Y., has secured a ride in the Jeff Brownell-owned No. 29 for Tuesday’s event. His younger brother Danny, a top-five finisher in the Thunder Mountain opener, is set to drive the Chris Gennarelli-owned No. 86 for the special.

Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park recent Jan Corcoran Memorial winner Gary Tomkins of Clifton Springs, N.Y., will drive the Oleski Racing No. 30+ Bicknell at the Mountain.

From the southeastern New York circuit, talented driver and car builder Jerry Higbie Jr. of Newburgh, N.Y., will turn his first laps at Thunder Mountain. Likewise, Accord (N.Y.)/Orange County mainstay Tommy Meier is set to invade with Jeff Behrent’s No. 3 as is Billy Van Inwegen of Sparrowbush, N.Y., driving the Sherlock Motorsports No. TEN, teenager Tyler Dippel of Wallkill, N.Y., and last year’s OCFS small-block champ Danny Creeden of Middletown, N.Y.

Recent Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway DIRTcar Modified winner Craig Hanson of Johnstown, N.Y., a BD Motorsports Media Short Track SuperNationals victor last October, has set his intentions to compete, in addition to fellow Capital Region driver Elmo Reckner of Ballston Lake, N.Y., a top-five finisher at both Albany-Saratoga (N.Y.) and Glen Ridge (N.Y.) in recent weeks.

Former six-time Thunder Mountain Modified champion Brian ‘the Dream’ Weaver returns to Center Lisle for the special event at the controls of Ron Dieffenbach’s No. 1A Bicknell. Weaver, of Windsor, N.Y., has been competing regularly at I-88 Speedway this season.

Track regulars will look to defend the Thunder Mountain home turf, including Opening Night winner Brent Wilcox of Whitney Point, N.Y., Brett Tonkin of Carbondale, Pa., Brian Malcolm of Lake Ariel, Pa., Nick Rochinski of Dickson City, Pa., Mahaney, Anthony Perrego of Montgomery, N.Y., who will drive the Gary Mann-owned No. 55, Chad Cook of Deposit, N.Y., Paul Jensen of Edmeston, N.Y., and more.

For qualifying, drivers will draw for their starting positions upon entry to the speedway. Heat-race finishes utilizing staggered passing points will be calculated to set the redraw participants and qualified cars from 10-lap heat races.  Consolations, 10 laps each, will set the remainder of the starting field via their order of finish. The heat-race finish/passing point combination will set the starting lineups for the consolations.

The passing points system, new to Modified racing but widely used in other forms of racing including Sprint Cars and the famed ‘Chili Bowl’ in Tulsa, Okla., aims to satisfy the desires of both racers and fans by easing the consequences of a poor draw for competitors and providing heat-race excitement for fans. The system made its debut at Orange County.

Following the consolation events, MjH Oilfield Consulting has sponsored a Wade Decker Memorial Last Chance Qualifier. The drivers missing a qualifying spot by one position in the consolations move on to the 5-lap Wade Decker Memorial LCQ. The winner of the dash earns a $500 feature transfer spot. The other participants will receive $100 cash each.

The ‘Lightning on the Mountain’ is the first major midweek event at Thunder Mountain since a T3 All-Star Series event backed by John Wight in August 2008.

Thunder Mountain Speedway is located approximately 25 miles north of Binghamton at 91 Hunts Corners Road Center Lisle, NY 13797. The race day phone is 607.848.7899. To learn more, visit www.thundermtnspeedway.com, like “Thunder Mountain Speedway” on Facebook or follow @thundermtnspeed on Twitter.

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